This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18 -- Feast of Saints Osanna and Alena

Alena lived in Brussels and died in 640; Osanna was from Mantua and died in 1505.  They are linked by this thought: take your shot because fortune's favor is beyond your control.  I would have quoted Niccolo Machiavelli on that subject but he was unnecessarily misogynistic, so I figure it is better to leave it out.  If you want the quote, skip to the last paragraph of this chapter
Is the right sleeve empty?
Alena, daughter of polytheistic parents, slipped away from home and got baptized.  When her dad, a nobleman named Levold, learned that she was attending Mass, he concluded that the Christians must have bewitched her.  He sent guards to bring her home, but she didn't go quietly.  In fact, the other congregants must not have been all that pacific either, because Alena lost an arm in the fighting.  Instead of her home, the soldiers dragged her off to jail (gaol), where she died of her injury.

Like Alena, Osanna of Mantua was the daughter of a nobleman.  Unlike Levold, Niccol√≤ Andreasi (her papa) was a devout Christian.  He was so devout, in fact, that he and his wife (Osanna's mom, Agnese Gonzaga) were not unduly troubled when their little girl started having ecstatic visions at age five.  They still hoped to arrange a suitable marriage for her, but they were tolerant of their little mystic.

Like Alena, Osanna slipped away from home to lock in her religious vocation.  Having been inspired by Catherine of Siena and Girolamo Savonarola, she became a Dominican tertiary (3rd Order, the one for lay people).  Then she went home and explained the vow she had just taken.  Mom and Dad didn't sic the guards on her, nor did they even rip her arm off.  They argued with her a while and then relented.

She stayed at home for thirty-seven years, taking care of Niccolo and Agnese, and then her younger siblings.  When at last they were all squared away (one way or another), she returned to the convent and took the veil.

It looks like someone said God again.
She experienced the Passion of Christ very directly, especially on Wednesdays and Fridays.  (?!)  She received stigmata in her head, feet, and side (but not hands, I guess).  She slipped into ecstasy whenever anyone mentioned God, which must have initially been frustrating in a convent, but after a while, could be pretty entertaining.  When Sister Maria sneezes, you pause, look at Osanna with a little grin, and say God bless you, Sister. 

On the more serious side, she was a tremendously devout, abstemious nun whose reputation for sanctity led members of the royal household to consult with her.  She was a popular spiritual director.  She prophesied.

If you can accept that martyrdom at any age is a blessing, then I suppose that both of these worked out.  If you take a standard line, sometimes it pays to sneak away from your parents and follow God and sometimes it doesn't.  Machiavelli tells us that Fortune favors the audacious, so you should take your best shot and accept whatever happens. 

No comments:

Post a Comment