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.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16 -- Feast of Saint Heloise

Let's go postal with Prioress Heloise
I am willing to argue with the canon-makers all day that Heloise is and of right ought to be a saint, whether they want to agree or not.  However, when Fordham University says that the correspondence between her and Peter Abelard may have been entirely written by Abelard, or worse, by someone else entirely, doubts get the better of me.

Heloise and Abelard were of course those unfortunate twelfth century scholars whose love affair was sundered by pride, wrath, and ambition.  She was a brilliant student and he was her equally brilliant tutor.  Her uncle Fulbert disapproved of both her pregnancy and the secret marriage that shielded Abelard's career in the church.  Fulbert may not have been directly involved in the castration of Peter Abelard, but it pretty much ended the physical relationship between Pete and Elly.  Their long correspondence documents both their love for each other (or at least hers for him, since he confesses that he only lusted for her) and their love for knowledge and wisdom.

Together in death
Since I have already commented on their relationship here and here, I think it is all right to turn my thoughts to letter-writing.  I am not certain who received the last personal letter I wrote.  In the age of txtmsgs and tweets, who among us ever sits down to compose a letter to a friend? Perhaps we don't have time, and perhaps we don't feel it matters.  We might even think there's not that much to say.  But let's consider receiving a letter instead of sending one.  Would you take the time to read a letter if someone you love sent one?  Would you complain that the person didn't have enough news to warrant a whole letter?  I would not.  However mundane the content, I would be touched by the gesture.

Heloise wrote to Abelard, “If the portraits of our absent friends are pleasant to us, which renew our memory of them and relieve our regret for their absence by a false and empty consolation, how much more pleasant are letters which bring us the written characters of the absent friend.”

I won't belabor the point.  Instead, I will resolve to send at least one letter in the next seven days.  

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