Wednesday, August 04, 2004

No Doubt They'll Want Me as Godmother

A friend of the family just named their new daughter after this saint. Pretty name. But what is the kid supposed to learn from this tale?

I'm not taking pot shots at the Catholic church. But, for so many reasons, I grew anxious when reading the above-linked websites, which the parents sent out with their birth announcement. I'm uneasy with statements about how "The American Indians need a patron saint." And it doesn't take a degree in critical race theory to see what's behind the claim that Kateri's face, once "so disfigured and so swarthy," became "so beautiful and so fair" after her (still-virginal!) body had died.

Frankly, I wished for a subversive backstory to accompany the biographical entry about Kateri having been "falsely accused of sinful relations with a hunter."

And, I'm curious — are there any stories out there about stoically virginal male saints?


At 7:03 PM, Blogger New Kid on the Hallway said...

Yes - there are some explicitly virginal male saints; for instance, the accounts of St. Dominic's life all stress his virginity (at least, the medieval ones do); and I think it's a pretty big component of St. Francis's life too (have to reread that soon). But my immediate (and unscientific) impression is that for the male saints, it's all about resisting the evil temptation of lustful, sin-inducing women; you get the impression that if the women weren't around, these guys would have no problems with their virginity. Women, being the actual source of sin, aren't resisting the temptations of male flesh, but the pollution of their own sinful nature, so to speak.

At least, that's my impression, but I may be a little cynical!

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Rudbeckia Hirta said...

Not sure what to say, just it was so unexpected to see mention of Kateri. Makes me think of my Mom's family; they're fixated on Auriesville.

At 11:46 PM, Blogger YelloCello said...

I hadn't heard of Auriesville until now. (Had to look it up just now.) Clearly, my knowledge of Kateri is still pretty thin. For example, I'm still not sure how it her name is pronounced. (The websites' pronunciation guides vary on that point.) And I don't yet know how my friends are pronouncing it for their daughter.


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