Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Saints of the Week

This week the liturgical calendar has been quite busy with saints days and I thought I would provide links to previous posts which touch on the lives of some of them.

Monday was the feast day of both St Fabian and of St Sebastian, depictions of both of whom I posted about in 2011 in St Fabian and St Sebastian.

Tuesday was the important feast of St Agnes, and that evening we had an interesting reflection from Fr Jerome at the meeting of the Brothers of the Oratory on the liturgical significance of her feast - she has proper antiphons for the Offices in both the Tridentine Breviary and the moderrn Divine Office, and it is the feast on which the lambs whose wool will be used for this year's pallia are blessed in Rome - and on the unique Christian concern for virginity and the consecrated lives of women as Sisters or enclosed Nuns. This is an ancient part of the Church's life, being clearly established by the time of St Antony in the later third century. Indeed it can be traced directly to the Virgin Mary's response to the Archangel at the Annunciation. The concept of St Agnes or other young women preferring the life of a spouse of Christ was incomprehensible to the Jews and the Romans, and indeed to much of the modern world, yet it has inspired much selfless and holy work over the centuries.

I have posted about depictions of her and the widespread cult of St Agnes in The Royal Gold Cup in 2012 and in St Agnes last year.

Wednesday was the feast of St Vincent of Saragossa, and I have posted about some of the superb late medieval Iberian images of him in St Vincent in 2011, and linked to it a post Another red pileus in 2012, and also in 2012 in Conferring the Diaconate and last year in St Vincent of Saragossa.

Yesterday was the feast day of the Oxford born Jesuit lay brother and constructor of priest holes St Nicholas Owen, who died after torture in the Tower of London in March 1606. My previous posts about him can be read at St Nicholas Owen from 2011 or in a slightly revised form at St Nicholas Owen from 2012.

Today is the feast of St Francis de Sales, erstwhile Oratorian, and later Bishop of Geneva. My account of my visit last July to his shrine church in Annecy and other places in the city connected with him can be read at Over the hills to Annecy and back.


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