All Hallows Eve leads to All Saints Day

Part of stained glass windows in St. Vitus Cat...

Stained Glass Window

What’s next after Halloween? Well, if you’re Catholic, it’s All Saints Day. On this day the Church celebrates all saints. There are many saints, some more well known than others but on All Saints Day even the saints that are forgotten or largely unknown are honored. I attended an all-girls Catholic high school (even though I’m not Catholic) and I vaguely remember celebrating this day. In the morning before classes, we would go to Mass, sing songs and walk up and down the chapel corridors gazing adoringly at the stained-glass windows depicting various Biblical scenes and thinking about martyrs and saints. Or something like that. My memory is not the best.

Anyway, my favorite saint was Saint Joan of Arc. I thought she was really cool, plus she was the only woman regularly featured in the bunch. But now that I’m all grown up, I’ve discovered that there are many more cool and interesting saints – here are a few that might peak your interest:

  • St. Monica – patron saint of wives & abuse victims (hmm…are wives and abuse victims two distinct groups or one and the same? Just wondering). St. Monica married young and was the union was not happy but she was patient and devoted to her husband and was thus considered a good example to wives and mothers.
  • St. Bibiana – she is known as the saint of hangovers because legend has it that when she was buried, a plant grew over her grave that provided relief from hangovers and epilepsy.
  • St. Vitus – the saint of oversleepers. A Christian living in Italy in the 4th Century, he refused to celebrate the pagan gods of the time and was accused of sorcery. He was boiled in oil (ouch!) and his tormentors threw in a rooster to protect against sorcery. This association with the rooster is why he is the saint of oversleepers.
  • St. Hubert of Liege – the saint of protection from werewolves. St. Hubert was a Belgian nobleman who liked to hunt and during the werewolf scares of the Middle Ages, peasants would turn to him for help when they ran out of silver bullets.
  • St. Jude Thaddeus – saint of lost causes. St. Jude Thaddeus was Jesus’ cousin and people often confused him for Judas Iscariot. As a result, no one prayed to him for help and he became associated with lost causes and desperate situations.

Do you know of any other unusual saints?

 

 

2011 World Series Champs – STL Cardinals!

St. Louis Cardinals Cap Insignia

St. Louis Cardinals

It’s a good day to be in St. Louis. For baseball fans and non-baseball fans because the St. Louis Cardinals are the 2011 World Series Champions! Can you hear the music playing?

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

NO TIME FOR LOSERS

‘CAUSE WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

OK, maybe the music is only in my head…thank you, Queen, for the awesome lyrics and thank you, St. Louis, for winning the championship.

Go Cardinals!

 

Above-Average Halloween

Jack-o-latern
 

It’s that time of year again – (cue the scary music) – Halloween! And around this time, people do crazy things. Scary things. Stupid things. If you’re the type to wear an average costume (e.g., witch, nurse, firefighter) and go trick or treating with the kids or to a friends’ Halloween party, well, then you’re an average Halloweener. There are others among us that go ALL OUT. These are the above-average Halloweeners.

You probably know an above-average Halloweener. They are the ones who start decorating their yards in early September. They spend entire weekends searching for candy and candy containers. They make their own Halloween costumes – like this interesting get-up:

Homemade Head Hunting Shaman Priestess and Unfortunate Safari Trekker Couple Costume

For those of you who don’t get it, they are dressed up as ‘Head Hunting Shaman Priestess and Unfortunate Safari Trekker.’

Cemeteries tend to be one of the favorite haunts (pun intended) of above-average Halloweeners. We’ve all heard the stories on the morning news every November 1 – somebody was seen climbing over a cemetery wall at midnight, running through the graveyard half-naked and screaming, “Where are you, headless horseman?” I’m not sure why Halloween draws people to the graveyards…I just hope that this Halloween does not bring any incidences of cemetery vandalism or theft.

I’m a below-average Halloweener myself but I do enjoy the efforts of above-average Halloweeners. Their creativity and overall adoration of this pagan holiday adds some spice to the end of October. And it produces amazing light shows like this:

WOW. Aren’t you inspired to become an above-average Halloweener?

 

You Are A Minority If You Live In This Town

Welcome to Colma

Colma, CA has 1,792 above-ground residents and  1.5 million below-ground souls. The town is home to 17 cemeteries and is known as the ‘City of Souls’. But the town’s motto says it best – “It’s great to be alive in Colma.”

Can you imagine having all your next-door neighbours living six feet under? At least you wouldn’t have to call the cops to complain about loud, late-night parties. It must be a calm and quiet place to live, although I’m sure there are numerous local stories about cemetery hauntings and wandering zombies disturbing the peace. And Halloween probably draws a large number of out-of-town “ghost hunters” and the like, although with a long history of being a necropolis, Colma likely has its own way of dealing with such intruders.

Colma is located in San Mateo County, not too far from San Francisco and has a total area of 1.9 square miles. The town became the ‘City of Souls’ when San Francisco announced its land would no longer be used for cemeteries in 1900 (increased property values made the land too valuable to be used just to bury the dead). Then, in 1912 San Francisco evicted all the cemeteries from its city limits so the cemetery operators relocated to Colma and have continued doing business there ever since.

Some of the cemeteries in Colma include:

  • Cypress Lawn Cemetery – William Randolph Hearst (publishing magnate) is buried here.
  • Hills of Eternity Memorial Park – Wyatt Earp is buried here.
  • Holy Cross Cemetery – Joe DiMaggio (baseball legend) is laid to rest here.
The mausoleum of Joe DiMaggio at Holy Cross Ce...

Joe DiMaggio's Grave

  • Pets Rest Cemetery – they offer cremation and lawn burials

Colma, CA sounds like the perfect place for someone like me! Anybody else interested in moving?

  • RIP Tofu (subtletitillation.wordpress.com)

The Cold Monster Is Coming.

Winter day

The Cold Monster's frigid path.

Summer is over. Well, its been officially over for a while now but it really only hit me today because it’s 52 degrees outside and it’s rainy, windy and cold. I only recognize two seasons – Summer and Winter. So if it’s not hot, it’s Winter. And if it’s not cold, it’s Summer. Therefore, today marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter. It’s a sad day.

I know all the rabid fans of Fall and Spring will rush to defend these seasons. Yes, Fall is pretty, the leaves change colors, bla bla bla. Yes, Spring signifies renewal, growth, change, bla bla bla. I don’t care. It’s either hot or it’s not.

I don’t have to explain why I’m not a fan of Winter. When I say the Cold Monster is coming, I really believe it. Just think about it – the trees look naked and barren, the sky is a moody gray 99% of the time and the wind…oh, the wind. It gleefully nips at any exposed skin and tries to chill you to the bone. What kind of monster does this kind of thing? The Cold Monster. Winter.

Some people like Winter. For example, skiers, ice fishermen and people who live in Alaska. I pray for these people. I pray that the Cold Monster doesn’t get them. Legend has it that every 6 years, the Cold Monster gets really hungry and unleashes a wintrous (I just made that word up) fury on any poor soul that ventures outside. So beware, people. The Cold Monster is coming.

 

Why Tending Graves Is Important

Picture of elmwood cemetery entrance

Entrance to Elmwood Cemetery

This story reported in a Memphis paper called The Commercial Appeal is inspiring and it makes me proud to be a gravetender.

The story reports:

“Last week, a flat, four-sided headstone was all that marked the graves of the “Memphis Martyrs,” a quartet of Episcopalian Sisters known for their uncompromising care of yellow fever victims during the height of an epidemic here in the mid-1870s. 

Elmwood Cemetery volunteer Mark Henderson unearthed a cross-shaped pattern of white limestone slabs 51/2  feet long last week while tending to the grounds. They surround Sisters Constance, Thecla, Ruth and Frances, who were buried head-to-head  after succumbing to the disease only weeks apart in 1878.

Henderson, a Memphis police officer and parishioner at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, said the limestone around the sisters’ graves had sunk 8 inches over more than 100 years. He dug for two days and reassembled on the third.

“I had to figure it out like a puzzle,” said Henderson, 49. “But it all seems to fit.”

Henderson, a bagpipe player  who frequently serenades Elmwood visitors, took courses in grave tending in Knoxville and has started his own grave-care services company. He cleaned and repaired the limestone and placed black mulch underneath to make the cross pop. 

“Mark has made this place more beautiful with his work,” said Kimberly McCollum, executive director at Elmwood.” 

Thanks to Mark Henderson’s work, the story of the sisters’ sacrifice is no longer forgotten. This is why tending graves and maintaining cemeteries is important – there is so much history in local cemeteries that it’s a shame so many graveyards fall into ruin and disrepair. Let us not lose this vital link to our past and to our ancestors.

When was the last time you went to a cemetery?

Top 5 Cemetery Jokes

JOKE
 

Though not the most popular location for a joke to occur (I think that dubious title belongs to a bar – after all, how many jokes have you heard that start with “Three men go into a bar…??”), a cemetery does inspire humorous jokes. Here are my Top 5:

#5. Two men were walking home after a Halloween party and decided to take a shortcut  through the cemetery just for laughs. Right in the middle of the cemetery they  were startled by a tap-tap-tapping noise coming from the misty shadows.  Trembling with fear, they found an old man with a hammer and chisel, chipping  away at one of the headstones.
“Holy Cow, mister”, one of them said after  catching his breath. “You scared us half to death. .. we thought you were a  ghost! What are you doing working here so late at night?”
“Those fools!”, the  old man grumbled. “They misspelled my name!”

#4. A woman was leaving a 7-11 with her morning coffee when she noticed a most  unusual funeral procession approaching the nearby cemetery. A long black hearse  followed by a second long black hearse about 50 feet behind. Behind the  second hearse was a solitary woman walking a pit bull on a leash. Behind her  were 200 women walking single file. The woman couldn’t stand the curiosity. She  respectfully approached the woman walking the dog and said, “I am so sorry for  your loss, and I know now is a bad time to disturb you, but I’ve never seen a  funeral like this. Whose funeral is it?” The woman replied, “Well, that first  hearse is for my husband.” “What happened to him?” The woman replied, “My dog  attacked and killed him.” She inquired further, “Well, who is in the second  hearse?” The woman answered, “My mother-in-law. She was trying to help my  husband when the dog turned on her.” A poignant and thoughtful moment of silence  passed between the two women. “Can I borrow the dog?” “Get in line!”

#3. Your momma is so ugly, when she walked through the cemetery two men  came after her with shovels.

#2. Did you hear about the plane that crashed in the cemetery? Search and rescue workers have recovered 100 bodies and expect that number to climb as digging continues.

And my top cemetery joke, an oldie but goodie, is:

#1. The cemetery up the hill is really popular. People are dying to get in.

HA HA HA! Funny, no? To me, anyway:)

 

source for jokes 2-5: http://www.jokebuddha.com/