Tuesday, 6 October 2015


“A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” - WinstonChurchill

The Catholic faith celebrates St Bruno’s and St Faith’s Feast Day today, while the Orthodox faith celebrates St Thomas the Apostle’s Feast Day. The Anglican Church commemorates St Faith’s Feast Day and the Feast Day of the Holy William Tyndale today.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of:
Louis Philippe, king of France (1773);
Jenny Lind, soprano (1820);
Richard Dedekind, mathematician (1831);
George Westinghouse, inventor (1846);
Karol Szymanowski, composer (1882);
Martín Luis Guzmán, novelist (1887?);
Carole Lombard (Jane Alice Peters); actress (1908);
Thor Heyerdahl, anthropologist (1914);
Britt Ekland, actress (1942);
Stephanie Zimbalist, actress (1956).

A split reed, Phragmites communis, is today’s birthday plant.  It stands for folly and indiscretion.  Reeds also signify authority, frailty and instability.  In more learned circles, the reed symbolises music (Pan’s flute was made of reeds) and also literature (reed pens were commonly used before the quill).

St Faith or St Foi was a Christian virgin who was martyred for her faith by being grilled alive over a roasting fire.  In her honour faith cakes are made and these were used in Northern England to divine a girl’s future husband.  The cake was made of flour, sugar, salt and spring water by three single girls.  The cake was turned nine times, each girl turning it thrice.  It was then cut into three sectors, each girl receiving a portion.  Each of these was then cut into nine slivers and each sliver was passed thrice through a wedding ring obtained from a married woman who was married for seven years at least.  All the slivers were then consumed while the following chant was invoked:
            O good St Faith, be kind tonight
            And bring to me my heart’s delight;
            Let me my future husband view
            And be my vision chaste and true.
The girl then went straight to bed after hanging the ring from the bedhead with a string.  They would then dream without fail their future husbands.

St Faith’s Day was traditionally the day when corn sowing for the next year’s harvest was begun.  Plums, damsons and other autumn stone fruit were also gathered at this time, before the winter frosts set in.

St Thomas was one of the Twelve Apostles, and he was a Galilean by birth. His name means “twin”. The twentieth chapter of St John’s Gospel describes how, when he doubted the appearance of the Risen Lord, Christ appeared to him again, saying: “Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas cried out: “My Lord and my God!” Through this one event the Holy Scriptures attest that Christ is risen bodily, not merely as a spirit, as some heresies claim; and that He is in fact God. After Pentecost, St Thomas proclaimed the Gospel in the East, and established the Christian faith as far as India, where the small remnant of the ancient Church still traces its foundation to him. According to some accounts he met a martyr’s end; according to others, he reposed in peace. St John Chrysostom mentions that his tomb was in Edessa in Syria; his relics may have been translated there from India in the fourth century.

Died on this day: In 1651, Heinrich Albert (47), German composer famous for his songs Arien oder Melodien; In 1762, Francesco Onofrio Manfredini (78), composer; in 1892, Alfred Lord Tennyson (83), writer and British Poet Laureate; in 1951, Will Keith Kellogg (91), American food manufacturer; in 1976, Gilbert Ryle (76), British philosopher; in 1989 Bette Davis (81), US actress.

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