Thursday, 28 November 2013

STEPHEN & CATHERINE GATHERING GORSE

“God enters by a private door into every individual.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
Today, the Greek Orthodox faith celebrates the feast day of St Stephen the Latter, who was born on this day in Constantinople in 715 AD. He became an ascetic monk and during the reign of Constantine V (741-775), the iconoclast, he was apprehended and brought before the Emperor for worshipping icons of Christ and the Saints. Constantine condemned him to eleven months in bonds and imprisonment. As he failed to give up worshipping icons, he was dragged over the earth and was stoned, like Stephen the First Martyr; wherefore he is called Stephen the Latter. Finally, he was struck with a wooden club on the temple and his head was shattered, and thus he died in the year 767.
 
The Catholic faith celebrates today, St Catherine Laboure, virgin, who was born on May 2, 1806. At an early age she entered the community of the Daughters of Charity, in Paris, France. Three times in 1830 the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who then was a twenty-four year old novice. Forty-five years later, St. Catherine spoke fully of the apparitions to one of her superiors. She died on December 31, 1876, and was canonised on July 27, 1947. Her feast day is November 28.
 
On this day, it is the anniversary of the birthdays of:
John Bunyan, writer (1628);
Jean Baptiste Lully, Italo-French composer (1632);
William Blake, writer/artist (1757);
Friedrich Engels, philosopher (1820);
Anton Rubinstein, composer (1829);
Stefan Zweig, Austrian writer (1881);
Claude Lévi-Strauss, Belgian social anthropologist (1908);
Hope Lange, actress (1933);
Randy Newman, musician (1943):
Rita Mae Brown, writer (1944);
Alexander Godunov, composer (1949);

The gorse bush, Ulex europaeus, is today’s birthday plant. It is symbolic of anger (probably in reference to the plant’s spines) and also of enduring affection and love for all seasons (due most likely to the plant’s habit of producing a few blooms almost throughout the whole year).  The astrologers assign the gorse to Mars.

Today is also Albania’s Independence Day; Burundi’s Republic Day; Chad’s Republic Day; Mauritania’s National Day (since 1960) and Panama’s Independence Day.

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