Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Art of the Wreath

From The Spectator:
The wreath has a long tradition, extending back to the ancient Greeks, where the diadema was worn on the head, signifying royal or spiritual significance. The Ancient Romans were in on the act too, crowning the heads of their heroes with laurel wreaths. Over in Scandinavia, lighted candles were placed around a wheel as form of winter prayer to ask the god of light to turn the wheel of the earth back towards the sun. 
By the Middle Ages, Christians had adapted these traditions as part of their preparation for Christmas. Each element of the wreath had its own symbolism: candles for Christ as the light of the world; evergreens signifying eternal life; laurel the victory over suffering and persecution and holly, of course, a prickly reminder at Jesus’ birth of the crown of thorns and the death he had to face. And so it is that our own word wreath comes from the Old English writhan meaning to make into coils. 
Today, typically, there are two types of wreath: those hung outside on doors and those laid inside, often with candles, on tables or mantelpieces (and occasionally, down bannisters, preferably minus the candles). Here’s a simple how-to so you can furnish your home with a wreath of your own. (Read more.)

Trump Aids the Christians in Iraq

From CNA:
President Donald Trump signed into law Tuesday the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act, which seeks to ensure US aid reaches Christian and Yazidi genocide victims. The bill was passed unanimously in the House Nov. 27, and in the Senate Oct. 11. This bill was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), and the lead Democratic sponsor was Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA). This was Smith’s second attempt at getting the bill signed into law, and altogether it took 17 months for this bill to be passed.

Trump was joined at the Dec. 11 signing by Vice President Mike Pence, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson, Smith, Eshoo, Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, and many others.
Trump said it was a “great honor” to sign H.R. 390 into law, and remarked that his administration has had great success in fighting Islamic State. The group has lost nearly all of its territory since its peak in 2015. “This bill continues my administration's efforts to direct US assistance for persecuted communities including through faith-based programs,” he said. 
The signing of the legislation is a symbol of the US speaking “with bold moral clarity and political unanimity,” Anderson said in a statement provided by the Knights of Columbus, which were heavily involved with the process of writing the bill and assisting the situation of Christians in the Middle East. Since 2014, the Knights of Columbus have donated more than $20 million to help Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria with food, housing, and other needs. The Knights also spent $2 million to rebuild an Iraqi town that had been destroyed by Islamic State. 
H.R. 390 provides funding to various entities, including faith-based and religious organizations, that are helping with recovery and stabilization efforts in Iraq and Syria in religious and ethnic minority communities, including Christians and Yazidis. The bill also instructs the Trump administration to “assess and address the humanitarian vulnerabilities, needs, and triggers that might force these survivors to flee” the region and for the administration to identify signs of potential violent action against minority groups in the country. (Read more.)

The Most Profound Writer on Christmas

St. Ephrem the Syrian. From Catholic Pop:
A constant theme in his Christmas hymns is juxtaposing the tender smallness of Christ as a human baby with the infinite power and enormity of Christ’s divinity.

“When He sucked the milk of Mary, He was suckling all with Life,” he writes. “While He was lying on His Mother’s bosom, in His bosom were all creatures lying. He was silent as a Babe, and yet He was making His creatures execute all His commands.” (Hymns on the Nativity [HN] 3)

Here’s another snippet: “The bosom of Mary amazes me, that it sufficed for You, Lord, and embraced You.— All creation were too small, to conceal Your Majesty;—Heaven and earth too narrow, to be in the likeness of wings, to cover Your Godhead.— Too small for You was the bosom of earth; great enough for You was the bosom of Mary!” (HN 16)

Take a moment and let that sink in. Very profound!

Here are just a few more snippets from his hymns on the birth of Christ:

“Mary bare the silent Babe, while in Him were hidden all tongues! Joseph bare Him, and in Him was hidden a nature more ancient than anything that is old! The High One became as a little child, and in Him was hidden a treasure of wisdom sufficing for all! Though Most High, yet He sucked the milk of Mary, and of His goodness all creatures suck!

“He is the Breast of Life, and the Breath of Life; the dead suck from His life and revive. Without the breath of the air no man lives, without the Might of the Son no man subsists. On His living breath that quickens all, depend the spirits that are above and that are beneath.” (HN 3)

“Let women praise Her, the pure Mary,— that as in Eve their mother—great was their reproach—lo! In Mary their sister—greatly magnified was their honor. […] Of him the Lord said, that he had fallen from Heaven.— The Abhorred One had exalted himself; from his uplifting he has fallen. The foot of Mary has trod him down, who bruised Eve with his heel.” (HN 15)

“[Mary] lulled Him, [saying,] ‘Who has given me, the barren, that I should conceive and bring forth this One, that is manifold; a little One, that is great; for that He is wholly with me, and wholly everywhere?

“‘The day that Gabriel came in unto my low estate, he made me free instead of a handmaid, of a sudden: for I was the handmaid of Your Divine Nature, and am also the Mother of Your human Nature, O Lord and Son! Of a sudden the handmaid became the King’s daughter in You, You Son of the King. Lo, the meanest in the house of David, by reason of You, You Son of David, lo, a daughter of earth has attained unto Heaven by the Heavenly One!

“‘How am I astonished that there is laid before me a Child, older than all things! His eye is gazing unceasingly upon Heaven. As for the stammering of His mouth, to my seeming it betokens, that with God its silence speaks.'” (HN 4) (Read more.)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Five Ancient Beauty Secrets

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Rose water, sweet almond oil, olive oil, and avocado oil are all used in our creams. From Femina:
Much before science discovered that the hands were the first parts to  show signs of ageing, Marie Antoinette understood that the hands  were one of the most used and exposed parts of the body. This made her  sleep with anti-ageing gloves lined with wax, filled with a blend of  sweet almond oil and rose water, to soften and moisturise her hands.
(Read more.)


The FBI and Clergy Abuse

From The Buffalo News:
The Associated Press reported in October that U.S. Attorney William McSwain of Philadelphia sent out federal subpoenas to eight dioceses in Pennsylvania seeking information about priests taking children across state lines for sex and viewing child pornography. McSwain also wants to know if dioceses reassigned predators or used church funds or assets to cover up sexual misconduct, and he demanded that the church turn over secret archive files, as well as financial, personnel and treatment records.

Federal law enforcement officials also were part of a Nov. 28 raid of the offices of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in search of documents, electronic communications and other evidence related to the archdiocese’s handling of a case involving a priest accused of molesting four people. The head of the Galveston-Houston archdiocese is Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a key spokesman on issues related to the Catholic Church in the United States.

The federal inquiry into the Buffalo Diocese appears to be wide-ranging, with agents talking to potential witnesses, as well as abuse victims. Wright, of Clarence, said she met two weeks ago with agents. The agents told her they already had spoken with 40 people about clergy abuse cases and were looking for evidence to present to a grand jury. They also told her the Buffalo Diocese was recently served with a second federal subpoena, after diocese officials responded with little information to an initial subpoena served in June, Wright said.

A spokeswoman for the Buffalo office of the FBI declined to comment. (Read more.)

Defense of the Traditional Date of Christmas

From Dr. Taylor Marshall:
Now we move on to establishing the birthday of Christ from Sacred Scripture in two steps. The first step is to use Scripture to determine the birthday of Saint John the Baptist. The next step is using Saint John the Baptist’s birthday as the key for finding Christ’s birthday. We can discover that Christ was born in late December by observing first the time of year in which Saint Luke describes Saint Zacharias in the temple. This provides us with the approximate conception date of Saint John the Baptist. From there we can follow the chronology that Saint Luke gives, and that lands us at the end of December. 
Saint Luke reports that Zacharias served in the “course of Abias” (Lk 1:5) which Scripture records as the eighth course among the twenty-four priestly courses (Neh 12:17). Each shift of priests served one week in the temple for two times each year. The course of Abias served during the eighth week and the thirty-second week in the annual cycle.[ii]However, when did the cycle of courses begin?
Josef Heinrich Friedlieb has convincingly established that the first priestly course of Jojarib was on duty during the destruction of Jerusalem on the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av.[iii]Thus the priestly course of Jojarib was on duty during the second week of Av. Consequently, the priestly course of Abias (the course of Saint Zacharias) was undoubtedly serving during the second week of the Jewish month of Tishri—the very week of the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of Tishri. In our calendar, the Day of Atonement would land anywhere from September 22 to October 8.
Zacharias and Elizabeth conceived John the Baptist immediately after Zacharias served his course. This entails that Saint John the Baptist would have been conceived somewhere around the end of September, placing John’s birth at the end of June, confirming the Catholic Church’s celebration of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on June 24.
The second-century Protoevangelium of Saint James also confirms a late September conception of the Baptist since the work depicts Saint Zacharias as High Priest and as entering the Holy of Holies—not merely the holy place with the altar of incense. This is a factual mistake because Zacharias was not the high priest, but one of the chief priests.[iv]Still, the Protoevangelium regards Zacharias as a high priest and this associates him with the Day of Atonement, which lands on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri (roughly the end of our September). Immediately after this entry into the temple and message of the Archangel Gabriel, Zacharias and Elizabeth conceive John the Baptist. Allowing for forty weeks of gestation, this places the birth of John the Baptist at the end of June—once again confirming the Catholic date for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on June 24.
The rest of the dating is rather simple. We read that just after the Immaculate Virgin Mary conceived Christ, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. This means that John the Baptist was six months older that our Lord Jesus Christ (Lk 1:24-27, 36). If you add six months to June 24 you get December 24-25 as the birthday of Christ. Then, if you subtract nine months from December 25 you get that the Annunciation was March 25. All the dates match up perfectly. So then, if John the Baptist was conceived shortly after the Jewish Day of the Atonement, then the traditional Catholic dates are essentially correct. The birth of Christ would be about or on December 25.
Sacred Tradition also confirms December 25 as the birthday of the Son of God. The source of this ancient tradition is the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. Ask any mother about the birth of her children. She will not only give you the date of the birth, but she will be able to rattle off the time, the location, the weather, the weight of the baby, the length of the baby, and a number of other details. I’m the father of six blessed children, and while I sometimes forget these details—mea maxima culpa—my wife never does. You see, mothers never forget the details surrounding the births of their babies. (Read more.)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Merry Mantel

 From Southern Lady:
Magnolia accents and winter-white stockings lend Southern panache to a serene Christmas setting. Gracefully swagged across the mantel, a lush magnolia garland cloaked in festive bead-trimmed ribbon elevates the room in seasonal splendor. A lustrous wreath from The Magnolia Company made from Southern leaves adds a gleaming touch. (Read more.)

How Democracy Is Losing

People who abuse their freedoms will lose them. From Chronicles:
"Everywhere President Trump looks," writes The Washington Times' Rowan Scarborough, "there are Democrats targeting him from New York to Washington to Maryland . . . lawmakers, state attorneys general, opposition researchers, bureaucrats and activist defense lawyers. "They are aiming at Russia collusion, the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, a Trump hotel, Trump tax returns, Trump campaign finances and supposed money laundering."

The full-court press is on. Day and night we will be hearing debate on the great question: Will the elites that loathe him succeed in bringing Trump down, driving him from office, and prosecuting and putting him in jail? Says Adam Schiff, the incoming chair of the House intelligence committee: "Donald Trump may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time."

And what will a watching world be thinking when it sees the once-great republic preoccupied with breaking yet another president? Will that world think: Why can't we be more like America? Does the world still envy us our free press, which it sees tirelessly digging up dirt on political figures and flaying them with abandon? Among the reasons democracy is in discredit and retreat worldwide is that its exemplar and champion, the USA, is beginning to resemble France's Third Republic in its last days before World War II. Also, democracy no longer has the field largely to itself as to how to create a prosperous and powerful nation-state.

This century, China has shown aspiring rulers how a single-party regime can create a world power, and how democracy is not a necessary precondition for extraordinary economic progress. Vladimir Putin, an autocratic nationalist, has shown how a ruined nation can be restored to a great power in the eyes of its people and the world, commanding a new deference and respect. Democracy is a bus you get off when it reaches your stop, says Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After the attempted coup in the summer of 2017, Erdogan purged his government and military of tens of thousands of enemies and jailed more journalists than any other nation. Yet he is welcomed in the capitals of the world.

What does American democracy now offer the world as its foremost attribute, its claim to greatness? "Our diversity is our strength!" proclaims this generation. We have become a unique nation composed of peoples from every continent and country, every race, ethnicity, culture and creed on earth. But is not diversity what Europe is openly fleeing from? (Read more.)

It is terrible to see a US Senator like Schumer be so insulting to the President in the White House. From The Federalist Papers:
President Trump just set three traps for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Soon to be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over immigration and they walked right into them, as Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker reports:

President Trump clearly shocked House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer yesterday with his televising of the Oval Office sit-down over his demand for $5 billion funding for border security, including funding of critical mileage for his border wall. Knowing well that Pelosi had already vowed publicly that “transparency and openness” would characterize the Democrat-run House starting next month, her plaintive request to speak in private scored points for Trump and revealed her hypocrisy before any substance at all was considered.

Getting Pelosi and Schumer to reveal their hypocrisy was trap one, here’s trap two:

That was merely the first of three traps Trump had prepared for the Democrats’ congressional leadership. Trump’s second trap is his bold declaration of ownership of any “government shutdown.”Democrats have convinced themselves that what is called a “shutdown,” but really means furloughing non-essential federal workers, is a tragedy, a scar on the nation’s psyche. The fact that federal workers are now a major and solid constituency for Democrats skews their perception of the public’s concern. Aside from cancelling sleigh rides in national parks and other such photo dramas, the fact is that life goes on very well for nearly all Americans during the furlough. They learn that there are a lot of non-essential government workers. (Read more.)

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"

Here I thought shows like Versailles and movies like Fifty Shades of Grey were violating the bounds of decency. But I have now been told that the height of depravity can be found in an Esther Williams movie, Neptune's Daughter, and encapsulated in the song, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." I have been informed that underneath the coyness and silly slapstick humor it is really a song about date rape. So I listened to it several times and watched the video in the context of the film. I never imagined that Ricardo Montauban was playing a would-be rapist and that Esther was allowing him to ply her with drink so he could exercise his nefarious intentions. I always innocently thought the film was a romantic comedy, the highlight of which was Esther dancing in the water.

Seriously, there must be a zillion songs that are more provocative and more about date rape and loss of virtue than "Baby, It's Cold Outside". I know from having watched just about every Esther Williams movie in the world that nobody is raped and nobody has sex outside of marriage, not in any of her films. Esther Williams movies had basically the same plot. They were fun and flirtatious but nobody got raped and as far as sex goes there was some kissing but that's all. Nobody had rape in mind. For one thing, when film was made when there was a strict code under the Legion of Decency about how sexuality was depicted in film. In fact, it was forbidden to show married people in bed together and even Desi and Lucy, who were married in real life, had to be shown with twin beds. So the film and song in question are leagues away from being about rape.  I really wish that people who want to demonize songs from the 1950's would focus on the very real harm caused by rap, porn, drugs, slutty fashions, violent films, and the overall disintegration of the moral and cultural fabric of our society.

Yes, the song is flirtatious. Yes, we do not want our teenage daughters sitting around at night drinking, especially not with amorous men. Although in the film, Esther is not a teen but a mature young lady. When a lady was out with a man she knew to be a gentleman, she could relax a little, knowing that he would not take advantage of her. In the film, Esther's character wants to leave because she fears for her reputation if she stays too long alone with a man at night, which would not even be a consideration nowadays. She also may fear giving in to her own feelings, that is, giving into temptation, and going "too far." It is why then, as now, people trying to live a life of virtue avoid what Catholics call "near occasions of sin." So it is a question of temptation, but not one of rape. Our time is so corrupt that people see flirting and immediately think of the bedroom. But there used to be such a thing as courtship which saved the consummation until the wedding night. It was a different world then; many couples, especially those from a religious background, waited until they were married. How sad our culture has become. 


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why 100 Imposters Claimed to Be Marie Antoinette’s Son

When Louis XVII died in the Temple Prison, there was no public funeral and his body was not publicly displayed. Not even his sister, who was kept in the same prison, was allowed to see him. From History:
“There is no real and legal certainty that the son of Louis XVI is dead,” wrote the Austrian diplomat, Baron von Thugut. “His death, up to now, has no other proof than the announcement in the Moniteur, along with a report drawn up on the orders of the brigands of the Convention and by people whose deposition is based on the fact that they were presented with the body of a dead child who they were told was the son of Louis Capet.”

According to Cadbury, the mystery surrounding the “orphan of the tower” led to 500 books on the subject and an Edwardian-era monthly journal. The first book, a fictional account called The Cemetery of Madeline, about Louis-Charles’s supposed escape from the tower, came out only a few years after his death. Memoirs were also written by claimants themselves, including the Historical Account of the Life of Louis XVII, dictated by an illiterate, drunken vagabond named Charles de Navarre. Even Mark Twain got into the act, writing of a transient pretending to be “the little boy dolphin” in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The first claimant appeared in Châlons-sur-Marne only three years after the Dauphin’s death. The charming, handsome teenager had been found wandering the countryside and put in the local prison. For months he refused to say who he was, and then said he was a member of a non-existent ducal house. Enamored villagers became convinced the seemingly aristocratic young man was Louis-Charles, and the teen did not disabuse them of this notion. (Read more.)


Nothing To Do With Russia

From Sara Carter:
Gregg Jarrett, a Fox News legal analyst, whose book “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump” is a top New York Times bestseller, argued that Cohen pleaded guilty to a non-crime, a situation that happens often too frequently. He argues that Trump did not commit a crime.
“Do those payments mean Trump committed a federal crime if he directed Cohen to make the payments? Absolutely not,” says Jarrett in his column to Fox News. “Just because one person pleads guilty does not mean that another person is automatically guilty. Indeed, in agreeing to the prosecutors’ demands, Cohen actually pleaded guilty to a non-crime. Why would he do such a thing? Again, the answer is leniency. Sadly, it happens rather frequently.”
“Why are the payments to the women a non-crime – in other words, perfectly legal? First, Trump did not utilize campaign funds for the payments. Second, under the law, he is allowed to spend an unlimited amount of his own money on his campaign,” Jarrett added.
Top Democrats, who will be taking the majority in January, are jumping all over the possibility of an indictment and threatening the possibility of an impeachment. (Read more.)

Trump responds, HERE. More HERE.

Meanwhile, from Judicial Watch:
I have said all along that, in their delaying, blocking, and obfuscating our attempts to get to the truth about Hillary Clinton’s email, the Justice and State Departments have been acting in bad faith by defending the evasion of the Freedom of Information Act and other email misconduct by Hillary Clinton. Now, a federal judge is questioning their motives, as well, and ordering them to join us in rectifying this miscarriage of justice.

In a ruling excoriating both the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth has ordered both agencies to join us in submitting a proposed schedule for discovery into whether Hillary Clinton sought to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a private email system and whether the State Department acted in “bad faith” by failing to disclose knowledge of the email system. The decision comes in our FOIA lawsuit related to the Benghazi terrorist attack. (Read more.)

The Alice Network

A review from Lucy Bertoldi:
Have you ever read a Kate Quinn book? She writes some of the best historical fiction books ever. I just finished The Alice Network by her. Not only do I jump on all her books as soon as they’re out- but as well, this one came highly recommended by Reese Witherspoon for her book club. Reese raved about it. I love Quinn’s books, so here I am to rave about this one myself.

Set about a few years after 1945, The Alice Network (the renowned network of women spies who helped fight the Germans and end WW1), is brought to us through the retelling of Eve’s own life as a spy in that First World War. Eve, somewhere in her late 50’s when she meets the young and pregnant Charlie ( Charlotte) while the latter is on the search for her lost cousin- who is presumed to have died in WW2 ( Charlie is on a mission to prove she isn’t).

The book portrays Eve as a bitter and angry woman for all the danger, abuse and horrors she suffered as a spy. Could the retelling of the history and incidents in her life help Charlie solve the puzzle to find her cousin? There’s much that Charlie learns- about herself, life, the baby she is not sure whether she will keep…she may even find love…enter the Scottish rake, Finn;) And, finally, I can’t omit another pivotal character, the horrible and retched Rene Bordelon.

Running the lives, thoughts and experiences of both these women, by switching back and forth between characters and eras, is Kate Quinn’s specialty. This adds so much tension and need to read more. Quinn sails us through their lives from past to present while we relive both wars and the twists of fate and danger. Let’s just say it makes for an incredibly exciting read. I was totally hooked. (Read more.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Versailles, Season 3

George Blagden as Louis XIV
Elisa Lasowski as Queen Marie-Thérèse
The real Queen Marie-Thérèse d'Autriche
The real Louis XIV
Louis (George Blagden) and Madame de Maintenon (Catherine Walker)
Marriage of Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon
Versailles, Season 3 veers more out of the realm of history and into the realm of fantasy than the other seasons, believe it or not. [Spoiler Alert!] For one thing, Louis would never have tempted God by throwing himself off a cliff to prove to himself that he was really King of France. And the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I never visited Versailles; neither did he have an affair with his cousin and sister-in-law the Queen of France. And neither did he poison her. As far as the Vatican goes, the relationship was stormy although it did not involve the Man in the Iron Mask. I must say that having Louis' devout mother Queen Anne sleeping with the Man in the Iron Mask in order to beget both Louis and Philippe is pushing the boundaries of credulity even for imaginative historical fiction. But Louis XIII having a mistress! Louis XIII! I have no words. It is a shame since the writers have so much to work with, including great acting, incomparable sets (French royal palaces), magnificent costumes and  an epoch of history bursting with story-lines. Turning Versailles into the seventeenth-century version of Reign was not necessary. The real history would have been sufficient.

 People have complained that the lurid sex scenes detract so much from the quality of the program. The story could be told better without so much sordid detail, especially when some of the characters involved did not even exist. Plus all the characters look alike when they are naked so it is hard to tell them apart when they are in flagrante delicto. Other than the soft porn, the main problem with the series is that the actress who portrays the Queen is too beautiful. Elisa Lasowski is lovely and plays the part of Louis' neglected wife Marie-Thérèse with dignity. With such a graceful and exquisite wife it is hard to understand why Louis is constantly looking for love elsewhere. It is because in reality, Queen Marie-Thérèse, while sweet and genuinely devoted, was unattractive on many levels. Not that beauty is everything; while Madame de Maintenon was never known as being a great beauty Louis truly loved her and was faithful to her. But Marie-Thérèse was also Louis' double first cousin; she greatly resembled his mother, as anyone can see from the portrait below. Perhaps the strong family resemblance was one among many reasons that Louis was not attracted to Marie-Thérèse. Their close blood relationship is also most likely why all of their children died in early childhood, except the Dauphin, also shown below.
Anne d'Autriche with her niece and daughter-in-law Marie-Thérèse d'Autriche
One merciful reprieve offered by Season 3 is that Louis' brother Philippe d'Orléans is distracted from his usual activities at Versailles in order to go in search of the identity of the Man in the Iron Mask, who turns out to be his putative father. Philippe's ex-paramour the Chevalier de Lorraine becomes involved with a Protestant lady and even goes to prison for her, showing a degree of character that no one knew he possessed. Philippe's wife Liselotte, delightfully played by Jessica Clark, becomes the stabilizing core of the highly dysfunctional family circle. She actually seems happy when Philippe and the Chevalier are reunited at the end, since each of them were almost killed in their mutual adventures involving the Man in the Iron Mask and the Protestants. Meanwhile, Louis and Madame de Maintenon consummate their love, which in real life probably did not happen until after they were married, since the preservation of Madame de Maintenon's virtue was the point of the long restraint.

According to Variety:
Characterizing the unquenchable ambitions of the warrior King, Louis XIV answers that by wanting more. He seeks but fails to gain Papal approval to annex Spain. The Pope’s riposte is to dispatch the oily Cardinal Leto to Versailles. “We created Cardinal Leto as the real villain of the piece – the ultimate focus of Louis’ ire,” said Bampfield and Loane. “A cunning diplomat and ruthless tactician, Leto would stop at nothing to force the maverick into submission – and there’s nothing Louis likes more than a challenge like that.”

Maintenon. Luckily for Louis, he has Madame de Maintenon by his side. “I guess, ultimately, what made him the greatest monarch in the world and didn’t make him burn out was because this extraordinary woman came into his life at the right time,” Blagden has told Variety. (Read more.)
Unfortunately, the exquisite wedding scene of Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, in the King's private oratory by candlelight, is ruined by interspersing it with scenes of Protestants being arrested as a result of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Similarly, the magnificent scene of the ceremony of the King's touch for the healing of the King's evil is destroyed by a bunch of Protestants trying to shoot Louis. Silliness and smut drag Versailles into the gutter faster than any number of Huguenots or Revolutionaries might have done. It is a shame since there is so much potential for great drama at the palace where the monarchy itself performed a daily drama for the public gaze.

Alexander Vlahos as Monsieur
Jessica Clark as Liselotte or Madame



A woman died trying to follow her Savior by showing mercy to the poor. From CBN:
Police are still looking for the suspects in the stabbing death of a woman in East Baltimore. Jacquelyn Smith, 52, was stabbed and killed early last Saturday when she rolled down her car window to help a woman holding what appeared to be a baby and a sign asking for help. Outrage over Smith's senseless murder has spread across the country....

Smith, an electrical engineer, and her husband, Keith, were driving in Baltimore around 12:30 am after a night of celebrating their daughter's 28th birthday party. The couple noticed a woman in need holding a sign that read, "Please help me feed my baby." When Smith, who was in the front passenger seat, rolled down her window to give money to the woman, an unknown man walked up to the car, reached inside and tried to steal her wallet. Police say there was a struggle and that's when the man pulled out a knife and stabbed Smith in the torso. He then ran away with the woman who had been holding the sign.  

"He snatched her necklace and before I knew it, the girl snatched the lil' pocketbook in the seat and they both ran," recalled Smith's husband. "I jumped out the car to run, but I heard my wife screaming. I came back to the car." (Read more.)

Tea Glossary and Tea Terms of the 18th and 19th Centuries

From Geri Walton:
 Samuel Pepys was the first person in Britain who documented drinking a cup tea, which he noted in his diary on 25 September 1660. At the time, it was an exotic drink and was in fact so exotic sometimes people didn’t really understand how to prepare it. A case in point is shown in the following story:
A good housekeeper received a pound of tea as a present from a friend abroad; so she called her neighbors together to partake of this great rarity, prepared indeed, in a manner truly novel. First she boiled the herb and strained off the liquor, and then served it up in a dish, after it was properly seasoned with salt, butter, and other choice ingredients. Her guests, ignorant about it as herself, enjoyed it in this state of preparation.[1]

tea glossary and tea terms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Samuel Pepys. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
When tea arrived in England, no one probably ever imagined it would turn into the national drink. However, by the mid-1700s, according to Jane Pettigrew, “tea was widely drunk amongst even the poorest families in Britain.”[2] With all the tea drinking, people began needing some way to define everything associated with it and before long, there were publications defining tea terms. There was even cyclopedia related to tea that provided all the details from cultivation and packaging it to diseases and varieties. (Read more.)

Monday, December 10, 2018

The 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America

From Architectural Digest:
Culture and beauty are often thought to reside in large cities—but not always. From coast to coast, many towns of less than 10,000 residents prove that America is filled with magnificent microcultures. Beauty in the form of lakes, historic main streets, forests, architectural splendor, and beaches are what the lucky residents of these 50 towns call home. From Kennebunkport in Maine to Washington’s San Juan Islands—plush inland communities along lakes and within forests—here are the 50 most beautiful small towns in America. When developing this list, we looked at easy access to nature, the presence of historic or design districts, and topography that’s appealing in its own right—whether it’s a beach or mountains, or maybe a riverside perch. (Read more.)

"Christmas" Has Become A Trigger Word

From Zero Hedge:
The latest Christmas casualties in the campaign to create one large national safe space are none other than the beloved animated classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (denounced for promoting bullying and homophobia) which first aired on television on December 6, 1964, and the Oscar-winning tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (accused of being a date rape anthem) crooned by everyone from Dean Martin to Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel in the movie Elf. Also on the endangered species Christmas list are such songs as “Deck the Halls” (it supposedly promotes “gay” apparel), “Santa Baby” (it has been denounced for “slut shaming”), and “White Christmas” (perceived as being racist). One publishing company even re-issued their own redacted version of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem “Twas the night before Christmas” in order to be more health conscious: the company edited out Moore’s mention of Santa smoking a pipe (“The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, / And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.”) (Read more.)

What Happened to France’s Monarchy?

In case anyone was wondering. From Royal Central:
The Revolution’s goal was to abolish the absolute monarchy (called the Ancien Régime), but the Assembly was split on whether France should become a constitutional monarchy or a republic. Ultimately, they settled on a constitutional monarchy with the King only having a representative role. The writing of the First Constitution in 1791, and it stated that there would be one Assembly and that the King would only have a suspensive veto. However, a lot of people were still angry that the King had attempted to flee and raised the point that since he had been suspended from his powers after being arrested in Varennes. He was now deposed and shouldn’t be the King of the new constitutional monarchy. However, despite huge protests, the First Constitution was signed on 3 September 1791, and the National Assembly gave way to the new Legislative Assembly that would share power with the King.
While it seemed like this was the end of the troubles for King Louis XVI and the monarchy, things only got worse from there when foreign monarchies got involved at a time when the French people were trying to assert their sovereignty. It had already started in August 1791 when the King’s brother-in-law, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, King Frederick William II of Prussia, and the King’s brother, Charles-Philippe, Comte d’Artois, issued the Declaration of Pillnitz, declaring their intention to bring the French king in the position “to consolidate the basis of a monarchical government” and that they were preparing their own troops for action. (Read more.)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A New York Apartment

Ask any New York interiors insider to define the city’s style, and the answer is likely to vacillate somewhere between uptown elegance and downtown cool. But in one Gramercy Park townhouse apartment, Neal Beckstedt managed to blend the best of both worlds, uniting competing elements with an aesthetic that could best be described as Manhattan by way of Paris. “There’s an eclecticism about French design that is so attractive,” the designer says, noting the home’s varied influences and Gallic-feeling bones. “We wanted to convey this sense of internationalism while keeping the design rooted in New York.”
It helps that his clients were a young French couple with impeccable taste. “They’re very cultured and worldly and beyond chic, so the apartment is a reflection of them,” Beckstedt says. Riffing on their fashion-forward cues, he transformed the fourth-level space, refinishing the original parquet flooring, adding molding—“Wall paneling was a recurring theme,” he says—and heightening thresholds at the entrances of each room to impart an airy atmosphere of grandness. Furnishings and décor also hew to the concept, from the Empire-style chandelier that hangs above the dining table to the billowing tasseled drapery in the living room to the embroidered Louis XVI fauteuils in the library. In the newly configured master bedroom, a gilded trifold mirror with faux-mullioned panes conceals the new marble bath and De Gournay–covered study while oozing Old World charm—a look that continues in the adjoining solarium, where vintage fabrics that the couple found on a trip to Morocco appear on the throw pillows. “I consider myself a modernist, but I love craftsmanship, whether it’s from the 16th century or from today,” Beckstedt says. (Read more.)

“Planned Parenthood is Modern-Day Eugenics”

From LifeNews:
Last month Cannon said the plan permit abortion business is perpetrating a genocide against black people because the targets black communities with abortion clinics. Asked today to elaborate on those comments, Cannon doubled down and said that Planned Parenthood is modern day Eugenics for the black community.
In the video, Cannon is navigating through Los Angeles International Airport while answering questions from the SplashNewsOnline videographer about the nation’s largest abortion provider. After answering questions about his baby on the way with former girlfriend Brittany Bell, Cannon was asked to clarify a comment he made about Planned Parenthood being a “real genocide” during an interview with the New York City radio show “The Breakfast Club” two weeks ago. “Yeah, (Planned Parenthood is) modern-day eugenics,” Cannon says.
“Can’t elaborate anymore?” the videographer asks. “It’s an important topic.”
“Yeah,” Cannon responds. “It’s population control.”
(Read more.)

The Vikings in Paris

From Ancient History:
Throughout the 9th century CE, Viking raids on the region of Francia (roughly modern-day France) increased in frequency, destabilizing the region, and terrorizing the populace. The raids seem to have been inspired by the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne in 814 CE or, at least, correlated with it. Charlemagne (king of the Franks, 768-814 CE; Holy Roman Emperor, 800-814 CE) had led numerous military campaigns on Saxony during the Saxon Wars (722-804 CE), slaughtering thousands, and seemed invincible in battle. The Saxons appealed to the Danes for help and Denmark did what it could.

As long as Charlemagne lived, however, they had little hope of success but after his death there was no real challenge to Danish incursions. The first Viking raid to strike Francia via the Seine came in 820 CE and more would follow, the most dramatic being the Siege of Paris in 845 CE and 885-886 CE. The first of these, in which the Norse chieftain Reginherus (one of the possible inspirations for the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok) was paid handsomely by Charles the Bald (r. 843-877 CE) to leave the city, encouraged more; the second, after which the Viking Chieftain Rollo (l. c. 830 - c. 930 CE) remained in the land to raid the countryside, resulted in the Treaty of Saint Clair sur Epte in 911 CE, granting Rollo the land which would become Normandy (land of the Norsemen) in exchange for his protection against any future Viking raids. After 911 CE, although Viking bands still made incursions into West Francia, Rollo protected Paris and the surrounding area as he had promised and the Viking raids on Paris and its environs ended. (Read more.)

More on the Vikings, HERE. Share

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gertrude Jekyll

From The English Garden:
Few of us could ever hope to match the prodigious output of Gertrude Jekyll. The pioneering plantswoman, garden designer and writer used signature colour and herbaceous borders to define country-house style in properties in the UK and US. Gertrude Jekyll took influence from her Arts and Crafts contemporaries, William Morris and John Ruskin, and her association with William Robinson and Edwin Lutyens. Her gardens, typically exuberant and emboldened by deft use of colour, embody the words inscribed on her Munstead Wood gravestone designed by Lutyens: artist, gardener, craftswoman. (Read more.)


First American Martyr?

May our sister in Christ someday be raised to the honors of the altar for her heroic resistance to an enemy of Christ. Let is keep in mind that the two women who were assaulted are also innocent. Being raped at gunpoint for being a Christian is also a form of martyrdom. But the lady who chose to die rather than submit was given a charismatic gift for the glory of God. From Life Site:
To the great honor of this nation which stands under the heavenly patronage of the Immaculata, there are now a good number of Saints and Blesseds who have been born in and/or worked in the U.S.A. However, only one native-born U.S. citizen has so far been raised to the altars of the Church wearing the glorious Martyr’s crown: Blessed Stanley Rother, a La Salette missionary priest from Oklahoma who was murdered in 1981 by a death squad while ministering to the poor in Guatemala. (The heroic North American Martyrs, of course, were missionaries born in France and shed their blood for the faith well over a century before the United States came into existence.) However, no American woman or lay person – and no U.S. citizen at all who died on this nation’s soil – has so far been honored by the Church as a martyr.

That may well change in the near future, as the unplanned result of a horrific, coldly planned and unprovoked crime that took place last week, less than half an hour’s drive from my church in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.  The local community — Catholic and non-Catholic — has reacted with abhorrence, and indeed, St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar said it was “among the most heinous crimes” he had seen in his 32 years in law enforcement — an atrocity that “shocked the senses.” Yet the ways of Divine Providence are strange: as we have seen so many times throughout history, God can bring great good out of evil, even in one overwhelming instant. However, as I write, most St. Louis area Catholics are perhaps still too numb with shock to have noticed the rays of spiritual light that are emerging from this seeming black hole.

So what happened? During mid-afternoon last Monday, November 19, 2018, all seemed quiet in the Manchester Road branch of St. Louis’ main religious goods vendor, Catholic Supply. A stocky, middle-aged man walked in and noted that only three people were in the store — all women. Two were store workers, one fiftyish, the other in her twenties, and the third was a customer who had just come in. After exchanging a few words, the man said he was going back to his car to get a credit card and would be right back to make a purchase. But when he re-entered, it was not a card, but a revolver that he had in his hand. He immediately herded the three terrified women back into a secluded corner of the store, and insisted that they submit to acts of sexual abuse.

Two of the distraught women complied at gunpoint with this brute’s demands. But then he came to his third victim, the would-be customer, who according to friends had probably come to purchase some materials for her Rosary-making apostolate. This was Jamie Schmidt, 53, a quiet mother of three who worked as a secretarial assistant at the St. Louis Community College in the western suburb of Wildwood, and was active in her parish church, St. Anthony of Padua at High Ridge in neighboring Jefferson County. There was nothing obviously extraordinary about this lady. But now she did something very extraordinary indeed. Having just been forced to witness in horror the sexual assault of the two women beside her, Mrs. Schmidt was ordered to submit to similar abuse.
But Mrs. Schmidt — shocked, defenseless, and with the barrel of a loaded gun pointed at her head — Just Said No.

With death staring her in the face, Jamie quietly refused to allow her purity, her personal dignity, and her marriage covenant to be outraged. She looked him straight in the eye and said, “In the name of God, I will not take my clothes off.” Enraged by this unexpected point-blank rejection of his demand, her assailant responded with a point-blank shot that felled her on the spot. The survivor who gave this testimony added that as Jamie lay there gravely wounded, she could be heard whispering the words of the Our Father. As soon as the man fled the store, a 911 call quickly brought an ambulance, and Jamie was sped to the nearest hospital. But she was pronounced dead later that evening; and again, according to one of her friends I spoke with at her funeral yesterday, the words of the Our Father were on the lips of this valiant woman at her dying breath. (Read more.)

Imperial Rites

Personally I do not think there is anything wrong with having a state funeral for a late president as it honors the dignity of an office which is fraught with more perils than privilege. There is nothing wrong with the state honoring a public servant. But the article makes some interesting points. Americans claim to hate monarchy and yet they long for its trappings. From the Cato Institute:
Writing in National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke decries the pharaonic spectacle of the modern presidential funeral. “Whether he was a great man or a poor one, George H. W. Bush was a public employee.” In order to honor his passing, Cooke asks, do we really need to shut down the stock market, postal service, and much of the nation’s capital for a national day of mourning? The whole business marks “another step toward the fetishization of an executive branch whose role is supposed to be more bureaucratic than spiritual.” I’m glad he said it first, but he’s absolutely right.

 Our first president, ever conscious of the precedents he could set, didn’t want an elaborate state funeral. “It is my express desire that my Corpse may be Interred in a private manner, without parade, or funeral Oration,” Washington declared in his will. 

You’ve got to respect that—but, of course, we didn’t. Instead, “there was a massive public funeral at Mount Vernon,” Brady Carlson recounts in his 2016 book Dead Presidents, with a parade organized by Washington’s Masonic lodge, including “musicians, clergy, troops, and a riderless horse, a military tradition reportedly dating back to the age of Genghis Khan”—along with funeral orations by four ministers, topped off with “three general discharges of infantry, the cavalry, and eleven pieces of artillery, which lined the banks of the Potomac.”

The passing of the ninth U.S. president, William Henry Harrison, the first to die in office, set more precedents still. The interminable inaugural address that supposedly killed him featured Whiggish professions of deference to the legislature and the people–the president as a modest “accountable agent, not the principal; the servant, not the master.” Yet, according to the White House Historical Association, ‘the 30-day ceremonials surrounding the death of Harrison were modeled after royal funerals.” “There were bells, cannons, and funeral dirges,” Carlson writes, the White House was draped in black as “the late president and his casket rode in a black and white carriage pulled by six white horses, escorted by a pallbearer for each of the country’s twenty-six states and held up on a raised dais so the ten thousand people who turned up could see.” (Read more.)

On the Origins of Constantia

From WineMag:
It’s time to introduce Constantia, the vast farm awarded to Cape commander Simon van der Stel on 13 July 1685, the sub-divisions of which go on to produce (historically) the southern hemisphere’s most famous wine, legendary sweet Constantia, as sought after by the Who’s Who of the 18th and 19th centuries, from Prussian king Frederick the Great to American founding father George Washington, from Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to Napoleon. 
Back in 1685, the Deed of Grant for Constantia read as follows: 
‘Having taken into consideration the good and faithful services evinced by Simon van der Stel, Commander here under the Honourable Company, respecting agriculture, and in order to encourage more and more his so salutary zeal thereto, we hereby allow, grant and give to him in free and full property a certain piece of ground situated behind the Table Mountain at or near the Steenbergen.’ 
The grant was for 891 morgen (763 hectares), where ‘morgen’ referred to the amount of land that could be ploughed in a ‘morning’. Encompassing virtually the entire valley, it was about 15 times larger than the land typically granted to vrijburghers, whom it seems Van der Stel was determined to teach by example on his new model farm (even as he continued conducting winegrowing experiments and indeed living at Rustenburg in Rondebosch for a number of years). 
Before long he had planted 10,000 vines on the slopes of the Steenbergen (today called the Vlakkenberg), by all accounts including Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat d’Alexandrie, Semillon (‘groendruif’), Chenin Blanc (‘steen’), Palomino (‘white French’) and Pontac (the ‘blood red grape’ or Teinturier Male with its unusually dark flesh). In 1691, the year of his promotion to the rank of Governor, he built a fine house surrounded by gardens and orchards, and by 1692 his wine was attracting positive feedback from VOC headquarters in Batavia: ‘The wine from Constantia is of a much higher quality than any sent out so far, but obviously only obtainable in small quantities.’ 
In 1699, aged 60, Van der Stel retired to his farm as a ‘simple burgher’. Having been honoured with the VOC’s courtesy title of Councillor-Extraordinary, however, he continued to host important visitors at Constantia. In 1705, for example, Dutch minister and naturalist Francois Valentijn visited this ‘loveliest and largest estate of all the freemen at the Cape’ which (he said) produced ‘the choicest wine’. 
In his Description of the Cape of Good Hope with the Matters Concerning It (Amsterdam, 1726) Valentijn wrote: ‘It is certain that the old Heer van der Stel brought to his outstanding country estate many sorts of vine sticks from Germany and elsewhere, previously unknown here; also that until now there is no wine to be compared to the red Constantia wine… Here alone is found the choice blue grape which produces the lovely red Constantia wine (which need not yield place in strength and charm to the best red Persian wine or to the Italian Lachryma Christi), and in addition this estate also has an exceptionally good, in fact the best, Steenwyn and Kristalwyn, so divine and enticing in taste, that only a truly fine palate would distinguish it from the best Tosca wine.’ (Read more.)

Friday, December 7, 2018

Napoleon’s Coronation

From Geri Walton:
Because there were so many attempts on Napoleon’s life, it was decided there needed to be an institution that would survive him, and, thus, the idea of a monarchy was re-born and Napoleon was proclaimed “Emperor of the French” by his hand-picked Senate, known as the Sénat conservator. The hereditary title was given him on 18 May 1804, and, in addition, a referendum was presented to French citizens to elevate Napoleon to Emperor and confirm the change. The results of the referendum were nearly unanimous because when announced of the 7 million called to participate, less than half abstained, over 3.5 million voters favored the change, and a mere 2,569 voted against it. (Read more.)

FBI Email Chain

From The Daily Wire:
A chain of emails between FBI officials regarding FISA applications obtained largely on the basis of the infamous Democrat-funded anti-Trump dossier may contain "the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)," The Hill's John Solomon reports. The evidence reportedly contained in the email chain relates to the dossier, compiled by former MI6 British intelligence operative Christopher Steele and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC, which contains salacious and — over two years later — still unverified claims about Trump's supposed connections to Russia. As more details about the process have come to light, it has become more clear that the partisan and highly suspect dossier was the key source of information FBI officials used to obtain the initial warrant to spy on Trump associate Carter Page. (Read more.)

A Rare English Medieval Altarpiece

Conservation work on one of a handful of English painted altarpieces that survived the fury of iconoclasm after the dissolution of monasteries by Henry VIII has uncovered not only the original glowing Medieval colour, but evidence of serial vandalism years after the faces of its seven elegant saints were gouged down to the bare wood. 
The Battel Hall retable is owned by the Leeds Castle Foundation in Kent and named for the Medieval house on the estate where its existence was first recorded in 1863, but most of its 600-year history is a mystery. The graffiti may have been added by schoolchildren, and include Latin and Greek words and astronomical and geometrical diagrams, as well as compass-drawn circles interpreted as “witchmarks” to protect against evil spirits. (Read more.)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Diva Treva Soapworks

 Definitely a place to visit in Abingdon, Virginia. From the blog of actress, photographer and writer Sarah Laughland, my little sister:
Connecting with someone after having only talked for a few minutes doesn’t happen everyday. Treva Watson shares herself with you, her trials and her triumphs, and pours her heart and soul into the molds that form her gloriously transcending soaps and candles. Hard-working, determined, partnered with love, hope and prayer by her side, she’s created Diva Treva Soapworks & the newer Bohicket Apothecary, always drawing customers back for more. Soaps, candles, lotions, deodorants, bath bombs, laundry detergent, lip balm, skincare products, and more…

I’ve began repeating a mantra lately, “every second of my life has led up to this moment”. Intense as it sounds, I mean that everything before today has lead us to where we are now. Some creative impulses or business endeavors take years to discover, with obligation and resistance taking the front seat. But for those who continue listening to the creative voice inside, there’s bound to be fruit. For Treva, she’s loved candles and the power of scent for as long as she can remember and finally decided that she’d like to try her hand at creating scents and colors to match her creative inner being. We each possess our own unique way to communicate and the power of smell is Treva’s. I would definitely say that it’s a gift to all of us.

Our hippie souls connected this warm summer afternoon (yes, twas a while ago), sitting on Treva’s couch as she recounted her journey. Her house smells divine, by the way, with various stations of operation. Both basement and garage are scent factories, detailed with machinery, some newer and some old school, bottles, bags, and baskets. My personal go-to items that Treva has created? “Honeysuckle Patchouli” lotion, “Vetiver” & “Hippie Chick” candles, and her “Lavender” and “Barnwood” laundry detergents. OH, her laundry detergents are divine. (Read more.)


Death of the WASP Elite

Personally, I do not care about background, gender and, least of all, skin color. I care about competency. From The New Republic:
Douthat’s article makes little sense as history. It’s true that the American elite is slightly more diverse than it was when George H. W. Bush went to Yale in the 1940s, but that change has only been at the margins. Bush’s own career (the son of Senator who became both president and the father of another president) shows that WASP power is alive and well. Members of the Bush family still occupy positions of power, as detailed in coverage of their patriarch’s funeral
The term WASP—standing for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant—is a bit anachronistic, since white Catholics are now very assimilated into white culture. If we recognize that white Catholics are now equal partners in WASP culture, then America remains a land overwhelming ruled by WASPs. (Read more.)

Sixteenth-century Christian Japanese Painting

From NHK:
A religious painting believed to have been made by a Japanese Christian about 400 years ago has been discovered near Tokyo. The painting was found at a memorial museum in Oiso Town in Kanagawa Prefecture. The facility is known for its collection of historical items related to Japanese Christians. Officials of a history museum and experts examined the painting. They say it was done with China ink on a hand scroll measuring 22 centimeters wide by 3 meters long and made of Japanese "washi" paper. The work depicts 15 scenes relating to Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, including the Annunciation and the Pentecost. The painting also bears some writing. An analysis shows it is Latin prayers that someone transcribed from a verbal form. The words "the year of 1592" appear at the end of the scroll. Experts say it is highly likely that the painting was made in that year, as their analysis of the paper shows that it was made between the late 16th and the early 17th centuries. Christianity came to Japan 40 years before that year. The experts say they believe that Japanese Christians of the time reproduced Western religious paintings for use in their prayers. The experts say this is the first discovery of a religious painting done in the Japanese traditional style. (Read more.)