Saturday, June 23, 2018

La Reine Morte (2009)

as the King of Portugal with as his daughter-in-law, Inês de Castro
The Murder of Inês de Castro
Prime Video offers many foreign dramas including La Reine Morte (2009), based upon the play by Henry de Montherlant about the doomed marriage of the future Pedro I of Portugal with Inês de Castro. As heir to the throne of Portugal, Prince Pedro must marry for reasons of state, but has already secretly married his lover Inês, a Spanish lady of illegitimate birth. When Pedro's father the King discovers his son's disobedience, his long-standing grudge against the young man is enflamed, and he becomes obsessed with destroying the couple. As the pair try to live in the present, relishing their time together, they know at any moment they might be separated; Inês prepares to give her life. Meanwhile, even though the King struggles with his conscience he gives in to evil advisors and decides to have Inês assassinated.

The fourteenth century Portuguese court is recreated thanks to authentic sets and costumes and gifted actors. Although the story-line veers from historical fact into fiction and legend, the film nevertheless does a masterful job at encapsulating the poignance and calamity of the union of Pedro and Inês. The lovers' joy in each other provokes jealousy, enmity and bitterness which in the film are shown as being motives behind the murder as well as the alleged political expediency. The final scene, in which Pedro, after becoming King, orders Inês' corpse to be exhumed and enthroned before the nobles, is breathtaking even as the heart breaks.

The real story is no less tragic. According to the Algarve History Association:
It is rare in Portugal to find a Castilian held in high historical regard, but so it is with Inês Peres de Castro e Valadares. In fact she was descended from noble Portuguese and Galician lines as well as illegitimately from the Castilian royal house. Every Portuguese schoolchild knows her story, and every visitor to the monastery at Alcobaça must have visited her magnificently carved tomb opposite the nearly identical tomb of her royal lover Don Pedro I, placed so that when they arise at the day of judgment, they may see each other first of all.

Inês de Castro arrived in Portugal in 1339 as a lady in waiting to Infanta Constanza of Castile, bride of Don Pedro, heir to the throne of Portugal. The Infanta Constanza bore three children, one of whom was Don Fernando, future king of Portugal. Dona Constanza died in November 1345, shortly after the birth of Don Fernando.

When Dona Inês arrived in Portugal, she was only 15 years old, and Don Pedro was immediately struck by a coup de foudre. What a situation, to be married to Constanza, and to be head-over-heels in love with one of her ladies in waiting. The solution was to carry on a secret adulterous love affair with Inês which became open after the death of Constanza. His father, Don Afonso IV King of Portugal, became alarmed at the behaviour of his son and heir, not because of the affair, but because Don Pedro began friendly relations with the brothers of Inês, who were also of course Castilian. Don Afonso feared for the independence of his country after his own death, and warned Don Pedro time and again to break off these relationships, but without success.

In 1344, Don Afonso ordered that Inês be incarcerated in the castle of Albuquerque on the Castilian frontier. Absence, they say, makes the heart grow fonder, and so it proved in this case. After the death of Constanza, Don Pedro recalled Inês against the will of his father the King, which led to a major disagreement between them. Don Pedro rejected a plan for another marriage to another Castilian princess, saying that he mourned for his dead wife. In the meantime, Inês bore four of his children, including two boys. Rumours began to circulate that the Castro family planned to disinherit Don Fernando the true heir to the throne in favour of the children of Inês. Amid rumours that Don Pedro and Inês had secretly married, and were living in the Convento de Stª Clara-a-Velha in Coimbra, Portuguese nobles pressed the king to resolve the issue. One morning in January, 1355 while Don Pedro was out hunting, the king and three assassins visited the Convento, and performed the dastardly deed. She was 29 years old.

The devastated Don Pedro began a civil war against his father, and upon ascending the throne in 1357, declared that he and Inês had been married in Bragança (on a date which he did not remember) so legitimising Inês´ children. Two of the assassins were executed by having their hearts torn out in front of the king. The third escaped. There is a legend that when he became king in 1357, Don Pedro exhumed the corpse of Inês and forced all of his court to kiss her hand as though she were a living queen. (Read more.)
Whether the enthronement story is true or not, King Pedro loved Inês until he died. On his tomb he had the following words inscribed: Até o fim do mundo...("Until the end of the world..."). And so, even now, they await the final resurrection together.
The Murder of Inês de Castro
The Enthronement of Inês de Castro
Pedro and Inês: "Until the end of the world..."


Trump’s Critics Desecrate the Holocaust

Trump's critics obscenely invoke the Nazis every time there is anything they do not like. It is dishonoring the victims of the Nazis to do so. Such stupidity is almost criminal. What is described in the article is only the tip of the iceberg of heinous ways that the Nazis killed millions of people. From The Wall Street Journal:
Almost everyone, including President Trump, agrees that separating alien children from their parents and housing them in detention centers was an untenable policy that needed to be changed. Some have said, not without justification, that the images were reminiscent of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

But another comparison is indefensible. “Other governments have separated mothers and children,” tweeted Michael Hayden, who directed the Central Intelligence Agency under George W. Bush —with a photo of railroad tracks leading into the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. “Children are being marched away to showers,” said MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, “just like the Nazis said that they were taking people to the showers and then they never came back.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said in a television interview: “This is the United States of America. It isn’t Nazi Germany, and there’s a difference.”

Mrs. Feinstein is right. There is no comparison.

Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe were rounded up and packed into cattle cars, with little air or light, no food and virtually no water, for a harrowing two- to three-day trip to Auschwitz. They rode in terror and anticipation, having no idea what was in store for them at the destination. Exhausted and scared, they frequently had to stand for the entire trip. Mothers clutched sons; daughters held on to fathers; children gripped both parents’ hands; grandparents and the infirm struggled to stay alive. Many didn’t survive the journey.

When the trains arrived at Auschwitz, it was a scene of chaos, confusion and horror. After days trapped in darkened cattle cars, squinting into bright floodlights lining the tracks was almost unbearable. So was the stench, like nothing the captives had ever smelled before. They didn’t know it at the time, but it was the odor of burning human flesh and hair.

Outside, they heard all kinds of noises: German shepherds and Doberman pinschers barking loudly, and commands in German most of them couldn’t understand. When they stumbled out of the cattle cars, disoriented and anxious, timidly asking questions, the German shouted back, “Raus, raus, raus!” (“Out, out, out!”). In the distance, the prisoners saw a skyline of chimneys, with bright orange plumes of flame shooting into the clouds. They didn’t know that most of them would be ash within hours.

The SS separated the healthy males, slating them for work details while everyone else was taken to the gas chambers. Invariably, mothers wanted to stay with their children. The SS would say, “good, good, stay with child.” Under a rain of baton blows, women, children and old men were marched into “changing rooms” and told to undress. The Germans told the prisoners that they were going to be “disinfected.” Then they tightly wedged some 2,000 people at a time into the chambers, where they saw what looked like shower heads.

The massive airtight doors were locked with an iron bolt. It was dark. Zyklon B was released, and the screaming began. The prisoners huddled together, screamed together, gasped for air together. While children violently hugged their parents, hundreds of people tried to push their way to the door, trampling children in the process. In the dark, skulls were crushed and hundreds of people were battered beyond recognition. The bloodcurdling screams turned into a death rattle, then a gasp. Within 20 minutes, the job was done.

The bodies lay in heaps, every one of them dead—as many people as were cut down in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg; two-thirds of the 9/11 death toll. The bodies were then burned, the ashes used as filler for German roads and walking paths. Within hours, the Nazis would repeat the process, extinguishing another 2,000 human lives.

As for the prisoners who were selected to work in the camps, the Germans stripped them of their identities, referring to them instead by numbers tattooed on their forearms. Prisoners were forced to stand half-naked, doused with buckets of ice-cold water, or lashed 50 times with a whip. They were awakened at 4 a.m., forced to do backbreaking work for 12 hours with virtually no rest or food. They slept almost naked, with no blankets in temperatures often below freezing in the winter. Most died within weeks of arriving at the camp. Between the gas chamber and the work detail, more than a million people were murdered this way at Auschwitz. (Read more.)
Meanwhile, the press manipulates the emotions of the populace, HERE. Share

The Secret to Longevity

From McGill:
You are what you eat. Or so the saying goes. Science now tells us that we are what the bacteria living in our intestinal tract eat and this could have an influence on how well we age. Building on this, McGill University scientists fed fruit flies with a combination of probiotics and an herbal supplement called Triphala that was able to prolong the flies’ longevity by 60 % and protect them against chronic diseases associated with aging.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, adds to a growing body of evidence of the influence that gut bacteria can have on health. The researchers incorporated a symbiotic – made of probiotics with a polyphenol-rich supplement – into the diet of fruit flies. The flies fed with the synbiotic lived up to 66 days old – 26 days more than the ones without the supplement. They also showed reduced traits of aging, such as mounting insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress. 

“Probiotics dramatically change the architecture of the gut microbiota, not only in its composition but also in respect to how the foods that we eat are metabolized,” says Satya Prakash, professor of biomedical engineering in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and senior author of the study. “This allows a single probiotic formulation to simultaneously act on several biochemical signaling pathways to elicit broad beneficial physiological effects, and explains why the single formulation we present in this paper has such a dramatic effect on so many different markers”. The fruit fly is remarkably similar to mammals with about 70 % similarity in terms of their biochemical pathways, making it a good indicator of what would happen in humans, adds Prakash. (Read more.)

Friday, June 22, 2018

Katherine of Aragon's Speech Before the Legatine Court

Queen Katherine pleads with her husband. To quote:
Sir, I beseech you for all the love that hath been between us, and for the love of God, let me have justice. Take of me some pity and compassion, for I am a poor woman, and a stranger born out of your dominion. I have here no assured friends, and much less impartial counsel…
Alas! Sir, wherein have I offended you, or what occasion of displeasure have I deserved?… I have been to you a true, humble and obedient wife, ever comfortable to your will and pleasure, that never said or did any thing to the contrary thereof, being always well pleased and contented with all things wherein you had any delight or dalliance, whether it were in little or much. I never grudged in word or countenance, or showed a visage or spark of discontent. I loved all those whom ye loved, only for your sake, whether I had cause or no, and whether they were my friends or enemies. This twenty years or more I have been your true wife and by me ye have had divers children, although it hath pleased God to call them out of this world, which hath been no default in me…
When ye had me at first, I take God to my judge, I was a true maid, without touch of man. And whether it be true or no, I put it to your conscience. If there be any just cause by the law that ye can allege against me either of dishonesty or any other impediment to banish and put me from you, I am well content to depart to my great shame and dishonour. And if there be none, then here, I most lowly beseech you, let me remain in my former estate… Therefore, I most humbly require you, in the way of charity and for the love of God – who is the just judge – to spare me the extremity of this new court, until I may be advised what way and order my friends in Spain will advise me to take. And if ye will not extend to me so much impartial favour, your pleasure then be fulfilled, and to God I commit my cause! (Read more.)

Meanwhile, in Bulgaria....

From Balkan Insight:
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose country holds the EU presidency, has intervened in the acrimonious debate on migration by saying the EU must "close its borders" to those who do not use authorised checkpoints. Borissov made the call to the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union, COSAC – a joint conference of MEPS and MPs from the EU parliaments – on Monday in Sofia. “Bulgaria made it through [the refugee crisis]; without much talking, without much complaining, we secured our border with Turkey with fences and additional police and coastguards. This is why I will recommend a compromise to the European Council – prevention, including the shutdown of all EU borders,” he said.

As Sofia’s stint as head of the EU Council of Ministers enters its last days, the Bulgarian leader notably toughened his stance on migration and border issues. “Everybody who wants to enter [the EU] should make it through a border checkpoint. This is something that is done in the US, in Canada, anywhere! Why should Europe be a 'yard without a fence?'" Borissov said on Tuesday, using a Bulgarian expression for someone who cannnot control who enters and exits their land.

Borissov added that migrants who are open to integration should be integrated, while the others should be sent back to their home countries. If this does not happen, the EU risks more internal divisions, he warned. His words will echo with a recent statement of the head of the government of the next country that will take over the presidency of the EU. (Read more.)

The Great Stink

From Number One London:
The Great Stink actually took place in 1858, but of course London had been stinking for centuries prior. In the first half of the 19th Century, London’s population was 2.5 million, all of whom ultimately discharged their waste directly onto the streets or into the Thames.  Besides people, there were hundreds of thousands of horses, cows, dogs, cats, sheep, etc. adding their daily contributions to the waste problem. John Cadbury, social reformer and candy company founder, wrote:  “Foul odors emanated from more than 200,000 cesspools across London, in alleyways, yards, even the basements of houses. It was not a smell that could be easily washed away.”

Most homes and businesses were built above cesspits, designed to drain to the street by means of a crudely built culvert to a partially open sewer trench in the center of the street. The design was faulty, to say the least. Cesspits often overflowed and waste soaked foundations, walls and floors of living quarters. Culverts typically became blocked and caused sewage to spread under buildings and contaminate shallow wells, cisterns and water ways from which drinking water was drawn. In October 1660, Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary: “Going down to my cellar…I put my feet into a great heap of turds, by which I find that Mr. Turner’s house of office is full and comes into my cellar.

While causing disgust in Pepys and thousands of other Londoners, cesspits gave work to a portion of the population who included night soil men and saltpetre men. Saltpetre is another name for potassium nitrate, an essential ingredient in the manufacture of gunpowder. It was typically generated by collecting vegetable and animal waste into heaps and mixing it with limestone, mortar, earth and ashes. These heaps were kept moist from time to time with urine or other waste from stables. Digging for ingredients in outbuildings such as dovecotes and stables provided adequate supplies of gunpowder for the navy. Beginning during the reign of Elizabeth I, official saltpetre men were given powers to requisition any suitable deposits they came across. In 1621 James I appointed Lords of the Admiralty as Commissioners for Saltpetre and Gunpowder. They divided the country into districts for collection, and specialised saltpetre men were appointed and given weekly quotas to meet. They were also awarded powers with the right to enter premises to dig for nitrogenous earth. (Read more.)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Solstice

The longest day has arrived. Here are some pictures of sunsets and sunrises.


Trump and the Invasion of the West

As the Trump administration tries to fix a mess created by bad laws passed during previous administrations, we remember that maintaining a border is the right of every country, along with the duty to protect its citizens. It is a matter of the rule of law. My mother and grandmother are Hispanic; three of my grandparents and both of my parents were legal immigrants. They made sacrifices in order to obey the law and become citizens through the proper channels.

The migrant crisis is fraught with complications which add to the suffering of the innocent. What about all the children who arrived without parents? From Big League Politics:
 Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen revealed Monday that 10,000 of the 12,000 children detained at the border came to the border without parents with him, smacking down the mainstream media narrative that the Trump administration is tearing many families apart out of callous disregard for illegal immigrants. The illegal immigrant child-detention program that was criticized during the Obama administration is a policy that President Donald Trump is trying to end, pressuring Democrats to get on board with an immigration bill that funds his Wall and creates merit-based immigration among other policy planks. (Read more.)
The border patrol agents, whom the liberal media are comparing to Nazis, are trying to protect the children from human trafficking:
San Diego’s chief Border Patrol agent Rodney Scott said Monday that the Border Patrol separates children from the adults they are with if there are concerns that the kids are being human-trafficked. Scott revealed that oftentimes traffickers “recycle” children in order to get illegal alien grown-ups over the Southern border into the United States. “OOPS! A media outlet slipped & printed the truth today!,” Ann Coulter declared, showing people that the media is not being forthright and truthful when reporting on the supposed border separation program. (Read more.)
And from ICE:
The Washington Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), in collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Operation Predator, participated in Operation Broken Heart from March 1 through May 31. The operation identified individuals using peer-to-peer networks to share child pornography. During the operation, the Washington ICAC Task Force conducted 51 investigations involving peer-to-peer networks and made 47 arrests. HSI, as part of the task force, conducted 11 search and seizure warrants; made six federal arrests, four state arrests, and one state arrest pending military charges; and identified/rescued one minor victim. The Washington ICAC Task Force also made 67 presentations to educate the public about child exploitation investigations, reaching nearly 4,000 people. (Read more.)
Although President Trump is resolved to keep families together, the isssues at the border remain formidable. From Breitbart:
President Donald Trump reminded critics of his tough immigration policy on Monday that criminals were using children to cross the Southern border. “Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country,” Trump wrote on Twitter. (Read more.)
 Also from Breitbart:
Border Patrol agents rescued a woman traveling with three children not her own after they became stranded in the middle of the Rio Grande River border with Mexico. Officials told Breitbart Texas the children traveling with the woman were unaccompanied minors. The woman was also crossing with another and her two children. Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents battled strong currents and high water to rescue seven illegal immigrants left stranded in the middle of the Rio Grande River, Breitbart Texas reported. Agents assigned to the Eagle Pass Border Patrol station came across a group of illegal immigrants on June 12 who were abandoned on a small island in the middle of the Rio Grande River border with Mexico. They found two adults and five juveniles who became stranded, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Border Patrol officials indicated the two women put the minors in dangerous conditions while attempting to cross the border illegally. “The individuals were trying to cross and make their way into the United States,” officials said in a written statement. “However, unusually swift and strong currents proved too much for the group.” Officials did not say if the group was traveling with a human smuggler at the time. (Read more.)
From The Hill:
 As House Republicans prepare to meet Thursday to discuss various options on immigration reform, they should remember one of the things that makes America such an attractive place for immigrants from all over the world, which is our dedication to the rule of law, and the shared commitment to the belief that what makes the rule of law work is our determination to apply the law equally, without fear or favor. Seen in that light, it is odd, to say the least, that some Republicans in Congress would “solve” the “immigration problem” by advocating for “solutions” that take our current failure to enforce the laws on the books and, instead of reversing course and enforcing them, find ways to change the law to legalize breaking of the law. (Read more.)
From PJB:
Consider. Since 2016, some 110,000 children have entered the U.S. illegally and been released, along with 200,000 Central American families caught sneaking across the border. Reflecting its frustration, the White House press office declared: "We can't deport them, we can't separate them, we can't detain them, we can't prosecute them. What (the Democrats) want is a radical open-border policy that lets everyone out into the interior of this country with virtually no documentation whatsoever." Where many Americans see illegal intruders, Democrats see future voters. And with 11,000 kids of illegal immigrants in custody and 250 more arriving every day, we could have 30,000 in custody by summer's end. (Read more.)

Jane Austen and the Mysteries of Udolpho

From Regency History:
Catherine Morland, the heroine of Northanger Abbey, is painted as a very ordinary girl, with a very ordinary life, who has read rather a large number of novels. She becomes totally engrossed in The Mysteries of Udolpho and eagerly discusses it with her friend, Isabella Thorpe:
“But, my dearest Catherine, what have you been doing with yourself all this morning? Have you gone on with Udolpho?”
“Yes, I have been reading it ever since I woke; and I am got to the black veil.”
“Are you, indeed? How delightful! Oh! I would not tell you what is behind the black veil for the world! Are you not wild to know?”
“Oh! Yes, quite; what can it be? – But do not tell me – I would not be told upon any account. I know it must be a skeleton, I am sure it is Laurentina’s skeleton. Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it, I assure you; if it had not been to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world.” (1)
There are times when the book grips Catherine’s imagination so much that it seems more exciting than reality:
“I do not pretend to say that I was not very much pleased with him; but while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if nobody could make me miserable. Oh! the dreadful black veil! My dear Isabella, I am sure there must be Laurentina’s skeleton behind it.” (1)
If you want to find out what was behind the black veil, scan to the end of my plot summary of The Mysteries of Udolpho. (Read more.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Real Marie-Antoinette

HERE is a conversation I had with author Genevieve Kineke about the book Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars. Share

Three-Parent Babies

From Through Catholic Lenses:
First of all, three-parent children involve procreation outside of a loving marital act which is the moral way to make babies. Every baby deserves to be the fruit of an act of parental love. Second, this inevitably kills half the babies created while they are still one-day-old embryos and puts other embryos at high risk of death.

 Also, children have a right to know their parents. Any use of donor eggs means that someone they don’t know is a parent. Children also have a right to two parents but this procedure makes them the product of three parents. However, there is a new issue regarding modifying genes in heritable ways. We all inherit our mother’s mitochondrial DNA so mixing it with different nuclear DNA creates a range of issues. Will it create health issues down the road? What will the result be a few generations down the road from the passing on of this combination of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA? (Read more.)

Norbert McAuliffe

From Aleteia:
On May 19, Pope Francis issued a decree that recognized the heroic virtues of Br. Norbert McAuliffe, an American missionary in Africa. This declaration is a vital part McAuliffe’s cause for canonization, granting him the title of “venerable,” the next step before being beatified. McAuliffe was born in 1886 in Manhattan, New York, and eventually joined the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a relatively new religious congregation at the time. The congregation was founded by in 1821 by Fr. André Coindre in France and by the time of his death was beginning to spread around the world. According to their website, “Father Coindre had envisioned a community of brothers trained to work with the poor through the establishment of schools.” Furthermore, their Rule of Life explains, “Our love for our brothers and the young people in our care radiates from the love Jesus has for us. Our dedication to others, marked by respect, kindness, and concern, will be a sign to them of the compassion of Christ.”

The congregation is primarily made up of religious brothers, with only a few members being ordained priests. Initially McAuliffe served as a director of their house in Metuchen, New Jersey, for about six years before being sent as a missionary to Africa. He was sent to Gulu, Uganda, where he established the congregation’s first mission there. The country at the time was under British rule and the people were receptive to McAuliffe’s missionary activities. He remained there for 20 years until his death on July 3, 1959 at the age of 72. (Read more.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The King's Touch

I knew the French and English monarchs prayed over those afflicted with scrofula but I did not know it was done in Scotland. When Charles I was crowned King of Scots in June, 1633, he continued the ancient ceremony. From The Scotsman:
Charles had already been crown by the English in 1626, this was the first coronation in Scotland since that of King James VI in 1567, and more notably, the first time an adult had been crowned as our monarch since that of James IV in 1458, who was 15, not an adult? Okay let’s go further back to King James I, he was 30, happy now? The abbey of Scone, traditional place of coronations up to 1424, had been destroyed, and for this occasion the ceremonial was located in the remains of Holyrood abbey, which had seen the coronation of King James II in 1437.

All that remained of the abbey was the nave, the remainder of the church having been demolished in 1570, and the structure was now restored for the occasion. Charles was baptised in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood Palace in 1600 by David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, and created Duke of Albany, the traditional title of the second son of the King of Scotland.


While researching this I found an article about Charles and the “laying on of hands” a ceremony he performed while at Holyrood, a practice said to have been performed by all the Stewart monarchs but discontinued by the Hanoverian’s. Bonnie Prince Charlie though is said to have performed it during the 45. (Read more.) 
This is of particular interest to me since Louis XVI was a direct descendant of Charles I. King Louis treasured the ancient healing ceremony and celebrated it several times a year, not just at his coronation, as described in my book. Share

#MeToo for Every Woman

From Vatican News:
“Dear Asia, Meryl, Sharon, Uma, and all of you who have called the world’s attention to the scandal of the violence endured by women in the West”. So begins the appeal, an open letter written by the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need. It appeared as a one-page, full color ad in a recent Italian edition of Vanity Fair. The letter goes on to say that thanks to the #MeToo initiative backed by these four celebrities, public opinion has been sensitized regarding the horror of rape, and other forms of sexual assault endured by women. The Pontifical Foundation then states that they have been helping persecuted Christians in every corner of the globe for over 70 years. In addition, the letter says, they “denounce the violation of the freedom of whatever faith”.

“We would like to introduce Rebecca, Dalal, and Sr Meena”....These are three of the faces of women who are persecuted because of their religious persuasion. Behind these faces tens of thousands of others remain hidden. “They are persecuted and assaulted without every receiving the slightest solidarity or visibility through social media or through other news outlets.”


Rebecca is a 28-year-old Christian who lives in Nigeria and was kidnapped by Boko Haram. “…they raped me, held me prisoner for 2 years. They killed one of my children and sold me as a slave…”.


Dala is now 21 years old and lives in Iraq. She experienced violence at the hands of Isis. “…I was 17 years old when I was kidnapped and sold as a sex slave to 9 different men within 9 months. My mother and sister are still being held prisoners by Isis”. (Read more.)

Faith-Based Films at Cannes

From The Hollywood Reporter:
Have the French found God?

Given the crop of projects being shopped at the Cannes film market that features Christian-themed narratives — notably An Interview With God, Samson and God Bless the Broken Road — and with Wim Wenders’ doc Pope Francis: A Man of His Word playing as an official selection at the festival, there are signs that fare once ignored by international buyers and Cannes programmers is receiving a warm welcome.

In addition, the U.S. breakout I Can Only Imagine is heating up the market, with Lionsgate scooping up rights for China, a once unthinkable territory for a faith-based film. The project’s producer Cindy Bond is selling overseas territories through her Mission Pictures International and has landed deals here on the ground for the U.K. (The Lighthouse Alliance) and Poland (Kino Swiat) after selling the film pre-Cannes in Latin America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore, Australia/New Zealand, South Africa, Korea, Russia and the Middle East. She is now negotiating for Scandinavia and Benelux.

Though I Can Only Imagine is the highest-grossing 2018 indie in the U.S. — with an $82 million haul so far — it doesn’t appear to be an outlier. An Interview With God, which stars David Strathairn and Brenton Thwaites, also is finding traction with foreign buyers. Film Bridge International’s Ellen Wander, who is selling the feature, is in the process of closing deals for the U.K., Australia, the Philippines, Germany and Latin America. (Read more.)

Monday, June 18, 2018

A New York Palace

From The Daily Beast:
In December 1878, The New York Times reported that the Vanderbilt of our concern—Cornelius II—had acquired two brownstones on the 57th to 58th Street block of Fifth Avenue for $225,000. He had been talking about building a new mansion and it was correctly speculated that this was a sign that his next big project had begun.

In 1882, the new Vanderbilt mansion was complete. It was fabulous, if modestly in line with the grandeur of the other mansions of the area. The outside was a distinctive red brick and limestone and it had already begun to have all the trappings of a French chateau (think crenellations and battlements and chimneys).

Over the next decade, the house would host more than its fair share of socialites and important players from around the world. Alice entertained lavishly in her new home. There were reports of the overflowing audience at a performance by a young piano prodigy who “showed his usual impulsive appreciation” of the treasures and finery that he saw on a tour of the house given by the young Vanderbilt children. He “would have wandered through the large apartments all day without tiring had he not been obliged to carry out his part of the programme.”

There was breathless reporting on how Mrs. Vanderbilt had decorated her quarters with soft mood lighting and a vast array of exotic flowers draped around the stairway, woven up columns, decorating paintings, and displayed in “extensive and beautiful” floral arrangements in order to entertain a French delegation for a breakfast. And, of course, there were balls. For one soirée thrown for 250 guests in 1891, a tapestry was arranged to separate the vestibule where guests arrived from the main hallway. When each attendee was ready to make their entrance, the tapestry curtain would separate, and the honored guest would step through.

It was an impressive mansion where many visitors “oohed” and “ahed” over the decor and design. But when several different branches of your very rich family are all building their massive homes—or, rather, palaces—on the same street, you have to wonder, is yours impressive enough? The answer to that question for our Vanderbilts was a resounding “no.” Only seven years after they moved into their grand home, The New York Times was reporting that Vanderbilt had purchased two more brownstones on the same block so that he could expand the home that was “already a favorite for society people to visit.” He would eventually acquire and tear down five homes, and his mansion would end up stretching the entire city block.

According to the book Fortune’s Children written by a later Vanderbilt relative, it was “common belief that Alice Vanderbilt set out to dwarf her sister in law’s Fifth Avenue chateau, and dwarf it she did.” By early 1893, the renovations were in full swing. The Vanderbilts were eager for the expansion to be completed as quickly as possible, so they arranged for more than 600 workers to labor day and night on the site under the light of electric lightbulbs when necessary. The job was scheduled to be completed in 18 months, although Vanderbilt allowed a two-month extension. The talk of the town was all about the new mansion being built, but the Vanderbilts wanted to keep their plans a secret. So they erected a giant wall along Fifth Avenue to shield the progress of the workers from the prying eyes of passersby. Even with this privacy guard, it was clear a massive project was underway. In the end, two major walls of the home were completely removed to make way for the addition and the still-new interiors were gutted.

By the end of the year, the house was complete and the reveal was jaw-dropping. The New York Times weighed in with the judgement that “it is a structure that would command admiration in any land of palaces and castles grand, for in its design, its noble proportions, and its artistic finish it is, in reality, a palace.” (Read more.)


The Child Migrant Crisis

It's more complicated than the mainstream media is describing it. From The National Review:
The latest furor over Trump immigration policy involves the separation of children from parents at the border. As usual, the outrage obscures more than it illuminates, so it’s worth walking through what’s happening here. For the longest time, illegal immigration was driven by single males from Mexico. Over the last decade, the flow has shifted to women, children, and family units from Central America. This poses challenges we haven’t confronted before and has made what once were relatively minor wrinkles in the law loom very large.

The Trump administration isn’t changing the rules that pertain to separating an adult from the child. Those remain the same. Separation happens only if officials find that the adult is falsely claiming to be the child’s parent, or is a threat to the child, or is put into criminal proceedings. It’s the last that is operative here. The past practice had been to give a free pass to an adult who is part of a family unit. The new Trump policy is to prosecute all adults. The idea is to send a signal that we are serious about our laws and to create a deterrent against re-entry. (Illegal entry is a misdemeanor, illegal re-entry a felony.)

When a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. In no circumstance anywhere in the U.S. do the marshals care for the children of people they take into custody. The child is taken into the custody of HHS, who cares for them at temporary shelters. The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entity or another crime. The migrants generally plead guilty, and they are then sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day, although practices vary along the border. After this, they are returned to the custody of ICE.

If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children. (Read more.)

Children were held in cages under the Obama administration. From The Daily Caller:
 “It was kept very quiet under the Obama Administration. There were large numbers of people coming in. The Obama administration was trying to keep this quiet,” Cuellar told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield. Whitfield displayed a 2014 image of migrant children held in cages at a detention center, and Cuellar said that he released similar photos of children separated from their parents.

Cuellar added that the number of children being held at the border right now is similar to the amount during the Obama administration. “We still see the numbers,” he said, adding that “not all of them are being separated. Some of them are coming alone.”

“Keep in mind that under the law, you can separate a child if that person, the adult, is not the real parent or the custodian because sometimes we see situations where they’ll bring a child because they know of the policy that we have over here with children.” Cuellar scrutinized the zero-tolerance policy for separation, suggesting criminal adult immigrants have previously taken advantage of it. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, American citizens are separated from their children, without public outcry. From PJ Media:
 Americans are in an uproar about illegal immigrant parents and children separated at the border. The level of hysteria surrounding this topic has reached a fever pitch with senators like Chuck Schumer mugging distraught for the cameras at every opportunity. While the shrill voices shriek loudly about the rights of Mexicans and other assorted border jumpers, American parental rights are being stripped from them, unconstitutionally, every single day. (Chuck Schumer has yet to freak out about it on national television.) American parents have lost their due process and Fourth Amendment rights, and most of them don't even know it. Most anyone who has been visited by Child Protective Services can testify to the absolute terror that the state can inflict on a family for very little or no reason at all.
Right now in the state of Mississippi, Michael Chambers is missing his little girl, Belle. When Belle was around two years old her mother abandoned her in the care of her grandmother. Chambers took custody of her after that. Lacking resources and the ability to track down his ex to serve her with custody papers, Chambers just took care of his daughter like a father should. Like many single parents, personal disputes often result in one parent harassing the other through any means possible. Belle’s mother would occasionally call Chambers and shortly after the calls CPS would show up knocking on his door. The social workers where he lived understood the nature of the calls but when he moved to Warren county, things changed. (Read more.)
More HERE and HERE. And Ben Shapiro has a lot to say HERE. Share

Wash-houses and Laundries

From Geri Walton:
Because eighteenth and nineteenth century houses generated lots of laundry, laundry facilities were an important part of any home. Sometimes laundry facilities were completely separate from a house and located near the Stables, but it was a chore to move the entire laundry of household to an area far from the house. One reason laundry facilities might be located next to the Stables was because it was difficult to attach Drying or Bleaching grounds near a house. Part of the decision about laundry locations was often based on the number of inferior servants tasked with accomplishing the chore. Additionally, if the mistress of the house or the head laundress wanted to supervise laundry operations more closely, and if drying outdoors was dispensed with, indoor drying might be used it. Among the areas associated with laundry were the Wash-house, Laundry, Drying-room and Hot Closet, Linen-room, and Soiled-Linen Closet.
  • Wash-house: For a country home a Wash-house was usually 20 to 30 feet by 15 to 20 feet wide. It needed to allow steam to escape and fresh air to be admitted, which meant numerous air-flues, louvered ventilators, etc. needed be provided. If a Wash-house was attached to a house, it needed to be placed far away from the lawn and rooms families used so as to avoid permeating such areas with laundry smells. Wash-houses usually had a dresser containing several wash trays with hot and cold water. These trays had a plug and a way to let the water drain. There was usually some sort of grated washer to scrub clothes with wooden boards in front of them. Sometimes boilers supplied hot water and sometimes some sort of washing/wringer machine (the first patent for these was in 1691) was available. There was also a large table to help fold clothes and a stone floor with a drain to allow water to flow away. In front of the wash trays were standing boards to ensure stable footing for the laundry maid. Additionally, it was also nice to place such a room near the Coal-cellar or have a special coal or wood bin close by.
(Read more.)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Conversion of John Wayne

John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit  

From OSV:
How did this thrice-married, hard-drinking, larger-than-life megastar make his leap to Catholicism? Faith danced around John Wayne all of his adult life. All three of his wives had been raised Catholic, and all seven of his children were brought up in the Church. His first wife, Josie, who prayed for Duke’s conversion till the end, convinced him to attend numerous parish events with her. He sometimes complained to friends that he was up to his neck in Catholics, but perhaps as he interacted with genuine, faithful people, misconceptions and prejudices fell away. Did the classic church potluck plant seeds of conversion?

Despite his early upbringing in the Presbyterian Church, Duke never had any denominational loyalty and was impatient with the infighting of Christianity. Wayne’s son Michael thought his father was a man who quietly believed in God even as he shunned church attendance. “There must be a higher power,” Wayne said in the year he died, “or how does all this stuff work?”

Catholic priest Fr. Matthew Muñoz, who knew Wayne simply as “Granddaddy,” hints that obstacles to his grandfather’s conversion toppled slowly as Wayne grew in knowledge of Catholicism. “After a while,” Fr. Muñoz said, “he kind of got a sense that the common secular vision of what Catholics are and what his own experience actually was were becoming two greatly different things.”
In the mid-1960s, Duke was fighting a persistent cough. His wife urged him to have it checked, and since he needed to renew an insurance policy anyway, he had a physical. When he returned to the clinic the next day for results, he was subjected to an extensive round of X-rays. As he waited, he ran into the technician who’d performed the tests. The young tech revealed what he thought the star already knew: it was lung cancer. (Read more.)


From Sara Carter:
Former FBI Director James Comey was blasted by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office for his actions during the bureau’s ‘midyear’ investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business and the investigation found evidence that other members of the FBI deliberately took official action in an attempt to keep President Donald Trump from holding elected office.

Horowitz’s 500 page report, a summary of which was obtained by this reporter and other news outlets, also gave extensive and in-depth details of the dis-function within the bureau and Department of Justice from the beginning of the investigation in July, 2015 until Comey ended the probe into Clinton during the summer of 2016.

One of the most damming pieces of evidence was a never before seen text message from embattled FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok to his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page where he suggests that he will not allow Trump to become president. (Read more.)
More HERE. Share

Fathers in Pain

From The Christian Post:
A social media campaign from a pro-life organization is highlighting the stories and confessions of several men this week who encouraged their partners to have an abortion, which they say has led to decades of guilt. Victoria Robinson, director of External Relations at Save the Storks, explained in a statement Tuesday that the #ChooseFatherhood campaign will be releasing one video on social media a day leading up to Father's Day on June 17. One video released on Facebook on Tuesday estimates that there are 55 million "forgotten men" in America who "bear the scars of abortion and suffer in silence." The five-minute clip features four men, who aren't named, sharing various thoughts and feelings, with some breaking down in tears. (Read more.)

The Lifespan of a Lie

From Medium:
The study was supposed to last for two weeks, but after Zimbardo’s girlfriend stopped by six days in and witnessed the conditions in the “Stanford County Jail,” she convinced him to shut it down. Since then, the tale of guards run amok and terrified prisoners breaking down one by one has become world-famous, a cultural touchstone that’s been the subject of books, documentaries, and feature films — even an episode of Veronica Mars.

The SPE is often used to teach the lesson that our behavior is profoundly affected by the social roles and situations in which we find ourselves. But its deeper, more disturbing implication is that we all have a wellspring of potential sadism lurking within us, waiting to be tapped by circumstance. It has been invoked to explain the massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam War, the Armenian genocide, and the horrors of the Holocaust. And the ultimate symbol of the agony that man helplessly inflicts on his brother is Korpi’s famous breakdown, set off after only 36 hours by the cruelty of his peers.
There’s just one problem: Korpi’s breakdown was a sham. (Read more.)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Nantucket Summer Recipes

From Victoria:
Drawing on the natural resources of Nantucket—among them a dazzling array of vegetables, edible flowers, and medicinal herbs that she grows outside her coastal hideaway, as well as the many treasures gathered along the island’s sandy shores—Kaity Farrell develops recipes and wares inspired by the changing seasons and infused with her signature romantic style. The private chef and artisan maker offers her recipes for Summer Vegetable Succotash and Wild Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream. (Read more.)

The Feminization of Boys

From The Daily Wire:
A feminist writer at The Atlantic has called for an even more proactive feminization of boys in an era where boys would rather sit on their rears all day playing video games than play outside with friends. In an article titled "Today's Masculinity Is Stifling," feminist author Sarah Rich holds up her cross-dressing son as a paragon of the modern male while accusing the culture of misogyny every time it criticizes boys acting like girls. "To embrace anything feminine, if you’re not biologically female, causes discomfort and confusion," Rich writes. "Throughout most of history and in most parts of the world, being a woman has been a disadvantage." (Read more.)

A Black Panther Lawsuit

We found the film enjoyable, in a Marvel comics sort of way. From Quartz:
For all its box-office success and cultural significance, Black Panther has had to dodge a lot of uncomfortable issues around cultural appropriation. Now, one of the most celebrated elements of the Marvel film, its original soundtrack, is under fire for alleged creative theft. Just days after Kendrick Lamar released the song “All The Stars,” British-Liberian artist Lina Iris

Viktor filed a lawsuit (pdf) which alleges that the rapper conducted “willful brazen, and extensive unlawful” copying of her artwork for the music video. She’s also suing others that participated in the production, such as singer SZA (real name Solana Imani Rowe), the music video’s director Dave Meyers, and Top Dawg Entertainment.

In a response filed on May 18, Lamar and his fellow defendants argue that “alleged use of the artwork did not proximately cause any of Plaintiff’s alleged damages,” or any profits for Top Dawg entertainment. They added that any of the “alleged infringements were innocent,” and constituted as “fair use.” Both have asked the New York district court for a trial by jury. (Read more.)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Island Retreat

From Southern Lady:
Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Cumberland Island, Georgia, is a tranquil escape perfect for the summer season. Accessible only by passenger ferry or private boat, it’s also home to Greyfield Inn, a unique escape that celebrates simplicity and a slower pace amid scenic surroundings. The awe-inspiring retreat was built at the turn of the century by Thomas and Lucy Carnegie for their daughter, Margaret Ricketson. In the early 1960s, Margaret’s daughter, Lucy R. Ferguson, converted the home into an inn, now owned and operated by Lucy’s grandson, Mitty Ferguson, and his wife, Mary. (Read more.)

Woke Pederasty

From The American Conservative:
Now, normalizing drag queens for children is the big woke thing. We’ve had Drag Queen Story Hours in libraries nationwide. Now Netflix is turning drag queens into animated superheroes, and RuPaul’s streaming service is turning drag queens into child superheroes. Note well that Lactatia was photographed above at beloved drag queen RuPaul’s recent drag convention.

Can’t you see what’s happening?

You might think — I certainly hope you think — that your child will not be exposed to this filth. The thing is, your child, and all of us, have to live in a world in which this is normal, and in which the popular culture thinks that dressing little boys up like sexually provocative women is not only permissible, but a sign of cultural progress.

Law and politics cannot possibly be enough to keep sanity alive as Weimar America descends further into decadence. (Did you see this yesterday? “A baby could become the first person without a legal mother if a transgender man wins a historic court battle.”) Yeah, I know, ha-ha, the right-wing Christian is freaking out again. Fine, laugh. Doesn’t bother me. What does bother me are conservative Christians (and other religious and social conservatives) who work hard to maintain their denial over the weimarization of America. And what bothers me is … my own increasingly threadbare stance of trying to figure out how to be tolerant in a culture where the people pushing this stuff are crushing people like us and brainwash our children.

The first reader who sent in the “Super Drags” clip said the sexualization of children is one thing he believes could provoke the right to violence. He wasn’t suggesting this, mind you, but saying that Netflix and the pop-culture decadents who are crusading for Lactatializing the culture are provoking forces they don’t understand. It reminded me of this blog’s hard-right commenter Raskolnik’s line from yesterday: “If you don’t want the Third Reich, don’t welcome the Weimar Republic.” (Read more.)

A Word from Hungary

From Jihad Watch:
Hungary: Migration must be stopped, not managed”, Hungary Journal, June 5, 2018:
International efforts should focus on helping people living peacefully in their homelands rather than trying to legalise illegal migration, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a United Nations intergovernmental meeting in New York on Monday.
“Migration should not be managed, it must be stopped,” Szijjarto told the meeting dedicated to the UN’s global migration package. Hungary rejects the position that migration is good, because “it is bad for those that are forced to leave their homes, it is bad for transit countries and it poses a challenge for destination countries, too,” he insisted.
Migration is not a fundamental human right; living peacefully and in good conditions in one’s homeland is, Szijjarto said. He added that protecting borders is “not an option but a responsibility” for countries. He added that when people are forced to leave their homeland, they should be helped to “stay as close as possible and once the conflict is over, return home”.
Hungary “attributes great importance” to the discussion on the global migration package, because the decision to be made will “determine the future of our children and grandchildren for the long run”, Szijjarto said, and pointed to “some fundamental questions such as whether we want security and order”.
Szijjarto insisted that Hungarian voters had “clearly expressed their position” on migration in a national survey and in the April 8 national election. He added that his government’s “number one goal” is to ensure security for the country and its people….
(Read more.)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Marie-Antoinette's Diamonds and Pearls

The Queen's tear drop earrings
 The famous tear drop pearl earrings of Queen Marie-Antoinette are being auctioned by Sotheby's, after long being in the private collection of the House of Bourbon-Parma. After being whisked out of France during the Revolution, the jewels belonged to the Queen's surviving daughter Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France and then passed to Marie-Thérèse Charlotte's beloved niece Louise d'Artois, Duchess of Parma. Other pieces belonging to the Queen are being sold as well. The jewels are being publicly displayed for the first time in two hundred years. From The Daily Mail:
Marie Antoinette's personal collection of pearls is set to go under the hammer in a landmark jewellery sale. The remarkable items, which were smuggled out of France during the Revolution, are being offered for sale as part of a $5million catalogue of royal jewels being put up for auction at Sotheby's, Geneva, later this year. According to the auction house, the Queen's pearls have not been on public display for the last 200 years and have been kept in immaculate condition by a private owner. Among the collection is a diamond pendant supporting 'a pearl of exceptional size', which is estimated at $1-2million. (Read more.)
The infamous diamond necklace shown in the article in a drawing was never owned by Marie-Antoinette; she never even wanted to own such a gaudy piece. Indeed, she was the innocent victim of a criminal conspiracy, as is related in the book, Daughter of the Caesars.

Marie-Antoinette's Pearls
Marie-Antoinette's pearl pendant
Diamond parure of Marie-Antoinette
The Queen with pearls in her hair, wearing the Hope Diamond


"White Mythologies"

From The National Review:
As crazy as this story may sound, this is far from the first time that we’ve seen this kind of thinking on a college campus. In April of 2017, a group of students at Pomona College wrote a letter to the school’s outgoing president claiming that “the idea that there is a single truth . . . is a myth and white supremacy.” Also last year, a professor at Pennsylvania State University–Brandywine argued that “meritocracy” is a “whiteness ideology.” This year, two University of Denver professors claimed that scientific objectivity works to “spread whiteness ideology.”

The idea that objectivity is somehow a myth, or that it has anything even remotely to do with “whiteness,” is so absolutely stupid that I feel like I don’t even have to spend time explaining why. Objectivity isn’t a myth. For example: In case you didn’t know, water is objectively wet, and that has nothing to do with “whiteness,” or with anything else. Objective truth absolutely does exist — and something that is an objective truth isn’t just dissimilar to a myth, it’s the exact opposite of a myth. That’s not even just my opinion; that’s an absolute fact based on what words mean. Things that are objectively true are not made more or less true by factors such as race or sex or class or anything else — they just are; the fact that some things are objectively true is not made more or less a fact by factors such as race or class or sex or anything else — it just is. (Read more.)

The Night Office

Fr. Mark writes about the "watches of the night" in Scripture and Tradition. Many monastic communities still retain the custom of rising in the night to pray Matins. From Vultus Christi:
In some way, monks do nothing other than repeat the cry that rose from Mount Carmel after the fire of the Lord consumed Elias’s holocaust:
And when it was now time to offer the holocaust, Elias the prophet came near and said: O Lord God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Israel, shew this day that thou art the God of Israel, and I thy servant, and that according to thy commandment I have done all these things. Hear me, O Lord, hear me: that this people may learn, that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the holocaust, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw this, they fell on their faces, and they said: The Lord he is God, the Lord he is God. (3 Kings 18:36–39)
So long as there are men rising in the watches of the night to say only this, The Lord he is God, the Lord he is God, there is yet hope for the conversion of the nations. You will recall that, in October 1917, when the Mother of God showed herself to the three shepherds of Fatima, there was a moment at which they recognised her as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Various reasons have been advanced to explain this particular phase of the apparition. For me, at least, upon reflection, this was the Mother of God’s appeal to all those who, like the prophet Elias, stand before the face of the Lord of Hosts (3 Kings 18:15), and who perpetuate the cry of the adoring people on Mount Carmel, The Lord he is God, the Lord he is God. What do we chant in the Invitatory Psalm that opens the Night Office? (Read more.)
Read more HERE.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Marie-Antoinette with a Portrait of Her Mother

Marie-Antoinette with a portrait of her mother Empress Maria Theresa, via Vive la Reine. The  portrait is being held by a female figure known as "Eugenia" or "Nobility" to whom the Queen of France is offering a statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of Wisdom. "Eugenia" is holding a shield with the Habsburg imperial eagle. The Queen is wearing a crown of roses. It is interesting that there is a legend of a St. Eugenia who disguised herself as a man in order to join a monastery, similar to the Pope Joan story. But I do not know if any connection with St. Eugenia is intended by the female personage garbed as a soldier. The print is dated 1780, the year of the death of the great Maria Theresa, who had to assume the responsibilities of a male ruler throughout her adult life.