Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Just in time for Halloween, a fairly full account of the Halloween martyrdom of Blessed Terence Albert O’Brien, O.P., and bishop of Emly! AND his prophecy of dooooom on Ireton. AND Ireton’s guilty conscience seeing ghosts. Man, this is fun stuff.

Don’t worry. It’s not gory, and most of the length is info about his life and what was going on at the time. I excerpted it from a much longer history text from Victorian times. I’m only sorry that I don’t have access (not being a university student) to some of the Early English texts bearing on the matter. (Mostly the James Hind pamphlet containing O’Brien’s last speech on the gibbet.)

“The Death of Blessed Terence Albert O’Brien”.

48 min.

Btw, nowadays we know from the inquest held on O’Brien’s father’s death in 1623 that O’Brien was born at Tuogh (Tower Hill), a mile south of Cappamore. (Look it up on Google Maps.) His family was of the O’Brien Arra, and they held 2000 acres of land. “Albert” is his religious name, taken when he joined the Dominicans; “Terence” or “Toirdhealbhach” is his given name.

Also btw, the reason they kept talking about these folks as Confederates is because the folks fighting Cromwell were the Catholic Confederation. They fought as Royalists loyally supporting Charles I. (Incredibly typical for Irish history. The Irish also fought for Richard III after the Tudors took over, and so on.)


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The Ring and the Book continues, as Guido receives the news of his sentencing. He’s mighty peeved to find out that killing your wife, your kid, and her family is an act with consequences, and that those consequences apply to him.

Book 11A.


Sorry this has been so sporadic. It takes a lot out of me, for some reason.

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The Life of St. Macrina continues, as we hear about the saint’s last hours from her brother’s point of view.

Part 3.


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The Life of St. Macrina continues, as she persuades her mother to turn the household into a religious community.

Part 2.


I have to say that I really love the 4th century habit of calling the religious life or the Christian life “philosophy”, and of calling religious and hermits “philosophers”. It’s beautiful and fitting, but also very very Greek. 🙂

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The Life of St. Macrina is a biography — or to be exact, a panegyric or praise — of a brilliant, well-educated, well-born, rich, and beautiful lady of the Roman Empire, (from what today is Turkey) who chose the religious life over any other form of happiness. (Also, there’s a lot about her mother, St. Emmelia. That lady’s not named in the book, but you probably wanted to know.)

It was written by one of her little brothers, St. Gregory of Nyssa. He was the comparative black sheep of the ten children in this extremely Christian family descended from confessors of the faith, and yet he turned out to become a bishop and famous theologian. Some black sheep. 🙂

Part 1.


Btw, Roger Pearse said I should record some more of his stuff soon. So now you know where I found the text of The Life of St. Macrina. 🙂

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The Ring and the Book continues, as the Pope ponders Guido’s appeal for a stay of execution. (As temporal ruler of the Papal States back then, he had authority over the courts of Rome and other places in his territories.)

Book 10: The Pope.


Btw, here’s the beautiful basilica church, San Lorenzo in Lucina, to which the murderers brought the bodies of Pompilia et al. Lucina was the Roman matron who owned the house which was made into the original church (titulus Lucinae); she hid Pope Marcellus I from Emperor Maxentius’ persecution.

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The Battle of the Aleutians is one of the prettier publications ever put out by the US Army. (Yay, government stuff is public domain! You can see the booklet here. ) You don’t hear much about the role of the Aleutians in WWII, other than that History Channel program they did. So I think you’ll find this interesting.

And yes, that’s the Dashiell Hammett. He wasn’t stationed in the Aleutians until shortly after the Attu and Kiska stuff. But when he got to the island of Adak, the guy in charge was a mystery fan. He immediately put the writer in charge of the camp newspaper, which immediately became the best camp newspaper ever with the best staff and the tightest deadlines. Several of his biographers feel that this was the happiest time of his life, and certainly his letters sound pretty happy. (Especially for a guy living close to one of the only places that competes with Thule for least-requested assignment in the Air Force!) But he seems to have thought the people were good and the work worth doing, and that’s what makes anyplace a good place to be.

Back issues of The Adakian don’t seem to be online, and are apparently pretty rare… but maybe I’m not looking in the right place? There’s also a book somebody created long afterward from reminiscences Hammett collected from the poor guys who fought in the fogs of Attu. I bet it’s good. There’s going to be a play in 2010 about <I>The Adakian</I>, which also sounds interesting. (A bit long of a commute for me, though!)

Also, a sad proof that everybody loves totem poles.

The Battle of the Aleutians


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The Life of St. Augustine continues, as Augustine goes back to Africa to begin a life of prayer. But the Church has need of him for other duties, and calls him. By capturing him and dragging him off willy-nilly to be made a priest. (Back then, they believed in active lay involvement in the discernment process. Very active.)

Part 2 (Chs. 3-8).


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So what did Augustine of Hippo do with his life, after his conversion and his mother’s death (as chronicled in the Confessions)? St. Possidius, one of St. Augustine’s companions in the African monastic community he founded, wrote the Life of St. Augustine to fill you in.

The first part consists of a preface, which is interesting, and an extremely brief recap of the years covered by the Confessions. The new biographical material starts in Part 2.

Part 1 (Chs. 1-2).


This is all thanks to Roger Pearse, who discovered and drew folks’ attention to the fact that this public domain English translation not only existed but had been scanned into archive.org, and who then digitized it into a more useful format. Yet another in a long line of services he’s rendered to all mankind — and no, I’m not kidding. He really is a great defender of civilization and finder of cultural treasure.

UPDATE: Link fixed! (Sigh.) Maybe I need to hire John Meyers….

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The Ring and the Book continues (finally). More of Pompilia’s story, as she tells her version of how she met Caponsacchi.

Bk. 7D


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An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine ends at last, with a very short chapter.

Chapter 12: Application of the Seventh Note of a True Development — Chronic Vigour.


You will notice that the last few chapters of this book are on a different archive.org page. Archive.org was giving me a “disk full” message for that host server. I know that will eventually be fixed, but I figured you would rather have the finished book now.

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The Ring and the Book continues, as the Count finishes saying his piece.

Book 5E


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The Ring and the Book continues, as the Count continues to tell his troubles.

Book 5D


As you can see, last week’s technical difficulties appear to have gone away. So here you go.

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An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine continues, with thoughts upon sacramental grace and the development of Christian practices.

Chapter 8B: The Assimilative Power of Sacramental Grace.


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An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine continues, as we learn that Real Early Christians don’t take baths with heretics!

Chapter 7D: Dogma


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