The Feast of St. Edmund

Wolf with the head of St. Edmund

I only discovered A Clerk of Oxford this month, but it’s quickly become one of my favorite blogs. The blogger is a medievalist who writes long, fascinating posts highlighted by her excellent translations from Old English. Today, for the Feast of St. Edmund, she offers generous selections from Ælfric’s Life of Edmund (10th Century), both in the original, so you get the sense [Read More...]

St. Joan vs. Boris Karloff

Karloff in "The Lark"

I’ve loved the classic Universal monster movies since I was a kid in the 1970s. That was the decade of the “Monster Kids,” who became fans thanks to a combination of TV showings of classic films, Famous Monsters of Filmland and Castle of Frankenstein magazines, and endless parodies of the characters made famous by Karloff, [Read More...]

St. Thomas Aquinas Believed in Ghosts

St. Thomas Aquinas at Prayer

We’re coming up fast on Halloween, so I want to jump ahead a bit to see what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say about ghosts. The section is found in the Summa Theologica, Supplementum Tertiæ Partis: Question 69. Matters concerning the resurrection, and first of the place where souls are after death, Article 3. Whether [Read More...]

St. Gregory the Great’s Bath-house Ghost

The Mass of St Gregory, by Robert Campin, 15th century

Okay, one more story from a Church Father before the weekend. This is one of the more famous tales, and it comes from Pope St. Gregory the Great’s marvelously entertaining grab bag of useful stuff, the Dialogues. This is an example of the way the Church used ghost stories to prove the benefit of the [Read More...]

St. Martin and the Thief’s Ghost

Reliquary for the head of St. Martin

The main role of ghosts in the literature of the early church was to display the power of the saints. While Augustine was still alive, Sulpitius Severus wrote The Life of St. Martin, in which we find the following tale of Martin confronting and vanquishing the evil ghost of a thief who was being worshiped by [Read More...]

Ghostly Visions in the Early Church

Perpetua_Felicitas

The early church fathers were acquainted with ghosts and ghostly visions, as the previous entries on ghosts in Old and New Testaments make clear. Two notable examples of ghosts in the literature of the early church show how they tended to function and be regarded. It’s important at this point to note that visions of [Read More...]

The Tunics of St. Ambrose

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The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, first consecrated in 379, was built by St. Ambrose at a site where Christians had been executed. For at least a thousand years (and almost certainly longer) the church has held several silk tunics which tradition associates with the great saint and Father. Now, a team of archaeologists from [Read More...]

St. Swithun: Weather Man

swithun

Happy St. Swithun’s Day! Is it raining today? Then according to old British lore, it will rain for the next 40 days. We know this is true because a poem says so: St. Swithun’s day if thou dost rain, For forty days it will remain, St. Swithun’s day if thou be fair, For forty days [Read More...]


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