Fictional “Pope Joan” Listed Among Twelve Women Who Helped Shape Christianity

Mary the Mother of God

This morning I was flummoxed to read in The Tablet a list of twelve women who supposedly "helped shape Christianity."  Numbered among this august group, according to writer Peter Stanford, are a prostitute, an excommunicated ex-nun, and an imaginary heroine who never even existed.Where on the list, I wondered, is St. Catherine of Siena, who had the political boldness to "speak truth to power" and who counseled Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome from Avignon and resume leadership and … [Read more...]

St. Honoré Cake: The Pastry Named for a Saint

St Honore cake

Feeling hungry?  How about a St. Honoré cake? *     *     *     *     *The St. Honoré cake is named for St. Honoré, the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.  He lived in the sixth century and was the bishop of Amiens, in northern France.   Check it out:  This classic French dessert starts with a circle of puff pastry at its base, with a ring of pâte à choux (a light pastry dough) piped on the outer edge. After the base is baked, small cream puffs are dipped into caramelized sug … [Read more...]

St. Ephrem, Harp of the Holy Spirit

St. Ephrem

On June 9, the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of St. Ephrem, poet, teacher, orator and defender of the faith.St. Ephrem was a deacon, and was the only Syrian to be named a doctor of the Church.  He is patron of spiritual directors and spiritual leaders.As he neared the end of his life, the holy man wrote in The Testament of St. Ephrem, “Lay me not with sweet spices, For this honor avails me not, Nor yet use incense and perfumes, For the honor befits me not. Burn yet the i … [Read more...]