Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Also known as Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles, if I'm not mistaken.

I was thinking earlier this evening (if the imaginings of a fevered brain [yes, I have flu - I opened the window and influenza] can be called thinking) how fun it would be to watch the pro-illegal-Mexican liberals and the atheist or secularist liberals butting heads over the places in the USA named after saints, especially those places in the Southwest that were civilized by Spanish Franciscans. Willa Cather's book Death Comes for the Archbishop mentions that Spanish California (remember "Zorro" on Disneyland or Mickey Mouse Club?) was once part of the Diocese of Mexico City.

Think of all the place names that would be fought over: Los Angeles = the Angels (see above); San Francisco = St. Francis; San Luis Rey [de Francia] = St. Louis [IX] King of France; San Mateo = St. Matthew; Santa Barbara; Sacramento = Sacrament; San Diego = St. James; San Bernardino = St. Bernard; Santa Maria; San Luis Obispo; Santa Monica . . .

San Manuel, San Pedro River, San Carlos Reservoir, AZ; Sangre del Cristo = Blood of Christ Mtn. Range, CO & NM, San Juan Mtn. Range, also CO & NM; Magdalena = Mary Magdalen; Las Cruces = the Crosses; San Marcial = St. Martial (maybe the first bishop of Limoges, d. ca. 250); Santa Fe = Holy Faith, all in NM . . .

Just in my home state of Minnesota, the capital is St. Paul, named so because the first church put up, in what is now the city, was named for the Apostle to the Gentiles. (The oldest church in continuous use in Minnesota is St. Peter in Mendota.) Most of the Catholic names in Minnesota are of French origin, naturally, including Sault Saint-Antoine de Padue = Falls of Saint Anthony of Padua, "The Waterfall That Built a City," according to Lucile Kane of the Minnesota Historical Society and author of the book of that name.

My older brother, certainly no believer, once caustically noted that the main difference, between groups of white people who settled this land in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was that the French and Spanish Catholics saw the Indians as human souls to be converted, whereas the English, Dutch, and Swedish Protestants saw them as heathen savages to be exiled or exterminated.

This nation owes a great deal to its Catholics. It's time we demanded the respect we deserve.

PS -- thanks to Kat for the image and a great post!

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