From the earliest arrivals of what would become Preston’s “Windrush generation”, the status of the Caribbean diaspora was hotly contested in this post-industrial Lancashire town, as elsewhere. Discrimination and prejudice dogged the daily lives of people from the Caribbean who made their home here.
Any thoughts of escaping to a more natural life was regarded as being sinful. The idea of being unfaithful to your vocation was a step on the way to hell. It would be a mortal sin.
These are the words of Mary, my mother. She was just 15 when she entered a convent in Ireland in 1950 and 34 by the time she finally managed to leave. She had been expressing doubts to her superiors since her early twenties but years of “brainwashing” and the very real fear of her and her family facing eternal damnation made breaking her vows seem impossible.
Before news of his hospitalisation for a respiratory infection this week, a fake image of Pope Francis wearing a Balenciaga-style white puffer jacket was posted to Reddit and Twitter. The image – created through AI programme Midjourney – had many viewers fooled into believing that the head of the Catholic church had dramatically updated his style.
As an art historian and an ecclesiastical historian, the image has fascinated me, not least in thinking about the rich history of papal fashion.
First of all, it caught my eye because it looks like shot silk (fabric made of silk woven from two or more colours producing an iridescent appearance). Intentionally or not, it’s a nice nod to the fascia, a sash worn by clerics over their cassocks.
As an undergraduate, on a tour of Europe, I happened to step into the church where Saint Valentine’s head was kept. The tour guide told us a (likely fictitious) story about Saint Valentine performing forbidden marriages for persecuted Christians under the Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus (possibly 269-270 AD). Valentine was then imprisoned and beheaded in Rome.
His saint’s day has since become a celebration of romance. But earlier medieval accounts of Valentine’s life contain no mention of his association with love.
Setting real changes in motion through dialogue among experts in order to tackle the unresolved issues of juvenile distress. This was the topic addressed during the first meeting of the ‘On Radar’ Think Tank of Fondazione Internazionale Menarini held in Rome on November 29th. Continue reading