Wednesday, November 26, 2008
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, of the omnivore’s dilemma, of gluttony and gourmandise alike, I would like to draw your attention to Saint Conrad of Constance (d. 975). His devotion to the communion wine was so great that when a spider - probably a common Daddy longlegs (Pholcus phalangiode) and not the European black widow (Latrodectus tradecimguttatus) - fell from her silken web into the chalice he held aloft, Conrad went ahead and drank the wine. Not only did he fully believe that the wine was the Precious Blood, but he also believed, as did everyone in the middle ages, that spiders were deadly poison. He believed he was drinking his last. Yet he drank down to the last drop in the chalice.