Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Just in: a patron saint for panic attacks
I think I may have discovered a patron saint of Panic Attacks – Saint Romuald. I didn’t know I was seeking one, but clearly, given my delight upon finding him, I must have been.
Much is known about Saint Romuald (950-1027):
He did not live to be 120, contrary to early reports.
As a youth, he was a slave to his passions.
Then he watched as his father killed a man in a duel. Romuald was so traumatized that he fled straight to a monastery and stayed there for 3 years practicing austerities.
For the next thirty years he wandered around Italy founding monasteries. Based on a dream of white-robed monks climbing a ladder, he changed the official garb of his monks from black to white. But these are not why I think he should be the patron of Panic Attacks.
No, this is. Apparently Romuald always had this fantasy of going to Hungary and preaching to the Magyars (barbaric Slavs beholden to paprika) but when he did finally go he was stricken with a mysterious illness the instant he set foot in the country. He tried repeatedly to get himself to Hungary, but each time the mysterious illness returned.
Hungary for Romuald: Cocktail parties for me.
More observations upon putting all my books alphabetically on the shelves.
W is a full of women writers and in particular women writers of whom I tend to own many copies : Wharton, Wesley, Woolf (she alone represents almost 3 feet of shelf), Welty, Weldon, and Winterson. There is no other letter – on my book shelves – with so many women so amply represented.