Which Francis??

We had the dogs groomed last week, David had a haircut earlier this week, and today was my day to see Nash. Nash is the hair stylist who has been “doing” my hair for several years.  I was thinking about this today as Nash and I once again began talking about events in the middle East.

Nash and his family are Roman Catholic, and like many of their religious persuasion (descended from French Crusaders), fled Lebanon to escape oppression.  When he tells me his stories, I begin to cry, an awful sight…a 70+ year old woman with thinning hair and a very red nose, draped in a cape and sitting before a huge mirror.

OMG, I did it again, he says.  I’m sorry, he pats me on the shoulder.  He changes the subject to the new Pope, and I yell across the salon to Vivienne, who is from Argentina, “How do you like the new Pope?”  He’s great, she replies, all people from Argentina are great. 

Nash says, “We have his blessing, that’s why business has improved” (the shop is full today). We then talk about Francis. I tell him my Dad, Granddad and brother were all named Francis.

“Did you know there were two Saints named Francis? I ask Nash. First is the Italian saint Francis. Most of the media assumed as Pope Francis was Italian descent, he took this Francis as his patron.  However, Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and I wondered if he took the name of one of the founders of his order?

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Francis Xavier:

Francis Xavier, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta (7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) was a Roman Catholic missionary born in Xavier, Kingdom of Navarre (now part of Spain), and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a student of Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits, dedicated at Montmartre in 1534.

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While I was working on my History grad degree, I took many courses on the period historians call The Early Modern era and I learned many  half-truths still circulate among the lay public today.  Historians have revised much of what was written by Protestant scholars in earlier days but the media hasn’t caught up. For example: 

1/ the Church was anti-science. The Church promoted science for the purpose of church projects such as the establishment of the liturgical calendar.  However, science (originally a search for a way to communicate with God) expanded way beyond what the Church intended.  When Newton made his discoveries, he was searching for a way to talk to God. You can read about the Church’s efforts in The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories by J.L. Heilbron

2/ Protestants began the ReformationJesuits began reforming the church and like most movements including the French Revolution and Syria today, their reformation got away from the folks who initiated it. You can read about the establishment and works of this mendicant order in the years 1540 to 1565  in The First Jesuits, by John W. O’Malley. 

3/ Galileo stories. Galileo was a contemporary of Machiavelli. Both were Courtiers.  Galileo’s sponsor was the man who became Pope. Jesuits “tried” Galileo for heresy, not Copernican theory. Convicted of heresy, Galileo who was an old man, was ordered to undergo house arrest. During this period, he was visited by many English and European ‘scientists’ and could have walked off at any time. He chose not to do this, as he was a good Catholic and he feared Eternal Damnation by the Church and the loss of his soul if he disobeyed the order of house arrest.

My professor gave the class a giggle when showed us some of the garbage about Galileo taught in some universities. You can get the facts in Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series) by Mario Biagioli.  

8 thoughts on “Which Francis??

  1. I didn’t realize there were two saints named Francis. I just assumed it was the one who cared about animals, the poor and the environment. I didn’t know that about Galileo. That is so very interesting.

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    • Both were mendicants and cared about the poor. Francis X was concerned with reforming the Church, Francis of Italy was interested in many of the same things. Francis of Italy founded an order known as Franciscans.

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  2. Your deft mix of personal experiences with history in the making and pertinent historical background is always enjoyable and informative.

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  3. Before I forget it again; Path Between the Seas…David McCullough. A well written history of the Panama Canal. I bet you own a copy and read it when it came out. I did but have forgotten much.

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  4. Yes, I am fine. Yes, I got an appointment at the end of July for the hip. Sometimes I don’t post every day especially when I only get one note on an entry. I drag it out a bit hoping for two. LOL Yes, I am still hobbling along, but it’s ok for right now. And how does your Argentianian hair look?

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