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Learning Curve

Wrap-up story from the Italian press on the end of the Pope’s vacation:

Second year at Introd. First year as Pope. The question was obligatory: How do you feel just a little over a year since your election as Pope?

"I am starting to learn my job." Then he joins the newsmen in laughing at his own riposte.

It was a relaxed, rested and revitalized Benedict XVI who yestwerday afternoon, after 18 days of vacation, took leave of Les Combes, the locality in Introd where he returned this year
for his summer vacation, and where- everyone here hopes – he will return again next year.


This vacation was also a working holiday, the Pope said upon leaving. "Only with work is vacation worthwhile – without some work, it would not have been a good vacation."

And he said jestingly, "This time in the mountains has been too short. And now we must get back to work. But gradually…"

Neither was this a holiday that meant detachment from problems. One can even say that the news – especially that coming from the Middle East – occupied much of the thoughts, the concerns and the prayers of the Holy Father at Les Combes.

At the moment of leaving, the Pope reiterated: "Our principal instrument is prayer. Of course, we do not raise our voice only to God but also to men. We will not keep silent. We will do what is possible to reach the ears of those in power."

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posted July 29, 2006 at 7:38 pm

I looked up that saint the villagers gave the Pope the statue of St. Orso (from Ursus, bear) doesn’t have much actual information. (Probably he was a 7th or 8th century hermit or bishop.) But his legend is good stuff, and ties into the Matter of France.
Orso’s mother had it predicted to her that one day, her son would kill his father. So the parents sent the boy far away, to Charlemagne’s court. He was very successful there as a knight, but couldn’t understand why he kept being sent away whenever he visited home. Finally, he ended up converting the King of Dalmatia and marrying his daughter. The old king died, and Orso became king.
At this point, Orso’s dad abandons his policy of staying far away from his son and goes to Dalmatia. When he arrives, Orso is out hunting, so the queen invites him to take a nap in the royal bedroom. One of the servants comes and tells the king that the queen’s sleeping with some strange man. Enraged, Orso rides back, sees a man in his bed, and slays the queen and the man. Only then does Orso realize that he’s slain his father.
Orso rides off in despair and eventually goes to the Pope to make his confession. The Pope gives him the penance of making pilgrimage to St. Mary’s Church on Mt. Summano — but he’s not allowed to ask anybody where Mt. Summano is. So Orso goes on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Compostela and so forth, for twelve years. Finally he finds himself in the mountains of northern Italy, where he overhears some shepherds saying that soon it’ll be time for them to go to church on Mt. Summano. He follows them, goes to church, knows his penance is over, and dies. His pilgrim staff sprouts flowers as a sign that he has been forgiven.
(This is pretty clearly part of the same legend family as other cursed and repentant knights (including Wagner’s). But it’s a good one, though personally I still like the one about the son of Satan even better!)

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posted July 29, 2006 at 8:00 pm
Statue of St. Orso
Picture from St. Orso’s legend
St. Orso’s Church in Aosta
Recipe for a “cup of friendship” drunk at St. Orso’s Fair, along with a Holy Grail legend.
A grolla, in case you’re wondering what to drink your cup of friendship from.

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posted July 31, 2006 at 12:08 pm

After reading the posts on Michael’s site re: Ratzinger as a Swear Word…its totally beyond me who could not love this man! I’ll be grateful to the Holy Spirit till the day I die that the cardinals didn’t elect someone who would cheerfully sell the store.

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posted July 31, 2006 at 1:05 pm

I am so with you, GTB.

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