The Ramonat Seminar #6: Saints in America

“Saint Philomena, pray for me!”

Kathleen Sprows Cummings of Norte Dame University came to speak to us about her new book concerning saints, and the race to find the first American born to be canonized (which of course is Elizabeth Ann Seton mentioned in a previous blog post).

Utilizing this list of female saints, I came across one that interested me a lot. Maybe it was due to her young age, or just because she had so much attributed to her, but I chose to do this blog on St. Philomena pictured above, a young virgin martyr, whose remains were discovered in 1802 in the Catacombs of Priscilla. Philomena is said to have refused the advances of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and had been brutalized various times before being beheaded in 304 A.D/C.E. She’s the patron saint of infants, babies, and youth. Beside her bones within her tomb was a small vial containing some of her blood. An inscription inside read “Peace be with thee, Philomena”, along with drawings of 2 anchors, 3 arrows and a palm. She has a church here in Chicago as well.

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The Ramonat Seminar #5: Music, Tradition, and Culture

“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” – Jimmy Hendrix

Now, I’m not sure how much BrainyQuote is to be believed when it comes to the validity of these quotes being said by the supposed author, but I do believe it beautifully illustrates what I’m trying to get at in this post about music’s role in shaping tradition, and therefore, broader culture.

I’m sad that I wasn’t able to see Mick Moloney and Jimmy Keane’s performance last Thursday. I am happy to report that I didn’t blow off the questions their show being put into the seminar raises, however. What is the role of music in history? Why is it important to examine?

At its heart, music is storytelling at it’s finest. One doesn’t need to know the ins-n-outs of chord progression to know if something moves them in a certain way. Music plays a significant role in shaping a nations when it comes to national songs and celebrations of wars, it leaves a lasting memory of the past, and can reflect the concerns of an age, the zeitgeist to use unnecessary German terms.

Cultural scripts are the ways in which a society or and a local community decides what they will project onto the world, and how they will make those in their community follow suit. Music, why it is produced, by who, and for what purpose is one of the most wide-spread cultural scripts out there. Much like the saying “you are what you eat”, what you listen to informs the ideas you shape from a very young age.

While the source and context impacts how one understands a song in question (if it’s lyrics versus an audio version, how the musician performs it, if it was written during or for a certain period in history, and so on), music offers a fairly reliable example of a larger historical moment.

Spirit_of_76

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