Thursday, July 2
The World's First Celebrity Cardboard Cutout
When Saint Philip decided that he would no longer go on the pilgrimages to the 7 basilicas, he allowed this life-sized image to be painted of him and to be carried on the pilgrimage in his place. It was therefore painted during his lifetime!
I was initially baffled by this bit of history, until it occurred to me it had to be St. Philip having a little joke at the expense of his followers, perhaps reminding them that it was the churches they were going to see, not him. Plus, from a man who specialized in kooky penances like ordering one of his spiritual children to wander round Rome in a fur coat at the height of summer, ordering his disciples to carry round a giant cardboard cutout of himself would definitely be business as usual. And commissioning such an object would be a pretty good act of mortification (in a roundabout, backwards sort of way) from a man whose quest to be holy without anyone figuring out led him to shave half his beard and hide his breviary behind a comic book.
One wonders, though, if rival gangs of Jesuits would waylay them and steal Philip Neri as a prank...oh, wait, never mind, I'm confusing that with the time my high-school quiz bowl team stole the opposition's lucky cutout of Captain Janeway and hid it in a tree. My mistake.