Thursday, July 2


The World's First Celebrity Cardboard Cutout

The Transalpine Redemptorists (or, more correctly, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer) recently went on pilgrimage to the Holy City. Among other stops, they had a look round the Oratory, where they discovered a very curious object indeed:
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.

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