Monday, August 24


[Humor] Rejected Titles for Our Lady

As we all know, popular piety is a fickle thing sometimes. The popularity of saints come and go, perhaps providentially, as each age seeks out the holy protectors they most need from the heavenly team roster. (For instance, has anyone prayed to St. Rumwold lately? The guy's been sitting on the bench for, what, 500 years. He may have gone out for a tea-break and we'd never have noticed.) The same goes for Our Lady: everyone knows about the Immaculate Heart but "tower of ivory," while still on the books, doesn't get a whole lot of press these days. Now, from our Whapping mole placed deep within the bowels of the Vatican Secret Archive (he runs the gift shop), we have this top-secret list of Marian titles that sadly never quite made the cut:

Aviatrix of All Graces: Pius XII's lame pun would have gotten stuck in as an appendix to his declaration of Our Lady's Assumption, attempted to co-opt enthusiasm for the title of Mediatrix of All Graces and turn things down a notch, and would also have provided a handy patron for airline stewardesses, who had to make due with flying visits from the then-still-living Padre Pio when they entered his airspace. Unfortunately, while the test-groups responded well to the new icons of the Virgin wearing a flight helmet and goggles, they couldn't figure out why a) Amelia Earhart had been canonized and b) why she was wearing a light blue bathrobe. The whole thing was eventually recycled as a subplot on one episode of The Flying Nun.

Our Lady of Perpetual Motion: While a favorite of Jesuit weird scientist Athanasius Kircher, the scientific basis behind this title was disproved in 1616 by a series of experiments by Galileo which involved dropping the visiting Isaac Newton from the belltower of Pisa cathedral and seeing if he bounced. It was later unsuccessfully resurrected in 1997 by the bishops of Connecticut as a devotion for overworked soccer moms. (See below, Our Mother of Soccer.) The only church dedicated under this title was turned into a disco in late 2001. It has not changed its name.

Our Lady of Spain: The patroness of the shortlived Carlist Heavy Concertina Regiment in the Spanish Civil War, the title had to be retired after the League of Nations banned the use of the accordion as a combat weapon in 1939.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity: While a popular devotion, and one still going very strong, what is forgotten is the disastrous attempt by the reunited St. Louis Jesuits to introduce a reworked "Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady," as the introit of her feastday in 1979, under the claim that it was a simpler way of expressing Our Lady's differing spiritual relationships to the members fo the Godhead. This led to the disastrous and shortlived "Motown Records Interdict" of 1980, the less said of which the better. It has since been repurposed as the sequence for the feast of the Three Maries.

The Immaculate Fifteen to Twenty Minutes or Possibly Three or Four Days After Conception: St. Thomas Aquinas did not know how to come up with snappy concepts for his theological positions. Fortunately Blessed Duns Scotus knew a bit about advertising.

Our Lady of the Nap: Better known as the Feast of Our Lady's Dormition in the Byzantine church.

Our Mother of Soccer: Traditionally depicted wearing Marian-blue mom jeans, a once-nice cardigan covered in child-sized food-stains, in one hand a white orb covered in black hexagons (the significance remains obscure), in the other a Ziploc bag of celery sticks for the kids, and under her feet a minivan. This is not to be confused with Our Lady, Queen of All Homeschoolers, where she is wearing a denim jumper, the soccer ball is replaced by a sheaf of lesson plans, and minivan is a bit larger.

Our Lady of Notre Dame: Actually, I think there really is a chapel dedicated to this tautology at my old alma mater, but they may have changed the name to something a bit more sensible.

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