St. Denis’s Wonderful Talking Head

St. Denis was the Bishop of Paris in the 3rd century, and his success in converting the local pagans was met with alarm by the Roman governor. Along with two companions, Rusticus and Eleutherius*, he was imprisoned, possibly during the Decian persecution in the 250s. This must have been one of those persecutions that some say…

St. Thomas Aquinas Believed in Ghosts

St. Thomas Aquinas did not have a chance to fully develop his thoughts about spirits and apparitions, but we were left a glimpse of his thoughts on the matter. The section is found in the Summa Theologica, Supplementum Tertiæ Partis: Question 69. Matters concerning the resurrection, and first of the place where souls are after…

Body Candles and Bent Coins: Ancient Devotions to the Saints

A story is told in the Life of St. Gotthard of a priest in the 12th century named Folcward who met a poor women with a dying child. He urged the woman to make a vow to St. Gotthard for the boy’s recovery, and seal it with the promise of a candle the length of the boy…

Peter of Verona Exorcises a Statue

Four scenes from the life of St. Peter of Verona, also known as Peter Martyr, are depicted in frescoes at the Portinari Chapel, at the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio, Milan. One of these shows an incident from his life in which he exorcised a possessed statue of the infant Jesus and the Blessed Mother, complete with devil…

What Happened to the Virgin Mary After Pentecost? (Part 2)

In Part One, I retold the major tradition associated with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This tradition is attributed to various sources depending upon where the writer first encountered it. The most widespread version was that told (twice) by Jacobus de Voragine in the Golden Legend. This lengthy chapter in the Legend shows various signs…