Book Prep: St. Catherine Setting the World on Fire

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As I began mapping the women that I wanted to study and the places they would lead me, I wanted to not only know the ‘noble’ women in history and their accomplishments, but I wanted to be honest and sure in knowing their complications. If we don’t know their complications, we don’t know their humanity, and we completely miss the point.

St. Catherine, y’all.

She’s one of two patron saints of Italy, along with St. Francis of Assisi; one of six patron saints of Europe; and one of only four female Doctors of the Church. Most of what we know about her comes to us through the writings of Raymond of Capua, a close friend and spiritual director of St. Catherine who published her biography after her death.

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Book Prep: The Lost Apostle & Church Grandmothers

 

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Around a year ago, I found a list on the Internet (hooray internet!) of every woman listed in the New Testament- named and unnamed, many of which I had never heard stories of as I grew up. With friends and later with a former student, we began to sift through these women and their stories, beginning with the genealogy of Christ at the start of Matthew: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. We researched these grandmothers of Jesus and learned their stories, discussed why their names were included when every other genealogy lists only men. We talked about their seemingly sordid history that we often see as 21st century Americans, and found instead women with courage in circumstances they could not control, women who grew and reached for a larger vision of the world.

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Book Prep: Anne Frank & Adolescence in War

Diary of a Young Girl**Scroll to the bottom and click follow to get updates to your inbox with each new post!**


Before I knew I was awarded the Fund for Teachers grant that’s allowing me to visit all of these places and people, I knew I was teaching a course titled “Bildungsroman” at Odyssey. “Bildungsroman” is one of my favorite words, a German word that often gets swapped around with the phrase “coming of age” but means much more than that. Bildungsroman refers to the growing awareness of the world around us, the loss of innocence as we grapple with sudden complications unaware to a child, and the moral development one seeks on this journey as they navigate to atonement or isolation. As we wrestled with the books that students would read in this vein, Anne Frank’s story, “The Diary of a Young Girl” was an obvious choice. (And partly because I secretly hoped for this grant and knew this book would be built into my schedule to reread!)

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Book Prep: Wuthering Heights

Before I start this posts, you should subscribe to this blog so you can get all of the posts to your inbox- so easy! Scroll all the way to the bottom and click ‘Follow this blog’.

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Oof, where do I begin?

First, I tried to read books in order of our journey, but that quickly got disjointed. And here I find myself deep into the Brontë sisters’ words and dreaming of broody days looking out over the moors. The Brontë parsonage in Haworth, England is our last official stop on the trip before we head home, and meant to serve as a time of reflection for who these women were that first published under a male pseudonyms, and where we are now.

 

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Book Prep: Johanna Spyri & Heidi

Kapow! We are only a few short weeks away from this trip and I am beyond excited. My sweet friend Sarah is able to come with me, and I’m hoping she’ll introduce herself via blog post in a few weeks!

Part of our journey includes a couple of days in Switzerland to learn more about Johanna Spyri and Heidi. I’d be lying if I didn’t say this piece is one I am looking forward to the most.

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Book Prep: Artemisia Gentileschi

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This wasn’t my favorite book, but it did set me on a path to researching more about Artemisia and her art. Vreeland does a great job weaving specific art pieces into the context of Artemisia’s life and imagining her thoughts as she created them. If you want to learn more about Artemisia, it wouldn’t hurt to check it out!

As long as I live, I will have control over my being. 
– Artemisia Gentileschi

In two days, we’ll be two months away from rolling out to Rome and I cannot wait! I have been swimming through books on the women I’m studying and watching as many movies and documentaries as I can. My thought is to document those so as to have a basis for later posts on these women (it will be a LOT to document both the place and their stories all at once) and potentially for students to use later in the class I’ll create. I’ll also be tagging in my friend, Sarah, who’s coming on the trip with me, to share thoughts on books and movies as well.

This week: Artemisia Gentileschi. We’ll be hanging out with Artemisia at our second stop in Florence. She was an Italian Baroque painter and arguably one of the most well-known female painters of all time. We’ll go see a few of her works including “Judith Beheading Holofernes” at the Uffizi Gallery and a few other “big” places she spent time at in Florence.

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For my six followers:

Dear my mother, my aunt, Sarah’s mom, and the three random Swedes that will find this site and follow it:

Here it is, a special site for all of the preparation, duration, and aftermath of this monster trip that I am so fortunate to take! Feel free to subscribe to learn more about the women I’ll be studying, the books informing this journey, the photos/stories I’ll collect, and the various versions of “Landslide” I’ll listen to along the way.

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