Friday, July 23, 2010

Four Crowned Martyrs (3rd century)

"Here, here I will remain with worms that are they chamber-maids;
O, here I will set up thy everlasting rest,"
(Romeo and Juliet, Act 5)

My grandfather, Anthony, told me when he picked out the family burial site at St. Francis Cemetery in Pawtucket, he made sure it was up front by the gate so he'd be first in line when Jesus came to get him.
All joking aside, it is in a convenient spot because when I drive down Smithfield Avenue, I can see it from my car. My grandfather was a registered architect who was born in Italy and became a U.S. citizen. He designed the gravestone which has stone masonry tools on it in honor of his father, Vincenzo.
The gravesite has caused many arguments over the years. There are only 12 plots which was not enough for everyone in the family. If there was a fight someone would say that this one or that one wasn't going to be buried there.
My grandmother, Isabel, went so far as to ask my cousin, Anthony, to make sure that when she died she was buried there. So, as promised, he stood at the grave until the last spade of dirt was shoveled.
The Four Crowned Martyrs were gifted stone carvers who lived in the 3rd century. Their names are St. Castorus, St. Nicrostratus, St. Claudius, and St. Simpronian.
When they refused to carve a statue of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine, they were drowned in the Sava River. Their feast day is Nov. 8 and they are patron saints of stone masons, stone cutters, and sculptors.
I saw the statue pictured above at Orsanmichele Church in Florence, Italy.

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