Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pope St. Celestine V (1210 to May 19, 1296)

"I saw and I knew the soul of him,
who cowardly made the great refusal."
(Canto III, lines 59-60, the Divine Comedy (the Inferno) on Pope Celestine V abdicating the Papacy which allowed Dante's enemy, Pope Boniface VIII, to gain power.)

After working long, hard days at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library (RIHSL), a place where I was employed as technical services assistant for 10 years, I would return home where my ex-husband, Brian, would greet me with, "You smell like books."
I was young (24-years-old), beautiful (so I was told), had exquisite hair (dirty blonde, glistening curls), and superb personal hygiene (I still am a fanatic about delicious smelling beauty products and brushing my teeth five times a day). So, I wondered why I was never met with "How was your day?" or "I missed you," although I was good enough to support Brian while he took one or two graduate school courses per semester.
Years later, when my long-term ex-boyfriend, John, called me late one night and said, "I can smell your hair on my pillow. It smells so good," all memories of being told I had the odor of ancient tomes and manuscripts in my hair and on my clothing disappeared (thanks to my natural scent, Aveda products, and a thoughtful guy).
I enjoyed working with books and special collections, helping people with their genealogy, cataloguing printed materials, overseeing the interlibrary loan department, assisting with the U.S. newspaper project in Rhode Island, and being responsible for serials billing and everything related to bookbinding (I received my training in this area at the New York State Library in Albany).
If I could not repair a book myself, I had the option to send it to bindery which I did mostly for one-of-a-kind items that would be copied onto archival paper, rebound, and I would retire the original to the library archives.
I continued in the same position at the Rhode Island School of Design Library, after my boss recommended me because it was higher paying and she was about to resign as library director at RIHS.
Although I no longer work in libraries, I can still be found at new and used bookstores, where I always feel at home.
Pope St. Celestine V (St. Peter Celestine) is the patron saint of bookbinders. He was born Pietro del Morrone in 1210 in Isernia, Abruzzi, Italy. When his mother told her 12 children that she wanted one of them to be a saint, Pope St. Celestine V announced that he would be one someday.
On my way to Capri, I went through Isernia and it is still very medieval. So, to think that someone would rise to Pope and saint who from there is remarkable to me!
Pope St. Celestine V lived as a hermit when he was 20-years-old under Benedictine rule.
He became the Pope on July 7, 1294 and held the position just five months before abdicating on Dec. 13, 1294. It was his desire to reform the clergy and introduce people to the original Gospel spirit.
He died on May 19, 1296. In recognition of the 800th anniversary of his birth, Pope Benedict XVI named the Celestine year Aug. 28, 2009 through Aug. 29, 2010.

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