Monday, 29 April 2019

throwing down the gauntlet

We’ve yet to see the concluding chapters of the Avengers’ franchise and only know of Death-Dealing Thanos (no spoilers, please) but have been exposed enough to the references and artefacts to appreciate the resemblance that the super villain’s glove has to this reliquary which holds the uncorrupted hand of Teresa of Ávila (*1515 – †1582).
A noble woman whose Jewish ancestors were coerced to convert during the Spanish Inquisition, this Doctor of the Church was called to the monastic and contemplative life and after canonisation was a candidate for the patron saint of Spain—just edged out by James (Santiago de Zebedeo) and Catherine of Siena (whose Feast Day is coincidentally today). The well-travelled reformer succumbed to illness on the way to Alba de Tormes, just as most of Europe was switching from the Julian to Gregorian calendar so there’s some debate as to the time of her death and when to observe her Saint’s Day—15 October according to liturgical calendars, and her exumed body was dismembered and spread as relics to holy sites and the convents that she founded, her left eye and right hand going to Ronda in Andalusia, the later pictured next to the cinematic prop being kept by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, sort of like the Lance of Longinus, until his death when the treasure was restored to the nunnery.