In search of the historical tenuous connections


Things that are important in our everyday lives need patron saints, which is why in 1958 Pope Pius XII made 12th-13th century nun St Clare of Assisi the patron saint of TV. The idea, as I understand it, is that one time when she was sick she was miraculously able to see the Mass she couldn’t attend projected on the wall of her cell, which is a bit like television. Although I don’t believe the church considers watching Mass on TV to count.

Aaaaaanyway, my point is that sometimes historical examples get matched to modern concepts that they don’t quiiiite fit with because hey, historical examples are all you’ve got. You want to recognise the sacredness of something important in modern life, and you’re going to have to do that with a slightly off-model connection because that’s how drawing past-present analogies works.

All of which is to say that I was thinking about Saint Clare of Assisi when an editor asked me to write a piece on what the medieval equivalent of sexting was.


(It’s writing dirty letters, you guys. It’s always writing dirty letters.)

In search of the historical tenuous connections

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