Friday, November 1, 2013

A Saint for Nancy Kerrigan (and also Ann Romney)

St. Lydwina of Holland is known as the patron saint of ice skaters.  It's a strange appellation, in that she actually broke ribs ice-skating, and suffered the rest of her life as a result. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the sport.

But there's another group she probably should be the patron saint for. Somehow her ice skating injury lead to a slow paralysis, until eventually she could only move her left hand.  What's more part of her body became gangrenous -- indeed, she lost part of her intestines, which we know because her parents kept it in a jar and professed its sweet smell.  (The medieval version of keeping a child's first tooth? I don't know. Let's move on.) She also suffered terrible bleeding in her life. 

Now, none of this may sound terribly familiar, but some professionals today believe Lydwina might have had Multiple Sclerosis. A number of aspects of her disease, including her eventual paralysis, periods of remission and terrible pain in her teeth all are consistent with M.S.

Lydwina was known as a woman of great constancy to prayer and as a healer.  For all those who suffer from long term debilitating diseases, there's no better friend.  


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