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September 11, 2015

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Page2 POST.GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 11,2015 t* by Prof. Edmund Turiello A weekly column Mghlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. Remains of the Once upon a time in Heliopolis, there was" an Egyptian priest-historian named Manetho. Sometime between 283 and 246 B.C., he was commissioned by King Ptolemy to complete an account of the history and religion of Egypt that went back to 4400 B.C. It takes only seconds to Calculate that it is 523 years since Chris Columbus took his wild trip, and that Manetho's history went back more than 8 times that length of time. His origi- nal manuscripts are long gone, but many extracts of his work has been preserved. Much weight is now given to his history, since his sources were the early ar- chives and sacred books of Egypt, their most authentic records. Hieroglyphics on existing monuments give much corroborative evidence of the truth in his state- ments. Through his work, we are told that as early as 4,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Egyptians believed in a form of life af- ter death, a ghost, and me- morial services to the de- ceased, the concept of a soul, a guardian angel, a lower world, and cosmic gods. They SOME RELIGIOUS ORIGINS Real Estate Temple of Vesta. even sculptured statues of their gods and dedicated temples to them. FinaUy each of their principal gods was accompanied by associ- ated gods that were grouped in "Triads." If you check the word triad in your dictionary, you'll find "Trinity" given as one of the definitions. Hopefully, having made this point of origin, we can now advance to the discus- sion of succeeding nations and cultures with much more appreciation for the in- fluences upon their religious beliefs. There appears to be little doubt regarding the Egyptian influence upon some of the religious beliefs of ancient Greece and Rome, and that these civilizations, in turn, greatly influenced ours. The description of their "Elysian Fields, Hades and Tartarus" is certainly more than a chance similarity when compared with our Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. We are also told of the tribes of sav- age hunters who wandered through the dense forests on the hills of ancient Rome. From these tribes came "Vates," a soothsayer or prophet, and from the name Gollo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street * Boston, MA 02113 (6t 7) 523-2100 * Fax (617) 523-3530 Vates came "Vaticanus," for the name of the hill that was made a kind of sacred spot 1,000 years before St. Peter was born. Most exciting to me is the treatment of fire, or the candle, in religious ceremo- nies, Vesta was the Roman goddess of the hearth,-simi- lar to the Greek goddess Hestia. The worship of vesta goes back "to the time when it was difficult but necessary to obtain fire. Then, as well as now among some priini- tire tribes, they developed the custom of always keep- ing a fire alive for the use of the community, and even to carry it to new setL!ements. This custom was ~reserved in the religion of 'later Greeks and Romans even after more modern technolo- gies had been dev oped. The sacred fire, the source of all Roman life and power, was kept alive in a structure known as the Temple of Vesta, and it was constantly tended by a group of virgin priestesses that were known as the Vestals. They resided near the temple in the Forum Romanum. The whole con- cept goes back into antiquity where the vestals repre- sented the daughters of the primitive tribal chief, and .they kept alive the state fire in their father's hut. The public worship of this goddess was maintained in the Temple of Vesta, but her private worship was pre- served in every domestic hearth. After she was recog- nized as a personal deity, it then became necessary to have her attendants live in guarded seclusion in a struc- ture we now call "The House of the Vestal Virgins" or "Atrium Vestae." These at- tendants have been com- pared with the nuns of the Roman Catholic Church, and "the Atrium Vestae has been called their convent. There was a close resemblance in their vow of chastity, the cut- ting of their hair, and in the manner of their dress. Tradition tells us that the first temple to Vesta was buiit by King Numa Pompilius, the successor to Romulus and the first of the Sabine Kings of Rome. He introduced the worship of this goddess, and devoted to her a space of ground just in front of his own dwelling- house. It is also interesting too note that at this time in history, about 700 B.C., the king was the high priest, and in this office he was known as "Pontifex Maximus" or "Pontiff." NEXT ISSUE: The Nether Worlds For more information, call 617-227-8929. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari Blessed Theresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. She was the youngest child of Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu. Her fa- ther died while she was only eight years old, leaving her family in financial stress. Theresa's religious forma- tion was assisted by the vibrant Jesuit parish of the SacredHeart in which she was very involved as a youth. Interested in missionary work, Teresa left her home in September 1928 at the age of 18 to join the Institute of the Blessed.Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland. She re- ceived the name Sister Mary Teresa after Therese of Lisieux. In December of 1929, Terestt departed for her first trip to India, arriv- ingin Calcutta. After making her First Profession of Vows in May 1931, Sister TereSa was assigned to the Loreto Entally community in Calcutta and taught at St. Mary's School for girls. Sister Teresa made her Final Profession of Vows on May 24, 1937, becoming, as she said, the "SlSouse of Jesus" for "all eternity." From that time on, she was called Mother Teresa. She continued teaching at St. Mary's and in 1944 be- came the school's principal. It was on September 10, 1946, during a train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa received her "inspiration, her call within a call." Mother Teresa was in- spired to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the ser- vice of the poorest of the poor. Nearly two years of testing and discernment passed before Mother Teresa re- ceived permission to begin. On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and passed through the gates of her beloved Loreto convent to enter the world of the poor. On December 21st, she went for the first time to the sIums. She visited families, "the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for." After some months, she was joined, one by. one, by her former stu- dents. On October 7, 1950, the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. By the early 1960s, Mother Teresa began to send her Sisters to other parts of India. The Decree of Praise granted to the Congregation by Pope Paul VI in February 1965 errcouraged her to open a house in Venezuela. It was soon followed by foundations in Rome and Tanzania and, eventually, on every continent.- In order to respond better to both the physlcal and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963, the con- templative branch of the Sisters in 1976, the Con- templative Brothers in 1979 and, in 1984, the Missionar- ies of Charity Fathers. Mother Teresa's inspira- tion was not limited to those with religious vocations; she also formed the Lay Mission- aries of Cha~-ity. In answer to the requests of many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Cor- pals Christi Movement for Priests as a "little way of 'holiness" for those who desire to share in her cha- risma and spirit. During the years of rapid growth, the world began to turn its eyes towards Mother Teresa and the work she had started. Numerous awards, beginning with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and, notably, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, honored her work. She received both prizes and attention "for the glory of God and in the name of the poor." By 1997, Mother Teresa's Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 founda- tions. She passed away on September 5, 1997, She was given the honor of a state fu- neral by the Government of India and her body was bur- ied in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity. Her tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage and prayer. Blessed Teresa was beati- fied on October 19, 2003, by Pope John Paul II. Her feast day is September 5% She is the Patron of World Youth Day. LETTERS POLICY The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit Letters to the Editor: Letters should be typed, double:spaced and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we request that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one person or organization. Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Friday on which the writer wishes to have the material published. Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: Pamela Donnaruma, Editor, The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 l