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November 6, 2015     Post-Gazette
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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 6, 2015 by Prof. Edmund Turiello A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. VIRGINS VESTALES co.t ued om October 30, 2015 issue) House of the Vestal Virgins (Atrium Vestae). Evidence of the luxurious life-style of the Vestal Vir- gins has been gained from the remains of the "Atrium Vestae" (House of the Vestal Virgins), with its spacious court, splendid decorations, baths, and hot air flues. They were granted the privilege of keeping horses and car- riages, and when in public they were preceded by a lictor who cleared their way. Their presence was expected where no other women, as a rule, might go; such as places of public amusemmnt, the circus, the theater, and even the amphitheater where the best seats were permanently at their com- mand. The only superior whom they acknowledged was the "Pontifex Maximus" who, representing their king of the ancient village, had a parental authority over them and who alone was respon- sible to administer corporal chastisement if any Vestal neglected her duties. There were only two of- fenses which a VestalVirgin could commit and these were most rare. The first of- fense was to neglect the sa- cred fire, so that it became extinguished. For this kind of carelessness, the Vestal was scourged by the Pontifex. The second offense was to violate her vow of chastity. Those who Were found guilty of this act were carried on a bier to the Cam- pus Sceleratus, near the Colline Gate, beaten with rods and buried alive. Her seducer was also rewarded by being scourged to death. Vacancies in the ranks of the Vestals were always filled by girls under ten years of age, and each in turn retired at the age of forty. Every girl possessing the necessary qualifications was liable to be called on to undertake the duty, and no exception was granted ex- cept upon very strict condi- tions. The age limit to qualify for selection was not less than six and not more than ten years of age; with- out personal blemish; of free, respectable family, whose parents were still alive; and residing in Italy. Twenty girls were nominated by the Pontifex, and the final selection was made by lot. The selected candidate was immediately taken to the Atrium Vestae, her new home, properly attired and shorn of her hair. Her time of service was set by law at thirtyyears; ten for learning, ten for performing, and ten for teaching. There was always a variety of ages in the household of the Vestals. There was the little girl with close-cropped head, run- ning around the garden or up and down stairs, learning her duties in bits and pieces, for she had a long time to learn them. Then there were those in their twenties, by now well ac- quainted with all of this luxury, social consequence, political in- fluence, and freedom of ac- tion. Lastly, of course, there was the oldest of the group, with all of the years of accu- mulated honor and the dis- tinctive title of "Vestalis Maxima." At the end of their 30 years of service, leave was granted to lay aside their priesthood, return to private life, and marry if they desired. "What else can be said, other than "Figlio maschile e cento anni." NEXT ISSUE: Hamen This Thanksgiving make a difference! Donate pet food and supplies, and help Freeway support a local shelter. Your generosity can go a long way in supporting the needs of these deserving animals! Drop your donation off at the Post-Gazette 5 Prince Street, North End, Boston by Wednesday, November 18th Don't Forget That Tough Times Impact Them Too! / The Post-Gazette is, now on the Web! Check us out at www.BostonPostGazette.com. / You 11 find the history of the Post-Gazette, information about our columnists, as well as advertising, submission and subscription information. PostGazette.om Saint Agnes of Assisi by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari Saint Agnes was born in 1197. She was the younger sister of Saint Clare of Assisi and one of the first abbesses of the Order of Poor Ladies. Agnes was the younger daughter of Count Favorino Scif. Her saintly mother, Blessed Hortu- lana, belonged to the noble family of the Fiumi, and her cousin Rufino was one of the celebrated "Three Companions" of St. Francis. Clare, eldest sister of Agnes, inspired by the ex- ample of St. Francis of Assisi, left home in secret on March 18, 1212 to become a follower of the saint. Sixteen days later, Agnes ran off to the Benedictine Monastery of St. Angelo, determined to join her sister and share in Clare's life of poverty and penance. Their father, angry at the loss of his daughters, sent his brother Monaldo, and several armed followers to the monastery to force Agnes to return home, but the sisters refused to leave, even when soldiers tried to force them to do so, they were so certain that God was calling them to this new life. Francis later established a cloister for Clare and Agnes at the rural chapel of San Damiano, where they were soon joined by other noble women of the city, and the Order of Poor Ladies, later known as the Poor Clares, began with Clare as its abbess. Agnes thrived as a nun. She was eventually named abbess, and in 1219 was sent by St. Francis to direct the Poor Clares at Monticelli, near Florence. She went on to establish other communities in Mantua, Padua and Venice. In 1253, Agnes was summoned to Clare's deathbed at San Damiano and assisted at her funeral. Agnes followed quickly as Clare had predicted, dying three months later on November 16 of the same year. Her mother, Hortulana, and a younger sister, Beatrice, had already died, and Agnes is buried near them in the Church of St. Clare of Assisi. Saint Agnes was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1753. Her feast day is celebrated on November 16% Boston Launches New Online Permitting Experience Mayor Martin J. Walsh recently unveiled the Boston Permits & Licenses online platform, the latest step in making Boston's permitting process easier, clearer and more predictable. "We are committed to creating a permitting process that is user-friendly, modern, and easily accessible to all of our customers," said Mayor Walsh. "A more supportive system gives our homeowners, businesses and contractors more opportunities to improve our city for the long-term." The release of the Boston Permits & Licenses platform will focus on supporting businesses, homeowners, and contractors through the entire permitting process. It has been in development over the past year, and will provide a more modern, easy-to-use interface. The following features will be part of the initial release of Boston Permits & Licenses, for the first time providing customers with the ability to: * Apply for multiple permits at once and group permits together in a single project. Build a team of project partners -- homeowner, con- tractors, and licensed professionals -- who can together advance all permits needed for a project to move forward. View enhanced information about project review statuses. Create accounts through Google Mail and other common login providers. Identify project location on an intuitive map-based interface. "This technology will make it easier for our custofners to do business with the City of Boston," said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, chief information officer. "Our goal is to deliver digital services for Boston that are as good as those from the best private companies." This release has been preceded by a series of interim improvements to permitting that the Mayor has rolled out over the past year, which stemmed from the city's first HubHacks event in August 2014. Boston Permits & Licenses is the product of a partner- ship with OpenCounter and Accela first announced in De- cember 2014. The new online experience will be rolled out in a series of phases, gradually incorporating new permit and license types and additional features, and continuously evolving based on user feedback, getting better with time. ~l'he City of Boston is a leader in the application of inno- vative civic technologies" said OpenCounter Co-Founder Joel Mahoney. "We're thrilled to be a partner on the project, and to launch additional tools in the coming months that will further streamline this core government service." Individuals or companies interested in becoming beta users of the product and helping to provide feedback on the new functionality can sign up at permits.boston.gov.