‘Fastest Nun in the West’ on path for sainthood

From the Washington Times:

‘Fastest Nun in the West’ on path for sainthood
Associated Press
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Wednesday it is exploring sainthood for an Italian-born nun who challenged Billy the Kid, calmed angry mobs and helped open New Mexico territory hospitals and schools.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan said he has received permission from the Vatican to open the “Sainthood Cause” for Sister Blandina Segale, an educator and social worker who worked in Ohio, Colorado and New Mexico.

It’s the first time in New Mexico’s 400-year history with the Roman Catholic Church that a decree opening the cause of beatification and canonization has been declared, church officials said.

“There are other holy people who have worked here,” said Allen Sanchez, president and CEO for CHI St. Joseph’s Children in Albuquerque, a social service agency Segale founded. “But this would be a saint (who) started institutions in New Mexico that are still in operation.”

Segale, a nun with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, came to Trinidad, Colorado, in 1877 to teach poor children and was later transferred to Santa Fe, where she co-founded public and Catholic schools. During her time in New Mexico, she worked with the poor, the sick and immigrants. She also advocated on behalf of Hispanics and Native Americans who were losing their land to swindlers.

Her encounters with Old West outlaws later became the stuff of legend and were the subject of an episode of the CBS series “Death Valley Days.” The episode, called “The Fastest Nun in the West,” focused on her efforts to save a man from a lynch mob.

But her encounters with Billy the Kid remain among her most popular and well-known Western frontier adventures.

According to one story, she received a tip that The Kid was coming to her town to scalp the four doctors who had refused to treat his friend’s gunshot wound. Segale nursed the friend to health, and when Billy came to Trinidad, Colorado, to thank her, she asked him to abandon his violent plan. He agreed.

Another story says The Kid and his gang attempted to rob a covered wagon traveling on the frontier. But when the famous outlaw looked inside, he saw Segale.

“He just tipped his hat,” said Sheehan, the archbishop. “And left.”

Many of the tales she wrote in letters to her sister later became the book, “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail.”

“She was just amazing,” said Victoria Marie Forde of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. “It’s tough to live up to her example.”

Segale found St. Joseph’s Hospital in Albuquerque before returning to Cincinnati in 1897 to start Santa Maria Institute, which served recent immigrants.

Her work resonates today, with poverty, immigration and child care still high-profile issues, Sanchez said.

Officials say it could take years - possibly a century - before Segale becomes a saint. The Vatican has to investigate her work and monitor for any related “miracles.”

Those miracles could come in the form of healings, assistance to recent Central American immigrant children detained at the U.S. border or some other unexplained occurrences after devotees pray to her, Sanchez said.

“She’s going to have to keep working,” Sanchez said. “She’s not done.”

Vox Wrote:Haha! What a tough old gal! I must found out more about this woman! It reminds me of something I'd just posted about modern feminism as opposed to the old-school, Italian way of dealing with things. It was written by Camille Paglia and goes:

Camille Paglia Wrote:That feminism is not yet out of the woods, despite the triumph in the 1990s of the pro-sex wing to which I belong, is shown by the garish visibility of Eve Ensler and her "Vagina Monologues," which have apparently spawned copycat cells on many campuses. (The students and faculty at my urban arts college are far too busy and sensible for this kind of thing.) With her obsession with male evil and her claimed history of physical abuse and mental breakdowns, Ensler is the new Andrea Dworkin, minus Medusan hair and rumpled farm overalls. Wasn't one Dworkin quite enough?

The perversion of feminism that Ensler represents -- turning Valentine's Day, the one holiday celebrating romantic harmony between the sexes, into a grisly memento mori of violence against women -- has been well demonstrated by the ever-alert Christina Hoff Sommers, who gave early warning in her Feb. 11 article in the Wall Street Journal last year (as well as in her campus lectures, media appearances and an article in the Feb. 8 USA Today). That the psychological poison of Ensler's archaic creed of victimization is being spread to impressionable women students is positively criminal.

The buffoonish hooting and hollering incited by Ensler's supposedly naughty play is really the hysterical desperation of aging women who have never come to terms with the cruel realities of nature and who cannot face the humiliating fact that, despite their accomplishments, they will always be culturally swept away by the young and beautiful. That in the year 2001 the group chanting of crude four-letter words for female genitalia is viewed as some sort of radical liberation implies that the real issue in the "Vagina Monologues" isn't male oppression but bourgeois repression -- the malady of the dainty, decorous professional class that was created in the first century after the Industrial Revolution.

Today's upper-middle-class Western women, with their efficient, schematized lives, are so removed from elemental mysteries that they are naively susceptible to feverish charlatans and cultists like Ensler, who encourages the delusion that they are in full control of their reproductive system and that everything negative or ambivalent about it has been imposed by the prejudice of misogynous males. I wrote the controversial first chapter of "Sexual Personae," which dwells on the horror and brutality of natural cycle, as an attack upon this sentimental complacency. (Probably because of its disturbing material, that chapter, called "Sex and Violence, or Nature and Art," has gone on to have a life of its own, republished as a bestselling paperback in England and then translated into similar small-format European editions.)

Today's genteel ladies would learn a lot more about life if they would cut the crap and get out of their gilded ghettos. A day at a potato farm or crab-picking plant would do a hell of a lot more for them than an evening at Madison Square Garden with Eve Ensler and her pack of giddy celebrity lemmings in hot-pink suits. My brand of Amazon feminism (very amusingly illustrated in Maurice Vellekoop's cartoon of me as Wonder Woman kick-boxing with the Creature From the Black Lagoon in the current spring issue of the Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly) is anti-bourgeois, or rather pre-bourgeois, since it's rooted in my family's history in the Central and Southern Italian countryside.

Here's my kind of role model: Antoinette Cannuli, the Sicilian matriarch of Cannuli's House of Pork in Philadelphia's Italian Market. She was profiled by Rita Giordano in the Jan. 31 Philadelphia Inquirer under this headline: "Vendor is a tough customer: At age 91, South Ninth Street's oldest merchant stays busy. And she still takes no guff." Celeste Morello, an expert on South Philadelphia, says of Antoinette, who goes to work in her white coat every day at the family butcher shop, "She is the boss, and the most macho guy in the place shakes when she starts in."

During the Depression, Cannuli was helping out at her husband's butcher shop when a customer wouldn't pay the full price for an order of chopped goat. "The man told her what she could do with the meat. It wasn't nice. 'I had a leg of lamb,' Antoinette recalled. 'I went boof! Right over the counter. He was bleeding.'" When she was 14, she insisted on getting a paying job and began work at a Philadelphia tailor shop: "Her first day, the boss came by -- and gave her a pat on the bottom. 'I went Pow, right in the face! I said, "You touch me again and I'll poke your eyes out!"'"

The energy and ferocity of Italian women, whose power came from the land itself, are the ultimate source of my take-charge philosophy of sexual harassment, which emphasizes personal responsibility rather than external regulation and paternalistic oversight. Too many women have confused feminism, which should be about equal opportunity, with the preservation of bourgeois niceties. Antoinette Cannuli's code of life has infinitely more wisdom than what American students are getting from their politicized textbooks. Her prescription for longevity: "Keep straight. Be true. That's the main thing. Be honest."


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