On this day in 1464, Neri di Bicci painted an altarpiece depicting St Felicity and her Seven Sons for the saint’s eponymous church in Florence. According to Neri’s workshop notebook, or ricordanze, in which he recorded all of his activities from 1453 to 1475, the altarpiece’s patron was Tanai de’ Nerli (1427-98), a prominent Florentine citizen who lived in the parish of Santa Felicita. Tanai’s coat of arms is displayed prominently in the altarpiece’s predella. The Nerli arms are shown alone at the left and together with the Tornaquinci family arms in a single shield at the right. It is unclear what Nerli-Tornaqunici marriage is being referenced here since Tanai was married to Nanna Capponi, with whom he would commission Filippino Lippi to paint another altarpiece for the church of Santo Spirito after 1494. It would not be surprising to find a descendant of Tani rededicating the altar at a later date and updating the arms to honor his wife’s family.
Reference: Bruno Santi. “Neri di Bicci.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T061797>.
Neri di Bicci, Saint Felicity and her Seven Sons, 1464, oil on panel, Santa Felicità, Florence
Nerli Family Arms
Tornaquinci Family Arms
Capponi Family Arms
Neri di Bicci, Saint Felicity and her Seven Sons, detail
Filippino Lippi, Madonna and Child with Saints (Nerli Altarpiece), aft. 1494, oil on panel, Santo Spirito, Florence
And here is a website with a whole list of Black/African Saints. And here’s a webpage with just fifteen if you want to start out with a less overwhelming number. This site (which I also link below) has a good number of the most well-known early African Saints.
I think people often don’t realize that certain Saints are Black because they are, alas, whitewashed in most images of them (Augustine being a prime example of that). So when you click the links above, you’ll probably take one look at the images included on webpages and go “lol this guy’s not black!” It can be frustrating, but luckily non-whitewashed art is out there – it’s usually very ancient or very contemporary. I’ll include some here.
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity (3rd Century AD)
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity lived in Northern Africa in a time when Christians were persecuted. St. Perpetua was a noble woman and St. Felicity was her slave. When St. Perpetua was arrested for being a Christian, her father begged her to renounce her faith but she refused to. Her slave, St. Felicity was also arrested for being a Christian and she gave birth to a child in prison. Both saints were martyred with many other Christians in a stadium. St. Perpetua and St. Felicity’s feast day is on 7 March.
Here is a list of a few of my favorite saints, and one’s I most often invoke in my practice as a Catholic/Christian witch, and crystals that I associate them with. I’m posting this as a potential resource for other Christian witches. These are my own personal associations so if they don’t feel right for you feel free to use different crystals with different saints. Thanks and enjoy.
St. Michael the Archangel –> Black Tourmaline
Michael the Archangel is a fearsome and powerful angel who is charged with fighting against evil, sin, negativity, etc. Black Tourmaline does the same thing an acts as a powerful protector against negativity and can shield those who use it. Because of this I associate this crystal with Michael and when I carry it I imagine this angel/saint’s protection surrounding and guarding me.
St. Perpetua & St. Felicity –> Lapis Lazuli
Perpetua and Felicity were two women of color who should be given more credit for how their story helped spread Christianity during the time of early Christianity. Both were great close friends and may have also been lovers. Since I’m pansexual I like to think that they were personally. Lapis Lazuli is a crystal that promotes friendship, companionship, and truth. Its the perfect crystal for any relationship. When I use this crystal I imagine St. Perpetua and Felicity filling my home and heart with a greater care for those I have a deep emotional relationship with whether that be friendship or with a partner (though I admittedly also use the more popular and obvious rose quartz as well, but I tend to use that more for self love than romantic love so…)
St. Teresa of Avila –> Labradorite
Teresa of Avila is one of my favorite saints she was sassy, confident, tough, and didn’t take shit. I associate her most with Labradorite because of its spiritual connections, its ability to help create clarity of mind (which Teresa often strived for during her mental prayers), and its ability to banish fear and insecurity. It also relieves mental stress and Teresa was plagued with terrible headaches. It can also help with inspiration, which works well with Teresa as the patron saint of writers. I use this stone when I am trying to be creative and working on any type of writing that I need Teresa’s intercession on. I also use it when I need help with my spirituality or when I am dealing with people attacking me for my faith as a lot of people gave Teresa shit for her visions and spirituality.
St. Catherine of Siena –> Tiger’s Eye
Catherine was another feisty woman who wasn’t afraid of anyone. She argued with the Pope constantly sending him letter after letter refusing to give up. Because of this I associate her most with Tiger’s Eye for determination. I use this crystal and invoke Catherine’s help when I am having a low spoon day and having a difficult time motivation myself. Since this is also stone for protection I use when I am feeling attacked or judged at church (or just by religious people in general) and remind myself that Catherine of Siena, and honestly most female saints, were belittle and mistreated because of their faith so I’m in good company.
St. Hildegard of Bingen –> Amethyst
Hildegard is by far one of my most favorite saints! She was a doctor, herbalist, composer, musician, writer, leader, and visionary. Hildegard was a master at so many things but I feel the deepest connection to her spiritual visions, prayers, and music, because of this I associate her most with Amethyst a crystal that has a high spiritual vibration. I use this when I’m struggling with my spirituality or simply want to enhance my spirituality.
There are only a few saints and crystal associations that I have. I might do another one of these. Also feel free to message me with particular saints and ask me what crystals I’d associate them with. Again this is just my own personal associations and if these don’t fit for you feel free to associate a different saint with a different crystal.
Happy Feast Day of Sts Perpetua & Felicity MARTYRS - March 7
“When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this vessel—waterpot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.’” So writes Perpetua, young, beautiful, well-educated, a noblewoman of Carthage in North Africa, mother of an infant son and chronicler of the persecution of the Christians by Emperor Septimius Severus. Despite threats of persecution and death, Perpetua, Felicity (a slavewoman and expectant mother) and three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus, refused to renounce their Christian faith. For their unwillingness, all were sent to the public games in the amphitheater. There, Perpetua and Felicity were beheaded, and the others killed by beasts.
A couple of reminders for 2010-11’s Second Year Confirmandi:
Make sure you get to Holy Spirit around (or before would be best) at 4:15 PM at the De Sousa House
Your sponsor should be with you to line up with the rest of your fellow Confirmandi. If not, make sure that if he or she cannot make it, so contact a WAVES and they will fill in if you’d like.
Ladies, make sure you wear appropriate clothing that is atleast down to your knees because I don’t think you want to show anything and wear comfortable shoes if you don’t want to trip on the alter.
Guys, dress up with a nice collar, slacks, and dress shoes. NO JORDANS/NIKES/VANS please.
Remember it’s your Confirmation, NOT a fashion show.
Keep track on where you are going and pay attention when you go in and out of the pews for to and from the alter. We don’t want any collisions this year!
Remind your Sponsor what your Saint name before s/he presents you at the Alter, unless you want to kneel there for awhile.
And if you want to take pictures, I want one please! :)
Anyways, you guys have made it! It was a two year journey for all of you. At first you guys were just kids from different schools who were forced to go there because your parents just left you there. Maybe some of you didn’t think of it this way. You guys bonded between classes and through retreats and became a family. And it’s an honor to see you all grow in faith in God and within yourself as well. I’m so happy and proud of each and every one of you. I love you all and see your beautiful/handsome selfs tomorrow. :)
They almost didn’t make it. The girls would have killed Barry if
they had missed the plane. But, as usual, he made it just in time.
thank God,” said Caitlin, standing up from her seat next to Ronnie and
putting her hands on her hips. “This neck pillow only lasts so long
before it deflates,” she continued, gesturing to the inflatable around