Silly me–I was racking my brain for a date idea, completely oblivious to the fact that it was All Hallow’s Eve! I’ve always loved dressing up! And I love the idea of celebrating All Hallow’s Eve as the vigil of All Saints’ Day (and All Soul’s Day, since the two go together)–the All Saints’ Day equivalent of Christmas Eve. I’d collected a bunch of ideas years ago, so I went to my stash & sent my prince an email at school (work):
Hi Precious :),
Since our date falls on All Hallow’s Eve, let’s take our own advice &
reclaim the night :). I’d like to pray for the holy souls in a cemetery if
we can manage while one is still open (preferably before dark–
maybe old St. Hedwig’s?).
Please dress as a saint (your cassock should give you plenty of options ;))
& be prepared to tell your story so I can guess who you are!
We’ll go from there :).
God bless 🙂
I then cobbled together some “soul cakes” (normally these are donuts but we can’t have those, so I made some donut-shaped oat shortbread),
put together a quick costume & composed the following clue:
I must pass through the door of the dead tonight
all bedecked in my finery best
so to keep sacred tryst in the forest
with a saint and his brotherhood blest.
I was dressed in my best, holding a palm (it’d been folded into a cross) in one hand and pebbles in the other.
As soon as my date arrived, we headed for the cemetery (some close at nightfall) & on the way I recited my clue. He knew right away that I was St. Clare (my favorite saint!). On Palm Sunday morning, Clare had remained behind in her pew when everyone else processed forward to receive a palm. The bishop had personally come to her & handed her one (hence my palm). It’s thought that this was his sign of approval for the plan she & St. Francis had worked out for that night. Then, when everyone else was asleep, she’d dressed in her best & passed through the door of the dead, the door of an Italian home which was only used when carrying out corpses–once you passed through that door you never returned (it had the added advantage of being unguarded, but since it was so rarely used it became a sort of storeroom, with all sorts of stuff piled in front of it–people later said Clare must’ve had supernatural strength to have gotten enough stuff out of the way to have opened it at all!). She met up with a chaperon in the street, and hurried to meet St. Francis and his friars, who were awaiting her with lighted torches in the forest. They led her to the Portiuncula, where St. Francis cut her long golden hair, received her vows as the first Poor Clare nun (they were called the Poor Ladies at the time), gave her a rough habit to wear and took her to the local Benedictine convent for her novitiate (the story goes on from there). The pebbles I carried represented the fact that as a child, St. Clare would count her Pater Nosters (Our Fathers) on pebbles (the rosary as we know it hadn’t been developed yet).
So…that was my costume and my story.
When we arrived at the cemetery, we walked in a little way and named a little litany of the people we’ve known or heard of who’ve died over the past year or so: my prince’s principal, a friend’s father, fellow parishioners, priests, students’ parents…a longer list than I’m used to! We prayed the traditional
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
by the mercy of God, rest in peace
and my prince recited the de Profundis (Psalm 130–I knew a slightly different translation & joined in falteringly).
I love the fact that, as a Catholic, cemeteries are friendly places, not scary ones. This is holy ground, specially blessed as a resting place for those who’ve gone before us.
Once we returned, my prince changed into his cassock & surplice and posed with a crucifix, saying that he kept his eyes downcast, the better to see the things of Heaven.
I’d sort of figured he’d dress up as St. Aloysius Gonzaga (one of his favorite saints)!
We ate by candlelight (atmosphere :)) made popcorn (like the clouds of Heaven?) and then went right into a saint scavenger hunt. I had a long list of saint symbols & wanted to see how many of them we could find around the house.
I got pictures of some of them:
Peter, Zita, Genevieve: keys
Martin de Porres: broom
Brigid of Kildare, Perpetua & Felicity: cow (loose next to the road on our way to & from the cemetery!)
Rose of Lima, Therese of Lisieux: rose (on the garland in the doorway & on the mini rose plant my prince got me a while back)
Vigilius of Trent: shoes
Teresa of Avila, Anne, Anthony of Padua, Augustine of Hippo, Boniface, Bridget of Sweden, Catherine of Alexandria, Ignatius of Loyola, Isidore of Seville, Jerome, John the Evangelist, Lawrence of Rome, Luke, Mark, Oda of Scotland, Paul the Apostle, Ursicinus: book
Urban of Langres: grapes
Alfred the Great, Catherine of Alexandria, Catherine of Ricci, Dymphna, Elizabeth of Portugal, Gertrude of Nivelles, Helena, Louis IX of France, Oda of Scotland, Sebastian: crown
Mark, Daniel, Ignatius of Antioch, Jerome, Vitus: Lion
Philip Neri: cat
Blaise, Genevieve: candle
Peter, Vitus: rooster
Elizabeth of Hungary: pitcher
John the Evangelist: kettle
Ambrose, Augustine of Hippo, David of Wales, Gregory the Great, John Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, Zachary: dove
Augustine of Hippo, James, son of Zebedee: shell
Bartholomew the Apostle: knife
My prince tired of the game before I did,
so moved on to pray the Dies Irae (his choice of translations) & talk a bit about Heaven.
I trust the Holy Souls in Purgatory benefited :).
I did :).