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May 27, 2008



Seeing Bernini's charming elephant and the monumental sculpture of Pope Leo X reminded me that Leo owned a white elephant named Hanno, who was quite the celebrity in his day. He is also the subject of a lively history, The Pope's Elephant, by Silvio A. Bedini. I wonder if there's any connection between the Bernini and Hanno. Anybody know?
Also, the tomb of St. Catherine of Sienna reminds me of a time I was chatting with a very kind Dominican priest. When I told her I had seen the relics of St. Catherine, he smiled and asked, "Her body or her head?" (I had seen her head.) It struck me as a quintessentially Catholic remark, and it always makes me smile to remember it.

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