Saturday, 6 February 2016

Commemoration of Saint Dorothy

In the late 1960s someone decided she didn't exist, so her feast day was dropped from the General Roman Calendar of saints. But her bones lie under the beautiful altar of a church in Trastevere, so someone explain! Fortunately the Old Calendar goes with the Old Mass, and so today my delighted ears heard the old prayers to my saint ring out from the sanctuary.

Here's Father Hopkins on the subject of the girl saint so beloved by the English, and by many others too:

1. For a Picture of St. Dorothea
I BEAR a basket lined with grass;
I am so light, I am so fair,
That men must wonder as I pass
And at the basket that I bear,
Where in a newly-drawn green litter        5
Sweet flowers I carry,—sweets for bitter.
Lilies I shew you, lilies none,
None in Caesar’s gardens blow,—
And a quince in hand,—not one
Is set upon your boughs below;        10
Not set, because their buds not spring;
Spring not, ’cause world is wintering.
But these were found in the East and South
Where Winter is the clime forgot.—
The dewdrop on the larkspur’s mouth        15
O should it then be quench`d not?
In starry water-meads they drew
These drops: which be they? stars or dew?
Had she a quince in hand? Yet gaze:
Rather it is the sizing moon.        20
Lo, linkèd heavens with milky ways!
That was her larkspur row.—So soon?
Sphered so fast, sweet soul?—We see
Nor fruit, nor flowers, nor Dorothy.
See Notes.


  1. Happy feast! Which church in Trastevere?

    1. Oops, never mind; I checked the link.

    2. I try to go there whenever I'm in Rome. It's the most amazing thing being in the church of your patron saint, so close to relics of your patron saint!