An extinction event

The title might suggest a post on an impending asteroid strike on the Earth leading to a global extinction event. Most extinction events are but the last gasp of a species, one populous and now no longer found. Perhaps extinction events are less global and more continental, as in, there are no more here, but on that other continent there are survivors. Such events take more than a lifetime, most often, but not always. Continue reading

The Word of the Year: Gaslighting

Source: Merriam Webster “Word of the Year 2022

In this age of misinformation—of “fake news,” conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls,and deepfakes—gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time. A driver of disorientation and mistrust, gaslighting is “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.” 2022 saw a 1740% increase in lookups for gaslighting, with high interest throughout the year. Continue reading

John of Montecovino: Franciscans in China

Ideograms for Rabban Bar SaumaServant of God – John of Montecorvino
Franciscan and first Bishop of Beijing

Writing earlier about St. Francis Xavier, I was reminded about a Franciscan missioner, John of Montecorvino, whose feast was November 29. Mention John of Montecorvino and most people – even most Franciscans – will say “who?” John was the first Catholic missionary to China, centuries before the efforts of other Catholic religious orders. It is a compelling story.  If you would like to read an interesting and accessible account of the travel within the context of an art historian comparing 13th century Italian and Chinese art, read Lauren Arnold’s: Princely Gifts & Papal Treasures: The Franciscan Mission to China & Its Influence on the Art of the West, 1250-1350 – fascinating book.

Continue reading