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St. Aphrodise

Tonight the program began with a reflection at the RSHM Mother House around a small fountain in a courtyard area within the house (sorry no picture...I forgot my camera's memory chip). The fountain is fed by a natural spring.

During our conversation after reflection and prayer, Sister Bernadette spoke about St. Aphrodise, a Bishop of Beziers during Roman times. His death is quite a legend and, well, shall we say graphic.

Although the legend has changed over the years, this is the tale as it has been now for centuries. St. Aphrodise was an Egyptian who heard of Jesus's miracles and went to Palestine to meet him. After finding Jesus, Aphrodlse became a disciple receiving the Holy Spirit at the Pentacost. He went to France riding a camel to evangelize and moved into a cave near Beziers, living like a hermit, along with, of course, his camel. After becoming Bishop of Beziers, he was decapitated by a group of pagans, along with his companions, on the street now known as Place Saint-Cyr, the site of a Roman circus used for gladiators' fights.

His head was kicked into a well, but the water gushed out and the decapitated St. Aphrodise picked up his own head, and carried it through the city. Townspeople spilled snails on the road and St. Aphrodise stepped on them without breaking one. Several men taunted him, calling him a madman and a few other choice terms, I'm sure. They were miraculously punished by being turned into stones (exemplified by the seven stone heads on the Rue des Têtes, "the street of the heads").

Aphrodisius then took his own head and left it at the cave where he had lived earlier in his life. On that spot a basilica named for him now stands, very near the RSHM Mother House.

After St. Aphrodise died, his camel was taken care of by townspeople. When he was recognized as a saint, the city's leaders took responsibility for its care and gave it a house of its own to live in. The street, after the camel’s death, was named "rue du Chameau" ("Camel Street").

Tomorrow we have a tour of the Mother House, learn more about Fr. Gaillac and Mere St. Jean, the cofounders, and walk around Beziers, attending Mass at Les Penitents.

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Reader Comments (2)

Hello Dave,

Great blog site! Fantastic. I will now look forward to seeing your blog. Best of luck on your trip. I look forward to the next blog.


June 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterD. Munoz

Yes, I remember St. Aphrodise. I hope you are enjoying Beziers. Isn't wonderful?

June 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

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