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Monday, October 12, 2009

Isabella's Day

This is the day the U.S. observes Columbus Day. While there are at least 12 states that do not recognize the holiday, those that do face a growing controversy concerning the day as one of celebration. Since the late 20th century, it's been hard to ignore the resurfacing of some of the true character of Columbus the man concerning his views and treatment of indigenous peoples in parts of the Americas. At the same time, there are many for which the day is not just a mere "celebration" of a man but a time to honor the Age of Discovery and even ethnic pride (for Americans of Italian descent).

However, contemporary opposition to the the observance of the day is nothing new. There has been resistance to Columbus Day celebrations since the 19th century. Although there were similar concerns of today, a large aspect of the objections then was because Columbus was a Catholic. There were fears that celebrating a Catholic would help American Catholics take over the country!

Whichever part of the scale you're on - the celebration of the European discovery of America, wanting to end a day that glorifies conquest and genocide or all the rest that falls in the middle - this day is a good prompt to remember something better.

As Catholics, let's remember the great Queen Isabella the Catholic. At the least we should pray that the unjust smearing of this great monarch's historical reputation is finally put to rest; at best, pray for and take up the cause for her canonization.

Beyond her famous, almost mythical, foresight in financing Columbus's voyages, she was a devoted wife and incredible mother that made sure her daughters were well educated along with the promotion of education for women. She united Spain and was a more capable ruler than her king husband. Her piety was known to be sincere, she was a great defender of the faith and a great champion of justice.

Mere short paragraphs can't even begin to properly introduce the greatness of Queen Isabella. For good information about Isabella and her cause for canonization, visit the Queen Isabella the Catholic website. Also visit the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on her. If interested, check out the Daughters of Isabella, once a local auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus and now one of the largest Catholic Women's organizations in existence.


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