Mother’s Day Special: Mother Teresa’s Story

Mother’s Day is coming soon and it’s time to thank the female figures in our life. Celebrating the day doesn’t have to mean giving gifts to the woman who have given birth to us. I know I’ll be celebrating with my birth mom, but a mother could be anyone who you think has impacted your life and you think is special.

You don’t have to actually know them personally, which is what I’m going to be talking about. I’m talking about a woman that was thought of has a mother figure  to many people and even has “mother” in her name.

Mother Teresa was a catholic nun who founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation of women in the Roman Catholic Church that help the poor, according to Biography.com.

Mother Teresa or Agnes Gonxha Bojxaxhiu was born to Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia on August 26, 1910. The family was devout in the Catholic faith, so Mother Teresa grew up in the Catholic church.

Agnes Bojxaxhui was 18-years-old when deciding to become a nun and joined the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin. She was then called Sister Mary Teresa, which is after Saint Therese of Lisieux, a French Catholic Discalced Carmelite known as “The Little Flower of Jesus.”

Mother Teresa was “always her own person, starlings independent, obedient, yet challenging some preconceived notions and expectations,” according to Americancatholic.org.

In May 1931, She was sent to Calcutta, India to teach geography and history at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls, a school that the Loreto Sisters taught the city’s poorest families. According to Biography.com, She was on the train from Calcutta to the Himalayan when Jesus Christ told her to stop teaching and start helping the poor and the sick of Calcutta.

She couldn’t leave her teaching job right away because she took the vow of obedience. After a year and half of teaching and six months of medical training, Mother Teresa left the convent and into the Calcutta’s slums “to aid “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.””

The Order of the Missionaries of Charity first established a open-air school and a hospice that centered around the blind, aged and disabled from the slums. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Missionary developed a leper colony, an orphanage, nursing home, family clinic and mobile health clinics. In 1979, She was given a Nobel Peace Prize for all her humanitarian work.

Mother Teresa died in September 1997 in Calcutta. She was a “mother” who had a goal of helping as many people as she could. With a mother’s touch, she aided people that needed help and asked for nothing in return.

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

 

 

 

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Nursery Rhymes’ True Meaning

When I think about my childhood, I think about one particular book that I still have. I remember my mother reading the book to my sister and I.

It’s a book full of various Grime Brother’s fairy tales and nursery rhymes.

The Grime Brother’s tales are a little dark for a young child, so I naturally connected to the nursery rhymes and the songs that are tied to them.

The thing about the seemly innocent nursery rhyme songs is that there is a dark meaning to most of them.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Sample:

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

(Courtesy: Mary Mary Quite Contrary)

This nursery rhyme is about Bloody Mary. Yes, Bloody Mary, or Mary Tudor, was the daughter of King Henry the eighth and was the Queen of England from 1553-1558.

Queen Mary was a devote Catholic and wanted her subjects to follow the religion.

Queen Mary is known for torturing and executing over 300 of England’s citizens who were Protestants, people who follow a Christian faith that was against the Roman Catholic Church.

From the nursery rhyme, Silver Bells and Cockle Shells are torture devices that Queen Mary was known to use on her victims.

Silver Bells

Silver Bells

Cockle Shells

Cockle Shells

Ring Around the Rosey

Sample:

Ring around the rosy
A pocketful of posies
“Ashes, Ashes”
We all fall down

(Courtesy: Ring Around the Rosey)

This nursery rhyme is about the Great Plague of London from the 1300’s to 1665, which is also known as the Bubonic Plague or the Black Death.

Rats were the ones that caused the spread of the disease because the rodents had access to the water supply. Symptom of the plague is a red rash that is shaped like a ring on the skin and violent sneezing.

Over 60 percent of people were killed from the plague, so “Ashes Ashes” is a reference to the dead being cremated.

The only reason the Great Plague was wiped out was because of the Great Fire of London in 1666, which killed most of the rats that carried the disease.

To learn more about the fire, you can read it here.

Plague Doctor

1500’s Plague Doctor in “Bird mask”

Jack and Jill

Sample:

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

(Courtesy: Jack and Jill)

This is not about a boy named Jack and a girl named Jill falling down a hill.

Jack is a reference to King Louis the eighth when he got beheaded. The beheading happened during the Reign of Terror in 1793, which was during the French Revolution.

Jill is a reference to Queen Marie Antoinette, who was beheaded after King Louis. She was on trial and found guilty in the involvement of the Diamond Necklace Affair and sexually abusing her son, the dauphin.

Diamond Necklace Affair

Diamond Necklace

Troy University Traditions and History

This week’s blog post is about something closer to home…well, my home.

I am attending Troy University and I found out that Troy has some history and traditions.  Troy University was founded on February 26, 1887 and was called Troy State Normal School, where it was a place where students were being trained to be teachers for Alabama schools.

Troy is naturally an older school with a lot of traditions that have been built over the years and even some “haunted” places.

The Kissing Rock

On the main quad, there is a big, yellow rock between the McCartha and Bibb Graves buildings that is called The Kissing Rock. The tradition is that if a couple stands over the rock and shares a kiss, than they will have a long relationship.

In 1987, The Palladium, Troy University’s yearbook, even took a picture of one couple making a kiss agreement and sharing a short story about their love.

I just hope the rock actually works!

Sailing Course

On the north side of the campus, there is a large lagoon that once held a sailing class. Yes, in the summer of 1938, Lake Lagoona was where students could learn to sail for a grade.

I’m not sure how long that class lasted, but I’m sure that would be popular today.

Rosa Parks Library and Museum

Troy University has campus all over the world and there are actually three of those campuses in Alabama. There is a campus in Phenix City, Montgomery and Dothan.

Near the Montgomery campus, there is a Library and Museum dedicated to Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks Library and Museum actually got constructed where the December 1, 1955 incident happened, when Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat to a white man and was arrested for it.

Sorority Hill

I’m going to talk about a place that even kind of chills me.

It is not on the main campus, but is located at Sorority Hill on Elm Street. According to an article from the Tropolitan, the school’s newspaper, The Alabama Baptist Children’s Home sheltered orphans on Elm Street for decades.

There are rumors that some of the children died while staying at the orphanage. One of the rumors says that a child was killed in a bathroom at the building that known as Phi Mu house.

 Good Luck Memorial Plaque

This one took me forever to try and find.

At the newly built campus dining hall, there is a plaque dedicated to Foy Ingram Cummings. According to the Tropolitan, Cummings was a former professor for the department of education and psychology and was loved by the staff and the students she taught.

On the plaque is the face of her four grandchildren with a description that says, “Her love was her children.”

The faces have become a luck charm because students would rub their nose on the one of the children’s nose for good luck.

The plague was originally at the Trojans Center, but was moved to Foy Fountain on October 3, 2015 and the wish for good luck lives on.

If you would like to see what these places look like now, check out my slideshow video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwt31fPGvcA&feature=youtu.be

 

 

The Easter bunny History

This Sunday is Easter Sunday.

I thought I would talk about some belief history on the Easter bunny.

The Idea

The idea of the Easter bunny came to America by German immigrants that lived in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. The Easter bunny was a rabbit that laid colored eggs and was called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.”

The tradition is still somewhat the same, which is that the magical hare will leave decorative eggs to well-behaved children. Also, children would leave carrots out for the bunny on Saturday night so the hare could eat if he was hungry.

The Bible

There is no evidence that the Easter bunny is in The Bible, but the bunny is known to be an important symbol for Christianity’s Easter celebration.  Though, according to The Conversation, the Bible talks about hares being unclean animals.

The Verse:

“And the hare, because he chewth the cud, but divideth not the hoofs; it is unclean unto you.”

Weird Facts

The Easter bunny is known to represent fertility and new life, which leads to some weird facts on the holiday hare.

The mother of Jesus, Mary, has been companies with the Easter bunny because of the connection of virgin birth. Hares can produce another litter while pregnant with the first litter of offspring.

There is also a weird case about a woman named Mary Toft, who was reported to have given birth to a litter of rabbits in September, 1726, but it was later known to be a hoax.

The Easter bunny might also be associated with the Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess Ostara. According to Encyclopedia Mythica, Ostara had her bird changed into a rabbit that laid brightly colored eggs. Ostara also is known for giving gifts to children.

Conclusion

There will be a lot people this year celebrating Easter, so that means the Easter bunny will play a part in many homes.

 

Fires of the World

This is the first day of spring, so that means the earth is going to get warm.

I want to be talk about what is hotter then spring weather, which is four of the worlds biggest fires. Of course there have been more record-breaking fires in the world’s history, but I can only fit in four.

Before the elevated emergency system we have today, any human errors that involved hot coils could spark great fires.

This is evidence, according to Toptenz.net, when a maid forgot to take out the fire in a baker’s shop in London the year of 1666. At the time, most of London’s buildings were wooden, which helped make the fire so legendary.

It was not London’s first fire, but it was the fire that was the welfare of England. The Great Plague was sweeping over London and the great fire caused a sort of sterilization to the city.

Another great fire of  world’s history is the Chicago fire of 1871. I learned about this incident when I was high school in which I learned what a scapegoat was.

The fire did start in a barn owned by the O’Leary, but there is no evidence it was caused by a cow knocking over a lantern that was left in the barn.

According to Toptenz.net, a reporter said it was a cow that knocked over the lantern to make it a colorful story, but it also made the O’Leary’s the scapegoat. In the end though,  17,000 structures were burned to the ground and 90,000 people homeless.

There was a huge earthquake before the great inferno in Tokyo, Japan in the year of 1923. According to Toptenz.net, this fire had the greatest lives lost because about 38,000 people were caught in a firestorm-induced fire whirl.

Finally, a fire of great lengths broke out closer to home. In Helena National Forest in Montana, a fire broke out around noon on August, 1949.

According to foresthistory.org, the fire at Mann Gulch killed 13 smokejumpers, which also led to the growth of fire research and firefighters renewed the techniques and equipment for the national park.

There is a lot more history on fires, so even if someone questions your Google search, check out more!

 

 

The Dancing Plague of 1518

People love to dance.

There have been many movements that were started by dance moves. Dance gives people a chance to express themselves.

What happens though when people dance so long that they die?

In 1518 in Strasbourg, Alsace, people danced for one month straight without sleeping. Many of them died from heart attacks, strokes, and exhaustion.

It started with one woman.

Frau Troffea stepped into the Strasbourg streets and began to twirl and sway. According to Mental_Floss.com, she danced by herself for six days and had a fever of 103.

According to History.com, about dozens of Strasbourg’s people soon joined in. The number grew and grew, and about 400 people joined in about the end of August, 1518.

Dance can uplift the spirits, but dancing for a month without stopping caused most of the people to have series of heart attacks and strokes. Plus, as you can guess, the dancing plague caused exhaustion.

During the plague, the growing number of people dying caused medical and civic authorities to the streets.

According to Historic Mysteries.com, the diagnosis was more dancing and a stage was even built, so musicians can perform for the dancers.

To learn more about theories that might have caused the Dancing Plague, check out my soundcloud that continues this story.

 

Cold War’s Tiny Voice: Story about Samantha Smith

Could just one little girl stop a war? I say, yes.

During the Cold War, there was a lot of finger pointing and threats about a nuclear war between the Americans and the Soviet Union, later known as Russia.

It goes back to World War II, when the Soviet Union and America were part of the Axis powers, but it was a love-hate relationship. According to History.com, American’s feared Joseph Stalin’s way of running a country, which ended pretty bloody, and the Soviets didn’t like that the United States never wanted to see Russia as the ultimate country.

Now, the Americans feared that Soviet Union will try and rule over the world after the fall out during the World War II.

Where does a little girl work in all of this?

Samantha Smith was just an 11-year-old girl from Manchester, Maine. She loved playing with her dog and roller skating.

In 1982, Smith asked a question to her mom.

A quote from samanthasmith.info:

“Actually, the whole thing started when I asked my mother if there was going to be a war.”
Smith wrote in her book, “Journey to the Soviet Union.” “There was always something on television about missiles and nuclear bombs. I remembered that I woke up one morning and wondered if this was going to be the last day of the Earth.”

Samantha was not an alone in wondering this, but she did something that made her to be the most famous little girl at the time.

She wrote a letter to the newly appointed CPSU General Secretary, Yuri Andropov. (Basically, a Russian leader.)

In the letter, according to this, Smith congratulated Andropov for the new job and asked if there was going to be a war between America and the Soviet Union. In April 1982, Smith got a phone call from a United Press International reporter talking about actually sending her letter to Russia.

Not long after the letter was sent, Smith received a letter back from Yuri Andropov himself inviting Smith and her family to visit Moscow.

The Americans ate up the situation. People were scared about a possible war and here comes a normal little girl being a pen pal with a powerful leader.

On July 7, 1983, the Smith family flies to Moscow and becomes Andropov’s personal guest for two weeks. Samantha Smith came back to America as “American’s Youngest Ambassador.”

She continued to be an activist as she also traveled to Japan and became a media celebrity in 1984.

I have some sad news though…

On August 25, 1985, Samantha Smith died in a place crash. She was 13-years-old.

She died very young, but she did what most Americans wanted to do during the Cold War, which is to not be scared and find an answer to why there was a cold war.