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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I apologize in advance if this one's been asked before, but is there a patron saint of video games or something similar? I like to try and see Truth in those things, and sometimes like to design, and I'm curious whether there's any particular saint you would recommend for that media of the venture of co-creativity.
Interesting. I've seen some video games.

Huh...  hmmmmmmm....

Can't quite get there, myself.  But I'm not you.

I understand that there are quite a few kinds of video games, from Pac-Man and the rather innocuous Mario Brothers, to the elaborate war games and role playing and general gory mayhem of Resident Evil 1 through 20.

I am really hard pressed to find capital "T" Truth in there anywhere. I supposed it's nice that the Princess gets rescued.  Good for her.  Good for Luigi and whatever the other one's name is.  (Oh, wait...is it Mario?  Or is that their last name?  They are the "Mario Brothers", so it must be their last name, unless the one guy is "Mario Mario".)

On the other hand, here in the Los Angeles area, the "collateral damage" of gang killings, the innocent bystanders that are gunned down, used to be called "mushrooms", after things that are in the way in Marioland, things that are blown up or otherwise removed without thought.

I suppose that's not the game's fault.  Certainly the widely accepted term "collateral damage" is no worse than "mushroom".

Still...Truth.  Not seeing it.

There is a game called "Halo".  I don't think any angels or saints are involved, but I actually don't know anything about it.  I know it's very popular.  Which leads me to further believe no angels or saints are involved.

I have a saint for you, though.  St. Catherine of Bologna.  Not the sandwich meat.  The town in Italy.

Catherine started out living in luxury, the daughter of a diplomat and eventually an aide to a princess, but she gave it all up to go live with the Poor Clares.  That went so well for her that she founded her own Poor Clare monastery and she was the head nun in charge for the rest of her life.

That's because she was informed by visions of Jesus and the devil. So our St. Catherine is a mystic saint, in other words, a person who is communicating with Heaven.  She was a writer and a painter. How's that for co-creativity?

Now, there are a lot of saints who qualify on these terms. The four Evangelists certainly spring to mind.  And our friend from yesterday, Fra Angelico.
The reason I landed on St. Catherine B. is that she also wrote a book that just seems to me to be something a person who is heavily involved in video games should have. Her book is called
 "The Treastise on the 7 Spiritual Weapons Necessary for Spiritual Warfare".

I happen to know that one of the things that happen in these games is that you have to collect weapons along the way.  So there you go.

St. Catherine was buried without a coffin.  The Poor Clares take the "poor" part very seriously.  A sweet aroma arose from her grave and miracles were occurring, so 18 days after her burial they dug her up. Her body was incorrupt after 18 days unprotected in the ground.  They sat her in a chair, where she remains today, although, as you can see, the "incorrupt" part didn't really take.

I also recommend St. Clare, the patron saint of television and couch potatoes and St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of the weight endowed, just in case you have unwanted side effects.


Claudia said...

Honestly, I do not think enough time has passed in this decade for anyone to have lived, died and be consecrated and elevated to sainthood to be the patron saint of video games.........

Monica said...

you know, Saint Matching is so much more fun with you! We do it every year with the children (a patron for the year, and a time to get to know a new saint), but my husband and I do the selecting and don't have as much fun with it as you do. We'll work on that come January!

Matthew Zwilling said...

You know, you CAN find Truth in video games. Don't know about the distinguishing characterstics of truth/Truth... but anyway.

Video games are art just as much as music and film. Each venue has its own properties that make it artistic. In video games I think particularly of Shadow of the Colossus. And with art you can always find some sort of truth.

But yes, I understand that Mario has no real deep meaning. But it is fun and allows a person to relax. It is simply a form of leisure.

Anonymous said...

I literally laughed out loud when I read the part where you wrote:

The Poor Clares take the "poor" part very seriously.

Some of them do - in fact, most of them may. But the Poor Clares around my neck of the woods are "affectionately" known around here as the "E" Clares - "E" for extravagant. Ours ride around in a limo and are often seen "antiquing." True to their vow, they do not individually own anything outright, but it belongs collectively to the order. Pretty nifty, eh?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Monica, it is a hoot Saint matching with you. They need you on the Board in Rome! Not only are you fun I learn a lot from you.
Thank you. Say hi to Sister St. Aloyius and Sister Mary Fiacre(if you think she will notice).

God bless us all.

jeliecam said...

Add us to the list of people who enjoy YOUR saint matching.
St. Catherine of Bologna fits the bill for video game creation, and she also knew all about princesses.

Anonymous said...

Finding Truth depends on the video game. Legend of Zelda is all about Wisdom, Power, and Courage and doing good and fighting evil. Other video games are effected by moral choices. My sister tells me that Bio-Shock has a very anti-embryonic stem cell research message. Though you can harvest cerebral fluid from mutant children and become a villain, you can also, instead, choose to defend the children and get the "Good" game ending, which is all about the world returning to goodness and normalcy and about the lonely main character finding love and belonging. Not all video games are about mindless gore :)

Anonymous said...

Poor Clares riding around in a limo?
Shouldn't the headquarters of the order rein those "E Clares" in? I'd say they're giving scandal to the faithful and ammunition to the anti-Catholic segment of society. Doesn't anybody take their vows seriously today?

Today is October 15, the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila. She liked to have a good time but she would straighten those sisters out on what is and is not appropriate behavior for women religious. St. Teresa had to deal with some frivolous nuns back in her day, too, after conquering her own frivolity.

St. Teresa, pray for us.


Anonymous said...

Katie - the problem STARTS at headquarters, i.e. the motherhouse. After the U.S. visitation, Rome started trying to reign in some of the more extravagant ones. At one of the most well-known houses, the superior has "gone on sabbatical" and a Benedictine has been placed in charge. Another Benedictine has been given charge of the formation of the novices. Hmmm. Do cloistered nuns "go on sabbatical?" We do need to pray to St. Teresa of Avila (although she is a Carmelite) for the reform of religious who have strayed from the spirit of their foundress. St. Clare is 'rolling over in her grave' at the current "interpretation" of the vow of holy poverty by some of her spiritual daughters. Let us always keep in mind that this life is short. It's the next life that counts!

mps said...

I'm shocked that St. Catherine is displayed in that state. Is her display really necessary, especially now that her body is not so incorrupt as it once was.

Thursday said...

Not every game has deep meaning, some are quite blasphemous, but there are a few out there that are surprising in their message. Bioshock was mentioned before, and while it does have the anti embryonic stem cell message one could argue the theme of the game overall was a rejection of self centeredness and selfishness as Andrew Ryan was clearly intended to be a satire of Ayn Rand and Objectivism as a whole. Aside from that I also remember an old favorite from 1994, earthbound. the game to this day still has a strong fan base. the story is told in a humorous way, but downright serious when it came to it's central themes. The final battle in particular stands out as a stunning example in which the final and ultimate villain in the game is encountered. he is described as the embodiment of evil by his underlings, and the battle with him becomes literal spiritual combat as the only way to defeat him was to use one character's (up until that point random) option to pray. the game ends in a massive intercessory prayer until the final boss becomes unstable and is destroyed. Likewise the follow up mother 3 has a central theme that without ruining any of the story culminates in a struggle to forgive your enemies even while they are beating the snot out of you. while not explicitly christian games per say, the mother series has been one of the most enduring and popular examples of what a game can be when it expresses a timeless truth. The medium itself is still young but with a proper writer and scenario planner onboard great things can be dome with it. there are other examples out there but I thought I might just add those in there