Weeping Woman

This barefooted woman draped in a long vestment, with locks of hair falling within her hood, leans forward, hands covering her eyes as she weeps. I find this image to be the epitome of grief. There are few of us who have not felt the depth of this woman’s grief, the total despair and heartbreak.

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“The grief within me has its own heartbeat. It has its own life, its own song. Part of me wants to resist the rhythms of my grief, yet as I surrender to the song, I learn to listen deep within myself” ~ Alan Wolfelt

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Source: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/138696863495067199/

The tomb at which the woman weeps is located near the top of the Cimitero delle Porte Sante, in Florence, Tuscany, Italy.

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A gravestone is propped against the exterior of the tomb. I have not been able to find an image that clearly identifies all the details inscribed on the stone. From the few words that are decipherable it would appear that the inscription is in memory of Giovanni, a student who died suddenly of a disease.

An identical statue is also seated beside a sealed tomb in Vvedenskoye Cemetery, Moscow. She weeps through Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

The Weeping Woman appears again seated beside the grave of the family Neumanow in the Evangelical Cemetery in Warsaw, Poland .

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Double Headed Eagle

The most recognized Freemason symbol is the square and compass with the letter ‘G’ in the middle.

This double-headed eagle symbol represents the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. With wings spread to give flight, one head looks back to see where you have been and the other looks ahead to see where you are going.

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The number 32 inside the triangle represents the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite known as the Master of the Royal Secret.

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The Latin motto, Spes mea in Deo est, means My hope is in God.

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Who Was Maggie Wall?

There is an interesting 20 foot high monument located near Dunning in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. It isn’t interesting because it is attractive, far from it, when you view the large stones bound together with iron fetters, and a dedication handwritten in white paint. The interest lies in its history, and the memory of a woman named Maggie Wall who was burned as a witch in 1657.

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Creative Commons License, Gordon Brown. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Memorial_to_Maggie_Wall_-_geograph.org.uk_-_226732.jpg

In fact, there is no record of a Maggie Wall existing or being burned as a witch. Meticulous notes were kept of witch burnings which were rampant in Scotland during the 17th and 18th centuries. Scotland has the unenviable title of being the biggest persecutor of witches with over 4000 alleged witches put to death. The rite of burning usually meant that the woman was strangled before being burned at the stake on a pyre of coal and tar. Six witches were accused in the parish of Dunning; Issobell Goold, Agnes Hutsone, Anna Law, Issobell McKendley, Elspeth Reid, and Jonet Toyes who was the last woman burnt as a witch in Scotland for using her daughter as a flying horse. It is feasible that the monument was erected as a memorial to all the persecuted women accused of witchcraft.

The monument is located on the former parklands of Duncrub Castle, seat of the Rollo family. During the 18th century plans of the Duncrub Estate identify a field with a stone perimeter called Maggie’s Walls. In 1866 a place named Maggie Walls Wood appeared on the ordnance survey map, and it is at this time that the monument appears in records.

So, many questions remain:
Is this the actual site of a witch burning?
If a follower of Satan was burned and died here, why is there a Christian cross atop it?
Who built the memorial?
Who regularly paints the inscriptions on the stones?
And most interestingly, as this story and memorial appears to be fake, why was it recorded as a Category B Historic Listed Building in 1971?

The Blind Evangelist

This gravestone located in Newington Cemetery, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh celebrates the Reverend Archibald Turnbull who was a blind Evangelist. He died in Dalkeith on Christmas Day 1927 when he was 80 years old. An inscription memorializes his memory, He Served His Lord In Darkness, Light Denied, But Now He Serves Before The Shining Throne.

His wife, Elizabeth, and children are also remembered on the stone. Elizabeth died the year before her husband when she was 78 years old. Sadly, their children died before them in early adulthood. James was only 16 years old and their daughter 25 years old when she passed.

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Rev. Archibald Turnbull, known as the Blind Evangelist, was a member and proponent of the Temperance Movement. In Nov 1883, Rev. Turnbull conducted a grand Blue Ribbon meeting in the primitive Methodist chapel in Shildon, Northern England where 45 signed an oath and 100 people donned the blue ribbon badge. The Blue Ribbon was a symbol worn by those who pledged abstinence from alcohol consumption. It was inspired by a verse from the bible Numbers 15:38-39; “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments, throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them.

Shickluna Memorials

This memorial located in Victoria Lawn Cemetery, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada is in remembrance of three young children. They are the offspring of Joseph & Mary Shickluna and grandchildren of the celebrated Louis Shickluna.

Myra was born and died in 1879, Thomas (Tomey) Shickluna was born in 1875 and died on 28 August 1879 from acute dysentery. Leo also died from acute dysentery a few days later on 2 Sep 1879.

The memorial shows 3 young children seated around a lamb, a common symbol on the graves of children.
Myra aged 6 months Tomey aged 4 years Leo aged 15 months
Children of Joseph & Mary Shickluna

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Weep not for me, dear parents dear.
I am not dead but sleeping here.
My glass is run; My age you see.
Wait but awhile and follow me.

The patriarch of the Shickluna family in Canada was Louis Shickluna who was born in Malta in 1808 into a family of shipbuilders. He emigrated to North America disembarking in Quebec and moving to the United States where he was employed as a ship construction worker in Youngstown, New York State. In 1835 he visited his family in Malta, probably to claim his inheritance from his wealthy parents. In 1838 he moved to Ontario, Canada to pursue opportunities with the recently completed Welland Canal at St. Catharines and became one the city’s most notable citizens with a reputation of being a skilled shipbuilder, constructing over 140 vessels including snub-nosed schooners designed to make maximum use of the canal locks, barkentines, steamers and other vessels designed primarily for service on the Great Lakes. He is recognized in Canada’s Maritime History and his story is detailed in a plaque unveiled on November 29, 1979 on Yates Street, St. Catharines, Ontario.

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A prominent Canadian shipbuilder, Shickluna was born in Malta, where he worked before emigrating to North America disembarking in Quebec. By 1835 he was engaged in ship construction at Youngstown, New York. Three years later, attracted by the traffic stimulated by the Welland Canal’s completion in 1833, he purchased a shipyard on the Canal at St. Catharines. Shickluna steadily expanded his operations, which contributed significantly to the commercial prosperity of the region. Between 1838 and 1880 he directed the construction of over 140 schooners, barkentines, steamers and other vessels designed primarily for service on the Great Lakes, thereby promoting the development of inland navigation in Canada. Following Shickluna’s death, his son, Joseph continued to operate the St. Catharines shipyard until 1892.

Due to failing health and rheumatoid arthritis he left the shipyard to his sons. Following his death in 1880, (he is buried in Victoria Lawn Cemetery, situated beside Welland Canal in east St. Catharines) his son, Joseph, continued to operate the St. Catharines shipyard until 1892.

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Louis Shickluna’s grave alongside the memorial to his grandchildren who died the year prior