" We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified. "

Back in the day


Pope Benedict XV Canonizes Joan of Arc as Saint

Joan of Arc was a French military leader and heroine. Inspired and directed by religious visions, she organized the French resistance that forced the English to end their siege of Orléans in 1429 and secured the coronation of the dauphin, later Charles VII of France. Captured and sold to the English by the Burgundians, she was later tried for heresy and sorcery and was burned at the stake in Rouen. How old was she when she died?



The Vampire Fish of the Amazon

The candirú is a parasitic freshwater catfish typically found in the Amazon River. The translucent, eel-shaped "toothpick fish" is reputed to be the most feared fish in the river and earned this distinction because of its proclivity for attacking and entering the human body via any available orifice, especially the urethra. The creature has protruding spines which make it nearly impossible to remove from the body without surgical intervention. How does the fish locate its human host?

Born on a day like today


Pope Innocent XI

Innocent XI was elected to the papacy because of his purity of character and unselfish and openhanded benevolence. His election was opposed by Louis XIV, with whom he had a long, bitter quarrel over Gallicanism, a Roman Catholic tradition of resistance to papal authority. As Pope, he passed strict ordinances against nepotism among the cardinals and lived very parsimoniously, exhorting the cardinals to do the same. What were the Gallican Liberties?

Last updated on Friday, 16th May 2008

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