Saint Joan of Belrose

Several moons ago now my mama was having a problem with her middle toe, which had developed a hankering for far horizons and was trying to take off in completely another direction from the rest of the little piggies. “Cut it off!” her doctors decreed as I marvelled – not in a good way – at a medical fraternity that views amputation as a first line solution. They call it debriding, she told me sagely, as the feminist in me raged. Of course they do. Degrooming would be a far better use of language.

Only months earlier as we were driving to my son’s graduation, Mum had casually mentioned that she had fervently believed herself to be the reincarnation of Joan of Arc as a teenager. Raised by nuns in an austere boarding school that St Jacki was later expelled from for setting the science labs ‘accidentally’ alight, it made a little sense. Her faith and connection tethered her to forces greater than her reality. Truth be told, it made my heart soar. Maybe we both are, I suggested. Oh no, she told me with significant side eye, I’m Joan.

With an upcoming trip to Europe on the horizon, I suggested that she make a manky toe pilgrimage to the sacred sites of the female saints – those with all their toes – and touch her rebellious member to their magic. Especially Joan, her kin and a saint with whom she had already spent quality time revering / being.

Unfathomably she baulked and opted for a successful surgery that left her with all her toes, so much the better to trot around Europe with. I have no doubt aided and abetted by our lady Joanie, part of the family now which frankly explains a great deal about the women within it.

This morning in Paris, at Joan’s sacred altar in Notre Dame, my mama lit a candle for me instead and another for my aunt whom we still miss so much. A sacred blessing I woke to from across the seas, from both the St Joans, that now sits around me like a glittering shawl. I highly recommend having yourself a saint for a mother.

In the face of lost hope or Saturn induced blues, I hope today is too a blessing for you, darklings. Light a candle to guide your way through the darkness. And failing that, I’ll be sending my blessed blessings you way.

What is to give light must endure burning.
~ Victor Frankl

Words c. Kerrie Basha, 2018