Friday, October 22, 2010

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month--in which we remember and pray for all the women who suffer from this disease, and their families as well.

How can we, on this blog, take up the challenge to honor and encourage these women? Many of them are so heroic in their courage!

I think we will draw on the memory of Agatha, that 3rd century Sicilian martyr, whose torture by the Roman authorities included the cutting off of her breasts. She is an inspiring figure because--like so many other martyrs--she triumphed over her suffering through her faith in God. (We'll return to her on Feb. 5, her feast day.) This is why, in Christian art, Agatha is always shown carrying her breasts boldly on a platter, as in this great painting by Zurbaran. (It is perhaps useful to explain that there is a long tradition, in Christian art, of showing the martyrs cheerfully displaying the instruments with which they were tortured and/or the parts of their body in which they suffered--this, to demonstrate that they rose above that suffering; they are not victims but victors.)

What shall we eat for this commemoration--and to remember Saint Agatha? I vote for foods that remind us of the breast and of Agatha's--and many women's--triumph over suffering!

I propose, for our main dish, ravioli (flat on the bottom, rounded on the top) with Pink Sauce. If you are feeling ambitious, here is a lovely recipe for Lobster Ravioli with Pink Sauce.

For dessert--keeping to our pink theme--how about a nice mound of strawberry ice cream with a strawberry on top?

And let's all raise a glass to the endurance and courage of all these women--and the families and friends who cherish and support them!

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