a convergence of tea time thoughts for ladies

Galileo’s Daughter

imageHere’s the book- Galileo’s Daughter written by Dava Sobel.    It’s a book on Galileo’s life with letters weaved through the book from his first daughter  Suor Maria Celeste.  These letters are the most interesting part of the book since she lived in a convent  since she was 13.    Life in the early 16oo’s… that is why I wanted to read the book.  The Black Plague came through too which took the life of his son’s wife.

What was she like?  Suor Maria Celeste was a wonderful lady, resourceful and committed to her family (father, brother, sister and nieces and nephews)   She made pills and salve  (wonder what she put in her salve!) and assisted the sick nuns in the convent too.  She made an electuary( medicine to take orally in a syrup or sweetener of some kind)  of dried figs, nuts, rose leaves and salt  for her father.  Sounds like something you’d get in the health food store.

The convent everyday life included each nun  having special duties that lasted 1 year long.  Someone was in charge of the wine cellar;  in charge of  the keys.  The linens had to have some one in charge of  making sure they were bleached and washed.  For one whole year someone was in charge of the marketing for the meals and that person had to make up the difference with her own money if things were needed.

Below: Nuns  wore brown  from the order that Marie Celeste were from as in this photo.   The convent of San Matteo near Arcetri was the one Galileo’s two daughters lived in since they were 13 yrs old.


Below- convent where Maria Celeste lived!


http://www.flickr.com/photos/claudiodelfuoco/5447261489/  Here is a link to a photo of  sour maria Celestes’s convent- photo used by permission of Claudio Delfuoco.   The name  Galileo’s daughter was born with was Virginia, but Maria Celeste was her nun name.  She took the name Celeste  in honor of her father studying the stars and planets which I think is very clever of her and a good way to honor her Dad!

You could rent a room to yourself if you were a nun there and the money helped the running of the convent and if you couldn’t rent, then you were in one big dormitory with the rest.     The priests that said confession  and what ever else they did, I don’t know; maybe said the mass, they were not always paid so they stopped in for meals and tried to get lady friends.   I’m sure it was discouraged but at one point the nuns didn’t want these kind of men around, so they had to appeal to someone to get decent and better  priests to take their place; such is life.

imageHe was good to his 2 daughters in the convent, always sending them things they needed… even money.  There was a time when the oldest daughter, the one who wrote him and had  a closer relationship with father  than her younger sister did, needed money to secure a room of her own, the rented out ones at the convent.  Father came through and sent her the money. 

He created the telescope, wrote a book on how the  Earth revolves around the Sun, and  created the military compass.  Brought up before the crazy Catholic  authorities who thought they were God, Galileo was under house arrest in Rome   for publishing the fact that the Earth revolved around the sun.     Can you believe i? He had to kneel down and say some things to the Catholic  council.

Humorous part of the book:

The start of the 30 yr. war was underway, so Galileo’s daughter in law, maid  and children had to come and live with him for a year to get out of Germany to be safe.    Galileo finds his household a little too loud for him and retreats to some friends house for a while. 

Question- What do you think Galileo wore in his garden?  He liked to garden .

Answer-   A brown leather apron that his daughter had to mend from time to time.   I imagine a big leather apron like a blacksmith would use.

imageWould it have looked like this?


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