22 April 2012

"Torturesome" shoes

This evening I finished reading Pilgrimage & Exile: Mother Marianne of Moloka'i.  Despite the title, the book focuses moreso on the people, places, and events surrounding Blessed Marianne than it does on the heroic woman herself.  Nonetheless, I think it is worth a read if you are interested in the woman who will be canonized on October 21, 2012.

Among the more memorable parts of the book is a description of the clothing worn by the Hawaiians in Honolulu to Mass on Christmas Day in the 1880s.  Sister Bonaventure, one of Mother Marianne's Sisters, recorded the following: "I believe most of them had on shoes, but as a general thing most of them go barefooted" (99).  The authors of the book add the following comment: "Not only the high cost of shoes, but also the acute discomfort of having to wear them, made sensitive Hawaiians avoid those Haole [white foreigner] inventions on ordinary days.  But Christmas Day, being a most special feast day, brought them out in all their torturesome finery."

Frankly, I agree with those Hawaiians' assessment of shoes.  I've never liked them and kick mine off at every chance I have.  "Torturesome" seems a perfectly apt description for them.

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