Letter: St. Nicholas is worthy of celebration
December 6 is celebrated as St. Nicholas Day in much of the world. I'd like to take a moment to remind folks that this man, born around 275 AD, in what was then Greece and now is part of Turkey, was known for his passion to protect those in need. He would have been with us on the Women's March! His Bishop's hat turned sideways would have been shaped much like the knitted pink kitten-eared hats many wore.
One of my favorite stories of his generosity and compassion is of his support of women's rights. In those days the parents of a young woman, being too poor to pay a dowry for her to get married, would sell the young woman into slavery or prostitution. Nicholas, at that time a monk, used the money he inherited when his parents died in a plague to help those in need. The story tells of St. Nicholas throwing gold into the shoes of poor young women as they dried on the hearth (some say down the chimney, some through an open window), so they would have the opportunity to have a dowry rather than being sold and losing their freedom. My how women's rights have evolved over the centuries! But compassion and generosity as virtues remain!
So, on December 6, the day of St. Nicholas' death, take a moment to celebrate the man who, today would be standing in solidarity with those of us who support human rights and compassion for those in need. (Check out stnicholascenter.org for more history.)
Brattleboro, Dec. 4
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