Isn't there a prayer called the "White Paternoster"? I don't know
what it is, though.
As Susan Kerr mentioned, I only saw the reference to placing the St.
Benedict medal on doors and windowsills from someone who was selling
one on eBay.
I believe that in (semi-)modern times, the cross that one makes by
folding and tucking a Palm Sunday palm-leaf blade is supposed to be
placed over one's door. I also know about a few *non*-sacramental
objects such as rowan twigs. I'm curious about any *medieval*
practices of placing sacramental objects for protection over doors or
Also, the same seller on eBay mentioned that one should be sure to
have sacramental objects "re-blessed" after one buys them, since they
"lose their blessings when they are sold." I *think* this is a
(mis?)interpretation of the canon law ruling that says blessings and
relics cannot be bought and sold. I've noticed other eBay sellers are
often careful to say that what buyers are bidding on is a reliquary;
the relic inside is a gift. (And of course still others ignore the
issue altogether.) There is, BTW, a thriving modern market on eBay in
reliquaries and similar artifacts.
Does anyone know if the current prohibition on selling relics dates
from after Martin Luther?
Sherry Reames wrote:
>I'd love to know more about where you encountered the practice of using a
>medal of St. Benedict to guard the entrances to a house. This reminded me
>irresistibly of a passage in Chaucer's "Miller's Tale" that I always
>thought was just poking fun at the superstitions of John the rich, ignorant
>carpenter (who is about to be cuckolded by the clever clerk who rents a
>room in his house). When John thinks Nicholas the clerk has been bewitched
>or possessed by an evil spirit, he makes the sign of the cross over him and
>then tries to protect the whole house by saying this "night-spell" on all
>four sides of it and also on the threshhold of the outer door:
> "Jhesu Crist and Seint Benedight,
> Blesse this hous from every wikked wight,
> For nyghtes verye [or nerye], the White Pater Noster.
> Where wentestow, Seint Petres soster?"
>Most editors have concluded that the last two lines degenerate into mere
>gibberish, but the first two--with the invocation of Benedict as
>protector--are quite clear. Is this just a coincidence, or are the
>beliefs of John the carpenter still with us in the 21st century? --And why
>St. Benedict in particular? Does anybody have a good theory about this?