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Not your arm rest.

In January Angele Regnier flew across Canada with an unlikely travel companion: the severed right forearm of St. Francis Xavier.

Regnier, cofounder of Ottawa's Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO), brought the incorrupt relic on a 14-city tour as part of CCO's national university student movement. St. Francis Xavier, who came to faith in college, is their patron saint. The relic is normally housed in the Church of the Gesu in Rome, but Regnier received special permission to travel with it around Canada.

Flying with an incorrupt relic, however, was more difficult than Regnier expected. She didn't know what to do with the foamlined duffel bag holding the relic. "We can't put it underneath. We can't even put it in the overhead bins. Like, he has to have his own seat," she told CBC. "You're trying to explain this to Air Canada. We need to book a seat. He is a person in a way, but it's not a person, it's an arm."

Message in a bottom

Like most churches, the Church of St. Agueda in northern Spain has a statue commemorating Jesus at the crucifixion. Unlike most churches, it's more than just a statue: It's also a time capsule.

Gemma Ramirez, a preservationist with the Madrid-based group Da Vinci Restaura, began working on the centuries-old statue after it starting cracking and coming loose from its cross.

While working to preserve the statue, Ramirez found something unexpected in its backside: two handwritten letters from 1777 by Joaquin Minguez, a chaplain from the Burgo de Osma cathedral. In the letters Minguez mentions Manuel Bal, the statue's creator, and shares facts about life in 18th-century Spain, from popular crops to common diseases to political leaders.

Historian Efren Arroyo told Spanish newspaper El Mundo that Ramirez's discovery is important because it's uncommon to find artifacts hidden inside church statues (especially in their backside).

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Title Annotation:catholic tastes; travelling with St. Francis Xavier's incorrupt forearm and church statue as a time capsule
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 2018
Previous Article:Earthly wisdom.
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