The Story of My Avatar Instead

I need to try one more suggestion from the nice people at to see if it will fix the strange, somewhat embarrassing “Likes” problem this blog is having (mentioned in earlier posts). Whenever I publish something, my internet avatar magically appears, indicating I liked my post, even though I didn’t hit the “Like” button.

Out in the world, President Lysol (aka The Toddler) is doing everything he can to help corporate America while forcing workers to stay at their jobs in meat plants. Here instead is the story behind my avatar.

When we were fortunate to visit Rome some years ago, we spent an afternoon at the Vatican. Walking around St. Peter’s, I was struck by a particular statue. It’s not a well-known work of art and depicts a saint who I don’t think is very well-known either: Saint Veronica. (Let’s say she isn’t well-known in my circles.)

From Wikipedia:

Saint Veronica, also known as Berenike, is a celebrated saint in many pious Christian countries. [She] was a woman of Jerusalem in the first century of the Common Era, according to extra-biblical Christian sacred tradition [meaning she doesn’t seem to be mentioned in the Bible].

According to Church tradition, Veronica was moved with sympathy when she saw Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha and gave him her veil that he might wipe his forehead. Jesus accepted the offering, held it to his face, and then handed it back to her—the image of his face miraculously impressed upon it. This piece of cloth became known as the Veil of Veronica.

The statue was sculpted by Francesco Mochi (1580-1654). Wikipedia indicates it’s his best-known work, but also tells us “his reputation for bitterness and irritation regarding the overshadowing of his career [by other sculptors] significantly decreased the number of commissions he received”.


I immediately liked it (although at first, demonstrating sheer ignorance and/or a lack of perception, I thought it depicted a young man with long hair). There was something compelling about Veronica’s posture, her flowing robes and the expression on her face. Thus, Mochi’s sculpture eventually became my avatar, here enlarged (notice the simple, unimpressive rendering of Jesus’s face on the veil):

filename-img-6705-jpg cropped

One more thing about Veronica’s veil from a site about St. Peter’s Basilica:

The crusaders brought a “veil of Veronica” to Rome from Jerusalem. It was highly venerated, especially during the Middle Ages and was mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy (Paradise, XXXI, 104) and in the Vita Nuova (40,1).

Plus one more thing from the same site regarding Francesco Mochi and his sculpture:

This work received much criticism because of the excessive motion, which was not suitable for the subject or the location. [It] was the brunt of shrewd anecdotes. So it was said that when Bernini [Mochi’s famous competitor] asked where such wind came from that moved the clothes of the Saint, Mochi answered sarcastically: “from the cracks that were opened by your ability in the dome [referring to the unfounded rumor that Bernini had accidentally caused some damage to St. Peter’s].

So we can add sarcasm to Mochi’s bitterness and irritation.

PS: As you can see, the fix worked. I had to stop following this blog, which I started doing months ago to see the email WordPress generates when I publish something. Why this recently became a problem is still a mystery. Alas.