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A farewell to arm: Francis Xavier’s forearm to go on tour

Public Domain
Glory of St Francis Xavier by Rubens (1617)
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From the CBC in Canada:

Angèle Regnier says travelling the country with the 465-year-old severed right forearm of St. Francis Xavier will be “like doing a road trip with a friend.”

“I mean, I know it’s bones, but connected to that is a living friendship with St. Francis Xavier,” Regnier, the co-founder of Ottawa’s Catholic Christian Outreach, told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.

“I’m sure there’ll be a lot of interesting conversations as we go around.”

Regnier will accompany the sacred Catholic relic from Rome to Ottawa before embarking on a 14-city tour of Canada from Jan. 3 to Feb. 2.

“We’re very nervous, first of all, of exposing it to the cold of Canada. I enlisted some women to make me a coat for him you know?” Regnier said.

Fortunately, she said the church has provided her with a duffel bag lined with foam specifically made for transporting the relic.

“In the end, I don’t think I need to make him a parka,” she said with a laugh.

The saint will, however, get its own seat on the flight.

You can’t just toss the arm that baptized over 100,000 people into the cargo bay and hope for the best.

“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 said.

“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.”

Regnier also had to get official paperwork from Italy and clear her plans with the airline ahead of time.

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