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  #1  
Old Oct 3, '10, 10:42 pm
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goforgoal goforgoal is offline
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Default Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

This question may have been asked before but I'm curious were there any Saints or even Popes who struggled with their weight? Over-weight? Under-weight?

I read somewhere on CAF that St. Clare of Assisi died from anorexia nervosa.

I've also read that St. Anthony of Padua was over-weight

http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/...opic=3201351.0

Thank you and God bless,
goforgoal
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  #2  
Old Oct 4, '10, 12:45 am
OrdinaryMelkite OrdinaryMelkite is offline
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Default uestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goforgoal View Post
This question may have been asked before but I'm curious were there any Saints or even Popes who struggled with their weight? Over-weight? Under-weight?

I read somewhere on CAF that St. Clare of Assisi died from anorexia nervosa.

I've also read that St. Anthony of Padua was over-weight

http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/...opic=3201351.0

Thank you and God bless,
goforgoal
Interesting Question.

The One Saint that immediately pops into my mind is St. Thomas Aquinas, who was grossly overweight.

Could be said to have had an eating disorder.

You know the story about Aquinas?

He supposedly was granted protection from the Seven Deadly Sins by an Archangel. Unfortunately, he was holding some sort of Food (some say a piece of bread) in his hand when he was given the "immunity," so he was left defenseless against the sin of Gluttony.

Could be (if true) the reason he could not control food intake throughout his life.
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  #3  
Old Oct 4, '10, 3:08 am
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Default Re: uestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrdinaryMelkite View Post
Interesting Question.

The One Saint that immediately pops into my mind is St. Thomas Aquinas, who was grossly overweight.

Could be said to have had an eating disorder.
Theough I dont the name of the pope, there was also a Pope who was morbidly obese. Hi name is Pope Paul II. Ironically enough he died while munching on some watermelons


Quote:
You know the story about Aquinas?

Hehe, good ol' Tommy A, I glad I choose him as my patron saint
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  #4  
Old Oct 4, '10, 10:56 am
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Default Re: uestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrdinaryMelkite View Post
Interesting Question.

The One Saint that immediately pops into my mind is St. Thomas Aquinas, who was grossly overweight.

Could be said to have had an eating disorder.

You know the story about Aquinas?

He supposedly was granted protection from the Seven Deadly Sins by an Archangel. Unfortunately, he was holding some sort of Food (some say a piece of bread) in his hand when he was given the "immunity," so he was left defenseless against the sin of Gluttony.

Could be (if true) the reason he could not control food intake throughout his life.
Could it be that St. Thomas Aquinas suffered from hypothyroidism?
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  #5  
Old Oct 4, '10, 11:04 am
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JimR-OCDS JimR-OCDS is offline
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

Pope John XXIII was over weight.

St. Francis of Assisi probably died of malnutrition from the amount of fasting he did.

St Teresa of Avila and St. Theresa of Lisieux both had tuberculosis. I believe St. Theresa attributed it to the poor diet they had in the convent.



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  #6  
Old Oct 4, '10, 11:07 am
Pregustator Pregustator is offline
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

Pope John XXIII was obese, not merely overweight, as was Aquinas (as someone has already pointed out).

Saints and popes have come in all shapes and sizes.
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  #7  
Old Oct 4, '10, 11:30 am
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

Pope Leo X was morbidly obese, and renowned for his lavish and extravagant lifestyle.

One point of view (at least the view espoused by the 12-step tradition such as AA), is that addictive behavior, such as an eating disorder, is the result of a lack of a proper relationship with God.
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  #8  
Old Oct 4, '10, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

God bless you for your answers they are all very interesting. Yes, I totally agree that our Popes, Saints, and so forth come in all different shapes and sizes.

I saw a photo of Blessed Mariam Baouardy. she looks a bit over-weight.

Rhoda Wise, appears a bit over-weight as well.

I recall seeing a black and white photo of a nun, she is smiling, and she's a bit over-weight. I'm not really sure if she has been canonized as a saint yet and for the life of me I can't remember her name? It's not Sr. Lucia either.

I'm no doctor nor anything to do with medical but I do know that even over-weight people can suffer from malnutrition and dehydration.
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  #9  
Old Oct 4, '10, 5:47 pm
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CB Catholic CB Catholic is offline
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

I read a biography of St. Catherine of Sienna. She fasted severely and got to the point where she could no longer eat. She would vomit if she did. She did partake of the Eucharist. She was extremely wasted-looking and died an early death in her early thirties, probably of starvation. Yet she had a certain obsession with food, and would cook large and tasty meals for her large family. The author presented evidence that she was probably anorexic, and that this was not an unusual condition among religious women in her time period, as severe fasting was a popular spiritual discipline, but after a while some could no longer control it.
I borrowed the book from our church library, and no longer have it, so I can't give the name or the author, but the author was very sympathetic to Catherine and admired her, she was not dealing with the anorexia in a negative way, or trying to picture the Saint in a negative light. It was just the facts. St. Catherine probably starved herself to death from anorexia nervosa.

Also, being overweight in times past did not have the stigma it has today. In past times being overweight was often considered a sign of good health--you weren't starving to death, and also a sign of prosperity--only the prosperous could get enough to eat to get fat, usually. That's why in the old masterpiece paintings you see so many overweight women--that was the ideal and considered attractive. Ideal body size is often culturally conditioned.
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  #10  
Old Oct 4, '10, 6:55 pm
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goforgoal goforgoal is offline
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CB Catholic View Post
I read a biography of St. Catherine of Sienna. She fasted severely and got to the point where she could no longer eat. She would vomit if she did. She did partake of the Eucharist. She was extremely wasted-looking and died an early death in her early thirties, probably of starvation. Yet she had a certain obsession with food, and would cook large and tasty meals for her large family. The author presented evidence that she was probably anorexic, and that this was not an unusual condition among religious women in her time period, as severe fasting was a popular spiritual discipline, but after a while some could no longer control it.
I borrowed the book from our church library, and no longer have it, so I can't give the name or the author, but the author was very sympathetic to Catherine and admired her, she was not dealing with the anorexia in a negative way, or trying to picture the Saint in a negative light. It was just the facts. St. Catherine probably starved herself to death from anorexia nervosa.

Also, being overweight in times past did not have the stigma it has today. In past times being overweight was often considered a sign of good health--you weren't starving to death, and also a sign of prosperity--only the prosperous could get enough to eat to get fat, usually. That's why in the old masterpiece paintings you see so many overweight women--that was the ideal and considered attractive. Ideal body size is often culturally conditioned.
Very interesting and thank you for sharing this. It's funny how times have changed about ideal body size.

Perhaps if you look at these list of books from wiki it will ring a bell?

Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa, Joan Jacobs Brumberg (Vintage; Subsequent edition, October 10, 2000)

Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women, Caroline Walker Bynum (University of California Press; New Ed. edition, January 7, 1988)

Holy Anorexia, Rudolph M. Bell (University Of Chicago Press, June 15, 1987)

From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The History of Self-Starvation, W. Vandereycken (NYU Press, July 1, 1994)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorexia_mirabilis
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  #11  
Old Oct 4, '10, 7:31 pm
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goforgoal View Post
Very interesting and thank you for sharing this. It's funny how times have changed about ideal body size.

Perhaps if you look at these list of books from wiki it will ring a bell?

Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa, Joan Jacobs Brumberg (Vintage; Subsequent edition, October 10, 2000)

Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women, Caroline Walker Bynum (University of California Press; New Ed. edition, January 7, 1988)

Holy Anorexia, Rudolph M. Bell (University Of Chicago Press, June 15, 1987)

From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The History of Self-Starvation, W. Vandereycken (NYU Press, July 1, 1994)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorexia_mirabilis
I read some of the articles in Wiki--very interesting. One of them pointed out the same things the author of the biography wrote about (actually it was a psychiatrist she was referencing, who had studied St. Catherine's case) and that was her family history and relationship with her mother that perhaps was at the root of this anorexia. In any case, I believe the book was titled Catherine of Siena.
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Old Oct 5, '10, 7:49 am
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

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Originally Posted by CB Catholic View Post
I read a biography of St. Catherine of Sienna. She fasted severely and got to the point where she could no longer eat. She would vomit if she did. She did partake of the Eucharist. She was extremely wasted-looking and died an early death in her early thirties, probably of starvation. Yet she had a certain obsession with food, and would cook large and tasty meals for her large family. The author presented evidence that she was probably anorexic, and that this was not an unusual condition among religious women in her time period, as severe fasting was a popular spiritual discipline, but after a while some could no longer control it.
I borrowed the book from our church library, and no longer have it, so I can't give the name or the author, but the author was very sympathetic to Catherine and admired her, she was not dealing with the anorexia in a negative way, or trying to picture the Saint in a negative light. It was just the facts. St. Catherine probably starved herself to death from anorexia nervosa.

Also, being overweight in times past did not have the stigma it has today. In past times being overweight was often considered a sign of good health--you weren't starving to death, and also a sign of prosperity--only the prosperous could get enough to eat to get fat, usually. That's why in the old masterpiece paintings you see so many overweight women--that was the ideal and considered attractive. Ideal body size is often culturally conditioned.
There are other issues with St. Catherine of Sienna that I won't get into here.

However, we must understand the historical context which formed the mind-set they had.

What they saw as illness was crosses sent by God to purify them, rather than the result of their poor diets.

The thing is, their love for God was so intense, that all of their desire was to align their will with God's, and they did it through the understanding they had at the time.

I think this is what Teilhard De Chardin wrote that just as humans evolved biologically, they also evolve spiritually.

Jim
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  #13  
Old Sep 12, '11, 7:52 pm
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

St Anthony of Padua may have been overweight at an early point in his life. I have read that towards his death he was thin from fasting and labor.

Regarding Thomas Aquinas.... He may have been an overeater. But he also did exercise daily by walking (which was probably him just thinking while walking anyway). He was a phlegmatic (like me), and this temperment has problems with overeating, because they get bored and sad. Or it could have been his body type. In some pictures of Padre Pio, he seems to have a slight "beer belly." Yet he didn't eat enough to keep an infant alive.
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Old Sep 13, '11, 1:59 am
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

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St Anthony of Padua may have been overweight at an early point in his life. I have read that towards his death he was thin from fasting and labor.

Regarding Thomas Aquinas.... He may have been an overeater. But he also did exercise daily by walking (which was probably him just thinking while walking anyway). He was a phlegmatic (like me), and this temperment has problems with overeating, because they get bored and sad. Or it could have been his body type. In some pictures of Padre Pio, he seems to have a slight "beer belly." Yet he didn't eat enough to keep an infant alive.
Thank you and God bless you for this explanation.

I've seen some beautiful icons of St. Anthony of Padua over-weight or who knows maybe at the time he was a healthy weight.

Yes, I happened to notice that too about St. Padre Pio

I must say that is really interesting about St. Thomas Aquinas he was over-weight yet he enjoyed going for daily walks and yes I do most of my thinking, brainstorming, coming to a conclusion while walking and yes I also do a bit of Praying so the next time I go for a walk I'll be thinking and asking for the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas.

I don't mean to go off topic but someone started a thread on "What is your temperment?"

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=547411

If you're wondering I did take the test for the "fun of it" and it turns out I'm in between Phlegmatic and Melancholic.

I know I asked this question about a certain Saint I was wondering about well her name is St. Julie Billiart now that I think of it she isn't all that chubby at all but some how she reminds me of my (maternal) Grandmother.

Could it also be the Artists imagination? I've seen Fernando Botero an artist who will paint or make sculptures using exaggareted over-weight people...He has painted a beautiful picture (in my own opinion that is) of St. Rose de Lima chubby.

Once again thank you and God bless,

goforgoal
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Old Sep 13, '11, 2:44 am
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Default Re: Were there any Saints or even Popes who had eating disorders?

I'm sorry I dont really have any information....

but regarding the Saints who ate very little.. I think we should be careful saying they suffered from anorexia. Just my opinion. Fasting as a penance is different than anorexia which is often related to body image and perceptions of self. And since some Saints were able to survive on only the Eucharist.. the points to the miraculous as well, in those cases.
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