12 November 2004

Northern lights

I have seen the aurora borealis only once in my life. In 1978 I had just started a master's programme at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. At the beginning of the year the entire community would go on a retreat to a monastery north of Toronto, near King City. One evening, while there, we were treated to a magnificent display of the northern lights. As we were far enough away from the city, there was no light pollution to obscure it. The date was 28 September. When we awoke the following morning, we discovered that Pope John Paul I, né Albino Luciani, had died overnight after only 33 days on the papal throne. An odd coincidence, to be sure.

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