Galileo, king of night vision

I found this really interesting article on the domestic life of Galileo today.

Did you know he had three illegitamate children?

And that his two daughters become nuns?


Granted “discerning a vocation” back then sounds like it was a lot different than it is now, since he put them in a convent since they had no future to marry as illegitimate offspring.   A convent was pretty much their only hope at a decent life.

Still.  The man portrayed in this article doesn’t sound like the man I learned about from MY history books, a man the Catholic Church brutally beat down to get him to stop talking about that stupid rotational theory of yours. I’d think a man that had had that happen to him would have grown bitter.  Instead he loved his Church until the end.

I liked this last quote,

Just that he didn’t have to stop being a Catholic to do what he did. The image of him that I formed as a schoolchild was the modern myth—that he put all that religion and superstition behind him and became the first modern scientist. Well, that’s not exactly right.

Throughout his life, he expressed his love of the Church, his belief in God. What does he say when he makes this fantastic discovery with the telescope, when he finds the moons of Jupiter? He thanks God for making him alone the one person in all of history who was the first to see them and know about them.

So in this extraordinary moment of realization, it’s also a prayer—a prayer of thanksgiving.

Sounds like a pretty cool guy, who was pretty patient while the whole world was trying to figure out this science thing, huh?

Another reason to read up on both sides of the story.

2 thoughts on “Galileo, king of night vision

  1. Indeed. His is the hero of many modern Christian scientists as God is the center of his search into science. I love a quote of his that I have on the banner of my blog. He managed to hold to biblical literalism and said that his astronomical findings showed simply a different way of viewing the text.

  2. Actually, I did know that he had two daughters who became nuns. One of them kept a diary that’s been translated into English (and probably many other languages), and I have it, and (like most books I read) am only part of the way through it. (Actually, I was reading it, like, two years ago, so at this point, I should probably just start over. I was reading it at the same time as Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain, which is pretty outstanding. Did I ever tell you the story of when this singer dude told me he wanted to “read” w/ me?)

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