Friday, October 29, 2010

The Saint

Some people are declared saints by the Catholic church, and some consider themselves to be saints. The latter designees usually come equipped with their own criteria as to why they are a saint. This can make for some interesting people, who if they're not psychotic might prove approachable and willing to explain how their sainthood came about.

It turns out one such individual drew attention to himself by advertising in the NYT that he was now entering his 49th year of sainthood. He gave his name, and his address, an apartment house in Manhattan on the West Side, uptown, but not all the way up.

He placed the ad on August 30th, a tombstone ad that appeared on page B7, in the lower right hand corner. Even in my house, we no longer have the paper for August 30th stacked up in the garage, despite this only being near the last day of October. The retention policy has changed a bit.

It turns out Corey Kilgannon wrote in the October 14th NYT edition a thoughtful piece on the self-proclaimed saint, Anthony Carpentier. Given the time between August 30th and October 14th, one can assume the ad may not have been noticed right away. No matter.

Without taking too much away from the piece, we learn Mr. Carpentier is basically a lapsed Catholic who claims to have seen a vision of Jesus while in the hospital 49 years ago for a stomach ailment. He recounts other lifelong events that he considers proof of being a saint.

The reporter weaves in some other claims by Mr. Carpentier. He received $535,000 for being a holdout tenant in the Windermere apartments; he is helping a friend, who happens to be Jewish, with his medical bills for his cancer treatments.

There's more, and the story is worth reading. What's left out of the story is why Mr. Carpentier chose to announce his sainthood the way he did, or if he's been doing it annually and now finally someone noticed. E-mails to Mr. Kilgannon have gone unanswered.

Luckily for Mr. Carepntier the reporter does not print his full West 108th Street address. He says it was in the August 30th ad, but prudently leaves it out. Digital searches don't dredge up ads, and damn if I can find the paper.

A man who claims to have gotten $535,000 and is currently living in a rent-subsidized, one-bedroom apartment, claiming to be a saint, could certainly attract a flock of faithful if they could find him. He's already received at least one visitor.

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