My mother's "unofficial" birthday is today. She was actually born on December 30, but I didn't learn this until many years later when I saw her death certificate. I questioned my father about it, and he said she wanted her birthday to be New Year's Eve. So. And that's why I honor this day with one of the MANY religious personages she championed. Padre Pio (now Saint Pio) was a priest and mystic who became famous among American Catholics in the 1940s-1960s because of his bearing the stigmata, the marks of Christ's crucifixion. It's said by some that his stigmata actually bled, and his legend generated much interest and controversy. But evidently that didn't stop this Neapolitan family from erecting a somewhat startling streetside shrine outside their home in the center of the city. My favorite element: the two plastic bottles seen through the patio glass. Happy New Year! And Happy Birthday, Mom.