“Shh. Here it is. Here is what disobedient Novices must wear.” The Las Viudas Cilice is a device suggested by Jesuit practice, worn secretly, impossible, once secur’d, to remove, producing what some call Discomfort,— enough to keep thoughts from straying far from God. “If God were younger, more presentable,” murmurs Crosier, “we’d be thinking about Him all the time, and we shouldn’t need this,—” her Gaze inclining to the Hothouse Rose, deep red, nearly black, whose supple, long Stem is expertly twisted into a Breech-clout, to pass between the Labia as well as ‘round the Waist, with the Blossom, preferably one just about to open, resting behind, in that charming Cusp of moistness and heat, where odors of the Body and the Rose may mingle with a few drops of Blood from the tiny green Thorns, and Flashes of Pain whose true painfulness must be left for the Penitent to assess… Of course, this is all for the purpose of keeping her Attention unwaveringly upon Christ. “Considering what Christ had to go through,” Jesuits are all too happy to point out, “it isn’t really much to complain about.”
—Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon.