Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas, who was the Bishop of Myra. My favorite story from his "golden legend" is the one about him throwing bags of gold into the home of three young ladies who could not get married because they lacked dowries. Fisheaters summarizes the Bishop's life here.
I am fascinated by the whole custom of dowries and have been pondering lately if our culture would not be far healthier if we parents would convert from saving money for our daughters' college fund to saving money for their dowries. Actually, I've been thinking that when/if Emma marries, I would like to give her a start on a home library, a flock of laying hens, and the college fund cash! Then she'd be set, "cookin' with Crisco" even!
If she enters a convent, I'll keep the laying flock and books and give the dowry to the good Sisters.