Sunday, January 15, 2017

Rome - Cochin, India - Rome

January 15, 2017 Peace and Good, This past week I was in India for an extraordinary chapter of that province. I was with two other friars from Rom: fr. Benedict Baek, the Assistant General for Asia and fr. Wojciech Kulig, the exactor general (financial office for the Order). We were dealing mostly with economic issues and how to help the province become more autonomous financially. They are only ten years old as a province so they are still going through a lot of growing pains, but things are on the right path. This was my first time in India. The weather was not all that bad, mostly in the 70's. The facilities were quite nice. The food was great. It is quite spicy, but I don't mind that at all. The friars were very good and the meeting went quite well. I assisted by giving a spiritual talk at the beginning and preaching each day at Mass. The trip was quite long, about three hours from India to the Gulf States and another six hours from there to Rome. I arrived home on Friday just in time for a meeting of the definitory. It was only two hours, but we had to get together to take care of some business. Yesterday and most of today were spent trying to get over jet lag which has hit me quite a bit this time (especially given that I had a change of ten and a half hours going from the US to India and then four and a half hours change coming back to Rome. I think my body is not quite sure if I am coming or going. Today we head over to the Seraphicum, our International Faculty, to begin a week long meeting for the new provincials, custodes and secretaries of the jurisdictions of the Order. There is only one person present from my federation, so it should not be too heavy of a week for me. It ends on Friday and on Saturday I head back to Great Britain to finish off my visitation there. I have to see Manchester, Liverpool, Aberdeen and then back to London. I have finished some reading: Alif the Unseen by C. Willow Wilson Alif is a teenage computer hacker in one of the Gulf States in Arabia. He is half Arab, half Indian. She hosts radical sites and protects them from the attacks of a shadowy figure named “the hand.” He comes across an old book of tales that was supposedly written by a jinn (what we call a genie). He uses it to produce a computer code that is based not an analog system of two choices, but rather has many nuances and twists and turns. He uses this in his battle with the hand, but ends up tortured in prison before the end of the story. This book reads a little like a story from Aladdin, but much modernized and set in the political world of the modern mid-east. It is a bit slow at the beginning, but it draws you in little by little. The Wipeout Gene by Bijal Trivedi How can one fight the mosquito that spreads a terrible disease like Dengue Fever which is found in many tropical countries throughout the world. It’s nickname is bone-breaking fever for how one who is infected feels. A second episode can lead to a much more serious version which can lead to death. This story tells of an experiment to genetically alter mosquitoes so that treated males mate with untreated females, and the females that she produces are incapable of developing wing strength to fly. They sit on the water and die, and eventually this leads to a plummeting of the population of that particular variety of mosquito in that region. It also speaks of ethical and political questions of releasing a genetically altered insect into the environment. 24 Hours by Greg Iles A team of kidnappers takes the child of a doctor once a year in an almost fool proof plan. They take the daughter of a famous doctor and both the wife and husband fight back. They are dealing with a man who not only plans to kidnap the daughter but also kill her, for the gang leader blames the doctor for the death of his mother during an operation (when it was not). The story is quite good, filled with action. Target Tokyo: The Story of the Sorge Spy Ring by Gordon Prange This was a topic that I always wanted to read about. A soviet spy set up a spy ring in Tokyo just before the outbreak of World War II. He was able to obtain invaluable information for the soviets in his unofficial job in the German Embassy. He warned Stalin about the coming German invasion, and also informed him that Japan did not plan to attack the Soviets, thereby freeing up the Siberian troops that turned the Germans back at the gates to Moscow in the first year of their invasion. He was eventually caught and executed with his greatest collaborator, a Japanese man who had good access to the leaders of Japan. Innocent III: Leader of Europe, 1198-1216 by Jane Sayers Innocent III was the pope who approved St. Francis’ way of life as a Friar Minor, so I wanted to read this biography. Much of it deals with his dealing with the Holy Roman Empire and its claimants to its throne. He is also knows for his work in codifying canon law. He proposed crusades against the Muslims in Jerusalem (leading to the 4th crusade in which the crusaders attacked Constantinople and not the Muslims), against the Moors in Spain, against the pagans in the Baltic area, and against the heretical Albigensians in southern France. He was a basically good man, but very active on the world scene. He continued to foster reform in the Church, especially concerning the conduct of priests and the sacrament of reconciliation. This was a good book. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Friday, January 6, 2017

Rome - Ellicott City - Hartford - Totowa - Ellicott City - Rome

January 7, 2017 Peace and Good I have been in Ellicott City, the provincialate of OLA province, for the past couple of weeks. It has been a time with a few meetings, but mostly to decompress before my next trip. Yesterday I flew back to Rome and today I fly out to India for a meeting. During my visit to the States, I visited one elderly friar near Hartford, he is 97 years old, and he asked to speak with me. It was a truly beautiful visit. I think that he is getting ready to meet our Lord, and he wanted to talk over a couple of things. I got to see some of our older friars at the home where he was staying. There are five friars there, in the Felician Sisters motherhouse in Enfield, CT. I also visited my publisher during this visit. He has asked me to do a small number of projects which are the type that can be done in small doses. That is all I can do for them at this time with all the travelling that I am doing in these days. When I flew into Rome, we flew into one of the strongest winds that I have ever landed in. The plane was shifting here and there on the way down, but when the wheels hit the runway, it was as if we had hit a pause in the winds. This time I was a bit of a courier coming back, bringing back a number of things for various friars including a book scanner for our archivist. That last item was quite heavy and I was worried that I might have difficulties in customs, but everything went well. I finished some books: The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid A body is found in a bog in northern England. It has tattoos similar to those used by sailors who traveled to the south seas during the 18th century. Could this be the body of Fletcher Christian from the mutiny on the Bounty. Furthermore, a scholar searches for a lost document by Wordsworth, a relative of Christian, about the mutiny. A number of murders occur which are all tied in. This is a good “who done it.” Bomber War: Arthur Harris and the Allied Bomber Offensive 1939-1945 by Robin Neillands Arthur Harris is famous for his incredibly destructive bombing of the cities of Germany during World War II. Was he a war criminal, or was he simply trying to win a war the only way he knew how. He was the proponent of the theory that carpet bombing alone could win the war, something that proved very wrong. Nevertheless, the author is quite sympathetic to Harris and what he airmen did during the war. The Fleet that had to Die by Alex Hough Early in the 20th century, the Japanese empire attacked Russia over territory in China and Korea. Japan won an early victory, devastating Russia’s Pacific fleet in a surprise attack. This is the story of the fleet the czar sent from Europe to fight a second battle. It was a hopeless enterprise, something that even the fleet commanders seemed to have realized. Nevertheless, they were faithful to their commitments. SMr. Nhem’s Genocide Camera by Lauren Quinn The author travels to northern Cambodia where a man wants to develop a park dedicated to the mass murders conducted under the Khmer Rouge. The problem is that the village where he will build it was, in fact, the refuge of many of Khmer Rouge murders themselves, including the infamous Pol Pot. The developer comes up with incredibly impossible projections of how many tourists will want to travel from Angor Wat to his theme park. Faster, Higher, Squeakier by Michael Behar This is a science story about a man who has found various chemicals that can short circuit the mechanism that stops the growth of mitochondrial energy producing entities in the cells. When they are used on mice, even mice that were incredibly fat and lazy, the mice lose weight and are able to exercise more than a mouse that normally exercises. Could this be a way for people to be able to get fit without exercising themselves? Nothing to fear: FDR’s inner circle and the hundred days that created Modern America by Adam Cohen This is an overview of the team of experts who helped FDR to prepare his hundred days project in order to address the banking crisis and the unemployment of the depression. The book is well written, and it shows that FDR was an incredibly flexible mind (for both the good and bad meaning of the phrase). While he began the process trying to cut the federal budget, he ended up creating projects that were incredibly expensive but also incredibly effective. I have heard in recent years that FDR’s projects didn’t really help end the depression. That is partially true, for the depression only really ended with World War II, but at the same time the initiatives that FDR and his team dreamed up were effective and helpful. Hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Friday, December 23, 2016

Rome - Geneva - Rome

December 23, 2016 Peace and Good, I have been in Rome for these past couple of weeks for our definitory meeting. The meeting in December always seems to go on forever, and this year was no exception. It seems as if things develop over the fall, and they have to be decided before the end of the year. The meeting went well, but it was very, very long. As I have written before, every time one of us takes a trip, we give a report on it - so the discussion involves all of the situations all over the world. On Wednesday I took a quick trip up to Geneva to help write several documents for Franciscans International. In theory, this could probably have done by e mail or by skype, but I always find it best to do it face to face when that is possible. I have the notes now on what has to be in the documents, and I will be working on them over the next few weeks. It should not take all that long. I will be here in Rome until Sunday. That evening I fly out to London where I will overnight. (It is a frequent flyer ticket, so you have to take the connections they give you.) I will fly into Baltimore on Monday and will be in the States until January 5th. I have finished some books: How to Hatch a Dinosaur by Thomas Hayden This is a science essay which talks about the attempt of scientists to reverse engineer the chicken to develop more of its dinosaur characteristics. Very often the DNA necessary for various traits is still present, but it is being controlled by various stopper DNA which short circuits the ability of the organism to develop in a certain way (e.g. growing teeth). The scientists plan to cancel the effect of that blocker DNA to see how much like a dinosaur they can make the offspring of chickens. Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World by Thomas Evan This is basically a presentation of President Eisenhower’s years as a president. These were not easy years for Ike who much more preferred his status as a war hero. Yet, he managed to guide the US through some very difficult years, especially in regards to its atomic policies. Ike was an ardent card player, and he knew how to bluff. He would constantly talk tough (or use one of his underlings to play tough cop to his nice cop). Yet, he never revealed whether he would actually use nuclear arms. There are indications that he knew what a worldwide disaster their use would have been, but he allowed for their continued development (although he limited their growth which was being proposed by some rather paranoid members of the military and his advisors). This book also nicely covers the development of the U2 and its use and its being shot down. This is a very nice, fair portrait of President Eisenhower. Made in China by Tony Perrottet This is a travel essay on the attempt of various Chinese entrepreneurs to develop an industry of fine food and wine in China. The Chinese have managed to establish wineries and make wines that are capable of winning international honors. They are making fine cheeses (even though most of the Chinese population is lactose intolerant) and caviar. Many of their products are not yet accepted by connoisseurs, but they are slowly being embraced by both the Chinese and even outsiders. The Girl from Krakow by Alex Rosenberg This is the story of a young woman from Krakow who is Jewish. She studies law just before World War II. Even then, she suffers prejudice for being Jewish, but then when the Nazis arrive it becomes much, much worse. She is married and has a child, but things go very wrong. She also has an affair with another man and a woman. The tale is twisted and at times improbable. The gentile characters are often demonized a bit too much. I didn’t especially like this book. Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist by Br. Guy Consolmagno This is the story of an astronomer who works at the Vatican Observatory at Castel Gondolfo. He speaks of his vocation to the Jesuits and his choice to work at the Vatican. He strongly argues that the Church does not oppose science, but that faith and science each have their own territory. Nevertheless, science can lead one to faith, and God wanted us to discover this world as an act of praise to Him as creator. He speaks of his work with meteorites and especially the discovery of the source of many of them. He closes with his work on a sabbatical in Antarctica with others to find meteorites in the ice down there. The Long, Curious, Extravagant Evolution of Feathers by Carl Zimmer This essay speaks about the question of how feathers evolved. There are certain bud tissues that give rise to skin at times, and protrusions on the skin such as scales at times. Scientists ask whether they might be the source of feathers. Furthermore, Chinese archaeologists have discovered dinosaurs that seem to be covered by pin feathers, even though they do not seem to have been able to fly. Could that be a major clue as to how feathers evolved? Merry Christmas fr. Jude

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

London - Mesilla Park - Rome

December 6, 2016 The Memorial of St. Nicholas Peace and Good, This past week I travelled back across the Atlantic to attend a meeting of the three definitories (councils) of the three provinces in the Mid-West and California. I was just an interested spectator at this meeting as the friars spoke about how they could collaborate in their ministries and other activities. There was a very good spirit at the meeting which was the first of what we hope will be a continuous dialogue. The three definitories then met individually, and I was able to attend a part of each of the meetings for different reasons. The meetings took place at Mesilla Park, New Mexico. This is about a half hour west of El Paso, and we have a very nice retreat house there where the friars are always incredibly hospitable. Friday I flew back to Europe, arriving on Saturday, two days before my luggage. It actually arrived a couple of hours after me, but the local company that was supposed to deliver it was very remiss in getting it to me. They called three times, morning, afternoon and evening, each time giving an expected arrival time. I will be here in Rome now until Christmas day (with a probably two day trip up to Geneva to take care of some business). This is a good chance to catch up with my jet lag. I finished some books: Berlin Nights by Nick Paumgarten This is a troubling travel article on a visit to the night life in what used to be East Berlin. It gives the word decadence a new meaning. The music heard at the clubs visited is mostly techno rock, but it is not the music that attracts the crowds that visit the clubs. It is sex and drugs and drink, etc. It speaks of a society that has lost all sense of its values and lives to be entertained (but in a sad, confused manner). The Sages by Charles Morris This is an account of three famous financiers: George Soros, Warren Buffett and Paul Voelker. The first two were investors and the last was the head of the FED during a period of inflation which his policies gradually broke. Soros is famous for his international investments which include currency trading (and possibly manipulation) while Buffett is famous for investing in companies which he trusts (and his tendency to treat the companies with respect and not use them for his own profit). The book gives a short biography of each figure and an overview of his financial strategies. It is quite informative. Big Russ and Me by Tim Russert This is a bit of a biography of the father of Tim Russert, big Russ, who taught Tim Russert many of the values that led him to be a tremendous success on the Sunday morning press interview programs. Russert was known as a fundamentally decent man who was always well prepared for his interviews. He would ask the tough questions, but in a respectful way. An added plus to this book is that he is from Buffalo, my home town. He referred to many of the places and foods which I knew growing up. This is a warm and wise presentation. Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie This is a volume in the Medicus series. They speak about a doctor in one of the Roman legions who is stationed in Britain and is married to a native Britain named Tillie. They are called upon to investigate various mysteries. In this case, one of the doctor’s assistants disappears. In the meantime, a British child sees someone burying a person in the construction project that would become Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britain. Finally, a native child disappears and the locals blame the Romans for the kidnapping. The action is well written, the dialog quite good, and the Medicus and his wife are likeable. I recommend this series of anyone who wants to get a sense of life in the Roman legions. The Peanut Puzzle by Jerome Groopman This is a study of the cause of food allergies in small children. The common wisdom had been that it was better not to expose very small children to possibly allergic elements (milk, peanuts, etc.) until the child has developed his/her immunity at around six months old. Now the current seems to be heading in the opposite direction – that it is better that the child be exposed early so that the child might develop a normal reaction to these allergens. Furthermore, studies have been conducted on how to desensitize children who are allergic. Scientists have found that eating cooked foods that have the allergens tends to change the form of the allergens sufficiently that the child might not have a reaction. Then, if the child continues to eat those cooked allergens, that child might very well develop the ability to digest normally even uncooked forms of the same allergen. Our Body the ecosystem by Virginia Hughes This is an essay which concerns experiments done on the bacteria that grow upon the skin of people with asthma and eczema. They are trying to figure out whether the make-up of those suffering more or less matches that of those who do not. Furthermore, they want to know if the make-up changes when someone is about to suffer from an attack of the disease. They do this all by taking small tissue samples and checking for a particular gene marker on the DNA to see which bacteria are present. Hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wexford - Dublin - Palo Alto - New York - London - Oxford - London

November 26, 2016 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. I have been on the road quite a bit these past couple of weeks. After my time in Wexford, I headed over to a session on continuing formation held in Palo Alto just outside of San Francisco. I had been at the very last part of an earlier offering of the same workshop in January in Florida. This time I got to hear the central portion of the workshop offered by Br. Ed Coglin, the president of Sienna University. He was very good, offering insight on the artwork of St. Francis, the writings of St. Bonaventure that influenced the writings, and their implications to our religious life today. Over the course of my stay there, I had numerous meetings with friars about various situations. These events are always great to catch up with what is going on with the friars from various places. From there I flew to New York for the semi-annual meeting of Franciscans International. I am on the Board of Directors and it is an NGO that lobbies at the UN in New York and Geneva for Human Rights based on Franciscan values. We have been working on an evaluation and a strategy for the near future and were able to bring a lot of that work to a completion. Then on to London and Oxford for a continuation of the visitation of the custody of Great Britain and Ireland. These have been days filled with meetings with various friars. The visitation is going well, and I will be back in Scotland and England in January to complete it. Right now I have to fly out to El Paso tomorrow for another meeting of the definitories (governing councils) of three of the US provinces. I am just there as an observer to see what is going on. From there I will finally be headed back to Rome for a few weeks. I have finished some readings: The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller I have been really fortunate to find a couple of excellent history books in these months. The first was the Sleepwalkers about the origin of the conflict in World War I. This book is about the assassination of President McKinley in Buffalo during the Pan-American Exposition there. The book gives a good overview of the presidency of McKinley up to that point (for he was at the beginning of his second term). This includes the Spanish-American War and the conquest of Cuba and the Philippines. It also covers the development of the Anarchist movement in the States. This was a topic which has always interested me. I highly recommend this particular book – it is a true masterpiece of historic writing. Friday Night Luck by Edward Hoch A man who wants to be a policeman ends up not being hired as such, and so he becomes a member of a volunteer watch. His day job is working for a company that cleans crime scenes. He and his crew must clean a site where there is one dead body, but way too much blood. It turns out to be from another man who has disappeared. Even though he should not be doing anything on this, he investigates and gets to the bottom of the story, almost getting killed in the process. My Timbuktu by Adriana Paramo This is an interesting story about a couple who go to a music festival in the Tuareg section of northern Mali. The wife and author then contrasts what she saw with what she was later watching on the news a few years later which showed the destruction of medieval monuments by fundamentalist Muslims who had conquered the area. She tells of various encounters with the local Tuareg which makes them into real people (both virtuous and flawed). Neither Here nor There by Bill Bryson Bill Bryson is a hilarious travel author. This is about a trip he takes through Europe around 1990, right at the end of the end of communism in Eastern Europe. Some of his observations are very funny, but I found others a bit cruel and over the top. He just doesn’t seem to strike his rhythm in this book. It is nevertheless a fairly good read. Such a Lucky, Pretty Girl by Persia Walker This is a sad story about a detective who was sexually abused by her stepfather and who is then called upon to investigate the death of a young, 15 year old beautiful young woman. It turns out that the whole situation is more complicated than it would appear at first. It becomes seamy, and while some of the detectives presumptions are right on, others demand a bit of revision. I hope you have a good Advent. Shalom fr. Jude

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rome - Lisbon - Porto - Viseu - Coimbra - Fatima - Lisbon - Dublin - Wexford

November 9, 2016 Peace and Good, Sorry that this blog is a bit late, but the past week my computer was down for the count, sidelined by a bad virus. I use two anti-virus programs each day, but I travel so much that a virus is always a bad possibility. Fortunately, I didn't lost anything, so other than being off the net for a week, there was no big harm. We have been in Portugal for the past two weeks. The first week we did some tourism to sites where our friars are located. Porto is where Port wine originates. Coimbra is the city where St. Anthony joined our Order. This is also the place where the relics of the first five martyrs of the Franciscan Order are housed. We were at Fatima for a meeting to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Milita of Mary Immaculate, a movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe. This past week we had our usual definitory in Fatima. We took a bit of time out to see the sites around the city. Most of the friars were very impressed by Fatima, but I was not all that moved. It is not that I didn't like it, but I did not find myself drawn to it (as I very much was in Guadalupe in Mexico). This Sunday I flew into Ireland to do a canonical visitation here. We have two friaries: in Dublin we have a parish and in the Southeast, Wexford, we have a shrine church. The friars here are doing a great job. The weather is pretty much what you would expect in Ireland at this time of year. I will be leaving for San Francisco this coming Friday. I have finished some books: The Herald by Leslie Glass A reporter from the Herald comes to the site of a crime which appears to be a murder-suicide. He arrogantly tries to interview the presumed widow of the deceased married man even before she has been informed about her husband’s death. In the meantime, a detective is trying to sort out what really happened, especially since everyone had assumed that it was a love affair gone bad and the woman who was killed turns out to be the step-sister of the deceased. The story is well written with a few good twists and turns. The Defector by Daniel Silva I usually don’t reread books, but those by Silva are almost as good the second time through A Russian defector is kidnapped from the streets of London, and Gabriel Alon, who brought the defector to the west, has to sort it all out with his team. In the meantime, his own wife is kidnapped and held for ransom (the return of the children of a Russian arms merchant-oligarch who is living in the States. All of Silva’s books are well written. The Great Pleasure Project by Tim Neville This is the story of two men who travel to North Korea to try out the ski slops of a new mega-resort built by the present dictator of the country. There is a tremendous disconnect between the luxury of the resort and the way normal people live There is a constant sense of being watched and controlled by the communist minders. While the slopes are fine, the whole experience leaves both the author and the reader distinctly uncomfortable. Cities of the Ancient World by Steven Tuck This is a 24 lesson series on various cities of the ancient world from the Teaching Company. It is a thorough examination of the phenomenon of city life from the earliest ancient city Catal Hayuk in Turkey up to Rome and Constantinople. It speaks of the various city plans, spaces for commerce, residential houses and central administration (which includes both civil government and religious shrines). It speaks of defenses of the city and why they were needed. It also tries to draw lessons from ancient cities that might be applied to the cities of our own day. It is well done. A Tale of a Tub by Patricia Marx This is the account of a travel author who takes a trip from the States to Hamburg, Germany in a commercial freighter. Unlike what one would expect, it is not all that much cheaper than a cruise boat. The food is forgettable, the amusements minimal, the accomadations are sufficient but not much more than that. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Seoul - Rome

October 23, 2016 I spent most of last week in Seoul with our friars at their provincial chapter. I had been the visitator for this province since the Assistant General for Asia comes for Korea and he could not do the visitation in his own province. I had a presentation that went less than an hour, but there is something about being present for the discussions that shows the local friars that we, in Rome, care about what is going on there. The General and Benedict, the Assistant General for Asia were also there. I was also present on Wednesday for a discussion on the future of our Philippine custody. We have been looking at the situation for some time, and would like Korea to take a more active role in guiding the Philippines so that they could be better prepared to become a province. There will be a proposal at the second session of their chapter in November that says this. I arrived back in Rome on Thursday evening. I had a few meetings on Friday, and yesterday I was trying to catch up on rest and sleep. This has been a bad jet lag time since I did an around the world trip in about ten days. It will probably take more than a week for me to catch up. Later this morning the General Definitory heads out to Portugal. It is only about a two hour trip. We have a congress there to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Militia of Mary Immaculate, a group founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe. Then we will also have a definitory there. From there I will head to Dublin for a visitation of the Irish part of the Great Britain/Ireland custody. I will not be back in Rome until early December. I have finished some books: Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory by Julian Thompson The story of the mass evacuation of most of the British Expeditionary Force from northern France where they were trapped at the beginning of World War II has always fascinated me. This is not the book to read about this topic. It delves mostly into land defences as the pocket which held the Brits collapsed around them. It speaks at length of the names and identify of various groups of soldiers. It only quickly covers the actual evacuation. A Change in His Heart by Jack Gredrickson This is a very good story about a beaten down detective in a small city who seeks to survive numerous indignities throughout a snow storm. In the meantime, a discount store owner and his assistant are selling cheap, fire damaged boots to a multitude of customers. These stories collide when the detective buys a pair of boots which smell of smoke, have a purple dye that runs, and are uncomfortable. The owners assistant discovers both that his boss has been setting him up to be charged with sales tax violations, and that he sabotoged his romantic interest. It has a very good ending. Seven Women by Eric Metaxis This is a companion volume to Metaxis’ book on seven men. These are important women who, by their faith, managed to change the world. They include Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, St. Maria of Paris, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa. This is a nice mix of the Christian tradition,, including two Catholics, one Orthodox and four Protestant. Three are from previous centuries while the other four are recent, including two who gave their witness saving people during World War II. This is the author of a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and another one on William Wilberforce who fought for an end to the slave trade at the beginning of the 19th century The book is a series of short biographies, and is an inspiring read Rocks with Wings by Anne Hillerman This is one of the books written by the daughter of Tony Hillerman. He has written a long series of books of police enforcement on the Navaho reservation. His books give a wonderful insight into modern day Navaho culture Anne Hillerman is successful on that insight as well, but the plot of her detective story leaves something to be desired. She seems desperate at the end of the book to put everything in at once, and she has characters saying things that are unlikely just so that she can tie the plot together. I hope that her future books are as good on the cultural elements but improve on the detective part of the story. Hail Dayton by Rachel Maddux This is the story of visiting a small town in Tennessee, Dayton, in which the famous Scopes Evolution Trial took place. There is nothing much there, but a few years ago the town fathers arranged for an annual commemoration of the event with a series of plays and other events. The author comes from up the road a bit in Tennessee, and Dayton had often been used as a mock term for a hick town. After visiting Dayton, the author finds that much more difficult to do. Hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude