Monday, October 25, 2010

Packing up

October 25, 2010

Peace and Good,

This past week involved the end of one apostolate and the beginning of another. A week ago I finished my last weekend retreat at the Dominican Retreat House in McLean, VA. Then on Monday I flew out to Louisville to visit on of our American Provincials, fr. Jim Kent. He is the provincial of Our Lady of Consolation Province. This is one of five provinces in the US, one of two Midwestern provinces.

Geographically, it is extensive. It runs from Minnesota to New Mexico to Ohio. There are around 100 friars in it. fr. Jim filled me in on some of the projects of the province. They have spent an enormous amount of spiritual energy to renew their community life. This has been an ongoing project for the past ten years, and the friars feel that it has borne serious fruit in the quality of life together as friars.

They are also very mission oriented. They were one of two jurisdictions to found the province in Zambia where they still have four active friars. They still have a close bond with the friars there and have offered a number of forms of assistance over the years (e.g. with the guidance of a lay volunteer, they sponsored leadership training programs for the people in charge in the province and in various other associated activities).

They also founded a custody in Central America that especially serves the poor in Honduras and El Salvador.

They are not making an outreach to our relatively young province in India to help them develop their apostolates and assist them any way that they might.

I was incredibly impressed by the outreach to these needs. Most impressive was their outreach to India. We friars often assist jurisdictions that we have founded, but India was not founded by these friars. Yet, they have reached out to them.

The main apostolates for the province are parish ministry and retreat work. They have four retreat houses in Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana and New Mexico. They also have a number of friars in education, especially at the university level.

I came home in time for dental surgery. That evening I came down with the flu. Don't you love it. I'm just feeling better now just in time to pack.

People keep asking me whether I am excited about going over. I am not sure that I can use that word. I have absolutely no doubt that the Spirit is behind it, so there is a real feeling of trust. It will all be well.

I finished a few books. The first is actually two short essays on Rembrandt by Josef Israels and Mortimer Menpes. We know so little about this incredibly talented artist. His style went out of fashion even before his death. He lived a bit of an extravagant life style that bankrupted him. Yet, his works are incredible. His mixture of shadow and light take ones breath away.

I read a work on China and the Manchus by Herbert Allen Giles. The last dynasty that ruled Chine before it became a republic at the turn of the 20th century was actually a group of foreigners from the north. They ruled China for some 300 years, and this was an overview of their reign.

Finally, I finished the River War by Winston Churchill. Yes, it is that Winston Churchill. He is actually a good author, although incredibly prejudiced against Africans, Indians, Irish, etc. This is an account of how Egypt and Britain reconquered the Sudan after a rebellion there led by a religious figure who claimed to be the Messiah (Mahdi).

I'll write you from Rome next week.
fr. Jude

1 comment:

  1. And today is the feast of St Jude (SS Simon and Jude) and I wish you all the blessings and protections of your patron saint through out the year especially as you begin your new job.