Monday, March 21, 2011

Louisville - Terre Haute - St. Louis - Rockford

March 21, 2011

Peace and Good,

Well, the journey continues. I finished up my visitation at Mount St. Francis, the provincialate/shrine/retreat house for Our Lady of Consolation Province. I saw about 30 friars in the Louisville area, so almost a third of those whom I will be visiting in the next couple of months.

I went up to Terre Haute, Indiana. There is a friary there with friars who take care of two parishes. It is not really a city, only a big town. The churches are quite beautiful, and it is obvious that the people love the friars. As one of the friars was showing me St. Benedict's Church, an old timer passed through and told me the history of the Church. It is so great to see how proud the people are of the place where they worship. The stained glass windows are from Innsbruck, and they are magnificent.

From there I travelled to St. Louis. This is the first time that I have really seen any of the city. The cathedral has magnificent mosaics that take your breath away. One of our friars, fr. Wayne Hellmann, is the head of the theology department at St. Louis University there. He is a great Franciscan scholar, and he has mentored a number of students in Franciscan studies over the years. We also visited a couple of our older friars who are in care facilities in the area.

I then drove to Rockford, Illinois. There is a lot of corn fields between St. Louis and Rockford. I am visiting a friary of Polish friars from our Cracow province. One of the other assistant generals is visiting their province, but it is a lot of time and money to fly over here to see one friary. They are taking care of three parishes in the area, serving people in English, Polish and Spanish.

I have finished a couple of books this week. One is Seven Japanese Tales by Junichiro Tanizaki. I have been reading a series of short stories by authors from different nations. It is fascinating to see what those authors consider to be important. These tales were completely different from much of what I am used to reading. There is a different pace to the story and the topics are things that I might not consider to be important. There is a great variety in these tales (from a man who is afraid to take a train and gets drunk to get on it to a long tale of the warfare of a series of feudal lords in the Samurai period).

The other is The Centreville Ghost by Oscar Wilde. This is a short novella about a ghost who haunts and terrifies a house but which is tamed by the antics of an oblivious American family who refuse to be frightened by it. It is eventually released from its torment by the love of one of the family members. It is Wilde at his best.

Take care and have a good week.
fr. Jude


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