Monday, June 6, 2011

Montreal - West Palm Beach - Montreal

June 6, 2011

Peace and Good,

So far, so good. This past week I was in Montreal for the chapter of the custody of the Polish speaking friars who are working in the Montreal area. A custody is like a baby province. There are 15 friars here from Poland, and most of them work in Polish (although two now serve in French and one in English). The language things is a bit difficult. The chapter is in Polish, with one of the friars translating it for the General and myself in Italian. I am hearing two languages at the same time, neither of which is my mother tongue. Fortunately, my Italian is good enough that the translation in my mind is pretty automatic, but I can still feel the wear and tear of it.

A chapter is held every four years to decide the future of the jurisdiction. We first discuss how things have been going, positive and negative. We then elect our leaders for the next four years. Then, we talk about the future plans. This week we are on the last element, planning for the future.

Thursday, the General and I flew down to Florida for a meeting. We had to meet with the head of a foundation down there to see if we could establish a relationship between our order and them. The meeting went very well. There is a woman, Sandy, who serves as a go-between to establish these relationships, which is very useful given that most of us friars would not even know where to begin in all of this.

While we were down there, we went to one of the mega-churches and ate in the dining room there. The General and I wore our habits. What a great experience. People were genuinely interested in who we were and asked us to tell them about being Franciscans.

I flew back to Montreal yesterday for the second session which will last through Wednesday evening.

I finished a few works. The first was the last volumes of the work of Suetonius, the Lives of the Caesars. These volumes were on the authors of that era. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of information in these that was useful to someone in our age.

The second was a series of short stories by a Russian author named Leonid Andreyev. He tends to write about biblical themes, but always from another point of view (e.g. a man who had a toothache the day that Jesus passed by on the way to his cross, the story of Judas). He also experimented with his literature, presenting what a serpent might say or the life of a prisoner who was released and only wanted to create his own prison because it was safe that way.

Finally, there was Isaac's story. Isaac was the main meteorologist in Galveston, Texas when a hurricane came in and killed over 8,000 people at the turn of the century. It was a good story in which everyone tries to blame everyone for the tragedy.

Hope you have a good week.

fr. Jude


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