Friday, September 28, 2012

Chicago - Carey - Chicago - Rome

September 28, 2012 Peace and Good, I am sorry that I am so late this week in writing this blog, but it has been incredibly busy, as you will soon see. I had flown over from Rome to Chicago a two weeks ago today. Then on Sunday the rest of the General Definitory arrived from Rome. I am the only native English speaker, so I was responsible for coordinating arrangements with the local friars. We stayed first of all with our friars in the friary on Kenmore Avenue. This is a few blocks away from Loyolla. They were incredible. They responded to our every need, often before we even asked them. Our definitory met throughout the week, preparing material for our General Chapter in January. We also took an afternoon off to visit Chicago. There was a two hour bus tour with an Italian translater to explain the history and architecture of the city. The friars then took a boat ride on the river, and we ate supper on the pier. On Saturday we drove down to Carey, Ohio. Along the way we stopped at one of our parishes in Angola, Indiana where we had lunch. That evening we had a dinner celebrating the 100th anniversary of the friars' presence at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation. The next day at noon we had a solemn Mass celebrated by our Minister General. The church was packed. Then at 2:30 we had devotions at which I preached. On Monday we headed back to the Chicago area. We stopped at our novitiate on the way to have lunch and meet with the novices. They are located at Misshawaka which is right near Notre Dame University. We arrived at Marytown in Libertyville, IL, later that day. This is in the north Chicago area. Tursday and Wednesday we met with the provincials, custodes and delegates of North America and Great Britain/Ireland. Then Thursday we took a trip to Milwaukee to see our Basilica of St. Josaphat (which is magnificent) and to have a brewery tour and then go to a German restaurant for supper. Today I finished off our meetings with the provincials. Now I am heading back to Italy for a week. I have a series of meetings in Assisi. I will be heading back next Friday. These are the books I have finished: Last Seen in Massilia by Steven Saylor This is another one of those detective novels set in the times of Julius Caesar. The hero of the book if a man named Gordianus the Finder. He uses his investigative skills to discover the murderer of a young woman in a city being besieged by the troops of Caesar. Marsailles up to that point had been a free city founded by the Greeks. When Caesar passed by on his way to Spain to fight the troops of Pompey, they refused him entrance. He therefore put the city under siege. Gordianus and his son-in-law find a way to get into the city to seek his son who has disappeared. There is a sub-theme of fathers and children and the pain that this relationship can cause. As always, Saylor is brilliant in his portrayal of both the times and the people involved. The Pope’s Daughter: The Extraordinary Life of Felice della Rovere by Caroline Murphy This is the story of the daughter of Pope Julius II. Although he recognized his daughter, Julius did not flaunt his relationship as his predecessor did (the Borgia family). She became a power in her own name. The story comes from what documents have been passed down, and it often has to be constructed from receipts and legers. She really was a remarkable person, heading the Orsini family in Rome. She lived in Rome during the days when the city was conquered by the king of Spain and his army of disgruntled Spanish and German (many of whom were Lutheran and hated the Roman Catholic Church). Later in her life, she spend most of her energy and resources to further the cause of her children. This is a fascinating insight into the life of a woman during the Renaissance. Lincoln and His Admirals by Craig Symonds We tend to talk about Lincoln’s generals, but we have also to remember the importance of his navy in establishing a blockade outside of the cities of the South and in bombarding cities along the Mississippi and other rivers. The books deals with the abolition question because so many black slaves sought refuge with the naval forces who then established free colonies along the coast for them. It also deals with the same difficulties that Lincoln faced with generals: that some of them were political hacks and blatantly incompetent, while others were just not all that good at what they were doing. Over the years, Lincoln was able to find a core of admirals upon whom he could trust. There was also the tremendous tension within Lincoln’s own cabinet, especially between the secretary of the Navy Welles and the secretary of commerce Chase. That erupted in the question of who was permitted to carry contraband goods to and from the rebelling states, e.g. the bales of cotton that were piled up along the rivers, etc. The book is well researched and well written. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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