Monday, September 10, 2012


September 10, 2012 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. I am been in Rome since this last Monday, having returned from our pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This has been a week for catching up on projects. Today I actually feel as if I am caught up, although that never really lasts. These past couple of days I was going over the Lectors’ Workbook for 2013. This is a project that I have been doing for over ten years. Now it is only a question of making a few corrections and some changes that I might have developed from my reading. I also had another teleconference with members of the board of directors of Franciscans International. It is incredible that we can have a conference with people from Canada, the US, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. We are getting ready for our semi-annual meeting which will be held in Assisi in the days immediately preceding St. Francis Day. We will be meeting with the Generals of all of the Franciscan Orders, so this is an important meeting for the future of the organization. These past couple of days we have been receiving guests from various provinces all over the world. Every year or so we have a workshop for new provincials to teach them how to do certain things that their job requires. The official title is something like “Workshop for new provincials…”, but the English speakers have shortened it to “Finishing School.” Once again, this really shows how international our order is. We have participants from Japan, Korea, Indonesia, India, Slovakia, Poland, Kenya and Zambia. They will be here until Saturday, but I will be sneaking out on Friday to head to Chicago to get ready for our next big meeting there which begins this coming Monday. I have finished a few books: The Kommandant’s Mistress by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman This is the story of a commandant in a camp in Germany during the war who takes a “mistress” from among the Jews in his camp. The story is told at several different times at the same time, and the transition is often nothing more than a common word. It is told from his perspective and hers. We see how the commandant is raising a family within the camp. We hear about the beginning of his career, mid-way through it during the war, and even after when his “mistress” has written books telling about her trial. The topic is disturbing, and the current that the book follows is confusing, which might well reflect the reality of what happened to those who were involved in this sad period of history. The Savage Day by Jack Higgins This is the story of a British-Irish soldier who is forced out of the army for following orders which results in a massacre of insurgents. He is then secretly recruited to spy upon the IRA in Ireland during the troubles. It is a well written spy novel with interesting characters. There are really only two major characters and a limited number of minor ones, and yet the author brings them to life in a powerful way. He treats the IRA in quite a fair way, showing that there are members who are honest patriots and others who are homicidal maniacs. There are a number of spins along the way that keep one wondering. Higgins is really a fine author. The Vicomte of Bragelonne by Victor Hugo This is a typically long, drawn account of some proceedings at the court of King Louis XIV when he is quite young and still controlled by the queen mother and Cardinal Mazerin. Athos, one of the three musketeers, is on a mission to help Charles II of England reclaim his throne after the death of Oliver Cromwell. After Charles is restored, the story shifts to the intrigues at the palace of Louis XIV in the early years of his reign. We hear about how Louis XIV brings back one of the Musketeers to be the captain of his guard, and how he tries to set a course for himself that is not so conditioned by his counselors who were robbing the country blind. We also hear about some of the escapades which occur when the king tries to cut his dependence upon one counselor who has lined his pockets and he begins to trust another. The book ends on an odd note, almost as if it had been cut off at the end of an episode and not the entire story. Have a good week. Shalom Fr. Jude


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