Monday, January 14, 2013


January 14, 2013 Peace and Good, I have been in Rome all this past week. We had a shorter definitory to take care of last minute preparations for our General Chapter which being this Saturday evening in Assisi. This week the delegates will begin arriving from all over the world to participate in this month long meeting to decide the future of the order for the next six years. Outside of the meeting, I have been working on some last minute translations from Italian into English. I have one more set of documents to finish later today and possibly tomorrow morning, and then I have to work on my homilies for the Chapter. I have been asked to be the preacher for the first two weeks of the chapter. That is quite a responsibility, for I will, in a sense, be setting the spiritual tone for the meeting. I did this once before when we had a Congress in Nairobi, and it went quite well that week. Please pray that the Spirit guide me in my reflections throughout these weeks. The weather here in Rome is cold and sometimes rainy. This is typical of Rome at this time of year. We only rarely have snow here, but winters are damp and cold. Yet, even now I can go out on our porch and see the roses in bloom. We received some great news from the States. I am a graduate of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, New York. Two of its alumni were named General Managers for professional football teams this past week. St. Francis is not all that large a school, and to have two of its alumni reach this level of expertise is a real feather in the cap. I finished a few books: The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers This is the story of the life and death of Crazy Horse, the Sioux who led the battle against Custer at the Little Big Horn. The book helps you to understand the Sioux culture and why they fought against the encroaching whites. Crazy Horse surrendered when it was obvious that he and his people could no longer fight against the power of the white army. He was assured over and over again that he would be protected and his people fed, but the promises were repeatedly broken (just as the treaty promises made by the US government had been broken over the previous decades). Ironically, it was not Crazy Horse’s white captors who killed him, but rather Native American rivals. When he was in the reservation, he was treated with great respect by the army officials. Other chiefs became jealous and spread untrue rumors about what he was plotting to do. This resulted in his being arrested and he was killed in the process. The book is a good example of history told in all its details and in an interesting way. Alcatraz: A Definitive History by Michael Esslinger The title of the book says it all. This is a history of the island that became a maximum security prison in the middle of the San Francisco bay. The first part of the book is how the island was first used as a military base and lighthouse, and then how it was used as a prison for the most incorrigible of prisoners. There is quite a bit of information about some of its famous prisoners (e.g. Al Capone). There is also a large section about the various attempted escapes from the island. The prison was eventually closed down because of its cost per prisoner (which was the highest in the federal prison system because everything, including fresh water, had to be brought in by boat from the mainland) and the fact that much of its superstructure was badly damaged by salt spray which corroded both iron and concrete. Charles I by Jacob Abbott This is one of Abbott’s short biographies. Charles was the son of James I, the first Stuart king of England and the successor of Elizabeth I. He was a high Anglican at a time when there were many pushing for more Calvinist reforms. He wanted to be an absolute king, but at a time when the Parliament refused to hand over that power to him. This eventually resulted in a civil war and his execution. His reign was followed by that of Oliver Cromwell, but his sons (James II and Charles II) eventually succeeded him. As with all of Abbott’s books, this one is informative without giving too much information on the topic. I’ll be heading up to Assisi this Saturday. I will be sure to remember your prayer intentions before the tomb of St. Francis. If you want to send any particular needs for which you would like me to pray, send them to my e mail address at Make sure you label them “prayer intentions” so that I will be able to see them right away. God bless and Shalom Fr. Jude


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