Monday, November 25, 2013

Mt. St. Francis - St. Meinrad - Ellicott City - Dublin

November 25, 2013 Peace and Good, My week began at Mt. St. Francis, a friary just outside of Louisville. We travelled from there to St. Meinrad Monastery in Indiana for a province assembly of Our Lady of Consolation Province. This was a gathering to get ready for their provincial chapter this coming year. One of the topics covered was health care. It has gotten so complicated and so expensive. I always have to explain our system to the Europeans with whom I work because they cannot understand what it is like to live in a country that does not have socialized medicine. We have an afternoon dedicated to inter-cultural exchange with two friars from India and Zambia sharing their experiences of how they were welcomed into the province. There are so many things that we take for granted that are very different in other countries and cultures. We have to be so careful not to insult people by acting in a certain way which is normal for us but which is considered to be rude by others. We also talked about leadership in the community (as they get ready to elect a provincial). There was a wonderful spirit at the gathering. It was obvious that the friars like each other (even if, like any family, there are occasional disagreements). I flew into Ellicott City on Thursday night. I had a couple of meetings on Friday and Saturday. Also, Friday evening I was able to baptize the grandson of a friend. I get to perform baptisms so infrequently that I truly enjoy the opportunity when it is available. Saturday evening I flew from Baltimore to London and from there to Dublin. I will be here all week for a meeting of the custody and then fly back to Rome on Saturday for a couple of weeks. I have read the following: My Life with the Saints by James Martin This is a collection of the stories of various saints who had an impact upon the life of James Martin, a Jesuit author. The book is well written and very pleasant for a simple, uncomplicated meditation. He goes through many of the favorites such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, Joseph her Spouse, Peter, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola. He also tells the stories of people who are not yet canonized but who lived holy lives, such as Dorothy Day and Charles de Foucauld. In the telling of the story, he gives pointers on how to make saints meaningful to one’s prayer and faith life. This is one book that I can easily recommend to anyone. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King This is a typical Stephen King novel. The writing, I think, is some of the best of any of our modern authors. He has a way of turning a phrase which is brilliant. This particular book is about a vampire moving into a New England town and taking it over. A small group of people recognize what is going on and decide to fight back, but it certainly seems like a losing battle. If you like horror stories (and not the newer ones which turn into slasher stories), this is the right book for you. She-Wolves: The Women Who Rules England before Elizabeth by Helen Castor This book begins with the reigns of Queens Mary and Elizabeth in England and asks how they, as women, were able to reign in their own names. The author goes back in the history of England to look at other powerful women, such as Matilda (an Empress of the Holy Roman Empire and a woman who claimed the throne of England for herself and, more importantly for her, for her son), Eleanor of Aquitaine, a queen of both France and England and the Countess of Aquitaine, Isabella, a queen who helped to overthrow her husband who was a tyrant and ruled for a time with her lover, and Margaret, a queen who tried to protect the throne for her husband who was mentally ill and for her son. Each of these women responded to difficult situation with whatever native cunning they possessed. Each was accused of acting un-womanly. Each proved that one could reign, but one had to do so with great care. The book is well written and gives an abundance of information in a very sympathetic but yet objective manner. Solo by Jack Higgins This is the story of an international assassin who is also a concert pianist (hence the name, as in someone who does a solo performance during a concert). He is also known as the Cretan lover for reasons that become obvious in the book. The assassin accidentally kills a young girl while fleeing from one of his attempts, and girl turns out to be the daughter of an army officer (SIS) who vows to hunt him down and kill him. The book is well written with much action. There is a sort of moral ambiguity in the story. Is the assassin really that much worse than the army officer who kills and tortures at the bequest of his government? It makes one think.


Post a Comment