Thursday, March 27, 2014

San Antonio - Mesilla Park, NM - Chicago

March 27, 2014 Peace and Good, This has been a week to catch up a bit and also to give one talk to a group at our retreat house in Mesilla Park in New Mexico. I spend a few days at our house of formation in San Antonio, meeting with the postulants (the men getting ready to enter novitiate). The friars in formation there go to one of the universities in the area or, if they are studying for the priesthood, to Oblate School of Theology (run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate). This is a very good school, and it has a great program for those who wish to work in the Hispanic Ministry. I then flew to the other side of the state of Texas, to El Paso. That city is only about an hour from our retreat house in Mesilla Park. The friars there have built a new friary and they did a great job, building something that fits perfectly in the southwest environment. It is comfortable but not extravagant in any way. I spent the rest of the week writing reports and also preparing a talk that I was going to give early this week on St. Anthony. The reports have been hanging over my head for a few weeks, but I can never get them done until the time is right. When I feel that the ideas have circulated in my head enough, then I find it easy to write the reports. That is what happened. I have a few more shorter reports to finish, but that should be relatively easy to do next week when I am in Wales to give a retreat to the Poor Clare Sisters. The talk on St. Anthony was to a group of friars and lay people who work for the charity run by the Messenger of St. Anthony, the magazine from Padua for which I have been writing since the early 80's. I was pleased with the talk, and fr. Mario, the editor of the magazine, also presented an hour long film on the life of St. Anthony done by a Canadian production team. The talk and the film worked perfectly together, and it proved to be a good spiritual presentation without being too heavy. I have finished some books: Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The by Kevin Kenny The colony of Pennsylvania was founded as a proprietary colony, owned by one man and his family: William Penn. It was founded to be a refuge for Quakers and eventually for others who were persecuted for their faith (including Catholics). Its policy toward Native Americans tended to be more enlightened than that of other colonies. That is, until the French and Indian War, a decade before the Revolution. A group of Presbyterian farmers from the border lands with Indian territory went on a rampage to defend themselves and their families and even massacred Native Americans who were living with the whites of the colony. This is the story of how the utopian idea of relations with the Native Americans in this colony was subverted by the violence of these men. The Women of the Wars of the Roses by Alicia Carter This book is an account of four of the important women who were behind the scenes during and toward the end of the War of the Roses in England, the period that preceded the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII. The account is fair to all of these women. The author tells what the propaganda or gossip was and what the truth probably was. He does idolize any of the women, but he also does not demonize any of them. It is a good and fair account. Letters to an Old Garibaldian by G.K. Chesterton This is a series of fictional letters to an Italian by Chesterton pointing out why the Prussian ways of the Germans during World War I are so wrong and those of the British and the Italians are so right. It was obviously a piece of propaganda to get Italy to deny its treaty commitments to Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Britain was desperate to get Italy on its side. The letters are very polemical and sometimes even racist. They do give a good idea of what people were thinking at that time. The Broker by John Grisham This is the story of a lobbyist who gets in trouble with the law, and especially the CIA, when he tries to broker a deal to give over certain important software which controls a group of satellites. He ends up in prison and is eventually pardoned by an outgoing president. This was arranged so that the CIA might see who was going to kill him and figure out who launched the satellites in the first place. He is hidden in Italy, and seeing that I live in Italy a good part of the time, this was quite an enjoyable account of learning how to maneuver in this society. I enjoyed the action and the cleverness of the man at the center of the story. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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