Saturday, July 12, 2014


July 19, 2014 Peace and Good, I spent this past week in Chicago for the provincial chapter of St. Bonaventure Province (one of the two mid-west provinces). It ran from Monday through Friday. Unlike the first part of the chapter, I did not have to run the meeting. I was there to help them with canonical questions (because some of the votes can get complicated due the Church law) and to give some suggestions. I had a chance to fill the friars in on what is happening in the Order throughout the world. I have to say that this chapter was incredibly well run. There was a wonderful spirit among the friars. Rather than blaming anyone for any of the problems of the past, the friars decided to look forward to see how they could make it better. Friars asked themselves how they could live their vows more faithfully. During the chapter we had two celebrations. The first was the anniversary celebrations for those who had lived 60, 50, 40 and 25 years of ordination or vows. Then we have a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the province and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the mission in Australia. Today I fly out to Oakland for the chapter for the California province which begins on Monday afternoon. I finished some books: Flowers from Berlin by Noel Hynd This is the story of an American who volunteers to serve as a spy and terrorist bomber for the Nazi’s at the beginning of the Second World War. The flowers in the title of the book are his bombs planted especially on ships which are bringing military assistance to Britain. His foe turns out to be his own wife and an FBI agent who is able to track him down in the village where he is serving as a Lutheran minister. They are able to foil the plot of this man, whose code name is Seigfreid, who intends to assassinate President Roosevelt. The book is well written. The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman This is a short story about a man who is obsessed with painting pictures of fairy tale pictures. He also had visions of evil monsters who want to destroy him and those whom he loves. He paints them away through his work. For a good part of the story, it seems as if he is hallucinating this all, but there are points in the story where he realizes that there is a level of truth in what he is experiencing. The only way he can control his environment, the only way he can survive is to “paint away the darkness.” “Forget Not Love”: The Passion of Maximilian Kolbe by Andre Frossard This is a biography of Maximilian Kolbe translated from the French. It gives a good overview of his life. I never realized how ill he was for most of his adult life. He suffered from Tuberculosis from the time that he was ordained, and this was in a period before antibiotics. He had to spend long periods of time in a sanitorium on a chaise lounge, unable to do anything but sit there. He established what amounted to the largest friary in the world in Poland as well as a mission in Japan. By the time that he was arrested, his apostolate was printing a daily newspaper of 300,000 copies, a magazine of 1,000,000 copies. He had established a radio station, was experimenting in TV, and had planned to build an airport. The Nazi’s arrested him both because he was a priest and a leader of society in Poland, and he died in a starvation bunker in Auschwitz giving his life for that of another prisoner. Siege: Malta 1940-1943 by Ernle Bradford I am trying a little experiment in these days. I am listening to a novel about the great siege of Malta by the Turks in the 1500’s, and am reading this book which is an account of the siege of Malta by Italy and Germany during World War II. The Maltese put up with tremendous sufferings during the Second World War. Yet, they held on and served as what Churchill called, “an unsinkable aircraft carrier.” The planes and ships stationed there effectively starved the effort of Rommel to conquer in Northern Africa and changed the course of the war. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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