Monday, July 20, 2015

Valletta (Malta) - Birkirkara - Rome - Chicago

July 20, 2015 Peace and Good, I have finished off my visitation to the Maltese Province. It was quite a good experience for me, meeting many of the friars again after four years (for I had done their previous visitation). We had a meeting in Birkirkara with all the friars who could attend from the entire province and I was able to share many of my observation concerning what I saw in these weeks. I have written the first draft of the report and am giving myself a couple of days before I correct it one more time and then send it to the Maltese provincial for his input before we publish it to the province. On Saturday I flew back to Rome where it was very, very hot. I arrived at Santi Apostoli, my home, around 4 PM and spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking and repacking for on Sunday morning early I was off to the airport for a flight to Chicago. I will be here until Thursday attending a meeting of the friars involved in formation throughout the country, and then I am off to Ghana in West Africa for a few weeks giving retreats. (This country was not involved in the Ebola outbreak, although it is not that far from the involved countries. The advantage of Ghana is it is one of the best run countries in all of Africa.) I have finished some books: The Amateur by Richard Harding Davis This is a short story about a newspaper reported who pictures himself a bit of a detective. He meets a young woman on a boat over to London who is searching for her run away husband. The man finds out that the husband is fleeing some charges which will shortly run out due to the statute of limitation. The mystery, though, is who is the young woman. The Artificial Nigger by Flannery O’Connor The title of this story is troubling, but one has to remember that it was written decades ago. It is the story of a young man and his grandfather who travel by train from the countryside to the city of Atlanta. They become lost there and the grandfather plays a cruel joke on the boy. The boy runs away and knocks over a woman who is a bit hurt. The grandfather denies that he even knows his grandson. The rest of the story is one of repentance and mercy. It is quite good. Argo by Tony Mendez This is the story of how the CIA developed a plan to rescue six Americans from Iran after the residents of the US embassy were captured by the Revolutionary Guard. They were hidden by Canadians in their residences. Mendez, an expert in helping people exfiltrate from dangerous locations, goes into Iran and they all pretend that they are part of a filming agency examining possible filming locations. The story is very good and true besides. The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the birth of America by Steven Johnson This is a biography of Joseph Priestly, the scientist who discovered oxygen. He lived in the 18th century, and was born in England but died in Pennsylvania. He was a friend of Benjamin Franklin as well as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. He trained as a non-conformist minister and was one of the founders of the Unitarian Church. His religious and political views got him in serious trouble in England and he and his family had to flee to the States after a serious riot broke out in Birmingham, England where he was living. He was incredibly insightful, but at times not especially prudent in what he said and printed. The Dark Side of the Island by Jack Higgins I have now read a number of Higgins’ books, and they are all well written and exciting. This is about a former British intelligence agent who returns to a Greek island where he organized an attack on a Nazi facility. He does not know that he is blamed for a betrayal of the people of the island to the Nazi’s and they horrible punishment thereafter. Some of the people try to kill him, and he must find out who really betrayed the mission and the people to the German authorities. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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