Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rome - Birkirkara (Malta)

September 10, 2015 Peace and Good, After a week in Rome catching up with things, I came down to Malta this past Sunday along with the Assistant General for the Mediterranean world for the provincial chapter of the province of Malta. I had done the canonical visitation of the province during July, and I was here to present the report that I wrote at the chapter. The chapter has gone very well. There is a peaceful atmosphere, for the province is doing OK. A long term provincial has finished his term (over the years, he has been provincial off and on for a total of 21 years). The friars elected a new provincial yesterday, a very good man. I will be here until tomorrow, and then I head back to Rome. In between meetings, I have had time to address a couple of writing projects that I am doing for my publisher, Catholic Book. I met with the editorial staff this past month, and they asked me to translate a novena to Our Lady, the Untier of Knots (a German devotion that the Holy Father popularized in Argentina). I also have to edit the Lectors' Workbook for 2016-2017. Neither of these projects is all that long, but it is a question of finding the time when I am not totally jet-lagged. The weather here in Malta is hot and humid (which they say is true of every September). The weather in Rome broke just before I came down here. I have finished some books: A Circle in the Fire by Flannery O’Connor This is another one of Flannery O’Connor’s strange stories. A group of three young boys arrive at a farm run by a very efficient woman. They cause all sorts of difficulties, even setting the forest on fire. It is as if the boys and the people living on the farm come from two different worlds. D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton This is the fourth of the alphabetic detective stories by Sue Grafton. In this one, the victim is a not so nice person. It almost seemed as if the world were a better place without him. Furthermore, it was not even clear that this was a murder. The victim’s daughter, though, hires Kelsey to investigate his death. She discovers that it was, in fact, a murder and that a surprise murderer was involved. This series is very well written. Unnatural Causes by P.D. James This is the story of an inspector from London who goes on vacation to visit his aunt along the shore in northern England. Of course, there is a murder, and even though he is not the chief investigator, he is called upon to try to determine who has killed an author for the area and especially who cut off his hands and left his body floating in a boat just offshore. There are many twists and turns. None of the characters are all that praiseworthy, including the investigator. Yet, it is a good read. Augustus by Adrian Goldsworthy Goldsworthy is a great scholar of ancient Rome. This is a good presentation both of the life of Augustus and of his effect upon Rome which had gone through a series of rebellions over almost of century of civil wars. Goldsworthy gives a good sense of what was going on throughout the world at this point, of the intellectual and artistic life of Rome, etc. He also debunks some of the myths such as the role of Livia, his wife, in the death of a number of their relatives. This is a good book. Great Hurricane 1938 by Cherie Burns When I was a student at our seminary in Granby, MA, I took an ecology course. We had one field trip when we went into a forest and saw how most of it was relatively new growth. Only one section in a hallow in the forest was old growth. Our professor described how all the trees of the forest except for those in the hallow had been toppled during the Great Hurricane of 1938. This was the first time I ever heard of it. This book describes a horrible hurricane which hit in 1938 on Long Island and the coast of Connecticut and Rhode Island without any warning (for the weather service was still quite primitive in its tracking of storms). Hundreds were lost and immeasurable property was destroyed. This is a good account of the terror and heroism that occurred during this tragedy. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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