Monday, October 12, 2015

Bacau (Romania) - Roman (Romania) - Rome - Chicago

October 12, 2015 Peace and Good, This has been quite a full week with a series of meetings in Romania. The province there is preparing for their provincial chapter this coming February. They are a young province, refounded only 25 years ago after the fall of communism. There are a number of situations there that needed attention (as there always are with young jurisdictions). We formed a team from the general definitory to go there and meet with the friars to help them prepare for their chapter. We held three meetings there and one in Rome for members of their province who are stationed in Italy. We have one more meeting on Tuesday of next week. Saturday I flew out of Rome to go to Chicago. We have a meeting here starting tomorrow with the major superiors of our conference. That will conclude either Thursday evening or Friday morning. Then this Saturday I will fly out to return to Rome. It was good to be back in Romania this past week. I taught there for a number of years (going there a month at a time to offer scripture courses). In total I made 21 trips there. On Thursday morning (out flight out was in the afternoon) I was able to attend the funeral of the father of two of our friars whom I have knows for 23 years now. Yesterday I made my usual pilgrimage to the local Vietnamese restaurant. I like their soup which is called Pho. It is a mix of broth, noodles, some small slices of meat, and vegetables. It is very tasty. I finished some books: The Oysters of Locmariaquer by Eleanor Clark This is a travel book which takes place in Brittany, France. The premise of the book is the oysters that are raised in Locmariaquer which are different from most of the other oysters raised all throughout the region. The author tells of the lives and foibles of the people who live there. She tells of the hard, frustrating work that the people must do to prepare the oyster beds. I enjoyed the book overall, but it fell into too much description at times. Joy comes in the Morning by Jonathan Rosen This book begin with an old Jewish man, a holocaust survivor, having written his memoirs in a book called Joy comes in the morning, preparing to kill himself. He has already suffered from a stroke, and he knows that more are coming and he is afraid of losing control. This event proves to be the catalyst by which his son Lev meets a young female rabbi. They slowly fall in love, each sharing both in his/her gifts and brokenness. It is a very nice story. It also deals with some very important questions about faith and doubt. Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia by Marshall Goldman This is an outline of the history of how Putin gained such great political power in Russia, based on the economic power that he and his friends have accrued as they have quasi-nationalized the oil and gas industries of the country. Many of the deals to privalize these industries were based on fraud and violence and the companies were acquired by quasi-Mafia figures. Putin wanted the country to have more say in its energy industry, but in the process he created what could be described as a kleptocracy (a rule by thieves). His control of the gas and gas pipelines bringing most of the natural gas supplies to Western Europe give him enormous power to blackmail those countries whenever it pleases him. Au Train de Vie: That Voice you hear when Traveling by Peter LaSalle The title of this story is the name of a small café in Paris that the writer visits frequently when he is staying in that city finishing up a book that he was writing. It is a sort of nostalgic site which provides him with an anchor while he is staying in a foreign environment. It is a place that he wanders to over and over again, without even realizing he is heading in that direction. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovich This is the second volume in this series about a magician apprentice who is also a policeman in London in the magical division (which is composed of himself and his teacher). The apprentice is half English, half African, with all that this means. In this episode, he is searching for the murderer of a number of jazz players which is important to him for his father is a jazz player as well. The murderer turns out to be a group of jazz vampires, three women who accidentally kill others when they drain their life energy from the jazz players. There is also a sub-plot of an evil magician who is not stopped from what he is doing. There is a great amount of London humor mixed with African emigrant culture, all of which I can now identify with given my travels in these years. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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