Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wexford - Dublin - Palo Alto - New York - London - Oxford - London

November 26, 2016 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. I have been on the road quite a bit these past couple of weeks. After my time in Wexford, I headed over to a session on continuing formation held in Palo Alto just outside of San Francisco. I had been at the very last part of an earlier offering of the same workshop in January in Florida. This time I got to hear the central portion of the workshop offered by Br. Ed Coglin, the president of Sienna University. He was very good, offering insight on the artwork of St. Francis, the writings of St. Bonaventure that influenced the writings, and their implications to our religious life today. Over the course of my stay there, I had numerous meetings with friars about various situations. These events are always great to catch up with what is going on with the friars from various places. From there I flew to New York for the semi-annual meeting of Franciscans International. I am on the Board of Directors and it is an NGO that lobbies at the UN in New York and Geneva for Human Rights based on Franciscan values. We have been working on an evaluation and a strategy for the near future and were able to bring a lot of that work to a completion. Then on to London and Oxford for a continuation of the visitation of the custody of Great Britain and Ireland. These have been days filled with meetings with various friars. The visitation is going well, and I will be back in Scotland and England in January to complete it. Right now I have to fly out to El Paso tomorrow for another meeting of the definitories (governing councils) of three of the US provinces. I am just there as an observer to see what is going on. From there I will finally be headed back to Rome for a few weeks. I have finished some readings: The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller I have been really fortunate to find a couple of excellent history books in these months. The first was the Sleepwalkers about the origin of the conflict in World War I. This book is about the assassination of President McKinley in Buffalo during the Pan-American Exposition there. The book gives a good overview of the presidency of McKinley up to that point (for he was at the beginning of his second term). This includes the Spanish-American War and the conquest of Cuba and the Philippines. It also covers the development of the Anarchist movement in the States. This was a topic which has always interested me. I highly recommend this particular book – it is a true masterpiece of historic writing. Friday Night Luck by Edward Hoch A man who wants to be a policeman ends up not being hired as such, and so he becomes a member of a volunteer watch. His day job is working for a company that cleans crime scenes. He and his crew must clean a site where there is one dead body, but way too much blood. It turns out to be from another man who has disappeared. Even though he should not be doing anything on this, he investigates and gets to the bottom of the story, almost getting killed in the process. My Timbuktu by Adriana Paramo This is an interesting story about a couple who go to a music festival in the Tuareg section of northern Mali. The wife and author then contrasts what she saw with what she was later watching on the news a few years later which showed the destruction of medieval monuments by fundamentalist Muslims who had conquered the area. She tells of various encounters with the local Tuareg which makes them into real people (both virtuous and flawed). Neither Here nor There by Bill Bryson Bill Bryson is a hilarious travel author. This is about a trip he takes through Europe around 1990, right at the end of the end of communism in Eastern Europe. Some of his observations are very funny, but I found others a bit cruel and over the top. He just doesn’t seem to strike his rhythm in this book. It is nevertheless a fairly good read. Such a Lucky, Pretty Girl by Persia Walker This is a sad story about a detective who was sexually abused by her stepfather and who is then called upon to investigate the death of a young, 15 year old beautiful young woman. It turns out that the whole situation is more complicated than it would appear at first. It becomes seamy, and while some of the detectives presumptions are right on, others demand a bit of revision. I hope you have a good Advent. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment