Monday, February 6, 2017

London - Rome

February 6, 2017 Peace and Good, I finished my visit to London by having meetings with a few different friars whom I had not visited during the other visits to friaries throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Then on Thursday I flew back to Rome. On Saturday I changed my room with another friar on the definitory. This past summer they had placed a new air conditioning/heating system in the building and they placed the blower right above his room. He is a light sleeper and it was difficult for him in his room. I, on the other hand, am rarely here, and for me the noise from the blower was like white noise, so it was not problem. This gave me a great opportunity to get rid of a lot of clothing that I have not worn for a number of years and a lot of books that my predecessor had accumulated. The minute I set up my things in my new room, I felt at home. That is probably credit to the fact that I am used to sleeping in a different place every couple of days anyways. This week we begin our definitory on Friday, and up to then I have some time to catch up on my writing projects. The weather when I got back to Rome was cold and clear. Yesterday, it turned rainy but a bit warmer. This is typical winter weather here in Rome. I finished some books: Bonfire of the Humanities by Patrick Symmes This is a travel story of a man who goes to Timbuktu, but even more it is the story of a group of people who rescued a mass of ancient manuscripts from the Muslim fundamentalists who wanted to destroy them. Timbuktu was, at one time, a crossroads for Islamic scholarship (as well as other forms of study). Some heroic people managed to hide some manuscripts, secret others out of storage rooms, carry others to safety in nearby cities, etc. The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring by Paul Danahar Paul Danahar is a journalist who has traveled extensively in the Middle East. This is his considered evaluation of the situation in a good number of countries after the Arab Spring (Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Israel). It is not in any way polemic, but it is very clear on areas that the author considers to be policy disasters that will plant the seeds for generations of battle. The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch This is the first of a series of books by Potzsch that I have read. It is about a hangman, his daughter, and a doctor in southern Germany during a series of murders that could easily lead to a witch-hunt and the deaths of any number of people. The book is based on some remembrances of the ancestors of Potzsch with a lot of fictional content. The action and story are very good. Burying Mr. Henry by Polly Nelson This is a story of a murder in the old West in which Mr. Henry has set up a house for abuse run away women. He treats them with respect and helps them get back on their feet. It turns out that Mr. Henry has a secret past of his own (for he is really a runaway woman him/herself) and he is killed by her abusive abandoned husband. Oaths, Ohana and Everything by Diana Hansen-Young This is a clever mystery story which takes place on the eve of the annexation of Hawaii by the United States. The hero is a Hawaiian policeman who wants nothing to do with this event or with his Anglo father who abandoned his Hawaiian mother who then committed suicide. It doesn’t work out for him in the way he thought for he must take care of his sister (who has become addicted to opium) and younger brother (who kills the opium den’s owner) and he must attend to lowering of the Hawaiian flag for the last time so that he can secure it for the Queen who is worried that it might be desecrated. I hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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