Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mount St. Francis, IN - Clarksville, IN - Louisville, IN - Terre Haute, IN

July 15, 2017 Peace and Good, All is well in the heartland. I have been travelling around southern Indiana and northern Kentucky visiting the friars of Our Lady of Consolation Province. They are good men who really try to live a simple life style. The greatest difficulty is that the friars are growing older quickly. Their average age is over 72, and that has consequences on the number of ministries they can handle, etc. The friars are very open to discussing the various needs that they face now and those they will face in the near future. It has been hot, and unusually raining for mid July. There has even been minor flooding in this area. Today I fly on to Minnesota to continue the visitation there. Then early in the week another trip out to California. I have finished some books: The Eruption of Mount St. Helens by Charles River Editors This is another of the Charles River Editors studies of various events and people. These are excellent short overviews of the topics. This one speaks of the time before and during the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. I visited the site about five years after the event, and was incredibly impressed by the destruction caused by this eruption. The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army by Paul Lockhart This is the story of a German general who came to the US during the revolutionary war and trained the American troops in French and Prussian military drills. This added a great amount of stability to a flatering army, especially during the days of Valley Forge. He remained with the army until the end of the revolutionary war, but continued to live in penury due to his own spending habits but especially due to the lack of gratitude on the part of the Continental Congress (who, to be fair, were sinking under the debts of the revolution with no way to address their need for money). Emma Goldman: The Life and Legacy of the Famous Feminist Icon by Charles River Editors I have always been interested in this unusual figure. Born a Russian Jew, she emigrated to the States and worked with the anarchist movement. She was the girlfriend of Alexander Berkman who tried to assassinate the head of US Steel. She fought for feminist rights and against the involvement of the US in World War I (for which she served time in prison). She was deported along with a shipload of other communist sympathizers to Russia, but quickly left there when she became disenchanted with what she saw of the establishment of the Bolshivik government. She died in France at the beginning of World War I. The Ruins of the Roman Empire by James O’Donnell This is a rambling account of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. Rather than falling to a series of barbarian invasions, the author presents the fall as gradual and due to the continuous migration of various Germanic tribes into the territory of the Romans. Rather than being total barbarians, many of them were partially assimilated allies of the Romans who simply went from mercenary status to that of taking over control of the situation. He also speaks of the situation in Byzantium and the moves of Justinian to re-establish the empire (which he soundly condemns). He also covers the weakness of the eastern empire due to religious controversies among Christians which left that part of the empire open to the Arab invasion. Overall, the book is good, but the author has some very strong opinions here and there. The English Civil War by Hourly History Limited This is an overview of the various wars that were fought to overthrow the Stuart regime in Great Britain in the late 17th century and the rise of Oliver Cromwell. It is one of the short versions of the story, not unlike the books produced by the Charles River Editors. These endeavors give a good overview of the material in a form that allows for a quick study. The Sea Peoples: The Mysterious Nomads who Ushered in the Iron Age by Charles River Editors This is the story of the Sea Peoples who seems to have been a mix of nomads (by sea and land) who were the early Greeks. They are most famous to us by the fact that they included the Philistines who were such a bane to the early Israelites. They conquered many lands including the Hittite Empire, largely through their advanced military tactics. They were eventually defeated by the forces of the Pharaoh in Egypt, but not before they caused great destruction throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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