Thursday, August 3, 2017

Terre Haute, IN - Minneapolis, MN - Arroyo Grande, CA - Carey, OH - Ellicott City, MD - Rome

August 3, 2017 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. These past couple of weeks I finished off the visitation of Our Lady of Consolation Province in the MidWest. I also visited California to be present for the investiture of our new novices. Investiture means the day when the new novices first put on their habit. The Ellicott City stop was almost an overnight to visit my dentist. I am midway in the process of having a dental implant, and my dentist has done a great job to fit my schedule into the treatment plan. Rome has been very, very hot these days. It is making the jet lag worse, and I suspect it will take a bit of time to get over it this time.. The visitation is a great process. I get to speak with all of the friars and find out how things are going with them. At the end of the visitation, I make a report for us here in Rome and for the friars in the province as they get ready for their provincial chapter. I am baby sitting at the Curia right now. Most of the friars are out on vacation, and someone from the definitory has to be around just in case there is a call from the Vatican. There is little chance of this because almost everyone at the Vatican is on vacation as well. I have finished some books: The 1918 Spanish Fly Pandemic: The History and Legacy of the World’s Deadliest Influenza Outbreak by Charles River Editors This was one of the most deadly outbreaks of flu in the history of mankind. It must be admitted that it cannot even compare with the lethality of outbreaks of smallpox or Ebola, but nevertheless it wrecked havoc at the end of World War I. In fact, it is believed that more people died from this illness than were killed during the war itself. There have been constant scientific debates over the cause of its lethality. Was it because the population was weakened by hunger due to the war, or was it an especially virulent strain? We are still not sure. Testimony by Anita Shreve This is a very good book which is presented as a series of reports by witnesses to a scandal at a boarding school. It is seen from the point of view of the perpetrators of what amounts to a rape, the victim, the school headmaster, the family of one of the rapists, etc. The story is tragic, and has a number of twists and turns that leave one stunned. It is not a book to read when one is feeling down. It is a painful story, but not gratuitously so. Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ by Alfred Edersheim This is a very good treatment of the world of Israel in the days of Jesus. It is a very dated book, and many of the proposals would have to be updated. Yet there are gems of information contained here and there in the book. It was worth reading, but with the understanding that a more recent book would probably be more useful. Those who held Bastogne by Peter Schrijvers This is a thorough retelling of the siege of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. It gives a large amount of detail about the attitudes of both the American troops and the Germans (although the author tends to show much less sympathy toward the Germans, which is understandable). A very good dimension of the book is his treatment of the plight of the civilians during the battle. The book probably gives a bit more detail than most people would appreciate, unless one were really into the topic. The Virgin of Guadalupe by Gustavo Vazquez Lozano and Charles River Editors This is a short study of the immage of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the story of its origin. The authors are fair in their telling of the story, without being overly credulous or skeptical. I appreciated this approach. While there are no contemporary written accounts of the events, the accounts written many years later are consistent with traces of information that are available. While the image might have been touched up and slightly changed later in its history, it nevertheless is remarkable and considered to be miraculous by so many of those who have visited its basilica. A number of years ago I had that opportunity, and I was very, very impressed by the faith of the people there. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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