Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chicago - Ellicott City - New York - Ottawa

November 21, 2017 Peace and Good, I completed my workshop in Chicago for the Postulants. It was on the Letters of St. Paul, especially applying the spiritual insights of Paul to religious life. I was pleased with how it went. The postulants are a good group of young men. I flew back to Ellicott City for some appointments (both meetings and Dentist and Doctor). As usual, the doctors' appointments set off a set of referrals which I had not expected. No problems - just what is needed at my age. I will be travelling back to Ellicott City right around New Year's for those appointments. It was a trip I had not expected, but... On Thursday I took the train up to New York City for a meeting of the Board of Directors of Franciscans International. We are a good group of eight, and we work very well together. We met at Leo House, a house set up for visiting clergy. It is on 23rd West, a perfect location. All went well, and we finished by lunch on Sunday. I then took a train over to Newark Airport where I picked up a plane for Ottawa. I am visiting here a few days to see our newest friary. It is an international community with a Canadian, an Indian, a Romanian and a Philippino friar. So far, so good. Yesterday we had lunch with the Archbishop of Ottawa, Bishop Prendergast. He is a Jesuit, and the friars have known him for quite some time. Tomorrow I fly back to Rome. I will be there until the 9th for our usual definitory. I have finished some reading: The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith This is a masterful overview of the colonialization of Africa and the subsequent rise to freedom of the various nations. It gives an unprejudiced view of how this happened and the consequences of the process in the modern era. It speaks of the unspeakable tragedy of authoritarian figures seizing control and robbing the nations of their resources in order to fund a scandelous form of life. It deals with the tendency toward dictatorship in almost all of the countries in Africa. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in understanding the situation there a bit better. Coolidge by Amity Shlaes This is a thorough biography of silent Cal. He was the president who took over the reigns when Warren Harding suddenly passed away. It was a tough act to follow for Harding’s administration was one of the most currupt in history. Coolidge did a good job in righting a sinking economy, but he was so insistent on saving money in the budget that he often did not respond to situations with the needed concern. He believed in a rugged individualism. I found the author of the book a bit too much of a fan of Coolidge, but overall the treatment was good. CSI Reilly Steel: Taboo by Casey Hill This is the first of three short novels dealing with a CSI agent from the States who is now working in Ireland. She is there to run the CSI department and teach many of the policemen there the techniques that are used here. There is, of course, resentment to her showing up and imparting here wisdom on others. This particular volume involves a serial killer who establishes a theme of violating any number of taboos in the killings. It turns out that the killer is well known to Reilly, the agent. Deadlock by Iris Johansen This is the second volume of Johansen I have read or listened to. Her books are OK, but I would not say that I was overly impressed by them. This one involves a complicated plot where various artifacts left by Rasputin’s protegee have been discovered, and this leads to murder and torture of the people involved. There is a bit of secret agent theme in the book. The thing I dislike most about Johansen’s books are that she does not get the dialog right. It always sounds like some unbelievable movie script. The Fall of Japan by William Craig This is an excellent treatment of the last days of World War II in the Pacific. It deals with the bombing of the cities of Japan by fire bombs and by the atomic bombs. It tells of the many coups planned when surrender became imminent (by hard liners who would have preferred that the nation go down in glory). It speaks of the hunt for the prisoner of war camps so that the prisoners might be rescued before they were executed by vengeful guards (which did happen in some camps). It speaks of the beginning of the period of occupation by American fources. It has just the right amount of details to give great insight into the topic. I would recommend this book. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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