Monday, March 26, 2018

Foligno - Rome - Oxford - Walsingham - Rome - Assisi - Monte Argintario

March 26, 2018 Peace and Good, After I finished preaching the retreat in Foligno (which I think went quite well), I went back to Rome to change clothes in my suitacse and then fly out to London and take the train up to Oxford. There was a snow storm (not too bad) when I arrived. I was going to our House of Studies to meet the Minister General and the students. We all went on pilgrimage to Walsingham on Monday and Tuesday. Walsingham in an old pilgrimage site (1061). All the English monarchs from that time to Henry VIII visited it on pilgrimage. It is a Marian site. Henry had it destroyed, but the Anglicans and Catholics built new shrines there in the last century. The Monseignor in charge of the Catholic site has asked the friars to come there to serve the pastoral needs of the pilgrims. There are a lot of them. There has been a parish or diocesan pilgrimage there every day since New Year's Day save one day. We were very pleased with our visit. There is a great future for the friars there. We had been there for two centuries before its destruction, and now we are back. We had a definitory meeting on Saturday that went most of the day. Then on Sunday we drove up to Assisi for a short meeting. I will have to head back there on Friday for part two of that meeting. Then from there we drove to Monte Argintario which is on a mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean. It is right down the coast from the place where the cruise ship sank a couple of years ago. We are here on retreat until Thursday when we head back to Rome The weather is still quite cold, unseasonable for this time of the year. Hopefully it will warm up a bit later this week. I finished some reading: Jewels of Paradise by Donna Leon Leon is one of my favorite authors. All of the other books that I have read so far were about Commissario Brunetti, an investigator from Venice, Italy. This one takes place in Venice as well, but there is no detective. There is a musicologist who has been hired to investigate two trunks left by a 16th century bishop who was also a composer. She must try to find out who the true heir of these trunks is (and who might inherit what had been called the jewels of paradise (a treasure that has to be defined in the course of the book). This book is excellent. SPQR by Mary Beard This is a masterful history of the Roman Empire from the founding of the city up to the date in the 200’s when all the people of the empire were declared to be Roman citizens. Mary Beard teaches in England and her presentation is good, entertaining and highly informative. She does not get caught up on dates and names, but gives a good overview of the various periods of Roman history. Some of her theories have been questioned, but I find what she says highly believable. The Foreign Spell by Pico Iyer This is a short essay about how the very foreignness of places where tourists visit is often the poison that destroys their distinctiveness. The resorts tend to be built up in these places, but then the resorts must cater to the whims of their clients who demand home town comforts while they are visiting exotic locales, destroying the very thing which they came to experience. Sarah Maslin Nir Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers This is an essay that speaks about the dangers that are faced by women who work in nail polishing enterprises. These institutions and the chemicals they used are not regulated very much. There are studies which were sponsored by the companies that make those chemicals which declare that everything is safe, but anecdotal evidence of children stillborn or handicapped, miscarriages, infertility, etc is quite convincing. Emma Marris Return of the Wild This essay speaks about the return of wolves to California. They have been reintroduced to neighboring states, but there was some question of whether wolves ever existed in California at all. It seems as if the first anglos to arrive in the state were uniquely successful in wiping them out. As of now, there are no wolves actually dwelling there, but that will probably soon change since there is ample territory in which they tend to thrive and there has been evidence of wolves visiting the land for periods of time. Have a good Holy Week. Shalom fr. Jude


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