Wednesday, March 14, 2018

San Diego - Rome - Foligno

March 14, 2018 Peace and Good, Last Thursday I flew back to Rome from San Diego via London. It was a long, long trip - 12 hours to London and another 2 1/2 hours from there to Rome. On Sunday I came by train to Foligno which is the next city over from Assisi. I am here to give a retreat to a group of friars from the new Central Italian province. We are in a retreat house just up the street from the city, which has about 450,000 inhabitants. It is a beautiful area in Umbria with olive groves and old stone houses just under us. The weather has been iffy. We ended up with a sleet storm yesterday which covered the ground with an inch of sleet. Today is mostly sunny and quite nice. The retreat is going well. I will be here until Saturday morning when I head down to Rome to change my clothes and head off to the airport for a plane to London to take another train up to Oxford where I will join the Minister General who has been there for a week or so now refreshing his English. I have finished some reading: A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson This is the story of a Canadian genius who developed the British secret service at the beginning of World War II. Much of the book details his often frustrated attempt to deal with the Americans. He got along quite well with Bill Donavan, the founder of the OSS, the predecesor of our CIA. He did not get along that well with J. Edgar Hoover who wanted the FBI to control all of the intelligence efforts both inside and outside of the country. Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army by Charles River Editor Joseph Kony is a strange figure (one of many) who developed a resistance movement in the north of Uganda. This area of the country is a bit of a disaster due to the way in which colonial masters divided up countries in Africa, often splitting one tribe between two different countries. The Acoli minority in the north was persecuted by various dictators, so they were rife for rebellion. Kony, however, killed more of his own people in the rebellion than outsiders, and he often kidnapped young children to become his soldiers. He is still being hunted by authories for all the atrocities that his soldiers have commiteed over the years. The Great Hurricane of 1938 by Cherie Burns This hurrican hit Long Island and New England before the naming of hurricanes and before the development of means of predicting their strength and movement. It hit in September and many, many people were killed in the flooding that resulted from the storm surge which was tremendous and unexpected. One of the people who was endangered during the storm was Katherine Hepburn. The disaster led to an upgrading of the system of prediction and the means with which the weather bureau communicated the warnings to the people in the path of future storms. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson This is the combination of the story of the invention of the wireless by Enrico Marconi and the capture of a man and his girlfriend who had run away to Canada after the murder of the man’s wife. (The girlfriend seems not to have been involved in the caper.) The combination is important for the man was captured through the use of Marconi’s new invention, and this episode gave great credibility to it and made it a success (something that was not previously guaranteed due to difficulties in the process that Marconi encountered and a number of industrial and scientific enemies that he made over the years.) 1861 by Adam Goodheart This book is about the coming of the Civil War. I have read many books about this era, but this is by far the best that I have seen. I contains details about which I had never heard before. It tells stories of individuals and how their lives and at times their deaths affected the country. The author gives a good and balanced analysis on the situation. I would highly, highly recommend this book to anyone interested in US history. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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