Sunday, June 10, 2018

Ellicott City, MD - Mesilla Park, NM - Castro Valley, CA

June 10, 2018 Peace and Good, I have started on the cycle of the Provincial Chapters for our four provinces in the US. The first one was held in Mesilla Park, NM, which is about an hour outside of El Paso, TX. The chapter went from Monday to Thursday. There were 24 of us meeting there. There was a very good spirit amont the friars, and the chapter ended with a hopeful atmosphere. The heat was tremendous. Every day it hit 100. On my flight yesterday from El Paso to Oakland, I passed through Phoenix were the temperature reached 106. Yes, yes - it was a dry heat - but still. In Mesilla Park, one of the friars said that when the humidity reaches 35 percent, they are all complaining how humid it is. This week the California province has its chapter in Castro Valley, a town just outside of Oakland. Then from here to Buffalo for the Our Lady of Angels Province Chapter. These chapters are the second part of the meetings. The first was held about a month ago, and in the meantime each province has been preparing its plans to present to the friars. I was largely responsible for running the first part of the chapters, but this time around I get to sit back and help out now and then when there is a technical question. I finished some reading: The Drug Hunters by Donald Kirsch and Ogi Ogas This book is written by a man who worked in the pharmaceutics industry in research. The author explain how various types of drugs were discovered (by accident, by search, by purposly designing them, etc.) He also explains why this type of work is so incredibly expensive, especially for the testing procedures that are required to bring a new drug to market. Elixir by David Bunn This is a Christian novel about a man who is hired to find a woman to whom he was engaged and whom he betrayed. He ends up on an island off of Scotland where he finds a brother in a pilgrimage hostel who, while being a bit of a miserable person, nevertheless guides him on the right path. He then travels to the Basque country in southern France where he finds the woman whom he is seeking. She had travelled there commune with a man who has found a remarkable new medicine from various herbs hidden in the mountains there. Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie This is a story of Medicus, a Roman doctor for one of the legions serving in the British Isles and his wife Tillie. They try to get to the bottom of a series of deaths among British novice soldiers. It turns out to be the fault of a group of centurions who are doing very bad things. The story also coincides with the visit of the emperor Hadrian and his wife (remember, Hadrian was the emperor who built Hadrian’s wall separating England from Scotland to keep the barbarian Scots north of the border). This whole series about Medicus is excellent. Winston’s War by Max Hastings This is an account of World War II from the point of view of Winston Churchill. It deals with his actions, his personality, his difficulties, etc. One thing that is very interesting is the view that the British had of Americans during the war. The author proposes that they respected the Russians more than the Americans who had not entered the war when they were first needed, and then took advantage of the situation to receive their last penny for the help we gave them. It is interesting to see the story from a very different point of view. Hastings is a very good war author and this is another of his triumphs. The History of the Popes by Wyatt North This is a three volume (short volumes) history of the Popes from St. Peter to Pope Francis. Obviously, the treatment of each pope is cursory, but it is nevertheless informative and well worth reading. The author gives a biography of each pope along with his major accomplishments. He does not hide from the scandals of some of the popes, but likewise, he does not revel in them. He gives a good overview of movements in the Church and the reasons why they succeeded or failed. I would recommend this book to those who wish to get an overview that can be very helpful. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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