Friday, September 28, 2018

Rome - Nisiporesti, Romania - Rome

September 28, 2019 Peace and Good, Over these past couple of weeks I have been showing some friends and acquaintances around Rome. This is the one time that I get to see some of the sites, so I really enjoyed it all. The last guest left this Tuesday morning, so it is back to the normal schedule. Furthermore, on Friday a group of us flew to Romania for the beatification of Veronica Antal. She was a consecrated lay woman who was murdered during the days of communism. Her cause has been proposed since I first taught in Romania in the 1990's, and it was finally approved this past year. There were over 12,000 people and over 300 priests present. Her village is not all that big, but the church is very large. In fact, when the previous pastor rebuilt it, he was accused of overbuilding, of making something way too large. Now it is clear that he was prudent for there will be many pilgrims to her tomb in these coming years. Sunday we came back to Rome, and these past days we have been meeting in definitory. This was a bit shorter than most meetings, for we finished at Friday lunch (while we usually go through to Saturday lunch). I will be here in Rome until the day after St. Francis Day, October 5th. Then I head out on one of my usual journies: London, Oxford, San Antonio, Texas, Chicago, Rome and Ndola, Zambia. I have finished some reading: Dorothy Day: The World Will be Saved by Beauty by Kate Hennessy Kate Hennessy is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, so this biography is an insider story of who Dorothy was and especially her relationship with her daughter Tamar. We hear a love/hate sort of relationship in which Dorothy was asking something of Tamar (to live as a faithful Catholic) which just wasn’t in her. We see Dorothy torn between acting as a mother and serving the ever growing needs of her Catholic Worker movement. This book presents Dorothy as a real person and not as a saint on a pedestal. Lagash and Eridu: the History and the Legacy of the Sumerian City by Charles River Editors These are actually two short books on Sumerian cities and the archaeological evidence that remains of their cultures, especially their religious devotional practices. They are a bit technical for the average reader, but they do provide a good amount of information for consideration of this culture that existed in Mesopotamia before the arrival of the Semitic cultures of the following generations. The Panic of 1907 by Sean Carr This is a financial crisis that I had never heard about. It was the crisis that led to the foundation of the Federal Reserve Bank. J.P. Morgan, rather than the tyrant and villain he is often portrayed as being, turns out to be the elder statesman who manages to limit the damage caused by the financial situation which began due to the failure of a financial scheme by some investors. The author gives a good analysis of what factors go into the origin and possible control of a crisis such as this. Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly This is one of O’Reilly’s historic studies. This one deals with the closing months of the war in the Pacific during the Second World War. He gives a lot of detail and valuable information. I just wish that he did not have to be so polemic in his attack on Obama. It is as if he has to blame Obama for everything, even the Second World War. At the same time, this book and the one that I read on the death of General Patton are worth considering. Shakespeare: the World as a Stage by Bill Bryson This is a rather good biography of Shakespeare, with a long section at the end which debunks the many theories that propose that someone else wrote his plays or that he never even existed. The book does not go into the plays in any depth, but does give some good background information (admitting that there is not much information available on who Shakespeare was, where he lived, what he did for long stretches of time, etc.). Bill Bryson usually write humorous travel books, but he handled this particular topic quite well. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. This is volume two of what must be intended to be a three or four volume series on the secretary to King Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell. It is a sympathetic portrait, where I have seen other versions of the story which portray him in a darker light. The first volume treated his dealings with the divorce of Henry from Katherine of Aragon. This one deals more with what happened to the marriage of Henry with Ann Boleyn. The author does a good job of creating a scene. Henry comes across as a spoiled egomaniac, which is probably not all that far off the mark. It was good reading. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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