Monday, October 8, 2018

Rome - London - Oxford - London

October 8, 2018 Peace and Good, I have finished my time in Rome for a while. In the last couple of days, I have been working on a little project and finally made some progress on it. I want to transcribe all of the homilies that I preached during the Extraordinary Chapter (at the request of some friars and the Minister General). While I was recovering from bronchitis, I just did not have the energy. Now that I am feeling better, I finished about a third of the project. I hope to have it completed by the end of the month. I flew to London on the 5th and had some meetings with the custos and his vicar. We were able to get a lot of business done in a relatively short amount of time. Saturday I headed up to Oxford to visit our formation community, and came back Sunday evening. Now I will be in London until Wednesday when I will fly out to San Antonio, Texas to another of our houses of formation. The weather here is cool and overcast, a normal British fall. I have spent many, many hours in conversation with a number of friars here, which is always good. I have finished some reading: The Storm of the Century by Al Roker This is an account of the hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900. I had already read another book on this topic called Isaac’s Storm, and this book was as good if not better than that one. This is the Al Roker who is the meteorologist on TV. He has a lot of good quotes from people who lived through the storm. The final toll of this disaster was somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 when the storm surge from a very powerful hurricane that the weather bureau had not forecast completely covered the island on which Galveston was built. The FBI by RJ Parker Vol 1 This is a series of stories about some of the FBI’s most infamous cases. One or two of the cases is treated in a very defensive manner, but the rest are simply reporting what happened with cases like the mobster cases in the 1930’s and some of the more recent cases in the recent decades. William Penn: The Life and Legacy of the English Quaker who Founded Pennsylvania by Charles River Editors This short book on the life of William Penn is quite well done with a number of long quotes from Penn’s own writings. He was a convert to being a Quaker, a choice that landed him in prison a number of times. He was at times favored by the court (especially as being the son of a war hero), and at other times ignored or even persecuted. He was the founder of the colony of Pennsylvania which was one of the most respectful colonies toward other religions and toward Native Americans. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson This was a very, very good book on the life and career of this incredible man. I found the treatment as good as that of Ross King who has written a series of very good books on the painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo, on the dome of the cathedral in Florence by Brunelleschi, on the painting of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, etc. The author does not delve into some of the more strange theories on Leonardo’s art. He describes his creative process which was the product of an insatiable curiosity. I highly recommend this book. The Cathars: The History and Legacy of the Gnostic Christian Sect During the Middle Ages by Charles River Editors The Cathars, also known as the Albigensians, were a heresy that developed in southern France in the 12th century AD. It was an offshoot of a heresy that developed in the Balkans known as the Bogomils. This religion was very dualistic seeing the earth as evil and not a product of God’s goodness. They were highly persecuted by the Catholic Church. The author of this book is not objective in any way, not even treating those moments when the Cathars did terrible things to Catholics. He also does not treat many of the political questions that had an influence on how they were treated (e.g. the attempt of the French king to gain political power in this part of France). The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War by Mark Stille The beginning of this book is an outline of the history of the Japanese navy during the Second World War. Then the author goes into an evaluation and examination of each type of naval vessel that the Japanese built and used. This speaks about various classes of ships, but then goes on to speak of the history of each ship in that class. It is a little more information than I really wanted to handle. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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