Sunday, January 20, 2019


January 21, 2019 Peace and Good, It is so good to write just one city in the places that I have been for the past period of time. This past week was one of our General Definitories. It was filled with topics to cover. A lot of the work has to do with the fact that we are preparing for the General Chapter beginning in Assisi on May 18th, so there is a lot to do for that. There were also a couple situations in the Order that needed immediate attention. The weather here in Rome is rainy and cool, more like London than Rome. What is nice here, though, is that even if it is generally rainy, the sun will peak through at least once or twice during the day. There are not as many pilgrims and tourists in Rome these days. This is the off season. There was a little problem with the scripture blogs a few days ago, but the head of the office quickly addressed it. If ever you have difficulty receiving the blog, please let me know and we will get on it as soon as possible. I have finished some reading: The Egyptian Scientific Institute by Charles River Editors At the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon, who was not yet the absolute ruler of France, decided to distract British forces by invading Egypt. He intended to cut the route to India and create difficulties for England there as well. He was successful at the beginning, but quickly the British under Admiral Nelson defeated his fleet, causing him to eventually sneak back to France. While his invasion was unsuccessful, his establishment of a scientific institute in Egypt was wildly successful. He brought along artists, scientists, archaeologists, etc. who went on to produce many scientific studies. One of his greatest accomplishments occurred years later when a Frenchman, Charpentier, managed to decipher the Rosetta Stone which had been found during his invasion (and thus find a translation for Egyptian hieroglyphs. Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor by Kathryn Lasky This is a simple book written as if it were the diary of Princess Elizabeth of England in the years immediately before the death of her father, Henry VIII. It brings across her scholarship, her terrible relationship with her half sister Mary, her fears of banishment, etc. Mad Enchantment by Ross King Ross King is an author who deals with the history of art. This volume deals with Monet and his water lily productions. It speaks quite a bit about his relationship with other artists and especially with Clemenceau. Monet promised to make a huge art donation to the French government, but then all but backed out. The book deals with his sight problems once he developed cataracts on both eyes. As is true of all of King’s books, the research in extensive and the story well told. Blood and Rubles by Stuart Kaminsky An American FBI agent travels to Russia and works with police there to track down a Russian mob that seems to be dealing with nuclear bombs. The book deals with the collapse of law and order in the aftermath of the fall of the communist system. Everything is being handled at two or three different levels. Justice is impossible to obtain, even if one follows all the rules, for it is only available to the highest bidder. Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carre A Russian plutocrat seeks to defect to Great Britain bringing with him information about his activities to launder money for the various Russian mobs (with which the government is involved). He is not exactly a refined person, and he is bringing with him a family that is strange and yet in need of aid. He contacts a British school teacher while on vacation in the Caribbean, asking for help. He and his wife contact the secret services, and the rest of the book is the attempt to bring him to Great Britain and give him political asylum (which not all the government officials want because they are in bed with the Russian mob. Le Carre does not present a 007 scenario of spying – quite the opposite. One sees the human flaws in the agents and the government. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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