Monday, February 10, 2020


February 10, 2020 Peace and Good, I have been in East Peoria preaching a retreat to a group of Franciscan sisters. I finish at lunch tomorrow, and I will drive back to Chicago and fly out to Baltimore on Wednesday. The retreat has gone very well. It is on the Gospels and their lessons to Franciscan life. This is only a small community, around 19 sisters, but they have an enormous influence for the Health Care Network that they manage. It includes several hospitals and hospices, two schools of nursing, and it has just merged with the Little Company of Mary Health Care System. The property of the Mother House is incredibly beautiful. It is over 30 acres of ponds and rolling countryside. I have finished some reading: The Golden Saying of Epictetus Epictetus was a Roman slave from the second century AD who was also a Stoic philosopher. He wrote a series of saying concerning living a life of indifference to the vicissitudes of life and trusting in the plan of the almighty. I had always heard about these sayings, but had never actually read them. Now I fully intend to reread them every once in a while. They are very good. The Mysteries of Mithras: the History and Legacy of Ancient Rome’s Most Mysterious Religious Cult by Charles River Editors This is a short book on one of the most famous mystery cults in ancient times. Many Romans stopped believing in the power of the traditional Roman gods for they were not pictured as intercessors who could assist one in need. A number of mystery religions (called this for they had secret rites) came from the Mideast and Egypt in the early centuries of the first millennium. Among these was the cult of Mithra, a Persian deity. He was especially popular with soldiers, which probably explains how the faith spread from Persia all the way to Rome. Vincent Van Gogh by Hourly History This is a short biography of the famous artist. It gives a good insight into his life and career. It made me want to read a longer biography in the future. America’s Deadliest Hurricanes by Charles River Editors This is a short overview of three of the major hurricanes to hit the US in the past century: Galveston, Okeechobee, and Katrina. The reporting is good, and there are a number of touching remembrances by people who were involved in the disaster. The Last Tsar by Donald Crawford This is the story of Tsar Michael, the brother of Tsar Nicholas II who became the last tsar of the Russian empire when Nicholas abdicated the throne for himself and his son Alexis. Michael was a decent man, and a war hero. Unlike the other Grand Dukes who remained behind in safety during battles, Michel was courageous. He was much loved by his troops, a band of Muslim horsemen whom nobody thought could be trained to be soldiers. He was rejected by his brother and Alexandra, the tsaress, because he married a common woman who had been twice divorced. Alexandra comes across looking petty and prudish. The read is very good. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie This is a short story of Hercule Poirot who seeks a stolen ruby in order to spare an Indian price of embarrassment. He finds it attending a traditional Christmas celebration, something that he had sworn never to do. As always, the story is well performed. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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