Monday, March 8, 2021

Saltpond, Ghana - Rome

March 8, 2021 Peace and Good, I finished my retreat in Saltpond. There were 16 friars on the retreat. We had to keep Covid restrictions, which included wearing masks (which in 95 degree heat was a challenge). The weather was hot, hot, hot. At the end of the month is the beginning of the rainy season so it should cool off a bit soon. The trip was filled with covid restrictions. Going and coming, I had to have five separate covid tests. There were tons of documents to fill out at every step along the way, some of which was never collected. Our trip to the airport was filled with a bit of tension. It is only about two and a half hours to get to the airport from Saltpond, but traffic was incredibly bad. It ended up taking about six hours. Then, at the airport, there was some question if they would let me travel. Fortunately, I had a letter inviting me to Rome by the Secretary General which did the trick. Getting into Rome was actually quite easy. I had filled out the right form and found the right table, and was through within a minute. I am in quarantine for a week or so. Then we will be going on retreat, and the week after we will have a definitory. After that, I head back to the States for the vaccine. I finished some reading: The History of Rome in 12 Buildings by Phillip Barlag This is a tour of some of the most important sites in Rome. It speaks about the history of the buildings and the Roman republic and empire. It is quite colloquial, but also for that reason enjoyable. Pirate Women by Laura Sook Duncombe This is an audible book that I listened to about women who were pirates throughout the ages, from ancient times to the present day. The descriptions depend upon written testimony, which is often not available (both because pirates did not often receive a lot of coverage, and because women were not always taken into consideration). I had some difficulty with the story because the author tries to present pirates as heroes, even when they robbed and murdered. This is the worst of a feminist approach to the topic. The Half-Life of Marie Curie by Lauren Gunderson This is a short play of the relationship between Marie Curie and a British suffragette named Hertha Ayrton. Much of it deals with the way that Curie was treated when she was discovered to be committing adultery with a married man after the death of her husband Pierre. There is also a subplot dealing with the radium that she carries, and its effect on her health. (She would eventually die from the effects of the radium she had discovered.) Experiencing America: a Smithsonian Tour through American History by Richard Kurin This is a 24 session course on the history of the US, using objects preserved in the Smithsonian as starting points on each lesson. The presenter works at the Smithsonian, and he is quite good in the way that he handles the topic. It is not exactly an in depth presentation, but it was enjoyable. John C Fremont by Charles River Editors This is the story of the great explorer of passages through the Rocky Mountain. He also served as a general in the Civil War (Missouri and West Virginia) and he was not all that successful. He ran for president in the Republican Party in 1854. He also served as governor in various territories. For all of this, his wife Jesse was a much better politician than he. The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day This is an autobiographical presentation of some aspects of the life and work of Dorothy Day. It is very much centered on her ministry to the poor. As one reads it, one is impressed with her fervor, but one gets the feeling that one is only seeing the surface of who she was. Keep safe. fr. Jude


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