Tuesday, May 18, 2021


May 18, 2021 Peace and Good, I have been in Rome the past 10 days. I did a 5 day isolation in my room (even though I have received both doses of my vaccine) because of the rule here in the European Community which lags a few weeks behind the US. The weather is not quite late Spring yet. It is neither hot nor cold, and there still a bit of rain which should disappear in a few weeks. It is still required to wear masks, which most people observe. We began our definitory meeting yesterday morning. We go from Monday to Saturday this time. Then early next week I will be heading up to Assisi to visit our friars there. On June 1st I will be heading to Atlanta to see some of our friars there. I have gotten ahead in my daily reflections, finishing the work up to June 13, the feast of St. Anthony. It feels good not to have that to do. I have finished some reading: The Roman Empire: From Augustus to the Fall of Rome by Prof. Gregory Aldrete This is a series of 24 lectures from the Teaching Company on the Roman Empire. The lectures are informative and balanced. The teaching style of the professor is a bit too dramatic, but that does not really damage a good presentation. The Third Reich at War by Richard Evans This is the third and last volume in a massive study of the Third Reich. It deals with the war years. According to the author, it is supposed to deal especially with the reaction of the German people during those years. He only partly succeeds, for he deals extensively with the holocaust (which is a most valid topic, but what the author said he was not going to make the center of his study). Nevertheless, the whole three volume series is incredibly informative both factually and from the point of individuals going through everything. The Potsdam Conference by Charles River Editors This is a short presentation on the last of the great conferences during and after World War II. This one took place in a suburb of Berlin after the war. Roosevelt had just died, so Truman was present. During the conference, Britain held elections and Churchill lost, so Atlee took his place. Not a lot was done. This is the conference during which the US dropped the first atom bomb on Japan. Dark Voyage by Alan Furst I have read a number of book by Furst. He is one of my favorite authors, and this volume is not an exception. It tells of a Dutch commercial ship captain who performs secret tasks for the British in the early years of the war. His duty ranges from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. It is filled with excitement, but presented in a muted, everyday way. I highly recommend this book and this author. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rawlings A short while ago I decided to go through the Harry Potter books once again. This is the second volume in the series, and I enjoyed listening to it. All of the volumes are available on the overlook app at the local library. There is just an enjoyable interplay with the characters throughout the book. Typhoid Mary by Charles River Editors This tells the story of the Irish immigrant Mary Mallon who was a non-symptomatic carrier of typhoid. She was a cook for upper class families and wherever she went, people fell ill from the disease. The Health Department finally figured it out and placed her in indefinite quarantine. She was released eventually after promising that she would never work as a cook again, but then she changed her name and went back to the kitchen. The second time that she was caught, she was locked away on an isolation island til her death. Her story raises difficult questions of constitutional rights vs. the good of society. Keep well. fr. Jude


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