Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Louisville, KY - Albuquerque, NM - Angola, IN - Carey, OH - Louisville, KY

March 23, 2022 Peace and Good, I have been travelling in these days to finish off the visitation to Our Lady of Consolation Province in the Midwest. One of the trips in these days was to visit fr. Charles McCarthy who works at Laguna Pueblo, a native American reservation, in New Mexico. He takes care of a number of small churches in the immediate area. I was very impressed with his ability to know the local culture without becoming obsessed with knowing everything. At times, knowing what the boundaries are and respecting them is a very important part of dealing with others. We, fr. Wayne and myself, visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio. It is a parish church with a statue of Our Lady of Consolation which draws people from all around, especially during the summer. I will be heading off to Baltimore this coming Saturday for a re-dedication of Carrollton Manor, a house built by Charles Carroll of Carrollton as a wedding present for his niece. Carroll was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his cousin was the first bishop in the country. The building has been refurbished to bring it back to some of its original beauty, and it will serve as a museum, meeting hall, etc. I have finished some reading: The First World War by Peter Simkins, Geoffrey Jukes and Michael Hickey This is an account of the war from the beginning to the end. It is written by British authors, so it is heavily bent in their favor. It does a good job on the Western front, a little less so on the Eastern front, but a disastrous job on the war around the world (e.g. the Pacific, Africa). The British Bulldog and the French Poodle in Africa by Charles River Editors In spite of the title of this short book, it is a quite good account of the grab for colonies in Africa, especially during the 19th century. Both colonial powers were looking for a continuous line of colonies from one side of Africa to the other (the British from north to south, the French from east to west). Obviously, only one of them would win. The final breaking point was the encounter between the French and British in an out of the way place named Fashoda. The account also deals with the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon. Raphael: Painter in Rome by Stephanie Storey This is an entertaining historical fiction account of the artist Raphael (along with his rival Michelangelo). The author is playful in the presentation of dialog and of the artists quirks (as well as those who surrounded the papal court). When I first started the book, I was worried that it might be too colloquial, but it is the type of book that deals with important issues without allowing itself to be bogged down with facts and details). The author has written other books about the era which I now intend to read. The Eternal City by Ferdinand Addis This is a very fine book that covers the city of Rome from ancient times up to the present day. It deals with some topics of which I had heard but had never received much information about. The tone of the book is respectful, even when dealing with issues such of the papacy during the very bad years in the Middle Ages and even the Renaissance. I would recommend this book. American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald C. White This is a well written, comprehensive biography of General/President Grant. It deals with his successes and his failures. It shows Grant to be a humble, simple man with his flaws like anyone else. He was often underestimated by those around him, which was a big mistake. The author does not cover up the disastrous corruption during his presidential administration, nor his bankruptcy in the following years. I especially enjoyed the author’s treatment of the period in which Grant wrote his memoirs (which were then published by Mark Twain). The Great American Rascal: The Turbulent Life of Aaron Burr by Noel Gerson This is a biography of a man who was both a hero and a villain. He was incredibly ambitious, but not always cognizant of the folly of his outlandish plans (e.g. to conquer Mexico and make it his own personal empire). He was the Vice-President under Jefferson, but even that he handled so poorly that there was a permanent enmity between the two men. He was the model for the short story, “The Man Without a Country,” for after he was tried for treason, he fled to England (followed by Sweden, then Germany, then France, then back to England). He borrowed money wherever he went, rarely paying it back. He was certainly a man who moved to his own drummer, a drummer who was often out of beat of the rest of society. Edgar Allen Poe: Master of Horror by Mark Canada This is a production of the Teaching Company in collaboration with Audible Books. It is the product of a professor of literature who has studied Edgar Allen Poe extensively. I found a couple of his theories strange, but overall the course gives a good insight into this strange man and author. His greatest fame for his poetry, mystery novels and even detective novels came after his death. He is seen to have been a terribly tortured man who man self-destructive choices (and not only with his use of drink and drugs). The Hubble Space Telescope by Charles River Editors This is one of the productions of Charles River Editors who produce short but thorough presentations on particular topics. In this case, the book is about the Hubble Space Telescope. Besides the history of the telescope itself, there is a mind-numbing catalog of its discoveries and of various astronomical theories. I really can’t say that I would recommend this book except to someone who is desperately interested in the topic. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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