Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Ellicott City, Md - Louisville, KY - Linthicum, MD

May 25, 2022 Peace and Good, After my dental work in the Baltimore area, I travelled to Mt. St. Francis just outside of Louisville. There we held the first part of the provincial chapter of Our Lady of Consolation Province (which stretches from Minnesota to New Mexico). The chapter went very well. There was a very good atmosphere among the friars. I then travelled back to Baltimore where we began the chapter of Our Lady of Angels Province in Linthicum at a place called the Maratime Center. This is a very large chapter with around 70 participants. We have finished the first part of the chapter (reports, discussion) and tomorrow we have a whole series of elections to choose the counselors for the next four years (the provincial had already been chosen by mail ballot). This chapter goes til Friday, and then Saturday fr. Carlos and I fly to San Francisco for the chapter of the California Province. The friars have been very honest in their discussions. We will have a second part to this chapter in July which is when we address a series of motions which the friars will offer in these coming weeks. I finished some reading: Mary Baker Eddy by Hourly History This is a short biography of the Christian Science movement. She comes across as a somewhat odd person, often ill until she met a healer who presented himself as a vehicle of the wisdom of the ages, but whom Eddy thought of as a representative of Christ the healer. The book doesn’t really get into the inner personality of Eddy, but it gives enough information to develop a sense of the woman. The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton I had read this book many, many years ago, in novitiate (1971-1972). I am sure this read of it was very different in tone. The book is sadly dated, diffused with a pre-Vatican theology which Merton himself questioned in his latter years. He comes across as so judgmental of both himself and of others. I can honestly say that after listening to his presentation on prayer and reading this book, I don’t really want to read anything by him in the near future. Agrippina by Emma Southon This is an account of the granddaughter of Augustus, the wife of Claudius and the mother of Nero. She was a powerful woman who, at times, tried to rule in her own name. She was eventually murdered by her son. The book is good, but the author seems to have an adolescent need to use vulgar terms when describing the various relationships. Barons of the Sea by Steven Ujifusa This is an account of the buildings, owners, and captains of the great cargo ships that travelled from China to London, London to New York, and New York to San Francisco (among other places). The author gives a tremendous insight into the background of these merchants. He does not ignore their shortfalls (such as dealing in opium), but he tries to explain the situation in light of the times. The book is well done. Books that Matter: the Decameron by Kristina Olsen This is an overview of the famous work by Boccacio of ten people fleeing Florence during the plague meeting and telling a story each for ten straight nights. Each of the ten is given the opportunity to name a topic for the stories. Olsen describes both the surface level of the stories and their deeper meaning in light of the society of those days. This is a Great Courses selection. Under Occupation by Alan Furst By far, Furst is my favorite author. He writes novels that take place in Europe around the time of the Nazi takeover of Germany and during the Second World War. This one describes how an author becomes a spy for the underground, along with a Polish young women who is his assistant. Furst has the touch, able to transport one back into those times and into the minds of the characters involved. This was one of his better works. Nameless Series: Volume Two by Dean Koontz This is a six volume series (novellas) concerning a billionaire whose wife and daughter die in a terrorist incident. He is so overwrought by grief and guilt that he has his memory wiped and he serves as an avenger to promote justice in a crazy world. I read the first series last year, and this year’s selections bring the story to a conclusion. To tell the truth, I found last year’s works superior in quality to those of this year. Pierre-Auguste Renoir by Hourly History This is a short biography of the famous French impressionistic artist. He rose from poverty early in his career to become a rich artist (especially because of the popularity of this paintings in America). The account speaks of his relationships with other artists, and also with women in his life (relationships which were not always laudable). Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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