Sunday, July 24, 2022

Mesilla Rark, New Mexico - Ellicott City, MD

July 24, 2022 Peace and Good, I finished up a very hot week in New Mexico. It reached 106 degrees some day. It was a dry heat, but when it gets that hot, it feels like an oven. The Provincial Chapter of Our Lady of Consolation Province went very well. There was very much a family environment. Their province is one of the most committed to social justice of the four in the county. They made a commitment to study and live the lessons of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si (which speaks of how we use/abuse/honor the environment. They also recommitted themselves to planning for their most important site, Mount St Francis. I am now in Ellicott City for the week, but it is going to be quite busy. I have a series of doctors and dentist appointments. Then on the 30th I head back to Europe, to Palermo in Sicily. I finished some reading: Poland, 1939 by Roger Moorhouse This is a book that records the history of the Nazi and Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939. This is probably one of the most painful books that I have read, but it was well worth reading. The author speaks especially from a Polish point of view, showing how the Poles fought bravely but were outclassed by both the Nazis and the Soviets (who invaded later in the process and claimed to be liberators, which was never their intention). The Soong Sisters by Emily Hahn This is the story of three sisters who all had important roles in China. One was the widow of Sun Yat-Sen. The second was the wife of a rich industrialist. The third was the wife of Chaing Kai-Shek. While this is the theory of the book, it actually turns into a fawning biography of the third women. It is an apologia as to the goodness of Soong Mai-ling, this third woman, up to the end of World War II. I would not exactly recommend this book for a good read. Leyte 1944 by Nathan Prefer This is an extensive account of the American invasion of Leyte during World War II. It goes into great detail, so it would be the sort of book that would please only those who want to know all the story (at a larger level and the individual level). Stay Tuned by Jeffery Deaver This is a short novel about a woman who is endangered by her fiancĂ©e. This occurred many years after an incident at the same lake where this event happened. She lost a good friend to a murderer. The question becomes whether the deceased girl actually helped the protagonist escape danger. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz This is the first of a series of books about a young man named Odd who has the gift/curse of seeing ghosts who wish him to help them on some task before they go to the other side. The whole series is incredibly well written. Odd shows a humility and a sense of service that is astounding. This volume deals with his attempt to stop a mass killing by a Satanic group. The Rise of the Rome by Gregory Aldrete This is a series of 24 lectures on the rise of Rome from its founding until the end of the Republic under Augustus. This is not the first course by Aldrete that I have heard, and he is quite good. He presents quite enough information without being overwhelming. The Egg and Other Stories by Andy Weir This is a series of nine short stories by the author who wrote the Martian. Each of the stories leads one to think one thing and then ends with a turn that one did not in any way expect. These stories made me want to read more of his writings. War Beneath the Sea by Peter Padfield This is a long and very detailed account of submarine war during the Second World War (German, Japanese, British and American). It is quite long and it probably would not be of interest to anyone who is not fascinated with this particular period of history and this particular topic. In spite of this, the book is well done. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake by Captivating History This is a short account of the earthquake that all but destroyed the city of San Francesco and also spawned a fire which destroyed even more of it. It deals with the initial disaster, of the response of those responsible for the city (local and national), the plights of the refugees, etc. The Great Divorce by Ilyon Woo This is a story that takes place in the early days of the 19th century in New York and New England. A man who has a history of alcoholism and visiting prostitutes decides to convert and join the Shakers. He wants his wife and three children to join him. She does not want this. Although she wants a divorce, it is all but impossible for her to obtain it. Furthermore, the Shakers help the husband hide her children for her (for at this time, the husband had total rights over children during a separation or divorce). A major topic is the fight for women’s rights. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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