Monday, October 3, 2022

Arroyo Grande, California - Chicago - Rome

October 4, 2022 Happy Feastday of St. Francis Peace and Good, I finished my presentations in Arroyo Grande on the Gospels and Psalms to the novices. The week went very well. I especially enjoyed the day we spent with the Capuchin novices studying the Gospel of Matthew which we will be using in the liturgy beginning with Advent. This past week I spent in Chicago giving a workshop on the Letters of St. Paul to our postulants. There are three of them this year, two for Our Lady of Angels Province and one for St. Bonaventure Province. I feel very much at home in Chicago. I was able to get my Pho soup (Vietnamese) a couple of times. While I was there, I got my annual flu shot and my latest covid booster (which is more effectice against the Omega variant). I returned to Rome by American Airlines so it was a direct flight from Chicago to Rome. It took 9 hours and was not all that bad of a flight. The planes are full these days. It is getting easier and easier to fly. The weather in Rome is nice. It is no longer very hot, but not yet rainy as it can get during the Autumn. I am trying to get through my jet lag, but this time it seems worse than others. I only have a few more months of this. I still am not sure what I will be doing this coming year. I should know more by the end of this month. I finished some books: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson This is the classic novella of a decent man who discovers a way to become a fiend who can fulfill all of his darkest desires. The line between the two becomes confusing as the doctor discovers he no longer needs to take his drugs to switch from one state to the other. The story is told from the point of view of a friend of the doctor who slowly discovers what is happening to the doctor. Caligula’s Nemi Ships by Charles River Editors This is the account of two massive boats that were built during the time of Caligula on a lake at Nemi, a small town near a volcanic lake outside of Rome (near Castel Gandolfo, the lake resort for the Pope). The author describes how they were built and the most probable reason why they were built, and then scuttled in the lake. He also describes how they rediscovered and why Mussolini had them excavated during his reign. Robert E Lee and His High Command by Gary Gallagher This is a teaching company course on the officers of the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The author is a good scholar and gives an honest, balance review of the leaders of the Southern side of the war. He also provides some background into the tendency to canonize the southern cause and especially Robert E. Lee. Overall, it was quite good. Written in Blood by Michael Lister This is the account of a man who doubles as a prison chaplain and a detective (a continuation of his former profession). This is part of a series of novels based on the same character which was discounted from Chirp Books (an audiobook outlet which does not let you download its product but which allows you to listen to them online). The story was interesting, and I will probably try out another of Lister’s books, but he is not yet one of my favorites. Six Frigates by Ian Toll This is the story of the founding of the US navy from the days of the Revolutionary War up to the end of the War of 1812, including the navy’s service in the Barbary Wars against pirate states in North Africa. The author is a good war writer (having already read a couple of his other books). This is not a short, quickly flowing account of the topic, but rather a detailed, involved account which is nevertheless enjoyable. History of Bali by Captivating History This is a long treatment of the exotic island of Bali in Indonesia and its history. The author insists on giving mind numbing detail about one king, one dynasty after another. It was interesting in its larger details, but is a difficult read. The Roman Army by Charles River Editors This is the second half of a two part treatment on ancient armies. The former part dealt with the army of Sparta and it dealt with the battles they fought. This one death with more organizational issues. It was helpful, but only touched on battle actions of the armies themselves. Florence Nightingale by Hourly History This is a short presentation on the life of the famous nurse in England who helped to reform the treatment of injured soldiers during the Crimean War (and whose reforms had an enormous impact in other countries as well). Coming from a rather wealthy background, Florence had a difficult time convincing her family that she should practice nursing (which was considered to be a disreputable occupation). She was eventually to be honored by Queen Victoria for her work. The book also points out the less attractive dimensions of her personality (e.g. a crotchety personality). Polynesian Mythology by Bernard Hayes This is a very short presentation on some of the figures and beliefs of the religions of Polynesia. While these beliefs differ from island to island, there are some basic ideas that are consistent. The short presentation does not go into depth into anything, and just presents the content of the myths that form the basis for Polynesian religious beliefs. Saint Augustine by Hourly History This is one of those short biographies of the lives and careers of important historical figures. This one is well done, presenting both the events of his life and some of the major philosophical and theological ideas in his teaching. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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