Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Santa Cruz, California - Rome

October 26, 2022 Peace and Good We had a very good meeting of the federation of English speaking friars at Maria del Mar retreat house in Santa Cruz. It was right along the ocean, and during our stay I saw some seals and dolphins swimming just offshore. The food was great, as was the hospitality. There were many new members to the leadership of the federation, and this meeting allowed them to get to know each other better. They seem to work very well together. We elected the leadership of the federation, with fr. Michael Heine, the provincial of OLA province, being named the president. They have also nominated a replacement for me which will be voted upon later this week. The weather here in Rome is nice - fall weather. I just got in on Monday evening, so I am in the midst of jet lag. I swear it get worse and worse. I can't wait until I have finished with these transatlantic trips. I finished some reading: Celtic Mythology by Bernard Hayes This is a short overview of the mythology of the Celtic people, both those in Great Britain and those in Asia Minor, France, Spain, etc. It also deals the question of those whom one would consider to be Celtic. Their extension is much more extensive than one would expect. America’s Weirdest Riots by Charles River Editors This is an account of some of the stranger riots that have occurred in the United Stats in the past couple of hundred years. There was, for example, the eggnog riot at West Point Academy. There was also the grave robber riots in which people attacked medical schools because it was thought that they were robbing bodies from the cemeteries for anatomy lessons. The Chicago Outfit by Charles River Editors This is a short history of the crime network that developed in Chicago (in fact, different gangs in the different parts of the city). It deals extensively with the career of Al Capone, but also deals with what one could call the Mafia mob and the Irish mob. The Life and the Writings of John Milton by Dr. Seth Leher This is an overview of the literature of John Milton, the most famous of whose writings was Paradise Lost. The professor is able to point out the literary patterns and allusions throughout the text of the various writings. He uses a bit of psychology to show why Milton shows a certain response whenever he deals with a father figure (based on his own difficulty to his own father). The treatment is too reverential, and it cannot truly be called objective. Images of St. Francis by Wayne Hellman This is an excellent course on the way that St. Francis has been imaged throughout the centuries, including seeing him as a prophet, a saint, a founder of a religious movement, etc. Wayne is one of our friars, the current provincial of OLC province, and he taught at St. Louis University for many years. Prisoner of Guantanamo by Dan Fesperman This is a novel which speaks about an Arabic interrogator working at the prison in Guantanamo for Arab prisoners after 9/11. There are a whole series of surprising developments. The author gives a good mystery/thriller. Many of those whom one would expect to be on the good side and seen to be less virtuous than one would have thought. The Fiery Trial by Eric Foner This is a very good treatment of the growing movement toward emancipation of the slaves during the Civil War. Foner traces the growth in Abraham Lincoln and his ability to do what he really wanted to do from the start (but did not yet have the political ability to do so). Lincoln is seen as opposed to slavery, but unsure how to respond to it due to his need to placate the border states that had not yet left the union, the opinions of many of the white people in the north who were not all that favorable toward blacks, and his own opinion that the solution to this problem would be creating colonies in foreign countries to expel blacks from this nation. Martin Luther by Hourly History This is a short biography of Martin Luther, one of the founders of the Protestant reformation. It deals with his theological background and reasonings, but also with his psychological motivations (including some of the negative factors of his personality). Although it is short, the study is well done. Gastronomy in Mesoamerica by Charles River Editors This is a short description of the normal diet of the people in Mesoamerica before the arrival of Columbus. It also deals with the crops that were exported to Europe and Asia and Africa, and those were imported from those continents in what was called the Columbian exchange. The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China by David Sibley This story of the Boxer Rebellion at the end of the 19th century which was a movement to destroy the influence of foreign powers and religions in China. It deals with the rebellion largely from the point of view of the Western powers which eventually crushed the rebellion. The author does recognize the imperialistic intentions of the various power who all claimed to be totally charitable in their intentions. I will actually be in Rome for a few weeks now, until I head to Australia in mid-November. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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