Sunday, March 12, 2023

Silver Spring, Md - Priestfield, WV - Silver Spring, MD

March 12, 2023 Peace and Good, I gave a retreat to our post-novitiate students this past week in Priestfield, WV. This is a beautiful retreat house not too far from Harper's Ferry. The topic of the retreat was the Prophets and Lent. This was the first time I presented this particular topic, and I enjoyed preparing and presenting it. The weather was cool but sunny most of the week, and the grounds are beautiful. We came back on Friday and I will be flying back to Rome tomorrow night. Next Monday we being our definitory meeting. It will go for a week, and then we have a week of retreat in a friary not too far from Rome. The week after that is Holy Week, and then Easter Week I will be back in the States. I finished some books: Catholic and Protestant Reformation: the Key to Understanding the Reformation Movement by Fr. Henry Wanbrough This is a series of lectures from the Learning Company which deals with various attempts at reform among Protestants and Catholics in the centuries since the Protestant Reformation. Although each lecture was very good, I found the whole series to be a bit disjointed. It dealt much, much more with the Catholic attempt at renewal than the Protestant one. Louisa May Alcott by Hourly History This is a part of a series on American authors. The author goes into depth on the influences of Alcott’s family members on her writing, especially a father who favored her sister, often scolded her, and could never earn a living. Alcott was forced to earn a living for the family through her writing. The book speaks of her time serving as a nurse during the Civil War (a short time) and how it affected her health for the rest of her life. American Civil War by Hourly History This is a very quick overview of the history of the American Civil War. It is the first of a series of short books on the war, the rest of which are about individual topics and not as generic as this book. Spies of the Congo by Susan Williams This is the story of the American effort to control the exportation of uranium from a mine in what was then Belgian Congo during World War II. It was an abundant supply of very high-grade ore, so everyone wanted access to it. Belgium was conquered by the Nazis, so they made efforts to obtain the ore, but the United States set up an organization which fostered exportation to the States and hindered its exportation to Germany. How the Medici Shaped the Renaissance by William Landon This is a history of the Medici family and its influence upon the cultural awakening called the Renaissance in Florence, Italy. They gained power as a banking family, but eventually their influence was through political connections (both with the Vatican, which was governed by two Popes from this family, and foreign powers such as France and the Holy Roman Empire). The author presenting this account is honest in his appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the various members of the family who gained ascendency in Florence over the centuries. The Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II by Charles River Editors This is the story of the internment of most of the Japanese population of the West Coast during the Second World War. This was done to prevent collaboration with the Japanese empire, but even when it was being carried out, there were serious critics to a policy which was clearly racist (and based upon information that some in the army had fabricated). The Romanovs by Virginia Cowles This is a nicely written account of the 300 years of Romanov rule in Russia. This is an enormous sweep of time, so the account is not as detailed as would be one by Massie or another author of the period, but it gives both the basic story and quite a bit of background information. Vlad the Impaler by Kelly Mass This is a short account of Vlad who was the figure used to form the fictional character Dracula. He was a prince in southern Romania and he played his forces between the Turkish army and the army of the Hungarian Empire. His title is due to his immense cruelty in impaling his enemy, including women and children. Scipio Africanus: Greater than Napoleon by B.H. Liddell Hart This is the biography and history of the great Roman general Scipio Africanus, the general who defeated the Carthaginian forces in Spain before continuing to North Africa where he defeated the forces of Hannibal. The author is a famous military historian from Great Britain. He unfortunately oversells his case a bit, portraying Scipio as the greatest general who ever lives (and therefore having to denigrate the accomplishments of other general such as Alexander the Great, Napoleon and Caesar. The Mauryan Empire by Kelly Mass This is an Indian empire that preceded the conquests of Alexander the Great. Not a lot is known about this particular civilization, but recent archaeologists are discovering more detail to add to the picture of this local culture (Indian and not Hellenized). Genghis Khan by Kelly Mass This short book was contained in a series which presented a series of mass murderers. The account gives a good biography of Genghis Khan, a history of his conquests, and a bit of information on what happened to his empire after his death. Have a good St. Patrick's Day. Shalom fr. Jude


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