Daily Update: Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Jerome Emiliani and Josephine Bahikta and World Day for Consecrated Life

Today is the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today is also the Optional Memorial of Saint Jerome Emiliani, Priest (died 1537) and the Optional Memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (died 1947). And as today is the Sunday on or after February 2nd, we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life in Catholic Parishes.

Born in 1481 in Venice, Italy, the son of wealthy parents, the father of Saint Jerome Emiliani died when he was a teenager, and he ran away from home at the age of 15, becoming a dissolute youth. At the age of 26 in 1506 he became a Venetian soldier, and commanded the League of Cambrai forces at the fortress of Castelnuovo in the mountains near Treviso. Captured by Venetian forces on August 27, 1511, he was chained in a dungeon; he prayed to Our Lady for help, was miraculously freed by an apparition, and hung his chains on a church wall as an offering. He then began studying for the priesthood, serving as Mayor of Treviso in the meantime. He was ordained in 1518, while a virulent spotted-fever plague was in Venice; he cared for the sick, and housed orphans in his own home. At night he roamed the streets, burying those who had collapsed and died unattended. He contracted the fever himself, but survived. During his later career he founded six orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes, and a hospital. He founded the Order of Somaschi (Company of Servants of the Poor, or Somascan Fathers, or Regular Clergy of Somasca) c. 1532, a congregation of clerks regular vowed to the care of orphans, named after the town of Somasca where they started and where they founded a seminary; the society was given approval by Pope Paul III in 1540, and continue their work today in a dozen countries. He is believed to have developed the question-and-answer catechism technique for teaching children religion. He was declared the patron of orphans and abandoned children in 1928 by Pope Pius XI. We also honor Saint Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (died 1947). Born about 1869 in Oglassa, Darfur, Sudan to a wealthy Sudanese family, she was kidnapped by slave-traders at age 9, branded, and given the name Bakhita by them. Sold and resold in the markets at El Obeid and Khartoum, she was finally purchased in 1883 by her final owner, an Italian diplomat, Callisto Legnani. He and his friend, Augusto Michieli, brought her to Italy, and she became nanny to the Michieli’s daughter, Mimmina. In 1888 or 1889 Mimmina was left in the custody of the Canossian Sisters in Venice while the Michielis moved to the Red Sea on business, and Bahkita (as her nanny) was also living with the Sisters. She became attracted to Christianity, and in 1890 was baptized by the Sisters as an adult. When the Michielis returned to collect her and their daughter, Bakhita did not want to leave. Mrs. Michieli tried to force the issue, but the superior of the Canossian Sisters in Venice complained to the authorities. An Italian court ruled that since Sudan had outlawed slavery before her birth, and since in any case Italian law did not recognize slavery, Bakhita had never in fact been a slave since being brought to Italy in 1885. She had now reached the age of maturity, and she found herself in control of her own destiny for the first time in her life. She chose to remain with the Canossians. She entered the Institute of Canossian Daughters of Charity in Venice, Italy in 1893, taking her vows in 1896 in Verona, and serving as a Canossian Sister for the next fifty years. Her gentle presence, her warm, amiable voice, and her willingness to help with any menial task were a comfort to the poor and suffering people who came to the door of the Institute. After a biography of her was published in 1930, she became a noted and sought after speaker, raising funds to support missions. She was canonized in 2000, and is thought to be the only Saint originally from the Sudan, of which country she is the Patron Saint. Turning to the World Day for Consecrated Life, Pope John Paul II connected this feast day of the Presentation of the Lord (on February 2nd) with the renewal of religious vows, and in 1997 he instituted the World Day for Consecrated Life, a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. The World Day for Consecrated Life is celebrated on February 2nd in the Church, and as today is the Sunday on or after February 2nd, the World Day for Consecrated Life is celebrated today in Catholic parishes.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading and ironed my Casino shirt du jour, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. When we clocked in at the casino, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker, and Let It Ride. After Let It Ride was closed, he was the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud and Three Card Poker. He then broke the Pai Gow table, and after that was on Mini Baccarat. Meanwhile I was the dealer on Let It Ride until that table closed; I then was the Check Racker on Roulette, put in a good 40 minutes on the $5.00 Blackjack table, then was on Pai Gow for the rest of the day. On my breaks I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Saturday, February 7th, 2015 via WordPress for Android. I also decided that I will not be reading The Martian by Andy Weir, and thus not going to my Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club on Tuesday; I basically ran out of time to read the book.

On our way home I finished reading the February 2nd, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. We stopped at the McDonald’s drive through in our town, and once home I ate McDonald’s for lunch while reading the Sunday papers. I then took a nap, and was joined by Richard. I could not sleep well, only dozing. I woke up about 5:00 pm, and found a Legacy file on my Android that contained hundreds of backup files going back to August 2014. I deleted all but the current week’s backups, and went from having about 590 MB available on internal storage (out of 9.75 GB, so that I had less than 10% space left) to having 4.64 GB available. I also decided to do today’s Daily Update and to eat some Amish Friendship bread. And I decided to start keeping track of the New Orleans Pelicans, as they are a major league team based in the Crescent City. (They are also owned by Tom Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints; alas, Benson and his family are in the midst of a very acrimonious family dispute, with Benson having divested his daughter and her children from operations and future ownership in favor of his third (and current) wife Gayle.) And our LSU Women’s Basketball team beat Alabama by the score of 51 to 39; our Lady Tigers next play South Carolina in an away game on February 12th.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, so we will instead note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the day in 1950 when Senator Joseph McCarthy accused the United States Department of State of being filled with Communists. Tomorrow is also the first day of the new pay period, and Richard and I will work our eight hours. Tomorrow afternoon I hope to start doing some tax stuff, and tomorrow evening the New Orleans Pelicans play a home game against the Utah Jazz.

Our Parting Quote this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Eric Bercovici, American film producer and screenwriter. Born in 1933 in New York City, New York, to screenwriter Leonardo Bercovici, he studied theater at Yale University. His career had barely begun when his father was blacklisted from the late 1940s through the late 1950s. He then went to Europe to work on films, returning to the United States in 1965. He then began writing episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I Spy, and The Danny Thomas Hour. He wrote the screenplays for the 1968 films Hell in the Pacific and Day of the Evil Gun. In the 1970s he wrote episodes for Hawaii Five-O and created the series Assignment Vienna and its pilot “Assignment: Munich”. In 1977 he adapted John Ehrlichman’s novel, The Company, into a miniseries titled Washington: Behind Closed Doors. In 1980, Bercovici adapted James Clavell’s 1975 novel, Shōgun, about an English seaman marooned in 17th century Japan, into a nine-hour miniseries of the same name. He was also a producer of the series. Shōgun won three of its 14 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Miniseries, and all three of its Golden Globe nominations, including Best TV Series – Drama. At the time, it was also one of the highest-rated miniseries in television history, second only to Roots. Bercovici met his wife, Chiho Adachi, while making Shōgun. He finished out the 1980s and his writing / producing career for such series as McClain’s Law, Chicago Story, and Noble House, also based on a Clavell novel. When not writing screenplays, Bercovici wrote crime novels (died 2014): “I think it has demonstrated that the television audience is much more discerning and sophisticated than they have been given credit for. Rather than the usual TV fare we all know and love, the audience does want programs of a higher quality. And I say with no modesty whatsoever that I consider Shōgun high quality.”

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