Daily Update: Monday, March 9th, 2015

Frances of Rome

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Frances of Rome, Religious (died 1440).

Born in 1384 in Rome, Italy as Francesca Bussa de’ Leoni, today’s Saint was of the aristocracy. Although she wanted to become a nun she was married at age twelve, and in a marriage that lasted forty years gave her husband six children, three of whom died of the plague. She spent her life and fortune while her husband was away at war in the service of the sick and the poor of Rome, founding the first home in the city for abandoned children. She was also a contemplative and visionary, and dictated 97 Visions, in which she saw many of the pains of Hell. On August 15, 1425, the feast of the Assumption, she founded the Olivetan Oblates of Mary, a confraternity of pious women, attached to the church of Santa Maria Nova in Rome, but neither cloistered nor bound by formal vows. In March 1433 she founded a convent for common life by the members of the group at Tor de’ Specchi, which remains the only house of the Order . On July 4 of that same year they received the approval of Pope Eugene IV as a religious congregation of nuns. The community thus also became known as the Oblates of Saint Frances of Rome. When her husband died in 1436, she became the group’s superior. She died in 1440 and was buried in that church. On May 9, 1608 she was canonized by Pope Paul V, and in the following decades a diligent search was made for her remains. They were found on April 2, 1638 and reburied on March 9, 1649, which since then is her feast day. Again, in 1869, her body was exhumed and has since then been exposed to the veneration of the faithful in a crystal coffin. The church of Santa Maria Nova is usually now referred to as the church of Santa Francesca Romana. In 1925 Pope Pius XI declared her the Patron Saint of automobile drivers because of a legend that an angel used to light the road in front of her with a lantern when she traveled, keeping her safe from hazards; she is also the Patron Saint of Benedictine oblates.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. When we clocked in, Richard was giving pushes on table and helping to change Blackjack cards; he was then the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud and Three Card Poker until 9:00 am, when they moved him to Mini Baccarat. I closed a Blackjack game, then for the rest of the day I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow. On my last break I finished reading The Arrivals by Melissa Marr.

After work we went over to the Clinic, and Richard had his appointment with the Nurse Practitioner. All was well, and he has his next appointment on August 10th, with blood being drawn for lab work the week before. When we got home from work I had peanut butter on Ritz© Crackers and read the morning paper; I then took a nap. I watched Jeopardy!, then Richard and I went and ate dinner at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse. When I got home I did my Book Review for The Arrivals by Melissa Marr for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts. And later this evening our New Orleans Pelicans will play an away game with the Milwaukee Bucks.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow (and will not, until Saturday). Instead, we will recall that in 1831 the French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis Philippe to support his war in Algeria. We will get to work early and sign the Early Out list, and on my breaks at work I will start reading The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell. Tomorrow evening I will go down to Lafayette to the Lafayette Public Library – Southside Branch to attend the Sci-Fi Book Club meeting to discuss The Arrivals by Melissa Marr, and our New Orleans Pelicans will play an away game with the Brooklyn Nets.

Our Parting Quote on this Monday afternoon comes to us from “Granny D”, American politician and activist. Born in 1910 in Laconia, New Hampshire as Ethel Doris Rollins, she dropped the “Ethel” part of her name and attended Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, for three years before marrying James Haddock. Emerson students were not allowed to marry at that time, so she was kicked out of college. She and her husband had two children; she worked during the Great Depression and was employed for twenty years as an executive secretary in the offices of the BeeBee Shoe factory in Manchester, New Hampshire. In 1960 she began her political career when she and her husband successfully campaigned against planned hydrogen bomb nuclear testing in Alaska, saving an Inuit fishing village at Point Hope. Rollins and her husband retired to Dublin, New Hampshire, in 1972 and there she served on the Planning Board and was active in the community. Her husband later developed Alzheimer’s disease, dying after a ten-year struggle with the illness. After the first efforts of Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold to regulate campaign finances through eliminating soft money failed in 1995, Rollins became increasingly interested in campaign finance reform and spearheaded a petition movement. On January 1, 1999, at the age of 88, Granny D left the Rose Bowl Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, in an attempt to walk across the United States to raise awareness of and attract support for campaign finance reform; she wore the hat of her best friend, who had died. Granny D walked roughly ten miles each day for 14 months, traversing California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, making many speeches along the way. The trek attracted a great deal of attention in the mass media. When Granny D arrived in Washington, D.C., she was 90 years old (having had two birthdays en route), had traveled more than 3,200 miles, and was greeted in the capital by a crowd of 2,200 people. Several dozen members of Congress walked the final miles with her during the final day’s walk from Arlington National Cemetery to the Capitol on the National Mall. On April 21, 2000 Granny D, along with 31 others, was arrested for reading the Declaration of Independence in the Capitol and was charged with the offense of demonstrating in the Capitol Building. It was said to be a peaceable assembly, but the demonstrators were arrested by the Capitol Police. She entered a plea of guilty, but made a statement to the court where she explained the purpose of her actions. Rather than impose a $500 fine and six month prison term, the judge in the case sentenced Granny D to time served and a $10 administrative fee. That same year Emerson College granted her an honorary degree. and she wrote (with Dennis Burke) Granny D: Walking Across America in My Ninetieth Year. She was awarded an honorary degree by Franklin Pierce College on October 21, 2002, and in 2003, with Dennis Burke and Bill Moyers, wrote Granny D: You’re Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell. Rollins became the Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire during the 2004 election when the leading Democratic primary candidate left the race unexpectedly (days before the filing deadline), because of a campaign-finance scandal. She was, at 94, one of the oldest major-party candidates to ever run for the U.S. Senate. True to her “clean elections” ideals, Mrs. Haddock funded her late entry campaign by accepting only modest private-citizen donations. She captured approximately 34 percent of the vote (221,549), losing to incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, as he sought his third term. In 2007 HBO released a documentary, Run Granny Run, directed by Marlo Poras, about Granny D’s 2004 Senate campaign. She continued to be active in politics to the end of her life, and celebrated her 98th, 99th and 100th birthdays by lobbying for campaign finance reform at the New Hampshire State House. At the time of her death she had eight grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren (died 2010): “In my 90 years, this is the first time I have been arrested. I risk my good name — for I do indeed care what my neighbors think about me. But, Your Honor, some of us do not have much power, except to put our bodies in the way of an injustice — to picket, to walk, or to just stand in the way. It will not change the world overnight, but it is all we can do.”

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