Daily Update: Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Louis Marie de Montfort, Peter Chanel, and Gianna Beretta Molla

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Louis Mary de Montfort, Priest (died 1716), the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (died 1841), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, Wife and Mother (died 1962).

Today’s first Saint was born into a poor family as Louis Mary Grignion in 1673 at Montfort-La-Cane, Brittany, France. While a seminarian in Paris, he delighted in researching the writings of the Church Fathers, Doctors and Saints as they related to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom he was singularly devoted. As an adult he identified himself not by his family name of Grignion, but by the place of his baptism, Montfort. Ordained in 1700, and under Mary’s inspiration, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, a religious institute of women devoted to the care of the destitute. During this work, he began his apostolate of preaching the Rosary and authentic Marian devotion. He preached so forcefully and effectively against the errors of Jansenism that he was expelled from several dioceses in France. In Rome Pope Clement XI conferred on him the title and authority of Missionary Apostolic, which enabled him to continue his apostolate after returning to France. He preached Mary everywhere and to everyone. A member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Louis was one of the greatest apostles of the Rosary in his day, and by means his miraculously inspiring book, The Secret of the Rosary, he is still so today; the most common manner of reciting the Rosary is the method that originated with Saint Louis’s preaching. In 1715 he founded a missionary band known as the Company of Mary. The cause for his declaration as a Doctor of the Church is now being pursued. We also honor Saint Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (died 1841). Born in 1803 at Cuet, Ain, France as Pierre Louis Marie Chanel, his was a peasant family, and he was a shepherd as a boy. An excellent student at seminary, he was ordained in 1827 at age 24 and assigned to Crozet, a parish in decline; he turned it around, in part because of his ministry to the sick, and brought about a spiritual revival. He wished to become a missionary, and joined the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) in 1831; he then taught at their Belley seminary for five years. In 1836 he led a band of missionaries to the South West Pacific, an area where cannibalism had only recently been outlawed. On the island of Futuna Chanel converted many to Christianity, often as a result of his work with the sick; he also learned the local language, and taught in the local school. The group was initially well received by the island’s king, Niuliki, but once the missionaries learned the local language and began preaching directly to the people, the king grew restive. He believed that Christianity would take away his prerogatives as high priest and king. When the king’s son, Meitala, sought to be baptized, the king sent a favoured warrior, his son-in-law, Musumusu, to “do whatever was necessary” to resolve the problem. Musumusu initially went to Meitala and the two fought. Musumusu, injured in the fracas, went to Chanel’s hut feigning need of medical attention; when Chanel turned away to get his medical supplies, Musumusu clubbed Chanel on the head, killing him. Early the next year a French ship disinterred his remains, and they arrived back in France in 1850. Meanwhile, the entire island of Funuta was converted to Catholicism; Musumusu himself converted and as he lay dying expressed the desire that he be buried outside the church at Poi (erected over the spot where Chanel was martyred) so that those who came to revere Peter Chanel in the Church would walk over his grave to get into the church. The Saint’s relics were returned to Futuna in 1977, and rest in a place of honor in the church. He was the first Martyr in Oceania, and is the Patron Saint of Oceania. Our third Saint is Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, Wife and Mother (died 1962). Born in 1922 in Magenta, Italy as Gianna Beretta, she grew up in Lombardy. In 1942 she began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling she was active in Azione Cattolica. She received a medical diploma in 1949 and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics. She hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy. In 1955 she married Pietro Molla; in the next few year she had three children and two miscarriages. In 1961 she was again pregnant, and in her second month was diagnosed with a fibroma on her uterus. Given the choices of an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma, Gianna Molla opted for procedure that would not result in the death of the fetus. The fibroma was removed, and she had complications throughout the pregnancy, but maintained that given a choice, she would always choose the baby’s life over her own. On April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna Molla went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section. However, Gianna Molla continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth. She was beatified in 1994 and canonized in 2004; for the first time in the history of the church, a husband witnessed his wife’s canonization. She is the Patron Saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and when Richard got up he told me that he had a horrible migraine. I thought I heard him say that he was going to call in and that he had eight hours of PTO that he could use; when I asked him if he had called in yet, he said he was going to work, and that he would sign the Early Out list. Mindful of last Tuesday, when only two dealers got out (me and a dealer with a Golden Ticket), we drove in separately, Richard in the truck, and me in the car. (The Low Coolant light keeps flickering like a mostly dead firefly.) When we got to ADR at 1:45 am, I sat down, and Richard came out from the line with something to eat. I was catching up on stuff on my smartphone, and when Richard said at 2:15 am that he was going to sign the list I told him to get his money back from the cashier, because they had not called out to say that my usual Tuesday breakfast of french toast and crispy bacon was ready. That is when I found out that Richard, with his bad migraine, had totally forgotten to order me breakfast. Richard and I both signed the list; I put a note on the list to the effect that we had driven in separately, and that if they could only get one of us out to get Richard out (otherwise, I would get out, because I had more hours than Richard). We went back to ADR, and I had just time for Richard to order and pay for my breakfast and for me to eat it before making my usual pit stop in the ladies room before clocking in at 2:53 am.

Richard was at first on the second Mississippi Stud table, but was quickly moved to Let It Ride. I was on a Blackjack table with a Guest from Hell; he kept complaining (using obscene language) that the beverage servers would not bring him drinks, and that he was never going to come back to our casino again. When I got back from break he had five (!) drinks in front of him, all Crown and Coke, and he was still complaining that the beverage servers were not bringing him drinks. (He had evidently gotten the drinks from his friends getting them at the central bar; beverage servers will not give you a drink until you are done drinking your current drink.) By this time I had another player, who was trying to play more or less serious Blackjack; my GFH asked him and me if there was anyplace he could get a bottle of whiskey. We told him that the bars at the casino are open 24 / 7, but that outside of the casino all the bars were closed. My response was to basically just deal the cards without saying anything good, bad, or indifferent (if you are being the south end of a north-facing mule, I am not going to talk to you). My GFH finally left, proclaiming most loudly and obscenely that he was never coming back again. Soon after that I got out at 5:30 am; I asked the Pencil if he would be able to get Richard out, and he told me yes, so I told Richard I was out, and left for home. I got home at 6:15 am and got on the computer; I was working on my Daily Update for yesterday when Richard came in (he had also gotten out for 5:30 am, but stopped at the gas station on the way home). I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Monday, April 27th, 2015, then went back to bed.

At 10:30 am I woke up again. I read the morning paper, then got back on the computer and did my Internet Devotional Reading. At 12:15 pm Richard left to get lunch at Crispy Cajun, and I left for Lafayette. At 1:30 pm I was nicely installed in one of the comfy chairs at Barnes and Noble, and started catching up on my reading. I went through the latest crop of sales catalogs, then I read the April 13th – 20th, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine, read the April 27th, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine, and read the March 2015 issue of National Geographic. I left at about 5:30 pm and ate dinner at the McDonald’s on north Ambassador Caffrey while I started reading the March / April 2015 issue of The Bible Today.

I got home at 7:15 pm, found that the snail mail had brought me my address labels with Richard’s and my name on them from Checks Unlimited (so I now have everything I ordered from them) and got on the computer to do today’s Daily Update. Right now our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team is playing a home game against Alcorn State; I will report the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update. And when I finish this Daily Update I will take a bath and finish reading the March / April 2015 issue of The Bible Today.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor, and the birthday of Richard’s sister Susan in Iowa (1946). Being a Wednesday, I will do my laundry (but I will not iron my casino clothes, as I am exchanging them at Uniforms on Thursday morning) and I will do the Weekly Computer Maintenance.

Our Parting Quote for this Tuesday evening comes to us from Dabbs Greer, American actor. Born in 1917 as Robert Greer in Fairview, Missouri, he moved with his family while still an infant to Anderson, Missouri. He was eight when he began acting in children’s theater productions. He attended Drury University in Springfield, Missouri where he earned a BA and headed the drama department and Little Theatre in Mountain Grove, Missouri, from 1940 to 1943. He then moved on to the famed Pasadena Playhouse in California as actor, instructor and administrator from 1943 to 1950. He made his film debut in Reign of Terror (aka The Black Book) (1949) in an uncredited bit part. Greer was recognizable to fans of the television series The Adventures of Superman as he appeared in three separate episodes on that show, including the series’ inaugural entry, “Superman on Earth” (1952) where he played the first person to ever be saved by Superman. In the 1958 film I Want to Live! he played the San Quentin captain who finished strapping down Barbara Graham in the gas chamber prior to her execution and was the last person to speak to her. Most of his work, however, was in television shows; he was a regular on Gunsmoke as the merchant Mr. Jonas, track coach Ossie Weiss in Hank, and Sheriff Norris “Norrie” Coolidge in The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. Greer had a prominent continuing role in the NBC series Little House on the Prairie as Reverend Robert Alden from 1974 to 1983. Often cast as a minister, he performed the marriages of Rob and Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show and of Mike and Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, and he tended to the spiritual needs of the townsfolk in fictional Rome, Wisconsin, as Reverend Henry Novotny in Picket Fences. In the May 9, 1991, episode of L.A. Law called “On the Toad Again”, he played a character who was addicted to a “high” produced by licking the skin secretions of psychoactive toads. In his last film, The Green Mile (1999), he played the elderly version of the Death Row officer Paul Edgecomb, played by Tom Hanks (died 2007): “Every character actor, in their own little sphere, is the lead.”

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