Daily Update: Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Rogation Sunday and Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka'i and Mother's Day

Alleluia! Today is the Sixth Sunday of Easter, known as Rogation Sunday. Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka’i, Priest (died 1889). And today is Mother’s Day.

The Minor Rogation Days are days of prayer and fasting, with progressions around the fields asking God’s protection on the crops just sprouting. Reciting the Litany of the Saints and other prayers of petition the parish would process around the boundaries of the parish. (These days became known as Rogation Days from the Latin word rogare, meaning “to ask”.) The Sunday before the Rogation Days became Rogation Sunday. While the Major Rogation Day (April 25th), the Rogation Sunday (the Sunday before the Ascension) and the Minor Rogation Days (the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the Ascension) were removed from the Church Calendar in 1969, there is nothing to prevent me honoring them in this weblog. Turning to today’s Saint, he was born in 1840 in Tremeloo, Belgium as Joseph de Veuster, the son of a small farmer. After studies at the college at Braine-le-Comte, Belgium, he joined the Picpus Fathers in 1860 (following in the footsteps of his brother), taking the name Damien. He volunteered for missionary work while still in the seminary in Paris, and was sent to Hawaii in place of his brother, whose health was poor. He arrived in Honolulu in March 1864, and was ordained as a priest two months later; the next year, he was assigned to the Catholic Mission in North Kohala on the island of Hawaiʻi. In 1865, fearful of the spread of leprosy (Hansen’s disease), the Hawaii Legislature passed and King Kamehameha V approved the “Act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy” which quarantined the lepers of the kingdom and moved them to settlement colonies known as Kalaupapa and Kalawao at the east end of the Kalaupapa peninsula on Molokaʻi. Kalawao County, where the village is situated, is divided from the rest of the island by a steep mountain ridge, and even today the only land access is by a mule track. The Royal Board of Health provided the quarantined people with supplies and food but did not yet have the resources to offer proper healthcare. According to documents from the time, the Kingdom of Hawaii did not plan the settlement to be in disarray but did not provide sufficient resources and medical help. They planned on the inhabiting sufferers to grow their own crops, but because of the nature of the environment and their sickness, it was nearly impossible. While Bishop Louis Desiré Maigret, vicar apostolic, believed that the lepers at the very least needed a priest to minister to their needs, he realized that this assignment could potentially be a death sentence, and thus did not want to send any one person “in the name of obedience”. After prayerful thought, four priests volunteered. The bishop’s plan was for the volunteers to take turns assisting the distressed. Father Damien was the first to volunteer and on May 10, 1873, Father Damien arrived at the secluded settlement at Kalaupapa, where Bishop Maigret presented him to the 816 lepers living there. Damien’s first course of action was to build a church and establish the Parish of Saint Philomena. His role was not limited to being a priest: he dressed ulcers, built homes and beds, built coffins and dug graves. Damien’s arrival was seen by some as a turning point for the community. Under his leadership, basic laws were enforced, shacks became painted houses, working farms were organized and schools were erected. At his own request, and that of the lepers, Father Damien remained on Molokaʻi. In 1884 he contracted Hansens’ Disease; his response was to work vigorously to build as many homes as he could and plan for the continuation of the programs he created after he was gone. Upon his death five years later, he was laid to rest in the cemetery at the colony. In January 1936, at the request of the Belgian government, Damien’s body was returned to his native land and now rests in Leuven, an historic university city close to the village where Damien was born. After his beatification in June 1995 the remains of his right hand were returned to Hawaii and re-interred in his original grave on Molokaʻi. He is a very recent Saint (having been canonized in October of 2009), and he is the Patron Saint of those afflicted with Hansen’s Disease. And as today is the Second Sunday of May, today is Mother’s Day in the United States. On May 12, 1907, two years after her mother’s death, Anna Jarvis of Grafton, West Virginia held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday. In 1912 she trademarked the phrases “Second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association. She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world. She succeeded in making the holiday nationally recognized in 1914; on May 8 of that year the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requesting a proclamation, and on the next day, May 9, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day. By the 1920s, however, Anna Jarvis had become soured by the commercialization of the holiday, saying “What will you do to route charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers, and other termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest, and truest movements and celebrations?” She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against what the holiday had become, and both died in poverty.

When I woke up a few minutes earlier than usual, I set up my medications for next week (only one over-the-counter vitamin to get), and went through the bills Richard had paid. I also posted to Facebook that it was Mother’s Day, and we headed off to work, with the interior lights on the truck now behaving. I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Saturday, May 9th, 2015 via WordPress for Android while in the ADR at the casino. Today was a Heavy Business Volume Day for Mother’s Day, and female floors, dual-persons, and dealers were given priority on the Early Out list. (The male floors, dual-persons, and dealers will have their turn on Father’s Day.) Richard was on Mini Baccarat, and I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, with the Shoe Blackjack game in our High Stakes area being added to my relief string later in the day. On my breaks I continued reading Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress.

On our way home I continued reading my book; when we got into town, I left Richard off at Wal-Mart to do the weekly grocery and household goods shopping while I gassed up the truck at Valero. When we got home I did my Blood Sugar Testing, which was easy and not as painful as I had thought. (Richard pointed out that if I test my blood sugar daily, I can use my arm instead of my finger; since we use our fingers as dealers, this is a good thought on his part.) I then read the Sunday papers, and got a call from Matthew (from topside on his submarine, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean) wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. I then installed the new Wireless Computer Mouse Richard had purchased (it connects to the computer, wirelessly (duh), via a USB port stub.) I then worked on Advance Daily Updates for my weblog, got a Happy Mother’s Day Email from Matthew (on the submarine; I don’t think I’ve ever gotten submarine mail before), and I got a call from Michelle wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day (she is working, but will be in tomorrow afternoon). And our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team is still playing Missouri in the third game of their three-game home series; I will report the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update. Our Tigers will next play a single away game with the University of New Orleans on Tuesday, then will finish the regular season with an away three-game series with South Carolina before entering postseason play. I opted not to go to Mass for 6:00 pm, so I missed going to Mass altogether this weekend. And after I finish this Daily Update I will eat my Mother’s Day meal of grilled steak, baked sweet potato, and steamed brussels sprouts before heading to bed.

Tomorrow is the Remembrance of Servant of God Matteo Ricci, Priest, and the first of three Rogation Days. Richard and I will return to the casino, and on my breaks I will continue reading Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress. The Last Quarter Moon will arrive at 5:37 am. After work I will meet with my Health Coach at the clinic to discuss how I’ve been doing (some ups, some downs). And in the afternoon I will finish reading my book and post my book review for Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress on this weblog and on my Goodread and Facebook accounts.

Our Parting Quote on this afternoon of the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Alleluia!), which is also Rogation Sunday, comes to us from Frank Frazetta, American fantasy and science fiction artist. Born as Frank Frazzetta in 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, he was the only boy in his family and spent much time with his grandmother, who began encouraging him in art when he was two years old. At age eight, he attended the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts, a small art school run by instructor Michael Falanga. In 1944 at age 15 he dropped one of the “z’s” from his last name and began working in comics artist Bernard Baily’s studio doing pencil clean-ups. His first comic-book work was inking the eight-page story “Snowman”, penciled by John Giunta, in the one-shot Tally-Ho Comics (Dec. 1944), published by Swappers Quarterly and Almanac/Baily Publishing Company. It was not standard practice in comic books during this period to provide complete credits, so a comprehensive listing of Frazetta’s work is difficult to ascertain. His next confirmed comics work are two signed penciled-and-inked pieces in Prize Comics’ Treasure Comics #7 (July 1946): the four-page “To William Penn founder of Philadelphia…” and the single page “Ahoy! Enemy Ship!”, featuring his character Capt. Kidd Jr. Frazetta was soon drawing comic books in many genres, including Westerns, fantasy, mystery, and historical drama. Some of his earliest work was in funny animal comics, which he signed as “Fritz”. In the early 1950s he worked for EC Comics, National Comics, (including the superhero feature “Shining Knight”), Avon Comics, and several other comic book companies. Much of his work in comic books was done in collaboration with friend Al Williamson and mentor Roy Krenkel. Noticed because of his work on the Buck Rogers covers for Famous Funnies, Frazetta started working with Al Capp on Capp’s comic strip Li’l Abner. Frazetta was also producing his own strip, Johnny Comet, at this time, as well as assisting Dan Barry on the Flash Gordon daily strip. He married in 1956 and in 1961, after nine years with Capp, Frazetta returned to comic books. He also helped Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on two or three stories of the bawdy parody strip Little Annie Fanny in Playboy magazine. In 1964 Frazetta’s painting of Beatle Ringo Starr for a Mad magazine ad parody caught the eye of United Artists studios. He was approached to do the movie poster for What’s New Pussycat? (1965), and earned the equivalent of his yearly salary in one afternoon. Frazetta also produced paintings for paperback editions of adventure books. His interpretation of the character of Conan visually redefined the genre of sword and sorcery and had an enormous influence on succeeding generations of artists. From this point on, Frazetta’s work was in great demand. His covers were used for other paperback editions of classic Edgar Rice Burroughs books, such as those from the Tarzan and Barsoom (John Carter of Mars) series. He also did several pen and ink illustrations for many of these books. His cover art only coincidentally matched the storylines inside the books. After this time, most of Frazetta’s work was commercial in nature, including paintings and illustrations for movie posters, book jackets, and calendars. Primarily, these were in oil, but he also worked with watercolor, ink, and pencil alone. Both sides of the eponymous album Herman’s Hermits (1966) cover featured his work, with the front cover using a watercolor painting and the back cover using a pen-and-ink drawing; however, his name was misspelled ”Frizzeta” in the liner notes for the album. Frazetta’s work in comics during this time were cover paintings and a few comic stories for the Warren Publishing horror magazines Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. Dust’s second album, Hard Attack (1972), features “Snow Giants”. Molly Hatchet’s first three albums feature “The Death Dealer”, “Dark Kingdom”, and “Berserker”, respectively, and Nazareth used “The Brain” for its 1977 album Expect No Mercy. Once Frazetta secured a reputation, movie studios lured him to work on animated movies. Most, however, would give him participation in name only, with creative control held by others. An advertisement based on his work was animated by Richard Williams in grease pencil and paint and shown in 1978. In the early 1980s Frazetta worked with producer Ralph Bakshi on the feature Fire and Ice, released in 1983. The realism of the animation and design replicated Frazetta’s artwork. Bakshi and Frazetta were heavily involved in the production of the live-action sequences used for the film’s rotoscoped animation, from casting sessions to the final shoot. Following the release of the film, Frazetta returned to his roots in painting and pen-and-ink illustrations. Also in the early 1980s he created a gallery, Frazetta’s Fantasy Corner, on the upper floors of a former Masonic building at the corner of South Courtland and Washington streets in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The building also housed a Frazetta art museum that displayed both his own work and, in a separate gallery, that of other artists. Frazetta’s paintings have been used by a number of recording artists as cover art for their albums. The U.S. Army III Corps adopted “The Death Dealer” as its mascot. In the 2000s a series of strokes impaired Frazetta’s manual dexterity to a degree that he switched to drawing and painting with his left hand. He was the subject of the 2003 feature documentary Frank Frazetta: Painting With Fire, and also created new cover artwork for Buddy Bought the Farm, the second CD of the surf horror band The Dead Elvi. Frazetta retained the original Conan paintings, and long refused to part with them. Many were displayed at the Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. In 2009 Frazetta’s “Conan the Conqueror” painting, the first to be offered for sale, was purchased for $1 million (died 2010): “What I do is create images, period.”

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