Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Isidore the Farmer (died 1130) and the Remembrance of Servant of God Edward Joseph Flanagan, Priest (died 1948). Today is also the day when one’s Louisiana Income Tax returns for 2014 are due, and today is the birthday of my Internet friend Gail (1948).
Saint Isidore the Farmer was born about 1070 in Madrid, Castille (part of modern Spain), and became a hired hand plowing the fields. He and his wife had one son, who died young; they became convinced it was the will of God that they not have children, and they lived together chastely the rest of their lives, doing good works. When accused by fellow workers of shirking his duties by attending Mass each day and taking time out for prayers, Isidore claimed he had no choice but to follow the highest Master. One tale says that when his master came in the morning to chastise him for skipping work for church, he found angels plowing the fields in his place. Miracles and cures were reported at his grave, in which his body remained incorruptible. Charles II of Spain (died 1700) slept with one of his teeth under his pillow, and it was reported one of the ladies in the court of Isabella I of Castile (died 1504) bit off one of his toes. He is the Patron Saint of farmers and day laborers, of Madrid, Spain, and of the United States National Catholic Rural Life Conference. We also honor Servant of God Edward Joseph Flanagan, Priest (died 1948). Born in 1886 near Ballymoe, County Roscommon, Ireland, he attended Summerhill College, Sligo. He emigrated to the United States in 1904 and attended Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where in 1906 he received a bachelor of arts degree and a master of arts degree in 1908. Flanagan then studied at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York. He continued his studies in Italy and at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, where he was ordained a priest in 1912. His first parish was in O’Neill, Nebraska, where from 1912 he served as an assistant pastor at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. He then moved to Omaha to serve as an assistant pastor at St. Patrick’s Church and later at St. Philomena’s Church. In 1917 he founded a home for homeless boys in Omaha. Bishop Jeremiah James Harty of the Diocese of Omaha had misgivings, but endorsed Flanagan’s experiment. Flanagan became a U.S. citizen in 1919. Because the downtown facilities were inadequate, Flanagan established Boys Town, ten miles west of Omaha, in 1921. Under Father Flanagan’s direction, Boys Town grew to be a large community with its own boy-mayor, schools, chapel, post office, cottages, gymnasium, and other facilities where boys between the ages of 10 and 16 could receive an education and learn a trade. The 1938 film Boys Town, starring Spencer Tracey and featuring Mickey Rooney as one of the boys, was based on the life of Father Flanagan; some scenes from the movie were filmed at Boys Town, and Father Flanagan reviewed the script prior to the filming. Tracy won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, and spent his entire Oscar acceptance speech talking about Father Flanagan. “If you have seen him through me, then I thank you.” An overzealous MGM publicity representative announced that Tracy was donating his Oscar to Flanagan. Tracy’s response was: “I earned the…thing. I want it.” The Academy quickly found another Oscar statue; the one for Boys Town is inscribed, “To Father Flanagan, whose great humanity, kindly simplicity, and inspiring courage were strong enough to shine through my humble effort. Spencer Tracy.” (When Tracy got his Oscar, it was inscribed “Best Actor – Dick Tracy.”) A sequel also starring Tracy, Men of Boys Town, was released in 1941. Father Flanagan received many awards for his work with the delinquent and homeless boys. He served on several committees and boards dealing with the welfare of children and was the author of articles on child welfare. Internationally known, Father Flanagan traveled to Japan and Korea in 1947 to study child welfare problems. He made a similar trip to Austria and Germany and, while in Germany, he died on May 15, 1948, of a heart attack. He was buried in the Dowd Chapel at Boys Town. In March 2012 the Archbishop of Omaha opened Father Flanagan’s canonization cause, so that Flanagan is now a Servant of God. If you know of any miracles that can be attributed to his intercession, please contact the Vatican. Today is also the day when one’s Louisiana Income Tax returns are due for the calendar year 2014, which affects me and mine not at all, since we all filed our returns already (we were all getting money back from the State of Louisiana). And, finally, today is the birthday of my friend Gail in Georgia, whom I know only via the Internet (1948).
Last night while taking my bath I read the June 2015 issue of Sports Illustrated, and our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team was beaten by South Carolina by the score of 7 to 10 in the first game of a three-game away series.
I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Ascension Novena and the First Day of my Pentecost Novena. I then got a text message from Lisa containing photos of my son seeing and holding his daughter for the first time; so I then posted a couple of photos to Facebook with an announcement of the birth. (As of now, my Facebook posting has 45 likes and 36 comments.) Once at work Richard and I talked to our Shift Manager and Assistant Shift Manager about taking a day off either next week or in two weeks; they looked at the calendar, and determined that two weeks from now (the last week of May) is not doable, as that is the week of Memorial Day, and they will have people scheduled to work six days (as opposed to our usual five days). I then Emailed photos to Richard’s brothers and sisters and to Liz Ellen. When we clocked in, Richard was on the $5.00 Blackjack game. I started on Let It Ride, closed that table, went to Flop Poker, closed that table, then was on a Blackjack game (back to back with Richard) for the rest of the day. I did not start reading Time and Again by Jack Finney on my Nook because my phone kept me busy every break with congratulations and good wishes.
When we got home I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. Matthew then called, and I put him on speakerphone; baby is well, Callie is not doing well (apparently she had a tear when she had the baby, and consequently is in much pain, and her milk is not coming in well yet), and, contingent on Callie’s thoughts, Richard and I will head up there during the second week of June. I then took a nap until about 4:00 pm, when Richard came to bed and I woke up. I reconciled the bank statement to our checking account, then started today’s Daily Update (for which I did not have an Advance Daily Update Draft done). Once I finish today’s Daily Update I will get ready to go back to bed. And our #1 LSU Baseball team will play the second game of a three-game away series with South Carolina; I will report the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, so tomorrow we will instead note that it is Armed Forces Day (so I will be putting the flag out), and the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, the second leg of the Triple Crown, will be run tomorrow. We will return to the casino, and talk to our Shift Manager and Assistant Shift Manager about taking perhaps the Monday and Tuesday off in the second week of June, so that we can fly up and see the kids and the baby. On my breaks I will start reading Time and Again by Jack Finney on my Nook. Once home from work I will read the morning paper, then go to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration, go to McDonald’s for lunch, then go to the Church for the 4:00 pm Mass for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. When I get home the Preakness may not have been run yet. And our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will play the third game of a three-game away series with South Carolina to finish out the Regular Season.
Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes from Carlos Fuentes, Mexican novelist and essayist. Born in 1928 in Panama City, Panama, his father was a diplomat, and he spent his childhood in various capital cities in North and South America. As an adolescent he returned to Mexico. When he was 30 years old Fuentes published his first novel, La Región Más Transparente (The Most Transparent Region) (1958), which became a classic. It was innovative not only for its prose, but also by having Mexico City as its main setting. The novel provides insight into Mexican life, highlighting the mixture of Spanish, indigenous and mestizo, all cohabiting the same geographical area but with different cultures. He published Las Buenas Conciencias (The Good Conscience) in 1961. This is probably his most accessible novel depicting the privileged middle classes of a medium-sized town, probably modelled on Guanajuato. He was also a friend of the U.S. sociologist C. Wright Mills, to whom he dedicated La muerte de Artemio Cruz (The Death of Artemio Cruz) (1962). Following in the footsteps of his parents, he became a diplomat in 1965 and served in London, Paris (as ambassador), and other capitals. His 1975 novel Terra Nostra won the Venezuelan Rómulo Gallegos Prize. In 1978 he resigned as ambassador to France in protest over the appointment of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, former president of Mexico, as ambassador to Spain. He also taught courses at Brown, Princeton, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Cambridge, and George Mason University. He was a teacher at Brown University. His 1985 novel Gringo viejo (The Old Gringo), the first United States bestseller written by a Mexican author, was filmed as Old Gringo (1989), starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda. In 1995 he published Diana o la cazadora solitaria (Diana: the Goddess Who Hunts Alone), a fictionalized account of his alleged affair with actress Jean Seberg. Fuentes regularly contributed essays on politics and culture to the Spanish newspaper El País and the Mexican Reforma. He was an observer of Mexico-U.S. relations and critic of the United States’ policies in Latin America. Fuentes received the Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Speech and Expression in 2006, in Middelburg, the Netherlands (died 2012): “What the United States does best is to understand itself. What it does worst is understand others.”