Daily Update: Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

07-08 - Our Lady of Kazan

We have no Saints to honor today, but on this date in 1579 Our Lady of Kazan, a holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church, was discovered underground in the city of Kazan, Tatarstan.

According to tradition, the location of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan was revealed to a little girl named Matrona by the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary, via a Marian apparition. The original icon was kept in the Theotokos Monastery of Kazan built to commemorate the spot where it had been discovered. Invocation of the Virgin Mary through the icon was credited by the Russians with helping the country repel the Polish invasion of 1612, the Swedish invasion of 1709, and Napoleon’s invasion of 1812. On the night of June 29, 1904, the icon was stolen from the church in Kazan where it had been kept for centuries. Thieves apparently coveted the icon’s golden setting, which was ornamented with many jewels of highest value. The Orthodox church interpreted the disappearance of the icon as a sign of tragedies that would plague Russia after the image of the Holy Protectress of Russia had been lost, and the Russian peasantry was convinced that the evils of the Russian Revolution were due to the loss of the icon. When several years later Russian police finally apprehended the thieves and recovered the precious setting, they declared that the icon itself had been cut to pieces and burnt. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, there was speculation that the original icon was in fact preserved in St. Petersburg; reportedly, an icon of Our Lady of Kazan was used in processions around Leningrad fortifications during the Siege of Leningrad. A conflicting theory was that the image had been sold by the Bolsheviks abroad. Although such theories were not credited by the Russian Orthodox church, a reputed original (one of several in existence) was acquired by the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima and enshrined in Fátima, Portugal in the 1970s. The image proved to be a copy, dated by experts to ca. 1730. In 1993 the icon from Fátima was given to Pope John Paul II, who took it to the Vatican and had it installed in his study, where he venerated it for eleven years. He wished to visit Moscow or Kazan in order to return the icon to the Russian Orthodox Church; when these efforts were blocked by the Moscow Patriarchate, the icon was presented to the Russian Church unconditionally. On August 26, 2004 it was exhibited for veneration on the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica and then delivered to Moscow. On the next feast day of the holy icon, July 21, 2005, Patriarch Alexius II and Mintimer Shaymiev, the President of Tatarstan, placed it in the Annunciation Cathedral of the Kazan Kremlin. The icon is now enshrined in the Church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, the site where the original icon of Our Lady of Kazan was found. Plans are underway to make the monastery where the icon was found into an international pilgrimage center.

Last night I dreamed first, that climbing a mountain was much easier than I thought it would be, and second, that I was successfully hiking the Appalachian Trail; I woke up at 8:30 am in a good mood, not needing any reference book or site to tell me that those were very positive dreams. I started my laundry and started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, did my Internet Devotional Reading, and said the Second Day of my Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I then finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance. I ate my breakfast toast and read the morning paper (while having my foot up and iced), cleaned out my Barnes and Noble bag, cleaned our my purse, and finished my laundry. While ironing my casino pants, apron, and shirts I also deleted the National Parks Passport app on my Galaxy Note 4; the developers never did get back to be about the problem I was having backing up my data, and I do not want an app that loses all of my data if I change phones.

I left the house at 11:30 am, and headed for the Hub City. At the Lafayette Public Library – Southside Branch I returned As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley and checked out Lock In by John Scalzi (my next Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club book). At Best Buy I purchased a new Portable Power Charger, with more oomph than the ones I already have. At Piccadilly Cafeteria I ate lunch and started reading The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith. At 2:30 pm I arrived at Barnes and Noble, and installed myself in a comfy chair. I continued reading The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith, the Last Quarter Moon arrived at 3:26 pm, and I got an Email from Liz Ellen (and a notice that she had put a comment on yesterday’s Daily Update on the same subject) that I can get KT Tape© from Wal-Mart and use that to brace my foot when I have to wear shoes and be on my feet all day. I left Barnes and Noble at 4:30 pm, and on my way home called Nedra. Without going into details, she has a new (hopefully temporary) address, and is thrilled that I will be visiting her at the end of July or beginning of August. I then called Richard; he called D.I.’s Restaurant in Basile and confirmed that the crabs are in. I stopped at the Kajan Mart in Rayne and purchased gas and my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s Daily Update.

Arriving home at 6:00 pm, I found that Richard had had a productive day; he went to Wal-Mart for groceries and a new toilet seat for our bathroom, and went to Coburn’s for a new kitchen faucet assembly; upon returning home he installed the toilet seat and the kitchen faucet assembly. We left the house again at 6:15 pm and went to D.I.’s Restaurant in Basile, where I quite happily ate barbecued crabs (with Richard cheerfully eating all of the claws; I only want the body meat). The barbecued crabs are good enough, in my humble opinion, to make you want to slap yo’ mama. We arrived home at 7:45 pm (along the way I checked out the YouTube video on the KT Tape© website on how to tape up the top of one’s foot), and checked out fares at Southwest Airlines; I should be able to get decent seats on a direct flight from New Orleans (three hours from her via car) to Nashville and back again, plus renting a car, for reasonable rates. I then got ISBN numbers from the Internet (specifically, from the Library of Congress website) for books that I want to request from the Lafayette Public Library that they do not own, and requested Monday, August 3rd, and Tuesday, August 4th, as PTO via the casino’s scheduling website. I am now doing today’s Daily Update, and when I finish I will start the Weekly Virus Scan and finish reading 4000 Years of Uppity Women: Rebellious Belles, Daring Dames, and Headstrong Heroines Through the Ages by Vicki León.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest and Martyr (died 1815), and Companions, Martyrs (1648 – 1930). Among other things, I will go to Wal-Mart to get KT Tape©, and I will make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday.

Our Wednesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Rubby Sherr, American professor of physics. Born in 1913 in Long Branch, New Jersey, his parents were Lithuanian immigrants. After high school his mother personally took him to New York University to enroll in college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at New York University in 1934 and a doctorate in physics at Princeton in 1938. Starting in September 1936 Sherr published more than 100 articles in scientific journals during his lifetime. In 1941 The New York Times reported that Sherr, then an instructor at Harvard University, had transmuted mercury into platinum and gold, a tweak of physics that was close enough to alchemy to be notable. In 1942 he joined the MIT-Harvard Radiation Laboratory, where he helped develop an airborne radar for detecting vehicle traffic. In 1944 he became involved with the Manhattan Project, which was tasked with creating the first nuclear weapon. Together with Klaus Fuchs, Sherr developed a key component of the bomb’s triggering mechanism, the Fuchs-Sherr modulated neutron initiator. On July 16, 1945, Sherr was present at the Trinity nuclear test in New Mexico; the success of the Trinity test led to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He became an assistant professor of physics at Princeton in 1946, associate professor in 1949, and professor in 1955. His fellow co-inventor was convicted of espionage in Britain in 1950. Sherr in 1953 provided evidence of “Fermi’s interaction,” the 1933 theory of Italian physicist Enrico Fermi that subatomic particles known as fermions have a role in beta decay, which is when an atom casts out electrons and positrons (known as beta particles) and can decay into other elements. From 1955 to 1971 Sherr was principal investigator for an Atomic Energy Commission contract that supported experimental and theoretical research in low energy nuclear physics, making him responsible for the operation of the Princeton 18 Mev cyclotron, developed in 1970. In 1982 he was made Professor Emeritus of Physics at Princeton. Sherr learned fly-fishing while at Los Alamos, and often fished with crime-fiction writer Benjamin Appel. (Sherr and Appel also played a version of Scrabble in which no word could be real, but they had to have a definition that sounded reasonable given the word’s construction.) Until his wife died in 1997, he and his wife would host folk-song artists and writers, and would occasionally battle with nationally renowned collector of folk music Alan Lomax over the proper lyrics of songs. Sherr’s wife died in 1998, and he moved to the Quadrangle independent-living community in Haverford, Pennsylvania. His last six scientific papers were published in 2013 (died 2013): “My first reaction [at the Trinity nuclear test] was to yell, ‘Who the hell turned on the lights!’ Then I looked outside and thought, ‘This is the greatest scientific experiment of all time’ — at least, it was certainly the biggest. Then the horror sank in that the thing had actually worked, followed by relief that the atmosphere hadn’t ignited, as some had feared it would.”

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