Daily Update: Friday, July 31st, 2015

Ignatius of Loyola and Solanus Casey

On this last day of the month of July we have the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest (died 1556) and the Remembrance of Venerable Solanus Casey, Priest (died 1957). Today is also Lammas Eve, and the birthday of the literary characters Juliet Capulet and  Harry Potter, who shares his birthday with his creator, J. K. Rowling (1965).

Born in 1491 at Loyola, Guipuzcoa, Spain as Inigo Lopez de Loyola, today’s Saint was of the Spanish nobility, and the youngest of twelve children. A page in the Spanish court of Ferdinand and Isabella, he had a military education, and became a soldier in 1517, serving in several campaigns. Wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the Siege of Pampeluna (Pamplona) on May 20, 1521, an injury that left him partially crippled for life, he spent his recuperation back home in the family castle, with his only reading material being The Golden Legend, a 13th century collection of hagiographies of the saints, and the Life of Christ by Ludolph the Carthusian. These books, and the time spent in contemplation, changed him. On his recovery he took a vow of chastity, hung his sword before the altar of the Virgin of Montserrat, and donned a pilgrim’s robes. He lived in a cave from 1522 to 1523, contemplating the way to live a Christian life. He was then a pilgrim to Rome and the Holy Land in 1523, where he worked to convert Muslims. In 1528 he began studying theology in Barcelona and Alcala in Spain, and Paris, France receiving his degree on March 14, 1534. His meditations, prayers, visions and insights led to forming the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus on August 15, 1534; it received papal approval in 1541. He himself never used the term Jesuit, which was coined as an insult by his opponents; the Society today uses the term with pride. He traveled Europe and the Holy Lands, then settled in Rome to direct the Order. His health suffered in later years, and he was nearly blind at death. The Jesuits today have over 500 universities and colleges, 30,000 members, and teach over 200,000 students each year. He is the Patron Saint of the Society of Jesus and of soldiers. Today we also honor Venerable Solanus Casey, Priest (died 1957). Born in 1870 in Oak Grove, Wisconsin as Bernard Francis Casey, the son of Irish immigrant parents, he contracted diphtheria in his youth which permanently damaged his voice, leaving it wispy. He left the farm to work in a series of jobs in his home state and Minnesota, as a lumberjack, hospital orderly, a prison guard in the Minnesota state penitentiary, and a street car operator. He attended St. Francis High School Seminary in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the age of 21, initially hoping to become a diocesan priest. Five years later, though, he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, a Roman Catholic religious order for men. He took the name “Solanus” after St. Francis Solanus, a 17th century Spanish nobleman, intellectual, missionary and preacher. Casey struggled through seminary largely due to the fact that most of his classes were conducted in the German language, which he had not previously studied. On July 24, 1904, at the age of 33, Solanus Casey was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood by Archbishop Sebastian Messmer at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Milwaukee. Because he was judged to have performed insufficiently well in his seminary studies, Casey was ordained a “sacerdotus simplex,” a priesthood rank that prevented him from hearing confessions or preaching doctrinal sermons. After his ordination, Casey served for 20 years in a succession of assignments in Capuchin friaries in New York, Harlem, and Yonkers. In 1924 he was transferred to St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit, where he worked for a further 21 years. During this time, Casey served primarily as a “porter”, or as a receptionist and doorkeeper. He became known, though, for his great compassion and for the amazing results of his consultations with visitors. After his death an estimated 20,000 people passed by his coffin prior to his burial in the cemetery at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit, Michigan. He was declared Venerable (the first step in the path to Sainthood) in 1995 by Pope John Paul II; if you know of any miracles that can be attributed to his intercession, please contact the Vatican. Tomorrow is Lammas Day, so today is Lammas Eve. In Act I, Scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse says, in response to an inquiry from Lady Capulet about Juliet’s age,

“Even or odd, of all days in the year,
Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen.
Susan and she–God rest all Christian souls!–
Were of an age: well, Susan is with God;
She was too good for me: but, as I said,
On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen.”

As Lady Capulet previously said that it was “a fortnight and odd days” (more than 14 days, but less than 28) until Lammas-tide, Juliet does not see her fourteenth birthday before her suicide at the end of the play. Lammas is a Harvest Festival; as Juliet did not live to see it that year, she also did not get to harvest what she sowed – her love for Romeo. This is author J. K. Rowling’s birthday (1965), so today is also the birthday of her most famous literary character, Harry Potter, who has nothing whatsoever in common with Juliet except for a common birthday.

Last night I continued reading 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Fourth Day of my Transfiguration Novena. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, with occasional intervals of breaking other tables (such as Three Card Blackjack). I was on Let It Ride before they closed my table; I worked for the first hours before getting a break, and I got a short break because just as my breaker arrived I gave out Four of a Kind, which meant they had to call the Pit Boss to get a special key for the Let It Ride machine. I then was on Three Card Poker for the rest of the day; the Progressive for a guest playing the Bonus dollar and getting the A-K-Q of Spades is up to $18,500, and I was busy all day; at once point I only worked 20 minutes before getting another break, so I really should not complain that I worked both the first hour and the last hour of the day. The Full Moon arrived at 5:46 am, and I started reading Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition (Second Edition) by E. Christian Brugger.

On our way home we stopped at the post office to get a mailing envelope. Michelle was home when we got home. I wrote a note to the kids, and we put the swimsuit for our granddaughter (that a guest had purchased for Richard in the gift shop the other week) in the outgoing mail. I then ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. Richard got a phone call from the Clinic reminding him that he will be having blood drawn for lab work for his upcoming Appointment with the Nurse Practitioner at the Clinic on Monday at 11:00 am. Richard also floated the idea of me driving to New Orleans on Sunday afternoon and getting a motel room near the airport, rather than driving to the New Orleans Airport from here on Monday morning. Our Mail brought me a reminder of my Appointment with my Ob/Gyn on Wednesday, August 8th. I then took a nap until 4:15 pm, and then Michelle and I watched Jeopardy!. Michelle then left, and I tried tweaking some LED settings on my Galaxy Note 4, without success. I then got a bowl of cereal for dinner, and came to the computer to do my Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor (died 1787). Tomorrow is also Lammas Day. I will do the usual stuff I do on the first of the month (like clear out stuff on my Galaxy Note 4, and flip to the new calendar page). On my breaks at work I will continue reading Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition (Second Edition) by E. Christian Brugger, and I will make a store list for Richard. Once home from work I will read the morning paper while Richard pays the bills. In the afternoon he will go to the grocery store while I will go to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration and to do my First Saturday devotions; I will then eat lunch and do some reading at McDonald’s, then go to Confession and then to the 4:00 pm Mass.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday Afternoon comes to us from Warren Bennis, American scholar and author. Born in 1925 in New York City, New York, he grew up within a working-class Jewish family in Westwood, New Jersey. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1943, and served as one of the Army’s youngest infantry officers in the European theater of operations. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Following his military service, Bennis enrolled in Antioch College in 1947, where he earned his BA in 1951. In 1952, Bennis was awarded an Honors Certificate from London School of Economics. A Hicks Fellow from MIT. Antioch president Douglas McGregor, considered one of the founders of the modern democratic management philosophy, took Bennis on as a protégé, a scholarly relationship that would prove fruitful when both later served as professors at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Bennis earned his PhD from MIT in 1955, majoring in Social Sciences and Economics. There, Bennis would hold the post of chairman of the Organizational Studies Department. Within the area of management, Bennis sought to move from theory to practice in 1967, taking the post of provost of the State University of New York at Buffalo and the presidency of the University of Cincinnati in 1971. He authored two books on leadership during his presidency: The Leaning Ivory Tower (1973), and The Unconscious Conspiracy: Why Leaders Can’t Lead (1976). Bennis chose to return to the life of a teacher, consultant and author following a heart attack in 1979, joining the faculty of the University of Southern California. Most of the best-known of his 27 books followed, including the bestselling Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge (1985) and On Becoming A Leader (1999), both translated into 21 languages. On Becoming a Leader laid the foundation that a leader must be authentic, i.e. author of one’s own creation; a combination of experience, self-knowledge, and personal ethics. This need for an effective leader to remain true to their self-invention was further expanded upon by others into what has become known as the Authentic Leadership approach. An Invented Life: Reflections On Leadership And Change (1993) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The Wall Street Journal named him as one of the top ten most sought speakers on management in 1993, and Forbes magazine referred to him as the “dean of leadership gurus” in 1996. Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration (1997), Co-Leaders: The Power of Great Partnerships (1999), and Managing the Dream: Reflections on Leadership and Change (2000), summarized Bennis’s interests in leadership, judgment, organizational change and creative collaboration. The Financial Times referred to him in 2000 as “the professor who established leadership as a respectable academic field.” Geeks & Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders (2002) examined the differences and similarities between leaders thirty years and younger and leaders seventy years and older. Bennis was an adviser to four United States presidents and several other public figures, and did consultation work for numerous Fortune 500 companies. In addition to his posts at USC, Bennis served as chairman of the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He was a visiting professor of leadership at the University of Exeter (UK) and a senior fellow at UCLA’s School of Public Policy and Social Research. His last book, Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership (co-authored with Patricia Ward Biederman), was published in 2010 (died 2014):  “Leadership is the wise use of power. Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.”

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