Daily Update: Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Peter Claver and Frédéric Ozanam and 09-09 - Hurricane Betsy

Today is the Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest (died 1654) and the Optional Memorial of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (died 1853). On this date in 1965 Hurricane Betsy made landfall in South Louisiana, and today is the anniversary of when Richard’s mother Juanita died (1999).

Born in 1581 at Verdu, Catalonia, Peter Claver was a farmer’s son who studied at the University of Barcelona. Influenced by Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez to become a missionary in America. Claver arrived in Cartagena, Columbia, the center of the slave trade in the New World, in 1610. He was still a novice at the time and he needed to wait five years to be ordained as a priest, living in the Jesuit monasteries of Tunja and Bogotá. When Claver was ordained, he added along with his ordination signature another vow: Petrus Claver, aethiopum siempre servus – Peter Claver, slave of the Negro, for ever. He ministered, physically and spiritually, to slaves when they arrived in Cartegena, converting a reported 300,000, and worked for humane treatment on the plantations for 40 years. He preached in the city square, gave missions to sailors and traders as well as country missions. During these missions he avoided, whenever possible, the hospitality of the planters and overseers, and would lodge instead in the slave quarters. Through the force of his own extraordinary personality and saintliness, applied over many years, the state of the slaves began to improve. He also organized charitable societies among the Spanish in America similar to those organized in Europe by Saint Vincent de Paul. He was canonized in 1888, and is the Patron Saint of missionary work among black slaves, of race relations,of ministry to African-Americans, and of seafarers, of the Dioceses of Shreveport, Louisiana, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, and of the Country of Colombia. Blessed Frédéric Ozanam was born in 1813 in Milan, Italy, into a distinguished family of Jewish extraction. Brought up in Milan, he was strongly influenced by one of his masters, the Abbé Noirot. His conservative and religious instincts showed themselves early, and he published Réflexions sur la doctrine de Saint-Simon, a pamphlet against Saint-Simonianism in 1831, which attracted the attention of the French poet and politician Alphonse de Lamartine. In the following year Ozanam was sent to study law in Paris, where he fell in with the Ampère family (living for a time with the mathematician André-Marie Ampère), and through them with other leaders of the neo-Catholic movement, such as François-René de Chateaubriand, Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, and Charles Forbes René de Montalembert. Whilst still a student he took up journalism and contributed considerably to Bailly’s Tribune catholique, which became L’Univers, a French Roman Catholic daily newspaper that took a strongly ultramontane position. Together with other young men he founded, in May 1833, the celebrated charitable Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, which numbered before his death in 1853 upwards of 2,000 members. He received the degree of doctor of law in 1836, and in 1838 that of doctor of letters with a thesis on Dante, which served as the beginning of one of Ozanam’s best-known books. A year later he was appointed to a professorship of commercial law at Lyon, and in 1840 assistant professor of foreign literature at the Sorbonne. He married Amélie Soulacroix in June 1841, and visited Italy on his honeymoon. Upon the death in 1844 of Claude Charles Fauriel, Ozanam succeeded to the full professorship of foreign literature at the Sorbonne. The remainder of his short life was extremely busy with his professorial duties, his extensive literary activities, and the work of district-visiting as a member of the society of St Vincent de Paul. During the French Revolution of 1848, of which he took a sanguine view, he once more turned journalist by writing, for a short time, in the Ere nouvelle and other papers. He traveled extensively, and was in England at the time of the Exhibition of 1851. His naturally weak constitution, however, fell a prey to consumption, which he hoped to cure by visiting Italy, but on his return to France, he died in Marseille at the age of 40. His works were published in eleven volumes between 1862 and 1865. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in the cathedral church Notre Dame de Paris in 1997; if you know of any miracles that may be attributed to his intercession, please contact the Vatican. It was on this date in 1965 that Hurricane Betsy made landfall in South Louisiana, two days after its first landfall in Key Largo, Florida. It destroyed nearly every building in Grand Isle, Louisiana, then went up the Mississippi River to New Orleans. Large parts of the city were flooded when canal levees broke, and it was ten days before the water went down in the Ninth Ward. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hurricane Protection Program came into existence as a result of Betsy. The Corps built new levees for New Orleans that were both taller and made of stronger material, designed specifically to resist a fast-moving Category 3 hurricane like Betsy. (Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was a slow-moving Category 3 hurricane; and there were stories of people who stayed put for Katrina because they had survived Betsy who in fact did not survive Katrina.) Finally, it was on this date that Richard’s mother Juanita died; I have always thought it characteristically considerate of her to die on a date so easy to remember, namely, 9-9-99 (1999).

I was up at 7:00 am this morning, and did my Bathroom Devotional Reading. Richard got bacon biscuits from McDonald’s for me, which I ate for breakfast. I left the house at 8:00 am and headed down to Lafayette. At 9:20 am I had my appointment at the Breast Center of Acadiana; I had both a regular mammogram and an ultrasound mammogram. I then went to the Lafayette Public Library – Southside Branch, where I returned Rivers by Michael Farris Smith and took out Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile (my next Third Tuesday Book Club book). I then went to Barnes and Noble, and was just getting myself settled into a comfy chair when Richard called me on the phone. He said that I might want to head right home, because Callie and the baby had come into town on a quick visit; when I did not immediately jump up and down, and told him that I had just gotten to Barnes and Noble, he got mad at me. He then called back to tell me that Callie and the baby were going to lay low at her mother’s house today, and that they would come by the house tomorrow. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and also did the stuff that I normally do on Wednesdays for maintenance on my Galaxy Note 4. I then went to Piccadilly Cafeteria; I got there not quite ahead of a noisy afternoon thunderstorm, and had to wait about half an hour (working on my Daily Update for yesterday in the car) while I waited for the weather to moderate. I then ate lunch at Piccadilly, and continued my reading of Post Captain by Patrick O’Brian. I then headed homeward; at a Random Convenience Store I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. I then did my Daily Update for yesterday, Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 via WordPress for Android, and at our local hospital set up a bone density scan for 1:00 pm on Friday.

I arrived home at 4:15 pm, and read the morning paper; I then watched Jeopardy!, and came to the computer to work on photos for this weblog. I got done with photos through the middle of October, and then started today’s Daily Update.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, so we will recall that tomorrow is the anniversary of the day in 1945 when a humble backyard fowl involuntarily became Mike the Headless Chicken. I will do the Weekly Computer Maintenance and my laundry tomorrow, go to the grocery to get my salad supplies, and make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. And at some point Callie and the baby will come by, and pictures will be taken.

Our Parting Quote this Wednesday evening comes to us from Graham Joyce, British author. Born in 1954 in Kersley, a small mining village outside of Coventry, his was a working-class family. After receiving a B.Ed. from Bishop Lonsdale College in 1977 and a M.A. from the University of Leicester in 1980, Joyce worked as a youth officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs until 1988. He subsequently quit his position and moved to the Greek islands of Lesbos and Crete to write his first novel, Dreamside. After selling Dreamside to Pan Books in 1991, Joyce moved back to England to pursue a career as a full-time writer. He was awarded a PhD by publication at Nottingham Trent University where he taught Creative Writing from 1996 until his death and was made a Reader in Creative Writing. Publishers and critics  found difficulty in classifying Joyce’s writing. His novels were categorized as fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mainstream literature—with some even overlapping genres. The mystical or supernatural often played a pivotal role in Joyce’s works. For this, he tapped the mythical or folkloric associations of his settings. Joyce’s treatment of these experiences is what distinguished his novels from genre fiction. The supernatural was not seen as a conflict or an obstacle to be overcome, but rather an integral part of a natural order that a character must accept and integrate. Running parallel to these phenomena was the possibility of a rational or psychological explanation. He resisted attempts to classify him as a magic realist, preferring to call his style of writing “Old Peculiar.” Dark Sister (1992) won the British Fantasy Award in 1993. Other works that garnered him notice from the British Fantasy Award were Requiem (1995, winner, 1996), The Tooth Fairy (1996, winner, 1997), The Stormwatcher (1997, nominee, 1999), Indigo (1999, winner, 2000), Smoking Poppy (2001, nominee, 2002), The Facts of Life (2002, nominee, 2003, and the winner of the World Fantasy Award, 2003), The Limits of Enchantment (2005, World Fantasy Award Nominee, 2006), Memoirs of a Master Forger (2008, under the penname of William Heaney, released in the United States as How to Make Friends with Demons (2009), British Fantasy Award Winner 2009), and The Silent Land (2011, World Fantasy Award nominee, 2011). He also published twenty-six short stories; his story “Black Dust” (2002) was released as a short film in 2012, produced by James Laws of Pretzel Films, and scripted by Laws and Joyce. Drawing on his experience as the regular first-choice goalkeeper for the England Writers football team, appearing in international fixtures against Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Hungary, Turkey and Austrian Writers teams, he wrote Simple Goalkeeping Made Spectacular: A Riotous Footballing Memoir About the Loneliest Position on the Field in 2009. On January 16th, 2009, the site Computer and Video Games reported that Joyce had been hired by id Software to “help develop the storyline potential” of Doom 4. Joyce co-wrote song lyrics for French songwriter and composer Emilie Simon on her albums The Big Machine (2009) and Franky Knight (2011). 25 Years in the Word Mines: The Best of Graham Joyce was published posthumously in 2014 (died 2014): “My grandmother was one of these old women who used to have dreams and visions and messages arriving. She would fall asleep in a chair, there would be a knock on the door, she would go to the door, someone strange would come to the door and deliver a message. And then she would wake up again in her chair. Now my mother and my aunties told me these stories over and over again. But they just lived with it side by side. They didn’t fight it as in a fantasy or horror film. They didn’t have to overcome it. It didn’t get worse and worse and worse. They just accepted this mystery and then they cooked the dinner.”

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