Today is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Optional Memorial of Saint Théodore Guérin, Virgin (died 1856). On this date in 2002 Hurricane Lili made landfall in Southwestcentral Louisiana, and went right through my town (though I was not there at the time). And Banned Books Week ends today.
The First Saturday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Today’s Saint was born in 1798 in Etables-sur-Mer, Brittany as Anne-Thérèse Guérin. She joined the Sisters of Providence at Ruillé-sur-Loir, France in 1823, taking the name Sister St. Théodore, and making her final vows in 1831. For several years she taught in Rennes and Soulaines. In 1840 she was sent with five other sisters (Sister Olympiade Boyer, Sister St. Vincent Ferrer Gagé, Sister Basilide Sénéschal, Sister Mary Xavier Lerée and Sister Mary Liguori Tiercin) to the diocese of Vincennes, Indiana. They established the Academy of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on July 4, 1841 at Terre Haute, Indiana, the first Catholic women’s liberal-arts college in the United States. Mother St. Théodore established schools at Jasper, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Village, Vincennes, Montgomery, Madison, Terre Haute, Fort Wayne, Evansville, North Madison, Lanesville and Columbus, all in Indiana, and in Saint Francisville in Illinois. She founded an orphanage for girls and one for boys in Vincennes, Indiana, opened pharmacies where medicines were dispensed free to the poor at Vincennes and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, and oversaw construction of a motherhouse for the Sisters of Providence and several additions to the Academy. She is a relatively recent Saint, having been canonized in 2002 (so technically she is Saint St. Théodore Guérin), and she is the Patron Saint of the Knights of Columbus of Indianapolis, Indiana, and of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana. And it was on this date in 2002 that Hurricane Lili hit the Louisiana coast as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm made landfall near Intracoastal City, and went right up through SouthWestCentral Louisiana. I was not home at the time, as I was in Richmond, Virginia (at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, to be exact), and I was getting updates on the status of the storm from Richard. Later in my trip, I called home, and my daughter answered the land line, and expressed how discouraged she was that it was hot and that there was no electricity and thus no air conditioning. She then asked, “Where are you?” I told her that I was in New York City, whereupon she said, “New York City? That’s not fair!” and hung up the phone on me, which amused me more than it annoyed me. And Banned Books Week ends today, so read Ulysses by James Joyce today!
I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, then found that the toilet rod assembly had broken. Richard then got mad at me for not fixing the toilet; it took a few minutes to realize that he was talking about the toilet in the kids’ bathroom, which I had used last night because I thought Richard was occupying our bathroom. Once we got to work we attended the Pre-Shift Meeting, we headed out to the casino floor. Richard was first on Three Card Poker, then went to the second Pai Gow table, closed that table, helped changed Blackjack cards, then he was on Pai Gow for the rest of the day. I was the Relief Dealer for a Blackjack table, Three Card Blackjack, a second Blackjack table, and $5.00 minimum Blackjack, then I became the dealer on the Sit-Down Blackjack table. On my breaks I did my Daily Update for Friday, October 2nd, 2015 via WordPress for Android, and did my Internet Devotional Reading.
Once home from work I set up my medications for next week (I have one prescription to renew on Monday), and Richard went to the hardware store for a new toilet rod assembly. Meanwhile, I read the morning paper, then decided what to wear for my granddaughter’s Baptism tomorrow (both if we get home early, and if we have to go before we get home from work). I then went to the Adoration Chapel, where I did my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I read the September 21st, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America Magazine, and back home Richard fixed our toilet and took a nap. After my Hour I went to the Hit-n-Run and purchased Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing. At Wal-Mart I got salad supplies and a flat of bottled water, then I got my lunch via the drive through at McDonald’s. I got home at 3:00 pm, and slept for the rest of the day. I did not do any First Saturday Devotions, and I did not do my Daily Update. In the NBA our New Orleans Pelicans won their away Preseason game with the Indiana Pacers by the score of 110 to 105 (their next Preseason game will be an away game on on Friday, October 9th at 6:00 pm with the Atlanta Hawks), and our #9 ranked LSU Tigers won their home college football game with the Eastern Michigan Eagles by the score of 44 to 22 (their next game will be an away game on Saturday, October 10th at 11:00 am with the South Carolina Gamecocks). And our black cat Black slept with us, for the first time in several months.
Tomorrow is the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, Religious (died 1226), and Respect Life Sunday. I will take the clothes I will need if we do not get out early with me to work. We will sign the Early Out list, on the last day of the pay period, and on my breaks I will do my Daily Update for yesterday, Saturday, October 3rd, 2015 via WordPress for Android. The Baptism of my granddaughter will be at our church after the 11:00 am Mass, with everyone going to Callie’s mother Lisa’s house afterwards. The Last Quarter Moon will arrive at 4:08 pm, and our hapless New Orleans Saints will play a home game with the Dallas Cowboys at 7:30 pm; I will give the score of the game in Monday’s Daily Update.
Our Parting Quote on this First Saturday afternoon comes to us from Benedict Groeschel, American Franciscan friar. Born as Robert Groeschel in 1933 in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the eldest of six children he attended Catholic schools, and after high school in 1950 he entered the Capuchin Order’s St. Felix Friary (later turned into the Good Shepherd Church of the United Brethren in Christ) in Huntington, Indiana. As a novice at St. Felix’s, Groeschel met and was deeply impressed by Venerable Solanus Casey (1957). After nine months in Indiana, Groeschel completed his novitiate at the order’s friary in the Detroit Province in 1951. The following year, he was admitted to temporary profession of vows and given the religious name of Benedict Joseph, after a Franciscan saint, Benedict Joseph Labre. In later life he would often comment that he felt it significant that his patron saint in the order was most likely schizophrenic. Groeschel made his perpetual profession in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1959. In 1960 Groeschel became the chaplain for the Children’s Village, a facility for emotionally disturbed children based in Dobbs Ferry, New York. He received a master’s degree in counseling from Iona College in 1964. In 1965 he joined the staff of St. Joseph’s Seminary, and later taught at Fordham University, Iona College and Maryknoll Seminary. In 1967 he founded the St. Francis House in Brooklyn, New York, which provided a safe haven for young men looking for a new start in life. The results of his counseling, teaching ability and the manner in which he treated his subjects attracted the attention of many, including Terence Cooke, Archbishop of New York (died 1983). He received a Doctor of Education (D.Ed.) degree, with a specialty in psychology, from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1971. Since 1973 Groeschel served as the director of spiritual development for the Archdiocese of New York. In 1974, at Cooke’s request, he founded the Trinity Retreat in Larchmont, New York, which provided spiritual direction and retreats for clergy. In 1984 Cardinal Archbishop John Joseph O’Connor of New York appointed Groeschel to the position of promoter of the cause of canonization for Cooke. (Cardinal Cooke was recognized as a Servant of God as of May 2015.) In the 1980s Groeschel became an early supporter and a popular weekly host for the Catholic television station Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). In 1985 Groeschel co-founded, with Christopher Bell, the Good Counsel Homes for homeless pregnant women and children. In 1987, responding to the call of Pope John Paul II for religious orders to renew their communities, Groeschel and seven Capuchin colleagues broke away from their order “to follow a more traditional religious life that highlighted communal living and traditional garb while serving the poor and needy.” They formed the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal with the mission of preaching reform and serving the poor. At the time of his death the order had grown to 115 brothers and priests and 31 sisters in nine friaries in the U.S., four in Europe and two convents in Central America. In 1984 Groeschel had heart problems that were addressed by bypass surgery. After joining the Institute of Psychological Sciences in 2000, Groeschel taught an annual intensive course focused on how to give practical assistance to people experiencing trauma, extreme stress, and sorrow, while at the same time integrating religious values with counseling and psychotherapy. Throughout his career Groeschel was an outspoken opponent of abortion and was quick to defend the church against what he saw as unfair criticism, which endeared him to conservative Catholics in particular. In his 2002 book, From Scandal to Hope, he accused The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle of revealing anti-Catholic prejudice in their coverage of the sexual abuse scandal that disrupted the church. He received wide public attention through his preaching engagements, writing and television appearances. He was the author of over 30 books and recorded more than 100 audio and video series. He published articles in several Catholic magazines on a monthly basis and posted a weekly meditation on the Oratory of Divine Love website. His weekly television program, Sunday Night Live with Father Benedict Groeschel, offered a mix of interviews, answering viewer questions and discussing spiritual and social matters relating to the Catholic faith. On January 11, 2004, Groeschel was struck by an automobile while crossing a street in Orlando, Florida. He “suffered numerous broken bones and intracranial bleeding”, and over a four-hour period, he had no blood pressure, heartbeat or pulse for about 20 minutes. A few days later the trauma triggered a near-fatal heart attack. While he was recovering from his injuries, he collaborated with John Bishop on the book There Are No Accidents: In All Things Trust in God. He broadcast his first live program on EWTN on October 24, 2004. Although the accident left him with limited use of his right arm and difficulty in walking, he was back preaching and giving retreats by the end of 2004 and he continued to keep a full schedule. In April 2005, following the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, Groeschel said that the new pope had “been very badly abused by the American media”. He thought that the pope’s experiences during World War II had been distorted and his personality misrepresented. In 2009 Groeschel, then age 75, suffered a minor stroke overnight March 20–21. The stroke caused temporary cognitive and speech difficulties which were noticeable in his March 29 appearance as the host of EWTN’s Sunday Night Live With Father Benedict Groeschel, where he made the condition public. Groeschel made controversial comments in a 2012 interview published by the National Catholic Register on August 27 related to the sexual abuse of children by priests: “Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.” On August 30 he issued a statement: “I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone.” The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal organization also apologized for Groeschel’s remarks, noting that they were out of character for him and stemmed from infirmities due to his 2004 car accident and a recent stroke. On September 3, EWTN announced that Groeschel had resigned from his position as host of Sunday Night Prime and that other members of his order would serve as the show’s host. He moved into St. Joseph’s Home for the elderly in Totowa run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. On September 30, 2014, the Cardinal Newman Society announced on their Facebook page that they had received word that Groeschel “fell and re-injured the same arm that was hurt in his accident ten years ago” and asked for people to request prayers of intercession for his health from “Venerable Solanus Casey, a former roommate of Fr. Groeschel who is up for beatification”. Doctors informed him that they felt it was inadvisable to attempt to repair the damaged arm (a fractured elbow and shoulder) as he was already in a weakened condition from the ongoing illness and was unlikely to survive surgery. He returned home to St. Joseph’s Home, where he died (died 2014): “They said [after my accident] I would never live. I lived. They said I would never think. I think. They said I would never walk. I walked. They said I would never dance, but I never danced anyway.”
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