Today is the Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop (died 1584), and National Vocation Awareness Week continues.
Today’s Saint was born in 1538 in the castle of Aron, Italy, into a wealthy noble family. Although he suffered from a speech impediment, he studied in Milan and at the University of Pavia, studying at one point under the future Pope Gregory XIII. He became a civil and canon lawyer at age 21. In 1560 his uncle, Cardinal Angelo de’ Medici, was raised to the pontificate as Pope Pius IV; the new Pope named Borromeo as protonotary apostolic (secretary of state), entrusted with both the public and the privy seal of the ecclesiastical state. He then named Borromeo to the post of Cardinal of Romagna and the March of Ancona, and supervisor of the Franciscans, Carmelites and Knights of Malta. At age twenty-two, Borromeo was highly trusted at the papal court. Soon afterwards Pius IV raised him to the archbishopric of Milan. In compliance with the pope’s desire, Borromeo lived in splendor to represent the glory of the church. He established an academy of learned persons, the Academy of the Vatican Nights, and published their memoirs as the Noctes Vaticanae. About the same time, Borromeo founded and endowed a college at Pavia, today known as Almo Collegio Borromeo, which he dedicated to Saint Justina of Padua. On the death of his elder brother Federigo, his family urged Borromeo to quit the church to marry and have children, so that the family name would not become extinct. Borromeo declined the proposal, and worked even harder for the welfare of the church. Owing to his influence over Pius IV, he facilitated the final deliberations of the Council of Trent. He took a large share in the creation of the Tridentine Catechism (Catechismus Romanus). After the death of his uncle, Pius IV (1566), Borromeo contributed materially to suppressing the cabals of the conclave. Subsequently he devoted himself wholly to the reformation of his diocese. It had deteriorated in practice owing to the 80-year absence of previous archbishops. Borromeo made numerous pastoral visits, and restored dignity to divine service. In conformity with the decrees of the Council of Trent, which suggested simplifying church interiors, Borromeo cleared the cathedral of ornate tombs, rich ornaments, banners, and arms. He did not even spare the monuments of his own relatives. He divided the nave of the church into two compartments to separate the sexes at worship. He extended his reforms to the collegiate churches, monasteries and even to the Confraternities of Penitents, particularly that of St. John the Baptist. This group was to attend to prisoners and those condemned to death, to give them help and support. Borromeo believed that abuses in the church arose from clergy ignorance. Among his most important actions, he established seminaries, colleges and communities for the education of candidates for holy orders. His emphasis on Catholic learning greatly increased the preparation of men for priesthood and benefited their congregations. Reacting to the pressure of the Protestant Reformation, Borromeo encouraged the Golden League formed in 1586 by Ludwig Pfyffer in Switzerland. Based in Lucerne, the organization (also called the Borromean League) linked activities of several Swiss Catholic cantons of Switzerland, which became the center of Catholic Counter-Reformation efforts. This Inquisition-type organization was determined to expel heretics and burned some people at the stake. It created severe strains in the civil administration of the confederation, and it caused the break-up of Appenzell canton along religious lines. In 1576, when Milan suffered an epidemic of the bubonic plague, Borromeo led efforts to accommodate the sick and bury the dead. He avoided no danger and spared no expense. He visited all the parishes where the contagion raged, distributing money, providing accommodation for the sick, and punishing those, especially the clergy, who were remiss in discharging their duties. Borromeo’s manifold labors and austerities appear to have shortened his life. He was canonized in 1610, and is the Patron Saint of bishops, cardinals, catechists, catechumens, seminarians, spiritual directors, spiritual leaders, apple orchards, and starch makers, and the cities of Lombardy, Italy and Monterey, California; his aid is invoked against ulcers, stomach diseases and intestinal disorders. National Vocation Awareness Week continues, and we pray, “God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, religious, and consecrated persons. Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call. May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
In the Men’s College Basketball Preseason AP Poll, our LSU Men’s Basketball is ranked #21. And our
New Orleans Pelicans lost their game with the Orlando Magic by the score of 94 to 103. Our Pelicans (0 – 4, 14th Western) will host the Atlanta Hawks (4 – 1, 2nd Eastern) on November 6th.
I woke up at the Best Western Plus: The Inn at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania at 7:30 am. I did my
Bathroom Devotional Reading, Richard and we ate the Continental Breakfast at the motel and read the USA Today, and got on the road to Philadelphia at 9:15 am. Along the way I did my Internet Devotional Reading.
At 10:00 am we arrived at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Our first stop was the huge Visitors Center, literally rising from the depths of the parking garage. I got stamps for my National Park Explorers Edition Passport book, and we saw a film. We then saw the Liberty Bell , then took the tour of Independence Hall , where we also saw some of the first copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Conferderation, and the Constitution. After a very good lunch at the Red Owl Tavern (where Richard got a Philly cheesesteak), we went to the Christ Church Burial Ground, last resting place of Benjamin Franklin //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js and six other signers of the Declaration of Independence //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js. We then took the self-guided tour of the U. S. Mint, and I got a t-shirt from their gift shop. Back at the Visitors Center I got a t-shirt, a hiking staff medallion, and a lapel pin for Liz Ellen. We left my 164th National Park at 2:45 pm.
We collected our car from the parking garage and drove to Gloria Dei (Old Swede’s) Church National Historic Site at 3:15 pm. We went through their graveyard and toured the church (on an abortive trip to the second floor (the door at the top was locked), I resisted the urge to pull the bellrope), and left my 165th National Park at 4:00 pm.
We arrived back to our room at the Best Western Plus: The Inn at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania at 5:00 pm (I had posted my National Park photos to Facebook on our way home), sans one of my pairs of sunglasses (which I discovered were missing when we were eating lunch). I also realized that I had forgotten to get two copies of each National Park Passport Stamp (one for me, and one for my National Park Traveler’s Club), so I cannot put my stamps into my National Park Explorers Edition Passport Book until I get home and make copies. We relaxed and watched Jeopardy! at 7:00 pm. I will do my Daily Update, then do some reading in bed. Our LSU Tigers Women’s Basketball team will host the Union Lady Bulldogs for an exhibition contest tonight; I will post the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow National Vocation Awareness Week continues. In the absence of any Saints to honor, we will instead note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot in London, which had very bad effects on Catholic Emancipation in general and on Guy Fawkes in particular. We will head to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Elverson, Pennsylvania, then head down to Washington, DC.
Our Parting Quote this Wednesday evening comes to us from S. Donald Stookey, American inventor. Born as Stanley Donald Stookey in 1915 in Hay Springs, Nebraska, as the eldest of four children, his father was a teacher and bank clerk, and his mother was a teacher and housewife. When Stookey was about six years old the family moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Stookey went to Coe College in Cedar Rapids (his grandfather had been a professor of botany and geology at that institution) from 1934 to 1936 where he graduated with his first degree, a liberal arts degree in chemistry and mathematics. Stookey then went to Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1937, after receiving a $1000 fellowship to cover living expenses and a job as a teaching laboratory assistant in the chemistry lab. In 1938 he earned his Master of Science degree in chemistry from Lafayette College. He then went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge where he received a doctorate in chemistry in 1940. That same year he married, and received a job offer from Corning Glass Works in Corning, New York, which he accepted. He carried out research on glass and ceramics. One of Stookey’s earliest innovations was FotoForm glass. The scientific community recognized its value around 1948. FotoForm glass is used in computer manufacturing and communications technology. Stookey also invented photosensitive glass using gold in which permanent colored photographs can be produced; this 1950 invention was the first of sixty patents he filed. A serendipitous invention made by Stookey in 1953 was when he took a piece of FotoForm glass and mistakenly heated it to 900 °C when he meant to heat it to 600 °C. When an oven thermometer was stuck on the higher temperature Stookey had accidentally created the first glass-ceramic, Fotoceram. It was later known also as Pyroceram. This was the first glass-ceramic and eventually led to the development of CorningWare in 1957. CorningWare went to the consumer marketplace the next year in 1958 for cookware by Corning Glass Works and became just one of Stookey’s multi-million dollar inventions. It influenced the development of VisionWare, which is transparent cookware, and was patented in 1966. Pyroceramic glass has the necessary properties to be used by the military for the nose cones of supersonic radar domes in guided missiles applied in defense. It has the special properties of extreme hardness, super strength, resistance to high heat and transparency to radar waves, and is the basis for Gorilla Glass, used in iPhones and other LCD screens. Stookey also developed photochromic glass, a glass that is used to make ophthalmic lenses that darken in bright light. These lenses were first available to consumers in the 1960s as sunglasses made by Corning Glass Works. It was a joint discovery and development of Stookey with William Armistead. In 1985 he published his autobiography, Journey to the Center of the Crystal Ball. Stookey retired from Corning Glass Works in 1987 after a career of 47 years. He was presented with the United States Medal of Technology in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. In 1994 he was given the National Medal of Technology by the White House Council. In 2010 he was inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame (died 2014): “When I came back [to check the furnace, to see if it was up to 600 degrees yet], the temperature gauge was stuck on 900 degrees, and I thought I had ruined the furnace. When I opened the door to the furnace, I saw the glass was intact and had turned a milky white. I grabbed some tongs to get it out as fast as I could, but the glass slipped out of the tongs and fell to the floor. The thing bounced and didn’t break. It sounded like steel hitting the floor.“
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