Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr (died 304) (in the United States), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Marianne Cope, Virgin and Religious (died 1918). Also, today is the Sixth Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, with the overall theme for 2016 being Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord (cf. 1 Peter 2:9); for today, we meditate on “Listen to this Dream.”
Born in Heusca, Aragon (in modern Spain) in the third century, Saint Vincent was a friend of Saint Valerius of Saragossa in Spain and served as his deacon. Imprisoned and tortured in Valencia, Spain for his faith during the persecutions of Diocletian, he spent part of his time being burned on a gridiron. While in prison, he converted his jailer. He was finally offered release if he would give up the scripture texts for burning, but he refused. After further torture, he was released to the care of his friends; they cleaned him up and put him in a bed, where he promptly died. His feast day is in locations other than the United States on January 22, but because that day is a Day of Penance and Prayer for Life in the United States the feast of St. Vincent is moved to January 23. He is the Patron Saint of winemakers and vinegar makers, of São Vicente, Madeira, and of Vicenza, Italy. We also honor Saint Marianne Cope, Virgin and Religious (died 1918). Born as Maria Anna Koob in Heppenheim in the Grand Duchy of Hesse (modern-day Germany), her family emigrated to the United States when she was one year old, settling in Utica, New York and changed the family name to Cope. By the time she was in eighth grade her father had become an invalid and, as the oldest child in the house, she became a factory worker to help support the family. Her father later became an American citizen, which at the time granted automatic citizenship status to her entire family. By the time her father died in 1862, her brothers and sisters were old enough to support themselves, so she felt free to enter the novitiate of the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis based in Syracuse, New York. At the completion of her year of formation, she received the religious habit of the Franciscan Sisters along with the new name Marianne. Cope then became first a teacher and then a principal in newly-established schools for German-speaking immigrants in the region. By 1870, she was a member of the governing Council of her congregation. In this office, she was involved in the opening of the first two Catholic hospitals in Central New York. At the time their Charter was stipulated so that medical care was to be provided to all, regardless of race or creed. She was appointed by the Superior General to govern St. Joseph’s Hospital, the first public hospital in Syracuse, from 1870 to 1877. During her period of hospital administration, she became involved with the move of the College of Medicine in Geneva, New York to Syracuse, where it became the Geneva Medical College. She contracted with the college to accept their students in the treatment of the hospital’s patients, to further their medical education. Her stipulation in the contract (again unique for the period) was the right of the patients to refuse care by the students. In 1883 Mother Marianne, by then herself Superior General of the congregation, received a plea for help in caring for leprosy sufferers from King Kalākaua of Hawaii. More than 50 religious institutes had already declined his request for Sisters to do this. She responded to the letter enthusiastically, and set out with six of her Sisters from Syracuse to travel to Honolulu to answer this call, arriving on November 8, 1883. The bells of Our Lady of Peace Cathedral pealed to welcome their ship, the SS Mariposa, as it entered Honolulu harbor. With Mother Marianne as supervisor, the Sisters’ task was to manage Kakaʻako Branch Hospital on Oʻahu, which served as a receiving station for Hansen’s disease patients gathered from all over the islands. Here the more severe cases were processed and then shipped to the island of Molokaʻi for confinement in the settlement at Kalawao, and then later at Kalaupapa. The following year, at the request of the government, she set up Malulani Hospital, the first General Hospital on the island of Maui. Soon, however, she was called back with haste to the hospital in Oahu, where she had to deal with a government-appointed administrator’s abuse of the leprosy patients at the Branch Hospital at Kakaako, an area adjoining Honolulu. Her demand to the government to choose between his dismissal or the Sisters’ return to Syracuse resulted in her being given full charge of the overcrowded hospital. Her own expected return to Syracuse to re-assume governance of the Congregation was then delayed when her leadership was declared by both government and church authorities to be essential to the success of the Mission. Two years after the arrival of the Sisters, her accomplishments had so stirred the admiration of the Hawaiian government that the King himself bestowed on Mother Marianne the Cross of a Companion of the Royal Order of Kapiolani for her acts of benevolence to his suffering people. Another pressing need was fulfilled when a year later, in November 1885, after Mother Marianne had convinced the government that it was of vital need to save the homeless female children of leprosy patients, the Kapiolani Home was opened. The unusual choice of location for healthy children to dwell in a Home situated on the grounds of a leprosy hospital was made because no one other than the Sisters could be found to care for those so closely associated with people suffering from the dreaded disease. A new government took over in 1887, which changed the official policy toward leprosy patients. While new patients had not been forced into exile at Molokai for several years, the new administration decided to end that policy, and closed the hospital built for them in Oahu. A year later, as the consequences of this decision became clear, the authorities pleaded with Mother Marianne to establish a new Home for women and girls on the Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai. In November 1888 she moved to Kalaupapa, both to care for the dying Father Damien, SS.CC. (who was already known internationally for his heroic care of the leper colony there) and to assume his burdens. She had met him shortly after her arrival in Hawaii, when, while still in good health, Father Damien had gone to Oahu to attend the dedication of the chapel in the hospital she was establishing. After his diagnosis as a leper, he was shunned by both civil and church leaders. It was only Mother Marianne who gave him welcome, even arranging for the King to meet him. When Father Damien died on April 15th, 1889, the government officially gave Mother Marianne charge for the care of the boys of Kalaupapa, as well as her original commission for the female residents of the colony. A prominent local businessman, Henry P. Baldwin donated money for the new home; Mother Marianne and two assistants, Sister Leopoldina Burns and Sister Vincentia McCormick, opened and ran a new Girls School, which she named in his honor. At her suggestion, a community of Religious Brothers was invited to come and care for the boys. After the arrival of four Brothers of the Sacred Heart in 1895, she withdrew the Sisters to the Bishops School for Girls and “Brother” Charles Dutton was given charge of the Baldwin House by the government. (He was a veteran of the American Civil War who had left behind in the United States a life broken by alcoholism, and it was he who had been Father Damien’s primary assistant.) Mother Marianne died in 1918; in 2003 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints declared her to have been “heroically virtuous”. In 2004 Pope John Paul II issued a papal decree declaring her Venerable, in 2005 she was beatified in Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI in his first beatification ceremony as pope, and she was canonized in October 2012. She is the Patron Saint of lepers, outcasts, those with HIV/AIDS, and of the Hawaiʻian Islands. Finally, today is the Sixth Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; for today, we we meditate on “Listen to this Dream”, and we pray, “Heavenly Father, grant us humility to hear your voice, to receive your call, and to share your dream for the unity of the Church. Help us to be awake to the pain of disunity. Where division has left us with hearts of stone, may the fire of your Holy Spirit inflame our hearts and inspire us with the vision of being one in Christ, as he is one with you, so that the world may believe that you have sent him. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Before we clocked in today, I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Friday, January 22nd, 2016 via WordPress for Android. Also, my friend Deborah gave me the Mardi Gras bracelet she made for me. After the Pre-Shift Meeting, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Macau Mini Baccarat (until that table closed), Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow; I was on Mini Baccarat all day. On my breaks I continued reading Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist by William R. Maples.
On our way home from work I continued reading, and we got gas for the truck at Valero. Once home, I set up my medications for next week (I have two prescriptions to renew on Monday); I then read the morning paper. I then went to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration; while doing my Hour I finished reading the January / February 2016 issue of The Bible Today. I then went to McDonald’s, where I ate lunch and continued reading my book.
When I got home at 3:00 pm, our Snail Mail had brought me Escape from Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, which I had ordered from Barnes and Noble. Our LSU Men’s Basketball team beat Alabama in their afternoon away game by the score of 72 to 70; our Tigers will next play Georgia at home on January 26th. Our schedules for the week of February 1st through February 7th came out, and they have Richard scheduled to work on February 2nd (when he is scheduled for Jury Duty).As I am quite tired (this cold has got my defences down, apparently), I will finish this Daily Update early and go to bed. Our New Orleans Pelicans will play a home game with the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, and I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update. And the Full Moon will arrive at 7:46 pm.
Tomorrow is the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor (died 1622), and the Seventh Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, on which we will meditate on “Hospitality for Prayer”. We will work our eight hours on the last day of the current pay period. At 1:00 pm our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing an away game with Georgia, and I will make my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday.
Our Parting Quote this Saturday afternoon comes to us from Ernie Banks, American baseball player. Born as Ernest Banks in 1931 in Dallas, Texas, as a child, Banks was not very interested in baseball, preferring swimming, basketball and football. His father bought Ernest a baseball glove for less than three dollars at a five and dime store and motivated Banks with nickels and dimes to play catch. In high school he lettered in basketball, football and track. Banks’ school did not have a baseball team; he played fastpitch softball for a church team during the summer. He began playing professional baseball in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro leagues. In 1951 Banks was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Germany during the Korean War. He served as a flag bearer in the 45th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion at Fort Bliss, where he played with the Harlem Globetrotters on a part-time basis. In 1953, he was discharged from the army and joined the Monarchs for the remainder of that season, achieving a .347 batting average. He began his major league career in September 1953 when he was signed with the Chicago Cubs as their first black player. The following year, Banks was the National League Rookie of the Year runner-up. Beginning in 1955, Banks was a National League (NL) All-Star for 11 seasons, playing in 13 of the 15 All-Star Games held during those seasons. Banks was the Cubs’ main attraction in the late 1950s, the National League Most Valuable Player in 1958 and 1959, and the Cubs’ first Gold Glove winner in 1960. In 1962 Banks became a regular first baseman for the Cubs. In the mid-1960s Cubs manager Leo Durocher became frustrated with Banks, saying the slugger’s performance was faltering. Durocher said he was unable to remove Banks from the lineup due to the star’s popularity among Cubs fans. Between 1967 and 1971, he was a player-coach, and he won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1968, an honor recognizing playing ability and personal character. In 1969, through a Chicago Sun-Times fan poll, Cubs fans voted him the greatest Cub ever. In 1970 Banks hit his 500th career home run at Wrigley Field. He retired from playing in 1971, and was a coach for the Cubs in 1972. Banks held the major league record for most games played without a postseason appearance (2,528). He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility, and received votes on 321 of the 383 ballots. In 1982 he became the Cub’s first player to have his uniform number retired. In 1984, when the Cubs won the NL East division, the club named Banks an honorary team member. At the 1990 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the first one held at Wrigley Field since Banks’ playing days, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch to starting catcher Mike Scioscia. He was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. Banks was active in the Chicago community during and after his tenure with the Cubs. He founded a charitable organization, became the first black Ford Motor Company dealer in the United States, and made an unsuccessful bid for a local political office. On March 31st, 2008, a statue of Banks (“Mr. Cub”) was unveiled in front of Wrigley Field. In 2009, Banks was named a Library of Congress Living Legend, a designation that recognizes those “who have made significant contributions to America’s diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage”. In 2013, Banks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to sports (died 2015): “The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose.”