Daily Update: Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Nereus and Achilleus, and Pancras

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Nereus and Saint Achilleus, Martyrs (died 98), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Pancras, Martyr (died 98). And today is the first birthday of my granddaughter, the daughter of my son Matthew and my daughter in law Callie (2015).

Saint Nereus and Saint Achilleus were brothers, soldiers in the imperial Roman army, and members of the Praetorian Guard. They were converts to Christianity and were martyred. They are mentioned in the sixth-century Martyrologium Hieronymianum, but very little is known of them. We also honor Saint Pancras, Martyr (died 98). He was a fourteen-year-old orphan, brought to Rome by his uncle, and upon converting to Christianity was reportedly martyred at the same time as Saint Nereus and Saint Achilleus. Pope Saint Vitalian (died 672) sent his relics from the cemetery of Calepodius in Rome to the British Isles as part of the evangelization of England, so that the new churches in Britain would have relics of the Church at large, and to install in altars in new churches. Saint Augustine of Canterbury dedicated the first church in England to Saint Pancras, and subsequent churches throughout England are similarly named for him. St. Pancras Old Church in London is believed to be one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in England (and the nearby railroad station is also named after the saint). He is the Patron Saint of children, and his aid is invoked against false witness and perjury, and against cramps and headache. And today is the first birthday of my granddaughter, the daughter of my son Matthew and my daughter in law Callie (2015)20160414_131214.

I woke up at 9:15 am, started my laundry, and posted to Facebook that today was my granddaughter’s first birthday. I then did my Book Devotional Reading, and read the Thursday morning papers. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Seventh Day of my Pentecost Novena. I then called the Pharmacy and renewed two prescriptions, ordered the bras I need from Amazon, redid our Passwords cheat sheet, burned a CD of my April 2016 photos for myself, and burned a CD of my April 2016 photos for Liz Ellen. I then finished my laundry and ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts.

Leaving the house on my own at 12:15 pm, I ate lunch at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse, and continued reading Julian’s Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich by Veronica Mary Rolf. At the Hit-n-Run I got gas for my car and purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing. I then went to Wal-Mart, and got my salad supplies and some other household items. My final stop was the Post Office, where I stocked up on If It Fits It Ships boxes.

Arriving home at 1:45 pm, Richard told me we had gotten the bank statement and a large check from Chase, with Chase saying they had charged interest and/or fees incorrectly when we are eligible for the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act benefits or protections. I reconciled the bank statement (everything came out correctly), then called Chase. While on hold with Chase I put the horrible hold music on Speaker, and when they got with us (I brought Richard in on the call), they said I got the check because I was the co-signer on Matthew’s student loans. I then called Matthew (actually, I called Callie’s phone, and he answered it), and let him know that he will be getting this check; we agreed that Richard and I will go to our bank tomorrow after work and do an electronic transfer from our account to his account. (The gift we sent to my granddaughter from Amazon is not there yet.) I then did a guesstimate of the tax effect of the Chase check (it will be on our 2016 taxes, but I used my Turbotax for 2015). I then cleaned out my purse and my Barnes and Noble book bag, and made salads for tomorrow and Sunday. I then sat down to watch Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm; while I was doing so, Callie texted pictures of my granddaughter’s birthday party IMG951550 and of her playing with the plush sloth that we sent her from Amazon for her birthday IMG951556. I posted pictures of my granddaughter to Facebook (again), and Richard went out to get himself some fried chicken for his dinner. And, now having finished this Daily Update, I will start to get ready for bed.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Blessed Julian of Norwich, Anchoress (died c. 1423), and the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Fátima. Tomorrow is also the anniversary of the Renaissance (1997) of my relationship with Richard, and it’s high time and more that I had another Renaissance. And since today is Thursday the 12th, that means tomorrow is Friday the 13th (the first one since November 2015, with our next one being in January of 2017). We will head to the casino for the start of our usual five-day work week, and on my breaks I will start reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan for my Third Tuesday Book Club. Also on one of my later breaks I will call Uniforms to see if the rust (orange) dealer shirts came in yet. After work I will pick up my prescriptions at the Pharmacy (and pick up a rust dealer shirt, if they came in), and Richard and I will stop by the bank to do an electronic transfer of funds to our son’s checking account (we will call him from there). And tomorrow afternoon our #11 ranked LSU Tigers will play the first game of a three-game away College Baseball series with Tennessee; I will record the score of the game in Saturday’s Daily Update.

Our Parting Quote on this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Irena Sendler, Polish social worker. Born as Irena Krzyzanowski in 1910 in Warsaw, Poland, her father was a physician who died in 1917 after treating patients (many of them Jews) whom his colleagues refused to treat. After his death Jewish community leaders offered to pay for Sendler’s education. She opposed the ghetto-bench system that existed at some prewar Polish universities (Jewish students being forced to sit in a special section of the lecture halls) and as a result was suspended from Warsaw University for three years. During the German occupation of Poland, Sendler lived in Warsaw (prior to that, she had lived in Otwock and Tarczyn while working for urban Social Welfare departments). As early as 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, she began aiding Jews. She and her helpers created over 3,000 false documents to help Jewish families, prior to joining the organized Żegota resistance and the children’s division. Helping Jews was very risky; in German-occupied Poland, all household members risked death if they were found to be hiding Jews, a more severe punishment than in other occupied European countries. In December 1942, the newly created Żegota (the Council to Aid Jews) nominated her (by her cover name of Jolanta) to head its children’s section. As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto to check for signs of typhus, something the Nazis feared would spread beyond the Ghetto. During these visits, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people and so as not to call attention to herself. She cooperated with the Children’s Section of the Municipal Administration, linked with the RGO (Central Welfare Council), a Polish relief organization that was tolerated under German supervision. She organized the smuggling of Jewish children out of the Ghetto, carrying them out in boxes, suitcases and trolleys. Under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions during a typhoid outbreak, Sendler visited the Ghetto and smuggled out babies and small children in ambulances and trams, sometimes disguising them as packages. She also used the old courthouse at the edge of the Warsaw Ghetto (still standing) as one of the main routes for smuggling out children. The children were placed with Polish families, the Warsaw orphanage of the Sisters of the Family of Mary, or Roman Catholic convents such as the Little Sister Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate at Turkowice and Chotomów. Sendler cooperated very closely with social worker and Catholic nun Matylda Getter, the Mother Provincial of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary. Sendler rescued between 250-550 Jewish children in different education and care facilities for children in Anin, Białołęka, Chotomów, Międzylesie, Płudy, Sejny, Vilnius and other cities. Some children were smuggled to priests in parish rectories. She buried lists of their real names in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities. Żegota assured the children that, when the war was over, they would be returned to Jewish relatives. In 1943 Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, severely tortured, and sentenced to death. Żegota saved her by bribing German guards on the way to her execution; she was left in the woods, unconscious and with broken arms and leg, and was listed on public bulletin boards as among those executed. For the remainder of the war, she lived in hiding, but continued her work for the Jewish children. After the war she dug up the jars containing the 2,500 children’s identities and attempted to find the children and return them to their parents. However, almost all of their parents had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp or had otherwise gone missing. After the war and the Soviet takeover of Poland, Sendler was persecuted by the communist Polish state authorities for her relations with the Polish government in exile and with the Home Army. In 1965 Sendler was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous among the Nations. She also was awarded the Commander’s Cross by the Israeli Institute. Only in that year did the Polish communist government allow her to travel abroad, to receive the award in Israel. Sendler’s story was largely unknown to the world until 1999 when students in Kansas developed The Irena Sendler Project, producing their performance Life in a Jar. This student-produced drama has now been performed over 285 times all across the United States, in Canada and in Poland. Sendler’s message of love and respect has grown through the performances, over 1,500 media stories, a student-developed website with 30,000,000 hits, a national teaching award in Poland and the United States, and an educational foundation, the Lowell Milken Education Center, to make Sendler’s story known to the world. In 2001 she was awarded the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta. In 2003 Pope John Paul II sent Sendler a personal letter praising her wartime efforts. Later in 2003 she received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest civilian decoration, and the Jan Karski Award “For Courage and Heart,” given by the American Center of Polish Culture in Washington, D.C.. On March 14th, 2007, Sendler was honored by Poland’s Senate. At age 97, she was unable to leave her nursing home to receive the honor, but she sent a statement through Elżbieta Ficowska, whom Sendler had saved as an infant. Polish President Lech Kaczyński stated she “can justly be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize” (though nominations are supposed to be kept secret). On April 11th, 2007, she received the Order of the Smile as the oldest recipient of the award. Sendler was the last survivor of the Children’s Section of the Żegota Council to Assist Jews, which she had headed from January 1943 until the end of the war. In May 2009 Sendler was posthumously granted the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award. The award, named in honor of the late actress and UNICEF ambassador, is presented to persons and organizations recognized for helping children. In its citation, the Audrey Hepburn Foundation recalled Sendler’s heroic efforts that saved two thousand five hundred Jewish children during the German occupation of Poland in World War II (died 2008): “Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.”

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