Daily Update: Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

The Most Holy Trinity and Rita of Cascia

Today is the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, and the Optional Memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, Religious (died 1457).

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Since the beginning of the third century the doctrine of the Trinity has been stated as “the one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The doctrine developed from the biblical language used in New Testament passages such as the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19 and took substantially its present form by the end of the 4th century as a result of controversies in which some theologians, when speaking of God, used terms such as “person”, “nature”, “essence”, “substance”, terms that had never been used by the Apostolic Fathers, in a way that the Church authorities considered to be erroneous. (When I was working as an accountant at Blue Cross of Louisiana in Baton Rouge during the 1980′s, a co-worker asked me if Catholics believed in the Trinity. I answered her by crossing myself, explaining that every time we do so, we are honoring the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.) Today’s Saint was born as Margherita Lotti in 1386 at Roccaporena, Umbria, Italy, late in her parents’ life, and was soon nicknamed Rita. From her early youth she visited the Augustinian nuns at Cascia and showed interest in a religious life. However, when she was twelve, her parents betrothed her to Paolo Mancini, an ill-tempered, abusive individual who worked as a town watchman and who was dragged into the political disputes of the Guelphs and Ghibellines. Disappointed but obedient, Rita married him when she was eighteen, and was the mother of twin sons. She put up with Paolo’s abuses for eighteen years before he was ambushed and stabbed to death. Her sons swore vengeance on the killers of their father; Rita, fearing that her sons would lose their souls, tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail. Accordingly, she petitioned God to take her sons rather than submit them to possible mortal sin and murder. Upon the deaths of her sons of dysentery a year later, Rita again felt the call to religious life. However, some of the sisters at the Augustinian monastery were relatives of her husband’s murderers, and she was denied entry for fear of causing dissension. Asking for the intervention of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, she managed to bring the warring factions together, not completely, but sufficiently so that there was peace, and she was admitted to the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalen at age 36. She lived forty years in the convent, spending her time in prayer and charity, and working for peace in the region. She was devoted to the Passion, and in response to a prayer to suffer as Christ, she received a chronic head wound that appeared to have been caused by a crown of thorns and which bled for fifteen years. Confined to her bed the last four years of her life, and eating little more than the Eucharist, she spent her time teaching and directing the younger sisters. Near the end of her life in January, 1457, a visitor from her home town asked if she would like anything; Rita’s only request was a rose from her family’s estate. The visitor went to the home, even though he knew that there was no hope of roses in January; there, sprouted on an otherwise bare bush, was a single rose blossom, which he then brought to her. Her body, which has remained incorrupt over the centuries, is venerated today in the shrine at Cascia, which bears her name. She is the Patron Saint of mothers and of lost and impossible causes, and her aid is invoked against sickness, wounds, abuse, and marital problems. (St. Rita is often credited as also being the unofficial patron saint of baseball due to a reference made to her in the 2002 film The Rookie.)

As promised, the Full Moon arrived at 4:17 pm. In the Preakness Stakes, the horse that had been trying to beat Nyquist all spring, Exaggerated, ridden by jockey Kent Desormeaux, won the race, so there will be no Triple Crown winner this year. (Drat.) And our #8 ranked LSU Tigers lost the third game of their three-game home College Baseball series with #1 Florida by the score of 2 to 6. Our Tigers thus end the regular season with a 39-17 record (19-11 in the SEC), and will be the #5 seed in the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Alabama, playing #12 seed Tennessee on Tuesday, May 24th.

I did my Book Devotional Reading and brought in the flag I had put out yesterday for Armed Forces Day, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Third Day of my Corpus Christi Novena. When we clocked in Richard was on Blackjack, and I was on Mini Baccarat. At 7:00 am they had worked the entire Early Out list, and Richard and I went ahead and left early. At the McDonald’s in Kinder Richard got me some bacon biscuits, and at Eunice Poultry in our town he got some boudin. Once home I read the Sunday papers, then took a nap.

Waking up again at 12:45 pm, I updated my Daily Update (pending publication). I then took an exercise walk around the neighborhood (no cats in evidence). When I got home (after my shower, and tossing my exercise clothes in the washer), I ordered another set Sony MDR-G45LP Street Style Neckband Headphones (Black), and some replacement pads for same. (When my headphones arrive – I like the behind-the-neck style, as it works well with my hat), I will have three of them: one for the house, one for exercise, and one for my Barnes and Noble bag.) I then made my lunch salads for tomorrow and Tuesday, and came to the computer to finish this Daily Update and to eat my lunch salad from today, which I did not eat at lunchtime.

Tomorrow is a day with no Saints to honor; instead, we will note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the dedication of the New York Public Library in 1911. We will work our eight hours at the casino, and on our way home we will get groceries at Wal-Mart. We will then go to the bank and get with the Wire Transfer officer about getting money wired to the kids, assuming that the main bank branch in Opelousas is satisfied that the check from Chase is indeed legitimate. After lunch I will again do my exercise walking around the neighborhood (if it is raining, which does not seem likely at this point, I will ride my recumbent bike instead). And I will probably go to bed early, after doing my Daily Update.

Our Parting Quote on this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, American artist. Born as Brenda Lynn Robinson in 1940 in Columbus, Ohio, her family soon moved to Poindexter Village, Columbus, one of the nation’s early federally funded apartment complexes. When she was a little girl, her father taught her how to draw and how to make books from homemade paper and “hogmawg,” a mixture of mud, clay, twigs, leaves, lime, animal grease, and glue. She began attending the Columbus Art School (now the Columbus College of Art and Design) on Saturdays while she was still in high school and then continued after she graduated from high school in 1957. She graduated from the Columbus Art School cum laude in 1960. In 1963 she participated in the March on Washington. In 1964 she married Clarence Robinson, who was in the United States Air Force, and moved with him to a military base in Boise, Idaho. She met woodcarver Elijah Pierce in 1967; he became her mentor, and four years later she left her husband and moved back to Columbus, Ohio with Pierce and her son. In 1972 she began a nineteen year career with Columbus Recreation and Parks, and settled in Columbus with her son. Robinson took a study trip to Africa in 1979, and received the name “Aminah” from a holy man in Egypt. In 1983 she visited Sapelo Island, Georgia, where her ancestors were slaves before and during the Civil War, and had her first group exhibition at the Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio. Robinson created sculpture, RagGonNons, rag paintings, paintings on cloth, drawings, and books. Many of them were about her family and community and about the stories she was told by her elders. She also researched the lives of abolitionists, civil rights leaders, musicians, and writers and depicted them in her art. Her art was grounded in her belief in the African concept of Sankofa, learning from the past in order to move forward. In 1989 she received the Governor’s Award for the Visual Arts from the Ohio Arts Council, received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council for a residency at PS 1 in Queens, New York, received a Minority Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to work with Robert Blackburn at the Printmaking Workshop in New York City, and had a group exhibition titled Stitching Memories: African-American Story Quilts at Williams College, the Studio Museum of Harlem, Oakland Museum, and others. The Columbus Metropolitan Library commissioned Life in Sellsville and Life in the Blackberry Patch in  1990. Two years later she had a group exhibition titled Will/Power at the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University, and wrote and illustrated The Teachings. In 1997 she had her first exhibition at the Hammond Harkins Gallery, Columbus, and the next year she took an Ohio Arts Council residency in Herzliya, Israel. In 2002 she had a retrospective exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art titled Symphonic Poem, and received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Ohio Dominican University. The next year she did Journeys under commission from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center commission in Cincinnati. She had a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile, in 2004. In 2004 Robinson was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship which is given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction”, and in 2006 Symphonic Poem traveled to the Brooklyn Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, and the Toledo Museum of Art. She then had a solo exhibition at the ACA Gallery, New York, and her last work was a commission, Life Along Water Street, for the Ohio University Baker Center (died 2015): “I began drawing at the age of three. My father would give me wood to paint on and paint in little enamel tins. My studio was under my bed…I never had any doubt in my mind about being an artist.”

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