Daily Update: Friday, July 8th, 2016

07-08 - Our Lady of Kazan

We have no Saints to honor today, but on this date in 1579 Our Lady of Kazan, a holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church, was discovered underground in the city of Kazan, Tatarstan.

According to tradition, the location of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan was revealed to a little girl named Matrona by the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary, via a Marian apparition. The original icon was kept in the Theotokos Monastery of Kazan built to commemorate the spot where it had been discovered. Invocation of the Virgin Mary through the icon was credited by the Russians with helping the country repel the Polish invasion of 1612, the Swedish invasion of 1709, and Napoleon’s invasion of 1812. On the night of June 29th, 1904, the icon was stolen from the church in Kazan where it had been kept for centuries. Thieves apparently coveted the icon’s golden setting, which was ornamented with many jewels of highest value. The Orthodox church interpreted the disappearance of the icon as a sign of tragedies that would plague Russia after the image of the Holy Protectress of Russia had been lost, and the Russian peasantry was convinced that the evils of the Russian Revolution were due to the loss of the icon. When several years later Russian police finally apprehended the thieves and recovered the precious setting, they declared that the icon itself had been cut to pieces and burnt. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, there was speculation that the original icon was in fact preserved in St. Petersburg; reportedly, an icon of Our Lady of Kazan was used in processions around Leningrad fortifications during the Siege of Leningrad. A conflicting theory was that the image had been sold by the Bolsheviks abroad. Although such theories were not credited by the Russian Orthodox church, a reputed original (one of several in existence) was acquired by the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima and enshrined in Fátima, Portugal in the 1970s. The image proved to be a copy, dated by experts to ca. 1730. In 1993 the icon from Fátima was given to Pope John Paul II, who took it to the Vatican and had it installed in his study, where he venerated it for eleven years. He wished to visit Moscow or Kazan in order to return the icon to the Russian Orthodox Church; when these efforts were blocked by the Moscow Patriarchate, the icon was presented to the Russian Church unconditionally. On August 26th, 2004 it was exhibited for veneration on the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica and then delivered to Moscow. On the next feast day of the holy icon, July 21st, 2005, Patriarch Alexius II and Mintimer Shaymiev, the President of Tatarstan, placed it in the Annunciation Cathedral of the Kazan Kremlin. The icon is now enshrined in the Church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, the site where the original icon of Our Lady of Kazan was found. Plans are underway to make the monastery where the icon was found into an international pilgrimage center.

Last night, after I did my Daily Update, we went over to Lele’s, and had dinner with her and with Richard’s sister Susan and her husband Tom; we then came home and went to bed.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Second Day of my Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. When we clocked in, Richard was on Mini Baccarat, and I was on a Blackjack table. During our eight hours on one of my breaks I sent a text to Callie asking if she could bring Kitten over to Lele’s on Sunday afternoon, and Callie answered that she didn’t see a problem with that.

After work, we went over to the Clinic; Richard picked up a prescription, and I arranged to have blood work drawn on Monday, July 11th, ahead of my July 21st appointment with my oncologist. Once home I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad; Susan and Tom came over to talk about concerns they have about Richard’s oldest brother Butch, who is living in Baton Rouge. Susan and Tom then left for Baton Rouge, and I then spent the afternoon on genealogical stuff. Just as Richard was getting to bed at 4:00 pm, Matthew called; he and Callie and the baby were in the neighborhood they are going to move into when their rental car (with Callie driving) got sideswiped at very slow speed by a kid who had gotten his license two months earlier. Everyone is fine; the air bags did not deploy, and my Kitten didn’t even notice the accident. Matthew reported that everyone in the neighborhood came out, and was incredibly nice to them. I then watched Jeopardy!, then came to the computer to do my Daily Update; and when I finish my Daily Update I will go to bed.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest and Martyr (died 1815), and Companions, Martyrs (1648 – 1930), and the Remembrance of Servant of God Augustus Tolton (1897). We will be working our eight hours; tomorrow will be a Heavy Business Volume Day due to the Hot Summer Cash drawing, and I will start reading The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri on my breaks. In the afternoon I will go to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration; when I come home, I will do my Daily Update and go to bed.

Our Friday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from James Tate, American poet. Born in 1943 in Kansas City, Missouri, his father, a pilot in World War II, died in combat on April 11th, 1944, and Tate lived with his mother and his grandparents in his grandparents’ house until his mother remarried in 1951. In high school he belonged to a gang, had little interest in literature, and planned on being a gas station attendant after graduation. However, he found that his friends were going to college, and applied to Kansas State College of Pittsburg (now Pittsburg State University) in 1961. Tate wrote his first poem a few months into college with no external motivation, and he read Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams and was “in heaven”. He received his B.A. in 1965, going on to earn his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa’s famed Writer’s Workshop. During this period he was finally exposed to fellow poets and he became interested in surrealism, reading Max Jacob, Robert Desnos, and André Breton. Tate taught creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he worked from 1971 until his death in 2015. He was a member of the poetry faculty at the MFA Program for Poets & Writers, along with Dara Wier and Peter Gizzi. Dudley Fitts selected Tate’s first book of poems, The Lost Pilot (1967), for the Yale Series of Younger Poets while Tate was still a student at the Writers’ Workshop; Fitts praised Tate’s writing for its “natural grace.” With Bill Knott he co-wrote a novel, Lucky Darryl, in 1977. For his Selected Poems (1991), Tate won the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award in 1991 and the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. In 1994 he won the National Book Award for his poetry collection Worshipful Company of Fletchers. Tate’s writing style was often described as surrealistic, comic and absurdist. In addition to many books of poetry, he published two books of prose, The Route as Briefed (1999) and Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee (2001). Some of Tate’s additional awards included a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was also a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. His work was included in The Best American Poetry series numerous times, including in 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2010; his work was also in the The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. His last published work was Dome of the Hidden Pavilion (2015) (died 2015): “[Poetry] became a private place that I was hugely drawn to, where I could let my daydreams—and my pain—come in completely disguised. I knew from the moment I started writing that I never wanted to be writing about my life.”

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