Today is the Memorial of Saint Isaac Jogues (died 1646) and Saint John de Brébeuf (died 1649), Priests and Martyrs, and their Companions, Martyrs. (It is also the Memorial of St. John of the Cross, Priest (died 1775) for the Universal Church, but because today is the feast of the North American Martyrs, Saint John of the Cross’s Memorial in the United States is celebrated on October 20th). And today is the birthday of Rachel, the oldest daughter of Richard’s sister Juanita in Georgia (1986).
Saint Isaac Jogues was born in 1607 in Orleans, France, joined the Jesuits at Rouen in 1624, became a priest, and taught literature. In 1636 he became a missionary to New France (Canada), starting in Quebec and working among the Hurons and Petuns in the area of the Great Lakes. This was a rough assignment – not only were the living conditions hard, but the locals blamed the “Blackrobes” for any disease, ill luck, or other problems that occurred where they were. Captured in 1642 by the Mohawks, he was enslaved, tortured and mutilated for thirteen months, but taught the Faith to any who would listen. With the help of local Dutch settlers he finally escaped and was sent back to France to recover. Under Church law of the time, the Blessed Sacrament could not be touched with any fingers but the thumb and forefinger, but Pope Urban VIII considered Jogue a “living martyr,” and gave him dispensation to say Mass with his mutilated hand. In 1644 he returned to Canada to continue his work with the natives and negotiate peace with the Iroquois. He was martyred by being tomahawked in the head by an Iroquois chief at Ossernenon in what would become upstate New York; his head was displayed on a pole and his body thrown into the Mohawk River. Saint John de Brébeuf was born in 1593 in Normandy, France; he wanted to enter the priesthood from an early age, but his health was so bad there were doubts he could make it. He became a Jesuit in 1617, and was ordained a priest in 1623. His posting as a missionary to frontier Canada at age 32, in 1625, however, was a literal god-send. He spent the rest of his life there, and the harsh and hearty climate so agreed with him that the Natives, surprised at his endurance, called him Echon, which meant load bearer, and his massive size made them think twice about sharing a canoe with him for fear it would sink. Brébeuf had great difficulty learning the Huron language. However, he eventually wrote a catechism in Huron, and a French-Huron dictionary for use by other missionaries. According to histories of the game, it was Brébeuf who named the present day version of the Indian game lacrosse because the stick used reminded him of a bishop’s crosier (la crosse). In 1649, 1,200 Iroquois captured the mission of St. Ignace and then a few hours later captured another Huron village where they seized Brébeuf and his fellow Jesuit Gabriel Lallemant and brought them back to St. Ignace. There they were fastened to stakes and tortured to death by scalping, mock baptism using boiling water, fire, necklaces of red hot hatchets and mutilation. According to Catholic tradition, Brébeuf did not make a single outcry while he was being tortured and he astounded the Iroquois, who later cut out his heart and ate it in hopes of gaining his courage. His martyrdom, and that of Saint Isaac Jogues, created a wave of vocations and missionary fervor in France, and it gave new heart to the missionaries in New France. They and six other missionaries are the North American Martyrs, canonized in 1930; they are the Patron Saints of the Americas and of Canada. And today is the birthday of Rachel, the oldest daughter of Richard’s Sister Juanita in Georgia, who is something less than three weeks older than her cousin, my son Matthew (1986).
I woke up at 10:00 am, did my Book Devotional Reading, and started the Weekly Computer Maintenance. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading, tried on my cotton hiking socks (they fit fine), and started my laundry. I then read the morning paper. Richard paid bills, I plugged the bills he had paid into my Checkbook Pro app, finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started the Weekly Virus Scan.
We left the house at 1:00 pm, and ate lunch at Ronnie’s Cajun Café, where I ordered new contact lenses from 1-800-Contacts. At Valero I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing.
Arriving home at 1:45 pm, I worked up the dates to read our 2017 books for our Third Tuesday Book Club and sent out the Email to the group. I watched Jeopardy!, the Weekly Virus Scan finished, and I finished my laundry. Michelle came over, and I paid my National Park Traveler’s Club dues and downloaded the Master Checklist, which had not changed since I downloaded it last month. Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin to the curb. He then got pizza, and we watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, then watched some MST3K episodes.
Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Paul of the Cross, Priest (died 1775). It is also the birthday of Rob, the oldest son of Richard’s sister Bonnie in Texas (1965), and the birthday of Ted, the second son of Richard’s sister Susan in Iowa (1970). Richard has his dental appointment tomorrow at 9:30 am, and I need to iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts, go to the grocery to get my salad supplies, and make my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday. I also need to mail out Liz Ellen’s More or Less Monthly Package to her. Finally, our New Orleans Pelicans will play their last Preseason NBA game as an away game with the Orlando Magic.
This Wednesday Evening brings us a Parting Quote from Noel Harrison, English Olympic skier, singer, and actor. Born in 1934 in Kensington, London, his father was actor Rex Harrison, and his mother was the first of Harrison’s six wives. They divorced in 1940, and young Harrison lived with his mother’s parents in Bude, North Cornwall, during World War II. At fifteen his mother took him out of school at Radley to live in the Swiss Alps. Harrison never returned to school and began ski-racing. He joined the Ipswich repertory theatre group and taught himself guitar, but his main interest and most of his spare time was spent skiing. At an early age he was a member of the British ski team, becoming its first giant-slalom champion in 1953, and representing Great Britain at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, and at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Harrison undertook National Service and, after leaving the army in the 1950s, toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist, but instead, concentrated on his guitar. His early break came when he took a regular part in the BBC Television programme, Tonight, as part of a team who sang the day’s news in a calypso style. When he was aged 20, he started playing professionally, around the tables in a Greek restaurant in London. He also made a living playing in bars and nightclubs all over Europe, including appearances at the Blue Angel Club, where one show was recorded for a live album. He left for the United States in 1965, working as a nightclub entertainer at such venues as the Hungry I in San Francisco, and at the Persian Room in New York. Thanks to his managers Bob Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, who went on to produce the Rocky films, Harrison had a record reach the charts. The track was “A Young Girl”, written by Charles Aznavour. In 1966-1967, Harrison appeared as Mark Slate in The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., as the co-star of Stefanie Powers (April Dancer). As Mark Slate, Harrison also appeared once on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in a third-season episode titled “The Galatea Affair”. “A Young Girl” was included as one of the tracks on his debut album, Noel Harrison, in 1966. Two years later, he recorded “The Windmills of Your Mind”, the theme tune from the film The Thomas Crown Affair, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1968, and was also a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart. Despite the song winning the 1968 Oscar for best original song, Harrison did not sing it at the Oscar ceremony because Harrison was working on the film Take A Girl Like You in England with Oliver Reed and Hayley Mills. Instead his place was taken by Jose Feliciano. His television series, plus the Top 40 record, landed Harrison a recording contract with Reprise, who released three of his albums, Collage, Santa Monica Pier and The Great Electric Experiment Is Over. Collage reached #135 in the United States Billboard 200 chart. He also toured with the Beach Boys and Sonny and Cher, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, was featured on the music program Hullabaloo, and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In 1968 Harrison played the male lead in The Fantasticks in touring theatres in the round, including The Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, Massachusetts. In 1972 Harrison left the United States for Nova Scotia in Canada, settling in rural Mount Hanley. He bought a farmhouse with 320 acres of farmland, and from there he commuted to Halifax where he hosted a show called Take Time for CBC Television.[ In the winter of 1974, the wood stove caught fire and his house burned down, inspiring Harrison to write the humorous song, “The Middleton Fire Brigade”, which appeared on his 1979 album Mount Hanley Song. He subsequently built a new house from scratch with no electricity, inspired by the fashionable pioneers Helen and Scott Nearing and their self-help bible, Living The Good Life. During the 1970s Harrison toured the United States in productions of Camelot and The Sound of Music. He also played Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, the part first performed by his father Rex Harrison in the musical’s original stage production and film version. Other touring roles included Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Brian Runnicles in No Sex Please, We’re British and Lloyd Dallas in Noises Off. In the late 1990s Harrison returned to Britain, moving to Devon. He continued to sing, putting on occasional performances and financing his own albums including Hold Back Time. An admirer of Jacques Brel, Harrison later created a one-man musical, Adieu, Jacques, and in 2002 released an album of songs from the show. A compilation album of his work for Reprise called Life Is a Dream was released in 2003, and his debut album,Noel Harrison, was re-released in 2008. In 2010 he recorded a new album, From the Sublime to the Ridiculous!. The record was made as part of the Internet event, the RPM Challenge, which challenged musicians to record a new album from scratch during the month of February. In June 2011 Harrison played Glastonbury Festival’s “Spirit of ’71” stage, marking 40 years since his appearance at the second staging of the then new festival. Television footage was recorded, including a solo backstage acoustic version of “The Windmills of Your Mind” for the BBC (died 2013): “I went to California when I was 12, did the Hollywood thing. I only wanted to meet Abbott and Costello. Sadly, Dad didn’t mix in those circles.”