Daily Update: Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Josaphat Kuntsevych and National Vocation Awareness Week and Sadie Hawkins Day

Today is the Memorial of Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych, Bishop and Martyr (died 1623), and the last day of National Vocation Awareness Week. Since today is the Saturday on or after November 9th, today is Sadie Hawkins Day. Today is also the birthday of Richard’s sister Bonnie in Texas (1944).

Born in 1580 at Volodymyr, Lithuania (modern Ukraine) as Josafat Kuntsevych, the father of today’s Saint was a municipal counselor and his mother was known for her piety. He was raised in the Orthodox Ruthenian Church which, on November 23rd, 1595 in the Union of Brest, united with the Church of Rome. Trained as a merchant’s apprentice at Vilna, he was offered partnership in the business, and marriage to his partner’s daughter; feeling the call to religious life, he declined both. Becoming a monk in the Ukrainian Order of Saint Basil (Basilians) in Vilna at age 20 in 1604, he was ordained as a Byzantine rite priest in 1609. Josaphat’s superior, Samuel, never accepted unity with Rome, and looked for a way to fight against Roman Catholicism and the Uniats, the name given those who brought about and accepted the union of the Churches. Learning of Samuel’s work, and fearing the physical and spiritual damage it could cause, Josaphat brought it to the attention of his superiors. The archbishop of Kiev removed Samuel from his post, replacing him with Josaphat as Superior. He was a famous preacher, and worked to bring unity among the faith and to bring strayed Christians back to the Church. He was appointed Bishop of Vitebsk in 1617. Most religious, fearing interference with the natively developed liturgy and customs, did not want union with Rome. Bishop Josaphat believed unity to be in the best interests of the Church, and by teaching, clerical reform, and personal example he won the greater part of the Orthodox in Lithuania to the union. Never completely suitable to either side, Roman authorities sometimes raised objection to his Orthodox actions. He became Archbishop of Polotsk, Lithuania in 1618. While Josaphat attended the Diet of Warsaw in 1620, a dissident group, supported by Cossacks, set up an anti-Uniat bishop for each Uniat bishop, spread the accusation that Josaphat had “gone Latin” and that his followers would be forced to do the same, and placed a usurper on the archbishop’s chair. Despite warnings, John went to Vitebsk, a hotbed of trouble, to try to correct the misunderstandings, and settle disturbances. The army remained loyal to the king, who remained loyal to the Union, and so the army tried to protect Josaphat and his clergy. Late in 1623 an anti-Uniat priest named Elias shouted insults at Josaphat from his own courtyard, and tried to force his way into the residence. When he was removed, a mob assembled and forced his release. Mob mentality took over, and they invaded the residence. Josaphat tried to insure the safety of his servants before fleeing himself, but did not get out in time, and was martyred by the mob. His death was a shock to both sides of the dispute, brought some sanity and a cooling off period to both sides of the conflict. Canonized in 1876, he was the first Eastern saint to be canonized by Rome, and is the Patron Saint of Ukraine. Today is the last day of National Vocation Awareness Week, and we pray, “God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, religious, and consecrated persons. Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call. May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” Since today is the Saturday on or after November 9th, today is Sadie Hawkins Day. In the classic hillbilly comic strip Li’l Abner by Al Capp, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch’s earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The “homeliest gal in all them hills”, she grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin’. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was even more frantic about Sadie living at home for the rest of his life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it “Sadie Hawkins Day”. Specifically, a foot race was decreed, with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town’s eligible bachelors, with matrimony as the consequence for the bachelor caught by Sadie. The town spinsters decided that this was a good idea and made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dogpatch bachelors. In the satirical spirit that drove the strip, many sequences revolved around the dreaded Sadie Hawkins Day race. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown, by law he had to marry her! Sadie Hawkins Day was first mentioned in the November 13th, 1937 Li’l Abner daily strip, with the race actually taking place between November 19th and November 30th in the continuity of the strip, and proved to be a popular annual feature in Li’l Abner and a cultural phenomenon outside the strip. By 1952 Sadie Hawkins Day was reportedly celebrated at 40,000 known venues, usually by a dance where the girls asked the boys out. It was a female-empowering rite long before the modern feminist movement gained prominence. Today is also the birthday of Richard’s Sister Bonnie in Texas (1944).

Richard woke up at 7:00 am in our room at the Inn at Lost Creek in Mountain Village, Colorado, ate breakfast, and went down to the grocery store in Telluride for sandwich supplies. I woke up at 9:00 am, did my book Devotional Reading, did my Internet Devotional Reading, and said the Second Day of my Novena to Christ the King. I then set up my medications for next week. Richard called his sister Bonnie in Texas, but her husband Bob said she was out for the day. Richard’s sister Susan in Iowa called him, then he called the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, Colorado, and left a voicemail. I cleaned out my purse and my Barnes and Noble bag, and did my Daily Update for yesterday, Friday, November 11th, 2016.

At 12:30 pm we ate lunch at the Poacher’s Pub, and Richard got a call back from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center that we need to be there at 12:45 pm tomorrow. Our LSU Tigers beat the Wofford Terriers in their first regular season College Basketball game by the score of 91 to 69; our Tigers will next play a home College Basketball game with the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on November 15th.

We spent half an hour in the rooftop hot tub at 3:30 pm, and I finished reading Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley, and did my Book Review for the book for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts. Richard finally heard from Bonnie and wished her a Happy Birthday. We had some of our stuff taken down to the car, and at 5:00 pm we settled down to watch our #19 LSU Tigers play an away SEC College Football game with the Arkansas Gamecocks. Our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Los Angeles Lakers by the score of 99 to 126; our Pelicans will next play a home game with the Boston Celtics on November 14th. And our LSU Tigers won their College Football game with the Arkansas Razorbacks  by the score of 38 to10; our Tigers will next play an SEC home game with Florida on November 19th.

Tomorrow is the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Tomorrow is also the Optional Memorial of Saint Stanislaus Kostka, Religious (died 1568), and the Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin and Religious (died 1917). We will regretfully leave the Inn at Lost Creek in Mountain Village, Colorado and head for the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, Colorado. Our New Orleans Saints (4-4, 1-1) will play a home NFL game with the Denver Broncos (6-3, 1-2).  We will spend the night in Colorado Springs, and our LSU Lady Tigers (1-0, 0-0) will play an Away College Basketball game with the Wake Forest Lady Demon Deacons (1-0, 0-0).

Our Saturday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Aaron Shikler, American painter. Born in 1922 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, his parents were Eastern European immigrants who came to the United States before World War I. Shikler studied at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and at the Hans Hofmann School in New York. Mr. Shikler was for decades one of the most sought-after portraitists in the United States. In the political world his subjects included President Ronald Reagan and first ladies Nancy Reagan and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The banker Robert Lehman posed for him, along with other giants in business, as did eminences of the arts including actress Lauren Bacall. Shikler received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award in 1957 and the Thomas B. Clarke Prize in 1958, 1960, and 1961. He became an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1962 and.an academician of the National Academy of Design in 1965. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy hired Shikler to paint their children, Caroline and John Jr. Those sessions led to Shikler’s selection in the late 1960s as the artist who would paint the former first couple’s official White House portraits. He turned first to Jacqueline Kennedy, one of the most photographed women of her era. Millions had seen the glamorous photograph of her with her husband and their baby daughter chewing a string of pearls. Only a few years later, millions saw the image of her as a grieving widow, veiled in black, as her toddler son saluted his father’s passing casket. Shikler worked on the portrait for several years. The final product, which he described as “American representational, tempered by a vast study of European tradition,” showed Jacqueline Kennedy in a floor-length peach gown. She stood in front of a fireplace whose mantle held a bust of a child and a vase of flowers. With her characteristically elegant bearing, she looked off into the distance. The painting is now her official White House portrait. In an article for McCall’s magazine, Shikler wrote that he was granted great artistic freedom in painting President Kennedy, although the former first lady had requested that he not paint her husband “the way everybody does him — with that puffiness under the eyes and every shadow and crease magnified.” For the president’s pose, a rendering that showed the slain president eyes down and arms folded, Shikler said he drew inspiration from a photograph of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), John F. Kennedy’s younger brother, at the president’s grave site. The painting now serves as Kennedy’s official White House portrait. He also painted portraits of Lady Bird Johnson (in a field of flowers, with the LBJ Ranch in the background), and of Nancy Reagan, in painting her official White House portrait. He also painted the official Senate portrait of Senator Tom Daschle, and a portrait of Portrait of Montana Senator Mike Mansfield. Shikler’s paintings are represented in numerous public collections such as The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the National Academy of Design. In 1976 he received the State Department Traveling Grant, a Certificate of Honor at the Tyler School of Art and the Benjamin Altman Prize from the National Academy of Design, and was elected a centennial fellow of Temple University in 1985. His last portrait, painted in 2005, was of his daughter and granddaughter (died 2015): “I painted [President Kennedy] with his head bowed, not because I think of him as a martyr, but because I wanted to show him as a president who was a thinker. A thinking president is a rare thing.”

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