Daily Update: Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

First Saturday - Immaculate Heart of Mary and Francis Xavier

Today is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest (died 1552). Today is also the anniversary of my second hire date at the casino (2001). Early Voting ends today for the Louisiana Open Election and Congressional Election on December 10th.

The First Saturday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Today’s saint was born in 1506 at Javier, Spanish Navarre into the Basque nobility as Francisco de Jaso y Azpilicueta. He studied and taught philosophy at the University of Paris, and planned a career as a professor. However, he was also a friend of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who convinced him to use his talents to spread the Gospel. He was one of the founding Jesuits in 1534, and the first Jesuit missionary. Ordained priest in 1537, he left Lisbon in 1541 for the Portuguese East Indies. In Goa, India, while waiting to take ship, he preached in the street, worked with the sick, and taught children their catechism. He would walk through the streets ringing a bell to call the children to their studies, and was said to have converted the entire city. He was a tremendously successful missionary for ten years in India, the East Indies, and Japan, baptizing more than 40,000 converts. His epic found him dining with head hunters, washing the sores of lepers in Venice, teaching catechism to Indian children, and baptizing 10,000 in a single month. He tolerated the most appalling conditions on long sea voyages, enduring extremes of heat and cold. Wherever he went he would seek out and help the poor and forgotten. He traveled thousands of miles, mostly on his bare feet, and he saw the greater part of the Far East, including Japan, but died before entering China. He had the gift of tongues, and was a miracle worker, being able to heal people and to calm storms. Francis Xavier is the Patron Saint of foreign missions,missionaries, and navigators, of Sophia University in Japan, of the diocese of Malindi, Kenya, of the cities of Alexandria (Louisiana), Bombay, Navarre, Joliet, Cape Town, Dinajpur, Goa, Green Bay, and Zagreb, and of the countries of India, Australia, China, the East Indies, Borneo, New Zealand, and Indonesia; his aid is invoked by those suffering from plague epidemics. Today is also the anniversary of my second hire date at the casino in 2001. I was hired in 1999, but shortly after 9/11 in 2001 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I made a successful recovery, but was terminated (I was only a part-time employee). I enjoyed working at the casino, so I re-applied and was re-hired (oddly enough, with my same four-digit employee number). So, although Richard and I count that I have worked at the casino one year more than he has, by the casino’s count I have worked one year less than him, which only comes into play with items like dates of hire for the determination of employee bonuses and such. Early Voting ends today for the Louisiana Open Election and Congressional Election on December 10th.

Last night our New Orleans Pelicans lost their game with the Los Angeles Clippers by the score of 96 to 114.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Fifth Day of my Novena to the Immaculate Conception. After the Pre-Shift Meeting, Richard was on Mississippi Stud until they moved him to Mini Baccarat half-way through the day, and I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow. On my breaks I got my Annual Evaluation; once my Personnel Action Notice (PAN) comes through, I will get a 2.5% raise.

Once we got home from work, I set up my medications for next week (none to renew on Monday), and made out my storelist for Richard. I then read the morning paper while Richard paid bills. He then left for Wal-Mart with the storelist, and I headed to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I read the October 24th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine via a PDF file on my tablet. I then went to McDonald’s where I ate lunch and read the November 1st, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. I then attended the 4:00 pm Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent. The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which has been on tour since 1947, is current doing a tour of at least 103 dioceses in the United States, and was brought up to the front of the church before Mass by the Statue’s current custodian, Patrick Sabat, and seven Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus (complete with swords and plumed hats). However, I did not do any of my hoped-for First Saturday devotions.

I arrived home at 5:15 pm, and Richard had just finished baking chicken and steaming fresh brussels sprouts. I ate while rebooting the computer, putting the bills Richard had paid into my checkbook app on my phone, and working on today’s Daily Update. We then lit the Advent Candle. And now, having finished this Daily Update, I will get ready to go to bed.

Tomorrow is the Second Sunday of Advent, the Optional Memorial of Saint Barbara (died late third or early fourth century), and the Optional Memorial of Saint John of Damascus, Priest, Religious, and Doctor (died 749). We will work our eight hours at the casino, and I will return to reading books and / or magazines on my breaks. At noon our New Orleans Saints (5-6, 1-2) will play a Home NFL game with the Detroit Lions (7-4, 2-2), and an hour after that game starts our LSU Lady Tigers (5-2, 0-0) will play a home College Basketball game with the TCU Horned Frogs (4-1, 0-0). And tomorrow evening our New Orleans Pelicans (7-13, 0-3) will play an Away NBA game with the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-8, 2-0); depending on when I go to bed, I will report the scores of some or all of these games in Monday’s Daily Update. Also at some point tomorrow we should learn where our LSU Football team will go in the post-season.

On this First Saturday afternoon our Parting Quote comes to us from James Stewart, Canadian mathematician. Born in Toronto in 1941, he received his master of science at Stanford University and his doctor of philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1967. He worked for two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of London. Stewart’s research focused on harmonic analysis and functional analysis. He then joined the faculty of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He was deeply involved in LGBT activism, and brought gay rights activist George Hislop to speak at McMaster in the early 1970s, when the LGBT liberation movement was in its infancy, and  was involved in protests and demonstrations until mathematics began to dominate his life. Stewart was best-known for his series of calculus textbooks used for high school, college, and university level courses in many countries. One of his most popular textbooks was Single Variable Essential Calculus: Early Transcendentals (2012). In 2014 his book sales were over $26 million. A talented violinist, he was the concertmaster for the McMaster Symphony Orchestra and played violin professionally with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon his retirement he became the Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at McMaster University. In the early 2000s a house designed by Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe was constructed for Stewart in the Rosedale neighbourhood of Toronto at a cost of $32 million. He paid an additional $5.4 million for the existing house and lot which was torn down to make room for his new home. Called Integral House (a reference to its curved walls, and their similarity to the mathematical integral symbol), the house included a concert hall that seated 150. The concert space was Stewart’s only requirement, according to reports; he gave the architects free rein otherwise. Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, called the house “one of the most important private houses built in North America in a long time.” In the summer of 2013, Stewart was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. His response was to plan his own wake, and then to attend it (died 2014): “My books and my house are my twin legacies. If I hadn’t commissioned the house I’m not sure what I would have spent the money on.”

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