Daily Update: Monday, December 12th, 2016

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

According to tradition, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (now a Saint, with his Optional Memorial celebrated on December 9th), a simple indigenous peasant, saw a vision of a young pregnant native woman on December 9th, 1531, while he was on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City, Mexico. She spoke to him in his own language and told him to tell the bishop to build a shrine to her. Juan told this to the local bishop, who did not accept the idea of a shrine. The same day, Mary appeared again to Juan, and asked him to again speak to the bishop. He did so the next day, and the bishop asked him to provide proof that the request was indeed from the Virgin Mary. Juan returned to the hill, and reported to Mary (who had appeared again) the bishop’s request; Mary asked him to return the next day. However, the next day Juan’s uncle became very ill, and Juan tended to him all that day. The next day he set out very early to get a priest to give his uncle (who was on his deathbed) the last rites. He chose another way around the hill, embarrassed at not having kept his appointment with the Virgin; she intercepted him and asked where he was going. Juan explained what had happened and the Virgin gently chided him for not having had recourse to her. In the words which have become the most famous phrase of the Guadalupe event and are inscribed over the main entrance to the Basilica of Guadalupe, she asked: “No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?). She assured him that his uncle had now recovered and she told him to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, which was normally barren, especially in December. Juan followed her instructions and he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming there. Juan arranged the flowers in his tilma, or cloak, and when he opened his cloak before the archbishop on December 12th, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The next day, on December 13th, Juan found his uncle fully recovered, as the Virgin had assured him, and his uncle recounted that he too had seen her, at his bed-side, that she had instructed him to inform the bishop of this apparition and of his miraculous cure, and that she had told him she desired to be known under the title of Guadalupe. In their book Christianity in Latin America: A History (2008) by Ondina E. González and Justo L. González, they suggested that Guadalupe is a Spanish version of the Nahuatl term Coātlaxopeuh [koaːt͡ɬaˈʃopeʍ], which they interpreted as meaning “the one who crushes the serpent,” and that it may be referring to the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl; Mary has been long portrayed in European art as crushing the serpent of the Garden of Eden. Today the cloak is displayed in the nearby Basilica of Guadalupe. The Virgin of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image, with the titles “Queen of Mexico”, “Empress of the Americas”, and “Patroness of the Americas”; both Miguel Hidalgo (in the Mexican War of Independence) and Emiliano Zapata (during the Mexican Revolution) carried flags bearing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Guadalupe Victoria, the first Mexican president, changed his name in her honor. The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world (Richard has been there, but I have not.) She is the Patroness of Mexico and of the Continental Americas.

Yesterday Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out the curb. Our New Orleans Saints lost their Divisional NFL game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by the score of 11 to 16; our New Orleans Saints (5-9, 1-3) will play an away NFL game with the Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1, 2-1-1) next Sunday in the afternoon game. And our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Phoenix Suns by the score of 119 to 120 in overtime.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and brought my Santa Hat with me to work; on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once in ADR I called the Pharmacy and renewed four prescriptions. When we clocked in, Richard was on Mini Baccarat (and never had a guest for his full eight hours), and I was on Three Card Poker. On my breaks I addressed my Christmas Card to Nedra, continued reading Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith via Overdrive on my tablet, and traded Emails with Liz Ellen.

After work I forgot to go to the pharmacy; on our way home I continued reading Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith via Overdrive on my tablet. We stopped at Dollar General, where I got cat litter for Widget and an anniversary card. Once home I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad. And I did have a good bit of stuff planned for today, but I am tired, so instead I will finish today’s Daily Update and go to bed for the duration.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr (died c. 304). Richard and I will drive to work separately, as he wishes to sign the Early Out list, but I do not (I am waiting until next Monday to do that). In the afternoon I will start decorating. And tomorrow is the Geminid Meteor Shower. Our New Orleans Pelicans (8-17, 0-4) will play a home NBA game with the Golden State Warriors (21-4, 6-1), and our LSU Tigers (5-2, 0-0) will play a home College Basketball game with the North Carolina Central Eagles (4-2, 0-0). Also, the Full Moon will arrive at 6:07 pm.

On this Monday afternoon our Parting Quote comes to us from Evelyn S. Lieberman, American public affairs professional. Born as Evelyn Simonowitz in 1944 in New York City, New York, she was raised in Brooklyn, and her parents separated when she was a child. She graduated from Buffalo State College, part of the State University of New York, with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1966, taught on Long Island, and moved with her first husband to Washington before they divorced; she later married attorney Edward H. Lieberman. She was press secretary to Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) from 1988–1993; Director of Public Affairs for the Children’s Defense Fund; and Communications Director for the National Urban Coalition. She was also a director of the Trust for Early Education, an advocacy group devoted to ensuring that children in America receive pre-Kindergarten preparation for education. Lieberman first joined the White House in 1993 as Assistant to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Chief of Staff. She rose to the rank of Deputy Assistant to the President with the job title of Deputy Press Secretary. On January 10th, 1996, Chief of Staff Leon Panetta announced her appointment as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff. While another Deputy Chief of Staff managed policy and politics, Lieberman oversaw White House operations and administrative functions: the Office of Scheduling and Advance, the Office of Management and Administration, the Office of Presidential Personnel, and the Office of the Staff Secretary, as well as Director of Oval Office Operations. She focused on bringing discipline to the young, energetic White House staff; in announcing her appointment, Panetta said “she brings the perfect mixture of chicken soup and a kick in the butt that we need in this job.” While serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, Lieberman, with the approval of Panetta, transferred Monica Lewinsky, the former intern later found to have had an inappropriate relationship with the President, out of the White House into the United States Defense Department Public Affairs office. In subsequent grand jury testimony, Lieberman recalled removing Lewinsky for “spending too much time around the West Wing.” The story of Lewinsky’s firing reportedly contributed to Lieberman’s “cult status” as a tough enforcer among the Hillary Clinton supporters collectively known as “Hillaryland.” “If Lieberman invites you for a walk,” Hillaryland members joked, “don’t go. It means you’re fired.” At the beginning of Clinton’s second administration, Lieberman wanted to return to public affairs, and Clinton appointed her director of the Voice of America. When VOA’s parent organization, the U.S. Information Agency, was folded into the State Department in 1999 (minus VOA, which became a unit of the separate Broadcasting Board of Governors) she was appointed senior adviser to the United States Secretary of State. She was then nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, overseeing the Department’s spokesman, its international public information operations, and its education and cultural programs. Her overall mission was improving the image of the United States internationally. She served as Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Smithsonian Institution from 2002 to early 2015, taking time off to serve as chief operating officer of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. “Here’s this poor girl from Brooklyn who has had extraordinary opportunities and great encouragement from others. And I believe it’s my responsibility to provide that same encouragement to others, especially young women. Marian Edelman [Children’s Defense Fund founder] said that ‘service is the rent we pay for living.’ I think that says it all.”

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