Daily Update: Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Marguerite Bourgeoys

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, Religious (died 1700), and today is the birthday of my good friend Christine, who is also one of my co-workers at the casino (1960).

Today’s Saint was born in Troyes, France in 1629 as the sixth of twelve children of devout parents. After her mother died, Marguerite at age 19 took care of her brothers and sisters. Her father, a candle maker, died when she was twenty-seven. A few years later, the governor of Montreal, Canada, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, was in France looking for teachers for the New World. He invited Marguerite to come to Montreal to teach school and religion classes in 1653. She accepted the offer, gave away her share of the inheritance from her parents to other members of the family, and sailed for New France. On arriving she initiated the construction of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She opened the first school established at Ville Marie (Montreal) in 1658. She first worked with rich children, but soon started working with poor and rich people. She returned to France the next year to recruit more teachers, convincing four to accompany her. In 1670 she went to France again and brought back six more women. Having braved dangerous travel and pioneer conditions, these women became the first Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. Bourgeoys and her sisters helped people in the colony survive when food was scarce, opened a vocational school, taught young people how to run a home and farm. Bourgeoys’ congregation grew to 18 sisters, seven of them Canadian. They opened missions, and two sisters taught at the Native American school. Soon after, Bourgeoys received the first two Native American women into the congregation. In 1693 Mother Marguerite handed over her congregation to her successor, Marie Barbier, the first Canadian to join the order. The congregation’s religious rule was approved by the Church in 1698. Marguerite spent her last few years praying and writing an autobiography. On December 31st, 1699, as a young sister lay dying, Mother Marguerite asked God to take her life in exchange. By the next morning of January 1st, 1700, the sister was completely well. But Mother Marguerite had a raging fever, suffered for twelve days, and died in Montreal, well known as “The Mother of the Colony”. In 1982 she was canonized as Canada’s first female saint. She is the Patron Saint of those who have lost parents and of those who have been rejected by religious orders; her aid is invoked against poverty. And today is the birthday of my good friend Christine, who is also one of my co-workers at the casino (1960).

The Full Moon arrived at 5:35 am. After sleeping the sleep of the just (or of those who sleep too much), I woke up at 8:30 am in our room at the Bourbon Orleans in New Orleans. I started reading Finders Keepers by Stephen King, and then (leaving Julie still sleeping) I walked to the Cathedral and lit a candle for my loved ones, then ate breakfast at Stanley’s on Jackson Square while reading the New Orleans Advocate. When I got back to our room I woke Julie up, and we walked down to Beckham’s Book Shop, where we each purchased books by Kaye Gibbons. We walked back to our room at the Bourbon Orleans, and at 11:00 am watched Jeopardy! (which I had found by lucky accident on the television). We checked out of the hotel and headed to Slidell; once there I visited with Julie and Gus, and at 1:30 pm I headed home. I got a late lunch via the McDonald’s off of the Covington exit of I-12, and arrived home just before 5:00 pm. I texted Julie to let her know that I had made it home safely, and posted to Facebook my thanks to Gus and Richard for letting us go to the City to see cemeteries and to buy used books. I then did my Daily Update for yesterday, January 11th, 2017. Richard went to bed at 5:45 pm, and as soon as I finish this Daily Update I will join him in bed. Our New Orleans Pelicans (15-24, 1-6) will play an Away NBA game with the Brooklyn Nets (8-28, 0-6), and our LSU Lady Tigers (13-3, 2-1) will play a Home College Basketball game with the Missouri Lady Tigers (11-6, 1-2); I will record the scores of both games in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Hilary, Bishop and Doctor (died 368) and Stephen Foster Memorial Day. It is also Friday the Thirteenth, and the birthday of my Internet friend Dwanna (1962). Richard and I will return to the Casino for the start of our work week, and I will continue reading Finders Keepers by Stephen King on my breaks. In the afternoon I will set myself to continue reading  Finders Keepers by Stephen King.

Our Parting Quote this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Steven Utley, American author. Born in 1948 in Fort Knox, Kentucky, he was the son of an Air Force non-commissioned officer and grew up on Air Force bases in the United States, Great Britain, and Okinawa. During the 1970s he joined a group of science fiction writers in Austin, Texas, which included Lisa Tuttle, Howard Waldrop, and Bruce Sterling; the group was later formalized as the Turkey City Writer’s Workshop. Utley’s first professionally published story, “The Unkindest Cut of All,” a parody of Hugo Gernsback’s science fiction, appeared in 1972. The Turkey City writers collaborated prolifically among themselves during the 1970s, and Utley and Waldrop produced two oft-reprinted stories, “Custer’s Last Jump” (a Nebula Award finalist following its publication in 1976) and “Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole” (1977), regarded as prototypes of steampunk science fiction. These appear in Custer’s Last Jump! and Other Collaborations (Golden Gryphon Press, 2003) along with Waldrop stories co-written by Leigh Kennedy, Bruce Sterling, Al Jackson, Jake Saunders, and George R. R. Martin. Three collaborations with Lisa Tuttle, including “Flies by Night” (1975), another story frequently reprinted and translated, appear in Utley’s 2005 collection, The Beasts of Love, for which Tuttle provided an introduction.  A series of time-travel stories, launched in Galaxy in 1976 but developed extensively in Asimov’s Science Fiction during the 1990s, deals with so-called “chronopaths” and has been collected in book form under the title Where or When (2006). Utley may be best known for his Silurian Tales, launched in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 1993 and continued in not only that magazine but also The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and the webzines Sci Fiction and Revolution Science Fiction. Described by Brian Stableford in Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia as “[t]he most elaborate reconstruction of a past era in recent speculative fiction,” the series employs a variety of literary techniques in recounting the adventures and misadventures of a scientific expedition in the Paleozoic Era and also addresses some implications of the “many-worlds” hypothesis in quantum physics; several of the stories have been reprinted in Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies and the competing Year’s Best SF edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. Ticonderoga Publications, based in Australia, released the Silurian Tales in two volumes titled The 400-Million-Year Itch (in 2012) and Invisible Kingdoms (in 2013). On December 27th, 2012 Utley was diagnosed with cancer in his intestines, lungs, and liver, along with a brain lesion. He sent a message to friends on January 7th, 2013 explaining that he was losing his motor skills, and naming his literary executor; within a week he had died (died 2013): “I think any truly ambitious writer almost by definition has to be an ambitious reader, so the best advice I can give aspiring writers is, Read; read omnivorously, courageously, and ambitiously; read challenging, difficult stuff that may have no apparent bearing on the stuff you aspire to write.”

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