Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr (died 304) (in the United States), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Marianne Cope, Virgin and Religious (died 1918). Today is also the annual Day of Prayer and Penance for Life. Today is the Sixth Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; the Theme for 2017 is “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us” (2 Corinthians 5:14-20), and we will meditate on “God Reconciled Us To Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Born in Huesca, Aragon (in modern Spain) in the third century, Saint Vincent was a friend of Saint Valerius of Saragossa in Spain and served as his deacon. Imprisoned and tortured in Valencia, Spain for his faith during the persecutions of Diocletian, he spent part of his time being burned on a gridiron. While in prison, he converted his jailer. He was finally offered release if he would give up the scripture texts for burning, but he refused. After further torture, he was released to the care of his friends; they cleaned him up and put him in a bed, where he promptly died. His feast day is in locations other than the United States on January 22nd, but because that day is a Day of Penance and Prayer for Life in the United States the feast of Saint Vincent is moved to January 23rd. He is the Patron Saint of winemakers and vinegar makers, of São Vicente, Madeira, and of Vicenza, Italy. We also honor Saint Marianne Cope, Virgin and Religious (died 1918). Born as Maria Anna Koob in Heppenheim in the Grand Duchy of Hesse (modern-day Germany), her family emigrated to the United States when she was one year old, settling in Utica, New York and changed the family name to Cope. By the time she was in eighth grade her father had become an invalid and, as the oldest child in the house, she became a factory worker to help support the family. Her father later became an American citizen, which at the time granted automatic citizenship status to her entire family. By the time her father died in 1862, her brothers and sisters were old enough to support themselves, so she felt free to enter the novitiate of the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis based in Syracuse, New York. At the completion of her year of formation, she received the religious habit of the Franciscan Sisters along with the new name Marianne. Cope then became first a teacher and then a principal in newly-established schools for German-speaking immigrants in the region. By 1870, she was a member of the governing Council of her congregation. In this office, she was involved in the opening of the first two Catholic hospitals in Central New York. At the time their Charter was stipulated so that medical care was to be provided to all, regardless of race or creed. She was appointed by the Superior General to govern St. Joseph’s Hospital, the first public hospital in Syracuse, from 1870 to 1877. During her period of hospital administration, she became involved with the move of the College of Medicine in Geneva, New York to Syracuse, where it became the Geneva Medical College. She contracted with the college to accept their students in the treatment of the hospital’s patients, to further their medical education. Her stipulation in the contract (again unique for the period) was the right of the patients to refuse care by the students. In 1883 Mother Marianne, by then herself Superior General of the congregation, received a plea for help in caring for leprosy sufferers from King Kalākaua of Hawaii. More than 50 religious institutes had already declined his request for Sisters to do this. She responded to the letter enthusiastically, and set out with six of her Sisters from Syracuse to travel to Honolulu to answer this call, arriving on November 8, 1883. The bells of Our Lady of Peace Cathedral pealed to welcome their ship, the SS Mariposa, as it entered Honolulu harbor. With Mother Marianne as supervisor, the Sisters’ task was to manage Kakaʻako Branch Hospital on Oʻahu, which served as a receiving station for Hansen’s disease patients gathered from all over the islands. Here the more severe cases were processed and then shipped to the island of Molokaʻi for confinement in the settlement at Kalawao, and then later at Kalaupapa. The following year, at the request of the government, she set up Malulani Hospital, the first General Hospital on the island of Maui. Soon, however, she was called back with haste to the hospital in Oahu, where she had to deal with a government-appointed administrator’s abuse of the leprosy patients at the Branch Hospital at Kakaako, an area adjoining Honolulu. Her demand to the government to choose between his dismissal or the Sisters’ return to Syracuse resulted in her being given full charge of the overcrowded hospital. Her own expected return to Syracuse to re-assume governance of the Congregation was then delayed when her leadership was declared by both government and church authorities to be essential to the success of the Mission. Two years after the arrival of the Sisters, her accomplishments had so stirred the admiration of the Hawaiian government that the King himself bestowed on Mother Marianne the Cross of a Companion of the Royal Order of Kapiolani for her acts of benevolence to his suffering people. Another pressing need was fulfilled when a year later, in November 1885, after Mother Marianne had convinced the government that it was of vital need to save the homeless female children of leprosy patients, the Kapiolani Home was opened. The unusual choice of location for healthy children to dwell in a Home situated on the grounds of a leprosy hospital was made because no one other than the Sisters could be found to care for those so closely associated with people suffering from the dreaded disease. A new government took over in 1887, which changed the official policy toward leprosy patients. While new patients had not been forced into exile at Molokai for several years, the new administration decided to end that policy, and closed the hospital built for them in Oahu. A year later, as the consequences of this decision became clear, the authorities pleaded with Mother Marianne to establish a new Home for women and girls on the Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai. In November 1888 she moved to Kalaupapa, both to care for the dying Father Damien, SS.CC. (who was already known internationally for his heroic care of the leper colony there) and to assume his burdens. She had met him shortly after her arrival in Hawaii, when, while still in good health, Father Damien had gone to Oahu to attend the dedication of the chapel in the hospital she was establishing. After his diagnosis as a leper, he was shunned by both civil and church leaders. It was only Mother Marianne who gave him welcome, even arranging for the King to meet him. When Father Damien died on April 15th, 1889, the government officially gave Mother Marianne charge for the care of the boys of Kalaupapa, as well as her original commission for the female residents of the colony. A prominent local businessman, Henry P. Baldwin donated money for the new home; Mother Marianne and two assistants, Sister Leopoldina Burns and Sister Vincentia McCormick, opened and ran a new Girls School, which she named in his honor. At her suggestion, a community of Religious Brothers was invited to come and care for the boys. After the arrival of four Brothers of the Sacred Heart in 1895, she withdrew the Sisters to the Bishops School for Girls and “Brother” Charles Dutton was given charge of the Baldwin House by the government. (He was a veteran of the American Civil War who had left behind in the United States a life broken by alcoholism, and it was he who had been Father Damien’s primary assistant.) Mother Marianne died in 1918; in 2003 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints declared her to have been “heroically virtuous”. In 2004 Pope John Paul II issued a papal decree declaring her Venerable, in 2005 she was beatified in Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI in his first beatification ceremony as pope, and she was canonized in October 2012. She is the Patron Saint of lepers, outcasts, those with HIV/AIDS, and of the Hawaiʻian Islands. Today is the annual Day of Prayer and Penance for Life. The Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade occurred on January 22nd, 1973, when the Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, thereby subjecting all laws in the States attempting to restrict it to the standard of strict scrutiny. In consequence, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has ruled “In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22nd (or January 23rd, when January 22nd falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.” Finally, today is the Sixth Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; for today, we we meditate on“God Reconciled Us To Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:18). , and we pray, “Merciful God, out of love you made a covenant with your people. Empower us to resist all forms of discrimination. Let the gift of your loving covenant fill us with joy and inspire us to greater unity. Through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen.”
Last night our Lady Tigers lost their College Basketball game with the #25 ranked Texas A&M Lady Aggies by the score of 52 to 54; our LSU Lady Tigers (14-6, 3-4) will next play an Away College Basketball game with the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks (13-6, 2-4) on Sunday, January 29th, 2017.
On waking up to get ready for work, I did my Book Devotional Reading, and gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once at the casino I called the Pharmacy and renewed a prescription. Once we clocked in at 3:00 am, I was fasting. Richard was on a Blackjack table, was moved to Flop Poker, closed that table, and returned to his original Blackjack table. I was on Four Card Poker all day, except when I tapped out the dealers on first Mini Baccarat and then Pai Gow to go to the shift office to do some paperwork. On my breaks I addressed a birthday card to my friend Linda in West Virginia. I also downloaded the (free with my Amazon Prime membership) Kindle Ebook What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
After work we went over to the Clinic; at the Pharmacy I picked up a prescription (more anon), and then I had blood drawn for lab work ahead of my January 26th, 2017 appointment with my oncologist. I then had an appointment with the doctor at the Clinic; all is well, and he wants to see me again on July 17th, with blood drawn for lab work the week before. Richard and I got gas for the truck, and lunch via the drive-through window at McDonald’s. I continued reading March by Geraldine Brooks.
When we got home I reminded Richard to take his Tanzeum© shot, at which point he remembered that he had forgotten to pick up his prescription of Tanzeum© at the pharmacy. I put my birthday card for Linda out in the mail and read the morning paper while Richard called the doctor at the clinic to confirm that he can start taking his shot on Fridays. I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update, and when I finish this Daily Update I will go to bed for the duration. Tonight our New Orleans Pelicans (17-27, 1-6) will be playing a home NBA game with the Cleveland Cavaliers (30-11, 3-5, and I will record the score of the game in Monday’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor (died 1622), and the Seventh Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; the Theme for 2017 is “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us” (2 Corinthians 5:14-20), and we will meditate on “The Ministry Of Reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). I will wake up half an hour early, and we will sign the Early Out list at the casino. And I have nothing earth-shaking (or even capable of twitching a seismograph) planned for tomorrow afternoon.
Our Parting Quote this Monday afternoon comes to us from Barry Brickell, New Zealand potter. Born as Ian Barry Brickell in 1935 in New Plymouth, his family soon moved to Auckland, initially staying in Meadowbank then settling in Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore. While a third-form student at Takapuna Grammar School he was introduced to potter Len Castle and built his first brick kiln under the family home, nearly setting the house on fire. He enrolled in a Bachelor of Science Degree at Auckland University College in 1954, completing his studies under the Post Primary Teacher’s Bursary Scheme. His first and only teaching appointment was in 1961 at Coromandel District High School, which only lasted a few months. He then became a full-time potter and purchased his first property near Coromandel in 1961, with plans to begin a pottery collective. In 1974 Brickell was awarded a QEII Arts Council Grant to build New Zealand’s first wood-fired stoneware pottery kiln, which he made with help from students, using bricks from a demolished hotel in the nearby town of Coromandel. He started construction of a 15-inch gauge rail line in 1975, originally mainly using it to transport clay and pine wood fuel to his kiln. That same year Brickell purchased a larger adjacent block of land, and began working on what would become the Driving Creek Railway and Potteries. The new line would be of 15 in (381 mm) gauge instead of 10 in(267 mm) gauge, and would serve the same purpose as the original, to bring clay and firewood down from the slopes above the potteries. It would also be used to help re-plant the hillsides on Brickell’s property with kauri and other native plants. Brickell was known for his skill at building kilns. Most of the kilns at Driving Creek Railway were designed and built by Brickell using bricks made on-site from clay sourced on the same property. In 1968 he built a round coal-fired kiln for potter Yvonne Rust in Greymouth; in 1975 he built a kiln for artist Ralph Hotere in Port Chalmers, fired from pine bark recycled from a nearby wharf; in 1982 he was invited to Vanuatu to build a kiln and establish a ceramics programme for young people (it did not continue); and in 1986 he built a wood-fired salt-glaze kiln for the Northern Arizona University Art Gallery. The Driving Creek Railway (DCR) was slowly expanded over the next 25 years to become one of the very few completely new railway lines in New Zealand in recent years. The project required significant civil engineering works due to the steep and complex terrain that the line traverses. Among these are three tunnels, ten bridges (including the Double-Deck Viaduct) and inclines as steep as 1 in 14. There is also a short branch line from the potteries to a firewood drying shed, including a short bridge, #1A, just behind the workshops at Driving Creek; this line is not used by passenger trains, although passengers see the drying shed climbing up from #1 bridge towards the Lower Spiral. It takes approximately one hour to make the round trip on the railway. The line terminates at the Eyefull Tower, completed in 2004 as the final terminus of the railway. The design of the building was based on the Bean Rock Lighthouse in Auckland, and includes a large viewing deck which was added in 2005 at Brickell’s suggestion. The view from the Tower has been compared to the Kereta Hill layover just north of Coromandel, although Brickell maintained that the view from the Eyefull Tower was better than that from the Kereta layover. The attraction now brings over 30,000 people to the railway per year, with much of the proceeds funding nature conservation works. Meanwhile, in 1985 Brickell wrote A New Zealand Potter’s Dictionary: Techniques and Materials for the South Pacific. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to pottery and ceramics in the 1988 New Year Honours. Brickell was one of the artists featured in Treasures of the Underworld, the New Zealand pavilion exhibition at Seville Expo ’92. The exhibition toured to the Netherlands and throughout New Zealand before the works were accessioned for the collection of the National Art Gallery, now held by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. In 1996 Christine Leov-Lealand published the biography Barry Brickell: A Head of Steam. He wrote Rails Toward the Sky: The Story of Driving Creek Railway in 2011. In 2013 Auckland University Press published the book His Own Steam: The Work of Barry Brickell to coincide with a major touring retrospective of his pottery work, organised by the Dowse Art Museum and featuring 100 pieces. That same year he published Plastic Memories: Thirty-eight Years of Story Telling in Clay (died 2016): “I’m not a ceramicist. It’s a horrible word, for goodness sake. I’m a potter. I make pots, tiles and bricks. The word ceramicist is trying to put you on a pedestal.”