Today is the Optional Memorial of Blessed Jacinta Marto (died 1920) and Blessed Francisco Marto (died 1919). It is also the World Day of Social Justice, and since today is the Third Monday in February, today is Washington’s Birthday (Observed) / Presidents Day.
Francisco Marto (born 1908), Jacinta Marto (born 1910), and their cousin Lúcia dos Santos (1907–2005, now a Servant of God, with her Remembrance on February 13th) were the children from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal, who said they reported witnessed three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. Their visions of Our Lady of Fátima proved politically controversial and gave rise to a major center of world Christian pilgrimage. Following their experiences, their fundamental personalities remained the same. Francisco preferred to pray alone, as he said “to console Jesus for the sins of the world”. Jacinta was deeply affected by a terrifying vision of Hell reportedly shown to the children at the third apparition. She became deeply convinced of the need to save sinners through penance and sacrifice as the Virgin had reportedly instructed the children to do. All three children, but particularly Francisco and Jacinta, practiced stringent self-mortifications to this end. The Marto siblings were victims of the great 1918 influenza epidemic which swept through Europe in 1918. Both lingered for many months, insisting on walking to church to make Eucharistic devotions and prostrating themselves to pray for hours, kneeling with their heads on the ground as instructed by the angel who had first appeared to them. Francisco declined hospital treatment and died peacefully at home, while Jacinta was dragged from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life which she insisted was futile. She developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed. Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be anesthetized and suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners. On February 20th, 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and give her the Anointing of the Sick because she was going to die “this very night”. He told her that her condition was not that serious, and that he would return the next day. A few hours later Jacinta was dead. She had died, as she had often said she would, alone: not even a nurse was with her. The cause for the siblings’ canonization was begun during 1946. In 1937 Pope Pius XI decided that causes for minors should not be accepted as they could not fully understand heroic virtue or practice it repeatedly, both of which are essential for canonization. For the next four decades, no sainthood processes for children were pursued. In 1979 the bishop of Leiria-Fatima asked all the world’s bishops to write to the Pope, petitioning him to make an exception for Francisco, who had died at age eleven, and Jacinta, who had died at age ten. More than 300 bishops sent letters to the Pope, writing that “the children were known, admired and attracted people to the way of sanctity. Favors were received through their intercession.” The bishops also said that the children’s canonization was a pastoral necessity for the children and teenagers of the day. In 1979 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints convened a general assembly. Cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts debated whether it was possible for children to display heroic virtue. Eventually, they decided that, like the very few children who have a genius for music or mathematics, “in some supernatural way, some children could be spiritual prodigies.” Francisco and Jacinta were thus declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1989. On May 13th, 2000 (when their fellow visionary, Lúcia dos Santos, was a nun aged 93), they were declared Blessed in a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Jacinta is the youngest non-martyred child ever to be beatified. There are reports that indicate that their canonization could occur on the centenary of the apparitions in 2017. They are the Patrons of people ridiculed for their piety, sick people, and captives, and their aid is invoked against bodily ills and sickness. Turning to the secular world, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed February 20th, approved on November 20th, 2007 and starting in 2009, as the World Day of Social Justice, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly. Observance of the World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all. Today’s Federal holiday was originally implemented by the United States Congress in 1880 for government offices in the District of Columbia and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices as Washington’s Birthday. As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22th. On January 1st, 1971 the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A draft of the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 would have renamed the holiday to Presidents’ Day to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, but this proposal failed in committee and the bill as voted on and signed into law on June 28th, 1968 kept the name Washington’s Birthday. By the mid-1980s, with a push from advertisers, the term “Presidents Day” began its public appearance. Although Lincoln’s birthday, February 12th, was never a federal holiday, approximately a dozen state governments have officially renamed their Washington’s Birthday observances as “Presidents Day”, “Washington and Lincoln Day”, or other such designations. Because Presidents Day is not the official name of the federal holiday, there is variation in how it is rendered. Both Presidents Day and Presidents’ Day are today common, and both are considered correct by dictionaries and usage manuals. Presidents’ Day was once the predominant style, and it is still favored by the majority of significant authorities, notably, The Chicago Manual of Style (followed by most book publishers and some magazines), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Webster’s Third International Dictionary, and Garner’s Modern American Usage. In recent years, as the use of attributive nouns (nouns acting as adjectives) has become more widespread, the popularity of spelling the holiday as Presidents Day has increased. This style is favored by the Associated Press Stylebook (followed by most newspapers and some magazines) and the Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference.
In sports, our LSU Tigers won their College Baseball game with the Air Force Falcons by the score of 10 to 0. Our LSU Lady Tigers won their College Softball game with the Central Arkansas Lady Bears by the score of 7 to 4, then won their College Softball game with the Georgia Southern Lady Eagles by the score of 2 to 0; our #8 LSU Lady Tigers will next play a College Softball game with the New Mexico State Lady Aggies in Cathedral City, California, on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017. And our LSU Lady Tigers lost their College Basketball game with the Georgia Lady Bulldogs by the score of 65 to 70; our LSU Lady Tigers (18-9, 7-7) will next play an Away College Basketball game with the Auburn Lady Tigers (15-12, 5-8) on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017. Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb.
Upon waking up to get ready for work I did my Book Devotional Reading; I then posted to Facebook that today was the World Day of Social Justice, and posted to Facebook that today was Washington’s Birthday (Observed) / Presidents Day. Before leaving for work I put out the flag. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the First Day of my Lenten Novena. Once we clocked in at work, Richard was on Pai Gow all day, and I was on Mississippi Stud all day. Richard had to go to the shift office to get his official Warning for having four points within the current twelve months, and I continued reading The Death House by Sarah Pinborough via Kindle on my Tablet.
On our way home I finished reading The Death House by Sarah Pinborough via Kindle on my Tablet, and we stopped off at Wal-Mart so that Richard could get some groceries. Once home I read the morning paper while eating my lunch salad, then came to the computer and did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for The Death House by Sarah Pinborough. And I am now doing today’s Daily Update; I plan to go to bed for the duration after finishing this Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Damien, Bishop and Doctor (died 1072 or 1073). I will wake up half an hour early, and Richard and I will sign the Early Out list at work. (I had hoped we could hold off on signing the Early Out list until Monday of next week, but Richard is still not 100%.) Our #4 LSU Tigers will be playing an Away College Baseball game with the University of New Orleans Privateers, and our LSU Tigers (9-17, 1-13) will be playing a Home College Basketball game with the Auburn Tigers (16-11, 5-9). And I will be going to the Barnes and Noble in Lafayette to attend the Third Tuesday Book Club meeting to discuss The Death House by Sarah Pinborough via Kindle on my Tablet
Our Parting Quote this Monday afternoon comes to us from Peter A. Rona, American oceanographer. Born in 1934 in Trenton, New Jersey, he earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Brown University in 1956 and a master’s in geology from Yale University in 1957. Working for Standard Oil from 1957 to 1959, he explored the Southwestern U.S. for future refinery sites. While visiting his family in December 1958, he met oceanographers, in New York for a meeting, who mentioned a new oceanic ecology. He returned to school, researching oceanographic gear at Columbia University, and received a Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from Yale in 1967. He went on to explore the Atlantic Ocean for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), using dredges, cameras and echo sounders that mapped the seabed. He dived in miniature submarines dozens of times, led scientific expeditions, wrote hundreds of papers, published an atlas of the central North Atlantic seabed and served as a consultant to the United Nations on seafloor mineral resources. While doing so, Rona found a hot spring along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 1985. Not only did the hot spring yield valuable metals, such as gold and silver, but they also were an ecosystem of lifeforms never seen before. Rona wrote about the hot-springs discovery in National Geographic magazine in October 1992, saying the rising currents “shimmered like heat waves on desert sand.” The 2003 IMAX film, Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, documented Rona’s and his colleague Richard A. Lutz’s excursions of the oceanic hot springs. Rona and Lutz had been scouring the ocean floors for the organism Paleodictyon nodosum, believed to be one of the Earth’s earliest complex life forms, or one of the oldest “living fossils”. No living creatures have been found, only thousands of their formed hexagonal patterns. In 1987 the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded Rona its gold medal for exceptional scientific contributions to the nation. He joined Rutgers in 1994 as a professor (died 2014): “I was one of those kids who collected rocks and minerals, climbed mountains, loved the outdoors and identified with geology.”