Daily Update: Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Peter Damian

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Damien, Bishop and Doctor (died 1072 or 1073).

Born about 1007, the youngest child in a large but impoverished family of local nobility in Ravenna, Italy, today’s Saint was orphaned young and sent to live with a brother who mistreated him and forced him to work as a swine-herd. He was eventually sent to live with another brother, Damian, a priest in Ravenna; the young Peter was so grateful for his care that he took the name Damian as his surname. He was well educated and became a professor, known for his life of strict austerity. Around 1035 Peter gave up teaching to retire from the world and become a Benedictine monk. His health suffered, especially when he tried to replace sleep with prayer, and was forced to spend time in recovery; he used it to study Scripture, and when he was healthy he was assigned to teach his brother monks and then the public. He became prior of his house of monks in 1043, a post in which he served for the rest of his life. He expanded the monastery, greatly improved its library, and founded sister hermitages in San Severino, Gamugno, Acerata, Murciana, San Salvatore, Sitria, and Ocri. A friend of the future Pope Saint Gregory VII, he attended a synod in Rome in 1047, and encouraged Pope Gregory VI to support a revitalization of Church zeal and clerical discipline. He wrote a work titled  Liber Gomorrhianus, which described the vices of priests, mainly in their concern with worldly matters, with money, and the evil of simony. Created cardinal-bishop of Ostia in 1057, he fought simony and tried to restore primitive discipline among priests and religious who were becoming more and more worldly. He strongly opposed the anti-pope Benedict X. He served as legate to Milan for Pope Nicholas II in 1059 and supported Pope Alexander II. A prolific correspondent, he also wrote dozens of sermons, seven biographies, and poetry, including some of the best Latin of the time. He tried to retire to live as a simple monk, but was routinely recalled as a papal legate who was called upon to make peace between arguing monastic houses, clergymen, and government officials. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828; Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka’i (aka Father Damien, died 1889, feast day May 10th), took the name of Saint Damien as his name in religion.

Last night Richard brought in the flag I had put out for Washington’s Birthday (Observed) / Presidents Day before it rained, and my Anosmia Awareness T-shirt arrived from Amazon.

When I woke up half an hour early I did my Book Devotional Reading; my Anosmia Awareness T-shirt was between the front door and the screen door. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Second Day of my Lenten Novena. We signed the Early Out list, and were out with no time; we arrived back home at 4:00 am, and I went back to bed.

I woke up again at 9:00 am, read the morning paper, and did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. I left the house at 11:30 am, remembering to bring Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8? by Ethan Brown with me to lend to one of my friend in my Book Club. I went through a thunderstorm, which means, since I heard thunder on this day in February, that the 21st of April should be a cooler day than usual.

Once in Lafayette I ate lunch at Piccadilly Cafeteria and continued reading 50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know by Ben Dupré. At the Lafayette Public Library – Southside Branch I read the most recent issue of Reader’s Digest (just the fun stuff). At Barnes and Noble I finished reading 50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know by Ben Dupré, and did my Book Review for the book for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts. I then attended the Third Tuesday Book Club meeting at Barnes and Noble to discuss The Death House by Sarah Pinborough, and one of my friends lent me Barkskins by Annie Proulx. I then purchased the 2017 edition of Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide, and headed home, arriving at 9:00 pm.  Our LSU Tigers lost their College Basketball game with the Auburn Tigers by the score of 75 to 98; our LSU Tigers (9-18, 1-14) will next play an Away game with the Georgia Bulldogs (15-12, 6-8)on Saturday, February 25th. And our #4 LSU Tigers are playing an Away College Baseball game with the University of New Orleans Privateers; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Chair of Peter, Apostle, and the anniversary of Washington’s Birthday in 1832. I will be doing my laundry and the Weekly Computer Maintenance. Our #4 ranked LSU Tigers will be playing the Hofstra Pride in a home College Baseball game

Our Parting Quote this Tuesday evening comes to us from Sunny Lowry, English swimmer. Born in 1911 as Ethel Lowry in Longsight, Manchester, she joined the Victoria Ladies Swimming Club of Victoria Baths, Longsight about 1920. At that time Victoria Baths only practiced unisex swimming sessions and Lowry could admire the achievements of the men swimmers but could not compete against them. She developed an aptitude for long-distance swimming and trained with her sister at Levenshulme Baths so that she could attempt distance swimming competitions on Lake Windermere. She also practiced distance swimming in the sea at her parent’s holiday home in Rhos-on-Sea in North Wales. On one occasion she swam from her home to Colwyn Bay and back again. Her father, noticing her increasing talent at distance swimming in the sea, suggested that she train for her ambition to swim the Channel. This she did, choosing Westgate on Sea near Margate in Kent as an appropriate venue. Her trainer in Kent was Jabez Woolffe who put her on a high protein diet (including eating 40 eggs a week in omelettes). She trained for three or four hours a day in the build up to her first attempt from England to France on August 19th, 1932. She got quite close to the French coast but eventually the strong east-west currents from France prevented her from finishing. Wolffe and Captain Courtez, the captain of the support tug Isobelle, called off the attempt. It still took them 45 minutes before they could find her to help her out of the water. Eventually lighting flashes allowed them to see her red swimming cap. On July 27th, 1933, Lowry attempted the swim again, only this time choosing to let the current help her instead of hindering her. Accordingly she changed direction and started from France; unfortunately once again she was unsuccessful. Making her third attempt on August 28th, 1933, Lowry, aged twenty-two, successfully swam from Cap Gris Nez, France to St Margarets Bay, Dover, England. The swim took her 15 hours 41 minutes. Once again she was supported by Wolffe and Courtez. When she finally completed her challenge, she became the 7th woman and the 15th person to swim the Channel. Lowry had a reputation for strong-mindedness which was demonstrated by her eschewing the traditional heavy wool one-piece swimsuit in favor of a very daring light two-piece suit that she designed herself that bared an inch of flesh at her midriff. For this she was berated as being a “harlot”. This swimsuit is now on display at the Dover Museum “Swimming The Channel” exhibition. Lowry was one of only five British women to have ever successfully swum the Channel. In later life she taught swimming and life saving in Warrington, and along with her husband, Bill Anderson, set up the Pilot Life Saving Scheme following a tragedy on Windermere. From 2000 to 2007 she was president of the Channel Swimming Association and regularly traveled by bus from Warrington to the Dover regatta and the CSA’s annual dinner. In July 2003, at the age of 92, Lowry was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Association’s Hall of Fame. At the age of 94, in the 2005 Honours list, she was awarded an MBE for services to swimming in the North-West (died 2008): “All through the night I swam, because my trainer thought that if we were getting near land in the morning that would give me the incentive to finish the swim. But he forgot that the coldest hour is the hour before dawn. That’s when you are your weakest.”

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