With no Saints to honor today, we note that it was on this date in 1882 that the Knights of Columbus organization was founded.
The Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney (died 1890) in New Haven, Connecticut gathered a group of men from St. Mary’s parish for an organizational meeting on October 2nd, 1881, and the Order of the Knights of Columbus was incorporated under the laws of the State of Connecticut on March 29th, 1882. The primary motivation for the Order was for it to be a mutual benefit society. As a parish priest in an immigrant community, McGivney saw what could happen to a family when the breadwinner died, and wanted to provide insurance to care for the widows and orphans left behind. In addition, Catholics were either barred from many of the popular fraternal organizations, or, as in the case of Freemasonry, forbidden from joining by the Catholic Church itself. McGivney wished to provide them an alternative. He also believed that Catholicism and fraternalism were not incompatible and wished to found a society that would encourage men to be proud of their American-Catholic heritage. The emblem of the Order was designed by Past Supreme Knight James T. Mullen and adopted at the second Supreme Council meeting on May 12th, 1883. Shields used by medieval knights served as the inspiration, and the emblem consists of a shield mounted on a Formée cross, which is an artistic representation of the cross of Christ. This represents the Catholic identity of the Order. Mounted on the shield are three objects: a fasces; an anchor; and a dagger. In ancient Rome, the fasces was carried before magistrates as an emblem of authority. The Order uses it as “symbolic of authority which must exist in any tightly-bonded and efficiently operating organization”. The anchor represents Christopher Columbus, patron of the Order. The short sword, or dagger, was a weapon used by medieval knights. The shield as a whole, with the letters “K of C”, represents “Catholic Knighthood in organized merciful action”. Today there are more than 15,000 councils around the world, and the Knights of Columbus is a multi-billion dollar non-profit charitable organization. Knights distribute Tootsie Rolls to raise funds to fight developmental disabilities, volunteer for the Special Olympics and other charitable organizations, erect pro-life billboards and “Keep Christ in Christmas” signs, conduct blood drives and raise funds for disaster victims, and parade at patriotic events with their red capes, feathered chapeaux, and ceremonial swords. (Richard’s father sold insurance for the Knights, and was a Fourth Degree Knight, the highest possible; he was very high up in the local and state organization, and is sorely missed since his death in 1992.)
Last night our #10 Lady Tigers won their College Softball game with the University of Louisiana Monroe Lady Warhawks by the score of 9 to 1; our #10 LSU Lady Tigers (28-7, 4-2) will next play a home College Softball game with the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (25-9, 2-4) on Friday, March 31st, 2017. And our #8 LSU Tigers lost their College Baseball game with the Tulane Green Wave by the score of 6 to 7; our) #8 LSU Tigers (18-8, 4-2) will next play a home College Baseball game with the Texas A&M Aggies (16-10, 3-3) on Friday, March 31st, 2017.
I woke up at 7:00 am in our room at the Quality Inn and Suites in Tallahassee, Florida. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and we ate the Continental breakfast at the hotel (I had a waffle from the waffle machine) and read the local paper. We left the motel at 8:30 am and headed east. I did my Internet Devotional Reading and read the USA Today. After sending a text to Callie to see if our granddaughter had any huge stuffed animals (she does not), at 11:15 am we stopped at the Toys “R” US in Jacksonville and purchased a large stuffed tiger. At 12:00 pm we ate lunch at the Subway in Yulee, Florida. We entered Georgia at 12:00 pm, and I sent out my Third Tuesday Book Club Email Reminder for our April 18th, 2017 meeting to discuss Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I then modified my vacation request on the Casino scheduling site to cover June 23rd through June 27th, and sent Liz Ellen an Email to that effect. We reached South Carolina at 2:15 pm, and I finished reading the January / February 2017 issue of The Bible Today. We arrived at Matthew and Callie’s house at about 3:45 pm. We hung out with Callie and our granddaughter all afternoon; after Matthew came home from the base at about 6:00 pm, Callie put the baby to bed, then they cooked hamburgers for dinner. And now I will finish this Daily Update and go to bed. Our New Orleans Pelicans (31-43, 5-10) are playing a home NBA game with the Dallas Mavericks (31-42, 4-8).
Tomorrow is a day with no Saints to honor. We will instead note that in 1867 Alaska was purchased from Russian for $7.2 million (about two cents an acre) by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward acting for the United States. We will be with Matthew and Callie and our granddaughter in South Carolina, so what we end up doing depends on the kids.
Our Wednesday evening Parting Quote comes to us from Patty Duke, American actress and singer. Born as Anna Marie Duke in 1946 in Elmhurst, New York, her father was an alcoholic handyman and cab driver, and her mother, a cashier, suffered from clinical depression and was prone to violence; in 1952 her mother threw her father out of the house. When Duke was eight, her care was turned over to talent managers John and Ethel Ross, who, after promoting Patty’s brother, were looking for a girl to add to their stable of child actors. The Rosses’ methods of managing Duke’s career were often unscrupulous and exploitative. They consistently billed Duke as being two years younger than she actually was and padded her resume with false credits. They also changed her first name to Patty, hoping that “Patty Duke” would duplicate the success of tween actress Patty McCormack. One of Duke’s first acting jobs was in the late 1950s, on the soap opera The Brighter Day. She also appeared in print ads and in television commercials. In 1959, at the age of 12, Duke appeared on The $64,000 Question and won $32,000; her category of expertise was spelling. In 1962 it was revealed that the game show had been rigged, and she was called to testify before a panel of the United States Senate. In 1959 Duke appeared in a television adaptation of Meet Me in St. Louis as Tootie Smith, the role that had been originated in the film version by Margaret O’Brien.
Duke’s first major starring role was playing Helen Keller (with Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan) in the Broadway play The Miracle Worker, which ran for nearly two years (October 1959 to July 1961). About midway through the production run, her name was placed above the title on the marquee. The play was subsequently made into a 1962 film, for which Duke received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. At 16, Duke was the youngest person at that time to have received an Academy Award in a competitive category. Duke returned to television, starring with Laurence Olivier and George C. Scott in a television production of The Power and the Glory (1961). Duke’s own series, The Patty Duke Show, which Sidney Sheldon created especially for her, began in 1963. Duke portrayed both main characters: Patricia “Patty” Lane, a fun-loving American teenager who occasionally got into minor trouble at school and home, and her “prim and proper” “identical cousin” from Scotland, Catherine “Cathy” Lane; at the time Duke had begun to exhibit signs of bipolar disorder. William Schallert portrayed Patty’s father Martin, Jean Byron her mother Natalie, Paul O’Keefe her younger brother Ross, and Eddie Applegate her boyfriend Richard. The show also featured such high-profile guest stars as Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Paul Lynde, and Sal Mineo. The series lasted three seasons and earned Duke an Emmy Award nomination. Despite her successful career, Duke was deeply miserable during her teenage years. The Rosses made efforts to portray her as a normal teenager, but she later indicated that she was virtually the Rosses’ prisoner, and had little control over her earnings or her life. The Rosses controlled her and her mother by allowing them only a small amount of money to survive on. They also started supplying Duke with alcohol and prescription drugs when she was thirteen; this, along with her undiagnosed bipolar disorder, contributed to her young-adult substance-abuse problems. As an adult, Duke accused both Rosses of sexual abuse. Upon turning eighteen, Duke became legally free of the Rosses, only to discover that they had squandered most of her earnings, in violation of the Coogan Act. Duke had a successful singing career, including two Top 40 hits in 1965, “Don’t Just Stand There” (#8) and “Say Something Funny” (#22). She sang songs on such shows as Shindig!, Kraft Music Hall, The Mike Douglas Show, and The Merv Griffin Show. She sang in the 1965 feature film Billie and sang on the soundtrack of the 1966 feature film, The Daydreamer, in which she voiced the character of Thumbelina. Another hit recording was “Dona Dona” in 1968, which she performed as the second song on The Ed Sullivan Show. Also during 1968, she had appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and after George Jessel’s comic appearance, she was introduced and sang the Irish classic, “Danny Boy”. She recorded six music albums in her musical career. In 1965 Duke married director Harry Falk, who was thirteen years her senior. During their marriage she had repeated mood swings, a symptom of bipolar disorder; and, like many bipolar sufferers, she self-medicated; she drank heavily, became anorexic and overdosed on pills a number of times. After the cancellation of The Patty Duke Show, Duke attempted to leave her childhood success behind and began her adult acting career by playing Neely O’Hara in Valley of the Dolls (1967). The film was a box-office success, but audiences and critics had a difficult time accepting all-American-teenager Duke as an alcoholic, drug-addicted singing star. While the film has since become a camp classic, thanks in large part to Duke’s over-the-top performance, at the time, it almost ruined her career. Duke starred in Me, Natalie (1969), a film in which she played an “ugly duckling” Brooklyn teenager struggling to make a life for herself in the Bohemian world in Greenwich Village. One of the other performers in the film was Al Pacino making his film debut. The film was a box-office failure, but Duke won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Musical or Comedy) for the role. She and Fox divorced in 1969. Duke returned to television in 1970, starring in a made-for-TV movie, My Sweet Charlie. Her sensitive portrayal of a pregnant teenager on the run won Duke her first Emmy Award, but her acceptance speech was rambling, angry, and disjointed, and led many in the industry to believe she was drunk or using drugs at the moment. In fact, Duke was in the throes of a manic phase of her bipolar disorder, which would remain undiagnosed until 1982. In early 1970, at the age of 23, Duke dated then-Here’s Lucy star, 17-year-old Desi Arnaz, Jr.. The couple’s relationship became tabloid fodder, due in part to the vocal and public opposition of Arnaz’s mother, actress Lucille Ball. By late spring, Duke and Arnaz had broken off their relationship; and she began dating actor John Astin, who was 16 years her senior. Around the same time, Duke developed an intimate relationship with rock promoter Michael Tell. In June 1970, in the midst of a manic phase, Duke learned she was pregnant. Unsure of the paternity of her unborn child, Duke married Tell on June 26th, 1970, in order to “give (her child) a name”. Their marriage lasted 13 days before ending in an annulment on July 9th, 1970; Duke claimed the marriage was never consummated. Her son, actor Sean Astin, was born on February 25th, 1971. Duke and Astin were married in August 1972. Astin adopted her son, and the couple had another son, actor Mackenzie Astin, in 1973. Duke and Astin worked together extensively during their marriage, and she took his name professionally, becoming “Patty Duke Astin.” From the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, Duke worked primarily in television Among other TV appearances, she could occasionally be seen as a guest celebrity on the game show Match Game. She received her second Emmy in 1977 for the TV miniseries Captains and the Kings, and her third in 1980 for a TV version of her 1979 stage revival of The Miracle Worker, this time playing Anne Sullivan to Melissa Gilbert’s Helen Keller. Her turns in the made-for-TV movies The Women’s Room (1980) and George Washington (1984) both garnered her Emmy nominations. In 1982 Duke was cast alongside Richard Crenna in the ABC sitcom It Takes Two, from Soap and Benson creator Susan Harris. The socially topical series depicted both Duke’s and Crenna’s characters as a modern career couple (hers was a lawyer, his a surgeon) and the moral and personal challenges that abounded from their professions. Helen Hunt and Anthony Edwards played their teenaged offspring. Although It Takes Two was praised, ABC cancelled the series after one season due to low ratings. Duke subsequently worked with Harris on a new ABC series, Hail To The Chief, which premiered in April 1985. She appeared as the first female President of the United States in the ensemble, all-star series, which featured, among others, Dick Shawn, Herschel Bernardi, Glynn Turman, and Ted Bessell as Duke’s husband. The material was topical yet off-the-wall, much in the fashion of the previously popular show Soap. Hail To The Chief was less successful than the star’s and producer’s previous joint effort, It Takes Two, and was cancelled after only seven episodes. She and Astin divorced in 1985. While between series in 1986, Duke starred in the made-for-TV movie A Time to Triumph, the true story of Concetta Hassan, a middle-aged woman who struggles to support her family after her construction worker husband suffers an on-the-job injury, but who eventually becomes a United States Army helicopter pilot. On set, Duke became good friends with Army drill sergeant Michael Pearce, who was a technical advisor for the production; the couple married on March 15th, 1986. The couple moved to Hayden, Idaho, and adopted a son, Kevin, who was born in 1988. Pearce became a firefighter. From her marriage to Pearce to her death, Duke occasionally used the name “Anna Duke-Pearce” in her writings and other professional work. Duke succeeded Ed Asner as president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1985 and would hold the post until 1988. She was the second woman (actress Kathleen Nolan was the first) to be elected to the position. Duke returned to series television in 1967 in another short-lived comedy, Karen’s Song, which aired on the fledgling Fox network. That same year Duke revealed in her autobiography Call Me Anna that she was diagnosed with manic depression (now called bipolar disorder) in 1982; she also said that John Astin was Sean Astin’s biological father but later stated that she had always believed that Desi Arnaz Jr. was her son’s biological father. Her treatment for bipolar disorder, which included lithium as a medication and therapy, stabilized Duke’s life and put her on the road to recovery. She became the first celebrity to go public with her bipolar disorder diagnosis, and contributed to de-stigmatizing bipolar disorder. Duke then became an activist for numerous mental health causes. She lobbied the United States Congress and joined forces with the National Institute of Mental Health and National Alliance on Mental Illness in order to increase awareness, funding, and research for people with mental illness. In 1990 Duke’s autobiography, Call Me Anna, was adapted for television; she played herself from her mid-30s onward. Though Duke’s primary medium from the late-1970s to the mid-2000s was television, she continued to take small roles in movies. Her 1982 portrayal of a lesbian fashion designer in the Canadian film By Design garnered her a Genie Award nomination for Best Foreign Actress. Duke portrayed the mother of Meg Ryan’s character in the 1992 film adaptation of the play Prelude to a Kiss. With Gloria Hochman she wrote A Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic-Depressive Illness in 1992. In 1994 Sean Astin underwent biological testing to determine his paternity, and the results showed that Astin’s father was actually Michael Tell. Duke’s appearances in three episodes of Touched by an Angel resulted in an Emmy nomination in 1999. Duke gradually reduced her work schedule throughout the first decade of 2000, but took occasional TV and film roles. She returned to the New York stage in 2002, playing Aunt Eller in a revival of Oklahoma! On November 2nd, 2004, Duke announced that she would undergo single cardiac bypass surgery in Idaho. The surgery was successful. She returned to New York in 2005, but not for any role; she instead attended a memorial for Anne Bancroft, who had died from uterine cancer. On October 4th, 2007, Duke appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, talking about her bipolar disorder to a guest, advising the guest to seek out a support group. In early 2009 Duke reprised her role(s) as Patty Lane and Cathy Lane in PSAs about retiring for The Social Security Administration. On March 24th, 2009, she replaced Carol Kane as Madame Morrible in the San Francisco production of the musical Wicked. She left the production on February 7th, 2010. On July 20th, 2009, Duke was given a tribute in her honor at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco titled “Sparkle, Patty, Sparkle!” During the evening, Duke met and posed for pictures with over one thousand fans and was interviewed on stage by comic Bruce Vilanch. In addition to showing clips from her long career, Duke’s 1967 film Valley of the Dolls was screened at the end of the evening. The event sold out the 1400 seat theater. In 2010 Duke recorded a series of PSAs for the Social Security Administration to help promote applying online for Medicare, including one with George Takei. She directed the stage version of The Miracle Worker in May 2011 at Interplayers Theater in Spokane, Washington. In the fourth season of Fox’s hit show Glee, Duke played lesbian jeweler Jan, who helped Blaine Anderson pick out a wedding ring to propose to his ex-boyfriend Kurt Hummel. She died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine (died 2016): “Actors take risks all the time. We put ourselves on the line. It is creative to be able to interpret someone’s words and breathe life into them.”