Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Louis Mary de Montfort, Priest (died 1716), the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (died 1841), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, Wife and Mother (died 1962). Today is National Arbor Day, and the first day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Today’s first Saint was born into a poor family as Louis Mary Grignion in 1673 at Montfort-La-Cane, Brittany, France. While a seminarian in Paris, he delighted in researching the writings of the Church Fathers, Doctors and Saints as they related to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom he was singularly devoted. As an adult he identified himself not by his family name of Grignion, but by the place of his baptism, Montfort. Ordained in 1700, and under Mary’s inspiration, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, a religious institute of women devoted to the care of the destitute. During this work, he began his apostolate of preaching the Rosary and authentic Marian devotion. He preached so forcefully and effectively against the errors of Jansenism that he was expelled from several dioceses in France. In Rome Pope Clement XI conferred on him the title and authority of Missionary Apostolic, which enabled him to continue his apostolate after returning to France. He preached Mary everywhere and to everyone. A member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Louis was one of the greatest apostles of the Rosary in his day, and by means his miraculously inspiring book, The Secret of the Rosary, he is still so today; the most common manner of reciting the Rosary is the method that originated with Saint Louis’s preaching. In 1715 he founded a missionary band known as the Company of Mary. The cause for his declaration as a Doctor of the Church is now being pursued. We also honor Saint Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (died 1841). Born in 1803 at Cuet, Ain, France as Pierre Louis Marie Chanel, his was a peasant family, and he was a shepherd as a boy. An excellent student at seminary, he was ordained in 1827 at age twenty-four and assigned to Crozet, a parish in decline; he turned it around, in part because of his ministry to the sick, and brought about a spiritual revival. He wished to become a missionary, and joined the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) in 1831; he then taught at their Belley seminary for five years. In 1836 he led a band of missionaries to the South West Pacific, an area where cannibalism had only recently been outlawed. On the island of Futuna Chanel converted many to Christianity, often as a result of his work with the sick; he also learned the local language, and taught in the local school. The group was initially well received by the island’s king, Niuliki, but once the missionaries learned the local language and began preaching directly to the people, the king grew restive. He believed that Christianity would take away his prerogatives as high priest and king. When the king’s son, Meitala, sought to be baptized, the king sent a favoured warrior, his son-in-law, Musumusu, to “do whatever was necessary” to resolve the problem. Musumusu initially went to Meitala and the two fought. Musumusu, injured in the fracas, went to Chanel’s hut feigning need of medical attention; when Chanel turned away to get his medical supplies, Musumusu clubbed Chanel on the head, killing him. Early the next year a French ship disinterred his remains, and they arrived back in France in 1850. Meanwhile, the entire island of Funuta was converted to Catholicism; Musumusu himself converted and as he lay dying expressed the desire that he be buried outside the church at Poi (erected over the spot where Chanel was martyred) so that those who came to revere Peter Chanel in the Church would walk over his grave to get into the church. The Saint’s relics were returned to Futuna in 1977, and rest in a place of honor in the church. He was the first Martyr in Oceania, and is the Patron Saint of Oceania. Our third Saint is Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, Wife and Mother (died 1962). Born in 1922 in Magenta, Italy as Gianna Beretta, she grew up in Lombardy. In 1942 she began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling she was active in Azione Cattolica. She received a medical diploma in 1949 and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics. She hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy. In 1955 she married Pietro Molla; in the next few year she had three children and two miscarriages. In 1961 she was again pregnant, and in her second month was diagnosed with a fibroma on her uterus. Given the choices of an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma, Molla opted for procedure that would not result in the death of the fetus. The fibroma was removed, and she had complications throughout the pregnancy, but maintained that given a choice, she would always choose the baby’s life over her own. On April 21st, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Molla went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section. However, Molla continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis seven days after the birth. She was beatified in 1994 and canonized in 2004; for the first time in the history of the church, a husband witnessed his wife’s canonization. She is the Patron Saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children. Today is the national celebration of Arbor Day, this being the last Friday in April. On the first Arbor Day, organized by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska on April 10th, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted. Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut was responsible for globalizing it when he visited Japan in 1883 and delivered his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message. In that same year the American Forestry Association made Northrop the Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. In 1997 David J. Wright noticed that a Nebraska non profit organization called the National Arbor Day Foundation had taken the name of the holiday and commercialized it for their own use as a trademark for their publication Arbor Day. He countered their efforts and defended the holiday name in a federal district court in the United States to insure it was judged as property of the public domain. The case was settled in October 1999 in Wright’s favor, and today anyone can use the term “Arbor Day” and anyone can hold their own Arbor Day celebration. (Unless one chooses to print it out, this Daily Update was produced without using any trees.) Today is also the opening day of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (known far and wide as Jazz Fest). According to the official Jazz Fest website, “From the very beginning [in 1970], the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was envisioned as an important event that would have great cultural significance and popular appeal. The Festival was the culmination of years of discussions and efforts by city leaders who wanted to create an event worthy of the city’s legacy as the birthplace of jazz.” The 2017 Poster for the festival is “FUNK FOUNDATION: A Portrait of The Meters” by Francis X. Pavy. Since 1991 the Festival is always held during the last weekend of April (Friday through Sunday) and the first weekend of May (Thursday through Sunday). Today’s lineup includes Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, Astral Project, Trey Anastasio Band, Aaron Neville, and Harry Connick Jr.
Before going to sleep last night I continued reading The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot by Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards. Last night our #11 LSU Tigers won the first game of their three-game Away College Baseball series with the Alabama Crimson Tide by the score of 8 to 2. And Richard could not get to sleep until 10:00 pm (more anon).
Upon getting up to get ready for work today I posted to Facebook that today was National Arbor Day. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Because Richard was so tired, we signed the Early Out list. When we clocked in, Richard was on Three Card Poker, and I was on Mini Baccarat. We got out at 5:00 am, and on our way home Richard got gas for the truck and ran the truck through the car wash at Valero. We arrived home at 6:00 am, and I went back to bed; Richard followed me into bed at some later point.
I woke up (again) at 11:15 am, and read the morning paper while eating my lunch salad. I then watched MST3K Episode 821 Time Chasers (Tangents), with a confusing time travel plot. I then did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts, then watched MST3K Episode 822 Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, which starred Raúl Juliá and Linda Griffiths in a very confusing plot (and thus endeth Season Eight of MST3K). Richard went to bed, and I watched Jeopardy!, then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update. And I will read a bit in 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know: Religion by Peter Stanford. Our #18 LSU Lady Tigers (35-14, 9-9) will be playing the first game of their three-game Home College Softball series with the Missouri Lady Tigers (27-21, 5-12), and our #11 LSU Tigers (28-15, 11-8) will be playing the second game of their three-game Away College Baseball series with the Alabama Crimson Tide (15-27, 2-17).
Tomorrow is the Memorial of Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor, the second day of the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Municipal General Election in Louisiana, and the birthday of Richard’s sister Susan in Iowa (1946). Richard and I will work our eight hours at the casino, and on my breaks I will send my reminder letter to my Third Tuesday Book Club about the May Meeting, and I will continue reading 13 Things that Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks via Kindle on my tablet. In the afternoon I will go to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration; and I will vote in our local election. Our #11 LSU Tigers will be playing the third game of their three-game Away College Baseball series with the Alabama Crimson Tide, and our #18 LSU Lady Tigers will be playing the second and third games of their three-game Home College Softball series with the Missouri Lady Tigers.
Our Parting Quote for this Friday afternoon comes to us from Jack Ely, American guitarist and singer. Born in 1943 in Portland, Oregon, he began playing piano while still a young child, and was performing recitals all over the Portland area before his seventh birthday. When he was eleven, a piano teacher provided what he termed “jazz improvisation lessons.” The teacher would show Ely a section of a classical composition, and the boy would have to make up fifteen similar pieces. He would be required to share each in class and then make up one on the spot. On January 28th, 1956, Ely watched Elvis Presley on television for the first time, and he decided that he wanted to play guitar. At his first guitar lesson, he was required to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, an experience that Ely found so demeaning that he quit after that lesson and began picking out his favorite guitar riffs by ear. He played guitar and sang for the Young Oregonians, a travelling vaudeville show for entertainers under the age of eighteen. He did not play in his high school band, but had a passion for singing. In 1959 the mother of his friend Lynn Easton invited him to play at a Portland hotel gig, with Ely singing and playing guitar and Easton on drums. Easton and Ely performed at yacht club parties, and soon added Mike Mitchell on guitar and Bob Nordby on bass to round out a band. They called themselves The Kingsmen, taking the name from a recently disbanded group. The Kingsmen began their collective career playing at fashion shows, Red Cross events, and supermarket promotions, generally avoiding rock songs on their setlist. Ely played with the Kingsmen as he attended Portland State University. In 1962, while playing a gig at the Pypo Club in Seaside, Oregon, the band noticed Rockin’ Robin Roberts’s version of “Louie Louie” being played on the jukebox for hours on end. The entire club would get up and dance. Ely convinced the Kingsmen to learn the song, which they played at dances to a great crowd response. Unknown to him, he changed the beat from 1-2-3-4, 1-2, 1-2-3-4, 1-2 to 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2 because he based it on the intro only. Ken Chase, host of radio station KISN, formed his own club to capitalize on these dance crazes. Dubbed “The Chase”, the Kingsmen became the club’s house band and Chase became the band’s manager. Ely was begging Chase to let the band record their own version of “Louie Louie”, and on April 5th, 1963, Chase booked the band an hour-long session at the local Northwestern Inc. studio for the following day. The band had just played a 90-minute “Louie Louie” marathon. Despite the band’s annoyance at having so little time to prepare, the Kingsmen walked into the recording studio on April 6th at 10:00 am. In order to sound like a live performance, the group’s equipment was arranged such that Ely was forced to lean back and sing into a boom microphone suspended high above the floor. In addition, he was wearing braces at the time of the performance, further compounding his infamously slurred words. Ely sang the beginning of the third verse a few bars too early, but realized his mistake and waited for the rest of the band to catch up. In what was thought to be a warm-up, the song was recorded in its first and only take. The Kingsmen were not proud of the version, but their manager liked the rawness of their cover. The B-side was “Haunted Castle”, composed by Ely and Don Gallucci, the new keyboardist. However, credit was given to Easton on both the Jerden and Wand labels. The entire session cost $50, and the band split the difference. Ten days later, on August 16th during a band practice, Easton told Ely that he wanted to abandon the drums and become the frontman and singer. Ely would have to become the drummer, and since The Kingsmen was registered in Easton’s name only, he technically led the band. Ely was not happy with this turn of events, and he and Nordby left the band at once. At the time, “Louie Louie” had sold roughly 600 copies and it was thought that the Kingsmen would disband. When he found out “Louie Louie” was climbing up the Billboard charts, Ely attempted to rejoin the group, but was blocked by Easton who was intent on adding replacements. Undeterred, Ely went on to form his own Kingsmen group and also recorded “Love That Louie” in 1964 for RCA Records as Jack E. Lee and the Squires. A legal battle ensued, resulting in Ely ceasing to call his group the Kingsmen and Wand Records being required to credit Ely as lead vocalist on all future “Louie Louie” pressings. Ely received $6,000 in royalties, and Easton had to stop lip-synching the song in live performances. Ely began touring with his renamed group, the Courtmen. In 1966 they released “Louie Louie ’66” and “Ride Ride Baby” with Bang Records; neither charted. With the Vietnam War on the horizon, Ely was conscripted into the army, and found his career had waned upon his return to the United States in 1968. He spiraled down into drug and alcohol addiction, but then spoke out against it with the Rockers Against Drugs. He lived at his farm in Terrebonne, Oregon, where he trained horses. He was a strong supporter of the Performance Rights Act, which would give royalties to recording artists and record labels. Since Ely was not the original author, he never received any money from the radio play of “Louie Louie.” In 2012 Ely released a Christian rock album, Love Is All Around You Now (died 2015): “It’s not just about me. There are a lot of one-hit wonders out there just like me who deserve compensation when their recorded performances are played and stations get ad revenue from it.”