Daily Update: Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Catherine of Siena and Election Day and Jazz Fest 2017

Today is the Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin (died 1380). Today is the Municipal General Election in Louisiana, and the second day of the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. And today is the birthday of Richard’s sister Susan in Iowa (1946).

Born as Caterina Benincasa in 1347 at Siena, Tuscany, today’s Saint was the 23rd of 25 children (most of her mother’s children died in infancy). At the age of six she had a vision in which Jesus appeared and blessed her. Her parents wanted her to marry, but she became a Dominican tertiary (over the objections of the Tertiaries themselves, who until up to then had all been widows). In about 1366 she experienced what she described in her letters as a “Mystical Marriage” with Jesus. At this time she was told by Christ to leave her withdrawn life and enter the public life of the world. Catherine dedicated much of her life to helping the ill and the poor, where she took care of them in hospitals or homes. Her early pious activities in Siena attracted a group of followers, both women and men, while they also brought her to the attention of the Dominican Order, which called her to Florence in 1374 to interrogate her for possible heresy. After this visit, in which she was deemed sufficiently orthodox, she began traveling with her followers throughout northern and central Italy advocating reform of the clergy, the launch of a new crusade, and advising people that repentance and renewal could be done through “the total love for God.” In the early 1370s she began writing letters to men and women of her circle, increasingly widening her audience to include figures in authority as she begged for peace between the republics and principalities of Italy and for the return of the Papacy from Avignon to Rome. Catherine’s letters are considered one of the great works of early Tuscan literature; more than 300 letters have survived. She carried on a long correspondence with Pope Gregory XI, also asking him to reform the clergy and the administration of the Papal States. Other correspondents included her various confessors, the kings of France and Hungary, the infamous mercenary John Hawkwood, the Queen of Naples, members of the Visconti family of Milan, and numerous religious figures. Roughly one third of her letters were to women. Her major work was The Dialogue of Divine Providence, a dialogue between a soul who “rises up” to God and God Himself, and recorded between 1377 and 1378 by members of her circle. Often assumed to be illiterate, Catherine was acknowledged by her biographers to be quite literate. In June of 1376 Catherine went to Avignon herself as ambassador of Florence to make peace with the Papal States, but was unsuccessful. She also tried to convince Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome. She impressed the Pope so much that he returned his administration to Rome in January, 1377. Following Gregory’s death and during the Western Schism of 1378 she was an adherent of Pope Urban VI, who summoned her to Rome, and stayed at Pope Urban VI’s court and tried to convince nobles and cardinals of his legitimacy. She lived in Rome until her death in 1380. The problems of the Western Schism would trouble her until the end of her life. An adherent of extreme fasting and prayer, it seems possible that her extreme practices contributed to her early death at the age of thirty-three. She was named a Doctor of the Church in 1970, and is the Patron Saint of the United States, of Europe, of Italy, of the diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, of people ridiculed for their piety, of nurses, and of the sick, and her aid is invoked against fire and miscarriages. Today is the Municipal General Election in Louisiana. Today is also the Second Day of the First Weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The official food policy of the Festival is “no carnival food.” Indeed, there are more than seventy food booths, all with unique food items, including, but not limited to, Mango Freeze, crawfish beignets, cochon de lait sandwiches, alligator sausage po boys, boiled crawfish, softshell crab po boys, crawfish Monica, and many other dishes. Today’s lineup includes Marc Broussard, the Charmaine Neville Band, the Honey Island Swamp Band, and Maroon 5  Today is also the birthday of Richard’s sister Susan in Iowa (1946).

Before going to sleep yesterday I continued reading 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know: Religion by Peter Stanford. Our #18 LSU Lady Tigers won their first Home College Softball game of the series with the Missouri Lady Tigers by the score of 3 to 2, and our #11 LSU Tigers won their second Away College Baseball game of the series with the Alabama Crimson Wave by the score of 7 to 4.

When i woke up to get ready for work today I posted to Facebook that today was the Municipal General Election in Louisiana. I did my Book Devotional Reading and put out the flag. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. After we clocked in we attended the Pre-Shift Meeting at the casino; once we went out onto the floor, Richard was the Relief Dealer for the second Mississippi Stud game, Mississippi Stud, and Three Card Poker, and I was on Mini Baccarat, except for one hour late in the shift when the dealer on Pai Gow asked if I would switch with her. On my breaks I sent out my Third Tuesday Book Club reminder Email about the date of our next meeting (May 16th, 2017), the book we will be discussing (The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah), and the books we will be reading for the rest of the year.

Once we arrived home from work I set up my medications for next week (I have one prescription to renew on Monday). I then read the morning paper. I then headed over to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration; during my Hour I read the May 1st, 2017 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. After my Hour I voted at City Hall, where our voting precinct is located (the only thing on the ballot was to choose one of two candidates to serve as the Judge for Court of Appeal, 3rd Circuit, 3rd District, Division B). I then ran the car through the car wash on my way home. When I got home I got on the computer to do today’s Daily Update, and when I finish I will continue reading The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot by Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards before going to sleep. Our #11 LSU Tigers (29-15, 12-8) will play the third Away College Baseball game of their series with the Alabama Crimson Tide (15-28, 2-18), and our #18 LSU Lady Tigers (36-14, 10-9) will play the second and third Home College Softball games in their series with the Missouri Lady Tigers (27-22, 5-13).

Tomorrow is the Third Sunday of Easter (Jubilate Sunday), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Pius V, Pope (died 1572). It is also the Anniversary of Louisiana Statehood (1812), Walpurgisnacht, and the Third Day of the First Weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Tomorrow is the last day of the current two-week pay period at the casino, and on my breaks while working our eight hours 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.

Our Parting Quote this Saturday afternoon comes to us from Jean Nidetch, American entrepreneur. Born as Jean Slutsky in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York, she received a partial scholarship to Long Island University but was unable to attend due to a lack of financial resources. Instead, she enrolled in a business course at City College of New York. When her father died in 1942, she dropped out and started working. Her first job was at the Mullin Furniture Company in Jamaica, New York. She later worked for Man O’War Publishing Company and the Internal Revenue Service, where she met the man she soon married, Mortimer Nidetch. She then quit working to raise her family. An overweight housewife with a self-confessed obsession for eating meat, Nidetch had experimented with numerous fad diets before she followed a regimen prescribed by a diet clinic sponsored by the New York City Board of Health in 1961. After losing 20 pounds, and finding her resolve weakening, she contacted several overweight friends and founded a support group which developed into weekly classes. She incorporated her idea of a support group for dieting on May 15, 1963 as Weight Watchers. She divorced her husband in 1971. Nidetch wrote The Memoir of a Successful Loser The Story of Weight Watchers in 1972, and in 1975, she met a bass player on a cruise; they married, but soon split up. The Weight Watchers Program Cookbook was published in 1976. In 1978 Weight Watchers was sold to the H. J. Heinz Company. Nidetch, who remained a consultant to the organization, established scholarship programs at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Today Weight Watchers now operates in about 30 countries around the world, generally under names that are local translations of “Weight Watchers”. The core philosophy behind Weight Watchers programs is to use a science-driven approach to help participants lose weight by forming helpful habits, eating smarter, getting more exercise and providing support. In 2009, with author and poet Maya Angelou, she wrote The Jean Nidetch Story An Autobiography (died 2015): “It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny.”

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