Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Isidore the Farmer (died 1130) and the Remembrance of Servant of God Edward Joseph Flanagan, Priest (died 1948). Today is Peace Officers Memorial Day, the day when one’s Louisiana Income Tax returns for 2016 are due, and today is the birthday of my Internet friend Gail (1948).
Saint Isidore the Farmer was born about 1070 in Madrid, Castille (part of modern Spain), and became a hired hand plowing the fields. He and his wife had one son, who died young; they became convinced it was the will of God that they not have children, and they lived together chastely the rest of their lives, doing good works. When accused by fellow workers of shirking his duties by attending Mass each day and taking time out for prayers, Isidore claimed he had no choice but to follow the highest Master. One tale says that when his master came in the morning to chastise him for skipping work for church, he found angels plowing the fields in his place. Miracles and cures were reported at his grave, in which his body remained incorruptible. Charles II of Spain (died 1700) slept with one of his teeth under his pillow, and it was reported one of the ladies in the court of Isabella I of Castile (died 1504) bit off one of his toes. He is the Patron Saint of farmers and day laborers, of Madrid, Spain, and of the United States National Catholic Rural Life Conference. We also honor Servant of God Edward Joseph Flanagan, Priest (died 1948). Born in 1886 near Ballymoe, County Roscommon, Ireland, he attended Summerhill College, Sligo. He emigrated to the United States in 1904 and attended Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where in 1906 he received a bachelor of arts degree and a master of arts degree in 1908. Flanagan then studied at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York. He continued his studies in Italy and at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, where he was ordained a priest in 1912. His first parish was in O’Neill, Nebraska, where from 1912 he served as an assistant pastor at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. He then moved to Omaha to serve as an assistant pastor at St. Patrick’s Church and later at St. Philomena’s Church. In 1917 he founded a home for homeless boys in Omaha. Bishop Jeremiah James Harty of the Diocese of Omaha had misgivings, but endorsed Flanagan’s experiment. Flanagan became a U.S. citizen in 1919. Because the downtown facilities were inadequate, Flanagan established Boys Town, ten miles west of Omaha, in 1921. Under Father Flanagan’s direction, Boys Town grew to be a large community with its own boy-mayor, schools, chapel, post office, cottages, gymnasium, and other facilities where boys between the ages of 10 and 16 could receive an education and learn a trade. The 1938 film Boys Town, starring Spencer Tracey and featuring Mickey Rooney as one of the boys, was based on the life of Father Flanagan; some scenes from the movie were filmed at Boys Town, and Father Flanagan reviewed the script prior to the filming. Tracy won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, and spent his entire Oscar acceptance speech talking about Father Flanagan. “If you have seen him through me, then I thank you.” An overzealous MGM publicity representative announced that Tracy was donating his Oscar to Flanagan. Tracy’s response was: “I earned the…thing. I want it.” The Academy quickly found another Oscar statue; the one for Boys Town is inscribed, “To Father Flanagan, whose great humanity, kindly simplicity, and inspiring courage were strong enough to shine through my humble effort. Spencer Tracy.” (When Tracy got his Oscar, it was inscribed “Best Actor – Dick Tracy.”) A sequel also starring Tracy, Men of Boys Town, was released in 1941. Father Flanagan received many awards for his work with the delinquent and homeless boys. He served on several committees and boards dealing with the welfare of children and was the author of articles on child welfare. Internationally known, Father Flanagan traveled to Japan and Korea in 1947 to study child welfare problems. He made a similar trip to Austria and Germany and, while in Germany, he died on May 15th, 1948, of a heart attack. He was buried in the Dowd Chapel at Boys Town. In March 2012 the Archbishop of Omaha opened Father Flanagan’s canonization cause, so that Flanagan is now a Servant of God. If you know of any miracles that can be attributed to his intercession, please contact the Vatican. Today is Peace Officers Memorial Day, a day to pay tribute to the local, state, and Federal peace officers who have died, or who have been disabled, in the line of duty. The holiday was created on October 1st, 1961, when Congress asked the president to designate May 15th to honor peace officers. John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law on October 1st, 1962. In 1994 President Bill Clinton, through Public Law 103-322, directed that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on May 15th. Much of the holiday centers on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., whose walls feature the names of more than 19,000 law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Today is also the day when one’s Louisiana Income Tax returns are due for the calendar year 2016. (Richard and I filed ours already, and paid what we owed the State of Louisiana). And, finally, today is the birthday of my friend Gail in Georgia, whom I know only via the Internet (1948).
Last night I continued reading The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Jean-Charles Nault, Translated by Michael J. Miller. And Baton Rouge was selected as one of the host sites for the NCAA College Softball Tournament Regionals; our #21 LSU Lady Tigers will play the Fairfield Lady Stags on Friday, May 19th.
When I woke up to get ready for work I put in a new set of contact lenses and posted to Facebook that today was Peace Officers Memorial Day, and posted that today was the day when one’s 2016 Louisiana Income Tax is due. (We paid ours already.) I then did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once at the Casino I called the Pharmacy and renewed two prescriptions. When we clocked in, on the first day of the new two-week pay period, Richard was on Three Card Blackjack long enough to close the game; he was then on the second Mississippi Stud, closed that game, was on a Blackjack game, and ended up the day on Pai Gow. I spent the day on Mini Baccarat, dealing to only two players, who had both left by 5:00 am or so. They changed the layouts on three or four tables today, and the Table Games Pencil opted to keep everyone at the casino until that process was 100% done, which meant that no one got out early (including our dealer whose birthday it was, and who thus had priority on the Early Out list) until 8:00 am. (More anon.)
After work I went to the Pharmacy and picked up my prescriptions, and we stopped at Valero for gas for the truck. Richard had gotten in touch with Butch (Butch’s janitor had taken the phone off the hook yesterday, and had not replaced the phone on the hook) and found that the TV Butch recently got was now broken. So, on our way home we stopped at Wal-Mart and purchased a TV for Butch and some groceries. When we got home I read the morning paper; I then came to the computer and worked on doing Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. At 4:30 pm we watched Jeopardy!, and I came to the computer to finish this Daily Update. When I finish, I will read a bit in The Mummy: A History of the Extraordinary Practices of Ancient Egypt by E. A. Wallis Budge before going to sleep.
Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, so tomorrow we will instead note the anniversary of the marriage of fourteen-year-old Habsburg Archduchess Maria Antonia (better known by the French form of her name, Marie Antoinette) with the Dauphin of France, fifteen-year-old Louis-Auguste de France, in 1770. (Louis-Auguste became King Louis XVI in 1774, and both he Marie Antoinette were guillotined in 1793, during the French Revolution.) I will set the alarm for half and hour early, and Richard and I will go to the casino in separate vehicles (more anon) to sign the Early Out list. Normally, getting out early on a Tuesday when we are early is no problem, but Richard has to get out by 8:00 am so as to leave for Baton Rouge at 9:00 am, since he has to take Butch to his opthamologist’s appointment; so we are driving in separately, on the chance that only Richard can get out. I hope that we do both get out, as I would like to go to Baton Rouge with Richard. Tomorrow evening our #11 LSU Tigers (35-17, 18-9) will play their last Regular Season Home College Baseball game with the Northwestern State Demons.
Our Parting Quote on this Monday afternoon comes from Elisabeth Bing, German born physical therapist. Born as Elisabeth Koenigsberger in 1914 in Berlin, Germany, hers was a home birth, and she was delivered before the doctor could arrive. Her family were of Jewish descent, but had converted to Protestantism years before her birth. Sensing danger to those considered to be Jewish with the rise of Nazi Germany, the family decided to leave the country, and Koenigsberger, the first of the family to leave, left Germany for England in September 1933. In England Koenigsberger trained as a physical therapist. At first she took a job as a student nurse, as physical therapy training was cheaper after one year of student nursing, and it was difficult to get money abroad from Germany at that time. However, she was forced to quit halfway through after falling ill and having to have surgery. After she moved to London, her family managed to get enough money to her to pay for her training. She trained for three years and became a member of the Chartered Society of Physical Therapy. Her interest in obstetrics began after working with new mothers in hospital. At the time, standard childbirth procedures involved giving mothers large amounts of medication, and keeping them in hospital for 10 days after they gave birth. Koenigsberger’s job was to give physical therapy to these postpartum mothers. After talking about her experiences at the hospital with one of her part-time private patients, she learned of Grantly Dick-Read’s book Natural Childbirth. She was unable to meet Read or other like-minded individuals because of the outbreak of World War II, so she taught herself as much as she could about obstetrics. In 1949 she moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, in the United States, at the invitation of her sister. It was here that she first got the chance to teach natural childbirth methods, after being invited by an obstetrician she met at a house party. She coached all of the obstetrician’s patients in natural childbirth, learning while she taught. After a year of this, she decided to go back to England. However, as she passed through New York, she met her future husband, Fred Max Bing, and decided to remain there. They married in 1951. Bing continued to teach natural childbirth methods in New York, and in 1951 she was invited by Dr. Alan Guttmacher to teach at Mount Sinai Hospital, which had just opened its first maternity ward. Bing gave birth herself at 40, going into a fast labor during which she was given spinal anesthesia and nitric oxide. At Mount Sinai she heard about the psychoprophylactic method of childbirth developed by Dr. Fernand Lamaze. Lamaze’s method incorporated breathing techniques as well as the natural childbirth techniques developed by Read. Mount Sinai Hospital could not afford to send Bing to France to learn the method from Lamaze, but she met Marjorie Karmel, who had published the book Thank You, Dr. Lamaze in 1959. Karmel had learned the method directly from Lamaze in Paris, and she in turn taught it to Bing. In 1960 the two went on to found the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics, now known as Lamaze International. Bing was an advocate the importance of mothers making informed childbirth decisions. As well as educating parents about childbirth, she worked with obstetricians to introduce them to natural childbirth methods. She also wrote articles; appeared on TV and radio shows, including shows hosted by Barbara Walters and Phil Donahue, and wrote several books, including Six Practical Lessons for an Easier Childbirth. She became known as the “mother” of Lamaze among the American public (died 2015): “This so-called fad has been proven not to be a fad.”