Daily Update: Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Minor Rogation Day and Rita of Cascia

Today is the first of three Minor Rogation Days in the Catholic Church and the Optional Memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, Religious (died 1457).

This Monday is the first of three Minor Rogation Days (the three days before the traditional date of the Feast of the Ascension), and is a day when we ask for the blessings of God upon our crops and our undertakings. The Minor Rogations were introduced by Saint Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne (died c. 475), and were afterwards ordered by the Fifth Council of Orléans (511), and then approved by Leo III (795-816). They were removed from the General Calendar in 1969, but I note them in this weblog. Today’s Saint was born as Margherita Lotti in 1386 at Roccaporena, Umbria, Italy, late in her parents’ life, and was soon nicknamed Rita. From her early youth she visited the Augustinian nuns at Cascia and showed interest in a religious life. However, when she was twelve, her parents betrothed her to Paolo Mancini, an ill-tempered, abusive individual who worked as a town watchman and who was dragged into the political disputes of the Guelphs and Ghibellines. Disappointed but obedient, Rita married him when she was eighteen, and was the mother of twin sons. She put up with Paolo’s abuses for eighteen years before he was ambushed and stabbed to death. Her sons swore vengeance on the killers of their father; Rita, fearing that her sons would lose their souls, tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail. Accordingly, she petitioned God to take her sons rather than submit them to possible mortal sin and murder. Upon the deaths of her sons of dysentery a year later, Rita again felt the call to religious life. However, some of the sisters at the Augustinian monastery were relatives of her husband’s murderers, and she was denied entry for fear of causing dissension. Asking for the intervention of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, she managed to bring the warring factions together, not completely, but sufficiently so that there was peace, and she was admitted to the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalen at age thirty-six. She lived forty years in the convent, spending her time in prayer and charity, and working for peace in the region. She was devoted to the Passion, and in response to a prayer to suffer as Christ, she received a chronic head wound that appeared to have been caused by a crown of thorns and which bled for fifteen years. Confined to her bed the last four years of her life, and eating little more than the Eucharist, she spent her time teaching and directing the younger sisters. Near the end of her life in January, 1457, a visitor from her home town asked if she would like anything; Rita’s only request was a rose from her family’s estate. The visitor went to the home, even though he knew that there was no hope of roses in January; there, sprouted on an otherwise bare bush, was a single rose blossom, which he then brought to her. Her body, which has remained incorrupt over the centuries, is venerated today in the shrine at Cascia, which bears her name. She is the Patron Saint of mothers and of lost and impossible causes, and her aid is invoked against sickness, wounds, abuse, and marital problems. (St. Rita is often credited as being the unofficial patron saint of baseball, due to a reference made to her in the 2002 film The Rookie.)

Last night at the NCAA College Softball Regional in Baton Rouge our #19 LSU Lady Tigers beat the McNeese Lady Cowboys by the score of 10 to 1. And very early this morning (as the game started very late last night) our #19 LSU Lady Tigers beat the UL – Lafayette Lady Ragin’ Cajuns by the score of 6 to 1.

On waking up to get ready for work today, I did my Book Devotional Reading; on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Fourth Day of my Ascension Novena. When we clocked in, Richard was on Three Card Poker, where he stayed all day. I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow; I broke the Three Card Blackjack table once at the beginning of the shift. When they closed the Pai Gow table for an hour or two, I broke the Mini Baccarat table and a Blackjack table (once); they then re-opened Pai Gow, and I broke the Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow tables for the rest of the day, and I broke the Let It Ride table once at the end of the shift.

On our way home Richard stopped at Wal-Mart for me. I returned The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah to my optometrist and fellow Third Tuesday Book Club member Pam at the Wal-Mart Vision Center. I then looked for patriotic T-shirts (next Monday we can wear one to work); they had patriotic shirts, but none in the size I needed. When we got home from work I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then came to the computer to do this Daily Update, and Richard went out to get the oil changed for the truck. At the NCAA College Softball Regional in Baton Rouge our #19 LSU Lady Tigers will play a final game with the UL – Lafayette Lady Ragin’ Cajuns; the loser of the game will go home, and the winner will go to the NCAA College Softball Tournament Super Regional in Tallahassee, Florida, to face #4 ranked Florida State on Thursday, May 25th.

Tomorrow is the second of the three Minor Rogation Days with no Saints to honor; instead, we will note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the dedication of the New York Public Library in 1911. Tomorrow is our Friday at the casino; we will work our eight hours, and after lunch, Richard and I will leave the house for Baton Rouge in the truck. We will be staying in Baton Rouge on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and I will be doing my Daily Updates for Tuesday and Wednesday using my tablet.

Our Parting Quote on this Monday afternoon comes to us from Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, American artist. Born as Brenda Lynn Robinson in 1940 in Columbus, Ohio, her family soon moved to Poindexter Village, Columbus, one of the nation’s early federally funded apartment complexes. When she was a little girl, her father taught her how to draw and how to make books from homemade paper and “hogmawg,” a mixture of mud, clay, twigs, leaves, lime, animal grease, and glue. She began attending the Columbus Art School (now the Columbus College of Art and Design) on Saturdays while she was still in high school and then continued after she graduated from high school in 1957. She graduated from the Columbus Art School cum laude in 1960. In 1963 she participated in the March on Washington. In 1964 she married Clarence Robinson, who was in the United States Air Force, and moved with him to a military base in Boise, Idaho. She met woodcarver Elijah Pierce in 1967; he became her mentor, and four years later she left her husband and moved back to Columbus, Ohio with Pierce and her son. In 1972 she began a nineteen year career with Columbus Recreation and Parks, and settled in Columbus with her son. Robinson took a study trip to Africa in 1979, and received the name “Aminah” from a holy man in Egypt. In 1983 she visited Sapelo Island, Georgia, where her ancestors were slaves before and during the Civil War, and had her first group exhibition at the Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio. Robinson created sculpture, RagGonNons, rag paintings, paintings on cloth, drawings, and books. Many of them were about her family and community and about the stories she was told by her elders. She also researched the lives of abolitionists, civil rights leaders, musicians, and writers and depicted them in her art. Her art was grounded in her belief in the African concept of Sankofa, learning from the past in order to move forward. In 1989 she received the Governor’s Award for the Visual Arts from the Ohio Arts Council, received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council for a residency at PS 1 in Queens, New York, received a Minority Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to work with Robert Blackburn at the Printmaking Workshop in New York City, and had a group exhibition titled Stitching Memories: African-American Story Quilts at Williams College, the Studio Museum of Harlem, Oakland Museum, and others. The Columbus Metropolitan Library commissioned Life in Sellsville and Life in the Blackberry Patch in  1990. Two years later she had a group exhibition titled Will/Power at the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University, and wrote and illustrated The Teachings. In 1997 she had her first exhibition at the Hammond Harkins Gallery, Columbus, and the next year she took an Ohio Arts Council residency in Herzliya, Israel. In 2002 she had a retrospective exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art titled Symphonic Poem, and received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Ohio Dominican University. The next year she did Journeys under commission from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center commission in Cincinnati. She had a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile, in 2004. In 2004 Robinson was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship which is given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction”, and in 2006 Symphonic Poem traveled to the Brooklyn Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, and the Toledo Museum of Art. She then had a solo exhibition at the ACA Gallery, New York, and her last work was a commission, Life Along Water Street, for the Ohio University Baker Center (died 2015): “I began drawing at the age of three. My father would give me wood to paint on and paint in little enamel tins. My studio was under my bed…I never had any doubt in my mind about being an artist.”

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