Daily Update: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Louis Martin, Husband (died 1894) and Saint Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin, Wife (died 1877), and Parents.

Saint Louis Martin was born in 1823 in Bordeaux, Gironde, France. He had wished to become a monk at the Augustinian Monastery of the Great St Bernard, but due to his lack of knowledge of Latin he was rejected, and decided to become a watchmaker. Meanwhile, Saint Marie-Azélie Guérin had been born in 1831 in Saint-Denis-sur-Sarthon, Orne, France. An older sister had become a nun, and Marie-Azélie wanted to become a nun as well, but was turned away by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul due to respiratory difficulties and recurrent headaches. She became a lacemaker, met Louis Martin in 1858, and the pair married less than three months later. They led a continent marriage for nearly a year, but were convinced by their confessors that they could best serve God by producing children. Five daughters survived infancy, with the last one, Marie-Françoise-Thérèse, being born in 1873. Marie-Azélie Martin died of breast cancer in 1877; Louis sold her lacemaking business and moved to Lisieux, in Normandy, where his brother in law Isidore Guérin, a pharmacist, lived with his wife and two daughters. In the mid-1880s three of his daughters entered the convent (one returned, albeit temporarily); in 1887 he took his two youngest daughters on a pilgrimage to Rome, during which the youngest daughter asked the Pope for permission to enter the Carmelite convent at the age of fifteen (he deferred to the decision of the superiors at Carmel). In 1888 the youngest daughter entered the same Carmelite convent that held her two oldest sisters; the next year Louis Martin had a stroke. After three years in the hospital, he returned home and was devoted nursed by his third and fourth daughters for two years until his death in 1894; the third daughter then became a Visitandine nun (after several attempts to become a nun with other orders), and the fourth daughter joined the Carmel at Lisieux with her other sisters. The fifth daughter, Marie-Françoise-Thérèse, was canonized as Saint Thérèse de Lisieux in 1925. Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin were declared “venerable” in 1994 by Pope John Paul II and were beatified in 2008. In 2011 the letters of Blessed Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin and Louis Martin were published in English as A Call to a Deeper Love: The Family Correspondence of the Parents of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, 1863-1885, translated by Ann Connors Hess and edited by Dr. Frances Renda. Only sixteen letters from Louis survive, but many of Marie-Azélie’s two hundred and sixteen letters give vivid details about Louis as husband and father. On January 7th, 2013, Archbishop Carlos Osoro Serra of Valencia, Spain presided at the opening of the canonical process to inquire into the healing in 2008 of a little girl named Carmen who was born in Valencia four days before Louis and Zelie were beatified. Eight doctors testified that there was no scientific explanation for her cure. The diocesan tribunal held its closing session on May 21st, 2013, and the file was sent to Rome for review by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which accepted and promulgated the miracle on March 18th, 2015. They were both canonized on October 18th, 2015, becoming the first spouses in the church’s history to be canonized as a couple.

Richard had left for Baton Rouge to see Butch and take him to an appointment and lunch before I woke up at 9:00 am. I started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, did my Book Devotional Reading, finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started the Weekly Virus Scan. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Sixth Day of my Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I then watched MST3K Episode 309 The Amazing Colossal Man, then I read the morning paper while eating my lunch salad. The Weekly Virus Scan finished with no problems. I then watched MST3K Episode 310 Fugitive Alien (Sutā Urufu / Star Wolf), which was two episodes of a Japanese television show cobbled together to make a movie, and watched MST3K Episode 311 It Conquered the World (produced and directed by Roger Corman, starring Peter Graves and Lee Van Cleef), with the short film Snow Thrills (which claimed that “skiing” is pronounced “sheeing”) . Richard had called me at 2:50 pm to tell me he was on his way home, and Bonnie called me at 3:45 pm to ask if I had called her (I hadn’t), and to tell me she would be in Baton Rouge to see Butch in a week or two. Richard got home at 4:15 pm, and continued his project of changing his screenname from his AOL one to a Gmail one (he is also going to use Firefox for his browser, instead of AOL), and I watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm. I then reconciled the checking account to our bank statement, which came in the mail today. I then tried to cancel my AOL account, but ran into trouble, and sent them an Email. We ate dinner at Rocky’s Cajun Kitchen, and I got an Email back from AOL that they could only answer technical Email issues. We came back home, and Richard left again for Super 1 Foods for some cold meds and some ice cream for me. I will now finish this Daily Update, and take a bath and do some reading before going to bed.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Henry, King (died 1024). It is also the birthday of my daughter’s friend Ashley (1988). I will iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts, get my lunch supplies, and make my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday.

Our Wednesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Jamil Ahmad, Pakistani author. Born in 1931 in Punjab (then in India, now in Pakistan), after his early education in Lahore, he joined the civil service in 1954 and worked in the Swat valley, a remote Hindu Kush area, near the Afghan border. During his career he worked at various remote areas such as the Frontier Province, Quetta, Chaghi, Khyber and Malakand. His experiences in these tribal valleys assisted him in his literary work, which was mainly focused on the lives of the tribal villagers. He also served as minister at the Pakistani embassy in Kabul during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. His wife Helga Ahmad, a nationally recognized environmentalist and social worker, was critical of his early attempts at poetry, but then diligently tried to promote his work. She painstakingly typed his handwritten manuscript of The Wandering Falcon on a typewriter with German keys. Published in 2011 and written in English, The Wandering Falcon can either be construed as a short story collection or as a novel, based on differing perspectives. The book narrates the story of Tor Baz (the black falcon) and his travails through the remote tribal areas along the Pakistan – Afghan border where he experiences the lives of the ethnic pashtuns. The stories travel through the strict code of conduct of the tribals known as pashtunwali, the lawlessness of the land where women are traded as commodity, adultery, and anarchism, silhouetted against the Baluch desert landscape. The book received critical acclaim, and was short listed for the Man Asian Prize, widely known as Asia’s highest literary award, in 2011. The book was also a finalist for the DSC prize for South Asian Literature in 2013. He also published a short story, “The Sins of the Mother”, in 2010. Ahmad was one of the few English writers of Pakistani origin to have garnered attention outside his country. Though his body of work was small and limited to one book and one short story, he was considered as a major writer among Pakistani writers of English fiction (died 2014): “…One lives and survives only if one has the ability to swallow and digest bitter and unpalatable things. We, you and I, and our people shall live because there are only a few among us who do not love raw onions.”

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