Daily Update: Friday, July 14th, 2017

Kateri Tekakwitha and Bastille Day

Today is the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin (died 1680) (it would also be the Optional Memorial of Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest (died 1614), but in America his feast has been moved to July 18th), and today is also Bastille Day.

Born in 1656 at Osserneon, Iroquois Confederacy (now Auriesville, New York), today’s Saint was the daughter of a Christian Algonquin woman captured by Iroquois and married to a non-Christian Mohawk chief. Orphaned during a smallpox epidemic at the age of four, which left her with a scarred face and impaired eyesight, her tribe named her Tekakwitha, or “she who bumps into things”. By the age of seventeen she was the despair of her aunts for refusing all offers of marriage. She began studying Christianity with the Jesuit missionaries and was baptised on Easter Sunday, 1676, at the age of nineteen, by Father Jacques de Lamberville and given the name of Catherine, after Saint Catherine of Siena. Shunned and abused by relatives for her faith (she would not work on Sundays, so they refused to let her eat on that day), she escaped through two hundred miles of wilderness to the Christian Native American village of Sault-Sainte-Marie. Taking a vow of chastity in 1679 (which was almost unknown in her culture), she was known for her spirituality and austere lifestyle. She died the next year; witnesses at her deathbed said that her skin became beautiful and cleared of the smallpox scars, and she appeared to three people in the weeks after her death. By 1684 her grave became a pilgrimage site and place of miracles for Christian Native Americans and French colonists. (The alternate spelling of Catherine as “Kateri” was later constructed by Victorian author Ellen Hardin Walworth and first used in 1891.) The first Native American proposed for canonization, her cause was started in 1884 under Pope Leo XIII, and she was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II and canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI, making her the first North American Native American woman to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. (In the official canonization rite booklet, “Catherine” was used in the English and French biographies and “Kateri” in the translation of the rite itself.) The Tekakwitha Conference, an international association of Native American Catholics and those in ministry with them, was named for her, and the Lily of the Mohawks is the Patron Saint of Native Americans, people ridiculed for their piety, environmentalism, and of those who have lost their parents. Also, today is Bastille Day, known in France as La Fête Nationale (National Celebration) and commonly as le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July). Rather than only commemorating the storming of the Bastille Prison in 1789, it also commemorates the Fête de la Fédération of July 14th, 1790, which was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the establishment of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people of the time considered to be the happy conclusion of the French Revolution, the outcome hoped for by the monarchiens. Either way, if I get a chance I will listen to “Bastille Day” by Rush in honor of the day. (I also keep wondering if kids in France ask, “D’autres pays ont-ils le quatorze juillet?” just like American kids ask, “Do other countries have the Fourth of July?”)

On waking up to get ready for work today I posted to Facebook that today was Bastille Day. I then did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. When we clocked in, Richard was on Mini Baccarat. I was on the Second Mississippi Stud table, closed that table, went to a Blackjack table, closed that table, and then was on the Mississippi Stud table for the rest of the day. On my last break I continued reading Sycamore Row by John Grisham via Kindle on my tablet.

After work we went over to the Training Room (which is in its own portable building, where the Clinic used to be a very long time ago) and did our training on Cajun Stud (which is Mississippi Stud with three Bonus Bets, and which will be on the casino floor on Monday, July 24th). We then headed home; I continued reading Sycamore Row by John Grisham via Kindle on my tablet, and Richard got some stuff from Taco Bell for his lunch. Once home at 1:00 pm I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper while Richard mowed the grass. I then watched MST3K Episode 312 Gamera vs. Guiron (Gamera tai Daikaijū Giron), with Japan’s favorite turtle monster saving a pair of hapless kids from a pair of brain-eating alien women and Guiron, a monster with a head like a Ginsu knife. (The plot appears to have been written by nine-year-old kids.) And I will now go to bed, as I am tired.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Swithin, Bishop (died 862), and the Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor (died 1274). It is also the birthday of my very good friend Nedra in Tennessee (1959); although she was born nearly a year after me, I keep telling her she must be older than me because she is already a great-grandmother, while I have only one grandkid. (She refuses to accede to the force of my logic.) We will return to the casino, and on our breaks I will continue reading Sycamore Row by John Grisham via Kindle on my tablet. After lunch I will go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration, and when I come home I will go to bed.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from Tom Rolf, Swedish-born American film editor. Born as Ernst R. Rolf in 1931 in Stockholm, he was the son of actor Ernst Rolf and Norwegian-born actress Tutta Rolf. After his father’s death in 1932, his mother married American director and choreographer Jack Donohue, who advised the young man to go into film editing. Rolf worked as a ski patrolman and was a seaman for the Norwegian Merchant Marine before emigrating to the United States, after which he spent three years in the United States Marine Corps, serving in Korea. He considered pursuing a career as a film director like his step-father, but Donohue convinced him to first try his hand at film editing, telling him he would “learn everything about directing by being a film editor first.” At the start of his career, Rolf spent a then-required eight years serving as an apprentice and assistant editor. One of his earliest jobs as an editor was on the 1959 Swedish-American co-production Space Invasion of Lapland. Among the films he worked on as an assistant editor was Levy-Gardner-Laven’s 1962 film Western Geronimo. Levy-Gardner-Laven later made Rolf one of the head editors of their 1965 Western, The Glory Guys; Rolf’s editing partner on this film was Melvin Shapiro. When Levy-Gardner-Laven began production on the Western television series The Big Valley, they brought in Rolf to serve as one of the editors of the show. He edited nine episodes of the first season, which ran from 1965 to 1966. At the start of the second season, in 1966, he became the show’s editorial coordinator, a position he held until the series ended in 1969. In 1967, starting with the third season of The Big Valley, he changed his name to Tom Rolf. His first feature film as a solo editor was another Levy-Gardner-Laven production, the 1967 Elvis Presley picture Clambake. Rolf worked on a few more Levy-Gardner-Laven productions, including the 1970 releases Underground (which, like Clambake, was directed by Arthur H. Nadel) and The McKenzie Break. The latter was the first of four films Rolf would edit for director Lamont Johnson; their subsequent collaborations were The Last American Hero (1973), Visit to a Chief’s Son (1974) and the 1975 TV movie Fear on Trial. Rolf also edited two 1973 releases for Richard C. Sarafian: Lolly-Madonna XXX and The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. The turning point in Rolf’s career came in 1975 when he and Shapiro were recruited by director Martin Scorsese to edit his crime drama Taxi Driver. Released in 1976, Taxi Driver was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has come to be considered one of the greatest films of all time. The film also received three BAFTA Awards and four BAFTA nominations, including one for Rolf and Shapiro for Best Editing. Scorsese hired Rolf again for his next film, the 1977 musical New York, New York, before Scorsese began working with editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Paul Schrader, the writer of Taxi Driver, was so impressed with Rolf that he hired him for his directorial debut, the 1978 drama film Blue Collar, and recruited Rolf again for his second feature, Hardcore. Rolf also edited three films for director John Frankenheimer in the mid-to-late 1970s: French Connection II (1975), Black Sunday (1977) and Prophecy (1979). After co-editing Michael Cimino’s infamous box office flop Heaven’s Gate, Rolf joined the editing team of Philip Kaufman’s space race drama The Right Stuff. The film was a critical (if not commercial) success and picked up four Academy Awards, including Best Editing for Rolf and his fellow editors, Glenn Farr, Lisa Fruchtman, Stephen A. Rotter, and Douglas Stewart. Rolf and the editing team were also nominated for an “Eddie” Award from American Cinema Editors (ACE). Although they did not win the award, Rolf himself won that year for his solo work on John Badham’s WarGames. According to editor Mark Goldblatt, Rolf’s very first cut of WarGames so satisfied Badham that the director signed off on it immediately with no additional notes for the editor. Badham later recruited Rolf for his 1987 crime-comedy Stakeout, though this time the editor was paired up with Michael Ripps. For director Adrian Lyne, Rolf edited 1986’s 9½ Weeks and 1990’s Jacob’s Ladder. The latter was considered by some, including author and film scholar Vincent LoBrutto, to be a landmark in film editing due to the intricacies and complexities involved in cutting the picture and because it “furthered the montage style of editing and allowed filmmakers to strive for new forms.” Rolf also edited or co-edited two films each for Douglas Day Stewart (Thief of Hearts and Quicksilver) and Alan J. Pakula (The Pelican Brief and The Devil’s Own). Additionally, he edited two television productions for Lawrence Schiller: the 1981 movie The Executioner’s Song and the 2000 miniseries Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. Other notable films which were edited or co-edited by Rolf include Ridley Scott’s Black Rain (1989), Michael Mann’s Heat (1995), Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer (1998), John Woo’s Windtalkers, and Kurt Wimmer’s Equilibrium (both 2002). In 2003 Rolf re-teamed with Blue Collar and Hardcore director Paul Schrader to work on Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. It was released in 2005, though Rolf did not receive on-screen credit. The last film Rolf edited was the Russian Alexander Kolchak biopic Admiral, released in 2008. In 2010 Rolf told The Hollywood Reporter that Jacob’s Ladder (1990) was the film he enjoyed working on the most, stating he was “very proud of that one” (died 2014): “My job is to help the director realize his vision…I think people hire me because they know that I’m going to put in a full day, I’m going to tell them the truth, and I’ll voice my opinion when I think it’s needed.”

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