Daily Update: Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Eusibius of Vercelli and Peter Faber and Peter Julian Eymard

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop (died 371), the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Faber (died 1546), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest (died 1868).

Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop (died 371) was born in 283 in Sardinia. He was a Priest in Rome before being consecrated as Bishop of Vercelli, Italy in 340. In 355 he was exiled to Palestine and Cappadocia due to his struggle against Arianism. The friend of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, he was a prolific writer according to his contemporaries, though none of his works have survived save for three short letters. He was the first bishop to live with and follow the same rule as his priests. He is the Patron Saint of the city of Vercelli, Italy. Today is also the feast day of Saint Peter Faber, Priest (died 1546). Born in 1506 to a peasant family in Villaret in the Duchy of Savoy (now Saint-Jean-de-Sixt in the French Department of Haute-Savoie), he had little education, but a remarkable memory; he could hear a sermon in the morning and then repeat it verbatim in the afternoon for his friends. He was entrusted to the care of a priest at Thônes and later to a school in the neighboring village of La Roche-sur-Foron. In 1525 he was admitted to the Collège Sainte-Barbe, the oldest school in the University of Paris, where he shared his lodgings with  Francis Xavier. There Faber’s spiritual views began to develop, influenced by a combination of popular devotion, Christian humanism, and late medieval scholasticism. Faber and Xavier became close friends and both received the degree of Master of Arts on the same day in 1530. At the university, Faber also met Ignatius of Loyola and became one of his associates. He tutored Loyola in the philosophy of Aristotle, while Loyola tutored Faber in spiritual matters. He was the first among the small circle of men who formed the Society of Jesus to be ordained. Having become a priest on May 30th, 1534, he received the religious vows of Ignatius and his five companions at Montmartre on August 15th, 1534. After Loyola himself, Faber was the one whom Xavier and his companions esteemed the most. Leaving Paris on November 15th, 1536, Faber and his companions joined Loyola at Venice in January 1537. When war between Venice and the Turks prevented them from evangelizing the Holy Land as they planned, they decided to form the community that became the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit Order. The group then traveled to Rome where they put themselves at the disposal of Pope Paul III. After Faber spent some months preaching and teaching, the Pope sent him to Parma and Piacenza, where he brought about a revival of Christian piety. Recalled to Rome in 1540, Faber was sent to Germany to uphold the position of the Catholic Church at the Diet of Worms and then at the Diet of Ratisbon in 1541. Faber was startled by the unrest that the Protestant movement had stirred up in Germany and by the decadence he found in the Catholic hierarchy. He decided that the remedy did not lie in discussions with the Protestants, but in the reform of the Roman Catholic, especially of the clergy. For ten months, at Speyer, at Ratisbon, and at Mainz, he conducted himself with gentleness with all those with whom he dealt. He influenced princes, prelates, and priests who opened themselves to him and amazed people by the effectiveness of his outreach. Faber possessed the gift of friendship to a remarkable degree. He was famous not for his preaching, but for his engaging conversations and his guidance of souls. He crisscrossed Europe on foot, guiding bishops, priests, nobles and common people alike in the Spiritual Exercises. Called to Spain by Loyola, he visited Barcelona, Zaragoza, Medinaceli, Madrid, and Toledo. In January 1542 the pope ordered him to Germany again. For the next nineteen months, Faber worked for the reform of Speyer, Mainz, and Cologne. The Archbishop of Cologne, Hermann of Wied, favored Lutheranism, which he later publicly embraced. Faber gradually gained the confidence of the clergy and recruited many young men to the Jesuits, among them Peter Canisius. After spending some months at Leuven in 1543, where he implanted the seeds of numerous vocations among the young, he returned to Cologne. Between 1544 and 1546, Faber continued his work in Portugal and Spain. Through his influence while at the royal court of Lisbon, Faber was instrumental in establishing the Society of Jesus in Portugal. There and in Spain, he was a fervent and effective preacher. He was called to preach in the principal cities of Spain, where he aroused fervor among the local populations and fostered vocations to the clergy. Among them there was Francis Borgia, another significant future Jesuit. King John III of Portugal wanted Faber made Patriarch of Ethiopia. In 1546 Faber was appointed by Pope Paul III to act as a peritus (expert) on behalf of the Holy See at the Council of Trent. Faber, at age 40, was exhausted by his incessant efforts and his unceasing journeys, always made on foot. In April 1546 he left Spain to attend the Council and reached Rome, weakened by fever, on July 17th, 1546. He died, reportedly in the arms of Loyola, on August 2nd, 1546. Faber’s body was initially buried at the Church of Our Lady of the Way, which served as a center for the Jesuit community. When that church was demolished to allow for the construction of the Church of the Gesù, his remains and those of others among the first Jesuits were exhumed, and his remains are now in the crypt near the entrance to the Gesù. Those who had known Faber in life already invoked him as a saint. Faber was beatified on September 2nd, 1872. Pope Francis, on his own 77th birthday, December 17th, 2013, announced Faber’s canonization. He used a process known as equivalent canonization that dispenses with the standard judicial procedures and ceremonies in the case of someone long venerated. He is the Patron Saint of Catholic renewal, and of those directing and taking the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. We also honor Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest (died 1868). Born in 1811 in La Mure, France, he grew up in a poor family during the anti-clerical, anti-Catholic aftermath of the French Revolution. His first attempt at the priesthood, against his family’s wishes, ended when he had to withdraw from the seminary due to illness; he never completely recovered his health. He returned, however, and was ordained in 1834 in the diocese of Grenoble, France. He joined the Marist Fathers in 1839; the friend of Saint John Mary Vianney, he became the Provincial Superior of the Society of Mary in 1845. Peter had a strong Marian devotion, and traveled to the assorted Marian shrines and apparition sites in France. He organized lay societies under the direction of the Marists, preached and taught, and worked for Eucharistic devotion. He felt a call to found a new religious society, and founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856, and the lay Servants of the Blessed Sacrament in 1858. His work encountered a series of setbacks, including have to close his nascent houses and move twice, and the failure of his houses to support themselves financially. However, his vision of priests, deacons, sisters, and lay people dedicated to the spiritual values celebrated in the Mass and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament anticipated many of the renewals brought about by Vatican Councils I and II. Late in life, during a lengthy retreat in Rome, he became more mystical as he came in closer communion with the love of Christ. Six volumes of his personal letters and nine volumes of his meditations have been printed in English, and he is known as the Apostle of the Eucharist. He is the Patron Saint of Saint Jean Baptiste Catholic Church in New York City, New York.

I woke up at 8:00 am, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and did my Book Devotional Reading. I then finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, started the Weekly Virus Scan, and read the morning paper.

Leaving the house at 10:00 am, I headed to Lafayette for my 11:30 am Appointment at my psych’s office. While in the waiting room, I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Sixth Day of my Transfiguration Novena. My appointment went well, and my next appointment will be on January 31st. I then headed to Piccadilly Cafeteria, where I ate lunch at 1:00 pm and continued reading The Waking Engine by David Edison; I then went to Barnes and Noble and put in some comfy chair time as I continued reading the book.

I arrived back home at 4:15 pm; the Weekly Virus Scan had finished. I watched Jeopardy!, and then I did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. Richard and I left the house at 6:15 pm, ate dinner at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse, and stopped at Dollar General for ice cream on our way home. Once home at 7:15 pm, I watched MST3K Episode 320 The Unearthly (with John Carradine as a mad doctor and Tor Johnson as his inarticulate assistant) with the short films Posture Pals and Appreciating Our Parents. Richard went to bed not long after I started watching the show, and when I finish this Daily Update I will go to bed as well.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, so we will instead note that it was on this date in 1492 that Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain. (Columbus was not sailing to prove that the world was round, which fact had been known to the ancient Greeks; he was sailing to find a new route to the East Indies, which according to his calculations he would reach in about two months. He had difficulty getting financing for his venture, because the experts said it would take closer to a year to sail to the Indies. The experts were right, except that they did not allow for North America to be in the way.) Tomorrow is also Richard’s birthday (1957), so for a month and two days he will be two years older than me. I have an appointment with my oncologist in Opelousas at 1:00 pm, and at some point tomorrow I will be ironing my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, getting my salad supplies, and making my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday.

Our Wednesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from David Huddleston, American actor. Born in 1930 in Vinton, Virginia, his father was a steelworker and his mother had been a teacher, and the family home had no running water or electricity. His mother handed him scripts to perform at church pageants and before civic groups to earn donations to help out the family. His early ambition was to attend the University of Virginia law school and go into politics. After attending Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, he served as an engine mechanic in the Air Force. He later enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York on the G.I. bill and graduated in 1958. He began doing bit parts in television shows and movies, starting in 1960. In 1971 he played Sheriff Ep Bridges in the TV movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story. His breakout role was as Mayor Olen Johnson in 1974’s Blazing Saddles. He appeared in many episodes of the TV series Petrocelli as Lieutenant John Ponce during the series run from 1974 to 1976. In 1977 he was Jasper T. Kallikak in five episodes of The Kallikaks, and he played Mayor Cooper in seven episodes of 1979’s Hizzonner. Huddleston starred in the title role of 1985’s big-budget film Santa Claus: The Movie, which featured a top-billed Dudley Moore as an elf. For much of the 1980s, Huddleston also starred in a series of television commercials for the Citrus Hill brand of orange juice. In 1990 he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for playing Granpa Arnold in the “The Powers That Be” episode of The Wonder Years; he played the role again in episodes in 2001 and 2002. He played the title role in The Big Lebowski (1998). His performance as Benjamin Franklin in a Boston stage production of 1776 from 1997 through 1998 was referenced in the  2005 book Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell, referring to Huddleston as “the actor who played The Big Lebowski in The Big Lebowski.” On The West Wing he played Republican Max Lobell in two episodes, one in 2000 and the other in 2002. In 2005 he played the Judge in The Producers. His last film role was in one of the episodic stories in 2014’s Locker 13. Altogether, he had 145 acting credits in movies and television, according to IMDB (died 2016): “Even when I play heavies I try to play them with a twinkle in my eye. Besides, it makes him seem much meaner when he does kill.”

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