Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

28 July 2008


Hello from Villa Marquette in beautiful Omena, Michigan where an epic battle is raging between the forces of order and chaos. This week we've been engaging in a major clean up of the compound especially our war against mold which is now in it's second year.

Some major projects:

Rehabilitating fifty nightstands, yes fifty (sanding and painting with mold resistant paint)

Building replacement Adirondack chairs (last year many were lost in the mold battle)

Tearing apart a defunct and incredibly funky old shower room

Tearing down an old fuel shed on the beach and gutting another

Continuing to get rid of any carpet or upholstered furniture in mold prone areas

Painting the second floor of one of the houses

Cleaning the chapel and re-securing some of the pews (the temperature changes warped some of the wood and broke a few brackets)

Official vacation starts Wednesday.

21 July 2008

Whether there is a sin in lack of mirth?

I answer that, In human affairs whatever is against reason is a sin. Now it is against reason for a man to be burdensome to others, by offering no pleasure to others, and by hindering their enjoyment. Wherefore Seneca [Martin of Braga, Formula Vitae Honestae: cap. De Continentia] says (De Quat. Virt., cap. De Continentia): "Let your conduct be guided by wisdom so that no one will think you rude, or despise you as a cad." Now a man who is without mirth, not only is lacking in playful speech, but is also burdensome to others, since he is deaf to the moderate mirth of others. Consequently they are vicious, and are said to be boorish or rude, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. iv, 8).

-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica Secunda Secundae Partis Q168 A 4

The Angelic Doctor clearly understands the virtue of recreation. Who am I to ignore his advice? Let the recreation commence: tomorrow, Batman on Imax; Wednesday, Cedar Point; Friday, Omena for a variety of water sports, bonfires, and fellowship. And whether mirth, work, or study it is all for the Greater Glory of God.

16 July 2008

Back in the USA

I'm back in the USA as of yesterday afternoon. It was a long trip via Houston but after twelve hours of sleep last night I'm back to normal.

My time in Peru was on the whole wonderful though not especially easy. The people, especially the Jesuits were remarkably warm and welcoming. They opened up new realities of culture and the Church to me that I had never before considered.

I've come to realize just how dependent I am on the American way of doing things, everything from traffic laws to potable drinking water to good government. As much as Americans complain about the state of our government, and have the right to complain, compared with most of the world our country runs remarkably well and after even my short time in Peru, I am particularly grateful for my native land.

Task one have arrived in Detroit is working through the pile of laundry that has accumulated from the Peru trip and my trip home and to Chicago which immediately preceded Peru. On these occasions I'm especially motivated to simplify, besides the spiritual benefits I'd have less to wash.

12 July 2008

Cuzco and Beyond

I'm just back from six days in and around the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco. Cuzco is around 10,000 feet which for most people means a spell of altitude sickness anything from a mild headache to pretty severe trouble. Thankfully all but one of us were spared the nasty effects of low oxygen levels.

Tuesday we ventured a small ways out of Cuzco to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a fertile valley home to many important Inca ruins.

Our plans got a bit disrupted Wednesday because of a National Strike. All roads in and out of the city were blocked and just about all the stores were closed. The only vehicles on the road that day were police. We watched the strike from the roof of the Jesuit Church in Cuzco's main square after an excellent tour given by the pastor. The Church in the picture is the Jesuit Church, La CompaƱia.

Thursday we headed out of the city to some remote Jesuit apostotles working with native peoples. It was really the middle of nowhere. We traveled for miles and miles over unpaved roads and truly harsh terrain.

Friday we visited the storied Maccu Picchu. I was less impressed with the city itself than with the rain forest and mountains surrounding it. Location, location, location.

03 July 2008

Last week in Lima

This is my last week in Lima. On Sunday I head up to the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco for a week of touring including Maccu Pichu. I don't think I'll have internet access whilst in Cuzco.

Last night there was a power outage, our fourth since arriving here. Rather than sitting at home in the dark all night we decided to head out into the city. The picture is of seven happy Jesuits at Lima's waterpark, which is really quite impressive. It's a collection of fountains, some quite large, choreographed with music, lights, and video. A good time was had by all, and when we got back home the lights were on.

Urban Roosters

Urban Roosters
or how I get up in the morning.

When I was younger, I often watched Green Acres on TV and wondered what the country life would be like. As a child of upper-middle class and lower-upper class suburbs my acquinantance with any sort of farm animals is strictly limited that is to say I've visited pettings zoos and watched Green Acres. One prominent aspect of my agrarian imaginings was waking up to the sound of the roosters preparing for the dawn and then going out to a hard day's work.
When I arrived in Lima last month, a congested city of almost eight million, I had no idea part of my Green Acres imaginings would come true. Yet the very first morning here about six in the morning the roosters began cockeldoodeling (can that be a gerund?). Our neighboor a few buildings over raises roosters on his roof, in fact urban livestock appears to be common here. It was amuzing and efficient using the rooster alarm for about the first week until I realized the awful truth about waking up to roosters: it's the alarm clock that won't shut off at least not until the sun goes down. Sure they mellow out as the day goes on but never quite stop like an alarm clock the beeps randomly throughout the day just to make certain you haven't nodded off. Gone are my romanticized vision of life on the farm, all thanks to a very urban Lima and its very urban roosters.