Friday, September 22, 2017

Sister Miriam

From Aleteia:
Sister Miriam (December 24, 1913 – June 17, 2002) was an Adrian Dominican and a professor of chemistry at Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan. Her obituary notes:
“Her early success in chemistry, working on early research examining cells, led to an invitation to lecture at the Sorbonne in Paris. She was the second woman to lecture there; the first was Marie Curie. She later received international recognition for her early work with the spectroscope, a tool used for analyzing chemicals, and wrote manuals for using the instrument.”
Beyond that, Sister Miriam worked on wound-healing hormones, helping to create Preparation H. She established a research laboratory at Siena Heights in 1939, where she researched cancer for more than 30 years. Known at Siena as “M2,”Sister Miriam introduced undergraduate research and an addiction counseling program. Arguably, her most significant contribution in cancer research was her solution that unlocked the shape of DNA nucleobases. Jun Tsuji’s book The Soul of DNA records:
“For lack of knowledge of the DNA double helix, scientists were unable to understand the genetic roots of cancer, and subsequently they were unable to develop effective methods of treatment. In the early 1950s, scientists were on the verge of discovering the DNA double helix and unveiling cancer as a genetic disease. Stumped by the uncertainty regarding the shape of the DNA bases, the structural and functional “soul” of DNA, the male-dominated scientific establishment – from James Watson and Francis Crick to Linus Pauling – proposed models of DNA that were, in effect, inside out. In contrast, a woman, Sister Miriam Michael Stimson, OP, an Adrian Dominican sister and chemist, dared to imagine a solution to the DNA base problem. Using potassium bromide (KBr) to prepare the DNA bases for analysis by infrared spectroscopy, Sister Miriam Michael successfully developed a chemical method that affirmed the structure of the DNA bases and of the double helix itself.”
(Read more.)
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rochambeau and Washington

There would have been no America without the help of Louis XVI. From The Daily Beast:
The Franco-American alliance was more than two years old, in July 1780, when the Rochambeau-led Expédition Particulière arrived in Rhode Island with 5,500 troops, some long-range cannon, and a relatively small fleet. The alliance had already had two large military disasters, at Newport in 1778 and at Savannah in 1779. Rochambeau wasn’t sure what he could accomplish either, having been forced to leave behind a good chunk of his army and ships, and being burdened with a set of instructions from Louis XVI, dictated by Lafayette, that in unequivocal language put him under the command of General Washington and made the French troops and ships no more than auxiliaries of the Americans.

 Washington had dreamed of this moment, and of having naval superiority over Great Britain. He had long believed that the only way to end the war was to capture a significant British stronghold and army, and for several years he had been fixated on New York as the most likely target for such an attack. Now, with the French fleet, it could be achieved! But to Rochambeau, an attack on New York seemed difficult and dangerous, as likely to end in the capture of his and Washington’s armies as in the capture of British commander Henry Clinton’s. In Rochambeau’s view, he didn’t have enough ships and men to assure himself and Washington of victory.

Washington and Rochambeau first met in Hartford on Sept. 20, 1780, at the home of Washington’s former commissary general and longtime supporter, Jeremiah Wadsworth. To this conference, Washington brought an eight-page plan for the attack on New York. Rochambeau came with a neatly written series of 10 questions, with space on the sheets to record Washington’s answers. The French queries were an elegant, Socratic trap. By answering the first one honestly, Washington would be led, inexorably and through his own logic, to the only possible conclusion, the one chosen ahead of time by Rochambeau.

So Washington was asked whether naval superiority was essential to a big victory over a target defended by the British Navy. When he responded truthfully, “There can be no decisive enterprise against the maritime establishments of the English in this country, without a constant naval superiority,” his fate was sealed because the French fleet was not yet strong enough. After the 10 questions had been answered, Rochambeau insisted that there would be no attack on New York in 1780, and none until Louis XVI dispatched more troops and a larger fleet to America. And he was able to induce Washington to co-sign a letter to the king to that effect. It was the only real product of the conference. (Read more.)
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No Starbucks at Church, Please

From FaithIt:
My husband endured cycle after cycle of chemo. He was separated from his children many nights. He was hooked up to chemo for 24 hours at a time. He listened to the doctors tell him bad news after bad news. He was left paralyzed and unable to get out of bed. And he never said how much he wished our church would incorporate coffee bars like many others were. Never once did he say he wished the lighting in our sanctuary resembled the lighting he saw other churches boasting of on social media. He never told me how cool it was that churches were putting couches on the platform. He didn’t boast of the graphics and props on the platform that some churches were incorporating. He talked about Jesus. He quoted scriptures. He reminded me of sermons we had heard. And in the middle of the night he sang songs of praise and worship to God and he spent his time praying. Because nothing a church does to strategize to bring in members helps you in the time of the storm. It is only Jesus.

On February 13th, I had to do the most difficult task of telling my children their dad was not going to make it, and the next day at 7:24 the doctors declared him dead.  And as I lay next to my children at night listening to my daughter sob uncontrollably because she misses her dad so much, I am not thinking about the trendiness of a church. I am thinking that my strength comes solely from God.

I don’t have my best friend with me anymore. And even though I take comfort in knowing he is in heaven, I can’t talk to my husband. I can’t text him during the day. I can’t share with him my frustrations. I can’t hold his hand. I can’t hug him. I can’t kiss him. He is not here. And as I drive to church during the week, I am not thinking that I wish the leadership at my church would read “how to grow your church” books and adopt cool sermon series. I am thinking how desperately I need Jesus.
As I look at two young children who now have to grow up without their amazing dad by their side, I am not thinking of how cool it is that ministers are relating the message to a Hollywood film. I am thinking of how much I need Jesus. (Read more.)
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Father Sampson

From Aleteia:
Among those soldiers who landed behind German lines in Normandy on June 6, 1944 was the legendary chaplain of the unit, Fr. Francis L. Sampson (1912-1996). It was he (and not the character played by Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan), who days later was ordered by military authorities to find Fritz Niland, the real-life “Private Ryan,” who had lost his three brothers on D-Day.

Father Sampson – better known as “Father Sam” – arrived in Normandy by parachute. The first thing he did when he landed was desperately look for his Mass kit, which he had lost during his landing. It was hard for him to locate in the dark, under heavy enemy fire, among the explosions, but he did. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
In the 70's and 80's we were told to avoid coconut oil because it caused cellulite. However, since then, a great deal of research has been done. Coconut oil has been proven to do wonders for the skin and hair. I fell in love with coconut oil during my trip to the Philippines. I found out that my great grandmother used it in her famously beautiful hair. When I created my face creams I made coconut oil a main ingredient. (Read more.)
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Cardinal Sarah Supports Young Traditionalists

From The Catholic Herald:
Cardinal Robert Sarah has praised young Catholics who prefer the older form of the Roman Rite, saying he can “personally testify to the sincerity and devotion of these young men and women”. In a speech to the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum Pontificum, held at the Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum), the cardinal added that other Catholics should “open your hearts and minds” to these young people and the “good they do”.

“They are neither nostalgic nor embittered nor encumbered by the ecclesiastical battles of recent decades,” he said. “They are full of the joy of living the life of Christ amidst the challenges of the modern world.”

In turn, he called on Catholics who prefer the Old Rite to leave the “traditionalist ghetto” and mix with other Catholics as “many will benefit” from their faithful witness.

“Almighty God calls you to do this. No one will rob you of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite. But many will benefit, in this life and the next, from your faithful Christian witness which will have so much to offer given the profound formation in the faith that the ancient rites and the associated spiritual and doctrinal ambience has given you.” (Read more.)

Also from The Catholic Herald about young Catholics:
At the end of the day, it’s hard enough to be a young Catholic today, that I think most of us recognise that can’t let “liturgy wars” bring us down. Do you feel closest to God while wearing a veil and chanting Latin? Great. Is the Novus Order Mass in English, with the promise of coffee and donuts afterwards, the only way to get your butt into a pew on Sunday? More power to you. We’re just happy you’re here, because we want you to meet Jesus. (Read more.)
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Church Suicide

From Matt Walsh:
Of course, this dissertation on the theological significance of Buzz Lightyear was pretty standard fare. The message preached from most pulpits in America is just like this: superficial, childish, empty, and seemingly designed to insult the intelligence of anyone who hears it. Christianity is dull and lifeless in this country because that’s what the church and its leaders have done to it. They’ve made it into something so bland, generic and inoffensive that it no longer bears any resemblance to the faith of our Christian ancestors. Even the church buildings themselves reflect this trend. Most of them look like shopping malls or government buildings. Sleek, gray, ugly, secular. But inoffensive. Inoffensive in the same way that the DMV is inoffensive.

Indeed, the primary goal of the modern church is to avoid offense, at whatever cost. And this is precisely why they’re dying. The problem is not merely that they’re boring people. After all, there are those who are bored watching anything that doesn’t involve explosions and car chases. The problem more specifically is that they’re starving people. There is no substance, no meat, in the message being preached. The congregants sit there and slowly starve to death.

Your flocks are starving, churches. You are starving them. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More about Louis and Antoinette's Relationship

Continuing the discussion on BlogTalkRadio in which I analyze Queen Marie-Antoinette's relationship with her husband Louis XVI. The two teenagers first met hours before their wedding, endured many trials and humiliations together, and grew into a devoted couple who could only be separated by death. Was Louis really an ungracious dolt, incapable of being a true husband? Was he himself so completely unlovable as he has often been described? Did sexual frustration drive the Queen to spend money, which is the typical Freudian interpretation? Such questions and more will be explored, based upon scholarship, both old and new. Part One is HERE. Part Two, HERE.

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