Happiness - Stability - Contentment
Saturday, November 06, 2021
In this particular blog which I am beginning to write at 10:39
PM on 6 November 2021 I may wander around.
I wrote this blog about the difference between contentment
and happiness. In the blog I am the old man and the girl is my granddaughter.
When I had work, and Rosemary and I had schedules, we were
worried about money and other menialities of everyday life. Now all I have is
grief , my Rosemary gone now for almost a year, two lovely adoring cats and the
twice a week company of my daughter Hilary and the everyday phone call from my
Lillooet daughter Ale. And of course the menialities.
Is that enough? Am I happy?
Am I content?
I don’t want to celebrate Christmas. Every year bought the
tree and Rosemary brought down the decorations from our storage in the attic.
We poured over Christmas brochures for gifts for the family and it was her job
to do the wrapping. Christmas Eve meant that our family would come over for my
roast beef and Rosemary’s Yorkshire Pudding. I don’t have the heart for any of
One of my ideas is to spend Christmas with my nephew
Georgito O’Reilly in Buenos Aires. The rest of his/my family leave town by
December 15th. He is my favourite relative in Argentina. So only seeing him will be enough to keep me content.
But there are factors that make my plans questionable. In
about a week and a few more days they are having mid-term elections.
Oficialismo (as they call and party in power) will be losing seats in the two
houses. Will there be chaos? Inflation is reaching 45% and almost 50% of the
country is in poverty.
When Rosemary and I were in Buenos Aires in September 2010
the US Dollar (in Argentina they call the black-market dollar “ el dollar blue”
was at 64 pesos. In the last few days it has reached 199. The finance minister
says there will be no devaluation.
The Frente de Todos (the party in power) is buying votes by
giving away kitchen stoves and refrigerators.
Thanks to my Rosemary who made us move to Vancouver in 1975
we and now me are reaping Canadian stability both in politics and in financial
matters. Can I look forward to going for
10 days to a country in which anything can happen?
The only stability I have ever noticed in my Argentina
are the guards (Granaderos de San Martín) who are at their post inside the
Metropolitan Cathedral by the entrance to the tomb of the great general.
Remembering Filomena Cristeta de Irureta Goyena de Hayward on All Souls Day
Monday, November 01, 2021
Today, All Souls Day, I would like to write about my mother Filomena Cristeta de Irureta Goyena de Hayward
For anybody who may have gleaned any of my past blogs they
know I do not hide the fact that I was baptized and confirmed as a Roman
Catholic. My grandmother was especially devout.
When it came time to find me a high school when I finished
my 8th grade in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila my mother found St. Edward’s
High School in Austin. I was a boarder for four years. Even then I was aware
that the Brothers of Holy Cross (the same as those in Notre Dame University in
South Bend, Indiana) were terrific teachers. I bonded with many of them and in
particular Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. (in Latin those initials stand for
congregation of the Holy Cross) who became my mentor and model for the rest of
my life until he died in 2013. I find it comfortably outstanding that he met my
two granddaughters and my Rosemary.
Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. Obituary
Brother Edwin Charles Reggio, C.S.C. Mentor
I have an ultra Roman Catholic relative in Buenos Aires who
left the Opus Dei (yes they do exist) because it was not conservative enough
for him. He does not even attempt to discuss Catholic Doctrine with me as he
knows my knowledge of it is better than his.
At my age of 79 I would not reveal here what I believe or don’t believe.This is
But I would like to mention here (with an almost smile) how
sometime in 1961 my mother told me, “Today I found out I do not have a patron
saint. It seems that Filomena never existed!”
By 1970 my mother was almost deaf because her hearing nerves
were being destroyed by the debilitating Meniere’s and she experience a
constant ringing and horrible moments of vertigo.
She died in 1972, at age 59, in the joint presence of
Rosemary and me. A few months before she had told me, “I believe in God but I
have lost my ability to pray as I do not think that this God intervenes in our
affairs. He is remote.” I did not know how to comfort her. I was heartbroken.
Because of the existence of Google I was able to verify
what had upset my mother in 1961
Professing Faith: The strange story of St. Philomena
This week marks the annual commemoration of one of the
most popular — and the most quirky and therefore the most interesting — of the
saints recognized in modern times. Her cult is perhaps highly debatable, it is
popular and it is unusual.
This is the devotion to the Roman-era saint Philomena.
And what is interesting about her is not what she did, but what people have
said about her.
Her traditional day is Aug. 11.
Here are the basics. In the early days of Christianity,
the saints who died at the hands of the imperial Roman government were
carefully recorded and remembered by the Christian community. Hundreds of
Italian and Greek churches are built on top of the graves of the early martyrs,
and some are recorded in the lives of the saints and some are mentioned in the
ancient Roman canon of the Mass, such as saints Laurence, Chysogonus, Agnes and
so forth. These early martyrs hold a certain place on honor in the Catholic
Church right down to the present day.
In the year 1802, some reconstruction was done on the
tomb of St. Priscilla, in the city of Rome, who was one of these early Roman
However, while the workers were digging, they cracked
into another ancient tomb, which was hitherto unknown. Upon inspection this
tomb contained bones identified as those of a female between the ages of 12 and
15. On the walls of the tomb were various Christian symbols — two anchors, a
lily, a palm and three arrows.
Historians were consulted and it was affirmed that these
were certainly Roman-era religious symbols. The anchor was routinely used in
graves of martyrs for the faith, as were the arrows and the palm, while the
lily was used to designate devout virgins.
Baked clay tiles gave the inscription of “lumena, pax te.
Cum fi.” “Pax te” means “peace be with you.” The remainder of the inscription
could be the name Filomena or in English Philomena. This is all the ancient
Roman Christians left to us, along with her bones.
There were some problems with this discovery. While the
carefully preserved bones and the well-built tomb suggested someone of
importance and the art clearly attested to a Christian martyr for the faith,
there were absolutely no records, secular or religious, about any “saint”
Philomena in any religious history. Nowhere in any of the Vatican archives or
in any known hagiography, of which there are many, are there documents
regarding any known St. Philomena. She is absolutely unknown, not mentioned at
any point in recorded history.
This is not to say she was not a saint; it is just
problematic than nobody heard of her until 1802. This is where her story gets
In the year 1805, a young Italian priest named Father
Francesco de Luca, who served a parish in Mugnano in the diocese of Nola,
approached the Vatican and asked for the body of a saint to be given to him to
establish a shrine in his otherwise obscure parish. This was a difficult
request, as the relics of most saints were buried in churches and cathedrals
long ago and only long after were recognized as authentic saints.
There was simply no stack of holy corpses lying around in
the Vatican waiting for shrines.
However, Father Francesco had contacts in the Vatican,
who told him of this otherwise unknown Philomena, and Pope Pius VII gave
permission for the priest from Mugnano to remove her bones to his church for
burial. This was accomplished on Sept. 29, 1805. Her bones remain there in a
special shrine in Mugnano to this very day.
What is interesting about this story is that no sooner
were her bones given a special shrine than alleged miracles began to be
reported left and right. If we are to believe the early 19th-century stories,
cripples who visited the shrine walked, the blind received their sight,
addictions were undone and relationships in families were healed.
When the local bishop of Nola wanted to give fragments of
her bones to all of the parishes in his territory, the story goes that her
relics multiplied and more than enough bone fragments were available for all
the congregations that wanted them. Such stories tend to strain the credulity
of even the most devout of the modern faithful.
Among “saint” Philomena’s earthly friends was an odd but
interesting assortment of people. Pope Gregory XVI allowed the Diocese of Nola
to commemorate Philomena in their liturgical calendars on Aug. 11. Another one
of her fans was Father John Maria Mastai Ferretti, who later became Pope Pius
IX. Another of her devotees was Father John Marie Vianney, the Cure de Ars, the
beloved confessor of thousands who was later widely acclaimed as a saint in
Yet another of Philomena’s fans was Father Giuseppe Melchiorre
Sarto, from Riese, Italy, who was later elected as Pope Pius X, which was later
still canonized as a saint.
In 1933, a devout nun in Naples declared that she had a
vision that informed her that St. Philomena had been a Greek princess who was
murdered in the time of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and this witness did much
to popularize her cult.
At the very least, the newly discovered Philomena had
good friends in the modern church. There is no question that because of these
ecclesiastical leaders’ support, her following in the 19th and early 20th
century was widespread and popular. Holy cards, medals and devotions to St.
Philomena were commonplace.
But there remained a problem in the church. Philomena,
whatever her popularity, had never once been recognized a legitimate Catholic
Although a number of official liturgical books referred
to her as a saint, no decree from any pope or council ever declared her an
official saint. The most exacting modern research has yet to discover any
ancient record of the existence of this young woman. Various modern historians
have challenged her existence citing that many Roman-era tombs were recycled
for generations and there was no way to know if the bones of “Philomena” were
the actual bones of a real martyr.
From the perspective of professional historians, there is
very little reliable evidence for Philomena’s existence.
In 1961, in an effort to curb superstition, the Vatican
and Pope John XXIII ordered Philomena’s name removed from all official
calendars as a saint.
Pope Paul VI continued this policy, deleting a number of
other “questionable” saints, including St. Christopher, the patron saint of
travelers, and St. Barbara, the patron saint of fireworks.
One Catholic wag declared that when Pope Paul went to
heaven, these saints would be waiting for him with large sticks to give him a
good thrashing for removing them from the official calendar of saints. This
author is sure there are no thrashings in heaven, but it’s a colorful line.
And yet, who are we modern sages to say that the
devotions of the ordinary humble people who believed in St. Philomena are
wrong? If devotions to this otherwise unknown Roman teenage girl brought solace
to a suffering soul, who am I to say her cult did not have value?
The Latin proverb “Vox populi, vox dei” or the “Voice of
the people is the voice of God” has some merit here.
That said, there is one more possibility here. Perhaps
she really did exist, after all.
Gregory Elder, a Redlands resident, is a professor of
history and humanities at Moreno Valley College and a Roman Catholic priest.
The Feet of Time Walk in our Feet - Eduardo Galeano & Fall
Sunday, October 31, 2021
|Aconitum carmichaelli 'Arendsii' 31 & unknown Acer - 31 October 2021|
El jardín de mi Rosemary hasta me sorprende en este último día de octubre con el lindo azul de sus aconitum de otoño. Representan una memoria que tengo de ella y de su elegante apreciación del azul en un jardín.
My Rosemary's garden even surprises in this last day of October with the
lovely blue or her fall aconitum. To me they represent a memory of her,
of her garden and of her elegant appreciation of blue in a garden.
deprimo a veces saber que sencillamente por el hecho de hablar el castellano y el inglés
tengo disponible la maravillosa literatura de ambos idiomas. Pero existe un
I sometimes feel
depressed that just because I read and speak both Spanish and English I have at
my disposal the best of the literature of those two languages. There is one
el inglés es la lingua franca de este siglo 21 mucho de lo que leo en
castellano no ha sido traducido al inglés. Lo mismo sucede al revés.
Because English is
the lingua franca of this century a lot of what I read in Spanish has not been
translated into English. It is the same in the opposite direction.
bien que mi falta del dominio del italiano y el francés es algo que a mi
avanzada edad de 79 años ya no tiene solución alguna.
I know well that
because I do not speak Italian or French this is a problem that has no solution because
of my advanced age of 79.
unas lindas palabras de Eduardo Galeano sobre el otoño.
It is only in the
last 10 years that I have discovered the fabulous poems, novels and essays by
Uruguayan writers (now dead) Mario Benedetti and Eduardo Galeano. Few in the
world of the lingua franca are aware of the existence of two marvelous Argentine
poets Alfonsina Storni and Alejandra Pizarnik. That is a pity. Below without
translation some beautiful words by Eduardo Galeano on the season we are now
having called fall. It is interesting to note how literature is so well regarded in Latin America that there is so much available and found on the internet as what is below.
sus pies y sus bocas.
del tiempo caminan en nuestros pies.
corta o a la larga, ya se sabe, los vientos del tiempo borrarán las huellas.
de la nada, pasos de nadie? Las bocas del tiempo cuentan el viaje.
Eduardo Galeano, Bocas del tiempo
va septiembre, pero el otoño continúa como en una ceremonia de noria
sentimental girando sin fin, porque todo fluye y nada permanece aunque la vida
repita actos humanos o los que sencillamente reproducen las leyes de la
naturaleza. Es lo que nos dejó escrito Eduardo Galeano, en esta galería poética
y de escritores que he elegido en este otoño tan especial, para demostrarnos
que hemos nacido para volar, para contar nuestros viajes particulares porque
somos pies y bocas del tiempo y porque nuestros pensamientos, deseos y sueños
también pueden volar si nos deja hacerlo la propia vida. Su mensaje es claro y
circular: los años son los que vuelan, porque nosotros permanecemos un tiempo,
el de cada uno, porque cada día tiene su afán y cada tiempo su momento,
sabiendo como sabemos y nos lo transmitieron los sabios del lugar histórico de
cada cual que, vanidad de vanidades, todo es vanidad, porque las grandes
preguntas de la vida suelen volar como nosotros o como las mariposas de Galeano
en Bocas del tiempo (1):
de los años
llega el otoño, millones y millones de mariposas inician su largo viaje hacia
el sur, desde las tierras frías de la América del Norte.
fluye, entonces, a lo largo del cielo: el suave oleaje, olas de alas, va
dejando, a su paso, un esplendor de color naranja en las alturas. Las mariposas
vuelan sobre montañas y praderas y playas y ciudades y desiertos.
poco más que el aire. Durante los cuatro mil kilómetros de travesía, unas
cuantas caen volteadas por el cansancio, los vientos o las lluvias; pero las
muchas que resisten aterrizan, por fin, en los bosques del centro de México.
descubren ese reino jamás visto, que desde lejos las llamaba.
volar han nacido: para volar este vuelo. Después, regresan a casa. Y allá en el
siguiente, cuando llega el otoño, millones y millones de mariposas inician su
verdad lo que deja entrever esta lectura del otoño natural y universal, pero
Galeano nos inquieta con un contrapunto de la falta de esa libertad, de la que
hacen gala las mariposas incluso en el otoño, expresándolo con duras palabras
sobre la que no tienen los emigrantes ahora, en estos días, otras bocas del
tiempo, en una reflexión también necesaria cuando vemos cómo se impide la
libertad de movimiento a los más débiles:
Los emigrantes, ahora
siempre, las mariposas y las golondrinas y los flamencos vuelan huyendo del
frío, año tras año, y nadan las ballenas en busca de otra mar y los salmones y
las truchas en busca de sus ríos. Ellos viajan miles de leguas, por los libres
caminos del aire y del agua. No son libres, en cambio, los caminos del éxodo
humano. En inmensas caravanas, marchan los fugitivos de la vida imposible.
Viajan desde el sur hacia el norte y desde el sol naciente hacia el poniente.
Les han robado su lugar en el mundo. Han sido despojados de sus trabajos y sus
tierras. Muchos huyen de las guerras, pero muchos más huyen de los salarios
exterminados y de los suelos arrasados. Los náufragos de la globalización peregrinan
inventando caminos, queriendo casa, golpeando puertas: las puertas que se
abren, mágicamente, al paso del dinero, se cierran en sus narices. Algunos
consiguen colarse. Otros son cadáveres que la mar entrega a las orillas
prohibidas, o cuerpos sin nombre que yacen bajo tierra en el otro mundo adonde
querían llegar. Sebastião Salgado los ha fotografiado, en cuarenta países,
durante varios años. De su largo trabajo, quedan trescientas imágenes. Y las
trescientas imágenes de esta inmensa desventura humana caben, todas, en un
segundo. Suma solamente un segundo toda la luz que ha entrado en la cámara, a
lo largo de tantas fotografías: apenas una guiñada en los ojos del sol, no más
que un instantito en la memoria del tiempo.
está permitido volar en nuestros sueños, no hace mucho tiempo, diseñé la
palabra “libertad” con alas auténticas de mariposas, uniendo las imágenes, no
las alas disecadas, de las mariposas de la especia Metálica, de la Selva
peruana y de las Guayanas, la Satúrnida de Ghana, la Noctuida negra de
Venezuela, la Tigre nocturna de Boston, la Marrón de Guatemala, la Papilio de
Nueva Guinea y la Apolo de Suiza, conformando con ellas la palabra LIBERTAD
(2), porque ordenadas como acrónimo, todas ellas, enumeradas por el orden que
he expuesto, nos brindan la oportunidad de leer en sus alas esta palabra
mágica, libertad, a la que aspiramos alcanzar cuidando con esmero las quimeras
de la dignidad. He unido las dos Metálicas, con la L y la I en sus alas; la
Satúrnida, mostrándome una B hermosa; la Noctuida, son la E bien trazada; la
Tigre, con una R resplandeciente; la Marrón, dibujando una T de Tierra; la
Papilio, mostrando una A de asombro y, finalmente, la Apolo, con una D de
decisión para volar siempre en sueños posibles. Me he paseado en ellas por el
mundo, volando de norte a sur y de este a oeste, en mi mapamundi imaginario de
libertad, mostrándome siempre que es urgente no faltar al respeto de la madre
naturaleza, en todas y cada una de sus manifestaciones. Libertad alada,
libertad. Naturaleza libre y alada, naturaleza. Alma alada y libre (3), solo
alma también en otoño, expresándolo con nuestras bocas del tiempo.