All in the Family
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All in the Family

Some years after becoming an oblate at the New Camadoli Hermitage in California’s remote Big Sur, Paula Huston embraced God’s call to research and write this compact yet far-reaching and exhaustively researched history of the hermitage. First, she discerned she could not do justice to New Camadoli unless she dug deeply into the history of…

History Rhymes
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History Rhymes

As the old saying goes: “history does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” The past does not give us a blueprint for the future, but it can provide us insights into the trajectory of current events. This year, many Dutch towns are celebrating the 450th anniversary of one of the most important turning points…

A nation born out of war and lawlessness, the Netherlands
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A nation born out of war and lawlessness, the Netherlands

Many Dutch towns are celebrating the 450-year anniversary of what happened on April 1, 1572, when a motley crew of seamen (called the Sea Beggars), loyal to William of Orange, were able to capture and hold their first town (Brielle) on the Dutch mainland. The capture of Brielle was an important turning point in the…

Putin’s recklessness
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Putin’s recklessness

In 1918 pandemic followed war. In 2022 war has followed pandemic. Few of us saw it coming. Up to the last moment, I thought Russian President Vladimir Putin would continue to chip away at Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking eastern territories, funding “separatists” and daring the rest of the world to do something about it. I personally…

Get back to where you once belonged
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Get back to where you once belonged

“Well, who wants to keep the human race going?” This is the question considered in the slim volume entitled Curing Mad Truths: Medieval Wisdom for the Modern Age by Rémi Brague, a French intellectual and historian of philosophy. Lest any of Brague’s characteristics give one pause about the books’ accessibility, the reader may draw reassurance…

Praise God for vaccines
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Praise God for vaccines

In the spring of 2019, I was diagnosed with superficial bladder cancer. The cancerous growth was surgically removed but reappeared nine months later and removed again. My surgeon suggested follow-up treatment at Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Clinic for BCG immunotherapy. BCG stands for Bacillis-Calmette-Guerin. BCG was developed by French doctors Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin in…

A Subversive Christmas
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A Subversive Christmas

Medieval Christmas traditions would seem a little weird to most of us. In fact, the kind of Christmas that my ancestors likely observed in the fishing villages of Medieval North Holland probably looked a lot more like Halloween than Christmas. Take caroling, for example. We think of caroling as a joyful, cheer-sharing pastime meant to…