Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Today is the 30th anniversary of Reagan assassination attempt

This is the famous photo of President Ronald Wilson Reagan of today's 30th anniversary event! President Reagan: today is the 30th anniversary of your assassination attempt, it is a good thing you had a higher being protecting you from harm, you are truly a hero of mine and thank you for being a bold and strong president in the 1980s, you are missed!
The Reagan assassination attempt occurred on Monday, March 30, 1981, just 69 days into the presidency of Ronald Reagan. While leaving a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded by John Hinckley, Jr. Reagan suffered a punctured lung, but prompt medical attention allowed him to recover quickly. Reagan was the first serving United States president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. No formal invocation of presidential succession took place, although Secretary of State Alexander Haig controversially stated that he was "in control here" while Vice President George H. W. Bush returned to Washington. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and remains confined to a psychiatric facility. Assassination attempt On March 21, 1981, Ronald Reagan, the new President of the United States, visited Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. with his wife Nancy for a political fundraising event. He recalled, "I looked up at the presidential box above the stage where Abe Lincoln had been sitting the night he was shot and felt a curious sensation...I thought that even with all the Secret Service protection we now had, it was probably still possible for someone who had enough determination to get close enough to a president to shoot him." Speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton HotelHinckley arrived in Washington on Sunday, March 29 on a Greyhound Lines bus and checked into the Park Central Hotel. He had breakfast at McDonald's the next morning, noticed Reagan's schedule on page A4 of the Washington Star, and decided it was time to act. Knowing that he might not survive shooting the president, Hinckley wrote but did not mail a letter to Foster about two hours prior to the assassination attempt, saying that he hoped to impress her with the magnitude of his action and that he would "abandon the idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you". On March 30, Reagan delivered a luncheon address to AFL-CIO representatives at the Washington Hilton Hotel; he had done well among blue-collar workers in the election, and the administration hoped to build support among "Reagan Democrats". :58 He entered the building around 1:45, waving to a crowd of news media and citizens. While the Secret Service had made Reagan wear a bulletproof vest for some events, he did not wear one for the speech as Reagan's only public exposure would be the 30 feet between the hotel and his limousine, and the agency did not require vests for its agents that day. No one saw Hinckley behave in an unusual way; witnesses who reported him as "fidgety" and "agitated" apparently confused Hinckley with another person there that the Secret Service was monitoring. The shooting At 2:27pm Eastern Time, :82 as Reagan walked out of the hotel's T Street NW exit toward his waiting limousine, Hinckley waited within the crowd of admirers. While the Secret Service extensively screened those attending the president's speech, in a "colossal mistake" the agency allowed an unscreened group to stand within 15 feet of him, behind a rope line. :80-81,225 Unexpectedly, Reagan passed right in front of Hinckley. Knowing he would never get a better chance, :81 Hinckley fired a Röhm RG-14 .22 cal. blue steel revolver six times in 1.7 seconds, :82 missing the president with all six shots. The first bullet hit White House Press Secretary James Brady in the head. The second hit District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty in the back as he turned to protect Reagan. :82 Hinckley now had a clear shot at the president, :81 but the third overshot him and hit the window of a building across the street. As Special Agent In Charge Jerry Parr quickly pushed Reagan into the limousine, the fourth hit Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy in the abdomen as he spread his body over Reagan to make himself a target.:81 The fifth hit the bullet-resistant glass of the window on the open side door of the limousine. The sixth and final bullet ricocheted off the armored side of the limousine and hit the president in his left underarm, grazing a rib and lodging in his lung, stopping nearly an inch from his heart; had Parr hesitated for a moment, the president would likely have been hit in the head. :224 After the shooting, Alfred Antenucci, a Cleveland, Ohio labor official returning from a round of golf, and who stood by Hinckley, was the first to respond. He saw the gun and hit Hinckley in the head, pulling the shooter down to the ground. Within two seconds agent Dennis McCarthy (no relation to agent Timothy McCarthy) dived onto the shooter as others threw him to the ground; intent on protecting Hinckley to avoid what happened to Lee Harvey Oswald, :84 McCarthy had to "strike two citizens" to force them to release him. Agent Robert Wanko took an Uzi from a briefcase to cover the President's evacuation and to deter another group attack. Sixteen minutes after the assassination attempt, the ATF found that the gun had been purchased at Rocky's Pawn Shop in Dallas, Texas. It had been loaded with six "Devastator"-brand cartridges which contained small aluminum and lead azide explosive charges designed to explode on contact; the bullet that hit Brady likely exploded in his skull. On April 2, after learning that the others could explode at any time, volunteer doctors wearing bulletproof vests removed the bullet from Delahanty's neck. Public reaction The assassination attempt was captured on video by several cameras, including those belonging to the Big Three television networks; ABC began airing footage at 2:42 pm. All three networks erroneously reported that Brady had died. While the Cable News Network did not have a camera of its own at the shooting it was able to use NBC's pool feed, nd by staying on the story for 48 hours the network, less than a year old, built a reputation for thoroughness. Shocked Americans gathered around television sets in homes and shopping centers. Some cited the alleged Curse of Tippecanoe, and others recalled the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.. Newspapers printed extra editions, the United States Senate adjourned, interrupting debate of Reagan's economic proposals, and churches held prayer services. Hinckley asked the arresting officers whether that night's Academy Awards ceremony would be postponed due to the shooting, and it was; the ceremony—for which former actor Reagan had taped a message—occurred the next evening. Because the president survived surgery with a good prognosis, the 1981 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament championship game that day—in which Most Outstanding Player Isiah Thomas led Indiana to victory over North Carolina—was not postponed, although the audience of 18,000 in Philadelphia held a moment of silence before the game. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined due to the shooting before the New York Stock Exchange closed early, but the index rose the next day as Reagan recovered. Beyond having to postpone its Academy Awards broadcast, ABC temporarily renamed the lead character of The Greatest American Hero from "Ralph Hinkley" to "Hanley", and NBC postponed a forthcoming episode of Walking Tall titled "Hit Man". Aftermath Reagan was the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. His staff were anxious for the president to appear to be recovering quickly, and the morning after his operation he saw visitors and signed a piece of legislation. Reagan left the hospital on the 13th day. Initially, he worked two hours a day in the White House. He did not lead a Cabinet meeting until day 26, did not leave Washington until day 49, and did not hold a press conference until day 79. Ruge thought recovery was not complete until October. Reagan's plans for the month after the shooting were canceled, including a visit to the Mission Control Center at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in April 1981 during STS-1, the first flight of the Space Shuttle. Vice President Bush instead called the orbiting astronauts during their mission. Reagan would visit Mission Control during STS-2 that November. The attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%. Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he might go on to fulfill a greater purpose and, although not a Catholic, meetings with Mother Teresa, Cardinal Terence Cooke, and fellow shooting survivor Pope John Paul II reinforced this belief. Agent Parr came to believe that God had directed his life to save Reagan, and became a pastor. :224 Reagan returned to the Oval Office on April 25, receiving a standing ovation from staff and Cabinet members; referring to their teamwork in his absence, he insisted, "I should be applauding you." His first public appearance was an April 28 speech before the joint houses of Congress to introduce his planned spending cuts, a campaign promise. He received "two thunderous standing ovations", which the New York Times deemed "a salute to his good health" as well as his programs, which the President introduced using a medical recovery theme. The two law enforcement officers recovered from their wounds, although Delahanty was forced to retire due to his injuries. The attack seriously wounded the President's Press Secretary, James Brady, who sustained a serious head wound and became permanently disabled. Brady remained as Press Secretary for the remainder of Reagan's administration, but this was primarily a titular role. Later, Brady and his wife Sarah became leading advocates of gun control and other actions to reduce the amount of gun violence in the United States. They also became active in the lobbying organization Handgun Control, Inc. – which would eventually be renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence – and founded the non-profit Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed in 1993 as a result of their work. The shooting of Reagan widened a debate on gun control in the U.S. that the death of John Lennon in December 1980 had started. Reagan expressed opposition to increased handgun control following Lennon's death and re-iterated his opposition after his own shooting. However in a speech at an event marking the assassination attempt's 10th anniversary, Reagan endorsed the Brady Act: "Anniversary" is a word we usually associate with happy events that we like to remember: birthdays, weddings, the first job. March 30, however, marks an anniversary I would just as soon forget, but cannot... four lives were changed forever, and all by a Saturday-night special – a cheaply made .22 caliber pistol – purchased in a Dallas pawnshop by a young man with a history of mental disturbance. This nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now – the Brady bill – had been law back in 1981... If the passage of the Brady bill were to result in a reduction of only 10 or 15 percent of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land. And there would be a lot fewer families facing anniversaries such as the Bradys, Delahantys, McCarthys and Reagans face every March 30. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity on June 21, 1982. The defense psychiatric reports had found him to be insane[57] while the prosecution reports declared him legally sane. Following his lawyers' advice, he declined to take the stand in his own defense. Hinckley was confined at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he is still being held. After his trial, he wrote that the shooting was "the greatest love offering in the history of the world", and did not indicate any regrets. The not-guilty verdict led to widespread dismay, and, as a result, the U.S. Congress and a number of states rewrote laws regarding the insanity defense. The old Model Penal Code test was replaced by a test that shifts the burden of proof of insanity from the prosecution to the defendant. Three states have abolished the defense altogether. Jodie Foster was hounded relentlessly by the media in early 1981 because she was Hinckley's target of obsession. She commented on Hinckley on three occasions: a press conference a few days after the attack, an article she wrote in 1982, and during an interview with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes II; she has otherwise ended several interviews after the event was mentioned. The assassination attempt was portrayed in the 2001 film The Day Reagan Was Shot. James Brady's recovery was dramatized in the 1991 made-for-television film Without Warning: The James Brady Story, with Beau Bridges as Brady. Alfred Antenucci was honored at a White House State Dinner and met Reagan, who gave him cufflinks with the Presidential Seal and a Presidential Honor. In 1984, Antenucci died of a heart attack in his Garfield Heights, Ohio home. In 1985, Mayor Thomas J. Longo named a street in Garfield Heights as Antenucci Boulevard. The Garfield Heights Historical Society has the cufflinks on display. Reagan Assassination Attempt, 30 Years Later WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- To a lot of people, Ronald Reagan is pretty close to American royalty. Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of the attempted assassination that helped make him an American prince. It's one of those moments burned into America's collective memory. Three decades after John Hinkley tried to assassinate President Reagan outside the Washington Hilton, retired Secret Service agent Jerry Parr says it feels like yesterday.. "I moved toward the gunfire, at the same time I was doing that, I grabbed his left should and started pushing him down by his shoulder, and my right hand went up by his neck and head and I started pushing him down." It was close in many ways. If Jerry Parr hadn't shoved the President in the limo right when he did, the next shot would likely have hit President Reagan in the head. "The instant I heard those shots, I didn't think about my family, my children and grandchildren. My only thought was cover....Save him." At first, Parr ordered the limo back to the White House... unaware that the President had been hit. "He took a napkin from his pocket, and he said, 'I think I've cut the inside of my mouth.' It was profuse, bright red and frothy. All those things indicated to me a lung injury." Parr diverted to George Washington University Medical Center. The President walked inside and collapsed. "I think he was minutes away," says Dr. Joe Giordano, who was the surgeon in charge of the ER at GW. "If he had gone to the White House, I think we would have lost him." Parr had been a Secret Service agent when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He admits it seems a bit pathological, but he says he was constantly kept alert and motivated by playing back through his head the images from the Zapruder film of the JFK shooting. "In a democracy," I asked him, "can we keep the President completely safe?""There is no 100 percent." But Reagan's close call, his jokes in the face of death, helped connect him with the American public in a way perhaps nothing else could have. He won reelection and left office an American icon. The round that hit Reagan had skittered off the rear quarter panel of his limo, flattening out until it was as thin as a dime. It penetrated just below his armpit and stopped just an inch or so from his heart.

Monday, March 28, 2011

70 years ago today, Virginia Woolf died in 1941

This is Nicole Kidman who portrayal Virginia Woolf based on The Hours is a 1998 novel written by Michael Cunningham. It won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was later made into an Oscar-winning 2002 movie of the same name starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. Great Movie and book also! Virginia Woolf:Thank you for the wonderful and interesting story. The movie, "The Hours", the director brought the true sense of your characterization towards your struggle life as a writer and a woman in that time period. Ms. Woolf, you and I are somewhat the same way with our lives on which we have to make our peace and equality towards the opportunity in life itself. So, Miss Virginia Woolf may the Lord protect you for the years to come and I will continue on reading your marvelous works of literature. Thank You! remembering you after 70 years, may you rest in peace! Adeline Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929), with its famous dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Work: Woolf began writing professionally in 1900, initially for the Times Literary Supplement with a journalistic piece about Haworth, home of the Brontë family. Her first novel, The Voyage Out, was published in 1915 by her half-brother's imprint, Gerald Duckworth and Company Ltd. This novel was originally entitled Melymbrosia, but Woolf repeatedly changed the draft. An earlier version of The Voyage Out has been reconstructed by Woolf scholar Louise DeSalvo and is now available to the public under the intended title. DeSalvo argues that many of the changes Woolf made in the text were in response to changes in her own life. Woolf went on to publish novels and essays as a public intellectual to both critical and popular success. Much of her work was self-published through the Hogarth Press. She has been hailed as one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century and one of the foremost modernists. Woolf is considered one of the greatest innovators in the English language. In her works she experimented with stream-of-consciousness and the underlying psychological as well as emotional motives of characters. Woolf's reputation declined sharply after World War II, but her eminence was re-established with the surge of Feminist criticism in the 1970s. Her work was criticised for epitomising the narrow world of the upper-middle class English intelligentsia. Some critics judged it to be lacking in universality and depth, without the power to communicate anything of emotional or ethical relevance to the disillusioned common reader,[citation needed] weary of the 1920s aesthetes. She was also criticised by some as an anti-semite, despite her being happily married to a Jewish man. This anti-semitism is drawn from the fact that she often wrote of Jewish characters in stereotypical archetypes and generalisations, including describing some of her Jewish characters as physically repulsive and dirty. The overwhelming and rising 1920s and 30s anti-semitism possibly influenced Virginia Woolf. She wrote in her diary, "I do not like the Jewish voice; I do not like the Jewish laugh." However, in a 1930 letter to the composer, Ethel Smyth, quoted in Nigel Nicolson's biography,Virginia Woolf, she recollects her boasts of Leonard's Jewishness confirming her snobbish tendencies, "How I hated marrying a Jew- What a snob I was, for they have immense vitality." In another letter to her dear friend Ethel Smyth, Virginia gives a scathing denunciation of Christianity, seeing it as self-righteous "egotism" and stating "my Jew has more religion in one toe nail—more human love, in one hair." Virginia and her husband Leonard Woolf actually hated and feared 1930s fascism with its anti-semitism knowing they were on Hitler's blacklist. Her 1938 book Three Guineas was an indictment of fascism. Virginia Woolf's peculiarities as a fiction writer have tended to obscure her central strength: Woolf is arguably the major lyrical novelist in the English language. Her novels are highly experimental: a narrative, frequently uneventful and commonplace, is refracted—and sometimes almost dissolved—in the characters' receptive consciousness. Intense lyricism and stylistic virtuosity fuse to create a world overabundant with auditory and visual impressions. The intensity of Virginia Woolf's poetic vision elevates the ordinary, sometimes banal settings – often wartime environments – of most of her novels. For example, Mrs Dalloway (1925) centres on the efforts of Clarissa Dalloway, a middle-aged society woman, to organise a party, even as her life is paralleled with that of Septimus Warren Smith, a working-class veteran who has returned from the First World War bearing deep psychological scars. To the Lighthouse (1927) is set on two days ten years apart. The plot centres around the Ramsay family's anticipation of and reflection upon a visit to a lighthouse and the connected familial tensions. One of the primary themes of the novel is the struggle in the creative process that beset painter Lily Briscoe while she struggles to paint in the midst of the family drama. The novel is also a meditation upon the lives of a nation's inhabitants in the midst of war, and of the people left behind. It also explores the passage of time, and how women are forced by society to allow men to take emotional strength from them. Orlando (1928) is one of Virginia Woolf's lightest novels. A parodic biography of a young nobleman who lives for three centuries without aging much past thirty (but who does abruptly turn into a woman), the book is in part a portrait of Woolf's lover Vita Sackville-West. It was meant to console Vita for the loss of her ancestral home, though it is also a satirical treatment of Vita and her work. In Orlando the techniques of historical biographers are being ridiculed; the character of a pompous biographer is being assumed in order for it to be mocked. The Waves (1931) presents a group of six friends whose reflections, which are closer to recitatives than to interior monologues proper, create a wave-like atmosphere that is more akin to a prose poem than to a plot-centered novel. Her last work, Between the Acts (1941) sums up and magnifies Woolf's chief preoccupations: the transformation of life through art, sexual ambivalence, and meditation on the themes of flux of time and life, presented simultaneously as corrosion and rejuvenation—all set in a highly imaginative and symbolic narrative encompassing almost all of English history. This book is the most lyrical of all her works, not only in feeling but in style, being chiefly written in verse. While Woolf's work can be understood as consistently in dialogue with Bloomsbury, particularly its tendency (informed by G.E. Moore, among others) towards doctrinaire rationalism, it is not a simple recapitulation of the coterie's ideals. Her works have been translated into over 50 languages, by writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Marguerite Yourcenar. Death: After completing the manuscript of her last (posthumously published) novel, Between the Acts, Woolf fell into a depression similar to that which she had earlier experienced. The onset of World War II, the destruction of her London home during the Blitz, and the cool reception given to her biography of her late friend Roger Fry all worsened her condition until she was unable to work. On 28 March 1941, Woolf put on her overcoat, filled its pockets with stones, and walked into the River Ouse near her home and drowned. Woolf's body was not found until 18 April 1941. Her husband buried her cremated remains under an elm in the garden of Monk's House, their home in Rodmell, Sussex. In her last note to her husband she wrote: “ Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier 'til this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.

Today is the 200th birthday of Saint John Nepomucene Neumann

Saint John Nepomucene Neumann:Pray for us on this day of your death, you were a interesting and thoughtful man in the world of theology, remembering you today especially, happy 200th birthday!

Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, C.Ss.R., (Czech: Jan Nepomucký Neumann, German: Johannes Nepomuk Neumann, 28 March 1811 – 5 January 1860) was a Redemptorist missionary to the United States who became the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia (1852–60) and the first American bishop (and thus far the only male citizen) to be canonized. While Bishop of Philadelphia, Neumann founded the first Catholic diocesan school system in the United States. He is the patron saint of Redemptorist habit, Episcopal vestments

Beatified October 13, 1963, Rome, Italy by Pope Paul VI Canonized June 19, 1977, Rome, Italy by Pope Paul VI Major shrine National Shrine of Saint John Neumann, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Early life Neumann was born in Prachatitz, Bohemia, Austrian Empire, which is part of modern-day Czech Republic. He attended school in České Budějovice before entering seminary there in 1831. Two years later he transferred to the University of Prague, where he studied theology, though he was also interested in astronomy and botany. His goal was to be ordained to the priesthood, and he applied for this after completing his studies in 1835.

His bishop, however, had decided that there would be no more ordinations for the time being, as Bohemia had a high number of priests. Neumann traveled to America with the hope of being ordained to the priesthood. He was ordained in June of 1836 by Bishop John Dubois at old St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. After his ordination, St. John was assigned by the bishop to work with recent German immigrants in mission churches in the Niagara Falls area, where he visited the sick, taught catechism, and trained teachers to take over when he left. From 1836 until 1840 he served as the founding pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Williamsville, New York.

In 1840 he applied to join the Redemptorist Fathers, was accepted, and entered the novitiate of the Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania--becoming their first candidate in the New World. He took his vows as a full member of the Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland in January 1842, and, after six years of difficult but fruitful work, he was appointed the Provincial Superior for the United States. Neumann was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in Baltimore on 10 February 1848. Bishop of Philadelphia: In March 1852 Neumann was consecrated in Baltimore, as Bishop of Philadelphia. He was the first bishop in the United States to organize a Catholic diocesan school system, and he increased the number of Catholic schools in his diocese from two to one hundred. His construction campaign extended to parish churches as well. He actively invited religious orders to establish new houses within the diocese and founded a congregation of Franciscan Sisters, the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

He brought the School Sisters of Notre Dame from Germany to assist in religious instruction and staffing an orphanage and intervened to save the Oblate Sisters of Providence from dissolution. He established and built so many new parish churches within the diocese that one was completed almost at the rate of one every month. His facility with languages endeared him to the many new immigrant communities in the city. As well as ministering to newcomers in his native German, he also spoke Italian fluently and ministered personally to a growing congregation of Italian-speakers in his private chapel. He eventually established the first Italian national parishes in the country for them. Neumann's efforts to expand the Catholic Church throughout his diocese was not without opposition. The Know Nothings, an anti-Catholic political party, was at the height of its activities, setting fire to convents and schools.

Discouraged, Neumann wrote to Rome asking to be replaced as bishop, but he received a reply from Pope Pius IX insisting that he continue. In 1854, Neumann traveled to Rome and was present at St. Peter's Basilica on December 8, along with 53 cardinals, 139 other bishops, and thousands of priests and laity, when Blessed Pope Pius IX solemnly defined ex cathedra the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While running errands on January 5, 1860, Neumann collapsed and died on a city street, due to a stroke.

He was 48 years old. Bishop James Frederick Wood, who had been appointed his coadjutor with right of succession, then took office as Bishop of Philadelphia. Neumann's date of death, January 5, is now celebrated as his feast day in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America. Sainthood The first step toward proclamation of Neumann as a saint was his being declared ""Venerable"" by Pope Benedict XV in 1921.

He was beatified by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council on 13 October 1963, and was canonized by that same pope on 19 June 1977. His feast days are January 5 on the Roman calendar for the general Church and March 5 in the Czech Republic. Following his canonization, the National Shrine of Saint John Neumann was constructed at the Parish of St. Peter the Apostle in Philadelphia. The remains of St. John Neumann rest under the altar of the shrine within a glass-walled reliquary. In 1980, Our Lady of the Angels College, founded by the congregation of Franciscan Sisters he had founded and located within the archdiocese, was renamed Neumann College. It was granted university status by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2009

Jubilee Year: In 2011, the Redemptorists will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Neumann. The Neumann Year will run through June 23, 2012.

Canonization of John Nepomucene Neumann Homily of Pope Paul VI Sunday, 19 June 1977 Greetings to you, Brethren, and sons and daughters of the United States of America! We welcome you in the name of the Lord! The entire Catholic Church, here, at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, welcomes you with festive joy. And together with you, the entire Catholic Church sings a hymn of heavenly victory to Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, who receives the honor of one who lives in the glory of Christ. In a few brief words we shall describe for the other pilgrims some details of his life, which are already known to you. We ask ourselves today: what is the meaning of this extraordinary event, the meaning of this canonization? It is the celebration of holiness. And what is holiness? It is human perfection, human love raised up to its highest level in Christ, in God. At the time of John Neumann, America represented new values and new hopes. Bishop Neumann saw these in their relationship to the ultimate, supreme possession to which humanity is destined. With Saint Paul he could testify that “all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3, 22). And with Augustine he knew that our hearts are restless, until they rest in the Lord (S. AUGUSTINI Confessiones, 1, 1). His love for people was authentic brotherly love. It was real charity: missionary and pastoral charity. It meant that he gave himself to others. Like Jesus the Good Shepherd, he lay down his life for the sheep, for Christ’s flock: to provide for their needs, to lead them to salvation. And today, with the Evangelist, we solemnly proclaim : “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Io. 15, 13). John Neumann’s pastoral zeal was manifested in many ways. Through faithful and persevering service, he brought to completion the generosity of his initial act of missionary dedication. He helped children to satisfy their need for truth, their need for Christian doctrine, for the teaching of Jesus in their lives. He did this both by catechetical instruction and by promoting, with relentless energy, the Catholic school system in the United States. And we still remember the words of our late Apostolic Delegate in Washington, the beloved Cardinal Amleto Cicognani: “You Americans”, he said, “possess two great treasures: the Catholic school and the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Guard them like the apple of your eye” (Cfr. Epistola 2 iunii 1963). And who can fail to admire all the loving concern that John Neumann showed for God’s people, through his priestly ministry and his pastoral visitations as a Bishop? He deeply loved the Sacramental of Reconciliation: and like a worthy son of Saint Alphonsus he transmitted the pardon and the healing power of the Redeemer into the lives of innumerable sons and daughters of the Church. He was close to the sick; he was at home with the poor; he was a friend to sinners. And today he is the honor of all immigrants, and from the viewpoint of the Beatitudes the symbol of Christian success. John Neumann bore the image of Christ. He experienced, in his innermost being, the need to proclaim by word and example the wisdom and power of God, and to preach the crucified Christ. And in the Passion of the Lord he found strength and the inspiration of his ministry: Passio Christi conforta me! The Eucharistic Sacrifice was the center of his life, and constituted for him what the Second Vatican Council would later call “the source and summit of all evangelization” (Presbiterorum Ordinis, 5). With great effectiveness, through the Forty Hours Devotion he helped his parishes become communities of faith and service. But to accomplish his task, love was necessary. And love meant giving; love meant effort; love meant sacrifice. And in his sacrifice, Bishop Neumann’s service was complete. He led his people along the paths of holiness. He was indeed an effective witness, in his generation, to God’s love for his Church and the world. There are many who have lived and are still living the divine command of generous love. For love still means giving oneself for others, because Love has come down to humanity; and from humanity love goes back to its divine source! How many men and women make this plan of God the program of their lives! Our praise goes to the clergy, religious and Catholic laity of America who, in following the Gospel, live according to this plan of sacrifice and service. Saint John Neumann is a true example for all of us in this regard. It is not enough to acquire the good things of the earth, for these can even be dangerous, if they stop or impede our love from rising to its source and reaching its goal. Let us always remember that the greatest and the first commandment is this: “You shall love the Lord your God” (Matth. 22, 36). True humanism in Christianity. True Christianity-we repeat -is the sacrifice of self for others, because of Christ, because of God. It is shown by signs; it is manifested in deeds. Christianity is sensitive to the suffering and oppression and sorrow of others, to poverty, to all human needs, the first of which is truth. Our ceremony today is indeed the celebration of holiness. At the same time, it is a prophetic anticipation-for the Church, for the United States, for the world-of a renewal in love: love for God, love for neighbor. And in this vital charity, beloved sons and daughters, let us go forward together, to build up a real civilization of love. Saint John Neumann, by the living power of your example and by the intercession of your prayers, help us today and for ever. St. John Nepomucene Neumann (1811-1860) HIS FASCINATING LIFE STORY The Bishop of Philadelphia lay crumpled in the snow a few blocks from his new cathedral on Logan Square. By the time a priest reached him with the holy oils, Bishop Neumann was dead. That was January 5, 1860. At his own request Bishop Neumann was buried in a basement crypt in Saint Peter's Church where he would be with his Redemptorist confreres. PILGRIMAGES TO BISHOP'S TOMB Almost immediately devout souls were drawn to his grave. They came from far and near. More than a few were claiming extraordinary miracles of grace. It was as though John Neumann, now dead, continued his works of mercy among his people. For decades this unsolicited devotion continued. Finally after many years and many incontrovertible miracles worked through the intercession of this holy man, his Cause was introduced in Rome. In 1921 Pope Benedict XV saw fit to have John Neumann declared "Venerable". The procession of the faithful continued and in 1963 Pope Paul VI declared him "Blessed" John Neumann. The crowds of pilgrims prompted the building of the lower church. His remains, remarkably well preserved after a century of interment, were exhumed and placed in a glass encasement beneath the altar in the lower church. Bus loads of pilgrims came from different parishes throughout the year to pray to Saint John. Finally the long expected happened in Rome on 1977. Pope Paul VI declared John Neumann a Saint in heaven. Now pilgrims came from all over the world. From his native Bohemia, from Germany and Holland they came to claim allegiance to one of their own. Pope John Paul II made it a point to visit the Shrine when he came to Philadelphia to attend the Eucharistic Congress. Yes, the City of Brotherly Love was bursting with joy. The diocesan seminarians from St. Charles, Overbrook, have made annual pilgrimages to his tomb. The various Irish Societies of Philadelphia have made formal pilgrimages to the tomb of this humble man of God who, as bishop, did so much for their immigrant forebears in the 1850's -- this "foreigner" who went to the trouble of studying enough Irish to be able to hear the confessions of those who "had no English," up in the coal regions of nineteenth century Pennsylvania. Those of Italian extraction remember Bishop Neumann as the founder of the first national parish for Italians in the United States. At a time when there was no priest to speak their language, no one to care for them, Bishop Neumann, who had studied Italian as a seminarian in Bohemia, gathered them together in his private chapel and preached to them in their mother tongue. In 1855 he Purchased a Methodist Church in South Philadelphia, dedicated it to St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, and gave them one of his seminary professors, Father John Tornatore, C.M., to be their pastor. CATHOLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM ESTABLISHED Bishop Neumann lays several claims to fame in Philadelphia and the United States. Ever a humble and self-effacing person, he would be the last one to mention it himself, but the records stand. It was he who organized the first diocesan schedule of the Forty Hours' Devotion in America. The credit is likewise his of establishing the first system of parochial schools in various parts of the country when Neumann came to Philadelphia -- but the first unified system of Catholic schools under a diocesan board. This he did in may of 1852, a fortnight before the Plenary Council at Baltimore which seconded his proposals. FOUNDER OF SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS He may also lay claim to being founder of a religious order for women, the Third Order of St. Francis of Glen Riddle, whose Rule he drafted in 1855 after returning from Rome for the solemn promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The School Sisters of Notre Dame likewise regard Bishop Neumann as their secondary founder, their "father in America." In 1847, Father John Neumann, superior of the Redemptorist Order at the time, welcomed the first band of these teaching sisters from Munich. He found them a home in Baltimore and then provided them with teaching assignments in his Order's parish schools at Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New York, Buffalo and Philadelphia. A REDEMPTORIST Bishop Neumann, as a young priest, was the first to make his religious profession as a Redemptorist in the New World. This he did in 1842 in the Church of St. James in Baltimore. Before his elevation to the See of Philadelphia at the age of 41, he had served as rector of St. Philomena's, Pittsburgh, and St. Alphonsus, Baltimore, as well as vice-provincial of this missionary order in America. Recent research in the files of the State Department show that Bishop Neumann became a naturalized citizen of the United States at Baltimore on February 10, 1848, renouncing allegiance to the Emperor of Austria in whose realm he was born on March 28, 1811. On his 41st birthday, he was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia by Archbishop Francis Kenrick at St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore, in 1852. A DIOCESAN PRIEST Before joining the Redemptorists John N. Neumann labored as a diocesan priest in Western New York. He was ordained in June of 1836 by Bishop John Dubois at old St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mott Street, New York City. The following week he was pastor of the whole Niagara Frontier, some hundred square miles of swampy primeval forest. Many German immigrants had settled this sector of the diocese and were in danger of losing the Faith. It was for this reason that Father Neumann was sent there. He built churches, raised log schools where possible and even taught the three R's himself to the German and Irish children. "Among the shepherds of the flock in Philadelphia," wrote the late Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the diocese, "the figure of Venerable John Neumann is pre-eminent. It was mainly through his prodigious efforts that a Catholic school system came into being and that parochial schools began to rise across the land. His holy life, his childlike gentleness, his hard labor and his tremendous foresight is still fresh and green among you. The tree planted and watered by Bishop Neumann now gives you its fruit." James J. Galvin C.Ss.R. THE IMMIGRANT SHEPHERD It was fitting indeed that Bishop Neumann was beatified during the Second Vatican Council. In a personal letter to each bishop of the world, before the opening of the Council, the Holy Father asked each bishop to aim at achieving the heights of personal sanctity in order to assure its success. He reminded them of their first and highest mission of carrying on a constant policy of instruction and of pastoral visitation so that they can say: "I know my sheep, each and every one," and that one of the great blessings that can come to a diocese is a bishop who sanctifies, who keeps watch and who sacrifices himself. All these qualities are pre-eminent in the life and holiness of Bishop Neumann, the shepherd declared Blessed during this council.

PRAYER FOR HIS INTERCESSION O Saint John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our Baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God. Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted and the abandoned which so characterized your life. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and, at times, painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother. May death still find us on the sure road to our Father's House with the light of living Faith in our hearts. Amen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Remembering Geraldine Anne Ferraro

Here Geraldine Ferraro with Vice-President George Herbert Walker Bush in the Vice-President debate of 1984

Here she is with former Vice-President/Senator Walter Mondale in the presidential election of 1984

Geraldine Anne Ferraro: Madam, you were truly an inspiring woman in the world of politics. You will be missed and you will be remembered as the first woman and first Italian-American to run on a major party national ticket, thank you for being part of USA history especially presidential history, may you rest in peace!

Geraldine Anne Ferraro (August 26, 1935 – March 26, 2011) was an American attorney, a Democratic Party politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives. She was the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party.

Ferraro grew up in New York City and became a teacher and lawyer. She joined the Queens County District Attorney's Office in 1974, where she headed the new Special Victims Bureau that dealt with sex crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence. She was elected to Congress in 1978, where she rose rapidly in the party hierarchy while focusing on legislation to bring equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions, and retirement plans.

In 1984, former Vice President and presidential candidate Walter Mondale selected Ferraro to be his running mate in the upcoming election. In doing so she became the only Italian American to be a major-party national nominee in addition to being the first woman. The positive polling the Mondale-Ferarro ticket received when she joined faded as questions about her and her husband's finances arose. In the general election, Mondale and Ferraro were defeated in a landslide by incumbent President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush.

Ferraro ran campaigns for a seat in the United States Senate from New York in 1992 and 1998, both times emerging as the front-runner for her party's nomination but losing in primary elections both times. She served as a United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 1993 until 1996, in the presidential administration of Bill Clinton. She also continued her career as a journalist, author, and businesswoman, and served in the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ferraro died on March 26, 2011, after a 12-year battle with multiple myeloma.

1984 Vice-Presidential candidacy
As the 1984 U.S. presidential election primary season wound down and Walter Mondale became the likely Democratic nominee, the idea of picking a woman as his vice-presidential running mate gained considerable momentum. The National Organization for Women and the National Women's Political Caucus pushed the notion, as did several top Democratic figures such as Speaker O'Neill. Women mentioned for the role included Ferraro and Mayor of San Francisco Dianne Feinstein,[49] both of whom were on Mondale's five-person short list.

She stated, "I am absolutely thrilled." The Mondale campaign hoped that her selection would change a campaign in which he was well behind; in addition to attracting women, they hoped she could attract ethnic Democrats in the Northeast U.S. who had abandoned their party for Reagan in 1980. In turn, Mondale accepted the risk that came with her inexperience.

As Ferraro was the first woman to run on a major party national ticket in the U.S.,and the first Italian American, her July 19 nomination at the 1984 Democratic National Convention was one of the most emotional moments of that gathering, with female delegates appearing joyous and proud at the historic occasion.

In her acceptance speech, Ferraro said, "The daughter of an immigrant from Italy has been chosen to run for vice president in the new land my father came to love." Convention attendees were in tears during the speech, not just for its significance for women but for all those who had immigrated to America.

A flyer advertised a post-convention Queens Borough Hall rally, for Ferraro to introduce Mondale to New York City voters.Ferraro gained immediate, large-scale media attention.

At first, their treatment centered on her novelty as a woman and her poor background, and was overwhelmingly favorable. Nevertheless, Ferraro would face many press questions about her foreign policy inexperience, and responded by discussing her attention to foreign and national security issues in Congress.

She faced a threshold of proving competence that other high-level female political figures have had to face, especially those who might become commander-in-chief; the question "Are you tough enough?" was often directed to her.

Ted Koppel questioned her closely about nuclear strategy and during Meet the Press she was asked, "Do you think that in any way the Soviets might be tempted to try to take advantage of you simply because you are a woman?"

The choice of Ferraro was viewed as a gamble, and pundits were uncertain whether it would result in a net gain or loss of votes for the Mondale campaign. In the days after the convention, Ferraro proved an effective campaigner, with a brash and confident style that forcefully criticized the Reagan administration and sometimes almost overshadowed Mondale. Mondale had been 16 points behind Reagan in polls before the pick, and after the convention he pulled even for a short time.

By the last week of July, however, questions—due initially to reporting by The New York Times—began about Ferraro's finances, the finances of her husband, John Zaccaro, and their separately filed tax returns. While the Mondale campaign had anticipated some questions, it had only spent 48 hours on Ferraro's family's finances.

This was also the first time the American media had to deal with a national candidate's husband. Ferraro said she would release both their returns within a month, but maintained she was correct not to have included her husband's financial holdings on her past annual Congressional disclosure statements. The media also reported on the FEC's past investigation into Ferraro's 1978 campaign funds.

Although Ferraro and Zaccaro's finances were often interwoven on paper, with the two equal partners in Zaccaro's company, Ferraro had little knowledge of his business, or even how much he was worth. Zaccaro did not appreciate the intensity of the national exposure the two were now in and was resistant to releasing his financial information.

On August 12, Ferraro announced that her husband would not in fact be releasing his tax returns, on the grounds that to do so would disadvantage his real estate business and that such a disclosure was voluntary and not part of election law. She joked, "You people who are married to Italian men, you know what it's like", angering fellow Italian Americans.

This development dominated television and newspapers;[68] Ferraro was besieged by questions regarding the finances as well as criticism for ethnic stereotyping. As she later wrote, "I had created a monster."

Republicans saw her finances as a "genderless" issue that they could attack Ferraro with without creating a backlash, and some Mondale staffers thought Ferraro might have to leave the ticket. The Philadelphia Inquirer went even further in its investigations, seeking to link Zaccaro to organized crime figures, but most publishers avoided this topic and law enforcement officials did not treat the allegations with much seriousness.

A week after her previous statement, Ferraro said Zaccaro had changed his mind and would indeed release his tax records, which was done on August 20. The full statements included notice of payment of some $53,000 in back federal taxes that she owed due to what was described as an accountant's error. Ferraro said the statements proved overall that she had nothing to hide and that there had been no financial wrongdoing.

The disclosures indicated that Ferraro and her husband were worth nearly $4 million, had a full-time maid, and owned a boat and two vacation homes. Much of their wealth was tied up in real estate rather than being disposable income, but the disclosures hurt Ferraro's image as a rags-to-riches story.

Ferraro's strong performance at an August 22 press conference covering the final disclosure—where she answered all questions for two hours—effectively ended the issue for the remainder of the campaign, but significant damage had been done.

No campaign issue during the entire 1984 presidential campaign received more media attention than Ferraro's finances. The exposure diminished Ferraro's rising stardom, removed whatever momentum the Mondale–Ferraro ticket gained out of the convention, and delayed formation of a coherent message for the fall campaign.

Ferraro was criticized by name by Cardinal John O'Connor, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, for misrepresenting the Catholic Church's position on abortion: that Catholics could disagree with Church teaching on abortion and remain faithful to its teaching.

That issue had her on the defensive during the entire campaign. Nevertheless, Ferraro resumed her role as a strong campaigner, taking on the traditional running mate role of attacking the opposition vigorously; she was criticized for saying that Reagan was not a "good Christian" because, Ferraro said, his policies hurt the poor. She drew large crowds who wanted to witness the historical candidate, and who chanted, "Ger-ry! Ger-ry!"

Mondale and Ferraro rarely touched during their appearances together, to the point that he would not even place his palm on her back when they stood side-by-side; Ferraro later said this was because anything more and "people were afraid that it would look like, 'Oh, my God, they're dating.'"

There was one vice-presidential debate between Congresswoman Ferraro and Vice President George H. W. Bush. Held on October 11, the result was proclaimed mostly even by the press and historians; women voters tended to think Ferraro had won, while men, Bush. At it, Ferraro criticized Reagan's initial refusal to support an extension to the Voting Rights Act.

Her experience was questioned at the debate and she was asked how her three terms in Congress stacked up with Bush's experience. To one Bush statement she said, "Let me just say first of all, that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy."

She strongly defended her position on abortion, which earned her applause and a respectful reply from her opponent. In the days leading up to the debate, Second Lady of the United States Barbara Bush had publicly referred to Ferraro as "that four-million-dollar—I can't say it, but it rhymes with 'rich'."[81] Barbara Bush soon apologized. Ferraro's sex was a steady presence during the campaign; one study found that 27 percent of newspaper articles written about her contained gendered language.

On October 18 the New York Post accurately reported that her father had been arrested for possession of numbers slips in Newburgh shortly before his death, and inaccurately speculated that something mysterious had been covered up about that death. Ferraro's mother had never told her about his arrest, she had been also arrested as an accomplice but released after her husband's death. The printing of the story led Ferraro to state that Post publisher Rupert Murdoch "does not have the worth to wipe the dirt under [my mother's] shoes." Ferraro continued to campaign, by the end traveling more than Mondale and more than Reagan and Bush combined.

On November 6, Mondale and Ferraro lost the general election in a landslide. They received only 41 percent of the popular vote compared to Reagan and Bush's 59 percent, and in the Electoral College won only Mondale's home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

Ferraro failed to carry her own congressional district, which always tended to vote Republican in presidential races. Ferraro's presence on the ticket had little measurable effect overall. Reagan captured 55 percent of women voters, while of the 10 percent of voters who decided based on the vice-presidential candidates, 54 percent went to Mondale–Ferraro, establishing that Ferraro provided a net gain to the Democrats of 0.8 percent.

Reagan's personal appeal and campaign themes of prosperity and "It's morning again in America" were quite strong, and political observers generally agree that no combination of Democrats could have won the election in 1984. Mondale himself would later reflect that "I knew that I was in for it with Reagan" and that he had no regrets about choosing Ferraro.

After the election, the House Ethics Committee found that Ferraro had technically violated the Ethics in Government Act by failing to report, or reporting incorrectly, details of her family's finances, and that she should have reported her husband's holdings on her Congressional disclosure forms.

However, the committee concluded that she had acted without "deceptive intent", and since she was leaving Congress anyway, no action against her was taken. Ferraro said, "I consider myself completely vindicated."[92] The scrutiny of her husband and his business dealings presaged a trend that women candidates would face in American electoral politics.

Ferraro is one of only two U.S. women to run on a major party national ticket. The other is Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee,whose ticket also lost.

Death and tributes:
Ferraro continued to battle multiple myeloma, but died from complications of it on March 26, 2011, at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to her husband and children, she was survived by eight grandchildren.

President Obama said upon her passing that "Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life," and said that his own two daughters would grow up in a more equal country because of what Ferraro had done. Mondale called her "a remarkable woman and a dear human being ... She was a pioneer in our country for justice for women and a more open society. She broke a lot of molds and it's a better country for what she did."

George H. W. Bush said, "Though we were one-time political opponents, I am happy to say Gerry and I became friends in time – a friendship marked by respect and affection. I admired Gerry in many ways, not the least of which was the dignified and principled manner she blazed new trails for women in politics." Palin paid tribute to her on Facebook, saying, "She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more. May her example of hard work and dedication to America continue to inspire all women."

Bill and Hillary Clinton said in a statement that, "Gerry Ferraro was one of a kind – tough, brilliant, and never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believed in – a New York icon and a true American original."

Ferraro, who shattered barrier for women as vice presidential nominee, dies at 75.By Douglas Martin THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published: 8:44 p.m. Saturday, March 26, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro, 75, the former congresswoman who in 1984 strode onto a podium to accept the Democratic nomination for vice president and to take her place in U.S. history as the first woman nominated for national office by a major party, died Saturday in Boston.

She died of complications from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that she had battled for 12 years.

"If we can do this, we can do anything," Ferraro declared on a July evening to a cheering Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. And for a moment, for the Democratic Party and an untold number of women, anything seemed possible, including a woman occupying the second-highest office in the land.

It didn't turn out that way — not by a long shot. Walter Mondale and Ferraro were buried by an electoral landslide for President Ronald Reagan. But Ferraro's supporters proclaimed a victory of sorts nonetheless: 64 years after women won the right to vote, a woman had removed the "men only" sign from the White House door.

For the first time a major candidate for national office talked about abortion with the phrase "If I were pregnant," or about foreign policy with the personal observation "As the mother of a draft-age son \u2026\u2009"

It would be another 24 years before another woman from a major party was nominated for vice president — Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican running mate of Sen. John McCain in 2008. And though Hillary Clinton came close to the Democratic presidential nomination that year, a woman has yet to occupy the Oval Office. But Ferraro's ascendance gave many women heart.

Ann Richards, who was Texas state treasurer at the time and went on to become governor, once recalled that after the Ferraro nomination, "the first thing I thought of was not winning in the political sense, but of my two daughters."

"To think," Richards said, "of the numbers of young women who can now aspire to anything."

"Geraldine Ferraro was one of the great female role models of her generation," Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said Saturday. "In politics, she was a trailblazer who helped make new heights of leadership possible for women. In her personal life, she courageously battled cancer with tenacity and grace."

Geraldine Anne Ferraro was born Aug. 26, 1935, in Newburgh, N.Y., where she was the fourth child and only daughter of Dominick Ferraro, an Italian immigrant who owned a restaurant and a five-and-dime store, and the former Antonetta Corrieri.

Her father died when she was 8. Brought up by a single mother who had crocheted beads on wedding dresses to send her daughter to good schools, Ferraro had waited until her own children were school age before going to work in a district attorney's office.

In 1973, after her cousin Nicholas Ferraro was elected Queens district attorney, she applied for and got a job as an assistant district attorney in charge of a special victims bureau, investigating rape, crimes against the elderly, and child and wife abuse.

The cases were so harrowing, she later wrote, that they caused her to develop an ulcer. The crime-breeding societal conditions she saw, she said, steered her to liberalism.

One night Mario Cuomo, who was New York lieutenant governor at the time, gave Ferraro and her husband a ride home from a bar mitzvah. She told him she was thinking of running for office. "What about Congress?" Cuomo asked.

She ran for and won her U.S. House seat in 1978, representing Queens, N.Y.

As Mondale's surprise choice for running mate in 1984, Ferraro rocketed to national prominence, propelled by feminist support, a spirited personality, canny political skills and the calculation by Democratic strategists that Reagan might be vulnerable on issues important to women. Mondale's campaign believed that she would do well not only among women but also among blue-collar workers.

Instead, the campaign was hounded by a barrage of questions about her family finances and the business dealings of her husband, John Zaccaro — often carrying insinuations of ties to organized crime — that not only blemished Ferraro's stature as the first Italian American national candidate but also diverted attention from other issues.

Ferraro was later ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission during the Clinton administration and co-host of the CNN program "Crossfire" from 1996 to 1998

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Remembering Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen after 65 years

Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, remembering you after 65 years ago today on this day, happy feast day also, may you rest in peace!

Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen (March 16, 1878 – March 22, 1946) was a German count, Bishop of Münster, and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He received his education in Austria from the Jesuits at the Stella Matutina in the border town of Feldkirch ,at the austrian border with Switzerland and Liechtenstein. After his ordination he worked in Berlin at Saint Matthias, where he became close friends with Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, later to be Pope Pius XII. An outspoken critic of the Nazi regime, he issued forceful, public denunciations of the Third Reich's euthanasia programs and persecution of the Catholic Church, making him one of the most visible and unrelenting internal voices of dissent against the Nazis.

Bishop of Münster:
Von Galen was elected bishop of Münster in the critical year for Germany of 1933. Documents in the Vatican Archives, which opened related information in 2003, indicate that von Galen was elected only after other candidates had turned down the offer, and in spite of a protest from Nuncio Orsenigo to Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who expressed his opinion that von Galen was bossy and paternalistic in his public utterances.

Once elected, von Galen campaigned against the totalitarian approach of the National Socialist Party in national education, appealing to parents to insist on Catholic teaching in schools. He successfully used the recently agreed-upon Reichskonkordat to force the National Socialists to permit continued Catholic instruction in Catholic schools. It was one of the first instances where the Reichskonkordat was used by the Church as a legal instrument against Germany, which was one of the intentions of Pope Pius XI.

Shortly thereafter, von Galen began to attack the racial ideologies of the new regime, partly poking fun at it, partly critiquing its ideological constructs as published by Alfred Rosenberg. He declared it as unacceptable to refuse the Old Testament because of its Jewish authorship, and to limit morality and virtue to the perceived usefulness of a particular race.

Protests against euthanasia, Gestapo terror, forced sterilizations and concentration camps. In 1941 von Galen gave a string of sermons protesting Nazi policies on euthanasia, Gestapo terror, forced sterilizations and concentration camps.His attacks on the Nazis were so severe that Nazi official Walter Tiessler proposed in a letter to Martin Bormann that the Bishop be executed

On July 13, 1941, von Galen publicly attacked the regime for its Gestapo's tactics of terror, including disappearances without trials, the closing of Catholic institutions without any stated justifications, and the resultant fear imposed on all Germans throughout the nation. The powerful Gestapo, he argued, reduced everybody, even the most decent and loyal citizens, to being afraid of ending up in a basement prison or a concentration camp.

As the country was at war, von Galen rejected the notion that his speech undermined German solidarity or unity. Using the lines of his friend Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, as written in Opus Justitiae Pax and Justitia fundamentum Regnorum, von Galen noted that "Peace is the work of Justice and Justice, the basis for dominion," then attacked the Third Reich for undermining justice, the belief in justice and for reducing the German people to a state of permanent fear, even cowardice. He concluded: As a German, as a decent citizen I demand Justice.

In a second sermon on July 20, 1941, von Galen informed the faithful that all written protests against Nazi hostilities had proven to be useless. The confiscation of religious institutions continued unabated. Members of religious orders were still deported or jailed. He asked his listeners to be patient and to endure, and that the German people were being destroyed not by the Allied bombing from the outside, but from negative forces within.

On August 3, 1941, von Galen informed his listeners in a third sermon about the continued desecration of Catholic churches, closing of convents and monasteries, and the deportation and euthanasia of mentally ill people (who were sent to destinations, usually concentration camps), while a notice was sent to family members stating that the person in question had died. This is murder, he exclaimed, unlawful by divine and German law, a rejection of the laws of God. He informed them that he had forwarded his evidence to the State Attorney. "These are people, our brothers and sisters; maybe their life is unproductive, but productivity is not a justification for killing."

If that were indeed a justification for execution, he reasoned, everybody would have to be afraid to even go to a doctor for fear of what might be discovered. The social fabric would be affected. Von Galen then remarked that a regime which can do away with the Fifth Commandment (thou shalt not kill) can destroy the other commandments as well.

The sermons were reproduced and sent all over Germany to families, and to German soldiers on the Western and Eastern Fronts. Karol Wojtyla is said to have read a copy in Krakow (it is unclear whether he read a copy while already a member of the Polish Resistance, or whether the sermon itself influenced his decision to join). The resulting local protests in Germany led to an immediate end of the euthanasia program Aktion T4.

The local Nazi Gauleiter was furious and asked for the immediate arrest of von Galen. However, Joseph Goebbels, Bormann and others preferred to wait until the end of World War II, to avoid undermining German morale in the heavily Catholic area. Of von Galen's remarks, perhaps the most effective was his question asking whether permanently injured German soldiers would fall under the program as well. A year later, the euthanasia program was still active, but the regime was conducting it in greater secrecy.

According to scholars, "[t]his powerful, populist sermon was immediately reproduced and distributed throughout Germany — indeed, it was dropped among German troops by British Royal Air Force flyers. Galen's sermon probably had a greater impact than any other one statement in consolidating anti-‘euthanasia' sentiment."

German patriot:
Von Galen openly supported the Protestant Paul von Hindenburg against the Catholic candidate Wilhelm Marx in the presidential elections of 1925.

He was known to be a German patriot and a fierce anti-Communist who favoured the battle on the Eastern Front against Stalin's regime in the Soviet Union. His views on communism were largely formed as a consequence of the Stalinization and relentless persecution of Christians within the Soviet Union since 1918, during which virtually all Catholic bishops were either killed or forced underground. He welcomed the 1941 German war against the USSR as a positive development.

A sermon the Bishop gave in 1941 served as the inspiration for the anti-Nazi group The White Rose, and the sermon itself was the group's first pamphlet.

Major Hans Oster, a devout Lutheran and leading member of the German Resistance, once said of Bishop von Galen,

"He's a man of courage and conviction. And what resolution in his sermons! There should be a handful of such people in all our churches, and at least two handfuls in the Wehrmacht. If there were, Germany would look quite different!"

The published sermons of Von Galen show that he condemned the racist deportations of the Nazis. Von Galen, further, suffered virtual house arrest from 1941 until the end of the war.

After the war, his indignation turned on the British occupiers, who, in his view, complicated with hostile acts (including starvation rations for the common people) an already difficult life in post-war Germany. The British responded by taking away his automobile and disabling him from visiting parishes and carrying out planned confirmations. On April 13th, Galen went to American authorities to protest Russian soldiers' raping of German women, and against American and British forces' plundering German homes, factories, and offices, especially at night.

On July 1, 1945, he denounced "the ransacking of our homes[, already] destroyed by bombs", "the pillaging and destruction of our houses and farms in the countryside by armed bands of robbers", the "murder of defenceless men", "the rape of German women and girls by bestial lechers" (it was estimated that 2 million German women were raped, with a ten percent death rate mainly from suicide; women of other nationalities were raped, too), and the indifference of the occupying authorities to the risk of famine in Germany: all these horrors finding justification on the basis of "the false view that all Germans are criminals and deserve the most severe punishment, including death and extermination!".

In a joint interview with British officials, Von Galen told the international press that, "just as I fought against Nazi injustices, I will fight any injustice, no matter where it comes from". He repeated these claims in a sermon on July 1, 1945, which, as in the Nazi years, was secretly copied and distributed throughout occupied Germany. The British authorities felt attacked by Von Galen's sermon and ordered him to renounce it immediately; he refused.

His rising popularity may have contributed to their decision to afterwards allow him free speech without any censorship. In an interview with Swiss media, Von Galen demanded just punishment for real Nazi criminals but humane treatment for the millions of German prisoners of war who did not commit any crimes but were prohibited by the British from any contact with their relatives.

He criticized British dismissal of Germans from public service without investigations and trial, noting that the Nazis had done the same in 1933, but that the Nazi victims at least had continued to receive pensions.[25] He forcefully condemned the expulsion of German civilians from former German provinces and territories in the east annexed by communist Poland and the Soviet Union. A paper from the Foreign Office called him "the most outstanding personality among the clergy in the British zone . . . . Statuesque in appearance and uncompromising in discussion, this oak-bottomed old aristocrat . . . is a German nationalist through and through."

SS-General Kurt Meyer, accused of complicity in the shooting of 18 Canadian prisoners of war, was sentenced to death.

Galen intervened at the request of the family. On second review, a Canadian general, finding only "a mass of circumstantial evidence", commuted his death sentence. Meyer served nine years in British and Canadian POW prisons. The British forces tried to get support by inviting Dr. Bell, the Anglican Bishop of Chichester, to meet Von Galen for a three way-meeting in October 1945. Bell adjudged Von Galen as possessing enormous moral power, a passion for justice, and well-educated behaviour, and as being very concerned for his people and a defender of ecumenical coöperation.

College of Cardinals:
Unexpectedly, at Christmas 1945 it became known that Pope Pius XII would appoint three new German cardinals, one of them Bishop von Galen, who, despite numerous British obstacles and denial of air travel, arrived in Rome February 5, 1946. Generous American cardinals financed his Roman stay, as German money was not in demand. He had become famous and popular, so after the pope had placed the red hat on his head with the words: 'God bless you, God bless Germany,' Saint Peter's basilica for minutes thundered in a "triumphant applause" for von Galen,

He interpreted it as "a sign of the love of the Pope for our poor German people. Before all the world he has, as a supranational and impartial observer, recognized the German people as equal in the society of nations". While in Rome, he visited the German POW camps in Taranto and told the German Wehrmacht soldiers that he would take care of their release, and that the Pope himself was working on the release of POWs. He took a large number of comforting personal messages to their worried families.

After receiving the red hat from Pope Pius XII, von Galen went to see Madre Pascalina, the faithful servant of the Pope. He told her how the Pope had quoted long passages from his 1941 sermons from memory and how he thanked him for his courage. Galen told the Pope, “Yes, Holy Father, but many of my very best priests died in concentration camps, because they distributed my sermons”. Pius replied, that he was always aware, that thousands of innocent persons would be sent into certain death as a result of his protests as pope.

They talked about old days in Berlin, and von Galen declared: "for nothing in the world would I want to miss these two hours, not even for the red hat."Von Galen judged Pius XII to be “an unusually holy, unusually conscientious and unusually good person,” but one who had “obviously forgotten all my bad habits, otherwise he would not have given me the red hat”.

Death and beatification:

Following his return from the cumbersome travel to Vatican City, the new cardinal was celebrated enthusiastically in his native Westphalia and in his destroyed city of Münster, which still lay completely in ruins as a result of the air raids. He died a few days after his return from Rome in the St. Franziskus Hospital of Münster due to an appendix infection diagnosed too late. His last words were: "Yes, Yes, as God wills it. May God reward you for it. May God protect the dear fatherland. Go on working for him... oh, you dear Savior!" He was buried in the family crypt of the Galen family in the destroyed Cathedral of Münster.

The cause for beatification was requested by his successor, Bishop Michael Keller of Münster and began under Pope Pius XII in 1956. It was concluded positively in November 2004 under Pope John Paul II. Clemens August Graf von Galen was beatified on October 9, 2005 outside of St. Peter's Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI, the 47th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius (1958).

Pope Benedict XVI
On the Beautification of Cardinal Clemens August von Galen
October 9, 2005

On October 9, 2005, at the midday Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI presented the newly beatified Cardinal Clemens-August von Galen, a German bishop who defied Nazism, as a model for believers. Following is an excerpt from the Holy Father’s Angelus message on that day (from Vatican web site):


The beatification of Clemens-August von Galen, Bishop of Münster, a cardinal and fearless opponent of the Nazi regime, took place this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Ordained a priest in 1904, he exercised his ministry for a long time in a Berlin parish, and in 1933 he became Bishop of Münster. In God’s Name he denounced the neo-pagan ideology of National Socialism, defending the freedom of the Church and human rights that were being seriously violated, and protecting the Jews and the weakest persons whom the regime considered as rubbish to be eliminated.

The three famous homilies that this intrepid pastor gave in 1941 are remarkable. Pope Pius XII [made] him cardinal in February 1946 and he died barely a month later, surrounded by the veneration of the faithful who recognized him as a model of Christian courage.

For this very reason, the message of Blessed von Galen is ever timely: faith cannot be reduced to a private sentiment or indeed, be hidden when it is inconvenient; it also implies consistency and a witness even in the public arena for the sake of human beings, justice and truth.

I express my warm congratulations to the diocesan community of Münster and to the Church in Germany as I invoke through the intercession of the new Blessed abundant graces from the Lord upon everyone.

just finished watching an EWTN special for the Beatification Mass of Cardinal Clemens August von Galen this evening. First, if you are unaware for the process of being declared a saint, someone in Heaven, then please read the Wikipedia article on sainthood.

Today I watched the Beatification Mass celebrated by Cardinal Saraiva Martins celebrated at Saint Peter's Basilica for the Beatification of Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen (1878 - 1946). And although Pope Benedict XVI did not celebrate the Mass since a beatification is more of a regional celebration than a declaration of sainthood, the Holy Father did arrive near the end to bless the crowd and speak. Although not spoken by Our Holy Father, I found these words spoken on the Eucharist very refreshing and brilliant. It was said that in receiving the Eucharist one's "...Heart becomes the throne of the Son of God." Is your heart worthy? After this life we will be seeing our God with our own eyes, touching Him with our own hands, but our you worthy? If not then seek His mercy in the Sacrament of Confession, the delight of souls where every single soul, by the power of God, is washed clean from sin. Thanks be to God for His immeasurable gift - His only Son, eternally begotten of the Father!

Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen was a huge critic of the Nazi regime. He lived the Truth in the midst of the darkness of World War II.

If you have information relevant to the canonization of Blessed Clemens, please contact:

Domkapitular Martin Hülskamp
Horsteberg 18, 48143
Münster, Germany

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

70 years ago today, Thomas E. Dewey died

Thomas E. Dewey:thanks for being governor of this great state of new york but sadly not presidential material, Remembering you after 40 years today, may you rest in peace!

Thomas Edmund Dewey (March 24, 1902 – March 16, 1971) was the 47th Governor of New York (1943–1954). In 1944 and 1948, he was the Republican candidate for President, but lost both times. He led the liberal faction of the Republican Party, in which he fought conservative Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft.

Dewey advocated for the professional and business community of the Northeastern United States, which would later be called the "Eastern Establishment." This organization accepted the majority of New Deal social-welfare reforms enacted during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It consisted of internationalists who were in favor of the United Nations and the "Cold War" fought against communism and the Soviet Union.

In addition, he played a large part in the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower as President in 1952. Dewey's successor as leader of the liberal Republicans was Nelson Rockefeller, who became governor of New York in 1959. The New York State Thruway is named in Dewey's honor.

47th Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1954
Lieutenant Thomas W. Wallace (January–July 1943)
Joe R. Hanley (1943–1950)
Frank C. Moore (1950–1953)
Arthur H. Wicks (1953)
Walter J. Mahoney (1954)
Preceded by Charles Poletti
Succeeded by W. Averell Harriman

Presidential Election of 1948:
He was the Republican candidate in the 1948 presidential election in which, in almost unanimous predictions by pollsters and the press, he was projected as the winner. The Chicago Daily Tribune printed "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" as its post-election headline, issuing a few hundred copies before the returns showed conclusively that the winner was Harry S Truman, the incumbent.

Indeed, given Truman's sinking popularity and the Democratic Party's three-way split (between Truman, Henry A. Wallace, and Strom Thurmond), Dewey had seemed unstoppable. Republicans figured that all they had to do to win was to avoid making any major mistakes, and as such Dewey did not take any risks. He spoke in platitudes, trying to transcend politics. Speech after speech was filled with empty statements of the obvious, such as the famous quote: "You know that your future is still ahead of you." An editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal summed it up:

No presidential candidate in the future will be so inept that four of his major speeches can be boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead

Part of the reason Dewey ran such a cautious, vague campaign was because of his experiences as a presidential candidate in 1944. In that election Dewey felt that he had allowed Roosevelt to draw him into a partisan, verbal "mudslinging" match, and he believed that this had cost him votes.

As such, Dewey was convinced in 1948 to appear as non-partisan as possible, and to emphasize the positive aspects of his campaign while ignoring his opponent. This strategy proved to be a major mistake, as it allowed Truman to repeatedly criticize and ridicule Dewey, while Dewey never answered any of Truman's criticisms. Perhaps alone among all of Dewey's advisers, his 1944 campaign chairman, Edwin Jaeckle, admonished him to be aggressive on the campaign trail, advice Dewey rejected.

Dewey was not as conservative as the Republican-controlled 80th Congress, which also proved problematic for him. Truman tied Dewey to the "do-nothing" Congress. Indeed, Dewey had successfully battled Taft and his conservatives for the nomination at the Republican Convention. Taft had remained an isolationist even through the Second World War. Dewey, however, supported the Marshall Plan, the Truman Doctrine, recognition of Israel, and the Berlin airlift.

Dewey was repeatedly urged by the right wing of his party to engage in red-baiting, but he refused. In a debate before the Oregon primary with Harold Stassen, Dewey argued against outlawing the Communist Party of the United States of America, saying "you can't shoot an idea with a gun." He later told Styles Bridges, the Republican national campaign manager, that he was not "going around looking under beds." Dewey was the only Republican to be nominated for President twice and lose both times. He is also the last major-party presidential candidate to wear permanent facial hair, in his case a mustache.

By the 1960s, as the conservative wing assumed more and more power within the Republican Party, Dewey removed himself further and further from party matters. When the Republicans in 1964 gave Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, Taft's successor as the conservative leader, their presidential nomination, Dewey declined to even attend the GOP Convention in San Francisco; it was the first Republican Convention he had missed since 1936.

President Lyndon Johnson offered Dewey a number of positions on several blue ribbon commissions, as well as a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, but Dewey declined them all, for he preferred to remain in political retirement and concentrate on his highly profitable law firm. By the early 1960s Dewey's law practice had made him into a multimillionaire.

Although closely identified with the Republican Party for virtually his entire adult life, Dewey was a close friend of Democratic Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, and Dewey aided Humphrey in being named as the Democratic nominee for vice-president in 1964, advising Lyndon Johnson on ways to block efforts at the party convention by Kennedy loyalists to stampede Robert Kennedy onto the ticket as Johnson's running mate.

Frances Dewey died in the summer of 1970 after battling cancer for six years. Later in 1970 Dewey began to date actress Kitty Carlisle Hart, and there was talk of marriage between them.

However, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack on March 16, 1971, eight days before his 69th birthday, while vacationing with friend Dwayne Andreas in Miami, Florida, following a round of golf with Boston Red Sox player Carl Yastrzemski. He was 68 years old. Both he and his wife are buried in the town cemetery of Pawling, New York; after his death his farm of Dapplemere was sold and renamed "Dewey Lane Farm" in his honor.

In 1964, the New York State legislature officially renamed the New York State Thruway in honor of Dewey. Signs on Interstate 95 from the end of the Bruckner Expressway in the Bronx to the Connecticut state line (and vice-versa) designate the name as Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway, though this official designation is rarely used in reference to the road. The naming was opposed by many Italian Americans, who are a relatively large and important demographic presence in the state.

Dewey's official papers from his years in politics and public life were given to the University of Rochester; they are housed in the university library and are available to historians and other writers.

In 2005, the New York City Bar Association named an award after Dewey. The Thomas E. Dewey Medal, sponsored by the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, is awarded annually to one outstanding Assistant District Attorney in each of New York City's five counties (New York, Kings, Queens, Bronx, and Richmond). The Medal was first awarded on November 29, 2005.

Today is the 260th birthday of President James Madison

James Madison:Thank you sir for serving as the nation 4th United States President from 1809-1817.Also thank you for writing the US Constiution which is the backbone of our nation's democracy, happy 260th birthday!

James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American politician and political philosopher who served as the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817) and is considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

He was the principal author of the United States Constitution, and is often called the "Father of the Constitution". In 1788, he wrote over a third of the Federalist Papers, the most influential commentary on the Constitution. The first president to have served in the United States Congress, he was a leader in the 1st United States Congress, drafting many basic laws, and was responsible for the first ten amendments to the Constitution and thus is also known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights". As a political theorist, Madison's most distinctive belief was that the new republic needed checks and balances to protect individual rights from the tyranny of the majority.

As leader in the House of Representatives, Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized what they called the Republican Party (later called the Democratic-Republican Party)[6] in opposition to key policies of the Federalists, especially the national bank and the Jay Treaty. He secretly co-authored, along with Thomas Jefferson, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 to protest the Alien and Sedition Acts.

As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation's size, and sponsored the ill-fated Embargo Act of 1807. As president, he led the poorly prepared nation into the War of 1812 against Great Britain. A series of disasters at the beginning of the war damaged his reputation, but by 1814–15 American forces repulsed major British invasions, the Federalist opposition fell into disarray, and Americans felt triumphant at the end of the war despite it ending in stalemate for both sides. During and after the war, Madison reversed many of his positions. By 1815, he supported the creation of the second National Bank, a strong military, and a high tariff to protect the new factories opened during the war.

Early life: James Madison was born at Belle Grove Plantation near Port Conway, Virginia on March 16, 1751, (March 5, 1751, Old Style, Julian calendar). He grew up as the oldest of twelve children, of whom nine survived. His father, James Madison, Sr., (1723–1801) was a tobacco planter who grew up on an estate in Orange County, Virginia, which he inherited on reaching maturity. He later acquired still more property and, with 5,000 acres, became the largest landowner and leading citizen of Orange County. His mother, Nelly Conway Madison (1731–1829), was born at Port Conway, Virginia, the daughter of a prominent planter and tobacco merchant. Madison's parents married in 1743. Both parents had a significant influence over their most famous oldest son.

Madison had three brothers and three sisters who lived to maturity (by whom he had more than 30 nieces and nephews):

Francis Madison (1753–1800): planter of Orange County, Virginia
Ambrose Madison (1755–1793): planter and captain in the Virginia militia, looked after the family interests in Orange County; named after his paternal grandfather.
Catlett Madison (1758–1758): died in infancy.
Nelly Madison Hite (1760–1802)
William Madison (1762–1843): veteran of the Revolution and a lawyer, he served in the Virginia legislature
Sarah Catlett Madison Macon (1764–1843)
Unnamed child (1766–1766)
Elizabeth Madison (1768–1775)
Unnamed child (1770–1770)
Reuben Madison (1771–1775)
Frances "Fanny" Madison Rose (1774–1823)

Madison is the only president to have had two vice-presidents die while in office.
The two vice-presidents were George Clinton (New York) 1809–1812 and Elbridge Gerry (Massachusetts)1813–1814.

Later life

When Madison left office in 1817, he retired to Montpelier, his tobacco plantation in Virginia; not far from Jefferson's Monticello. Madison was then 65 years old. Dolley, who thought they would finally have a chance to travel to Paris, was 49. As with both Washington and Jefferson, Madison left the presidency a poorer man than when he entered, due to the steady financial collapse of his plantation.

Some historians speculate that his mounting debt was one of the chief reasons why he refused to allow his notes on the Constitutional Convention, or its official records which he possessed, to be published in his lifetime "He knew the value of his notes, and wanted them to bring money to his estate for Dolley's use as his plantation failed—he was hoping for one hundred thousand dollars from the sale of his papers, of which the notes were the gem." Madison's financial troubles and deteriorating mental and physical health would continue to consume him.

In his later years, Madison also became extremely concerned about his legacy. He took to modifying letters and other documents in his possessions: changing days and dates, adding and deleting words and sentences, and shifting characters. By the time he had reached his late seventies, this "straightening out" had become almost an obsession.

This can be seen by his editing of a letter he had written to Jefferson criticizing Lafayette: Madison not only inked out original passages, but went so far as to imitate Jefferson's handwriting as well. In Madison's mind, this may have represented an effort to make himself clear, to justify his actions both to history and to himself.

During the final six years of his life, amid a sea of personal [financial] troubles that were threatening to engulf him...At times mental agitation issued in physical collapse. For the better part of a year in 1831 and 1832 he was bedridden, if not silenced...Literally sick with anxiety, he began to despair of his ability to make himself understood by his fellow citizens.

In 1826, after the death of Jefferson, Madison followed Jefferson as the second Rector ("President") of the University of Virginia. It would be his last occupation. He retained the position as college chancellor for ten years, until his death in 1836

In 1829, at the age of 78, Madison was chosen as a representative to the constitutional convention in Richmond for the revising of the Virginia state constitution; this was to be Madison's last appearance as a legislator and constitutional drafter. The issue of greatest importance at this convention was apportionment. The western districts of Virginia complained that they were underrepresented because the state constitution apportioned voting districts by county, not population. Westerners' growing numbers thus did not yield growing representation.

Western reformers also wanted to extend suffrage to all white men, in place of the historic property requirement. Madison tried to effect a compromise, but to no avail. Eventually, suffrage rights were extended to renters as well as landowners, but the eastern planters refused to adopt population apportionment. Madison was disappointed at the failure of Virginians to resolve the issue more equitably. "The Convention of 1829, we might say, pushed Madison steadily to the brink of self-delusion, if not despair. The dilemma of slavery undid him."

Although his health had now almost failed, he managed to produce several memoranda on political subjects, including an essay against the appointment of chaplains for Congress and the armed forces, because this produced religious exclusion, but not political harmony.

Madison lived on until 1836, increasingly ignored by the new leaders of the American polity. He died at Montpelier on June 28, the last of the Founding Fathers to die. He is buried in the Madison Family Cemetery at Montpelier.

James Madison was honored on a Postage Issue of 1894
Presidential Dollar of James Madison
"Madison Cottage" on the site of the Fifth Avenue Hotel at Madison Square, NYC, 1852As historian Garry Wills wrote:

Madison's claim on our admiration does not rest on a perfect consistency, any more than it rests on his presidency. He has other virtues.... As a framer and defender of the Constitution he had no peer.... The finest part of Madison's performance as president was his concern for the preserving of the Constitution.... No man could do everything for the country – not even Washington. Madison did more than most, and did some things better than any. That was quite enough.

Auction of books of James Madison's library, Orange County, Virginia, 1854Montpelier, his family's estate and his home in Orange, Virginia, is a National Historic Landmark

Many counties, several towns, cities, educational institutions, a mountain range and a river are named after Madison.

Cities:Madison, Wisconsin

The James Madison College of public policy at Michigan State University; James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia - its athletic teams are called the James Madison Dukes; the James Madison Institute was named in honor of his contributions to the Constitution.

The Madison Range was named in honor of the future President then U.S. Secretary of State by Meriwether Lewis as the Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled through Montana in 1805. The Madison River in southwestern Montana, named in 1805 by Lewis & Clark.

Mount Madison in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire is named after Madison.

Two U.S. Navy ships have been named USS James Madison and three USS Madison.
Madison's portrait was on the U.S. $5000 bill.

Madison Square Gardens and Madison Cycle Racing:
A lodge was built three years after Madison's death in a critical spot at the then-northernmost departure and arrival point in New York City — and named Madison Cottage in honor of the recently deceased fourth president. The site of Madison Cottage would remain a critical crossroads throughout the city's history — after its demise the site became a park, in turn named Madison Square,which remains today. Madison Square in turn, lead to the naming of Madison Avenue and Madison Square Garden, the latter taking the name of its original location: next to Madison Square. Madison Square Gardens, a prominent bicycling venue, gave rise to a popular form of track cycle racing named after the arena, Madison Racing, which remains an Olympic Sport today