Charity

Templar Corps draws on past experience

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The Templar Corps International website (templarcorps.org) is the latest initiative promoted by the Order in association with the Templar Globe and a few partners around the world. Despite being new and based on technology, the Templar Corps is also firmly based on the very ancient idea of serving God by serving mankind. And service to others has been at the center stage of Templar activities in many countries. The Templar Corps today draws on past experience and a determined will to help the less fortunate.

Speaking of “center stage”, Portuguese musical duo Anjos (brothers Nelson and Sérgio Rosado), with a career spanning over 20 years of raving success, approached the Templar Corps searching for computers for the “Instituto dos Ferroviários do Sul e Sueste”, an organization that provides aid, food and education to over 65 children of railway workers. With COVID19, general classes had to be taken online and homework submitted and discussed using digital tools. Many children do not have computers at home.

The Templar Corps, together with the Service of the Hospitalar Officer Fr+ Miguel da Fabiana and Grand Feytor Fr+ Ricardo Salum, manged to obtain, in record time 6 computers, that were submitted to all the necessary testing and completed with appropriate software and hardware (monitors, mouse, cables, etc.) and later delivered to the institution in need in Barreiro, Portugal. The children were delighted to receive the computers. Their wonderful drawings were the best “thank you” notes we could aim for. “Thank you Angles for your offer”, could be read across the table.

Just two months before the Service of the Hospitalar Officer Fr+ Miguel da Fabiana and D+ Vera Lúcia took the Templar Corps on another mission: to find a used fridge for the “Dom Maior” Association. The Association was founded over 10 years ago, after the parents of a very young boy were informed by their doctor that the child had a fatal very rare and incurable disease and would die within months. They organized, pulled help from friends, family and strangers and kept on looking for a cure. The boy celebrated his 12th birthday this year! Eager to share their experience and passion, “Dom Maior” seeks help and resources to go even further.

After a few weeks of local fundraising, the Grand Priory of Portugal managed to buy and deliver a brand new fridge, with a better energy efficiency than the one requested. Pulling their efforts together, the Commandery of Lagos and the Commandery of Arraiolos packaged and delivered 60 children’s games that were highly appreciated and helped to contribute to a fun, balanced education.

The Templar Corps International aggregates these initiatives of good will from Templars all around the world. It doesn’t make sense that volunteers work in isolation and unknown to each other. The needs of children in “Don Maior”, the computers for Ferroviários and the altruism of the Anjos band (of brothers) is multiplied ONE THOUSAND TIMES if we share the resources, share the burden and share the love.

Serving God by serving mankind. That’s it, really.

templarcorps.org

Templar Corps International is launched on Pentecost day 2020

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Amidst the impactful effects of the COVID19 pandemic, that prevents all international meetings, the OSMTHU has launched the Templar Corps Platform (templarcorps.org). The initiative has been in development ever since Master Antonio Paris resumed his term in office in 2018, as a technological tool to support international Templar cooperation in real world projects.

Under the motto “Ethics and Service for a new century”, the Templar Corps International (TCI) is a group of men and women with a Templar background, organized locally in units spread across the world, ready to put their energy, passion and intelligence at the service of mankind. Members come from a wide range of Templar Orders in over 20 countries, whose membership to a Templar structure is acknowledged and equivalent rank given. A significant number of members have come to the Templar Corps with no previous Templar connection of any kind – which is not required.

Unlike a traditional Order, vertical and highly hierarchical in nature, the Templar Corps International is an horizontal organization, managed as a network of highly motivated individuals run through nodes that roughly correspond to regional hubs.

These hubs run local projects, cooperate with projects run by other hubs and materialize in the real world, with real people, and real work, the conceptual aims of Spiritual Chivalry as inspired by the Order of the Temple and other traditional spiritual and historical sources.

These projects cover a wide range of traditional areas of interest, all with a Templar focus:

  • Charity, international aid and disaster relief
  • Historical research and publishing, scholarship, learning
  • Traditional crafts, professions and industries, including swordsmith, pottery, wood carving, …
  • Traditional arts, painting, sculpture, music, theater, literature, …
  • Farming, hospitality, pilgrimage support and aid, …
  • Ethical business, trading and technology
  • Entertainment, documentaries, film, digital media, …
  • Tourism, guided tours, spiritual retreats, …
  • Leadership training, self-improvement programs, advisory, …
  • Intellectual Property creation and management, …

A list of supported and affiliated local Projects is available. It includes humanitarian work in Europe, South America and Africa. A Global Forum event is held online monthly, where leading specialists discuss some of the most important issues related to the service Corps.

The Templar Globe welcomes the Templar Corps International to the Templar family of websites. We will be bringing to our readers the latest Corps announcements, events and news.

More information: templarcorps.org

Disaster Relief in Bolivia – Templar Help

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On 14 February 2020, the Bolivia Government Information Agency declared a disaster zone for Luribay Municipality, La Paz Department, due to heavy rain and river flooding that has affected 500 families, 30 households, and 1,050 hectares of agricultural land. In addition, media reported this rainy season overall has affected eight of nine regions of the country were 6,423 families suffered injuries. To date, 17 deaths have been registered.

The Priorato General del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, headed by Grand Prior General Fr+ Vincenzo Tuccillo organized a Templar presence in the relief efforts, in cooperation with the main ONG’s in the country, including the International Red Cross.

Food, medicines, water and other essential goods were gathered by the Bolivian brothers and sisters, effectively kicking off the first real world action of the Relief organization of the OSMTHU – to be announced later in the year – the Templar Corps International, the service Corps of the Order.

The Grand Priory of Bolivia has been working on a steady development of Templar ideals in South America, in a leading role, alongside the Grand Priory of Colombia, a true beacon of Templar light in the region. An International Meeting with a focus on ecumenical cooperation and opened to all Templar lines and families in the Americas, is being prepared. More details on the work of the Grand Priory of Bolivia can be found by visiting the website.

We may need your help

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FIRE APPEAL

The alarming situation with forest fires in Portugal has become very worrying in recent days. In 2017 the OSMTHU has closely followed the tragedy that struck various parts of the country, claiming lives and incinerating vast areas of forests in the Templar regions north of the Tagus river and in the historic Pinewood of Leiria.

This year, the Commandery of Lisbon – Chagas Hill and the Commandery of Laccobriga (based in Lagos, just 25 miles from the main area being consumed at this very moment in the Algarve province) have already got involved with a few volunteers in support of those who struggle to extinguish the alarming threat on the ground. However, the weather is unpredictable and the past has taught us how the situation can change in a heart beat.

We then ask all Templar Globe readers who wish to support the efforts being made on the ground by our team, that include the donation and transport of supplies, water, food and medicines, to make a donation using the following account of the Commandery:

IBAN: PT50 0193 0000 1050 1984 5524 5

All help, regardless of size, is needed and appreciated.

Please, if you donate, send us an email with your name and contacts to osmthu@mail.com so that we can acknowledge your contribution and send you the final REPORT ON THE FIRE APPEAL by September 1st with details on donations and use of proceeds.

Please, pray for us.

For any other information, please contact:

Fr+ José Miguel da Fabiana, Coordination of Operations

miguelfabiana@gmail.com

+351.917500402

osmthu.org


IN THE MEDIA

EL MUNDO (Español)

THE INDEPENDENT (English)

LE MONDE (Français)


UPDATE August 7, 22:42

A new car with supplies was dispatched to the theater of operations. The logistic coordination centre of the Order is located in the Headquarters of the Firefighters of Portimão. Ask for João Pedro Silva.

Tomorrow, August 8, Commander Victor Varela Martins will be available along the morning and early afternoon to accept bottled water, energy bars and medicines as he travels from Madrid, Toledo, Talavera de lá Reina, Mérida and Badajoz to Évora. He’s expected to meet the Commanders of Sintra and Arraiolos in Évora at 18:00. If you wish to meet them, you can get in touch with Commander Victor by phone on: +351.93.701.78.36

UPDATE August 7, 23:35

Arriving at the theater of operations is a desolating experience:

“Fiery sparks fall from the sky. The road side catches fire instantly. There are hundreds of small burning spots everywhere. Fire locations are 100 times more in number than the available means. It’s an uneven fight. All that remains is to defend and resist. God help us.”

(…) “We have just given a cell phone to a poor unprotected person who lives near the fire line who had no way of contacting his family. There are many ways to be of help.” (Fr+ João Pedro Silva, KTJ)

UPDATE August 8, 06:47

New report from the theater of operations:

“We safely finished our mission. We spent the night distributing food and water. The situation seems calmer, a good change from the chaos at 11pm. There was a great calm at dawn, the wind was very strong but the temperatures have dropped drastically. We hope the won’t be any new fires throughout the day. ” (Fr + João Pedro Silva, KTJ)

Fr+ João Pedro Silva, KTJ and Brother Fernando Miranda

UPDATE August 8, 12:03

New report from the theater of operations:

“We left the front at 7am convinced that the problem was finally over. Unfortunately, there is  news of intense resurfacing and a new front of fire. It’s the wind. The situation is infernal. The temperature at dawn has been around 12 degrees, so that is not the main cause. It’s an endless nightmare. Tonight I saw myself multiple spontaneous ignitions, out of nowhere, at the same time and close to me. It looks like mushrooms of fire popping up from the ground. It was not arson. They were not projections from ongoing flames. I don’t know what it is, but it seems to be alive. Any explanation we may have on this subject is pure speculation. (Fr + João Pedro Silva, KTJ)

UPDATE August 8, 12:05

After departing on his journey from Madrid, the Commander of Lagos, Victor Varela Martins, arrives in Toledo where he collects product donations coordinated with our friends of the Sigillum Templi Group (special thanks to Victor Alfonso Padilla Nieto).

UPDATE August 8, 12:30

Fr+ Jorge Amador, KTJ shares photos of the fight against the flames last night and this morning.

UPDATE August 8, 13:19

Commander Paulo Valente of Sintra confirms that he has collected product donations in Elvas.

UPDATE August 8, 14:30

Commanders Paulo Valente of Sintra and Rui Herdadinha of Arraiolos begin operations to collect product donations at the logistics point selected in Évora.

UPDATE August 8, 18:00

Commander Victor Varela Martins joins the team already in Évora to prepare the cargo and startthe journey to Silves/Portimão.

UPDATE August 8, 18:43

Fire in Enxerim, at the gates of Silves. The fire progressed through several hills from the Odelouca Dam (+ 30km away).

UPDATE August 8, 20:03

Request of the Commander of Lagos:

“Brother Rui Herdadinha and I are on our way to the Silves Firefighters Station with a van full of goods to deliver. Anyone available to help with the load ??? We will arrive around 9pm.” (Fr + Victor Varela Martins, KCTJ)

UPDATE August 8, 21:50

Arrival at Silves Firefighters Station and unloading the goods.

UPDATE August 8, 23:02

The Commander of Arraiolos Rui Herdadinha gives a live interview to Antena 1 national radio.

UPDATE August 9, 00:00

The Order wishes to thank all the Brothers and Sisters who have shown their strength, imagining, organizing and rolling out this short operation, putting on the ground in record time. It should be noted that everyone returned home safely and without incidents. The way our social networks were activated, namely Facebook groups of the Order and of our Brothers and friends from all over the world, allowed us all to have the opportunity to participate and contribute to the success, from the rear to the theater of operations itself. I believe this is a first, both in extension and interaction in the contemporary the Templar world, which shows how relevan the Order still is today if we’re ready and willing.

To all, our deep “thank you”.

Luis de Matos
Prior General of Portugal
Chancellor of the OSMTHU


CREDITS*

Coordination of Operations (in different moments):

Fr+ Paulo Valente, KCTJ
Fr+ Victor Varela Martins, KCTJ
Fr+ Rui Herdadinha, KCTJ
Fr+ João Pedro Silva, KTJ
Fr+ Miguel da Fabiana, KTJ

Volunteering:
D+ Catarina Silva, DTJ
Fr+ Jorge Amador, KTJ
Fr+ Filipe Silva, KTJ
D+ Paula Valente, DTJ
Fr+ Pedro Bernardo, KTJ
Sister Ana Martins
Brother Fernando Miranda
Brother Filipe Beja Simões
Brother Hugo Guerreiro
Brother Luís Neto
Brother Paulo Menegucci
Brother Tiago Sério
Postulant Carlos Walcher
Postulant Luis Almeida
Arsénio Miguel Condaça Lérias
David Manuel Freitas Chambel
Diogo José Macau Soares
Élsio José Campaniço Leocádio
Emanuel José Semedo Piteira
Fábio Manuel Tavares Mendes
Francisco Manuel Carmo Gemito
José Manuel Da Silva Rosado
Murillo Henrique Vieira da Silva
Miguel Ângelo Barbosa Catambas
Ruben Filipe Letras Vermelho

Contributions:
Fr+ Luis Fonseca, KCTJ
Fr+ Luis de Matos, KGCTJ
Irmão José Carlos Mateus

Acknowledgements:
A. J. Salvadinha II, Lda.
Agroreparadora lda
Alma de Muralha
Armazem 8
BUSF
Diana Peças Lda
Farmácia Évora
Fr+ Francisco Miguel Fernandez, OSMTH – Toledo
Fresenius Farmaceutica
Hidro Portugal Lda
JB Santana
Land Rover Évora
NautiEvora
Rurambiente
Sagres
Tintas Barbot
UniLubes Lda
Victor Alfonso Padilla Nieto
Fr+ Victor Mayenco
VitalAire Lda

Podemos precisar de si

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A situação dos incêndios tem-se vindo a agravar nos últimos dias. A OSMTHU já acompanhou com atenção e preocupação a tragédia que se abateu em 2017 sobre diversos pontos do país, reclamando vidas e incinerando vastas áreas, em especial na floresta das regiões Templárias do norte do Tejo e no histórico Pinhal de Leiria.

Este ano a Comenda de Lisboa – Colina das Chagas e a Comenda de Laccobriga (Lagos) desencadearam já algumas acções de voluntariado de apoio aos que, no terreno, lutam para extinguir a ameaça. Contudo, o tempo é imprevisível e as lições do passado mostram-nos como tudo pode mudar num par de horas. Pedimos assim aos leitores do Templar Globe especialmente vocacionados para o voluntariado (apoio às populações e forças oficiais na recolha e distribuição de alimentação, água e medicamentos), que entrem em contacto connosco, de modo a melhor podermos coordenar os esforços se a situação se vier a prolongar.

Coordenação: Fr+ Miguel José da Fabiana

Contacto: miguelfabiana@gmail.com

+351.917500402

osmthu.org

Nota importante: Por questões de segurança só são admitidas no teatro de operações organizações de voluntários reconhecidas pela Autoridade Nacional de Protecção Civil (ANPC). O voluntariado civil deve terminar na entrega de bens nos quartéis de bombeiros, tal como o organizámos. Deve referir-se que as fotografias de membros da Ordem em pleno teatro de operações se referem a pessoas devidamente treinadas e certificadas no contexto de organizações reconhecidas pela Autoridade, designadamente a Associação de Protecção e Socorro (APROSOC). São desaconselháveis iniciativas individuais desenquadradas, as quais se revestem de um risco inútil. Antes de partir para o terreno, deverão conferir dados com o vosso Comendador.


NA MEDIA

PÚBLICO

JORNAL DE NOTÍCIAS

SIC NOTÍCIAS


ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 7, 22:42

Um novo carro com mantimentos foi enviado para o teatro de operações. O centro de coordenação logística da Ordem está localizado no Quartel de Bombeiros de Portimão. Perguntar por João Pedro Silva.

Amanhã, Agosto 8, o Comendador Victor Varela Martins estará disponível desde a manhã até ao final da tarde a recolher garrafas de água, barras de energia e medicamentos enquanto viaja de Madrid, por Toledo, Talavera de la Reina, Mérida e Badajoz até Évora. Espera encontrar-se com os Comendadores de Sintra e de de Arraiolos em Évora pelas 18:00. Se desejar encontrá-lo pode usar o seu telemóvel: Comendador Victor Varela Martins: +351.93.701.78.36

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 7, 23:35

Com a chegada ao teatro de operações os primeiros comentários são desoladores:

“Chovem fagulhas em chamas. As bermas da estrada pegam fogo instantaneamente. São centenas de pequenos pontos a arder por todo o lado. Os pontos de fogo são 100 vezes superiores aos meios disponíveis. É um combate desigual. Só resta defender e resistir. Deus nos proteja.”

(…) “Acabámos de dar telemóvel a um pobre desprotegido que mora aqui perto da linha do fogo e não tinha como contactar a família. Ajudar também é isto.” (Fr+ João Pedro Silva, KTJ)

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 06:47

Novo relatório da frente de operações:

“Terminamos a missão em segurança. Passamos a noite a distribuir comida e água. A situação parece mais calma. Do caos às 23h passamos para grande acalmia de madrugada. O vento é muito forte mas as temperaturas caíram drasticamente. Esperemos que não hajam reacendimentos ao longo do dia.” (Fr+ João Pedro Silva, KTJ)

Fr+ João Pedro Silva, KTJ e Irmão Fernando Miranda

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 12:03

Novo relatório da frente de operações:

“Saímos do teatro de operações às 7h convencidos que o problema estava finalmente dominado. Infelizmente já há notícias de reacendimentos intensos e uma nova frente de fogo. É o vento. Está infernal. Porque a temperatura de madrugada rondou os 12 graus e não é por aí. É um pesadelo sem fim. Esta noite assisti a múltiplas ignições espontâneas, do nada, ao mesmo tempo e perto de mim. Parecem pequenos cogumelos de fogo a nascerem sozinhos. Não foi fogo posto. Não foram projeções. O que é eu não sei mas aquilo parece que está vivo. Qualquer teoria que tenhamos sobre esta matéria é pura especulação. Isto é algo inenarrável.” (Fr+ João Pedro Silva, KTJ)

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 12:05

Depois de iniciar a sua viagem em Madrid, o Comendador de Lagos, Victor Varela Martins, chega a Toledo onde recolhe donativos em género coordenado com os nossos amigos do Grupo Sigillum Templi (especial obrigado ao Victor Alfonso Padilla Nieto).

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 12:30

Fr+ Jorge Amador, KTJ partilha fotos do combate às chamas da noite anterior e da manhã deste dia.

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 13:19

O Comendador Paulo Valente de Sintra confirma ter feito a recolha de donativos em género em Elvas.

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 14:30

Os Comendadores Paulo Valente de Sintra e Rui Herdadinha de Arraiolos iniciam as operações de recolha de donativos em género no ponto logístico seleccionado em Évora.

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 18:00

Comendador Victor Varela Martins junta-se à equipa já em Évora para prepara a carga e arrancar em direcção a Portimão.

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 18:43

Incêndio chega a Enxerim, às portas de Silves. O fogo progrediu por vários cerros a partir da Barragem de Odelouca (+30km).

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 20:03

Pedido do Comendador de Lagos:

“Eu e o irmão Rui Herdadinha estamos a caminho dos Bombeiros de Silves com uma carrinha cheia de bens para ajuda aos bombeiros. Algum irmão com disponibilidade para ir ajudar??? Chegaremos pelas 21 e pouco.” (Fr+ Victor Varela Martins, KCTJ)

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 21:50

Chegada ao Quartel de Bombeiros de Silves e descarga.

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 8, 23:02

Entrevista em directo do Comendador de Arraiolos, Rui Herdadinha, à Antena 1.

ACTUALIZAÇÃO Agosto 9, 00:00

A Ordem deseja agradecer a todos os Irmãos e Irmãs que mostraram a sua fibra, imaginando, organizando e colocando no terreno esta curta operação num espaço de tempo record. Salienta-se que todos regressaram a casa a salvo e sem incidentes. O modo como as redes sociais foram accionadas, designadamente os grupos de Facebook da Ordem e dos nossos Irmãos e amigos de todo o mundo, permitiu que todos tivéssemos a oportunidade de participar e contribuir para o êxito, desde a retaguarda ao próprio teatro de operações. Cremos que é um exemplo único e a primeira vez que tal acontece, tanto em extensão como em interacção no mundo Templário contemporâneo, o que vem mostrar mais uma vez como a Ordem continua relevante hoje, se estivermos prontos e disponíveis.

A todos, um agradecimento profundo.

Luis de Matos
Prior Geral de Portugal
Chanceler Internacional da OSMTHU


CRÉDITOS DA OPERAÇÃO*

Coordenação (em vários momentos e frentes):

Fr+ Paulo Valente, KCTJ
Fr+ Victor Varela Martins, KCTJ
Fr+ Rui Herdadinha, KCTJ
Fr+ João Pedro Silva, KTJ
Fr+ Miguel da Fabiana, KTJ

Voluntariado:
D+ Catarina Silva, DTJ
Fr+ Jorge Amador, KTJ
Fr+ Filipe Silva, KTJ
D+ Paula Valente, DTJ
Fr+ Pedro Bernardo, KTJ
Irmã Ana Martins
Irmão Fernando Miranda
Irmão Filipe Beja Simões
Irmão Hugo Guerreiro
Irmão Luís Neto
Irmão Paulo Menegucci
Irmão Tiago Sério
Postulante Carlos Walcher
Postulante Luis Almeida
Arsénio Miguel Condaça Lérias
David Manuel Freitas Chambel
Diogo José Macau Soares
Élsio José Campaniço Leocádio
Emanuel José Semedo Piteira
Fábio Manuel Tavares Mendes
Francisco Manuel Carmo Gemito
José Manuel Da Silva Rosado
Murillo Henrique Vieira da Silva
Miguel Ângelo Barbosa Catambas
Ruben Filipe Letras Vermelho

Contribuições:
Fr+ Luis Fonseca, KCTJ
Fr+ Luis de Matos, KGCTJ
Irmão José Carlos Mateus

Agradecimentos:
A. J. Salvadinha II, Lda.
Agroreparadora lda
Alma de Muralha
Armazem 8
BUSF
Diana Peças Lda
Farmácia Évora
Fr+ Francisco Miguel Fernandez, OSMTH – Toledo
Fresenius Farmaceutica
Hidro Portugal Lda
JB Santana
Land Rover Évora
NautiEvora
Rurambiente
Sagres
Tintas Barbot
UniLubes Lda
Victor Alfonso Padilla Nieto
Fr+ Victor Mayenco
VitalAire Lda

 

 

 

World Watch IX – Foreign aid – Voice of disenchantment

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refugee-749664

TEN years ago, it would have been hard to find anyone to question the wisdom and morality of the rich world giving billions of dollars in help to the poor world. A generation reared on Live Aid held these truths to be self-evident. Now, the intellectual trend is all the other way. A stream of economists, politicians and even disillusioned do-gooders have penned powerful critiques of every aspect of aid and the aid industry; men like Paul Collier, William Easterly and Robert Calderisi. Even the high priests of aid, pop stars such as Bono and Bob Geldolf, now preach a much more nuanced and complex gospel than they did in the 1980s.

Yet the intellectual arguments about aid are still conducted largely within a small circle of Western white men. So it is good to welcome a new voice to the debate, and a black African woman too, Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist at Goldman Sachs. It is remarkable that so few voices have been raised in Africa, supposedly the main beneficiary of the world’s largesse, about how the aid money should be spent, or even whether it should be received at all.

Unfortunately, Ms Moyo’s contribution ends there, for “Dead Aid” does not move the debate along much. Yes, she has joined the chorus of disapproval—and that in itself might surprise a few diehards who think that Africans should just be grateful for the aid and shut up. But her arguments are scarcely original and her plodding prose makes her the least stylish of the critics.

Moreover, she overstates her case, almost to the point of caricature. There is almost nobody left, even in the aid lobby, who seriously thinks that bilateral (government-to-government) aid is the sole answer to world poverty, as she suggests. “Trade not aid” is only one of several newish mantras among aidniks that seem to have passed her by.

Nonetheless, Ms Moyo is right to argue that the rich world—and Africa—should now focus on other ways of helping poor countries. Ms Moyo shows how some countries, such as Ghana, have successfully tapped the bond markets for funds. She also has good discussions on the virtues of microfinance, venture capital and liberalising trade. By concentrating on these three, African governments might well raise more money on their own; some might even lessen their dependency on aid.

Private investors will always require good governance to ensure that their dollars are not misused. This “trumps all”, argues Ms Moyo. She won’t find many Africans who disagree with that. But getting governments like Nigeria’s or Kenya’s actually to walk the talk has proved a much tougher proposition.

in The Economist

USO Savannah Gets Some Help

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The USO is getting some much needed support.

Funded solely by private donations, today the USO received a check for one thousand dollars from The Priory of St. Vincent, Knights Templar.

The money will help fund the USO’s efforts to support the troops and their families stationed here and around the world.

“This is great! This goes a long ways towards our efforts. We do a lot here at Hunter with the troops who deploy and redeploy and we are doing everything we can to support those stationed in this area,” explains Ray Gaster of USO Savannah.

“I think it’s very important to support all of our military. They are doing a tremendous job for our country. They are protecting us our rights our freedoms,” says Hal Murray of The Priory of St. Vincent, Knights Templar.

If you would like more information on how you can support the USO contact (912) 354-5794.

We must share and seek the forgiveness of the poor

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A Saint and Compassion Fatigue …

There is a story told about St. Vincent de Paul. Perhaps it’s partly myth, but its challenge is real nonetheless.

Vincent once gave an instruction to his religious community that sounded something like this: “When the demands of life seem unfair to you, when you are exhausted and have to pull yourself out of bed yet another time to do some act of service, do it gladly, without counting the cost and without self-pity, for if you persevere in serving others, in giving yourself to the poor, if you persevere to the point of completely spending yourself, perhaps someday the poor will find it in their hearts to forgive you. For it is more blessed to give than to receive and it is also a lot easier.”

That might sound curious. Why do the poor need to forgive us? For what do we need to be forgiven? Shouldn’t we feel good about serving others?

All of us, I suspect, have a pretty good sense of what he means. We all know there is a certain humiliation in needing to receive, just as there is a certain pride in being able to give.

The things we often complain about are really our greatest blessings: What is worse than being too busy? Having nothing to do. What is more painful than having to give away something we own? Having nothing to give away. What is harder than being dragged out of bed to minister to someone in need? Being the person who is in bed and who needs someone to help him or her.

What is harder than being brought to our knees by the demands of those around us for our time and energy? Being on our knees asking someone else for his or her time and energy. It is more blessed to be able to give than to receive and it is easier. But there’s more.

There is a certain divine power, literally, in being able to give. The one who gives gets to be God or, at very least, to feel like God. That’s not an overstatement. God is the source of all that is, the source of all gift. When we are in a position to give, we mediate divine power and we get to feel that power. Whenever we act like God, we get to feel like God.

Yet, the irony is that our very gifts and strengths, if not given over with the proper attitude, can easily make others feel inferior. It is important to understand this so that we are more careful to not serve others in ways that demean them. It is not automatic, nor easy, to give a gift in a way that does not shame the recipient. Vincent de Paul’s counsel highlights this caution.

But there’s a second lesson here as well. Vincent de Paul meant this too as an antidote to self-pity. For anyone who is in a giving role (a parent, a minister, a teacher, a nurse, a social worker, an advocate for justice, a philanthropist, a politician), there is the temptation to fall into self-pity: “Look at all I am doing! I do all this for others, but nobody is doing anything for me. I am so tired. Is there no end to this? Am I the only one who cares? This is asking more of me than is fair. I have my own problems that I should tend to.”

It is easy, especially when one is tired and frustrated by lack of support, to lose heart, begin to feel sorry for oneself and to eventually feel that we are being unfairly used by others, that we are being asked to give more than our share.

That is very common. Caregivers often feel victimized by those to whom they are giving of themselves. We’ve even coined some terms for this: “compassion fatigue,” “compassion burnout.” Not surprisingly, many good people resent the demands of the poor: the welfare system, the push by various groups for their rights, the pressure for more immigration, the drain that the sick put on the energy and money of our society, the cost of repairing the damage done by youthful vandals and so on.

The temptation is to give up and give in – give up on going the extra mile and give in to the temptation to resign and take care of ourselves.

And so Vincent de Paul’s counsel should be told and retold: If we do not continue to serve the poor, despite our tiredness and self-pity, the poor will never find it in their hearts to forgive us. We need to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive and it is also easier.

Portraits of Vincent de Paul show him with a strong, warm face, a face that everywhere suggests a comfortable friendliness. He looks like a man you would want over for dinner. But if you had him over for dinner, you might want to make sure that you didn’t complain about the unfairness of life.

by FR. RON ROLHEISER, omi

Pray for Ramos Horta

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José Ramos Horta, President of East-Timor, Nobel Peace Prize winner and a good friend of the Order was shot yesterday in an attempted coup by rebels. He remains in a serious condition. We ask that all members of the Order and friends include Mr. Ramos Horta in their prayers for a fast and complete recovery.

President Ramos Horta first received a delegation of the Order in 2004 in his capacity as (then) Minister of Foreign Affairs of East-Timor. The delegation was comprising the Master Fr+ Antonio Paris, the Chancellor Fr+ Luis de Matos the Secretary Fr+ Ardino and the member of the Portuguese Parliament Nuno da Camara Pereira. Several plans to include East-Timor in our Order’s priorities for relief campaigns and ethical development projects were laid out and we urge all those interested in cooperating to contact the Chancellery.

From the press:

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East Timor’s enduring tragedy

(The Boston Globe – Editorial) THE PEOPLE of East Timor have suffered plenty enough already. The tiny East Asian nation passed directly from Portuguese to Indonesian control in 1975, after President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave Indonesia a green light to invade. A quarter century of genocidal repression followed, until Indonesian forces left in 1999.

more stories like thisThis background makes Sunday’s attempted assassinations of East Timor’s two top leaders all the more desolating. President Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was wounded in an attempted coup; Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, a former resistance leader, was unhurt. The episode sends a warning: The world’s newest independent nation must not be allowed to fail.

East Timor’s political leaders must take primary responsibility for the reforms and reconciliation needed to avoid disintegration. Ramos-Horta was trying. He had met with the leader of the attempted coup, former military police chief Alfredo Reinado, seeking a compromise to end a revolt that began in 2006 with a mutiny by 600 soldiers, mostly from the west of the country.

Some 150,000 people fled their homes then, and many of the displaced have yet to return. They fear criminal gangs as well as clashes between armed groups from the east and west of the country. Efforts to end those conflicts and bring rebellious soldiers back into the fold may be more successful now that Reinado has been killed in the attack on Ramos-Horta. Reinado was not the sole leader of the antigovernment forces, but as Sunday’s flamboyant assassination attempts suggest, he was the most zealous to overthrow East Timor’s elected authorities.

A key for reconciliation is to grant amnesty to those military rebels of 2006 who had legitimate grievances while legally pursuing those who took up arms against the government for criminal purposes.

Both reconciliation and reform may be served if a much wider circle of police and military veterans, including those who fought in the anti-Indonesian resistance, are granted pensions. Pensioned officers will owe their livelihood to the government, and they will yield places for new recruits who may then receive properly professional training.

Above all, the government must seek advice from all quarters as it reforms the security services and governance. The United Nations mission to East Timor can help by devoting enough staff and resources to provide the government with substantial help in consulting with disaffected soldiers or police. Because the United Nations administered East Timor after 1999 and international security forces have been keeping the peace since 2006, a failed state in East Timor would also represent a failure of the international community.

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FACTBOX: Five facts on wounded President Ramos-Horta

(Reuters) – East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot in the stomach on Monday when rebel soldiers attacked his home, a military spokesman said.

Here are five facts about the president of the tiny country, which became independent in 2002, more than a quarter of a century after Indonesia annexed the former Portuguese colony.

* Ramos-Horta, 58, was an anti-colonial journalist and activist when Portugal ruled East Timor, and was seen during that period as a fatigue-wearing rebel with bushy black hair.

* He spent years abroad as a spokesman for East Timor’s struggle for independence from Indonesian occupation. Fluent in not just the country’s Tetum language, but also Portuguese, Spanish, French and English, Ramos-Horta lobbied foreign leaders to highlight East Timor’s plight under Jakarta’s often-brutal rule.

* In 1996, having earned the respect and friendship of a number of foreign leaders and with a high profile as a diplomat, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo. He returned to East Timor in 1999 after two decades abroad.

* Ramos-Horta took over as prime minister in 2006 after the country’s dominant Fretilin party was blamed for failing to control riots that spun into deadly violence in which more than 30 people died.

* He won a resounding victory in presidential elections last May. Outgoing president and former resistance hero Xanana Gusmao then became prime minister after parliamentary elections in July. The pair are generally seen as allies and somewhat more friendly to international investment and the West than Fretilin stalwarts.

Simple Pleasures

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I have been a professional caregiver for twenty years and I continue to learn a valuable life lesson everyday. I’m always amazed how sorrow and pain can bring such wonderful gifts as wisdom, patience, insight and love. I think it is very easy to make the mistake of tunnel visioning on the tasks we have at hand. We get so caught up in the daily necessities and routines that we forget or ignore the very things that can bring us joy and teach us many valuable lessons.

I was hired to care for a very special lady. I was to prepare meals for her, make sure she took her medication properly, do light housekeeping, and provide transportation to and from the market and her doctor’s appointments. All of these tasks were important and necessary so that she could remain living independently. Our focus was just that — helping her to remain independent.

It was on a cold rainy night, she had just crawled into bed, and she turned her little head and smelled her pillow. I noticed tears running from her eyes. She looked up at me and said “It’s been such a long time since I’ve had clean sheets; I love the smell of fresh clean sheets. I couldn’t change the sheets myself anymore, I didn’t know how to manage hanging on to my walker and changing the sheets at the same time. Thank you so much for changing my sheets.”

Such a simple pleasure as smelling clean sheets brought such great joy to her life. That was the day I learned unconditional care. The next day we sat down and talked about what was important to her, what she liked, and how she had done things all these years. The key point learned here was we were trying to help her remain independent, assisting her with the things she had always done for herself . . . but we forgot to ask how she liked those things done, and what was important to her.

She was the sunshine in my life. I never knew how much I would enjoy and learn from her sharing her life experiences with me. Meal time was not just another chore or necessity of life; it was an event to her. She showed me all of the beautiful and delicate dishes she had collected all of her life. Each one had a special story and held fond memories for her. Her personal favorite was the oblong dishes she used for individual ears of corn. She loved lots of melted butter, not margarine, smothering her ear of corn. Her mother had given her the corn dishes as a wedding present sixty-five years ago. Not a day goes by now that when I eat corn on the cob or climb into my bed which has fresh clean sheets, that I don’t see her beautiful little smiling face, so full of joy and hope from such simple pleasures.

I’m so thankful for the lessons I have learned . . . the lessons I almost missed because I forgot to slow down to look and see the beauty that was right in front of me.

By Angelica White

Church Aiding East-Timor Development

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Benedict XVI and the president of Timor-Leste discussed the role of the Church in education and the fight against poverty on that island nation.

José Ramos-Horta visited the Pope today in the Vatican. He then met with the Holy Father’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

The Vatican press office reported: “During the discussions, mention was made of the cordial relations between the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of East Timor, and of the cooperation between the Catholic Church and the state in the fields of education, health care, and the struggle against poverty.

“The political and social situation of the country was also examined, with particular emphasis given to the process of national reconciliation and to the support of the international community for the consolidation of democratic institutions”

Timor-Leste has a population of just over 1 million, some 98% of whom are Catholic.

Ramos-Horta won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize.

Chad Varah, founder of the Samaritans, died on November 8th, aged 95

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“HE’S not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid.” In 1953, four years after Linda Loman’s famous soliloquy in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”, the Rev Prebendary Chad Varah pioneered a wonderfully simple and effective way of paying attention to people to whom terrible things were happening.

The early years of the Samaritan movement he founded were centred on the dank, gloomy crypt of a beautiful Christopher Wren church, St Stephen Walbrook, a stone’s-throw from the Bank of England in the City of London. Volunteers would take phone calls and receive visits from the lonely, the desperate and the suicidal. As a young curate nearly 20 years earlier, Mr Varah had conducted his first funeral—a 13-year-old girl, who had started menstruating and thought she had some dreadful venereal disease. Confronting suicidal thoughts and sexual ignorance became the theme of his life.

In the 1950s, it was said that in the London area three people killed themselves every day. His simple insight was that many suicides could be averted if the despairing had emotional support in their darkest hour. This the Samaritans offered. He called it “active listening”, or “ befriending”. It was secular and non-judgmental: a kind of aural hug, perhaps all the more consolatory for coming from a stranger.

As Mr Varah himself put it: “There are in this world, in every country, people who seem to be ‘ordinary’, but who, when meeting a suicidal person, turn out to be extraordinary. They can usually save lives. How? They give the sad person their total attention. They completely forget themselves. They listen and listen and listen, without interrupting. They have no message. They do not preach. They have nothing to sell. We call them ‘Samaritans’.”

It caught on. Partly because Mr Varah had a flair for publicity; more importantly because they were soon seen to fill a need, the Samaritans spread rapidly in Britain, helped by a change of the law in 1961, before when attempted suicide was a crime in England and Wales. There are now 202 branches in Britain and Ireland with more than 17,000 trained volunteers. Through “Befrienders Worldwide”, founded by Mr Varah in 1974, there are now Samaritan operations in almost 40 countries across the world. He loved to travel, and visited many of them.

Many Samaritans who met him on his travels, as well as journalists and others, were rather taken aback by Mr Varah in person. They expected a saint-like figure of all-encompassing compassion. They found a charismatic, clever, argumentative, puckish and emotional man, who seemed obsessed with sex. Unshockable himself, he apparently enjoyed shocking others. He liked to tell young Samaritan recruits how he had dealt with a manipulative regular caller who had telephoned him at home and threatened to kill herself if he did not reschedule an appointment: “You do that, sweetie, and I’ll piss on your grave.”

Besides the Samaritans and his clerical work at St Stephen, Mr Varah had in the 1950s supplemented his income by writing comic strips, such as “Dan Dare” in the Eagle. He also had a lifelong career as a self-styled sex therapist. In Lincoln, in eastern England, where, after studying at Oxford, he went to theological college and had his first curacy, he made a name for himself with “marriage-preparation classes” including detailed sex education.

He counted himself an expert, he later explained, having enjoyed “amorous dalliances with most of the girls in my age group within cycling distance”. In 1940, though, he settled down in marriage and had five children. He would tell his marriage-preparation students that fidelity was a “privilege” not a problem. He later wrote a column for Forum, a sex magazine. Having said that he did not mind being considered a “dirty old man” at the age of 25, he liked to think of himself, when a nonagenarian, as the world’s oldest sex therapist, and claimed to have invented the permissive society.

Samaritan, heal thyself
As the Samaritans grew, he lost control and often found himself at odds with those leading the movement he had launched. Sex, typically, was one battleground. As might be expected of a number offering boundless sympathy and plenty of female voices, the Samaritans often attract telephone masturbators, a topic to which Mr Varah devoted one of his many books. Unlike some colleagues, he saw these callers as an opportunity rather than problem—if only they could get beyond their “presenting problem” and talk of their real troubles.

Mr Varah was an unconventional Christian. The title of his autobiography, “Before I Die Again”, which appeared in 1992, refers to his belief in reincarnation. He was also an unconventional Samaritan. Disenchanted with the movement he founded, he marked its 50th anniversary with a call for an end to its charitable status. He also had to be reminded that “founder” was not a post from which you can resign. Before his death, however, he was reconciled with those tending his legacy. They understood that he too was a human being, and that he thought terrible things were happening to his creation. Attention was paid. Millions are in his debt.

in The Economist

Templar Leader Creates Foundation to Help Future Generations

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At a meeting at the Capitol Hill Club of Washington, DC, Rear Admiral [Ret.] James J. Carey announced the completion of Phase I of the formation requirements for The Admiral James J. Carey Foundation. The organization has been formally incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the request for approval as a private foundation has been filed with the U. S. Internal Revenue Service, and Admiral Carey has been named Chairman of the Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to endow organizations, programs, and projects that are educational, charitable, scientific, or religious in nature and which are supportive of future generations who will hopefully lead America and the world as civilization progresses on Planet Earth.

Asked why he was taking this action now, Admiral Carey responded, “Actually I’ve been working on this effort for the past four years. It has involved a tremendous amount of time in estate planning and legal work to first establish the trust in which to hold my assets in order to provide for my wife and daughters should anything untoward cause my early demise. That effort took over three years to research, develop, structure, and establish as a legal entity and then transfer my assets and holdings into that structure. I finished that late last year and then we went through an extensive similar program to develop and structure the foundation and provide for it’s funding by my trust once my family has been cared for and no longer has need of those assets. That effort is almost completed and now we’re beginning to determine what organizations the foundation will endow, and that is, in part, the reason why the foundation met today”.

Admiral Carey continued, “The foundation’s initial focus is going to be on those organizations and programs that I have been involved with and supportive of during my lifetime. I have over 40 years of service on organization boards of directors, with some of those experiences I consider as good, and some not so good. Indeed, there is nothing like years of board service to learn the inner workings of an organization. You see it all. Which are fiscally sound and prudent and which are not. Which treat their members with dignity and respect and which do not. Which have effective programs that you want to use your lifetime of earnings to support and continue, and which you do not want your money to be used for because you have seen first hand that all too many program “do not do what they say they will do”. Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to using that 40+ years of experience to ensure that what gets funded by this foundation is truly worthy of being funded and can be counted on to provide a true service to the nation or to mankind and civilization in future generations and for centuries to come”.

Documents were circulated at today’s meeting indicating that among the organizations under consideration for endowment are a university, several fraternal organizations, several knighthood Orders, a broad range of youth groups, a equally broad range of national public policy organizations, and several religious Orders.

Endowment plans are structured based upon each individual organization and subject to restrictions as to how the foundation wants it’s endowment to be used. All Admiral James J. Carey Foundation endowments are structured so as to continue annual funding in perpetuity, so long as the restrictions on the endowment are strictly adhered to. Each endowed organization will be required to furnish an annual audit by an independent Certified Public Accounting firm to certify their adherence to the requirements and restrictions of the endowment. Those that do not adhere are subject to having their endowment cancelled and those funds split evenly among the remaining endowees that, in fact, do adhere to the endowment requirements and restrictions.

In closing today’s meeting of the Foundation, Admiral Carey stated, “I’ve been particularly fortunate during my lifetime to have had numerous mentors and organizations that have taken an active interest in my life and whatever talents I may have been born with or taught by my parents and teachers over the years.

One of the reasons I have decided to dedicate my entire estate to this foundation is, in part, to pay back to society in recognition of those who helped me succeed in life, since I am unable to repay these mentors individually as almost all are no longer living. In recognizing them, and in endowing deserving organizations and programs that will serve society and our culture in future centuries, hopefully I will be providing for future generations to have some of the same successes in life that have come to me. I truly hope so, and take these steps today as the beginning of the process to bring these endowments to fruition.

I thank everyone that has agreed to help me bring these efforts to a successful and worthwhile achievement. Together, we can do much good for America, and today we begin that effort”.

The Admiral James J. Carey Foundation will operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is Admiral Carey’s intent to spend the remainder of his life managing the assets and programs of the foundation, aided by his two daughters, Lynn Margaret Carey of Denver, Colorado, and Sarah Ann Carey Cancel of San Diego, California, who will succeed him as Trustees of the Foundation should he become infirmed or when he dies. It is the intent of the foundation to establish a web site once final Internal Revenue Service approval is received of the foundation’s 501.c.3 private foundation application. In the interim, the foundation may be contacted via e-mail at RADMCarey@aol.com

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Why is the Templar Globe associating with an iniciative by the Grand Master of a different branch of the Order?

The Templar Globe is indeed the official bulletin of the OSMTHU, edited by the Chancellery. And Rear Admiral James J. Carey is indeed Grand Master of the OSMTH, another branch – or obedience – of the Order.

We are aware that we live in a world full of so called templar orders that can’t trace their origins beyond a daydream last week, all of them exclusive angry rivals, throwing anathema at each other. For that reason, the Templar Globe does not report on their activities and sudden spurs of fame.

However our obedience and the one presided over by Admiral James Carey can trace their history in detail for several decades if not centuries and in the distant past shared the same origin, coming from the same Order. None of them claims to be the only true Templar Order suspended by Rome and now born from the ashes, owner of some secret revelation that could sell millions of books, though.

The fact that our obedience has its statutes deposited near the European Commission and has completed the registration as an International Organization and the fact that the obedience presided by Admiral James Carey has been granted ONG status by the United Nations – the first, and up to this moment only, Templar organization to be distinguished with such a honour – tells volumes about what sets both organizations apart from the world of petty rivalry of common so called templar circles.

The fact that we are now two different branches from the same original tree is circumstantial and is more a reflex of recent history than of any real rivalry. We keep our individual characteristics, our own leadership and follow our democratic will serving our members and the community, living Templar ideals to the fullest in our daily lives. So, when the OSMTH has something to report such as the creation of this new Foundation we feel naturally compelled to associate with the initiative and support it as much as we can.

We want the Templar Globe to be the source of relevant, credible news about the Templars past and present. But when it comes to the present, we’re sorry if we are very picky…

One last word about Admiral James Carey. It’s common to hear scholars, leaders, researchers, students, simple amateurs, committed fans of Templar history and values, comment at length on all sorts of details about the virtues of Charity and Beneficence. It is however rare to find someone whose character has been so deeply carved by the Templar spirit that he decides to take the ultimate step and dedicate the last (let’s hope long) stage of his presence among us to put all that he gathered, all that God directed his way, all that remained after a full accomplished life, place it all at the service of others. You can close all your Templar books now and you can cease all preaching. Example is the ultimate Templar weapon.

Thank you for not putting on your sleepers and selfishly fade away, brother Carey. I hope to be listening and have the same strength and clarity of mind when God whispers in my hear.

Luis de Matos

Chancellor

OSMTHU

An old tradition’s new meaning

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Sunday morning, I walked over to Lincoln Park to catch a glimpse of the annual Portuguese festa parade. In past years, I had watched the parade on the Holly Drive side of the Tracy Branch Library, and it had become an annual event for me. But this year, I had a special interest in one of the underpinning legends of the annual Holy Ghost Festa, sponsored by Tracy’s IPFES.

That special interest was sparked by my recent trip to Portugal; specifically, an afternoon visit to the small town of Estremoz in the Alentejo Plain. It was there in 1336 that Queen Isabel of Portugal died in a hilltop castle. Legends of her life, especially her many kindnesses to the poor, along with a few reported miracles, later brought sainthood to the queen, an unusual occurrence.

Over the years, I had known that Queen Isabel and her concern for Portugal’s poor to be one of the legends connected to the annual festa. I recalled talking to Mary Correia one day about the queen, her saint-like actions, and other festa legends.

Anyway, when our tour group arrived in Estremoz in April, we climbed the hill to the castle, and there was a statue of the Sainted Queen Isabel and the words “Pousada da Rainha Santa Isabel” near the front door of the castle.

The other tour members seemed mildly interested in the queen and her hilltop castle, but I said, “Wow, we’re talking big-time festa material here.”

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Inside the castle, which has been made into a pousada — a small, high-end inn — we paused for a soft drink in a lavishly furnished lobby and then toured the chapel, which is lined with tiles depicting the life and recorded miracles of the queen.

A central scene showed her displaying roses from a basket. The story is that when challenged by her husband the king, Dom Dinis, about giving bread to the poor, she opened the basket to reveal only roses, not bread. Roses have adorned statues in her honor ever since.

The king’s crowning the poorest man in the kingdom on Pentecost Sunday at the queen’s urging — showing he was not such a bad guy after all — is another part of the legend.

So on Sunday morning, I watched closely as one of the floats carried a young woman depicting the queen with bread. Queen Isabel’s memory lives on every June in our town and festas all over California.

Waiting for the parade to arrive — it’s scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., but everyone knows it never does — I talked to several of the Portuguese faithful seated in chairs under the shade of the Lincoln Park trees. Many remembered Holy Ghost Festa parades of years gone past and shared a special bond to the parade that brought them back year after year.

Liana Garcia Gerhart told me she was queen of the 1969 festa and recalls marching in Portuguese parades all over Northern California that year. There were a number of very hot Sundays that year, she remembered.

Lisa Alegre Cracraft and Connie Martin Henson chuckled over their experiences marching in festa parades when they were high school students.

Sunday’s parade, which was stalled for a good 15 minutes at the intersection of Holly and Eaton while cars leaving St. Bernard’s Catholic Church after a Mass were flagged through, finally rounded the corner and headed to the church, arriving barely in time for the 11 a.m. Mass in Portuguese.

After that, it was sopas e carne at the IPFES Hall on West Ninth Street. Do you suppose Queen Isabel ever tried the meat broth and boiled beef

By Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus

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Saint Isabel of Portugal

Born in 1271, Queen Isabel was married to King Diniz (or Dinis). King Diniz was ruling over Portugal when the Templars escaping from France came to him in search of sanctuary; later King Diniz would establish the Order of Christ with the same posessions and knights as the Templars, with the permission of Rome. His wife Isabel was extremely devoted to the Pentecost and the celebration of the Holy Ghost (where a child is put into the thrown as Emperor of the World, accomplishing the Fifth Age or Empire as related in the dream of Nabucodanossor explained by the Prophet Daniel). Like her great-aunt Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, for whom she was named, Saint Isabel of Portugal dedicated her life to the poor. She established orphanages and provided shelter for the homeless. She also founded a convent in Coimbra.
There are many versions of the story of Queen Isabel’s miracle of turning bread into roses, but they are all fundamentally the same. She is said to have been forbidden by her unfaithful husband to give to the poor. Having hid bread to give away in her apron, she encountered King Diniz, who asked her what she was carrying. Not wanting to let on that the contents of her apron were meant for the poor, she responded that they were roses. The bread was transformed into roses, and King Dinis, who could not understand how she could have possession of fresh roses in January, did not punish his wife. A similar legend is told about her great-aunt Elizabeth of Hungary.

Known for settling disputes, Queen Isabel was called the Peacemaker. When her son Affonso (or Afonso) declared war on his father, jealous of the attention being paid by Diniz to his illegitimate sons, she rode between the armies, reconciling the two sides. On another occasion, she rode to Estremoz despite being ill to keep the army of Affonso, by then Affonso IV, from fighting that of Castile. Affonso, angry at the mistreatment his daughter Maria was suffering at the hands of her husband, the king of Castile, had ordered an attack. Isabel stopped the fighting, but the exertion proved to be too much for her and she fell ill, dying shortly thereafter.

Isabel was buried in Coimbra. She was canonized in 1625 by Urban VIII, and her feast day is July 8. Many Portuguese and Portuguese-American organizations bear her name.

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Order of Saint Isabel  (Ordem da Rainha Santa Isabel)

Created by John VI of Portugal on 4 November 1801, in recognition for the devotion of Elizabeth of Aragon, the Queen Saint. John VI invested Carlota Joaquina, his wife, as Grand Master of the order.

The Order is exclusively for dames and it distinguished catholic noble women. The total of members that this order could have was twenty-six.
In 1910, the Monarchy collapsed and the Republican Government abolishe the Order, however King’s Manuel II of Portugal wife in exile and after his death the Duchess of Braganza continued to used the order’s insignia of Grand Master.

The order’s sash is pale pink and has a white stripe in the midle. The crowned medallion as a picture of the Queen Saint giving money to a poor men and it is surronded by a frame with roses (alusion to the Queen’s miracle). The insignia’s motto is Pauperum Solatio.

Microfinance – Time to take the credit

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Success has many fathers. No wonder, then, that paternity suits are flying in microfinance—lending small amounts to help the poor pull themselves out of poverty. Thanks first to charities and, later, international financial institutions (IFIs) like the World Bank, microfinance has been shown to work. Now philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, are using their own charities to pour money into the field. So, increasingly, is the for-profit sector, including “socially responsible” investors and capitalists more interested in the bottom line than the poverty line.

Microfinance is a promising way to get credit to parts of the economy that are starved of capital. So it is a pity that all these lenders are competing to support the same, small group of microfinance institutions that cater to the most creditworthy borrowers. It would be better for the poor if the IFIs and donors left the best credit risks to profit-seeking lenders and concentrated instead on those still stuck outside the system.

Micromanagement
No doubt that sounds ungrateful. Microfinance is in vogue thanks partly to the IFIs, which provided grants, loans and training to untested microcredit institutions. The private sector shunned the risk—out of ignorance, a lack of expertise and fears that making money from the poor would look predatory. The pioneering work of donors means there are now some 10,000 microfinance institutions lending an average of less than $300 to 40m poor borrowers worldwide.

As a result, microfinance has become profitable. Top-tier microlenders no longer need subsidies or even commercial loans from IFIs or philanthropists. ProCredit, made up of 19 microfinance banks in countries from Moldova to Ecuador, was established in 1998 by some IFIs. Now wildly successful, it boasts over 2.2m customer accounts and arrears by volume of a minuscule 1.2%. So many of its banks make money that it could even list its shares on the stockmarket.

The Inter-American Development Bank has acknowledged that the best microlenders can finance themselves either by gathering deposits to finance loans or by attracting commercial investors. It is busily selling equity stakes in its portfolio of microfinance investments. But other development groups are less willing to cut the apron strings. They continue to devote scarce aid dollars to the microlenders that need them least. Having nurtured these outfits when for-profit groups would not, they now want to bask in their successes. Some philanthropists, too, prefer to take the safe route and invest in stable, profitable top-tier microfinance groups.

This trophy lending is harmful. By subsidising microfinance groups that do not need it, aid bodies and philanthropists discourage private money, which cannot compete with their soft terms. In the long run, this harms microfinanciers, because it slows their integration into the financial-services industry and thus hampers their transformation into lenders able to stand alone.

Aid money is better spent where commercial cash fears to tread—such as on the next generation of microfinance institutions. Subsidies are often needed to lend to the rural poor, where small, scattered populations make it hard for commercial lenders to cover their costs. Donor funds could be used to invest in technology such as mobile payments, which promise to cut the cost of providing microcredit. Top microfinance institutions themselves may need help in expanding into insurance and other financial products for the poor, as well as in tapping the capital markets. IFIs, in particular, can press foreign governments to get rid of interest-rate caps and other misguided regulations that impede microlending.

Only a fraction of the world’s 500m impoverished “micro-entrepreneurs” have access to the financial system. There is not enough donor or “socially responsible” money in the world to meet the demand. That’s why microfinance needs private-sector capital. Aid agencies, philanthropists and well-meaning “social” investors can help attract it by investing only where commercial outfits will not. When the children come of age, the best parents step aside.

in The Economist