Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Recommended Blog

In case you haven't heard, another Daughter of Saint Paul, Sister Elizabeth, has joined the pastoral terrain of the blogosphere. Sister Elizabeth's blog focuses on the life and charism of Blessed James Alberione, founder of the religious communities (including the Daughters of Saint Paul) that form the Pauline Family.

Visit Sister Elizabeth at Alberione's Voice.

Treasuring Life as Sacred

During this week in which we mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I am particularly struck, moved, and challenged by the number of (carelessly) abandoned newborn babies this very same week.

I say "carelessly" because rather being left at designated Safe Havens where mothers would not be subject to prosecution the babies are being left in doorways, garbage cans, and plastic bags.

As pro-lifers we are failing if we solely work to end abortion but don't do more to keep babies safe after they are born.

What kind of outreach could we provide to high schools and obstetrics wards in hospitals to communicate support and concern for mothers overwhelmed by life?

Today's Headlines

What meaning do you find in the death of the Honorable Coretta Scott King and the confirmation of the Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr. as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on the same day?

Monday, January 30, 2006

What Kind of Soul Are You?

You Are a Warrior Soul

You're a strong person and sometimes seen as intimidating.

You don't give up. You're committed and brave.

Truly adventuresome, you are not afraid of going to battle.

Extremely protective of loved ones, you root for the underdog.

You are picky about details and rigorous in your methods.

You also value honesty and fairness a great deal.

You can be outspoken, intimidating, headstrong, and demanding.

You're a hardliner who demands the best from themselves and others.

Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul

I cannot say that this description is 100% accurate, some who know me might say 100% inaccurate. But I can see how sometimes I might seem somewhat like this. All-in-all, though, I am an easygoing, compassionate, empathetic person which isn't reflected in this quiz. But I enjoyed the exercise. Give it a try and see what you think.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Remembering ...

I cannot believe it's been almost two weeks since I have posted to my blog. Where has the time gone? I certainly have had lots to say during this time but just not enough time to sit and let it translate into text. I will get back into the swing of things.

Today I am remembering in a special way two amazing women, one who I have known since I was born, the other who I had the grace of knowing more recently by comparison, both of whom now enjoy the beauty of eternal life in God.

My grandmother, Anne, was born into this world on January 26th, many decades ago (and she was born into eternal life on February 2nd, one week after her 90th birthday). My grandmother was a strong loving woman who had her share of life's ups and downs but never let negative experiences interfere with loving those she loved. She enjoyed life and had many interesting past times that occupied her interest and time after my grandfather's death. She had an incredible work ethic -- she worked full-time until the age of 88 (this is not a typo) and part-time until 89! I miss her lots. She was (and remains) a gem!!

My friend, Sister Mary Casimir, died on January 26th, just last year. I had seen her last about six weeks before on a pre-Christmas visit to our Sisters' Retirement Home at Holy Family Convent (Danville, PA). Among the many blessings Sister Mary Casimir brought to the lives of those who knew and loved her was her deep surrender to all that God asked of her and her ability to smile genuinely despite the crosses she was asked to carry. In life and death she possesses a deep union with Jesus. I miss her dearly but know that she is enjoying the prize of eternal life in Christ Jesus. She too was (and remains) a gem!!

--- "Behold what I have longed for, I already possess.
I am united with Him in utmost devotion"
(text from refrain following perpetual profession of vows). ---

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Pax Christi & Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I reflect on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and contemplate our world today, I encountered a number of useful and thought-provoking resources. Pax Christi, in particular, has a number of things on their website that are speaking to me today.

Pax Christi offers a moving prayer service of remembrance on their website. Easily one could use this remembrance alone or in a small group just as easily as with a large group.

Pax Christi, in follow-up to the 25th anniversary of the US Bishops "Brothers and Sisters to Us," is embarking a major anti-racism initiative. There is some information available on the Pax Christi website along with a promise for more information to be added shortly. I recommend checking it out along with Pax Christi's statement of recommitment to anti-racist work.

The Best Laid Plans

Due to the inclement weather, my plans for today changed, but that's ok. It was still a blessed Sunday graced with a number of moments of blessed encounters. Now I am awaiting my Sunday night television line-up, quite an ecclectic mix by the way. I am looking forward to the additional day-off tomorrow. I am contemplating the best way to honor King's legacy on this special day. What are others doing to mark the day?

On the Lighter Side

Here's a little something fun:

what decade does your personality live in?

quiz brought to you by lady interference, ltd

Mine turned out somewhat accurate as my growing up spanned two decades with most of my teen years in the 80s. That said, I should note that at the time my hair did not look like that nor did I consider myself a pop culture buff but it still seems to have rubbed off (at least as far as the quiz was concerned). :)

"Speak, Lord, I love to listen to your voice...

... See, Lord, here I am!"

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Cost of War

A number of our fellow bloggers who are Daughters of Saint Paul recently posted the sad news of the death of Sgt. Myla Maravillosa who was serving in Iraq as part of her tour of duty as an Army reservist.

Today www.catholic.org is headlining the story of her death and the memorial service held in her honor at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu.

As you may recall, Myla was actively discerning a religious vocation with the Daughters of Saint Paul. Be sure to visit the Catholic News Service article that www.catholic.org carried including firsthand testimony to the beauty of Myla's life and soul.

May she rest in peace in the gentle embrace of her Beloved Jesus! And may her family, friends, and Sisters find comfort in the heart of God.

The war continues. Let Myla's death not be in vain! Credo Pax Christi!

Weekending (or beginning) & A Sunday in Ordinary Time

It's nice to have an extended holiday weekend at this point in time, although as usual, time will move even more swiftly. That's ok, there's still an extra day.

This is scheduled to be a pleasantly occupied weekend with nice things lined up for tomorrow, Sunday, January 15, 2006, this year the second (first) Sunday in Ordinary Time.

I thought I'd share a little bit about the communal significance of January 15 for the Sisters of Christian Charity (this link is to the generalate's website).

Pauline von Mallinckrodt was the foundress of the Sisters of Christian Charity (this link is to the US Eastern Province website). On April 14, 1985, Mother Pauline was beatified by Pope John Paul II and her liturgical feast day set for April 30, the date that is also the anniversary of her death (1881). Prior to her beatification, January 15th was celebrated as her feast day, and for the Sisters of Christian Charity still today remains a day of community celebration on which those in formation are specially honored and celebrated.

This year it so happens that our periodic local gathering of Associates (Companions of Pauline) will take place on this same day. Our agenda? A discussion of Peter Steinfels' "A People Adrift" and follow-up on our outreach project to our Sisters (SCC Western Province) ministering in New Orleans and now displaced by Katrina.

There are several small groups for whom the Motherhouse is also our local convent community. In our case, our local coordinators collaborate with us on our gathering and sharing events.

Besides being the convent home for a significant number of Sisters and the administrative and formation heartquarters for the province, the Motherhouse is also home to several sponsored works of the community including Assumption College for Sisters and Quellen Spiritual Center.

Treat yourself to a visit to their websites! (Note: ACS offers courses that are open to religious and lay both for credit and enrichment. Quellen has an online daily scripture reflection and a great menu of programs and retreats offered. Also on the grounds of the Motherhouse is Villa Pauline Retreat House.)

At the heart of this home is the Chapel of Mary Immaculate which houses Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

One of Mother Pauline's more well-known quotes is

"The Blessed Sacrament is my life, my bliss!
To It I owe the grace of my holy vocation."

It seems to me, indeed, a fitting day to congregate and sistership! Certainly, no bland "ordinary" Sunday, but perhaps a beautiful "Ordinary" Sunday! Does it sound like someplace you'd like to visit? Perhaps Jesus is calling to you, "Come and See!"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Bible in 90 Days

The journey through the Bible in 90 days, 12 pages at a time, continues. Please check out the collaborative blog the group established under Steph's leadership. It's worth the trip!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I have been reflecting on a series of interactions today, trying to figure out the underlying connection among them and come to recognize that it is "community," in this case "religious community."

Whatever your community of choice is (or God's choice for you), I hope you will relate (or when you find it will relate) whether you are a professed religious, in formation, in discernment, or an associate.

Today's experiences all related to being at home, to experiencing the attention of family when one has been away a while or just returned from a trip, the attentiveness of an aunt or godmother or older sister who truly wants to listen to what you have to share, whose "how are you?" greeting expects a truthful and detailed answer and not just "fine, thank you."

At home among community -- it's more than just being with a group of people you like, it's about being a part of them and them a part of you -- whether or not you are in the same place at the same time. Of course, it's not perfect because those who comprise community (whatever community that may be) are imperfect people, but in reality that enriches community experience rather than detracting from it.

At home among community, "for where your treasure is, there, too, is your heart."

Contemplate the community (or communities) that enliven you. What is it you treasure most about them, and why?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Psalm 23 For the Workplace

I can't take credit for this. A colleague shared it with me so I am passing it on. I don't know the original source. I share it as a source of encouragement when you're having "one of those days"!

The Lord is my real boss, and I shall not want.

He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me.

He gently reminders me to pray and do all things without murmuring and complaining.

He reminds me that he is my source and not my job.

He restores my sanity every day and guides my decisions that I might honor him in all that I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mail, system crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping co-workers, discriminating supervisors, and an aging body that doesn't cooperate every morning, I still will not stop -- for He is with me!

His presence, His peace, and His power will see me through.

He claims me as His own, even the company threatens to let me go.

His Faithfulness and Love is better than any bonus check.

HIs retirement plan beats every 401K there is!

When it's all said and done, I'll be working for Him a whole lot longer and for that


Sunday, January 08, 2006

What Are You Watching?

Sister Rose's lastest post includes a list of what she watches on TV. For those of you who aren't familiar with her ministry, she is a Daughter of Saint Paul who is a media literacy and education specialist. She does phenomenal work taking the ordinary and casting it in God's light. Check out her blog if you haven't visited it yet. The reviews are far better than the Friday entertainment section of the local newspapers!

"Shepherds and Kings"

The Christmas Season often turns my mind (and singing heart) to the music of Weston Priory/Gregory Norbet ("former" OSB).

The feast of the Epiphany brings me to this song, "Shepherds and Kings." I'll share the refrain here:

Shepherds and Kings,
following hopes and stars that take them
deep into the night.
How far have they come?
We should really know
for certainly everyone is a shepherd and king

That final line of the refrain, "...for certainly everyone is a shepherd and king," speaks volumes. I am not sure what Norbert desired to capture in that line, but for me, the message is that all of us possesses (and is challenged by) lowliness and greatness, humanity and divinity just as Jesus. We walk with feet planted on the ground preparing our souls for our divine encounter with God in eternal life. We live as pilgrims on a journey but also as travelers who acculturate to the here and now and find in the present moment promise and purpose and opportunities for grace.

God revealed Himself through Jesus to the Magi who went to adore Him. Today God continues to reveal Himself in countless ways. The question for us is: Are we available (open) to see him, to recognize Him, whether it be in the breaking of the Bread as the disciples did on the road to Emmaus (yes, there's a connection between Epiphany and Emmaus) or in the dirt covered face of the homeless woman sleeping in a torn refrigerator box?

"Shepherds and Kings, ... how far have they come? We should really know for certainly everyone is a Shepherd and King..." Not only is each of us shepherd and king, but all of us, all of God's created, are shepherds and kings.

Where and how is God revealing Himself to you today?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"On the 12th day of Christmas..."

Ok, it's actually the 14th day of Christmas, the Catholic liturgical observance of Epiphany, that is.

Just a little view of Christmas to share ...

As time goes on ...

let us not forget those who continue to suffer the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

As Americans, it's a tangible part of our culture to equate with the passage of time with moving on and getting over. But some tragedies touch humanity so deeply that the pain cannot be shelved according to the pages of a calendar or the movement of the sun.

The havoc wrought by Katrina and Rita (and the failure of protective systems of redress) continue to impact our brothers and sisters along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere to where they've been displaced.

The damage is real, not imaginary, and while they work to rebuild their lives, they will be fighting ongoing uphill battles for their dignity and rights for some time to come.

Let's make a commitment today to keep an eye on things and not let us forget. All too easily we can wrongly make Katrina and Rita lessons of history while failing to learn from them in the here and now.

Fellow blogger Sister Anne noted on her recent post that she received permission from her provincial to spend some time near her native New Orleans to both assist her family and her religious community. I too am hoping to have an opportunity in the near future to pilgrimage to New Orleans as part of our parish outreach and partnership initiative. These firsthand visits will be an important part of companioning our brothers and sisters in the rebuilding process rather than solely knowing what we learn through the media.

This is true not only of the Gulf Coast but of so many situations throughout the world. So I ask,

if you could today, where would you like to go to accompany the people (and why)?
Sacred accompaniment is a gift.
Where would you like to use yours?

The Word

The theme of various blogs I have been reading lately all lead to a renewed connection to The Word of God through Holy Scripture. So, when Steph posed the invitation to join her in "The Bible in 90 Days" it seemed like a timely endeavor.

To some it may sound a bit gimmicky, but I have been thinking about it quite a bit and don't think it is (or at least doesn't have to be). Actually I think it's an opportunity to immerse oneself in Scripture, to get soaked (if you will) and then in the days that follow allow the nutrients of God's Word to nourish the soul and re-energize it. That's kind of the way I am approaching it.

In part due to the nature of the work I do on a daily basis, I am what I would categorize as "a quick reader." What I mean by that is I can read volumes pretty quickly to get a picture of the message. As a result, however, I have in some way become a slow synthesizer especially when it comes to messages that are meant to penetrate and transform. So I think the "immerse, soak, and nourish" metaphor I have posed works well for me. That's not to say that I won't also contemplate and meditate daily as I read, but it allows me the benefit of letting The Word linger and work on me over time as well.

I am blessed that in my own religious formation and catechesis I was introduced to Scripture as something to go to. In sixth grade, it was a year of the Bible for religion class (NAV). In high school, there again was Old Testament and New Testament classes and the freshman year, "Jesus of History, Christ of Faith" class that was Scripture-based. However, I am sad to say that since then (not having gone to a Catholic college) that my formal study of Scripture has been limited mostly to building off what I had previously studied and reflecting anew on what I hear and read. I am hoping that this endeavor with the "Bible Blog" team will be an experience of renewed connection to The Word as expressed through Scripture.

Check out the blog where we will be posting the fruits of our contemplation. It's a very diverse group who've stepped forward to take the challenge and keep one another on track. I think it will be very interesting and enlightening to share The Word across our differences and discover commonalities born of the Spirit of The Word.

Bereshit, Hebrew for "in the beginning" and that's where we begin, Genesis 1:1.

In Peace

As I write this post, the community of the City of Jersey City is about to commence the funeral rites for Police Officer Robert Nguyen. Around 8 AM, they were scheduled to begin the procession at McLaughlin Funeral Home on Pavonia Avenue and walk to the Armory on Montgomery Street.

The formal service, led by a team of six Buddhist monks (Nguyen and his family are Buddhists), is scheduled to begin at 9 AM. In addition to the traditional Buddhist rites, there will also be the addition of traditional police rites.

Had I still been living in Jersey City, I have no doubt that I would have attended both Carson's and Nguyen's wakes at least and probably funerals as well. That's the way Jersey City is: Jersey City is the largest small town there is (or the smallest large city, depending on how you look at it). It's a phenomena that mainly longtimers and natives understand. Despite its size and density, Jersey City in many ways carries the traits, the best and the worst (but mostly the best), of a smalltown where everyone knows everyone.

Given my distance and the fact that I only got up at 7:15 AM, I won't be there in person today. I am very cognizant that being there at the Armory for a police officer's funeral would bring me back to the experience of attending Domenic Infantes' funeral (my sister's high school classmate who was killed in the line of duty) and Glenn Cunningham's funeral (my good friend, a retired police captain and former US Marshal, who was mayor of Jersey City at the time of his sudden death). I wanted to be there, especially today, to support my friends who serve in the Police Department. I send my prayers and suppport to them and ask God to bless and strengthen them as well as the Carson and Nguyen families and friends.

"Eternal rest grant unto Shawn Carson and Robert Nguyen, O God,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace, Amen.

May their souls
and all the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God
rest in peace, amen."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Blessed 2006!

As the new year begins, I want to wish each and every one of you a blessed new year! May the start of a new year be a time of recommitment to all that matters most and an opportunity for starting a new with renewed energy and conviction! May the beginning of the new year also be a moment in which we recommit ourselves to lives of peace and non-violence and to solidarity with the poor, oppressed, and marginalized!

Update re Officer Nguyen (and Officer Carson)

On Thursday, December 29, 2005, the body of Officer Robert Nguyenwas recovered at approximately 1 PM.

The discovery by a team of New York City Police Divers was in some ways miraculous. There is no doubt in my mind that his mother's cry to him a day earlier to come forth enabled the recovery to happen. Indeed God heard the cry of the woman who brought him into this world and asked but to see him again.

The Jersey City Police Department promised that they would continue to look until they found Nguyen. As the day and time for the start of Officer Carson's wake approached, plans were made to provide shuttles between the search site and the wake and to recruit more volunteers including willing civilians so that the search would not lose its intensity while colleagues paid respects to Officer Carson. As Divine Providence interceded, Nguyen's body was recovered just at the time that Carson's wake began.

An impromptu ceremony of respect naturally occurred as the body was removed and taken to the Medical Examiner's Officer after passing it by the headquarters of the Emergency Services Unit to which Carson and Nguyen were assigned. Traffic stopped, police stood at attention, civilians got out of their cars and saluted the body of one of the two men who "gave their lives so that others might have life."

On Friday, Officer Carson was buried following a full police funeral. The Medal of Honor, the Police Department's highest honor, was awarded posthumously and pinned to his dress uniform by Police Chief Robert Troy at the start of his wake and a replica presented to his mother with the "thanks of a grateful city."

The news on the incident has been quiet over the holiday weekend while funeral arrangements are made for Officer Nguyen.

May they both rest in peace and may God console their families, friends, loved ones, and colleagues!