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2007 Posts

Living water?

Posted by:   🕔 Thursday 27, December 2007 Categories: Prayer and Spirituality

"Formula J"
Spiritual Water

The $15 billion-a-year bottled water industry may not seem a likely source of controversy, but surprisingly it is. Critics point to the fact that bottled water doesn’t always differ in quality from tap water, encourages the unsanitary reuse of plastic bottles, contributes to the accumulation of garbage, and leads people to ignore the lack of reliable supplies of drinking water for a billion of the world’s people—including the 30,000 people who die every week from unsafe-water-related diseases and the almost 6,000 children who die daily from diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

Now several companies have entered the fray by using religion to market their bottled water. Spiritual Water, for example, a new line of purified municipal water, sells under 10 different Christian labels—including  "Formula J"  with head of Jesus with the Fatima prayer in both Spanish and English on the bottle (see above right)—and claims to help people “stay focused, believe in yourself, and believe in God,” reports a Newsweek story by Lisa Miller. The Spiritual Water company, founded by someone who used to be in the pest-control business, donates a portion of its profits to charity. It also says its containers are ecofriendly because fewer people are less willing to throw out a bottle bearing an image of Mary or Jesus.

In Minnesota, however, a group of Catholic sisters have a different taken on the bottled water issue: They object to the whole idea. “I believe that water is a gift of creation, and it’s a gift for everybody. Nobody’s exempt,” says Sister Mary Zirbes of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minn. “It’s meant for everyone, and therefore it should not be a commodity to be sold. It should be free to everyone.” With the Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph and other faith groups nationwide, the Little Falls Franciscans have begun a letter-writing campaign and designed and distributed coasters to encourage people to drink water straight from the tap.

What do you think of using religious images in products and advertising?

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Blessed Maria Schininà (1844-1910)

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 19, December 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Blessed Maria Schininà

About Me: Blessed Maria Schininà was born in Ragusa, Italy in 1844 to noble parents. Maria, the fifth of eight children, lived her days of infancy and adolescence surrounded by the care and attention of her parents and brothers.

Until the age of 21 Maria was no more than a carefree girl born of a wealthy family. Her intense and happy life alternated between religious duties she carried out with her family and her love for beauty, which she continuously perfected through music, fashion, and above all dancing. Maria never displayed any particular spiritual inclinations, even if she inherited her parents’ sensitivity towards the poor and the needy.

The death of her father in 1865 induced her to change her life, which she often declared did not satisfy her inner needs. Her soul could no longer ignore the cries of the poor who were living only steps away from her home. Her comfortable lifestyle was too much of a contrast to the misery just outside her door. It was for this reason that Maria began to look into herself, enlightened by faith and God’s calling which became ever clearer at the feet of the Eucharist. These were years of deep reflection.

In 1874 her youngest brother got married, leaving her and her mother alone. This turn of events posed no obstacle to her. She took off her elegant clothes and dressed like the poor, saying: “Let that which served my vanity go to the poor.”

From this moment on she decided to dedicate herself completely to the sick, the poor, and the outcasts who languished in the most squalid hovels in Ragusa, and to abandoned children, without paying attention to the criticisms from people of her social class who thought she was insane. Everything she did was suggested to her by her love for the Eucharist, which would constitute a fundamental characteristic of her life she would pass on to her spiritual daughters.

My Vision: Maria made herself poor to serve the poor, to cure in them “the suffering members of Jesus’ body.” Her life definitely took a new course. She started to participate in various humanitarian and charitable initiatives.

In 1877, after being elected directress of the new Pia Unione delle Figlie di Maria, she was able to attract young people in Ragusa, becoming a living example of how to carry out a “true social revolution” in the light of the gospel. A voice she heard one day while praying before the image of the Sacred Heart told her to obey the “ministers of the church.” This revelation brought her to renounce the monastic life and found an institute, following the advice of the archbishop. This institute would give material and spiritual aid to the poor and the needy in her city.

She loved Christ in the poor. “Love and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” meant for Maria Schininà an offering of herself by serving those who are poor and marginalized. She called the new congregation the Institute of the Sacred Heart. This congregation continues to serve the poor in different parts of the world: Italy, the United States, Canada, Madagascar, the Philippines, Nigeria, Romania, India, Panama, and recently France.

I Belong to: The Institute of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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"This is my job to stay here to help people"

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 12, December 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Sister Maryanne Pierre, O.P.

Despite years of war and hardship, Sister Maryanne Pierre has helped to keep Baghdad’s St. Raphael’s Hospital open to those who need medical care. The Dominican sister, 58, was recently named a CNN “Hero of War,” a group of people the news network recognizes for their “feats of courage, nobility of purpose, or life-risking situations” to “avert conflict, save lives, or otherwise achieve an extraordinary mission.”

Sister Pierre was born in Iraq and was attracted to the Dominican sisters, who had established a community in Baghdad in 1873. After studying in France and the United States, Pierre returned to the Iraqi capital to work at St. Raphael’s.

In addition to treating sick and injured people during the Iraq war, St. Raphael’s, one of the few hospitals to remain open during the fighting, also had to deal with a large number of premature childbirths. “The fear caused many women to have premature births, Sister Pierre said. “Three hundred and fifty babies were born in two weeks.” Falling bombs and looters did not deter Pierre and the hospital staff from keeping the facility open. Most recently she went into the streets and asked U.S. Marines to guard the hospital.

“This is my job to stay here to help people,” she said. “Even during the first Gulf War we stayed. It’s our duty to stay here for all the people.”

What do you think of Sr. Pierre's work? Do you find it inspiring? Frightening? Both?

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Ecofriendly furnaces heat Austrian monastery

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 07, December 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

For 900 years the Augustinian monastery of Klosterneuburg has risen above the banks of the Danube just north of Vienna. Though it is one of oldest monasteries in Austria, it has, since 2003, become a leader as well in a quite modern enterprise: the environmentally friendly heating of its immense facilities.

Two state-of-the-art biomass furnaces have replaced a number of obsolete heating systems or systems fired with fossil fuels in the monastery, a leisure centre, the hospital, and two municipal buildings in the city of Klosterneuburg. This new equipment has reduced CO2 emissions by 97 percent.

Installed underground to preserve the monastery’s façade, the construction of the biomass boilers also allowed the monastery to build a new a wine storage hall (the region is famous for its winemaking) and new underground visitor parking.

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Don't try to stop this train

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 30, November 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Sister Maria
Rosa Leggol, S.S.S.F.

When Sister Maria Rosa Leggol was 6 years old, she saw a group of German nuns passing through her hometown of Puerto Cortes, Honduras. After inquiring with the parish priest about who these women might be, she decided on the spot to become a religious sister. Three years later she prayed to the Virgin Mary to help her find the sisters she had seen. When she left the church she saw a train carrying two of those very School Sisters of St. Francis. “Never,” Sister Leggol says, “has a prayer had such a direct answer.”

After going through her novitiate at the community’s motherhouse in Milwaukee—“I learned how to pray, how to work, and how to have courage from those German nuns,” she says of this time—she returned to Honduras and began working in a hospital in Tegucigalpa.

Her work at the hospital helped to make her aware of the plight of the city’ poor young children, many of whom lacked even a semblance of an education or a normal upbringing. Sister Leggol has come to call these children “moral orphans” because many of them have been, in the words of journalist John Allen, Jr., who wrote about Sister Leggol in the National Catholic Reporter, “so badly failed by their own parents as to be effectively without a family.”

Sister Leggol’s work led to the founding of the Sociedad Amigos de los Niños, which offers abandoned and frequently abused children in Honduras a home, education, and the possibility of employment. She has also established 86 free health clinics in the country, which serve the dual purpose of providing basic health care to poor and rural Hondurans and also giving jobs to recent medical-school graduates. In addition to these efforts she also created a training center for young Honduran women who work as maids and a boarding school for needy rural boys.

"If you really understand God's call," she told NCR, "if you're clear that you have a vocation that comes from God for which you are responsible, then nothing stops you," she said. "I'm very strong in that way. Nobody gave me this job—I made it."

Her determination is legendary. She went over the head of her superior to begin the home for children, severed a relationship with a supporting foundation who wanted her to stop accepting handicapped children and mothers along their children, and once in the 1960s ran onto an airport runway to stop a plane from taking off so she could get the signature of a businessman on board who had agreed to donate to the children’s homes.

“I’m not an easy person,” Sister Leggol says. “I try to think 15 steps ahead all the time, which is why people think I’m crazy. If I had ever been married . . . all I can say is, poor man!”

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Ed Nowak, C.S.P.

Posted by:   🕔 Thursday 29, November 2007 Categories: Clergy

Father Ed Nowak, C.S.P.

About Me: When I first thought of becoming a priest, I was a freshman at Penn State University, heading towards an engineering degree and contemplating marriage to a lovely woman named Lucille.

One day, while at the university, I attended a discussion sponsored by the Newman center on the topic of married priests. I remember telling our campus minister at the time that I would consider being a priest if I could be married. I told God that I would be open to the idea if things didn’t work out with Lucille. Time passed and Lucille and I did break up and I kept my promise to be open to the possibility of being a priest. I then began to look for some definite sign from God.

Although I didn’t receive any big signs, I did get lots of little indications that helped me to discern my call. For one, when seeing how active I was within the church, my dorm mates became convinced that I was likely to become a priest. I, too, began to realize that at vocation talks I felt as if the priest was talking directly to me. I asked some priest friends how I could be sure I had a vocation. They assured me that when the time was right I would be at peace with the decision.

It all came together for me the fall of my senior year at a friend’s wedding. I realized that I was identifying more with the priest at the ceremony then I was with the groom. Later, I saw the priest dancing, having fun, and receiving many hugs. Well this worked for me since I really enjoyed dancing and didn’t want to give it up to become a priest. I went back to Penn State that evening and things seemed to be coming together. I awoke the next morning feeling very happy about becoming a priest. I waited till the next weekend to tell my family and when I told them they were very supportive. They remained supportive and helpful throughout my discernment process.

My Vision: Now that I knew I was to be a priest, the next part of the discernment was —what kind of priest? As I looked at all the options, I began to explore religious communities and was drawn to the Paulists. The relatively small size of the community and the Paulist mission of evangelization, ecumenism, and reconciliation to North America really fit in to how I wanted to serve the Church as a priest.

Since May of 1989, I have enjoyed many years as a Paulist priest. It has been a challenging and wonderful journey thus far, and I am still dancing, hopefully for many years to come!

I Belong to: The Paulist Fathers

Have you had signs, even little ones, about your calling in life?

Father Ed Nowak, C.S.P. is currently working as the director for vocations of the Paulist Fathers. The vocations office is located in New York City. He has ministered in the areas of campus ministry in Minneapolis and Santa Barbara, RCIA, evangelization, outreach to inactive Catholics, and young adult ministries. His story is reprinted here from the website of the Paulist Fathers.

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Sisters fight human trafficking

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 14, November 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

For years the reality of trafficking in human persons “was a kind of global family secret,” said Msgr. Pietro Parolin, the Vatican undersecretary of state. Now, thanks to greater public awareness efforts, more people know about this $12 billion industry that in 2005 put at least 12 million people into forced labor.

The effort to publicize this issue has been taken up by 30 women religious from 26 countries who at a recent conference in Rome formed the International Network of Religious Against Trafficking in Persons, a CNS story reported. Together with the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican and the International Organization for Migration, the Italian Union of Major Superiors, which represents 95,000 religious sisters working in Italy, have designed a training program to help foreign women escape forced prostitution.

Women religious have made a commitment “to take on the great moral evil of human trafficking,” Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Sister Susan Maloney told the conference, an effort she called the “great ministry of the 21st century.”

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“I cannot, not write”

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 02, November 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Father Larry Janowski, O.F.M.

A vocation to religious life can be large enough to leave room for other vocations—being a poet, for example.

Just ask Father Larry Janowski. A member of the Franciscans since 1968, Janowski recently published his first book of poetry, BrotherKeeper (Puddin’head Press), named for the book’s poem about the death of a 5-year-old thrown from the 14th floor of a Chicago housing project for refusing to steal candy.

Janowski’s work has earned him prizes, grants, fellowships, and residencies, and his poems have appeared in a number of literary magazines. He gives poetry readings and workshops on a regular basis and is also a contributor to a new literary journal, Fifth Wednesday. With master’s degrees in both fiction writing and theology, Janowski is also an adjunct professor of English at Dominican University and Wilbur Wright College in the Chicago area.

On his way to becoming a poet, he says in an interview with the suburban Chicago Arlington Heights Post, “I had written poetry in high school and college and I remembered all the things I loved about poetry: the economy of language, the compression and the images. The fact that every word, every punctuation mark, every choice about a line break, all of those things are incredibly important. And yet your whole piece could be on a single page.” After a while, he says, “I began to realize my religious background and training also contributed to the kind of poet I am.”

Janowski does not so much consider himself a religious poet as a religious person who is a poet. “As with all people,” he says, “I’m in a constant quest for spiritual meaning, for some heartbeat everyone shares. A poem, a good one, can allow you to see you are not alone—and that goes for the poet as well as the reader of the poem.”

Speaking of his vocations as priest and poet, Janowski recently told Chicago Public Radio, “I think that a great deal of being a member of a religious order is to pay attention to people, to listen to them, to try to hear what they’re saying, and also what they’re not saying. And it seems to me that that is what poetry is all about. It’s all about blessing people with a little bit of your own experience. In poetry we say, ‘This is something that I have learned, or maybe something I haven’t learned yet. Or this is something that has touched me, or something that I have lost.’ ”

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Mother Theresa Maxis (1810-1892), I.H.M.

Posted by:   🕔 Tuesday 23, October 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Icon of Mother
Theresa Maxis, I.H.M.

About me: Mother Theresa Maxis, cofounder of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was born an illegitimate child of a Haitian mother and white British father, a fact concealed for over a century. An IHM historian discovered the truth in the mid-1940s while writing the history of the congregation’s first 100 years.

Although the IHM community has confronted racism since at least the 1930s, in their schools, during the Detroit civil disturbances in the ‘60s, and in many other political actions, its members didn’t realize their own cofounder was a woman of color, nor did they realize there was a cover-up until the writing of the book, No Greater Service, published in 1948.

Mother Theresa Maxis played a key role in forming four communities of women religious, including the first African American community of women religious in the United States, the Oblate Sisters of Providence. The other three communities include the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM's) of Immaculata, Pennsylvania; Monroe, Michigan; and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

I belong to: The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

My vision: During her time in the Oblates, Teresa had spent some time as the community’s elected superior. Unfortunately the era was one of pre-Civil War bigotry in Maryland. The bishop didn't see the need for an African American community of sisters and forbade them to take in new members. The threat of of the community's dissolution was very real. She left the fledgling Oblate community and traveled to Michigan to join a Redemptorist priest in founding a new order of religious sisters to teach immigrant children. From this beginning sprang the three communities of IHM's.

The four communities are now formally involved in a reconciliation and healing process confronting racism. In September of 2006 the four communities wrote a statement proclaiming the racism in their history and condemning the sin of racism.

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Father Ted keeps up

Posted by:   🕔 Saturday 20, October 2007 Categories: Clergy

Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, the 90-year-old president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, can’t see much anymore, though graduate students still keep him up on current events by reading him the newspapers every day in his office. So he might have had some trouble watching his portrait go up last Tuesday at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery.

The photo is not just any portrait. It depicts him hand in hand with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a rally in Chicago’s Soldier Field celebrating the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Father Ted, as he is known, chaired the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which helped to pass the act by documenting how the voting rights of African Americans were denied.

The civil rights commission was one of 16 presidential commissions on which Hesburgh served during both Democratic and Republican administrations, working on issues from civil rights to Middle East peace to nuclear arms control.

His legendary ability to bring people together was a decisive factor in his effectiveness. He reached agreement on the civil rights commission’s recommendations by taking the commissioners on a fishing trip to Wisconsin. As the Vatican’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hesburgh invited two personal friends from the Soviet and American delegations to a successful meeting in his hotel suite. “Just buzz me if you need anything,” Hesburgh told them.

Father Ted served as president of Notre Dame for 35 years—longer than any other college or university president in the U.S.

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Bishop sees the forest AND the trees

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 10, October 2007 Categories: Clergy

Archbishop Leo
Cornelio. S.V.D.

The Catholic Church continues to “go green,” and by that I don’t mean only the liturgical color of Ordinary Time. In a sign of the church increasing concern for the environment, Archbishop Leo Cornelio, newly installed archbishop of Bhopal, India, said he would accept only one kind of congratulatory gift: tree saplings. Archbishop Cornelio, a Divine Word Missionary, said he intended the gesture to highlight concern over rising pollution and growing indications of global environmental degradation.

In response to his invitation, Archbishop Cornelio received more than 10,000 saplings, which he said would be planted at Christian institutions and in other public places.

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Father David Kelly, C.PP.S.

Posted by:   🕔 Tuesday 02, October 2007 Categories: Clergy

About Me: In his ministry with incarcerated and at-risk youth, Father David Kelly, C.PP.S., anticipates that he will fail at least 70 percent of the time. He has worked against those odds in inner-city Chicago for two decades. At the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, which he helped found, staff members work with youth, help families heal from the violence that claims their sons and daughters, and reach out to a neighborhood that can seem like a war zone.

My Vision: Idealistic and pragmatic at the same time, Father Dave believes that only the reconciling power of the Precious Blood of Jesus can bring peace to such a place. “Reconciliation does not happen readily. In fact, it rarely happens,” he said. “But first and foremost, it is the work of God. It begins with the victim. And it makes of both the victim and the wrongdoer a new creation.”

I Belong to: The Missionaries of the Precious Blood

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Grace before meals

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 21, September 2007 Categories: Clergy

Fr. Leo's Cookbook

If his production company can find enough sponsors, look for Fr. Leo Patalinghug and his Grace Before Meals program on a Public Broadcasting Service station next year. In the program, Fr. Leo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the director of pastoral field education at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, visits families and cooks with them. An accompanying cookbook of the same title links 50 homestyle recipes to the liturgical year, family milestones, and even life disappointments. It also includes scripture passages and essays about feasts.

Fr. Leo is no stranger to cooking. As a child he says he was “easily bored” and would help his mother in the kitchen. Later, while in seminary at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, he would cook for his fellow seminarians when he had the time.

The idea for the cooking show was born while Fr. Leo was cooking for some priest friends, one of whom said he wished he had a video camera to film the process. After being transferred to St. John Church in Emmitsburg, Fr. Leo teamed up with a parishioner and television producer to create the program.

Fr. Leo, who is also a break-dancer and martial arts practitioner, sees the show and cookbook as a “movement to bring God’s family back to his table,” he told Catholic News Service. He sees his vocation as a priest to “feed God’s children—body, mind, and soul.”

You can find out more about Fr. Leo’s project at The 2009 issues of the VISION Annual Religious Vocation Discernment Guide and Vocation Network website has a full length article about Fr. Leo.

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Martin Marty, O.S.B. (1834-1896)

Posted by:   🕔 Monday 17, September 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Abbot Martin Marty, O.S.B.

About me: James Joseph Alois Marty was born in Switzerland in 1834, the son of a shoemaker. Before the age of two, his mouth and face were both severely burned when he drank from a bottle of acid in his father’s shop. The acid caused swelling that nearly suffocated him and would leave his face permanently disfigured.

In 1847 Marty enrolled in the Benedictine school attached to Einsiedeln Abbey. After graduation, he entered the Benedictine novitiate at Einsiedeln and took the name Brother Martin Marty when he made his vows. He was ordained to the priesthood a year later and began teaching moral theology at the monastery school.

In 1860, at the age of 26, the abbot of Einsiedeln sent Marty to Southern Indiana to help solve the problems of the fledgling missionary community of Saint Meinrad. Marty facilitated peace between conflicting factions in the small Benedictine house and articulated a vision for the new community.

My vision: He envisioned a Benedictine abbey that would serve as a spiritual and liturgical center for the area, educate priests in a seminary, and provide pastoral assistance to the local people. This vision of monastic life, combining a life of prayer and work with support for the pastoral work of the church, has remained the mission of Saint Meinrad Archabbey o this day.

Although the assignment was intended to last only one year, Marty was elected the first abbot, and under his leadership Saint Meinrad flourished, becoming one of the cornerstones of Benedictine life in the United States. After a decade and a half of monastic leadership, Marty was named to lead the church in the missionary territories of the Dakotas. He became bishop of the Dakota territories and later the second bishop of St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he lived the rest of his life and demonstrated great enthusiasm in his work with the Sioux.

I belong to: The Benedictine Monks of St. Meinrad Archabbey.

Many thanks to Brother Christian Raab of St. Meinrad Archabbey for information on Bishop Marty. Information also drawn from Wikipedia.

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Sister Karen Marie Barile, O.S.H.J.

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 05, September 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Sister Karen Marie
Barile, O.S.H.J.

About me: My call to a religious vocation started when I was about 8 years old. When I grew up I was going to be a nun. My father would see me walking around the house with my “towel veil,” and he would say, “You know, if you become a nun, you can't get married.” I assured him I did not want to get married, to which he would joke, “Good, then I won't have to buy a gun."

Time passed and my family moved to an area where Sisters were not active in the church my family attended, so they no longer had an influence in my life. As my teen years passed, I not only lost the thought of becoming a nun, I had gone away from the church all together. After a long time away, and within a short time after returning to the church (but not the sacraments yet), I started hearing a voice in me that maybe I should become a nun. Each time the thought came to me, I’d laugh it off as I felt that receiving the sacraments should be a prerequisite to entering religious life.

When I had returned to the sacraments, the thoughts of entering a convent would suddenly appear, but I was able to push them away due to the fact that my active life was in full swing and I had many responsibilities. I couldn’t just drop everything for a thought that was possibly—maybe—from God. After all, that would be quite a risk! After consistent inner promptings, I finally decided to stop fighting the “possibilities” and started praying to God that if this was what He really wanted, to please get me there, as I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

I would pray this prayer every time my mind turned to the convent, and then one night instead of the inner voice giving me the typical inspirations of the past several years, I heard, “So, now why can’t you look into the convent?” As I started to make the usual mental list, I realized that all the reasons that kept me from searching were no longer there. With still a bit of skepticism, I said, “OK, I’ll look into it if only to prove that this is not what I’m supposed to do. Then I won’t have to think about this again, and I can finally be at peace.”

I belong to: The Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hubbard, Ohio. Mother Maria Teresa Casini founded the order in 1894. Our charism is to offer our lives for the sanctification of priests. This calling is most visibly seen through our work of caring for retired priests, working in parishes, and running a school and day care which our Sisters were asked to take on when they first came to the United States from Italy.

I was strongly drawn to the charism of offering my life for the priests, as I believe the priest is the door to the heart of Christ. The holier the priest, the more people he will bring to Christ. There is one thing, however, that can stand in the way of doing God's will: ourselves.

My vision: Now, here I am, four years later in my second year of professed vows, preparing for the many joys and challenges that await me in Rome, Italy where I will continue my formation and study to prepare for ministry during the next two years. There are also a few things I have learned about God through this journey: —God is full of surprises —God never gives up on us —God is never outdone in generosity So, if you think God is calling you, don’t say no: Say you’ll look into it!

For more information about the Oblate Sisters, contact Sister Teresina Rosa at 330-759-9329 or write to: Oblate Sisters, 50 Warner Rd., Hubbard, OH 44425, email:

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Saint Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 29, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Passionist Founder
Saint Paul of the Cross

About me: The future founder of the Passionist Congregation of priests, brothers, and nuns was born in Ovada, northern Italy, in 1694. Paul Danei was the eldest of six children and as a young man the main support of his father’s dry goods business. In his early childhood, his mother used to gather the children at her knee each day, telling them gospel stories, especially the details of Jesus’ Passion and death, as well as the lives of the saints, including the desert fathers.

Anna Maria probably had no inkling how her Paul remembered and pondered these stories, as they resonated with the grace of God in his young soul. Gradually, Paul and his brother, John Baptist, found their own desert in the family attic, where they prayed and imitated those ancient desert ascetics, even as the presence of God was becoming the center of their young lives.

Since the family fortunes varied, Paul’s teenage years passed as a “working student,” learning some Latin and Christian doctrine as he could. Whether at this time or in later life, Paul fed his soul on the writings of Saint Francis de Sales, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Saint John of the Cross, books that gave him the language and understanding of mysticism.

One milestone marked his first conversion: the impact of a priest’s sermon. Those words preached at Mass pierced his young heart, setting him on fire with love for God. Paul always called that sermon his “conversion.” Subsequently, he renounced the bequest of his uncle’s estate and declined a prearranged marriage.

As time passed, Paul's spirituality matured, but still he discerned no clear call. He became afflicted by a trial of relentless scruples, with severe temptations against faith. Paul prayed, did penance, but relief was long in coming.

Then, world events shook all of Italy: The Turks declared war on Venice, the pope summoned a crusade, and Paul signed up—a chance to suffer martyrdom for the faith. Even before embarking, as he was praying in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord let Paul know that being a soldier was not exactly what he had in mind for him. So, armed with discharge papers, Paul returned home to pick up where he had left off, and to wait, wait, wait, for a clear indication of God’s holy will.

I belong to: The Passionist Congregation.

My vision: In 1718, when Paul was 24, the Blessed Virgin Mary took his life into her own hands, appeared to him clothed in black, with the sign of the Passion sign over her heart, and told him to gather companions and preach God’s love to the people. Every uncertainty in Paul’s heart melted, his soul glowed with love, and he broke into a flood of tears—at last: blessed assurance. Other visions followed, as did intense interior trials, but Paul claimed the grace Mary gave him, was clothed as a hermit by his bishop, and made a solitary retreat of 40 days during which he wrote a rule for the community Mary had asked him to found.

Paul lived to be 82, after he had founded many monasteries of Passionist men and one for the Passionist nuns in 1771. And in every one of his monasteries, he loved to pray in the attic!

Details of Saint Paul's life drawn from Rev. Gabriele Cingolini, C.P. and compiled by the The Passionist Nuns of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.

Feast day: October 19

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Brother works behind bars

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 29, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

“Visit the prisoner” is one of the corporal acts of mercy. Holy Cross Brother James Van Dyke not only visits prisoners, he counsels, trains, and helps them find services as well.

Brother Van Dyke works for the Correctional Services Department of the Salvation Army in northern Illinois, primarily at Cook County Jail in Chicago and the maximum security Stateville prison in suburban Joliet. Besides the traditional chaplain tasks of facilitating prayer and Bible study groups and offering counseling to inmates on spiritual and family matters, Van Dyke serves on a Life Learning Program team that provides inmates with spiritual, educational, and life skills classes along with self-help and substance abuse recovery groups.

Van Dyke also works with nonviolent offenders to explore alternatives to incarceration. For those released from prison and trying to reintegrate into mainstream society, he identifies services such as job placement, housing, and support groups. He was a pioneer in establishing the county’s drug treatment courts, which combine legal sanctions with treatment and a preventive approach to future drug-related crimes.

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Sister Sandra Lincoln, S.H.C.J.

Posted by:   🕔 Thursday 23, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

About me: My desire to respond to God through religious life came when I was a sophomore at Smith College. A certainty about God’s invitation to me started in prayer and reading of Saint John of the Cross. As time went on, only the “way” of entering religious life seemed to envelop me in peace. As college graduation and my 21st birthday drew near, I made an effort to ignore my desire to enter religious life and considered other alternatives such as graduate school.

These other alternatives, however, could never compete with the peace that entering religious life seemed to bring me. I did not know any sisters; so entering a religious order seemed terrifying, a bit like jumping into a dark well. On a college retreat during my senior year, I met a Cenacle sister who suggested that I consider the S.H.C.J. She spoke to me about Cornelia Connelly, the foundress of the society, and how Cornelia wanted her sisters to love the children they taught. As she spoke, a great certainty came over me, a feeling that this was the religious community for me.

I wrote a very vague letter to the provincial of the society and in turn, I was invited to take the entrance tests. I wrote to say that I would take the tests and enter in September. I had no idea I needed to be “accepted.” I met the Holy Child Sisters for the first time when I took the psychological entrance tests, and I loved them!

My vision: The society has encouraged me to develop all of my abilities, even those I did not know I had! I have even been able to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. As a member of the society, I have taught high school as well as college students. Teaching has given me the ability to impact the lives of students and in turn, I have been changed by my experiences with them. I enjoy watching students come alive as they learn new concepts and ways of thinking.

Over the years, the society, the church, and our world have changed significantly. But my certainty about belonging in the society has never been in doubt. When I was a novice, I remember thinking how amazing it was that God called me to a relationship with him and how astounding each religious vocation was. Even though we are now seeing smaller numbers of religious vocations, I am not discouraged–each one still seems like a small miracle to me!

I belong to: The Society of the Holy Child Jesus.

This article adapted with kind permission from the vocations website page of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.

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Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 22, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

About me: Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) was an intellectual prodigy, earning his law degree while still a teenager. But a brilliant eight-year legal career came to a sudden end when he failed to read a few words of an important piece of evidence. His lapse meant the collapse of his case—the only case he ever lost. He admitted his mistake, apologized to his client, and left the courtroom for good.

In the aftermath of this professional disaster, Alphonsus turned in quite another direction: visiting the sick in a hospital for terminally ill people. Here he experienced a call to priesthood and began doing missionary work in and around Naples, Italy. This call would lead him to founding a religious order of women and later men, the Redemptorists.

Not long after bringing together his first followers, however, conflicts began between members of the community and the local nobility that would plague the young order for decades. On top of that, as he aged he suffered from asthma and migraines, his sight and hearing began to fail, he limped, and, later, severe rheumatism caused his head to become permanently bowed. All these ailments, however, did not stop Pope Clement XIII from appointing Alphonsus a bishop.

Liguori also managed to write more than 100 books, practically invent modern moral theology, preach, hear confessions, compose music and poetry, and paint. Early in his life he had promised himself never to waste a moment, and he lived up to that vow.

In his retirement Liguori returned to lead the Redemptorists. He gave the task of updating the community’s rule to another priest. This the latter did—in a way that made the order unrecognizable. When this would-be reformer brought the new rule to the nearly blind Alphonsus, he told him all was in order; all he had to do was sign. In the conflict which followed the new rule, Alphonsus found himself on the losing side of a divided order—at odds with half the community he had founded.

If that were not bad enough, in Alphonsus’ final years he experienced a dark night of the soul, a period of profound doubt and spiritual struggle. Only in the last days of his life did he regain a sense of consolation and peace.

After his death things changed again. The Redemptorists were reunited and put on a solid footing; today they number 7,000. Pope Pius VI, the man who had forced Liguori out of his own community, opened the cause for his canonization. Alphonsus was beatified in 1816 and canonized in 1839. In 1871 he received the rare honor of being named a doctor of the church, an eminent teacher of the faith.

I belong to: The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.

My vision: The path to Liguori's achievements was not an easy one. He was willing to give up his ambition and a prestigious career to serve others. He faced things we like to push away—mistakes, illness, conflict, setbacks—and he was unable to reap many of the benefits of his hard work. Yet he flourished anyway and developed many sides of his talents. In not letting struggle derail him, he shows us that responding to our life vocation is a lifelong process that requires patience, resilience, honesty, hard work, and faith even amid our doubts.

Feast day: August 1

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Maria de Mattias (1805-1866)

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 22, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

About me: Maria de Mattias was born on February 4, 1805 in Vallecorsa, a small village in the mountains of

Maria de Mattias,
Foundress of the the Adorers

central Italy, about 50 miles southeast of Rome. Her father, Giovanni de Mattias, came from a prominent and well-to-do family in the village.

At that time the Italian kingdoms and republics were in constant conflict with one another. Those who were on the run hid out in the mountains around Vallecorsa and preyed on the villagers and peasants. Unemployed young men from the town were attracted to these bandit gangs. Their way of life may have had an influence on Maria’s devotion to the Blood of Christ, rather than the bandits' blood of violence.

Maria was a lively, creative, and energetic child. Women of her day were forbidden a formal education, so she taught herself to read and write; she received much of her religious education from her father. Being an upper-class girl of the time, she grew up isolated and a bit self-absorbed, but in her mid-teens she felt the hollowness of her life and began to search for more meaning. One day when she was looking at herself in the mirror, she felt her gaze drawn to an image of the Virgin Mary. She felt that Mary was calling her to something more.

At age 17 she attended a mission preached by Saint Gaspare de Bufalo, a Missionary of the Precious Blood, an existing religious community. His preaching on the love of God, poured out in the blood of Jesus, touched Maria deeply. She felt that Gaspar's invitation to imitate Jesus by giving one's life for one’s brothers and sisters, especially the poor, was addressed directly to her.

In 1834, at age 29, Maria founded the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in Acuto, Italy. To her, the greatest mark of God's love for us is the blood his Son shed on the cross. Maria poured every ounce of her energy into shaping her religious community. She traveled widely—on donkey, on foot, by carriage—on treacherous mountain paths in all kinds of weather. She gave up monetary comforts and food to better serve neighbors in need.

Maria was able to open about 70 communities during her lifetime, mostly in the towns of central Italy but also three in Germany and England and one in Rome, where Pope Pius IX called on her community to establish a presence.

My vision: Fueled by a fervent love of Christ, Maria made it her mission in life to help people release the creative power within them to serve God and neighbor. She reached out to those in need, especially women and children, offering practical aid while guiding them to stronger faith lives.

Maria empowered people by carrying out various roles: as a talented teacher, a prolific letter-writer, an impassioned preacher, a compassionate listener, a patient diplomat, a creative collaborator, a resourceful problem-solver, and an untiring advocate. She laced every pursuit with prayer. "Pray much," she said. "Be of good heart and have unbounded confidence in God." It was an exhortation she practiced faithfully.

Maria had a profound love for God and remarkable ability to enable others to use their talents and gifts to build up God's Kingdom on earth.

I belong to: The Adorers of the Blood of Christ

Feast day: February 4


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Newsweek says keep your eye on this priest

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 03, August 2007 Categories: Clergy

Father John P. Foley, S.J. and Cristo Rey students

Newsweek magazine named Jesuit Father John P. Foley as one of the people to watch in 2007. Foley presides over the national Cristo Rey (“Christ the King”) network of Catholic high schools.

In 1996, Father Foley, who has been a Jesuit for 53 years and previously had been an educator in Peru, went to the Chicago’s largely Hispanic Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood to open Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in one of the city least-educated areas. Working with over 100 corporations, the school runs a work-study program in which every four weeks students work five days and attend classes for 15 days. Groups of four students share a full-time job. The companies pay a salary for each full-time job which accounts for about 70 percent of tuition, to which families also contribute.

In a city where some high schools see 50 percent of their students drop out, Cristo Rey’s four-year dropout rate was 6 percent, and 96 percent of the students went on to college programs. Since the Chicago school opened, 11 more schools have opened in Cristo Rey’s network, and seven more are scheduled to open this summer in urban neighborhoods where poverty is high. It seems at least these schools have returned to the mission Catholic high schools used to have in this country: serving immigrants communities and giving their young people an affordable and faith-centered way to move ahead in the world.

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Looking for sweet treats on Valentine's Day

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 03, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Franciscan Sister Evelyn Brokish has a scrumptious supply of divine creations at her candy store, Poverello Delights, in Highland, Indiana. Opened since October of last year, Poverello Delights is the realization of a dream, says Brokish, recently interviewd by Debbie Bosak for Catholic News Service.

Her signature candy is ChocoNutty Trio, consisting of three layers of dark chocolate, peanut butter, and white chocolate. But she continues to receive inspiration for different types of candies from her customers, including her sweet chocolate Cashew Wheel, created to please a customer who said he was planning on stopping by the shop and hoped to find something with cashews. "Everything is homemade and from the heart," says Brokish. "I think customers appreciate that this store is different form any other candy store."

Proceeds support the ministries of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. A slip of paper accompanying each purchase explains the origins of the name Poverello, an Italian word meaning "little poor person," once used to describe St. Francis of Assisi. "People are usually surprised that I'm a nun," says Brokish, "but it leads to all kinds of questions and discussions about God, vocations, morals, and even politics." Visit

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For the love of history

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 03, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B.

“Ever since I was a kid, I devoured books on history,” says historian Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. of his journey to the Catholic Church. “I would never describe my odyssey as being an intellectual journey,” he said. “It was more or less a falling in love with history. It made me fall in love with one of the things history talks about and that would be the Catholic Church.”

Davis received the University of Dayton’s Marianist Award in recognition of his contributions to intellectual life, including his groundbreaking book, The History of Black Catholics in the United States. A Benedictine monk for more than 50 years, Davis is professor of church history at Saint Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana and also the archivist for the Benedictine abbey there and other organizations.

In addition he has advised the U.S. Catholic bishops on the pastoral letters having to do with the African American Catholic experience, Brothers and Sisters to Us (1979) and What We Have Seen and Heard (1984). Davis himself, said Father Paul Marshall, S.M., rector of the University of Dayton, has a “presence. He carries the sacred with him. You can see God within him.”

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News Flash: Vocations are on the rise!

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 03, August 2007 Categories: Vocation and Discernment

Vision Vocation Guide just sent out a press release on Trends in Catholic Vocations based on the very encouraging statistics we've gathered from Vision Vocation Match and two recent vocation surveys we conducted among discerners and vocation directors. All of the statistics are fascinating; be sure to check them out.

Here's one stat I'm betting will change in the coming year: In answer to the question: What resources have you found most helpful in gathering vocation information?, 42 percent of respondents rated Discerners' blogs "Not Important at All." My prediction: That percentage will completely flip within a year, with at least 40 percent rating discerners' blogs as an essential resource. Please pass on links to discerners' blogs you already know to be helpful to those exploring a religious vocation.

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A hard act to follow

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 03, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Father James DiLuzio, C.S.P.
uses his performance experience as a priest

Art, music, athletics, writing, web design —whatever your talents, there’s a good chance you can make them part of a religious vocation, not leave them behind. Take the case of Paulist Father James DiLuzio. In the days before he became a priest you may have seen him on TV in a soap opera supporting role or as an extra, putting his UCLA masters of arts degree in drama to work. After becoming a lector and a member of the evangelization team at New York ’s St. Paul the Apostle parish in New York , DiLuzio encountered the stories of scripture in a new way and asked himself, “What stories are we telling? How do these stories impact human life?”

His priesthood—he was ordained in 1993—and his interest in storytelling have led him to become part of a unique parish mission experience: Luke Live. Over three days he proclaims the first 15 chapters of Luke’s gospel by heart. Between his proclamations there is preaching, meditations, and music. Recently he introduced Luke Live 2, which includes proclamation of the last 9 chapters of the gospel, stories of saints, meditations, and music.

With Luke, DiLuzio says, “I find myself happily integrating my pre-ordination work as an actor, singer, English and drama teacher with my priesthood and Paulist ministry, engaging the faithful in encounter with the gospel in ways that are culturally relevant and illuminating.”

—Source: Paulist Today

How do you think you could use your talents if you were in religious life?

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Loyola U's biggest fan

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 03, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt d

oesn’t let age—or height, for that matter—get between her and her work as chaplain to the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team. Seventeen years ago, Sister Jean, a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, planned to retire. But Loyola’s then-president convinced her to take a job counseling basketball players about dealing with the demands of sports and academics. Her role evolved into team chaplain, and these days she leads the team in prayer before tip-off, cheers them on during the game, and makes herself available as a friend and someone to talk to.

Soon after the university hired coach Jim Whitesell, Sister Jean walked into his office and told him, “It’s great to have you.” Then, Whitesell says, “she gives me a five-minute lecture on what I need to do with the program. She said, ‘You need to work on team spirit,’ and this and that. I was taken aback, but she was right on point.’ ” “Sister Jean is our biggest supporter,” says junior forward Tom Levin. “She always has faith and confidence in us, and she can always put a smile on our faces. Sister Jean has taught me to believe in myself and the team, and has shown us that hard work will pay off in the long run.” During her tenure as chaplain, Sister Jean says has “learned what it really means to work hard and give up your entire self. Sometimes we don’t think that young people do that, but these young men do, and it shows.”

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That's a lotta bread

Posted by:   🕔 Friday 03, August 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

The next time you receive communion, there's a chance the original wafer came from the hands of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Maintaining a tradition of making altar bread the sisters have passed down through generations, these Benedictines produce 2 million breads each week in their Clyde, Missouri monastery.

The sisters began baking altar bread in 1910, using an open fire and cast-iron baker. Now they distribute wafers to churches in the United States, several other countries, and, they say, “on the high seas.” By baking breads, the community supports its contemplative lifestyle and also participates in the liturgical and spiritual life of the church. They have been featured on television program Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.

Not long ago, the sisters addressed a pressing need that seemed to have no satisfactory solution. In keeping with the belief that Jesus used a wheat bread at the Last Supper, Catholic teaching has required that communion bread be made with wheat and contain gluten, a protein found in wheat. At the same time, as many as one in 133 people suffer from celiac disease, which prevents them from consuming gluten. In an attempt to create a gluten-free bread, the sisters found a company that produced wheat starch, which is wheat with the most of the gluten removed. After much trial and error, they finally produced usable altar bread that held together, was edible—and contained only 0.01 percent gluten, or 1/270 of the maximum amount of gluten a celiac can consume each day. Problem solved!

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Breaker 1-9

Posted by:   🕔 Monday 30, July 2007 Categories: Vocation and Discernment

Mary Annette Gailey had worked at a day-care center, in retail food management, customer service, and with computers. Then, drawing inspiration from her father, who had worked in a Mack Truck engine plant, she became an over-the-road tractor-trailer driver. It was here she also received a call to become a religious sister. After several years of discernment, Gailey, 38, recently made her final vows with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Gailey frequently drove in silence to take better advantage of the contemplative side of her solitary hours on the road, which lent themselves to listening to God and sorting out the direction her life was taking. Driving a truck “allowed me to listen to the Holy Spirit,” she told the Associated Press. “It was a metaphoric journey being played out.”

“I was spending time in solitude, with just the Holy Spirit, and God spoke to me,” she said. “It’s definitely not like people picking up the phone and someone calls you . . . . There’s no lightning bolt. It’s much like a quiet whisper and listening to your own heart.

Her discernment process included attending come-and-see events, keeping a journal, meeting regularly with a vocation director, and living as an affiliated member of the Holy Family Sisters. For a while she spent one week living as a layperson, and another as if she were to be part of religious life. Her experience living as a religious gave her greater peace. “Someone said to me, ‘Go where the peace is,’ ” she said. “When you find the deepest peace, you know it’s true.”

“God never stops calling,” she says “When do we finally listen?”

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Saintly movie making

Posted by:   🕔 Monday 30, July 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

The San Damiano Foundation produces films highlighting the spirituality of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi and the Franciscan concerns for social justice, peace, and nonviolence. Under the guidance of author, photographer, and filmmaker Gerard T. Straub, who is a Secular Franciscan, and his staff, the foundation produces fundraising films for Christian charities which aid the world’s poor. It also screens films at churches, high schools, and universities across the United States.

The foundation gets its name from the church outside Assisi, Italy where in the year 1205 Saint Francis, not long after his decision to commit himself to God, went to pray and seek guidance about whether he should lead a life of solitude and contemplation or service to the poor and spreading the gospel. While praying in San Damiano, which was deteriorating, he heard the voice of Christ say, “Francis, go repair my house which, as you see, is falling completely to ruin."

He understood this command literally, and so he begged supplies and rebuilt the church a brick at a time. After completing the restoration a year later, it then dawned on Francis that Jesus also meant the whole church, and so Francis set upon the tasking of rebuilding and renewing the universal church, as well as himself.

San Damiano Foundation's productions include films on poverty—both material and spiritual—soup kitchens, migrants, contemplation, and people heroically making a difference by working among the poor and the sick.

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Global climate changes ahead

Posted by:   🕔 Monday 30, July 2007 Categories: Clergy,Doctrines & Beliefs
After leading a team of 20 Catholic men and women religious to a United Nations conference on climate change last November in Nairobi, Kenya, U.S. Maryknoll Father John Brinkman said that "global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures . . . but protecting both the human environment and the natural environment," following God's command to "take care of other created beings with love and compassion.”

Mentioning the words of the late Pope John Paul II, Father Brinkman, a member of Maryknoll's commission on ecology and religion, said, "God has endowed humanity with reason and ingenuity that distinguish us from other creatures," and "ingenuity and creativity have African churches urge industrialized nations to remedy emissions debt enabled us to make remarkable advances and can help us address the problem of global climate change. It is very unfortunate that we have not always used these endowments wisely," he said.
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Monks continue ministry of forgiveness

Posted by:   🕔 Monday 30, July 2007 Categories: Consecrated Life

Chapel Basilica, Conception Abbey, Missouri

Forgiveness was central to Jesus’ ministry and mission. And the Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri have made it central to their own mission in the five years since gun violence tore their peaceful world apart.

Lloyd Robert Jeffress, a 71-year-old retiree, walked into the abbey 90 miles north of Kansas City on the morning of June 10, 2002 and opened fire with an AK-47 assault rife, killing two monks and leaving two others seriously injured. Jeffress later killed himself.

The doors at Conception Abbey are still unlocked and open and forgiveness continues to be the reigning theme as the members of the rural monastery quietly marked the fifth anniversary of the tragedy this week. Since the shootings, little has changed in terms of how the monks go about their daily routines and interact with visitors. Father Gregory Polan, the monastery's abbot, said ending the monastery's practice of openly welcoming strangers would defeat their purpose of living Christ's teachings.

If anything, said Polan, the shootings helped reinforce the teachings of Saint Benedict, the founder of the abbey's religious order, who instructed monks to keep death always before their eyes as a way to gain perspective on how to live their lives.

Local law enforcement has also kept a close relationship with the monastery, a bond that began on the day of the shooting. “The unbelievable strength and faith . . . have overwhelmed us,” said Nodaway County Sheriff Ben Espey. “We're always welcome. . . . It brought a lot of people closer together.”

* Source: An article for the Associated Press

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VISION gets busted

Posted by:   🕔 Monday 30, July 2007 Categories: Clergy

Tuesdays are Vocation Night on "The Busted Halo Show" with host Paulist Father Dave Dwyer. Last night Father Dave interviewed VISION Executive Editor Patrice Tuohy (hey, that's me!) about VISION and its highly successful new online feature I was impressed with how well Father Dave prepared for our interview. He was up on all the trends in religious vocations and how young adults and vocation directors are using new technology and media to find each other.

Understanding the power of media is nothing new for Dwyer, who produced and directed television for MTV and Comedy Central before entering the priesthood. He now serves as the publisher of, the Paulist website for young adult seekers, and hosts his weekday call-in radio show, which began last December. "The move to satellite radio is a natural progression of sorts," says Dwyer in an interview by Bill McGarvey posted on "I feel proud to stand on the shoulders of Paulists of years past who were pioneers in Catholic book publishing, radio, film and television." Dwyer is confident that if "St. Paul were alive today, trying to get the message of the Gospel out, he’d have a website, a blog, a podcast, and a channel on satellite radio." Not to mention, a webcast, vodcast, and vlog. Thanks, Father Dave, for your help in promoting vocations and creating a culture of discerment.

“The Busted Halo Show” airs live every weekday between 7-9 pm EST on Sirius channel 159.

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A wing and a prayer

Posted by:   🕔 Monday 30, July 2007 Categories: Clergy

When he was in high school Father Michael Zaniolo wanted to get married and have a family and career. His life started going in that direction when an interest in building and designing led him to becoming an electric engineer. But “I felt a spiritual emptiness,” he tells the Chicago Sun-Times. “The more I prayed, the more I kept sensing and hearing, ‘I want you to be priest.’ And I kept telling God, you’ve got the wrong guy. Finally, I said to the Lord, OK, if this is what you want me to do, I will explore it.” Ordained a priest in 1988, Zaniolo has been the chaplain of Chicago’s

Interfaith Airport Chapels

since 2001.

“With 50,000 airport employees and tens of thousands of travelers passing through daily, the airport is fertile ground for ministry to anyone who needs to talk about what is going on in their lives,” he says.

Zaniolo is the city’s one full-time chaplain who with several other priests is available to hear confessions and celebrate the Eucharist. Three deacons and several lay volunteers also assist at ten weekend Masses. In addition, his work involves being visible and available to workers, travelers, and even homeless people at the airport. “Once people find out I’m a priest, they’ll say, ‘Father, can you pray for so and so?’” Zaniolo’s “parish” also includes three fire stations that serve the airport, a police station, and nearby hotels, restaurants, and parking facilities.

“I hear confessions every day,” says Zaniolo. “It’s something that people usually don’t do every day, but for some reason, here at the airport . . . I hear them regularly. For the travelers, I’m sort of like an anonymous priest, so they can really unburden themselves.”

A tough part of his job is being one of the go-to people at the airport for emergencies. “I remember once a teenager committed suicide and her parents were on their way to Hawaii. I had to deliver the bad news and comfort them until they could find a flight back home,” he tells the Sun-Times. “Once a flight attendant’s eighth grader got hit by a train while the flight attendant was on the plane. They always call me for those things.

“The nice thing about being an airport chaplain is that it really allows me to be a priest. I do have a lot of administrative things to do . . . but I also have more opportunities to hear confessions and to give some advice and counsel to people.

“The reward is I get to really see the movement of God within someone’s life,” he says. “I could not have designed a life better than I have now.”

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