Daily reflections for prayer, growth in the spiritual life, and good prayer sources. This blog also has links to other websites. One feature is a list of spiritual books.
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Saturday, April 25, 2009
Letters from Scotland -4
Dear Helen, One of your RSCJ Sisters I’ve known for more than forty years, a missionary like yourself, lives in the North of Ireland. I call her my one-liner friend. She came to mind when you gave your students a whistle-stop tour of the Desert Fathers and Mothers who were part of that great fourth and fifth century movement which we now know as desert spirituality. These Ammas and Abbas were famously sought out for their good counsel. “Give us a word,” the seekers would say. The life giving words that were delivered, like the ones often spoken for me, were short, pithy, insightful, seeing to the heart of situations, clearing confusion, somewhat like sunlight glancing off the still waters of a lake and then reverberating in ripples that enrich our lives, presented always with love that nurtures and leads us to see God in our lives. Today we find these original desert sayings recorded in accessible and attractive books. Modern day authors, like Thomas Merton, Benedicta Ward and Rowan Williams, have turned to these ancients for inspiration and mined for us, with their reflection and insight, the solid gold of this rich seam of desert spirituality. Such friends, such Ammas and Abbas, know the desert and its ways; their prayer has made them the people they are; somehow their lives lived have been distilled into wisdom. I hope we all have one-liner-wisdom friends and that when they give us a word to treasure we recognize it for the gift it is and joyfully give thanks. The Holy Spirit truly moves among us. Your Student, Jane.
Hello, my name is Helen Rosenthal, RSCJ. Those initials stand for Religious of the Sacred Heart in Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. Since my religious congregation began in France in 1800 and now is all over the world, we have kept the RSCJ. By now you know that I am not only known as Dr. Helen Rosenthal, but also as Sister Helen Rosenthal.
I am the oldest of four children. We were all born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. We lived in a big house with a playroom on the third floor. On Sundays we either went to my paternal grandmother's house where her six children would gather faithfully for supper or we would have my mother's father and our great aunt and uncle for a roast beef dinner at home. In summer, I would go to the lake with my Dad and I still love to swim.