Search This Blog

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mountains and today's Gospel

Jesus was so loving and yet, when the people he grew up with in his own hometown realized that they were not going to see miracles, they wanted to hurl him down from the cliffs. What did his heart feel as they literally ran him out of town? I keep thinking of that when I think of the beauty of the mountains and how Jesus loved to go up the mountain to pray. Yet, he must have thought of the time his friends had tried to kill him. What got into that crowd who first heard him in the synagogue with amazement and were thrilled to hear him read. Were they so hoping to have him work wonders for them that they turned on him when they realized it was not going to happen? Do I expect wonders sometimes instead of just quietly listening to the words Jesus speaks to me? Do I get discouraged if I do not see the answers to prayers? Let me climb my own interior mountain and find Jesus there in prayer and just join him. Words are not needed; our prayer is an exchange of love.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jesus loves the sinner and all is gift

This is one of my favorite pictures of Jesus. Actually, when I was in high school, I was given this picture as a reward and hung it in my room. Jesus was always looking at me and loving me. Last night, Richard Rohr spoke about how Jesus loves to forgive; he ate with sinners right up to the end and loved them. He is always loving us. He does not love us because we are good; He loves us because God is good!
This is a short reflection today but a powerful one.

Friday, January 29, 2010

London Tower Bridge

This is, of course, a historic bridge and a huge one. I had the good fortune to see it open when I was taking a river tour a few years ago on the Thames. Our boat stopped and just watched as a large, ancient mariner with very tall masts sailed slowly through. Everyone was taking pictures as they apparently seldom open the Tower Bridge! Now, what reflection is this triggering in me this morning? I think it is one of relationships; it certainly brings back wonderful memories of a delightful day with an old and dear friend who I also visited last year in London. It also makes me think of how easy it is to stay in touch today as the computer may serve as a bridge with our friends even if they live in other continents. I like the idea of the computer as a bridge.
Today one of my friends is coming from Vero Beach to spend the week end. It will be a joy to see her again. I had better go check to see if all is prepared for her and not spend more time on this bridge of a computer!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

No Bridges Today but images that speak to me...

I am at the University and only now able to think about today's blog. I guess the pictures are my reflection for today as I thought about the stillness of going deep down into the water and the desire I have for God that is definitely stronger than the desire a deer has for water. I seek living water.
We are having a special meeting about Haiti today for all the students. I will go for part of it but also hope to begin the faculty faith-sharing group that meets from 3:00 to 4:00 on Thursdays; we pray over the Sunday liturgy together and this is always so helpful. I guess this is one of the best support groups I have that meets weekly. I feel very blessed to have this group as I feel blessed to live in a community, to have two different monthly groups to pray, reflect with, and share my life. I guess I have so much to be grateful for and now I am trying to establish an online Round Table with Religious of the Sacred Heart to share and deepen our charism.
I would like to say that all my readers, known and unknown, are in my prayer. Thanks to each of you, I continue to reflect in this blog and hope the Spirit tells me what to say. A big thank you to each who has taken the time to give some feedback; that means a great deal to me.

People are bridges to God

Yesterday I met with a group that began about twenty-three years ago; four of us began to meet as a supervision group as we were all spiritual directors. After many years of following guidelines for our supervision group, we realized that we just needed to meet more for our own sharing. We had group spiritual direction then for a while and began to add to the original four. Now we are a wonderful support for one another and the monthly meeting is always life-giving. We are bridges to God for each other and bridges to both the Church and the world. I do not know how to describe the feeling I have of both being connected to each and connected to the entire world when we meet. It is a gift to be grateful for and I do thank God for this "bridge" that connects me to so many others through our bridge to God and one another.
In my life, there are many people who are bridges for me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A road through water

Now that is a thought to reflect on today: the road is the bridge that connects the land. When I drive to Key West I love the seven mile bridge where there is nothing but the road with water on both sides. It is almost as if you were driving/walking on water. There is a sense of immensity; you are out there with the vastness of the ocean and the vastness of the sky and God is very near.
I guess I am going to stay with this image again today and feel that it is more than an image; to be a bridge is a call and is closely connected to my vocation to discover and reveal God's love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I have been reflecting on how powerful images and symbols are in our lives and how an image says more than a thousand words. When we were in Houston, one of my community was on a panel for our Constitutions on Apostolic Community; she recalled two of her favorite images. One was her mother standing at the door to see her off to school each morning and also tucking her in at night and saying "To your own self be true." The other was the image of "staying at the table" - both have stayed with me and made me think of images that are influencing me at this moment. I am still reflecting on this, but a bridge is certainly one. I feel that I am called to be a bridge for others, to build bridges that connect others, to cross the bridge that leads me to the Heart of Christ... and then there are all sorts of bridges that come to mind - small wooden ones, rock bridges, the kind that are rather temporary and sway when you walk on them, the strong, permanent ones that are functional but not beautiful unless seen against a background of water at sunset. I like the old covered bridges, too, and wonder why we did not continue to build them?
I hope this reflection triggers some images in your own life that may be calling to you, if you give them a chance to surface.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The prayer below was sent to me today. It says what I have been feeling:

Lord, I just want to say THANK YOU, because this morning I woke up and
knew where my children were. Because this morning my home was still
standing, because this morning I am not crying because my husband, my
child, my brother or sister needs to be buried out from underneath a
pile of concrete, because this morning I was able to drink a glass of
water, because this morning I was able to turn on the light, because
this morning I was able to take a shower, because this morning I was not
planning a funeral, but most of all I thank you this morning because I
still have life and a voice to cry out for the people of Haiti . Lord I
cry out to you, the one that makes the impossible, possible, the one
that turns darkness in to light, I cry out that you give those mothers
strength, that you give them peace that surpasses all understanding,
that you may open the streets so that help can come, that you may
provide doctors, nurses, food, water, and all that they need in a blink
of an eye. For all those that have lost family members, give them peace,
give them hope, give them courage to continue to go on! Protect the
children and shield them with your power.

I pray all this in the name of Jesus!!!

To all my friends please continue to forward this so that we can pray
together for the people in Haiti .

We here are truly blessed!!!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jesus is still out there among the most needy

This is taken from one of my students in the International Online Certificate Program as they are reading Dorothy Day. He also sent a picture of Christ in a bread line that really was impressive:
"Dorothy Day is often compared favorably with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and I was reminded while reading The Long Loneliness of this adaptation of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi associated with the latter:

When I am hungry, send me someone to feed;
When I am thirsty, send me someone who needs a drink;
When I am cold, send me someone to warm;
When I am sad, send me someone to cheer;
When I need understanding, send me someone who needs mine;
When I need to be looked after, send me someone to care for;
When I think only of myself, draw my thoughts to another.
So let us pray as though everything depends on God, and work as though God depends on us for everything. Amen.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Water that gives life

We take water for granted in most of the United States although, now that we are more conscious of our environmental responsibilities, we have learned more of its value and the fact that many states face a shortage of water at times. Right now, the storms in California and Arizona have brought them too much water; at the same time, we are trying to save lives by shipping water to Haiti. Thousands there are without water and we cannot live without water. This picture always makes me think of the Living Water that flows from the Heart of Christ. We cannot live without this water and so we ask that the entire world be allowed to drink from these living waters.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Books are such a comfort...

Today I am giving into the cold I have been fighting all week and going to go back to bed to take a nap. My head cold is just one of those colds that is probably "a week coming and a week going" as a practical nurse at Clifton used to tell me. You can feel miserable, but there is really nothing to do except try to rest and drink lots of fluids. I am grateful that I can take it easy and just enjoy some light reading. Kim King taught me to call this "comfort reading" and that name says it all. It is good to always have a few old favorites that are really "comfort reading" stashed away for a lazy Friday afternoon.
I was startled to find out that this day has been designated by the U.S.Bishops as a "day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Feast of St. Agnes

Today is the feast of St. Agnes. She has always been popular, although we know little about her. I was struck by the psalm in the Liturgy that is all about trust. I think that we are called to have complete trust in God no matter what happens. We please God by trusting as a child trusts her mother and father. I suppose that some parents do not merit complete trust, but God does. He loves us unconditionally so of course we should trust God absolutely. I suspect that there are times when this is hard to do, but we are still called to trust. I love to say, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You." I hope I live in complete trust without fear for the future.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Hope in an Age of Despair"

Hope in an Age of Despair is the title of a book by Albert Nolan. He also wrote Jesus Today which I loved. I must confess that I have not yet read this latest book by Nolan, a South African Dominican priest, but the title has caught my attention and the talks and writings that make up the contents have drawn me to want to sit down and read it. It was published in 2009 by Orbis Books, Maryknoll. Here are a few of the headings under Part I: Background: Hope in an Age of Despair; The Art of Teaching Theology; Preaching and Contemplation; and then Part 2 is Acting Hopefully: Siding with the Cause of Justice; Part 3 is Putting God into the Picture; Part 4 is Hoping for a Better World with many interesting titles such as Gospel Values, Who is My Neighbor?, Justice in the Bible, Personal Liberation,etc.
Nolan always challenges me to live the values that Jesus came to reveal to us by his example. I look forward to reading this book.
I guess we all need hope at this time when the destruction of Haiti is before us; it is so overwhelming to know that these poor people have lost the little they had. They are still finding bodies; the hospitals are full and without what is needed still to treat the injured; people are without water, without food, without shelter. The hope comes from the response of so many in this world of ours who are doing what they can to alleviate the sufferings of those still living. One of our nuns will be going through on her way to help this week; we have not yet heard about our house in Ferrete; the one Religious who was in Haiti at the time cannot get there to check. Let us hope in this time that Nolan calls "an age of despair"!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prayer to St. Philippine Duchesne

This prayer was composed by Sharon Karam, RSCJ, and given to us at the Quad Area meeting. Sharon has the gift of words, a huge heart, and is an extraordinary person and a great educator. I hope you like the prayer as much as I do:
Intrepid Philippine, we come to you today to celebrate your spirit,
A spirit of longing and generosity,
A spirit of learning and tenderness,
A spirit of courage and selfishness.
You left a life of privilege early to serve the poor and called others to follow you in the footsteps of the Lord who had nowhere to lay His head.
Let us honor you today by remembering your mighty deeds and your simple hours of prayer,
Your months of waiting for letters which never came, and your nights of silent adoration,
Your single year at Sugar Creek and the hundreds of places which now bear your name,
And-challenge to us all- your legacy to do the very thing you knew best:
Pray and serve, pray and teach, pray and see who is most in need, pray and give it all away,
Be the ones who pray always.
Saint Philippine Duchesne, pray for us.

This is in bookmark form and I intend to keep it near and use it as I love our Saint but always think of her as simply "Mother Duchesne."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day - a national holiday

The earthquake in Haiti is what the media is occupied with and, indeed, all of us are watching and feeling the pain of those who have lost family members or who are in anguish because they are here and can get no news of their families. So many are without water, food, shelter and the death toll keeps mounting. I cannot even imagine trying to bury 70,000! And now the government needs to move them out of the ruins of the city and how hard it must be for those who have nothing and need to leave the very place they have known all their lives. My heart is full of their sufferings and I know from my own experience with earthquakes in Chile that this will take years to get over but the next months are hard without homes, water, light...
The meeting of RSCJS from our Quad Area and some of our Associates in Houston was inspiring and very life-giving for me. We all share our lives and the important events of the past year and often these events have affected our inner lives deeply and we trust one another enough to share what the Lord has been doing in each of us. We also had time for two panels on our Constitutions; this was followed by personal reflection and sharing. We had a beautiful liturgy and five of us renewed our vows made fifty years ago in our final profession ceremony in Rome (I was one of these) and another renewed her vows from the time of her first vows fifty years ago. One of ours gave a very moving homily. We need to encourage one another as we all have gifts and the gifts the Spirit gives us today are what we need for our times. It was just a wonderful week end and I am filled with gratitude and joy to be a Religious of the Sacred Heart.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Away Again!

I leave today for the Quad Area Meeting of RSCJs and Associates in Houston; I will not write until I return so please wait until Monday and I will share this trip with you then. It is always good to be with other Religious of the Sacred Heart and the time will fly by. I think the destruction and loss of life in Haiti will impact our meeting as we are all suffering with the victims. This tragedy has touched us deeply and we have so many Haitians here in Miami and at the University who are without news and fearing the loss of family and friends. We heard at once that our Religious was safe; only one was there at the time as the other was on a plane going to a meeting in Mexico and one was in New Orleans on sabbatical. The Religious there was at a meeting with other religious and they were able to get out and lie on the ground and were not injured. Since then, we have only heard what the news is telling us and that the Archbishop was dead and maybe as many as 100 priests and seminarians were among the 100,000 suspected dead from the quake. The pictures are heartbreaking.
Let us pray for Haiti and I will be back writing on Monday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


We are all concerned with those who are suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. It is such a tragedy and I do hope we not only help with the emergency, but then stay to fix homes, roads, water pipes, etc. It made me relive the earthquakes I lived through in Chile and that sent me back to the autobiography I wrote in 2002 - I guess I should update it now, but it was fun going back over it tonight as I had also included some pictures. My community wanted me to write more about the twenty years I spent in Chile; I need to add that to my projects for next year.
I cannot get the pictures of the earthquake out of my mind tonight, but need to post this for tomorrow as I have a busy morning and may not have time to write.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back Home and enjoying Miami

I had a great time in Naples and it was so good to see my sister, my brother-in-law, and my friend. The entire building (Joan owns the condo on the 19th floor) was without heat for the three days I was there, but it had been fixed by the time I left. It was fun though and we did drive over to see the new little town of Ave Maria and the new University. It is amazing how well planned it is and how lovely the architecture, but it is in the middle of nowhere. We drove on an almost empty road for miles (it is only an hour and maybe twenty minutes from Naples) and there was no place to ask if we were getting near, but finally we saw a sign and went another three miles to find this beautiful place. The church was impressive.

I am home but only until Friday when we go to Houston for a Quad Area meeting. We enjoy getting together every January and missed doing this last year because of the Assembly last summer.

Some have told me just to keep writing whatever comes to mind in this blog. I hope I can give something to reflect on each time from my own reflections.
Here is a quote from Janet Stuart:
"It seems to me that the simple life is the property of those who are advancing in age, rather than the quality of the young; and this is a consideration not discouraging to the young, but encouraging both to young and old; for we can all become old, but we cannot become young."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Naples for three days of record cold

We do not have snow but everyone in Florida seems to be freezing! We get so used to warm weather that as soon as we have what they call here a "cold spell" we panic. I do feel sorry for the homeless and it is wonderful to know that shelters are opening and staying open for them even during the day. We are setting a record for the length of cold days as usually we only have two days and sweaters come out and then get put away. This time is longer and I am going to Naples today and will stay until Tuesday. I will not be writing my blog while I am away. I look forward to seeing my oldest and one of my best friends as well as my sister and her husband. I do not mind the cold as we will no doubt stay in and talk. I am taking over a bag of books for all and we will, I am sure, eat out. It is the end of vacation and a good way to end it- classes begin on Monday but my students are all online anyway so I am prolonging vacation.
Scotland and England seem to be really suffering from an excess of snow that has even knocked out power. We have rain this morning so I need to get on the road soon. I wrote a long blog yesterday and lost it; maybe it will show up somewhere!

Friday, January 8, 2010

"The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See"

Richard Rohr's latest book, "The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See" is a book to read slowly. It is also a difficult book to tell you about. Rohr is stressing nondual thinking which is really contemplative living in the present moment. He stresses how difficult this is for us but it is what we are called to do. Jesus was a nondual thinker - actually, I need to reread this book and mark it up, but I did want to share one thing with you today and that is what Richard says about "A Joyful Mind".
"Joy and mind. Those are not words that you would normally put together, but they inspired the eleventh-century Richard of St. Victor, a Scottish canon teaching in Paris, and became the themes of his two books on the contemplative mind, Benjamin Major and Benjamin Minor. The titles were taken from one obscure passage from Psalm 68:27, where "Benjamin" is described as leading a procession into the temple on mentis excessu, which was translated as "with a joyful mind or with an ecstatic minds. This made me ask:
What might a joyful mind be?
When your mind does not need to be right.
When you no longer need to compare yourself with others...."

He has two pages on the Joyful Mind but I will let you think of other things a joyful mind is for yourself; it is good for us to think this out for ourselves.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Wrestling with our Inner Angels"

"Wrestling with our Inner Angels" is a new book by Nancy Kehoe who is a Religious of the Sacred Heart and was here for dinner last night. I had gone to hear her speak about her book the night before and it was great to have her here as she is a Harvard psychologist who believes that asking clients about their religious beliefs should be included among all the other questions that psychologists ask their clients. Her work with mental health patients has been a real breakthrough. I read most of the book yesterday and will try to finish it today. I must confess that I spent time with the "Religious History Questionnaire" at the end of the book as I think those questions help anyone. I am going to review this book for so you can read more there. Nancy shares so much of herself in the book and how much she has learned from her mental health groups.
It continues to be cold in Miami; this is setting records as we seldom have more than one or two cool days in a row. I am going to Naples to see a friend and my sister and brother-in-law on Saturday and will take a poncho instead of a swimsuit!
I really love having the cold tap water (ours is usually lukewarm) and we have the heat on so the house is a comfortable yet one feels a bit more energetic. We have reflection group tonight so I will need to think of something hot instead of a huge friendship salad. I feel badly for the many homeless who are suffering during this cold spell and for the farmers who are working all night to keep the crops from frost. This is strawberry season here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


This picture is my reflection today - my head is full of many things and so I will write later. Blame some of this on the Bowl games as the Orange Bowl is a big one for Miami. I must confess that I do try to follow college football.
I am trying to live in the present moment and finding it difficult but worthwhile. I am reading Richard Rohr's "The Naked Now" and will write more about this book later.

St. John Neumann

St. John Neumann was born in Bohemia in 1811 but came to the United States as he wanted to devote himself to the American Missions. He was ordained in New York in 1836 and entered the Redemptorists in 1840. He was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. He worked to establish parish schools and erected many new parishes to take care of the numerous immigrants. He died on January 5, 1860, was beatified in 1963 and canonized in 1977.
I must confess that I did not know much about him, but we had a special room in the library at St. Thomas University dedicated to him where I often met with students, retreat groups, and some I saw for spiritual direction. One of the parishes with outstanding liturgies in Miami is St. John Neumann so this saint has become a friend in heaven.
Yesterday we had the Feast of St. Elizabeth Seton, the first American born saint to be canonized. She was born in 1774, was a wealthy Episcopalian who married William Seton in 1794 and had five children. She went with William to Italy hoping he would be cured of his lung disease, but William died and Elizabeth was attracted to Catholicism. She became a Catholic in 1805; established the first Catholic school in Baltimore in 1808 and in 1809 began a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She died on January 4, 1821, and was canonized in 1973.
It is good to remember that we do have American saints! One Cardinal told us in Rome that "Italy had saints under the altars but in America they are walking the streets!"

Here is a quote to reflect on: "What matters most on your journey is how deeply you see, how attentively you hear, how richly the encounters are felt in your heart and soul." Let us keep following the star! The good news is that Jesus is with us on the journey!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Following the Star

Sometimes I find that one must just keep on when the star appears and then hides itself. One trusts the Lord and keeps on and I suspect that is when faith is such a help. I am not feeling very inspired while writing this as we have had so many seemingly "bad" things happen over the holidays. One little boy fell into a swimming pool and is still alive but not conscious. He is only two and it seems that his older brother had opened the door while his mother was saying goodbye to some guests and the younger child got out before anyone knew it. Then a six year old Italian boy had dinner outside on New Year's Eve at a restaurant here in Miami and then complained about an ache - they parents looked under his shirt and he had been wounded by a falling bullet; my sister-in-law is in the hospital with a numbness in her legs; it began almost a month ago and she has had every test imaginable and now the doctors think it is an infection in her spine and are treating her every eight hours. Please pray for these and their loved ones and so many others who are being killed every night and day. I think it takes a great deal of faith to keep looking for the star to lead us and I am grateful that I was given the gift of faith.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Feast of the Epiphany

God is with us! What a wonderful mystery we are celebrating during the Christmas season. Today, in the United States, most Catholic churches are celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany which was always on January 6 but was moved to this Sunday here. It is wonderful to think of the faith of the three wisemen who left all to follow a star. They did not know where they were going but trusted the star to lead them. Then the star disappeared! They did not give up hope and made inquiries and then the star appeared again and went before them to lead them to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I think their faith led them to kneel and adore the Infant and then to offer precious gifts that must have helped Joseph and Mary if they had to escape to Egypt to keep Jesus safe. Mary kept all this in her heart. We, too, need to ponder on this feast of the Epiphany. They, having found Jesus, had to return by a different way.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Like a clump of irises...

Here is a prayer for our New Year composed by Denis Levertov and used for our community prayer the night of New Year's eve. I thought you would like it:

"I have a small grain of hope-
one small crystal that gleams
clear colors out of transparency.

I need more.

I break off a fragment
to send you.

Please take
this grain of a grain of hope
so that mine won't shrink.

Please share your fragment
so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division,
will hope increase,
like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower
unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source-
clumsy and earth-covered-
of grace. Amen.

Feast of the Epiphany

The three wise men set out in faith on a journey to find a new-born King in order to pay him homage. They set out because they saw a star and they were willing to take the risk and follow the star. We call these three wise, but most of us would have thought them foolish to start a journey not knowing where they were going. How many of us would set out to follow a star? We do not know much about these three men, but they had to be men of great faith. They came bearing gifts so they were also generous and thoughtful. They did not give up when the star disappeared. They were also obedient and followed the instructions given to return home by a different route. Today we celebrate the fact that they came to Jesus and paid homage to the Infant. How am I going to pay homage to Jesus today? What gift will I offer Him?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year - 2010

When I made my final Profession in 1960, 2010 seemed a long way off and now I will be celebrating my Golden Jubilee of Profession on February 8!! It will also be 60 years since I left home to enter the Society of the Sacred Heart! These years have been so filled with graces and today is the beginning of another year of grace. The very fact that we are loved by God is a reason to live each day in joy and gratitude.
May this year be filled with peace in our hearts, our homes, and our world!