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Friday, September 30, 2016


The knowledge that we are called by God who will never allow us to be overwhelmed by difficulties makes us hopeful. Pope Francis says in that homily of July 2013: "I would say forcefully: always know in your heart that God is by our side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts!" He goes on to say that the evil never gets the upper hand. "The one with the upper hand in God, and God is our hope."

I know in my own life that it is the evil spirit that tries to tempt us to feel sad, discouraged or just lonely. Those feeling do not come from God and we need to reject the thoughts that take away our joy and peace. If we reject such thoughts and feelings immediately, we find that God is with us and He wants us to be joyful. Hope and joy go together.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Openness to being surprised by God

Even in the midst of difficulties God acts and surprises us. I am continuing with the second attitude that Pope Francis asks of us in his homily of July 24, 2013: Openness to being surprised by God.
He says: "God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! When we are cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him."
There is plenty to reflect on here. How is God surprising me now?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Called by God

My mother went with my Dad to his Union College reunion and said the best part of the trip was driving through some of the New England states before they headed home. I would love to do that in Autumn.
Today I want to share with you again some thoughts from "The Church of Mercy" by Pope Francis. I have been praying again with this and may even of shared how much his homily at the Basilica of Our Lady of Conception of Aparecida in July of 2013 has meant to me. He begins by saying that he wished to reflect on three aspects of our vocation: we are called by God, called to proclaim the Gospel, and called to promote the culture of encounter.
Called by God. Francis says: "I believe it is important to rekindle constantly an awareness of our divine vocation, which we often take for granted in the midst of our many daily responsibilities: as Jesus says, "You did not choose me, but I chose you."
"We were called by God and we were called to be with Jesus."
More tomorrow as I am pressed for time and late with this blog.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


In many places, it is now autumn and the trees are turning and dressing themselves in beauty. It is the season that I miss each year. Miami did not really have any autumn and I think California may have some autumn scenes, but we are having really hot weather for September. The above picture invites us to walk deeper into this beauty and contemplate the season of autumn.

One of the calls of our General Chapter is to embrace silence. This is so necessary to deepen our interior life. May this season of beauty and falling leaves teach us all to value silence, to seek it, to embrace it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Fork in the Road ?

Paths always trigger many thoughts and lead me into prayer.
God leads each of us by different paths and He is a God of surprises. Sometimes the path is smooth, sometimes rocky, sometimes sunny, sometimes shady, sometimes it climbs so steeply we are winded trying to climb it. Sometimes it wanders and then separates into different paths and we need to stop and discern which is the path we are to take. I guess that is when discernment is most important. We want to stay on the path God has designed for us, but we have come to place where the path divides and we need guidance to be sure of the right path.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

New Insight into today's Parable

We are all familiar with the parable of the Rich man and poor Lazarus who sat begging at the door and who was not given any notice by the Rich man who not only ignored him but did not even let him have the scraps from his table. I was praying over how Lazarus died and was received into the bosom of Abraham. It seems that Jesus chose Abraham as all the Jews would know of Abraham and also know how hospitable Abraham was to whoever came to his door. I think that the Jews would have grasped the lesson that Jesus wanted to give about taking care of those who are suffering and this parable is reinforcing the works of mercy that Jesus preached about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, etc. I hope we grasp the deeper meaning and welcome the migrants and refugees who have come seeking shelter.

At breakfast I shared that I had been thinking about the Trinity. I have been reading Richard Rohr's meditations about the Trinity. We went around and each said what the word meant to them. I was the only one to name the three Persons in the Trinity. I have a real relationship with each one. I have been cultivating my relationships since the time I spent at the Trinita in Rome in 1959.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Is it easier to be grateful than to be patient?

Live in gratitude and joy and you will spread His Love to all. I have been thinking about another quotation from St. Madeleine Sophie:
"Try to acquire the virtues so necessary to win hearts: gentleness, affection and evenness, the fruit of patience, together with that ardent love of Jesus which I desire for you."

My theory is that a grateful person is a happy one and the joy attracts others; maybe I think it is easier to work at gratitude than to have patience. I wonder, too, if one can be gentle and affectionate even without patience. I guess I have been working for years at being patient with myself and then with others. I find some situations difficult and need to try not to show impatience, but when I am grateful, it seems easier to be patient.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Interior life is the first need of our heart..."

St. Madeleine Sophie said that interior life "is the first need of our heart, and only God's glory and zeal for souls should distract us from it. Even in the midst of external work, we should be attracted to union with God. Thus whatever we do will be sealed by God's grace and we will be able to communicate to others the Spirit of God that we possess."

It is important for discernment to know that we do have the Holy Spirit with us. Discernment deals with a life unfolding; we are all on a journey to God. Discernment helps us to see how God is leading us. Remember, the goal of discernment is to know the will of God and then to do it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Listening to the Spirit

On June 16, the pope spoke at the opening of the gathering of Rome about "The Joy Of Love." According to the article in America, he affirmed the need "to stay in touch with the movement of the Spirit in discernment." This means "listening to what God is saying within our given circumstances". Discernment does not stop with a description of always goes beyond and succeeds in seeing behind every face, every story, and every situation an opportunity and a possibility."
"Discerning then, means listening to the voice of the Spirit and facing our unfolding history with its needs and challenges, and - above all - with an eye on individual persons and their concrete lives."

There is more to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Watching for God

There was an excellent article in America, the August 18 issue, entitled "Watching for God: The gift and challenge of discernment in "The Joy of Love" by Antonio Spadaro and Louis J. Cameli. I intend to take a few of their ideas to share with you, but it will be tomorrow before I post them. They do say that we need an accurate understanding of discernment to understand the Pope's document, "The Joy of Love". The word discernment is cited about fifty times in the document.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A bit more on the art of discernment

In "The Art of Spiritual Direction" by W. Paul Jones there is a helpful way to discern with others when you need to do this. It is really personal discernment with a few who will listen well, ask probing questions and make suggestions; persons who are supportive and who know you reasonably well. They need, of course, to be persons you can trust. You come together and begin with prayer, then listen carefully to the person asking for help to know what God is about in his or her life; questions may be asked for clarification. The person shares with the others everything that seems pertinent to the situation. I think there should be some time to reflect and pray in silence before the listeners begin to share the feelings, perceptions, they have had in listening. They do not give advice. They then listen to the person to see where things are now. Usually the person takes a few days to reflect on the decision to be made before deciding, but sometimes it has become clear through the questions of his listeners. Then the ending prayer would be that of thanksgiving.

Monday, September 19, 2016

After a Good Discernment

After a good discernment, there is peace and I think there is the joy in knowing that one has truly sought to know what God wants and choose that. Remember it is always between two good things.

Sometimes it is too hard to discern when your heart is saying one thing and your head another. Maybe that is when you need to be patient. Pray for light and it will be given to you.

I remember when I first asked a Jesuit about my vocation to religious life, he suggested I write down on one side of a piece of paper all the reasons for and against it. Well, I had many reasons on the side of the paper that was against entering the convent and only one on the other side. However that one was that I thought Jesus was calling me and wanted me to be a nun; I had all these reasons of what I wanted - to marry and have lots of children being one of the strongest against being a nun, but God's wanting this for me seemed to outweigh all the other reasons.

Tomorrow there is a summit to try to solve the problem of the migrants and refugees; I believe that 120 nations are taking part in this and the Holy Father has asked for prayer. It is important to not only help now but look to long term solutions for so many who cannot return to their own countries.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Discerment as a way of life

To continue to talk about my year in the Institute of Religious Formation which really changed my life and gave me new ministry.
We were in what we called, the IRF and we were IRFers!
1. It was a wonderful group of priests, brothers, and Religious from many different congregations. Many of them were in training to be Master or Mistress of Novices, Formation Directors, or just going into Spiritual Direction; we had a few who had been Provincial and were having this year to prepare for other ministry. The schedule was class all morning with our Jesuit Directors, Liturgy and social every Tuesday evening, faith-sharing groups that met in late afternoon or evening, and then workshops on week ends given by some of the best presenters brought from all over. Each of us also had spiritual direction with an approved person from a list. I had Father Tom Prag, S.J. and had the good fortune to have asked him to give me my first individually directed retreat before the IRF began and he also directed my 30-day retreat in Spain at the end of the course.
Discernment was taught and practiced by us all during the year. It is always learning to choose between two good choices. For me, the question is what does the Lord want me to choose? For this, one must really be indifferent and then pray. Sometimes we just know in prayer that this feels right and so the choice is clear. At other times we need to weigh the reasons for and against each choice and see what is more pleasing to the Lord and more in line with the Gospel. Other times we need to examine how the Lord has been leading us to know what is the better choice at this moment. Sometimes we think we have made the correct choice, but then something happens and it is not confirmed.
When I was doing the ongoing formation in Chile, I had to do what we call communal discernment with communities. Sometimes it would be about an important decision for the Province, other times it only involved the community. Sometimes, even after a good decision was reached, the circumstances would change or new information came to light that would not confirm the decision. It became a way of life for many of us and even today I take time to discern before agreeing to many things that are important in my life but may not be important to others. I want to do always what pleases Jesus; discernment is necessary to make the right choice.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Discernment as a Way of Life

So often we do not know exactly what God wants us to do or where He is leading us. When we do not know what path to take, we need to discern. I am just finishing the life of Concha Camacho who was Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart from 1970-82. Those twelve years were a time of great change for us as we had lived our religious life within our convents and, only after Vatican II did we realize that we, as an Apostolic Congregation in the Church, were to go out to assist others. I was in Chile as the time and we went from four school communities to nineteen small communities living mostly in poorer places to help with education in the parishes. We still taught, but we were responding to the needs of the Bishops. At any rate, it was a time of great change and Concha insisted on discernment to know what God wanted from us. Discernment was to be practiced on a personal level, in community, in the Province and Concha and her team set the example.
I owe her so much. When she arrived for a visit with her team in Concpcion, Chile, she decided that it would be good for me to apply for the Institute for Religious Formation at St. Louis University as Father Futrell, S.J. was going to teach all the Provincials about discernment and he was co-director of the Program with Dave Fleming, S.J. - so I was sent back to my hometown for this Program. You can imagine the delight of my parents! I think I did not know what was going to happen, but that year has influenced the rest of my life. I will share more of this tomorrow, but I just wanted to say how grateful I am still to Concha for having this inspiration.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Once a teacher, always a teacher

Until I began helping with Third Grade reading, I did not know how much I missed teaching younger children. It is a real joy to be with them and I also enjoy seeing my Senior lad once a week. It is such a blessing to have the school here and I will be going to another football game this Saturday. When I walk around the grounds after lunch, it is fun to watch the various activities the boys engage in and then watch the girls who seem more likely to be deep in conversation with a few boys present, but most of the boys seem to invent active games. One of their favorite games seems to be getting in a circle with six or eight and bounce a ball back and forth off their knees. Amazing to watch them. The tennis courts are filled during my morning walk and I wonder if they just arrange their classes to have the early period free for tennis. The schedule of the classes seems to be different each week and must give someone a great deal of work to keep rearranging each week. I am glad that I no longer need to do that! In Chile, as Head of the School, I also had to plan the schedule for the High School and then the Grade School. Since many of our teachers also were teaching in the public schools, it was quite complicated and often I would finish late at night. Now, it is good not to have that kind of responsibility. It is time to enjoy life! I mean by that to enjoy the interior life each of us has with the Lord.
Still, one does not spend 65 years as an educator without learning that we are always educating by what we do or do not do, by what we say or do not say, by what we write or do not write...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Mater Dolorosa. It is a special Feast of Our Lady in the Society and some of our houses were consecrated to Mary under this title. Mary stood at the foot of the Cross; she was a strong, courageous, faithful and loving woman and still is. Perhaps she helps us to understand the mystery of the value of suffering.
I began the period of preparation for Final Profession in Rome in 1959 with forty-five other Religious of the Sacred Heart from all over the world. Our Mother General came to give us the opening conference on the day itself and it is one of the few things I have kept all these years, but I am afraid I must have lost it in this recent move. In looking for it, I found an article on the Sacrament of Reconciliation with wonderful quotes from Vatican II and Pope John II and it seemed so helpful I was wondering where I had found this as it was all in Spanish. I was quite astonished to find my name at the end of the article. I did write it, I think, when in charge of ongoing formation in Chile. I forget why but find it really helpful today. Maybe Our Lady of Sorrows wanted me to find it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Radiating Christ

Sometimes one finds a prayer that helps and this one by Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman is one that I want to share with you.

Radiating Christ
Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my sour with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may be only a radiance of yours.

Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus.

Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be mine.
It will be you, shining on others through me.

Let me thus praise you in the way that you love best, by shining on those around me.
Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you. Amen.

Today is the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What am I gratefu lfor today?

I wake up and am grateful that I have another day of life. Then I go to take a shower and am filled with gratitude for the gift of water!
The water in the shower is hot, but the tap water is cold and that is something I did not experience often in Miami. Just the gift of water makes me grateful and happy. Then I think of all those who lack water; not just hot water or water from a tap or even from a pump. Many people in this world have no easy to reach water. Some need to go to the river and the water is not pure. Others find a well or a spring but need to carry whatever water is needed to their homes that may be at a distance. And I, I take this running water for granted and seldom used to stop to thank for it. Now, I do appreciate this gift and respect it. I pray that all may have clean water so necessary for life. God gave us water and wants all to have access to it. Let us pray just for this one thing today.
I admire the many missionary groups that spend time with youth each summer to bring water into villages. They dig trenches and lay pipes to give people access to the gift of water.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary

Today we celebrate the most holy name of Mary. She is our heavenly mother and many of us have her name. Even today there are many children named after Our Lady and I am sure she is happy to see that we honor her this way, but the most important way is to honor her is to imitate her virtues. Mary was simple, humble, attentive to the Lord and to others. She was open to whatever God asked of her. She sees what is lacking to each of us and reminds her Son, as she did at Cana,: "They have no..(whatever she sees we are in need of).." and then she tells us to "do whatsoever Jesus tells you."

Let us spend time with our heavenly Mother today and thank her for her love and attention as she is constantly helping us so that we may become more like her Divine Son.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rejoice with Me

This Sunday's Gospel has the three parables of Jesus that reveal His Heart to us in a special way. He is telling us about the Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to go look for the lost sheep. When he finds it he returns and says, "Rejoice with me for I have found my lost sheep."
Then there is the woman who searches for her lost coin until she finds it and calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them: "Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost."
In the parable of the son who left his Father's house and then, when he had wasted all his inheritance, returned repentant, the Father, only wants to celebrate; his son was lost and now has been found.

I was thinking that Jesus wants us to rejoice with him so often and are we attentive to this invitation to rejoice?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Called into dialogue about our common home

Let us continue to reflect on the words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si.
Nothing in this world is indifferent to us
3. More than fifty years ago, with the world teetering on the brink of nuclear crisis, Pope Saint John XXIII wrote an Encyclical which not only rejected war but offered a proposal for peace. He addressed his message Pacem in Terris to the entire “Catholic world” and indeed “to all men and women of good will”. Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet. In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I wrote to all the members of the Church with the aim of encouraging ongoing missionary renewal. In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.

We are called to enter into dialogue about our common home.

Today the entire Province of the United States and Canada is going to listen to the calls of our General Chapter explained more fully by those who were there. One of those calls concerns our efforts for peace, justice, and the integrity of creation. This is what is inspiring me to return to quote from Laudato Si. The Pope is speaking to all people; we need to reflect on his words again, even if we have read them before. We need to think what are we doing now to save our environment? What will I do today?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Back to the Beginning of "Laudato Si"


1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs”.[1]
2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf.Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

We are all called to listen to the call given us to care for our common home. We are destroying the very gifts God has given us in pure air, water, trees, and all forms of life. Now is the time to do something to fight to save our planet!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Blessings and Renovation

Count your blessings and you will be joyful. I have so much to thank God for that I could make a new litany of things I am grateful for each day. Sometimes it seems an ordinary day, but when I reflect back on the day, God has been present in so many ways. He is a God of surprises.
I think we are having the last month or so of the renovations that began last March. Maybe this last part will go more quickly, but sometimes the rooms are ready but the furniture is not yet ready. Our "fireside room" (it has a real fireplace, but now only burns an electric fire), is also the spiritual library and it seems that the bookcases are being built for the entire back wall; the books are in boxes awaiting them. The last of the bedrooms in Oakwood are finished and now they are renovating the center part which was the nurse's station, and place for the records and medicine. It is quite interesting to see the whole back part of Oakwood renovated. I am in Westwood so not part of what has been musical chairs for some.
My mind is full of many things, but it seems the movement of my sisters into new rooms is more important to me than other things are tonight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Picture Meditation

Sometimes just to look at a picture leads us into prayer. This one fascinates me as it has so many images: the stream, the little falls, the path and the trees and then there are the ducks, and swans and a white horse. What fun to contemplate what each might mean - all are God's gifts.

I had a wonderful experience of God's gifts Tuesday morning in helping two third grade boys; they took turns reading the story to me and we would stop and discuss it. They both are good readers and could answer all the questions and we did cover the story and some of the suggestions at the end of it. They could use the words given in the vocabulary in sentences that they invented so I could tell these boys are bright and they were so well-behaved. I guess I will have these two only every three weeks as there are three third grade classes and so next week I will meet two new children. It is a joy to work with them and one of the advantages of being here with this large school on the grounds.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Soon I hope to have the time to look for the picture that fits what I want to share. For now, I just hope that looking at something beautiful inspires you to contemplation and thanksgiving.
Today I am sharing another of Pam's Musings and this one is titled: Within

"The bowl was old and clean,                                                             but cracked with age.
She filled it with deliciously warm
soup on that very cold day.
Does the container have to be new,
valuable, precious?
No, but it should be clean to welcome
what nourishes whomever.
No residue of neglect, shame, pride,
or selfishness - but washed clean
to receive what gives life to others."

What is within is what counts!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day

Labor Day is the day to rest from our normal work and thank God that we are able to work. When I think of so many right here in the United States that cannot find work, I wonder what this day means to them. We have thousands of people capable of work and they cannot find jobs. Some take several part-time jobs to try to earn enough to feed their families. Others have not even been able to find any job. Families are living on the street, evicted from their homes because of been laid off and not finding work. Let us pray today for all those who want to work and cannot.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Who can know God's counsel...

The first reading for this Sunday's liturgy in from the Book of Wisdom. He begins, "Who can know God's counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans..." But then we have been given wisdom with the gift of the Holy Spirit. And the reading ends by saying, "And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight."

We all need the Holy Spirit to guide us each day, but how often do we pray to the Spirit?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

God waits for me

God is always present to us, but we are so insensitive to His Presence in us that we try to live our life often on our own. But God is patient and waits for me to turn to Him. I go to prayer to just sit in His Presence and let God love me. I have nothing to give Him that I have not received from Him. Still, God just wants us to allow Him to act in us and through us. If we are silent, God will speak to us - perhaps by an inspiration but often through others or events.

Friday, September 2, 2016

First Friday

I am one of those who love and pray to Jesus, but do not have an image in my mind. I just think of Jesus perhaps as the Good Shepherd, but no picture of how Jesus really looked. I use the one above often in this blog, but only because I was given a picture like it when a child in school as a reward for devotedness. I had it on the wall in my room until I entered. It brought Jesus closer to me, but even then I did not try to picture Him. I just had a felt presence and I think that is still the way I experience Jesus.
Today is the First Friday and Catholics know, or used to know, how Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary, a Visitation Sister in France; He showed her his Heart and told her how much He loves us and in return receives so much ingratitude and coldness. He asked her for reparation. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus then spread and some of the practices were wearing a badge showing the Heart of Jesus on fire with love of us, making a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament, and receiving Holy Communion on nine consecutive first Fridays so each month we honor the Heart of Jesus. After Vatican II, some of the practices of devotion in the Church were not fostered, but where I went to Church in Miami you could not find a parking place for the noon Mass every First Friday. I still have a special devotion to this day each month.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A New Beginning

A friend sent me this and I love it - we are all in new beginnings at this time, if at all connected to the academic year - some are seeing their children begin a new school year, others are beginning to teach new things to new children, others are beginning new jobs, etc. We will begin to deepen the call of our General Chapter.

For a New Beginning
By John O'Donohue
(1956 - 2008)
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.