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Friday, May 31, 2019

Feast of the Visitation

Mary was the first missionary as she carried Jesus in her womb to visit Elizabeth and Jesus must have communicated with the infamt in the womb of Elizabeth as she said the unborn babe leapt for joy at the greeting of Mary. This Gospel scene gives us the wonderful prayer of praise, the Magnificat. I love the first lines where Mary says that her whole being magnifies the Lord and she rejoices in God...

I seem to have a message from God for my 88th birthday and I will try to put it into words. The Lord is telling me that from my birth He has surrounded me with love and has made me to be joyful; my mission now is to give joy to Jesus by giving joy to others and trying to love as Jesus loves. As Jesus is in me, so I am called to give His love to others and that makes for joy. I consider this a great birthday gift and I am grateful. I also urge all to go back over your life to see the love and joy given to you.

Remembering with gratitude

This is the statue of St. Philippine Duchesne found now at the corner of the Academy and commissioned by the city of St. Charles. I am spending my birthday with her this year and asking for the grace of union with the Heart of Jesus. Actually, we are all united to His Heart so I guess I am asking to be more conscious of this and to love others with His Love. It is a good grace to ask for on my 88th birthday. I never expected to live this long, but I am so grateful that I am still able to do for myself, walk without a cane or walker ( one of the few here able to do that). The good thing about old age is that one can pass on the wisdom acquired and have many good memories to share.

One year I made a summer program with one of our Religious from Australia. She asked us to think about the best year of our life, to go back and relive that year in memory. I remember at the time that I felt I had so many wonderful years that it was hard to pick one, but finally chose my sophomore year at Maryville college as so many good things happened to me that year and in June I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart.

can you go back in memory and find the best year of your life? It makes you grateful for we all have so many good years to choose from that it is hard to decide which was the best year.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Reviewing one's life is a grace

As I continue the review of my life, Philippine is very present. She went through so much, but because of her I was able to be a boarder at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles for my four years of high school. I remember each of our annual retreats given by Jesuits. We would go into retreat on Monday evening and keep perfect silence until Friday morning. That was quite a feat for teenagers, but I loved those days and always had the life of a Religious of the Sacred Heart to read. God works in strange ways but I knew I had to go try religious life. The example of the Religious who taught me was powerful.

I had my faith from my parents who taught me to pray, but I also had six wonderful years at the Academy of the Visitation and had devotion to the Heart of Jesus from the time I made my First Communion. 

I am finding time taken to review my life with Jesus is very fruitful and I urge you to do the same. You do not need to wait for a birthday to do this!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Gratitude as we age

After my pilgrimage to St. Charles during my visit to St. Louis, I have been thinking more about Philippine during her last ten years. She spent these in a little room at St. Charles; I think she still must  have been able to manage steps as the community room was on the second floor and the dining room in the basement. I know she taught catechism to some French children under the porch on the basement level. She also still did quite a bit of sewing. Besides mending the clothes of the children, she still was able to make vestments for the priests in different churches, but she was not able to thread her needle and the children loved to do that for her.

I guess I am preparing for my 88th birthday next Friday by going back to thank for all the people in my life who have been so kind and loving and important to me. I was going to think of just 88, but found that I had 88 important and cherished people in my life before I made final profession in 1960. I guess I will easily have another 88 special friends from the next 20 years in Chile and still more in the 39 years since I have returned to the United States. I have much to be grateful for and relationships are so important!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

We have so many brave people to remember

One of my aunts was married to one of my favorite people. When the Second World War began, Bob was really too old to be drafted, but he had gone to a military school and wanted to join up and was sent to Officers/ Training and then went on to become finally a Lieutenant Colonel and at one point was stationed on a small island in the South Pacific and my aunt joined him there, one of three women on the island whose husbands were officers and wives were allowed. They lived in a Quonset hut and there was nothing to do. They became great bridge players! A General visited and my aunt only had hot dogs to serve him, but he decided that every time a supply boat was going back and forth from Japan, the officers should take their wives! Now this was, of course, after peace had been restored. Bob ended up in Europe where he was in charge of all the army PXes so had to travel to check on them. His life was interesting, but the normal soldier does not have an easy life. We should be grateful that our armed forces find willing recruits and we do not need to draft young people. Still, I wish we could stop fighting in so many places in our world today. We need to pray for peace!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day

It is good to remember and honor all those who have fought to keep us free. I think we need long week ends, too, for some who work such long days. A three-day week end is a real holiday for many. Here, we have a picnic and hopefully will see all the RSCJs in the area including those in San Francisco and Alameda. 

I have been using Joyce Rupp's Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life again. I think I did not finish it before going back to other favorite books, but now I am finding passages that are very helpful. I will be sharing a few with you this week, unless the Holy Spirit dictates something different. Joyce says, "Some experts refer to compassion as 'the quivering of the heart.' I hesitate to use this definition because the heart does not always 'quiver' in response to suffering. We do not always feel like being compassionate. Sometimes it takes sheer will power to be there for someone with an illness or a difficulty that requires our time and attentive presence."

I think this is true, but I also believe that we have the grace to make the loving commitment. Or, at least we can pray for the grace to be compassionate no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Because most dioceses celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus on next Sunday, the reading for today may be from the seventh Sunday after Easter. My calendar has Ascension Thursday in red so I know I will be thinking of Jesus going to His Father on that day even if we celebrate it on Sunday now. It used to be a holy day when Catholics were obliged to attend Mass. This was not easy for many so it was a good idea to transfer the feast to Sunday.

This Sunday then will no doubt have the reading of the 7th Sunday.
What I think is important to remember is that Jesus was always preparing his friends for his departure. He did promise to remain always with them, but it would now be a different sort of presence. He also promised to send the Holy Spirit to them. These days after Easter have made the presence of Jesus very real to both his disciples and to us. Now, we find Jesus in a special way in the Eucharist. 
When I was visiting my brother, one of the things I missed most was my hour of prayer in front of the Eucharist ever afterhoon in our Chapel. I also missed our daily Mass and Communion. Let us thank Jesus again for his presence in the Eucharist and for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie

Sophie seems so close to us and I know she loves to have some "little words" with us daily. I think she is so maternal that she is interested in whatever we tell her. I am asking her for the grace to love as Jesus loves each person I have contact with as she was such a loving person herself.
We are having a funeral in the morning and I am going to an Open House celebrating the graduation of my Senior. I am still getting back to California time and wonder how I seem to have new energy today. I am just grateful for the time in St. Louis with my brother and sister-in-law who are so great about welcoming me and driving me, etc. I loved my visit, but I am also glad about coming home!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Home again in time for graduation this evening

I am happy to be home and not need to keep trying to remember to schedule ahead. I hope you have enjoyed the Word for the Day. Here is another:

Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
Pema Chödrön

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Praying with happy memories

Today is my last day in St. Louis. I have so many memories of growing up here. I think it is good to use our happy memories to go back and thank for the people and places that made us so happy. I think the prayer of memories is easy and also pleasing to Jesus. I guess I should suggest this more often to directees. We all need to revisit good memories and ask the Lord to be with us as we relive moments that we may only now be thanking for or even realizing our blessed giftedness.
Word for the Day:

May you embrace this day, not just as any old day, but as this day. Your day. Held in trust by you, in a singular place, called now.
Carrie Newcomer

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Today I am seeing very dear friends in St. Louis. One of them I have known since seventh grade. Friendship is such a gift. I also think that Jesus calls us friends because he wants that kind of relationship with each of us.

Word for the Day:

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
Desmond Tutu

Monday, May 20, 2019

Revisiting a beloved spot

Today I will be visiting my old school, the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles and the shrine where Philippine Duchesne has finally found rest. When I was at school, we went to pray to her in the little chapel in front of the main building. I have such fond memories of my high school years at St. Charles. We were a small school, all girls then, and I believe the entire high school and the seventh and eighth grades all fit into about 77 desks in our study hall. Now there are many buildings and a great coed grade school, but no high school. Whenever I visit, I am impressed by the good manners of the students. I will be praying for my classmates, too. 

This is a picture that gives me a desire to pray.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fifth Sunday of Easter

I am scheduling ahead as I will be in St. Louis and not on a computer. I am looking forward to seeing relatives and friends and the statue of St. Philippine Duchesne that was placed in the garden outside the Cathedral as part of the celebration of Philippine's coming to America two hundred years ago. I love Philippine and she lived the words from this Sunday's Gospel: "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

The responsorial psalm makes for a good walking prayer:
"I will praise you name for ever, my king and my God."

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Word for the day

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.
Nelson Mandela

Friday, May 17, 2019


Jesus rejoices over the recovery of any stray lamb. He is watching over each of us and that gives us courage and confidence. I am flying today to St. Louis to be with my brother and sister-in-law and have a busy five days ahead. However, I have some great quotes from the daily word I save so often from Gratefulness and this will give me a chance to share some of these words of wisdom with you. I am sure no one will mind a short blog for the next days. And I count on prayer for my trip as I have reached the point in my life when travel to different time zones by plane is not so attractive and I need to have more energy. However, I know I will enjoy each moment when I am there and still be happy to be home again!

Thursday, May 16, 2019


Here is the information for anyone who wants to order Sister Carol Bialock's book of poems.  Coral Castles. Publisher is Fernwood Press. Release date is June 28, 2019. ISBN 978-1-59498-060-2The book is available for pre-order on Amazon:
Now, for one last poem today. 


I will not let the angel of joy
flood my soul in vain
I will not let darkness
be victorious.
When fear tightens its noose,
constricts the heart,
clogs the mind,
I will go to the man of light
who has always befriended me
and breathe deep
in the release
of his embrace.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Something good to think about today

Sometimes, Lord, I still think I need to do all the work and You keep showing me that You are the one, not me, and I need to let You be free to work in me. This poem of Carol Bialock will be in her soon to be published book, Coral Castles: Collected Poems by Carol Bialock, RSCJ and can be preordered - more exact information on this tomorrow. Today I am sharing her poem on
"All the years of breaking through the soil,
gasping for growth,
straining to height and aroma and juice,
heavy with effort,
sweating it.

And when the glory came
and I breathed free and opened full,
strange how only then did I know
it was all gift,
I hadn't
done anything.

It was sun and rain and earth and air,
I had only to rest in
light, water, soil,
only trust and surrender
only be still
to flower into beauty.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Widening the Door"

Since Sister Carol Bialock's Poems are to be published next month, I am whetting appetites by sharing a few, with her permission. This one is called "Widening the Door":

Does the heart have a narrow door"
Will it allow in just one more
Of every beast and flower and bird
And every song it has ever heard?

Just one more child, just one more flower,
One more relinquishing of power
To that sane and sacred foolishness
Of living by inclusiveness?

Does the heart have a supple, elastic latch
That makes it easy to dispatch
All pettiness and bigotry
And open it to what makes free?

Is the heart a huge and lovely land?
Does it know the meaning of "Expand
And make your borders bright
And luminous with love's own light"?

Yet who can heal all the wounds and hate
Make my heart open, free and great."

Monday, May 13, 2019

"I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."

Today Jesus tells us that he calls his sheep by name and his sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.
How am I listening to hear his voice and how do I recognize it? I think we need a great deal of discernment in the spiritual life to know what voice comes from our Shepherd. Let us always go back to St. Ignatius' Rules for the Discernment of Spirits. He said that when we are trying to lead a good life, the good Spirit will only encourage us and give us peace. I am convinced that the Lord wants us all to enjoy life and by happy. When we try to live to give joy to others, Jesus fills us with His Joy!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday

I love the image of the Good Shepherd and know that Jesus cares for each of us, calls us by name, and seeks us out when we need His love and care. 
Jesus tells us in today's Gospel (John 10:27-30) "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. Mo one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one."

That is a most consoling Gospel. We belong to Jesus and He is the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep. If I a late today, it is because I am one of the six or more here who has been in isolation with coughs and colds. I mostly have been coughing, but it has taken all my energy and I have done nothing for three days. Today, I hope to at least work in my room and stay out of my too comfortable recliner. I need to get my strength back as I leave on Friday for St. Louis to see my brother. It will be a busy week ahead, too. One of my good friends here went to God this week; she was 100 years old, but Cassie was still full of life last week and always greeted each of us at our breakfast table by name. She was so gentle and courteous and I miss her. We have had three go to God since Easter.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

How do you love this world of ours?

I have been praying over Carol Bialock's poems and will share another with you today:
I Embrace the World this Morning

I embrace the world this morning,
Hold her in my arms a long moment
And decide never to let her go, 
Never to return to safety,
Never to say, "It's none of my business."
It is.

Maybe there should be a ritual
When we come of age,
When we're old enough to respond
"I do",
To the most crucial question:
"Do you love this world?"

Perhaps that will be the final question:
"Have you truly, deeply, faithfully
Loved this world?

Friday, May 10, 2019

At the End

Here is another poem of Carol Bialock that merits reflection:

At the End

"The same labor pains
That erupted you into life set in.
The moment to push hasn't come yet;
Only the pain and the trust
And the imploding of unknown worlds."

We were often told that it was good to meditate on death, but I was not fond of doing it. Now, some poems have made it easy.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

After All This Comfort

Many months ago I quoted, with permission, some of Carol Bialock's poems. Since she is a good RSCJ friend, I believe I still have her permission and I know I did not copy the ones she had about death and dying. Now I am ready to do so as we have just had two deaths here and another is perhaps close to death plus our Sisters in Albany have had two deaths - all this shows that God wants to take some of His friends home during this Easter season.
This is the poem: After All This Comfort:

So, after all this comfort,
you think you will die uncomforted?

You will die hugged to the breast,
nursed into light.
It will be the deepest comfort, and you
will celebrate wedding.
You will stand at the altar in that final
caressing and say "Amen!" to the great questioning.
You who said "Yes" will keep repeating
"Yes, indeed yes!"

And there will be a comfortable,
an infinitely comforting
Beginning Kiss.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

God made the world to give us joy

I firmly believe that God wants us all to be joyful and He has surrounded us with beauty. Creation is full of joy, but we are so uncaring about much of the life around us. Each part of creation is important. In "Growing in Joy" Robert Morneau gives 31 short meditations for a life in abundance. Since joy is my vocation within my vocation, I often go back to them. Today I am quoting from one entitled, "A Reward of Creation".

Saint Paul lists joy as one of the signs of the Holy Spirit in our life. To be alive spiritually implies the presence of joy. People who are deeply alive radiate joy. "To perform work well and for it to have a lasting effect, joy is a major ingredient....Joylessness diminishes the possibility of full health of soul, mind, and heart."

Christian joy is, according to Morneau, a gift from God that we call grace.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Walking with Jesus

Today I am sharing a quote from Cynthia Bourgeault:

"Jesus in his ascended state is not farther removed from human beings but more intimately connected with them. He is the integral ground, the ambient wholeness within which our contingent human lives are always rooted and from which we are always receiving the help we need to keep moving ahead on the difficult walk we have to walk here. When the eye of our own heart is open and aligned within this field of perception, we recognize whom we’re walking with.
As our grounds are so beautiful, I like to invite Jesus to go for a walk with me. I feel the closeness of Jesus and sometimes we have a conversation about the state of the world (or the state of my soul), but sometimes we just enjoy each other's company in silence. I have been talking to Jesus about a line from Bishop Morneau that is certainly trying to influence me. He says: "service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served." I am not sure I always set the tables after supper with joy, but most things I do for others really do give me joy so I am able to render them with joy for which I am grateful. 

Monday, May 6, 2019


This island off the coast of Ireland may be familiar to those who watch Star Wars. I just was thinking of what it would be like to be a skywalker. You could just roam around the world up among the clouds and have a real bird's eye view. You can tell the Holy Spirit has not yet started to inspire this blog today. Perhaps I should just take a vacation.
Instead I will tell you that I had a very busy week and I am happy that I was able to do all that I did, but I also have made the firm resolution to say "no" to all extras during this week. I am not sure but think I have less. Last week, besides seeing my Senior student, the third graders for reading, four groups of 6th graders who were to interview me but it was sort of a mutual conversation with each group and utterly delightful, I also went to visit one of our nuns who is recovering from a hip operation and waiting for a knee operation, went to a funeral, had a funeral here for Sister Bebe, spent two nights in vigil with another of our Sisters who did die this week (getting up from 2:00 to 4:00 AM was something I loved when allowed night adoration as a novice; now, two nights in a row is enough to make me feel tired for the rest of the week. Well, those are only a few things that I did last week besides the regular schedule. We all wore decorated hats to our Kentucky Derby party and bet on the horses. I thought I had a winner and then they disqualified the horse. 
Retirement at Oakwood can be a busy time. Fortunately, the first Sunday of the month arrived and that is a silent day! I love it!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Third Sunday of Easter

This Sunday's entrance antiphon is worth using as a prayer:
"Cry out with joy to God, all the earth; O sing to the glory of his name; O render him glorious praise, alleluia.

The Collect is very positive and asks that "we may look forward in confident hope to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection"

The Gospel is that of my favorite apparition (John 21: 1-14). When Peter said he was going fishing, six others of the chosen disciples said they would go with him. They went out and toiled all night and caught nothing. By dawn they must have felt tired, cold, hungry,  and discouraged. Jesus knows this and has made a fire on the shore and brought bread, caught fish, and has breakfast cooking for his friends. That is such a thoughtful scene that I love to imagine Jesus making his preparations to surprise his friends. Finally, as they come closer to the shore, Jesus calls to them to ask if they have any fish. When they say they have not caught any, he tells them to let the net down on the right side of the boat. They cast the net and immediately it is so full they cannot pull it in. Then one says, "It is the Lord" and Peter jumps into the water to get to Jesus.
After they have breakfast with Jesus serving them, Jesus will ask Peter three times, "Do you love me?" I think Jesus is often asking us the same question and my answer is the same as Peter: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."

Saturday, May 4, 2019

First Saturday

This is a different picture of Our Lady of the Rosary. I enjoy saying my rosary as I walk around our beautiful grounds, but must confess that my mind is often not on the mysteries or even the words that I am reciting. I just think I am saying "I love you" to Mary and that is all she asks of me.

Now, here is a quote from James Finlay taken from Richard Rohr's daily meditations:
In fidelity to silent prayer there is unveiled the possibility of infinite growth in union with God. We can be so transformed through this unveiling that we existentially realize within us that “for me to live is Christ” [Philippians 1:21]. We realize obscurely in our being, that our simple, concrete acts are open to a transformation through which they are “not only Godlike, but they become God’s own acts.” [1]
There is nowhere to go. There is nothing to do. God is upon and within us. In the midst of our humble duties, our poor, weak selves, our simple being who we are, we can say with Jacob with overwhelming gratitude: “Truly this is the house of God and the gate of heaven and I knew it not” [see Genesis 28:16-17]. [2]
I find this quote very consoling!

Friday, May 3, 2019

First Friday

I am so impressed by the humility of Jesus and love to see that this Pope is so like Jesus. Jesus was feared by those in power who were quick to criticize him for the good he was doing. I think the Pope is also facing many problems, but I am sure Jesus is giving him the light and strength to deal with them.

We also find people who are critical, perhaps we feel misjudged at times, but we need to draw courage from Jesus and not let others keep us from trying to do good. St. Paul was full of joy in the midst of all kinds of difficulties. The world needs joy! And lots of prayer!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The path of Joy

The daughter of one of Thomas Merton's friends, Grace Sisson, sent him a drawing called The Road To Joy. He answered her and said, among other things, "I hope you and I together still secretly travel our own road to joy, which is mysteriously revealed to us without our exactly realizing."

I think each of us has a path to joy; I would say it is a path of joy, once we have found it. Bishop Morneau said that joy comes from the presence of companions on the road with us, but full joy comes when God travels with us.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Joy is a net of love...

Our patio is so lovely. I think the flowers blooming all over add to our Easter joy. When I lived in St. Louis and Miami, I loved to go to the botanical gardens; here I am surrounded by beauty and do not need to go out to find it.

Here us a quote from Mother Teresa of Calcutta that I love:
"Joy is prayer--joy is strength--joy is love--joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen."

I finished reading "The Election of Pope Francis" by Gerard O'Connell and really loved it. I hope many of you will have the chance to read it. I am giving mine to our spiritual library but several are in line to read it here.