Caritas · Faith in Action · My world

By His wounds we are healed..

I just received a phone call from Sr Mary Immaculate of the Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Wounds of Jesus.   Sr Anne Joseph passed away on Sunday Afternoon at 3:15 pm.  The hour of Divine Mercy.


I last saw Sr Anne Joseph at Christmas time while rehearsing for the performance at the Grotto.  A month or so ago  my oldest was at their annual Vocational Retreat and they were able to visit Sr in the hospital.    Her funeral will be on Friday morning and we will attend to say goodbye and pray for the repose of her soul, or ask for her prayers while we struggle on in this life.  I have no doubt that she will be praying for one thing: Vocations.  Both for the Church as a whole and for the small order she leaves behind. 

For now there are two.

 In an article in U.S Catholic  some while back Mother Mary of the Angels said:

“”I am convinced that we will be granted novices,” says Mother Mary in a tone brooking no disagreement. “God has here built a rich treasure, and we have great trust in the Lord. He will provide. We are in his care.“Our work is to offer up each day and walk with him wheresoever he leads. Each minute of your day, each act, each word, is a prayer of immense potential beauty, and our work is to live each minute with him in our hearts and bring him to the sick and the sad and the impoverished. We are charged with helping people toward reparation with God, and such reparation can only lead to joy, so that’s what we do, and we don’t worry about what might happen in the future. We think about it, sure, but it’s not our place to worry. ”

I hope and pray that they are able to increase their numbers in the next few years.  You might look at the pictures of these nuns in their rather modern habits, most of them older, none of them younger and think “Liberal nuns dying off — good riddance”  You would also be completely and utterly wrong.  This is not a liberal group of women, they are loyal to the Magisterial teaching of the Church.  This is a young order, barely 50 years old, but one with a unique and beautiful voice.  It was started by women who love the Church, love God, love music and service.  These are good, active nuns.  I have never known more peace then when I am with them.  I love them.

Mother Mary of the Angels is one of those people who is so demanding so firm in her resolution that it takes a moment to realize that this is a woman who also just loves you.  Sure she can see all your faults, she knows that things aren’t perfect and a bit more effort might have made things better.  But at the same time she is the first to say “We work with what God gives us” and march right on knowing full well that God’s will will be done and that she, I, and everyone else around us are His right through and it will all work out in the end.   I love her so much and wish I could be more like her.  Not be like her in the sense of having her vocation and gifts, but to be more perfectly me as God wants me to be.  To be more of who I really am the way she is who she really is.  Perfectly authentic.

Sr Mary Immaculate is a joy.  I love her grin and the way she and I can just talk.  She reminds me of my great aunt and my grandfather.  Open minded, intelligent and having the pleasant interior peace that comes from being good and doing what you are called to do. 

These are the two women who are the Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Wounds of Jesus.  It makes me pleased to see the young women at their convent during their vocation retreats.  I hope and pray that some of them will be called to join the Sisters in their work.   I hope some younger women will put on their somewhat modern looking powder blue habits and join them in adoration and prayer.  

Sr Anne Joseph you will be missed.

Blogs I Know · Caritas · Faith in Action

New Habits

I am so happy to see the Anchoress blogging again after her recent health issues slowed her down a bit.  Today we have one of my favorite topics: Religious communities growing.   One of the most beautiful things in the world. 

You can see the communities she links to here: A flourishing of novices, Part I

I suppose like many women not blessed with a call to religious life I find myself somewhat envious at times of those who are so called.   But no matter the reason I love seeing religious communities grow.  It gives me hope that our faith will survive.  

The Anchoress also links to Gerald Augustinus at The Cafeteria Is Closed.  Mr Augustinus has a rather interesting observation that the  Sisters who have kept their habits are growing in numbers while those who switched to modern dress in the sixties and seventies are going the way of the dinosaur.  Fair enough.  This isn’t by any means a unique observation;  I have heard it dozens of times.  — more on that in a minute.

Right now I want to rant for a moment.  There is one little thing that torques me about the site and the discussion there and it isn’t something that I am laying at Mr Augustinus’s feet alone, but it is the main reason that, while I read The Cafeteria Is Closed almost daily, I rarely link to it.   It is the appalling lack of charity and at times even a lack common decency on the part of the commentors especially that just make me shudder.  Yes, I am unfairly picking on this one site at the moment there are many others that are far far worse.  I know that Gerald actually did a good deal a few months ago shutting down some of the more outlandish comments and I applaud the effort… but.     (check here to see the post I am referencing)  I was not really surprised that two pictures were cherry picked to show happy, young smiling nuns in habits and a rather not so happy,  unfortunate picture of a aging nun sans habit at a conference for ((double shudder)) women’s ordination.   Some of the comments that followed were predictable and rather ugly — but it still floored me — what is the point of that?

It really astounds me how often people’s appearance is dragged out when others disagree with their thoughts.  And it is just sad folks  it is really really sad.  First off it is sad because it is demeaning to the creation of God.  We are all in our beauties and uglies His first and foremost with our imperfections intact — we are His as he made us.   To go off on the lack of youth or beauty in the face of a person based on a picture or two is just wrong.  It is poking at the veneer. 

 Second it muddies our real complaint.  By all means roast the heretic for their heresies.  Those of us stepping into middle age have a right to be good and ticked-off at what the baby-boomers handed us.  We have a reason to be angry at a church that taught us the whole “feel good Jesus” with no mention of sin or hell.  We should be none too pleased about our churches being built to look like theaters and all those felt banners, horribly insipid music, a culture that tells us it is a matter of conscious to kill unborn children and that sex is play and poisoning our bodies with decades of hormonal birth control is a good thing.  Yes BE PISSED!  There is a LOT to be pissed about…. but don’t stoop to tossing mud about appearances.  We traditional Catholics should be above that sort of thing.  Leave it to the little children who don’t know better.  

This whole, drag the ugly, aging political woman out and talk about how old and ugly and angry she looks is getting old.  I don’t care if it is Hilary Clinton or Sr Chittister or Susan Sarandon to talk first about the appearance of someone as though that was as important as their message is juvenile.   This goes back to why I normally don’t blog about politics.  The tendency to dehumanize the opponent is too common.  And yes talking about someone’s cankles or wrinkles is just that — a sniggering attempt at mocking a lump of flesh.  If your argument is strong enough you never have a reason to mention the opposition’s age, color, nationality, language, gender or beauty.   A good argument will stand on its own… so stop with the rotten tomatoes and pick at what matters… the ideas.  Face those ideas with what is worthy of respect – better ideas.

Which brings me back to the habit.  Habits are coming back.  I think this is just smashingly wonderful.  Congregations with habits are growing at a rather speedy clip while those who gave it up entire are shrinking.  The reasons for this has no causal relationship to the habit. The real antecedent is that congregations that honor obedience and strive for a traditional expression of Catholic spirituality are speaking louder to the hearts of young men and women who are striving to find a way to live out their God given vocation.  The world is full of Gaia worshiping and/or self indulgent/ feminist/ social worker life style opportunities.  The orders that incorporated the 60s and 70s into their communities and tossed out tradition have nothing to offer those seeking something more than what society has to offer.  That liberal mind-set pollutes society at large so deeply — young people looking at realigious life want more.  The habit is a indicator of a community that holds Catholic tradition more important than the whim of what society says is cool.  For young men and women awash in a transitory world that is very powerful.

A couple years ago I went to the funeral of a nun with whom I taught CCD at my local parish.  She was a wonderful old lady who had spent her entire life educating children.  Sr Jane Francis of the Sisters of St Mary Oregon.  If you look you will see a mix of women with habits including veils and others who aren’t.  The funny thing is you can almost group them by age.  The most humorous thing to me is how many of the youngest members have their veils on. 

 Sr Jane Francis wore a veil — she was quite a bit older.  While at her funeral I met one of the young postulates.  It was one of those really weird times where I had the feeling that only one foot was on earth and the other was closer to heaven.  I saw this young woman in a sweater and veil, her face smiling and me hugely pregnant with my belly sticking out having just said good bye to a friend, but not at all sad because I knew she was home at last.   And this young woman and I face to face and I smiled and said “Thank you.”  It took a small instant for her to realize that I was thanking her for her life.  For listening to her vocation.  But I didn’t have to explain anything, because we were in the same “place” and she grinned at me with all the understanding that sisters have for each other and she said “Oh no thank you!” and she touched my huge belly and we both laughed and loved each other and Sr Jane Francis was no doubt smiling at us right there and loving us both.

So I love nuns.  I love that they have a special gift that they give to God — they give the whole world, their whole lives, all their love and faith.  I am a mother, it is my vocation to bring new little lives into the world and educate them so they understand and love God, the faith and the Church.  Nothing makes me happier than to see pictures of young women in their habits giving their lives to God and pictures of smooshy little baby faces just beginning this wonderful adventure we call life.  There is so much hope and so much love in both.   

My world

A modest man


WANTED – A boy that stands straight, sits straight, acts straight, and talks straight;

A boy whose fingernails are not in mourning, whose ears are clean, whose shoes are polished, whose clothes are brushed, whose hair is combed, and whose teeth are well cared for;

A boy who listens carefully when he is spoken to, who asks questions when he does not understand, and does not ask questions about things that are none of his business;

A boy that moves quickly and makes as little noise about it as possible;

A boy who whistles in the street, but does not whistle where he ought keep still;

A boy who looks cheerful, has a ready smile for everybody, and never sulks;

A boy who is polite to every man and respectful to every woman and girl;

A boy who does not smoke cigarettes and has no desire to learn how;

A boy who is more eager to know how to speak good English than to talk slang;

A boy that never bullies other boys nor allows other boys to bully him;

A boy who, when he does not know a thing says, “I don’t know,” and when has made a mistake says “I’m sorry,” and when he is asked to do a thing says “I’ll try”;

A boy who looks you right in the eye and tells the truth every time;

A boy who is eager to read good books;A boy who would rather put in his spare time at the YMCA gymnasium than to gamble for pennies in a back room;

A boy who does not want to be “smart” nor in any wise attract attention;

A boy who would rather lose his job or be expelled from school than to tell a lie or be a cad;

A boy whom other boys like;

A boy who is at ease in the company of girls;

A boy who is not sorry for himself, and not forever thinking and talking about himself;

A boy who is friendly with his mother, and more intimate with her than anyone else;

A boy who makes you feel good when he is around;

A boy who is not a goody-goody, a prig, or a little Pharisee, but just healthy, happy, and full of life;

This boy is wanted everywhere. The family wants him, the school wants him, the office wants him, the boys want him, the girls want him, all creation wants him.

In  The Children’s Book of Virtues William J. Bennet quotes the above “want ad” saying that it came from the early 20th century.   Ignoring the rather antiquated language I still find it something well worth reading.  I would hope that my two sons can be such “wanted men”.   The boy described above is a boring, good, modest young man.  I would hope that my daughters find them. 

Several months ago I wrote about modesty.  Not just as a function of dress, but as a character trait.  Modesty is the fruit of virtue of temperance.  It is sorely lacking in society today.   Modest men and women are so much more appealing to me then those who flaunt and parade their possessions, their accomplishments, their gifts.  

 I recently ran across an unpleasant situation with someone who is probably the best example of an immodest person I can imagine.  This man is someone who can hardly wait to tell you how great they are.  He loves to boast about his income, his physical prowess, his wit.  He will go on and on about how great he is, how “hot” his girlfriend is and worse he relishes the chance to “one-up” who ever he is with.    Why does he do this?  Because he is dead absolute afraid that someone will think he isn’t good enough.  He is terrified of being judged and found wanting.  He would rather lie about his income than admit he struggles some months to get by.  He would rather crush the other person in a conversation than admit they might have a valid point.  He would rather go into debt to buy clothing and pay for meals out than have someone think he isn’t successful.  It is a sad situation — he is running from his own reality.

His lack of modesty is off-putting.  He is trying to impress and he certainly succeeds in leaving an impression.  I could probably go into some detail about why he is this way.  How he was told “You’re great” time and time again, but never believed it deep down.  How much pride can you take in a victory when everyone gets a ribbon?  How can you believe your parents and teachers when they tell you “good job” and you know you didn’t try very hard.  The underlying lack of honest self esteem, the fear that someday you will be discovered as not as good as everything thinks and tells you are is crippling. But in the end we must all make a choice about old wounds.  Do we let them shape us or do we honestly face them and let them be shaped by us into something we can learn from?  I am a firm believer in letting go of how you got here and dealing with what you have.

So what I see in the man above is what I see in so many.  Desperate fear covered up by bravado.  Temperance would say “I am content with being the person God created me to be.”  So the need to display and brag melts away.   When one really understands that everything we are and everything we have is a gift from God then it becomes rather silly to be immodest about ourselves.  When we look very closely and see that what we have and what we accomplish are so small compared to what God has for us and what Christ has given for us it is almost embarrassing to try to point it out.

St. Augustine  said  “.. temperance is love giving itself entirely to that which is loved ..”   I think men have such a great capacity for doing good.  They want to serve, to be committed to a cause and a passion.  When nothing better is given them they will compete for stuff.  That is a sad thing, because the pursuit of having the most is endless and empty.   When you have no horn to listen to but your own you end up blowing it a bit too loud.   

Caritas · My world

A New Creation in Christ

I love  the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. 

Each of the five decades is as follows:

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

“For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.”  (repeated 10 times)

The conclusion:

“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” (repeated 3 times)

 This is one of those prayers that no matter what I am worried about or how stressed I am I love.  I can cling to it.

A couple years ago my daughter, 11 years old at the time, had a sever seizure.   She has always been our most concerning child; she is severely autistic.  It was the first one she had ever had.  I was unprepared when she stepped off the bus from her summer-school class.  She was pale, dazed and disoriented.  She stumbled on her way into the house and laid on the couch.  I had been called and told that she was not feeling well, but this was beyond not well.  I immediately phoned my pediatrician who must have heard the concern in my voice.  She told me to take her to the hospital.

We got in the car, I gave my older daughter instructions to call her dad and let him know what was going on because… as luck would have it.. my cell phone was completely dead.  I drove away from the house, got about 7 blocks away when my daughter started convulsing in the back seat.  I pulled over at a little mini mart, ran in and called an ambulance.  When I returned to my child she was vomiting then began to shake harder.  Within minutes she stopped.  Her heart was racing, she was white, almost blue.  I was terrified.  I was begging God to make the ambulance arrive.  I was praying that He would hold her soul in his hand.  I feared I was watching my daughter die on the oily asphalt of a mini-mart while the sun shone down and strangers wondered what was going on.

The EMTs arrived in a flurry of tubes and blood pressure cuffs.  Her pulse was out the roof, she had to be intubated there.  Needles, tubes, the lightening-fast questions about when and how long,  the kind but totally no nonsense medical personnel rolling her into the strange mouth-like back of the ambulance — technological medical gadgetry all around and this little girl, with her blond curls all spilling across the white sheet of the gurney looking so small.  I hoped I was saying good bye for just a moment.  Just long enough to get to the hospital.  “Are you ok to drive?” one of the EMTs asked.  “Sure”, I said,  “I am absolutely fine.”

It was only then that I realized that my car keys were in one hand and my rosary in the other.  When I started the ignition I knew it was only a few minutes after three.  “..have mercy on us and on the whole world.” KBVM, the local Catholic Radio station was playing the divine mercy.  A particularly lovely sung version by Donna Cory Gibson.  

I drove carefully, listening to the words wash through me.  Absolute terror being brushed back into the corner of my mind.  Red light, green light.  God knows the suffering of a child, His child.  To watch with helpless sorrow as your child is taken away.  I have never felt closer to Mary.  How she  must have grieved to see her child bruised and beaten, broken for our sins.   The ambulance vanished into the traffic ahead carrying my poor little girl to the emergency room.  “For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world”  I pulled into the hospital parking lot just as the last decade was completing. 

I hoped my husband would be there, he was.  I prayed that my child would live.  She did.  No damage, no worse, no more seizures.   She was in intensive care for three days and in the hospital for five total.    “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”  It was Mercy that touched us that day.

Adversity is one way that God uses to bring us closer to Him.  This has always profoundly been the case with me.  Even if for a time I become angry or resentful when faced with some trial I find myself eventually to be the penitent daughter.   Inevitably caught in a realization of my own willfulness and pride and forced to return to God my father, most often with tears, to be embraced by the love that has always been.  It is truth, the thing most real, it is love that is eternal and knowledge of everything without questions.  Every repentance becomes a resurrection.  Each time we touch the divine we become new again.  In Christ we are perfected; in Him we become new creations.

Funny Questions

Why don’t you blog about politics?

I hate politics.  It isn’t just that the same bureaucrats are in power no matter who wins or loses.  It is the venom and bile that gets spewed around.   I am not a fan of either party and I find that Washington is filled with too many politicians and not enough statesmen.   The whole thing depresses me.  I feel that I would quickly get pulled down into the oily mud pit if I spent much time looking too deeply.

The other reality is that I really do not feel that I have much to say there.  My blog is “Simply Catholic” and I feel that it is slowly finding its own “voice”.  While there are political topics that are very relevant to Christians in general and/or Catholics in particular I really don’t feel the need to speak on them every week.  Others have much more to say and say it much better.

The final reason I don’t blog about politics is that not much really changes.  Week to week it is almost the same thing over and over and over.  I read a few blogs that really just highlight, yet again, that their heros are good and the other guys are EVIL, and they really need to tell you that again… oh and next week, tomorrow, later this afternoon… they will have something more to say on the whole good vrs evil paradigm.  They and their favorites of course being good while the other guys are evil.  (you did catch they “we” are good and “they” are bad — right?) 

Good vrs Evil is fine for movies and cartoons.  It makes for boring literature and untenable politics.   Politics must be the realm of compromise and if you make the mistake of painting everything with the black or the white brush you will miss the chance to be able to do something effective for your constituents who probably don’t agree much with the black and white part when you get right down to it and even those who do work in blacks and whites will not agree what items should be sloughed with which brush.

My world

Quick update

It has been nearly a week since I have written anything.  The changes of this week have been stressful and I just feel like I want to hide, stay in my room, sleep until things are normal again.  But to the good I have been really enjoying just spending some more time with my husband.  It is sweetness to be with him.  Though it has thrown my usual schedule into disarray.

I did manage the past few weeks to get the book purchases made for homeschooling.  This feels like such an accomplishment.