Showing posts from February, 2009


In October, I was on retreat at the Villa of Our Lady Retreat House in Mount Pocono, PA. It was run by Franciscans. Yes, we're a group of Dominicans at a Franciscan retreat house. It works for us.

Anyway, we were given pocket calendars. At the top of each month are little inspirational sayings. I like October's best. It reads, "Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it."

I've found this true. It also reminds me of my mother's motto. Whenever I asked her to help me with my homework and give me the theme of a book, she'd respond, "Life is what you make it." She was right. I used that theme for every book review I've ever had to write. It fits. It's sad too, because she had a hard life because that's how she responded to it.

"Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it." Poor Mom.

Pax Christi, USA

Pax Christi
Repent, Return, Restore
For the past few years, Pax Christi USA has prayed, fasted, and acted to end the war in Iraq as part of their Lent. With the change in the government administration, Pax Christ is adjusting to the new environment. First is to make sure President Obama follows through on his promise to end the war in Iraq. Hence, Pax Christi posts resources for prayer, study and action, each week during Lent, on its website. The theme is "Repent, Return, Restore."

Here is their Lenten prayer:

O God of peace:
Let our nation return to the ways of God,
the ways of justice and mercy,
so absent in the vengeance and greed
which drove the decision to invade and occupy Iraq.
Let us fast and repent of torture, violence, extraordinary rendition,
the employment of mercenary forces like Blackwater,
and let us return to our belief in the rule of law,
the practice of diplomacy, and the desire for peace.
Let us weep for all th…

A Window into Darfur

A Window into Dafur
or a
Study of Complacency

Ann’s retirement home was idyllic:
water view, temperate climate, close to nature.
Stories of deer crossing through and salt licks,
cohogging, bass fishing, trapping lobsters,
and a tale of predator and prey that will
always walk inside and around my head.

She tells of putting up a bird feeder
placed high on the large dining room window.
Clever arrangement, don't you think, to watch
and dine and let nature entertain?
Sparrows would gently land and peck at seeds.
First one, then two and more would come to feast.

A veritable convention! !
A union meeting of laborers B A. F. B. U.
Amalgamated Feather Bearers' Union.
Noisy, all clamoring for position.
It made her laugh, such raucous behavior.
No Roberts Rules ruled here, just pure chaos.

Soon, the sparrows that came often became
individuals with familiar markings.
There was Bossy Bertha and Tiny Tim...
you get the idea; they became pets.
It became a study of comparison
between us and them - skin and feathers.


Save Darfur

The Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur is an alliance of organizations working to stop the genocide in the Sudan. Darfur is a region in the country of Sudan. The national organization is (, based in Washington D.C. "The mission of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur is to stimulate, support and facilitate the efforts of faith-based and secular organizations and individuals to educate, focus attention and inspire action to help the people of Darfur. The chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur is Eric Cohen. Contact us via email at "

Get involvedYour personal engagement, activity, and support are critical to progress.

Pick this as your Lenten activity.

Walking Meditation

At the next T.O.P.S. meeting, I'm facilitating a program I'm calling Walking Meditation. I'm combining "walking" which is good for you physically, with "meditation," which is good for you mentally and spiritually.

Walking will help lower your blood pressure, help you burn calories, and build up your endurance. Meditation will lower your blood pressure, help you become more mindful and aware of yourself and surroundings. The result will be an overall good feeling.

First: This is not power walking and is done alone. This type of walking is calming not frantic. You comfortably walk for 5 minutes focusing on what you are doing: heel first, toe, back straight, hands swinging comfortably by your side. When your mind wanders, just refocus. Bring yourself back to "heel first..."

Second: Walk another five minutes chanting: "heel, toe, back straight and hands comfortable." I use the repetition of my Rosary sometimes. Again, when your min…

Litany of Dominican Saints

Everyone in the Dominican Family has been asked to pray the Litany from Feb. 22 to March 25.

The Litany of Dominican Saints and Blesseds
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the heavenly Father ... have mercy on us.God, the Son, Redeemer of the world ... have mercy on us.God, the Holy Spirit ... have mercy on us.Holy Trinity, one God ... have mercy on us.
Holy Mary ... pray for us.Holy Mother of God ... pray for us.
Holy Virgin of Virgins ... pray for us.
All you holy angels and archangels ... pray for us.
All you holy Patriarchs and Prophets ... pray for us.
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists ... pray for us.
All you holy martyrs ... pray for us.
All you holy virgins and widows ... pray for us.
All you holy men and women ... pray for us.
Saint Michael ... pray for us.
Saint Gabriel ... pray for us.
Saint Raphael ... pray for us.
Saint Joseph ... pray for us.
Saint John the Bap…


I'm reading Priestblock 25487. It's about the priests that were in Dachau. Many things in the book gave me pause. One of my favorites is the conversation Fr. Bernard had with one of his "capo's".

"Once I had a guard who had obviously received some education, and I managed to get the better of him completely. I explained to him how, if God has created man with free will, He has to leave a back door open for unbelief despite all His revelations of Himself. For if He showed Himself to us too clearly, He would force us to believe and thus, having given us freedom with one hand, take it away with the other.

Another time I did something most unwise. After we had spoken for a whole morning about religious matters, the capo said, 'I'm not changing my mind--I still don't believe in God!' Unable to resist the temptation, I responded, 'Why do you talk about Him so much then?'

That put an abrupt end to our theological conversations."

p. 115-6, P…

Apology to Francis Thompson

I sought Him, up all night and up all day.
I sought Him, all my sinful life.
I sought Him, through the academic maze,
professional cubicles and children's strife.

I looked for Him, I reached out, I touched.
Across the land, I held tight,
the gentle breeze of His approach
would calm my racing heart at night.

No hound of heaven; rather playful kitten,
scratching at the door--not to be ignored,
circling feet, rubbing, caressing, tail high.
Alack! You have always been my Adored.

The Pillars, Curtis, Robert, ed. , p. 35

Condemned Prisoner Edward Bell

Please pray for Edward Nathaniel Bell, who is scheduled to be executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia on February 19, for the shooting death of Winchester Police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook during a late evening police chase in 1999. It was an all white jury. You already know what I think about the jury system if you read my blog. ( See Jan. 26) It's not a jury of your peers. And all white? There is also a question of perjury regarding one of the witness.

And if he is not reprieved, please pray for the repose of his soul.

Look at

Party before Lent

One thing I love about being Catholic is its feast days. In fact, every Sunday is a feast day, in celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. Easter is the grand celebration of feasts.

Leading up to Easter is the period of fasting we call Lent. There is certainly a plethora of articles on Lent. Anything I can think of has already been said, I’m sure. So I’ll write about preparing for Lent.

Jeffrey Tucker in "Catholics Give the Best Parties," asserts that our liturgical calendar has created a certain sensibility that embodies Catholics to be "party animals." Since we have so many feast days and celebrations, Catholics naturally love to celebrate. Feasts like Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Feast of St. Dominic, etc. are occasions for celebration. First sacraments are occasions to celebrate. Jesus’ first miracle at Cana, was not a funeral, but a party–a wedding!

Perhaps your plans for Ash Wednesday, could include a party. …

Traditional Latin Mass

In "Jolly Old England," a dispute has risen in Father Tim Finigan's parish, Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. Those that resist the Traditional Latin Mass, and those that don't, have split his parish.
He has written a defense entitled, "Sacred and Great." He hopes to turn it into a book. But for now, you can read it on his site:
It really is a sensible and rational approach to TLM. I really don't see what all the hullabaloo is about. Where I grew up we had all kinds of Mass: High Mass, Low Mass, Lithuanian (It was a Lithuanian parish.) All Masses were in Latin but the homily was in Lithuanian. Then we had children's Masses and teen's. Now people complain because Fr. Tim has one Mass TLM.

Holy Mother Church attempts to reach everyone.

Poem to go with Idjit

And I realized this was the wrong place.

“One large cheese pizza”
“10 minutes”

Sticking in the snow, a flag waved “Open,”
and the man behind the counter said “Hello.”

I called for one large cheese pizza,
and he smiled and said fifteen minutes.

Mmm, I thought; on the phone he said 10,
and sat down to watch the twelve o’clock news.

He turned the oven on and walked to the back.
Soon he came carrying a white bumpy circle

and opened the oven door and gave the doughy
circle a shove that sent it well inside the hot box.

The news was the same old and I was bored.
I picked up a menu and stared at the cover.

My eyes grew wide reading the name on the front;

Our Cat

This is Dallas our cat. Actually, it's my son, Mark's cat, but we're stuck with her. Mark's girlfriend gave Dallas to him when he was in college and he hid it in his dorm room. Hence, her nurturing and personal space was hindered IMHO. After Mark graduated he dumped Dallas on us because his housemates didn't want her. (IOW, girlfriend dumped him.) She's ....I don't know how to describe her. My husband enjoys her ornery company. He says she has the most personality he has ever seen in a pet. Me? I think she's bi-polar. She's mean and nasty and she may accept your patting her one minute then turn on you and bite and scratch. We've learned to watch her tail. If it's snapping and whipping around; stay clear of her. The only time she purrs is in the morning, waiting to be fed. You can hardly hear it. Yet, she's a talker. She always meowing and we haven't figured out what she wants. Although her growls make it very clear th…

AFSCME Council 93 Local 1298

We had a Union meeting tonight. The purpose was to discuss the anticipated lay-offs. Some people are quite creative with suggested proposals. I am impressed. But not only am I impressed with their creative solutions, but more impressed for the concern my brothers and sisters have for each other.

Some are willing to go without raises to save another's job: or work a day without pay. If we all give a little, maybe we can help each other, was the idea.

Aquinas is right. Man is basically good.

Florida Bishops Ask to Close Death Row

Florida Bishops Asking to Close Down Death Row In Appeal for Life of Executed Tampa Man By Karna SwansonTALLAHASSEE, Florida, FEB. 11, 2009 ( The bishops of Florida have asked Governor Charlie Crist to "set a new standard of decency" for the state by doing away with the death penalty.

In a letter sent last week by the state's episcopal conference, the bishops also appealed for the life of Wayne Tompkins, who was executed by lethal injection today in Tampa. Tompkins was found guilty of murdering 15-year-old Lisa DeCarr, who was his girlfriend's daughter."Set a new standard of decency for the State of Florida," the bishops appealed, "by abandoning executions and commuting death row sentences to life in prison without possibility of parole."

Sheila Hopkins, associate director for Social Concerns/Respect Life of the Florida episcopal conference, explained to ZENIT that the position of the bishops is not to say, "We should let people go …


The pizza police are after me.

I was planning on visiting a friend for lunch. And I was bringing pizza. Before I left, I called the pizza place and ordered.

When I arrived at the pizza place, I told the man that I had called in an order. He said what was it. I told him and he said "That'll take 15 minutes."

Mmmm, I thought. On the phone he said 10 minutes. The place must get stiffed a lot so they don't really take orders on the phone unless they know you. They wait until you get here and start to make it.

While waiting, I looked around for a menu. The one I used to order had coupons in it that expired 12/30/08. I did find the menus, but guess what. The name on the menu was different from the name on the one at home. :-/

I was at the wrong pizza place. :-/

Oh well.

Meanwhile the pizza joint I had ordered from, telehoned hubby and asked where I was. Dick said I was on my way.

Half an hour later they called again. Dick went and got the pizza.

Guess what we're having for supp…

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The odd title to this posting is the title of a book. That's the book we read, for book club. We met at at Betty Villiard's last night. Not many of us showed up. It was good, though; only four of us, and for a change we all read the book--even Betty. Betty only reads "far out" stuff. She likes science fiction, which I abhor. I consider that little science and poor fiction. But she's a retired biology and physics teacher, and I'm English/history. Go figure.

The title the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society needs explanation. You see the setting takes places on the island of Guernsey, which is off the coast of England. During WWII the island was occupied by the Germans; this fact adds immensely to the story. BTW, the book's format is letters. That's correct--LETTERS! The book is a collection of letters written during the occupation of Guernsey and after. Shortages of food were prevalent during the German occupation; which is why the Society use…

Show me the Money

Jay Pateakos, of The Herald News, writes about Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson wanting to charge prison inmates for medical services.
Where I'd like to know, are they suppose to get the money? They can't work if they're behind bars. Hodgson says "from their canteen money." Canteen money is the money relatives and friends give them to buy snacks from vending machines. They're like vending machines, anywhere. So you get the idea what kind of stuff is in the machine.
Some prisoners do have jobs inside the prison and for this they get a little more than a dollar. That's hardly enough to pay medical expenses.
Making families pay won't work, especially if the bread winner is behind bars.
I suppose some inmates do have money, perhaps even accruing interest, waiting for them to be released. They could pay. But I forsee a class system in the prison: the haves v. the have nots. The tension, fights, and poor climate would be dangerous for staff. Also, who&#…

Chapel or Battle Room

Chapter today was lively. We were discussing whether of not Jesus knew He would be resurrected. Dr. McCoy said that some theologians don't think Jesus knew He was going to be resurrected. That He was just accepting the Will of God in going through with His crucifixion.

I immediately jumped all over that presumption. Scripture reference show that He knew--destroy this temple and in 3 days....the angel in the tomb told the women that He did what He told you.... Dr. McCoy said that those references were applied after the fact. That scholars looked for places where they could apply references.

We went round and round about it.

Meanwhile, my eyes noticed a sign that I had never noticed before: "Chapel or Battle Room." This Lay Dominican Chapter is in a prison. So I surmised that the Battle Room was the place where the correctional officers would assemble to group, arm , plan...what to do in case of an emergency. But in the chapel? Why that room and not another?

I als…

Fr. Bob's Reception

It did not start well. Hubby this morning was the first to leave. When he moved my car out of the way, he put my keys in his pocket, got into his truck and drove off.

I was unaware of this. At 11:30, I was leaving to go to Fr. Bob's reception, with some of the food I baked for it, and looked around for my keys. It didn't take me long to figure out why I couldn't find them. No use praying to St. Anthony; I knew where they were.

Hubby was at a meeting, so his cell phone was off. I tried looking for a second set, but not too much because I vaguely remember Dick saying to be careful of the keys because we only had one set.

Oh well. I didn't have to panic because I was only bringing food and I was sure they had enough. It wasn't like I was in charge of setting up and had the keys to open the door.

It turned out well, because Dick came home at 1:00 PM. The reception was from noon to 3:00. Fr. Bob was celebrating his last Mass for the parish at 4:00 PM.

The place wa…


Why do I write poetry? I like words, I like the way they come together. I write for fun. It's part of living. My world is better with my writing what I feel, experience, see, and share. I am proud of the fact that no one makes money at it. Doesn't that prove that people write poetry because they love to do it? That's what I said. I love it.

What do I hope for my poetry? Just to have made one person see the world differently.

That's all.

Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian Kolbe is the Franciscan priest who gave his life for another--like Jesus. One day in Auschwitz, three prisoners escaped from the concentration camp. In retaliation, the Gestapo said they would kill ten prisoners in return. When the ten were lined up, Father Kolbe suddenly stepped forward and pointed at one of the men, who was married and had children, and took his place. Kolbe was executed. He gave his life for another.

In the Heart of the Sea, by Nathaniel Philbrick, the entire group, who are Quakers, see the only way to survive is for one of them to give his life for the others. How and why is for you to read, yourself. It is enough to know that they drew straws. The one with the shortest straw had to die. They all agreed to do this. One gave his life for others.

Personally, I know a man in prison who is a combination of these two situations. He was in a shootout where a cop was killed. No one could tell who was the one who killed the cop. But it definitely had to be one o…

TV's in Prison

The Boston Herald had a story, "BIG SCREENS IN THE BIG HOUSE!" The subhead: "CONS SCORE NEW TVs FOR SUPER BOWL ... HOW 'BOUT YOU?" By Jessica Van Sack. It turns out that the state Department of Correction spent nearly $77,000 on 117 flat-screen televisions with "canteen money," which she describes thusly:
Canteen money is raised by prisoner purchases of items such as toiletries and food, the proceeds of which go into a fund to benefit inmates. At any given time the account can contain up to $800,000, [DOC spokeswoman Diane] Wiffin said. Purchases of more than $1,000 require approval by top DOC officials.

The TVs were bought with the prisoners' own money, not tax payer's money. Where do they get it? Some inmates work and get paid a dollar something an hour. Some are given money by friends and relatives.

Sorry, I can't get outraged like the Herald wants me to. I have a big flat screen TV. Mostly everyone I know does, too. And those tha…

The Alternate Jurors

Freezing and icy day
in winter. The jurors
were deliberating. Two
separated in boredom.

Another old room. No
books, no magagazines, no
newspapters, no blackberries,
no clock, no conversation.

Two with nothing in common.
One old, one young. One city,
one country, one male, one
female, one black, one white.

Deliberating so long.
Nothing to do. Nap
on and off. What's
taking so long?

Freezing and icy day
in winter. The jurors
were deliberating. Two
separated in boredom.