Saturday, February 28, 2009

Attitude

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.

Friday, February 27, 2009

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." http://www.paxchristiusa.org/news_Events_more.asp?id=1507

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 those who have suffered on both sides,
all those lives irrevocably broken by the violence of this war.
And let us mourn the dead— our nearly 5,000 soldiers
and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis,
mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and children.
Let our hearts break and our souls wail for all those who have been lost to us.
And finally, dear God, let our troops return home
and let us return Iraq to its people,
supporting them in rebuilding and reconstructing their devastated nation.
During this season of Lent, this will be our prayer,
supported and deepened by our fasting and action:
No more war in Iraq. No war! Never again! Amen.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

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.

But in the Garden of Eden, roamed
an insidious serpent. Ann’s didn’t crawl
on its belly, rather it flew from high
and swooped down swiftly snatching smaller prey.
Hawks! Yes, hawks invaded Ann's domain.
A veritable feast for predators.

Imagine the dining table that night-
conversation stopped with a thud.
A thud on the window and a red
feathered smear dripping down into steamers and broth.
What the hell? Yes, what the hell. What the hell!
The sparrows were gone, scattered in a shriek. .


But sparrows have short memories and came back.
Only to be snatched up in grasping talons
and smashed against the idyllic opening.
The water view, the temperate clime so close
to nature, too close, too much nature.
Naiveté lured the innocent.

What started with such promise, a good idea;
even a mutual beneficial deal:
people provide food, and birds entertain,
ended with a twist from Mother Nature.
A cruel lesson on human interference:
an indictment of indifference.

That’s just like the janjaweed,*
who swooped down on the farmers,
killing, raping, looting a path;
shocking complacent diners who
are repulsed, but turn a blind eye and
yawn indifference and shrug helplessly.

After all, only the strong survive.
Ethnic cleansing is an exaggeration.
Genocide’s not possible, states the UN.
What can one do against hawks, or
devils riding on horseback, leaving
trails of dripping blood and feathers?


*janjaweed—an Arabic colloquialism of the words, “devil” and “horse”.

published in The Preacher Poets, pp. 12-14, 2008, Dominicus Books

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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 (SaveDarfur.org), 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 savedarfurma@gmail.com. "


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

Pick this as your Lenten activity.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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 mind wanders, just start over.

Third: While walking notice your surroundings. Turn around and walk back seeing the trees, lawns, traffic, people, etc. Pray for the people you pass, the people in cars, or the houses you pass.

Fourth: As you approach home, gradually slow to a stop this last five minutes. Once stopped, take a deep breath and notice how you feel. "Good."

You've just walked for 20 minutes. If that's not a mile, then it's close enough.

Monday, February 23, 2009

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 Baptist ... pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalen ... pray for us.
Holy Father Augustine ... pray for us.
Holy Father Francis ... pray for us.
Blessed Jane of Aza ... pray for us.
Blessed Reginald ... pray for us.
Holy Father Dominic ... pray for us.
Holy Father Dominic ... pray for us.
Blessed Bertrand ... pray for us.
Blessed Mannes ... pray for us.
Blessed Diana ... pray for us.
Blessed Jordan of Saxony ... pray for us.
Blessed John of Salerno ... pray for us.
Blessed William and Companions ... pray for us.
Blessed Ceslaus ... pray for us.
Blessed Isnard ... pray for us.
Blessed Guala ... pray for us.
Blessed Peter Gonzalez ... pray for us.
Saint Zdislava ... pray for us.
Saint Peter of Verona ... pray for us.
Blessed Nicholas ... pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth ... pray for us.
Blessed Gonsalvo ... pray for us.
Blessed Sadoc and Companions ... pray for us.
Blessed Giles ... pray for us.
Saint Margaret of Hungary ... pray for us.
Blessed Batholomew of Vincenza ... pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas ... pray for us.
Saint Raymond of Penyafort ... pray for us.
Blessed Innocent V ... pray for us.
Blessed Albert of Bergamo ... pray for us.
Saint Albert the Great ... pray for us.
Blessed John of Vercelli ... pray for us.
Blessed Ambrose ... pray for us.
Blessed Cecilia ... pray for us.
Blessed Benvenuta ... pray for us.
Blessed James of Varazze ... pray for us.
Blessed James of Bevagna ... pray for us.
Blessed Benedict XI ... pray for us.
Blessed Jane of Orvieto ... pray for us.
Blessed Jordan of Pisa ... pray for us.
Saint Emily ... pray for us.
Blessed James Salomonio ... pray for us.
Saint Agnes of Montepulciano ... pray for us.
Blessed Simon ... pray for us.
Blessed Margaret of Castello ... pray for us.
Blessed Augustine Kazotic ... pray for us.
Blessed James Benefatti ... pray for us.
Blessed Imelda ... pray for us.
Blessed Dalmatius ... pray for us.
Blessed Margaret Ebner ... pray for us.
Blessed Villana ... pray for us.
Blessed Peter Ruffia ... pray for us.
Blessed Henry ... pray for us.
Blessed Sibyllina ... pray for us.
Blessed Anthony of Pavonio ... pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Siena ... pray for us.
Blessed Marcolino ... pray for us.
Blessed Raymond of Capua ... pray for us.
Blessed Andrew Franchi ... pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer ... pray for us.
Blessed Clara ... pray for us.
Blessed John Dominic ... pray for us.
Blessed Alvarez ... pray for us.
Blessed Maria ... pray for us.
Blessed Peter of Castello ... pray for us.
Blessed Andrew Abellon ... pray for us.
Blessed Stephen ... pray for us.
Blessed Peter Geremia ... pray for us.
Blessed John of Fiesole ... pray for us.
Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta ... pray for us.
Blessed Anthony della Chiesa ... pray for us.
Saint Antoninus ... pray for us.
Blessed Anthony Neyrot ... pray for us.
Blessed Margaret of Savoy ... pray for us.
Blessed Bartholomew of Cerverio ... pray for us.
Blessed Matthew ... pray for us.
Blessed Constantius ... pray for us.
Blessed Christopher ... pray for us.
Blessed Damian ... pray for us.
Blessed Andrew of Peschiera ... pray for us.
Blessed Bernard ... pray for us.
Blessed Jane of Portugal ... pray for us.
Blessed James of Ulm ... pray for us.
Blessed Augustine of Biella ... pray for us.
Blessed Aimo ... pray for us.
Blessed Sebastian ... pray for us.
Blessed Mark ... pray for us.
Blessed Columba ... pray for us.
Blessed Magdalen ... pray for us.
Blessed Osanna of Mantua ... pray for us.
Blessed John Liccio ... pray for us.
Blessed Dominic Spadafora ... pray for us.
Blessed Stephana ... pray for us.
Saint Adrian ... pray for us.
Blessed Lucy ... pray for us.
Blessed Catherine Racconigi ... pray for us.
Blessed Osanna of Kotor ... pray for us.
Saint Pius V ... pray for us.
Saint John of Cologne ... pray for us.
Blessed Maria Bartholomew ... pray for us.
Saint Louis Bertrand ... pray for us.
Saint Catherine de Ricci ... pray for us.
Blessed Robert ... pray for us.
Blessed Alphonsus and Companions ... pray for us.
Saint Rose ... pray for us.
Saint Dominic Ibanez and Companions ... pray for us.
Blessed Agnes of Jesus ... pray for us.
Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions ... pray for us.
Saint Martin de Porres ... pray for us.
Blessed Peter Higgins ... pray for us.
Blessed Francis de Capillas ... pray for us.
Saint Juan Macias ... pray for us.
Blessed Terence ... pray for us.
Blessed Ann of the Angels ... pray for us.
Blessed Francis de Posadas ... pray for us.
Saint Louis de Montfort ... pray for us.
Blessed Francis Gil ... pray for us.
Saint Matteo ... pray for us.
Blessed Peter Sanz and Companions ... pray for us.
Saint Vicent Liem ... pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth Castaneda ... pray for us.
Blessed Marie ... pray for us.
Blessed George ... pray for us.
Blessed Catherine Jarrige ... pray for us.
Saint Ignatius and Companions ... pray for us.
Saint Dominic An-Kham and Companions ... pray for us.
Saint Joseph Khang and Companions ... pray for us.
Blessed Francis Coll ... pray for us.
Blessed Hyacinthe Cormier ... pray for us.
Blessed Pier Giorgio ... pray for us.
Blessed Bartolo ... pray for us.
Blessed Michael Czartoryski ... pray for us.
Blessed Julia Rodzinska ... pray for us.
All holy Dominican brothers and sisters ... pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ... spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ... graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ... have mercy on us.

Let us pray...God, source of all holiness, you have enriched your Church with many gifts in the saints of the Order of Preachers. By following the example of our brothers and sisters, may we come to enjoy their company forever in the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ,Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Faith

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, Priestblock 25487, Bernard Jean, Zaccheus Press, 2008

Why is the door the Good Lord leaves open for me the barn door?

Friday, February 20, 2009

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 www.lulu.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

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 http://www.clemency4eddie.net/

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

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 http://crisismagazine.com/julaug2001/feature2.htm 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. That’s right. Not quite a Mardi Gras celebration a la New Orleans style: Zydeco, masks, or other "gras" antics, http://www.mardigrasday.com/mardigras/party.php but you could Dominicanize it. You could make your celebration half contemplative, and half active–half spiritual, and half party. http://www.catholicculture.org/lit/activities/view.cfm?id=572

You would need to start before Ash Wednesday. Three weeks prior to Ash Wednesday, as explained by theologian Michael Foley of Boston College, on the day before Septuagesima Sunday http://holytrinitygerman.org/septlent.html a ceremony that put the praise "Alleluia," to sleep until Easter, was held. That ceremony, is known as the "Depositio of the Alleluia", and marked the 70 days prior to Easter, or three weeks prior to Ash Wednesday. This was a period of mild fasting leading up to the serious fasting of Lent.

Meat and dairy intake would be curtailed until completely eliminated from your diet. Starting on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday you would become completely vegetarian. This week before Ash Wednesday is Carnival, from carne levarium. The last three days before Ash Wednesday was reserved for examination of your conscience, confession and penance, known as Shrovetide, from the English word to shrive, or to have your sins absolved. http://newadvent.org/cathen/13763a.htm

You don't have to have a celebration on exactly 70 days before Easter, or 7 days before Ash Wednesday. Since we’re Dominicanizing Mardi Gras, we can be democratic. You can vote what to do. Everyone can receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, have a Penance Service, have your own "Depositio of the Alleluia," hand out beads (Rosary, not Jerry Springer), take up a collection for the poor (real coin, not doubloons), and have a King Cake (Jesus, not a cupie doll).

One of the reasons for Mardi Gras was to use up all the dairy and sweets you had, because you wouldn’t be using it during Lent. Party on!

Monday, February 16, 2009

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: http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com
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.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

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 that she's displeased!
Geesh! We have to tip toe around the cat! Who's the master?

Friday, February 13, 2009

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.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

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 (Zenit.org).- 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 free, but that they are being punished by being put in prison for the rest of their life." Hopkins also noted that there have been several cases of death row inmates who have been found innocent. "We have to ask ourselves if we are killing an innocent person. That would be a terrible tragedy."The letter of the bishops' conference, however, did not affirm Tompkin's innocence, but rather asked that Crist "replace the violence of death by execution with life long imprisonment in the penal system as a way to protect society and ensure punishment for offenders." "We pray for healing for DeCarr’s family and friends who have suffered the pain of losing their loved one. No punishment, no matter how severe, can ever erase the grief caused by her wrongful death," the prelates added. "You have the singular ability to change the course of action to be taken by the state in death penalty cases," the letter continued. "In pursuing justice for victims of violent crimes, the state must not be blinded by politics that diminish human dignity and the sacredness of all life, including that of convicted criminals. "Florida should join the ranks of other states which have abandoned executions because they have not been a deterrent to crime and have raised serious concerns about fairness of sentencing in the justice system."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Idjit

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 supper.

Idjit! :-/

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 used potato peels for pie crust, instead of pie crust made from flour, eggs, etc.

The Guernsey Literary Society started as a "front" to offer support for the islanders, but developed into a bona fide literary society.

What am I telling you the story for? Read it. You'll love it. And the little that I've told you is not the major theme, anyway. It's a love story. You'll love every single character in the book. Even Betty, who doesn't read normal books (IMHO) loved this book. She read it TWICE and before we left, last night, she said that we had whetted her appetite to read it AGAIN!

Monday, February 9, 2009

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's going to administer these accounts--more work---more employees? This idea is suppose to save and make money.
Yeah........right.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

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 also thought, how apropos! Does not the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass do battle against Satan?

I asked my "cloistered brother" what the sign, "Chapel or Battle Room," meant.

He just responded that if you go through those doors, you can go upstairs to the Chapel, or downstairs to the Battle Room.

"Oh." :-/

Saturday, February 7, 2009

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 was mobbed. Fr. Bob's family was there. His brother, who is a parishioner was the funniest. He told the joke of when Fr. Bob was an altar boy, and he use to try to catch his eye to make his snicker or smirk, or even laugh. Then, he said, to see him up there as a priest...well... luckily, he's matured.

Now, I have to bring food for St. Mary's Women's Club bake sale, and go to Mass, and then to Our Lady of Lourdes Healing Novena, where it's my turn to lead the Rosary.

Lord be with me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poetry

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.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

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 of them. My friend volunteered to say that he did it because he wasn't married and had no one depending on him. Not exactly a hero because he was doing wrong in the first place. Not a saint, that's for sure. He didn't give his life, like the Quakers in the Heart of the Sea. But in the code of the family, he did the honorable thing. Omerta.

Monday, February 2, 2009

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 that I know that don't, do so by choice. Big deal.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

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.