Monday, February 28, 2011

Married Saints Three

I'm still on my married saints kick.  First was St. Anna-Maria and Domenico Taigi, then, Venerable Pierre and Juliette Toussaint, now I'm looking at Bl. Frederic Antoine and Amelie Ozanam.

Frederic Ozanam is known as the founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  Didn't you just assume that St. Vincent started that foundation?

He was born just after the reign of Napoleon.  In fact, his father served in Napoleon's army.  The year was 1813.  The Church had been in tough shape in France, still not recovered from being banned during the revolution. In fact, Frederic Ozanam toyed with the idea of joining Lacordaire in restoring Catholicism in France.  But he felt he was called to be married and have a family.

He was a lawyer, but it seemed he did that to please his father.  And when his father died, he continued because he needed to support his mother.  However, he was a gifted writer and wrote well enough to be awarded the Chair of Foreign Literature at  the Sorbonne.

All during his schooling and work, his hobby was religion.  When he was in college, he was appalled at the religious hostility he encountered at the university.  It seems from then on, his life's task was that of a Catholic apologist.    He was surrounded by materialism, rationalism, irreligion and anti-clericalism.  (What else is new?)

He found a few students who felt like himself.  They grouped together and formed a discussion group called a "Society of Good Studies" and formed it into a "Conference of History" which quickly became a forum for large and lively discussions.  Soon their attention turned to the social teachings of the Gospel.  At one of their meetings, someone expressed the thought that although at one time the Church was a source of good, it no longer was.  As a response, some of the group decided to go help the poor.

After this, the "Conference of History" became the "Conference of Charity" which eventually was named the "Conference of St. Vincent de Paul.  Now, instead of engaging in mere discussion and debate, they engaged in practical works of charity.  This small group grew exponentially to this day.

During this time, Frederic married Amelie Soulacroix.  They had one daughter, Marie.  It was a happy marriage and family life.  Together they lived the life of good Catholics and the beatitudes.  In 1851 Frederic contracted tuberculosis and died in 1853.

His entire life was an example of the lay apostolate in family, religion, social, and intellectual life.  It still is, which is why Pope John Paul II beatified Frederic Ozanam in 1997.

h/t Father Kevin Kraft, O.P.
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another Cardinal Sean Story

Another parable that further illustrates the demands of the Great Commandment which contains the whole Law and the prophets.  The Japanese tell the story of a man who lived in a beautiful home on the top of a mountain.  Each day he took a walk in his garden and looked out at the sea below.  One day he spotted a tsunami on the horizon coming toward the shore and then he noticed a group of his neighbors having a picnic on the beach.  The man was anxious to warn his neighbors, he shouted and waved his arms.  But they were too far off, they could not hear nor see him.  So the man set fire to his house.  When the neighbors on the beach saw the smoke and flames some said let us climb the mountain to help our friend save his home.  Others said:  ‘That mountain is so high and we’re having such fun, you go.’  Well, the ones who climbed the mountain to save their neighbor’s home were themselves saved.  Those who remained on the beach having fun perished when the tidal wave hit the shore.

The Gospel of Christ is about love, sacrifice, forgiveness, hope and salvation.  The burning house on the top of the hill is the Cross, and it is the suffering of all those children who experienced abuse.  Climbing the mountain, we are not doing God a favor, we are saving our souls.

h/t to Cardinal Sean's Blog

Forgive Us Our Failings

What do you do when the Mass is said for the wrong person?  Just wondering.

This morning at Mass, I was the Lector.  In the prayers for the faithful, I said that in this Mass we remember in a special way, Jane and John Doe.  Afterwards, when the Mass celebrant left his chair, he didn't go to the altar, he went where my announcements were on the ambo.

   "Oh no."  I thought.  "I must have messed up."

   Then during the Eucharistic prayer there's a part where the priest says "Forgive us our failings..."  I would have sworn that the priest looked at me when he said that.

   Afterwards, I checked what I read.  Whew!  I had read exactly what I was given.  But our priest also sticks a "post-it" note on the altar with the name of the person the Mass is being said for.  That was a different name.  But that's not my "failing."  I was correct in reading what I was told to read.

   Maybe all the names and Masses were messed up.  Just wondering how I'd feel if I went to Mass for my relative and they got the name wrong.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cardinal Sean Story

The Cardinal Archbishop, Sean O'Malley of Boston, MA always has a story to tell.  The Irish are great story tellers.  And Cardinal Sean is one of the best.  BTW, this story is part of his homily during Mass for his Apostolic Visitation for the Diocese of Dublin.
The O’Malleys hail from County Mayo, a part of Ireland that was hallowed by St. Patrick’s ministry there.  They tell the story of a dramatic conversion of an Irish chieftain by the name of Ossian.  A huge crowd assembled in a field to witness his baptism.  St. Patrick arrived in his Bishop’s vestments with his miter and staff.  St. Patrick stuck his staff in the ground and began to preach a long sermon on the Catholic faith.  The people noted that Ossian, who was standing directly in front of St. Patrick, began to sweat profusely, he grew pale and fainted dead away.  Some people rushed over to help and they discovered to everyone’s horror that St. Patrick had driven his staff through the man’s foot.  When they were able to revive Ossian they said to him, ‘Why did you not say something?’  And the fierce warrior replied, ‘I thought that it was part of the ceremony.’
The warrior did not understand too much about liturgy and rituals, but he did understand that discipleship is often difficult.  It means carrying the Cross.  It is a costly grace and often we fall down on the job.
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The Purpose of the Church

St. Joseph's, Spencer, MA

Have you ever noticed how everyone kind of fits God into their own personality?    "Tight  ass" people have a "tight ass" God, and "laid back" people have a "laid back" God.  MMMmmmmm.   God is God.  But we each experience God differently.  God is constant Himself; it's us.  I guess it's because we all have different personalities, so we each experience God differently.

Think back as a child, and I suppose as an adult, who first becomes aware of God.  The God we envisioned was One we could love.  How we see God changes through the years as we change and come to know the one true God more and more as God is, and not as each one experiences God--at least we're aware of the possibility that our religious experience has grown.  

Ultimately, God can never be fully understood.  What we think and say about God tells us more about ourselves, than God.  (Yikes!  I'm a kaleidoscope!)  

Wait a minute.  Wait just one minute!

Don't we know of God's existence and presence only by what God has chosen to reveal to us?

So it's up to God.   ?????

I think I need a spiritual director.

This is where I see the purpose of the Church.  The Church is our only assurance of a universal idea of God.  And even if the Church only ensures an orthodoxy of concepts, it's at least something other than my own crazy ideas.  The Church reveals our God.  But the living God who is experienced is in a sense still my God.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Last night, we were looking at one of Hafiz' poems, Everywhere.

Through the streets

Throwing rocks through windows,
Using my own head to ring
Great bells,

Pulling out my hair,
Tearing off my clothes,

Tying everything I own
To a stick,
And setting it on

What else can Hafiz do tonight
To celebrate the madness,
The joy,

Of seeing God

I was of the opinion that the imagery isn't true.  The images seem angry.  Running--not dancing or skipping.  Screaming--not laughing or singing.  Throwing rocks!!!!!!  Banging your head!!!!  Pulling our hair!!!!  Why on earth are you taking your clothes off???  Setting things on fire!  These aren't images of celebration worthy of God.

Then the opposite opinion was expressed.  These images could have been written to celebrate the madness, the joy, of the Red Sox winning the pennant.  In fact, it did happen.  Cars were overturned, windows smashed, cars set on fire to celebrate the winning achievement.  The joy and happiness of a game would be nothing compared to a celebration of being graced by God.

Mmmmm.    Maybe it's a male/female difference?  Just a personal difference?  

Then someone pointed out that the last two stanzas are a surprise.  You don't know what he's doing until then.    So the imagery is deliberate, for the shock effect of the last two lines.

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Say a Prayer for Father Thomas.

    A friend of mine has requested prayers for a priest who is in a terrible predicament.  Read the letter and please pray.

One of my mother-in-law's friends is an Indian (east Indian, not American Indian) priest, Fr. Thomas.  She met him when he was in Chicago studying at Loyola, and then he was the rector of a minor seminary until last year. Over Holy Week, one of his students committed suicide.  The father of the student claimed that the seminary authorities had forced him to convert, which is illegal under Indian law, and Fr. Thomas was arrested for a couple of weeks.  Currently, he has been released, but he is still in need of prayers as his bishop has placed him in "exile" at an assignment in a small village with something like six Catholics because the case is still pending.  Apparently the diocesan lawyer doesn't like him, so there is little-to-nothing being done about the case, even though the father has since admitted that he was bribed by the fundamentalist anti-Christian groups to lie about the fact that his son had been baptized since infancy (even though they were registered officially as Hindu, because there is more state-welfare available if you are Hindu).  My mother-in-law went to visit Fr. Thomas last month, and she ...  wrote about visiting him in jail.  Maybe you can ask your Chapter to remember Fr. Thomas in their prayers.

And I'm asking everyone to pray for the predicament Father Thomas is in.  Let us pray for trust in the Lord.

Lector's Notes

This Sunday's reading was made for me.  I don't mean the meaning, necessarily, I mean the fun I'm going to have proclaiming it.  It just screams out drama.  Drama queens can have a field day.  And it's nice and short, so the dramatic impact isn't diluted with distractions.  Budda Bing, Budda Bang.

Look at Isaiah 49: 14-15.  Two lines--that's all.  And they need to be proclaimed with "jazz," because they haven't been heard from the altar in twenty years.  The Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A, occurs this year for the first time since 1990 because Easter is the last Sunday in April and counting backward from that date until Ash Wednesday leaves eight Sundays between the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Lent.

The instructions in my Lector Workbook, (Ehle, Mary A. and Margaret Nutting Ralph, Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word) direct the Lector to take her time.  Speak slowly with warmth and affection.  Pause between the lines.  Make eye contact.

Is there an academy award for Lectors?  Of course not, I know it's not about me.  It's just that I love God and could talk about Him all day, because I think about Him all the time.  When I have the opportunity to tell people about Him, I take it.  And it's God's inspired words.  What more could a lover want?

I have to show the love that God has for His people.  Tenderness must ooze from my speech.  We have an intimate relationship with God, so that has to come across.

If I can't do this, then this Reading's connection to the Gospel isn't grasped.  God loves us more than a mother does her child.  God's love is unconditional.  (Read that last sentence again.)  And I'll repeat it again, God's love is unconditional.  We humans may say we love unconditionally, but I think it's humanly impossible.  But not for God.

And because He loves us so completely, He will provide us with even more than we need.

St. Catherine of Siena in Letter T316 says, "He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely." 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mary Magdalene

My husband is the best husband and father that I know.  He's a wonderful human being, but he's not religious.  I don't know why.  He just isn't interested.  He spaces out whenever anyone starts talking about anything religious.  But he really is a dear--just clueless.

Case in point.  We were at a meeting.  As an ice breaker, everyone was asked to play 20 questions.  Each person had a wide strip of masking tape stuck to their back with the name of a person, place, or thing.  Everyone can read what it said, but of course the person wearing it, couldn't.  We had to guess what our backs read by going around and asking people questions.  We could only ask 20 questions.  We could only answer "yes," or "no."

As luck would have it, Hubby's back read, "Mary Magdalene."  I know he will never guess this.  Never.  I also know that he's going to bother me to help him.

So I hide from him.  I keep away from him.

But he's clever.  He finds me when he's asked 18 questions.  He starts asking me questions that require more than "yes" or "no."  He knows how to get to me.  He knows what buttons to push.

All he's managed to ascertain is that its the name of a woman.

He's such a pain in the neck that I give him a hint because I know it won't help him.  I tell him that she's in the Bible.

He asks, "Is it Jezebel?"        "No."

"Is it Salome?"            "No."

"Is it Delilah?"            "No."

Then he proceeds to list any historical prostitute, he can think of: "CleopatraMataHariMadamPompador...."

"No No No No No No No!"     I say in exasperation.  "New Testament New Testament NEW TESTAMENT!"

"Well."   He says all offended.
 It's about time they wrote a new one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

St. Martin of Tours Church

This is the church where I went to Mass, while on vacation at Sint Maarten.  The island was named after St. Martin of Tours because it was his feast day when Columbus sailed by and saw the island for the first time.  The church is named St. Martin of Tours.  The Divine Word Missionaries serve there.  So you can imagine my surprise when I sat in a pew and looked up and saw a tall Dominican.  I was sitting under a statue of St. Dominic.

The smile that exploded across my face, made hubby roll his eyes.  :-D

If that weren't blessing enough, I looked across the aisle, and there on that wall pedestal was another Dominican--St. Rose of Lima.

I have no idea why Dominicans were honored in this church, named after St. Martin of Tours, on an island that was French/Dutch, and ministered by Divine Word Missionaries.  I can't find a history of the church and I emailed them and have received no response.  Also puzzling, is a statue representation outside the church.  There is a representation of the apparition in La Salette France.  Why here?

On the left is the entire set up.

On the right is a close up Mary sitting and weeping. Mary is weeping because people are defaming the Sabbath.  You can read more about the apparition of La Salette at this site

There's an Order of priests and Lay People that are dedicated to spreading Mary's message.  They are known as La Salettes or the Missionaries of La Salette.  I know this because nearby my home town, in Attleboro, Massachusetts, is a shrine called La Salette Shrine.  It is famous for its Christmas lights.  I've been there many times, not only at Christmas, but for Jon Polce concerts, (he's there once a month), retreats, their religious store, other events, and just to walk around their beautiful grounds.  They also have daily Confession, which is good to know.  I know La Salette Shrine very well, which is why I immediately recognized the statue at St. Martin of Tours Church, in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands West Indies, as Our Lady of La Salette.

It was good to know that this vacation was in line with God's will.  I received so-o-o many blessings.  Deo Gratias.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Disaster in the Kitchen

What a mess!  Since we're having company for dinner, tonight, I was preparing dessert.  I thought I'd make chocolate fudge brownies.  It's a package mix.  I followed directions.  Put it in the oven and started to clean up and saw a package.  It was the chocolate fudge.  I forgot to put in the chocolate fudge!  Too late, the brownies were already baking in the oven.  :-(

So I thought I'd make a fancy jello mold.  Eveyone's on a diet, anyway.  How can anyone screw up jello?

It ain't easy; but I managed to do it.

I made the jello in a large measuring cup pitcher.  As I proceeded to pour the jello into the mold--the bottom fell out!  See picture.

Do you know how sticky jello is?   Ick.

Hubby was baking the turkey breast and preparing everything else.  I could only be trusted to peel vegetables and set the table.

It was delicious, in spite of myself.

Congratulations to the Xaverian Missionaries

Hey, I just read this from Zenit.  I've been out of it for a couple of weeks (due to the death of my brother, a minor injury, and hubby whisking me away from it all.)
Bishop Guido Conforti is a favorite of mine.  The Order that he founded, Xaverian Missionaries, ministers in my parish, and I've got to know them.  In fact, my very, best, favorite priest in the whole wide world, is Fr. Aniello Salicone, sx.  They're whom I think of when missionaries are mentioned.  I love these guys and  Bl. Guido Conforti's prayer is one of my favorites:
Bishop Guido M. ConfortiMay you focus your life in Jesus.  May Jesus always be present in your thoughts and heart, in every encounter, with every person and place.   In Omnibus Christus.
I am very happy that Bishop Conforti is to be canonized.  This is a blessing.  Deo Gratias.
Missions and Social Work
Benedict XVI will lead an Ordinary Public Consistory on Monday to vote on the canonization of three Church blesseds -- two Italians and one Spanish -- who are testimonies to the Church's social and missionary outreach.
The Pope signed a decree in December that advanced their cause toward canonization.
Blessed Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931) had wanted to follow the example of St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit who took the message of Christ to Asia. But he was unable to travel to the mission fields for health reasons, so instead he founded the Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (also known as the Xaverian missionaries).
He was made Bishop of Ravenna at the young age of 37 and became Archbishop of Parma in 1907, where he stayed for almost 25 years. As bishop, he also continued to guide the society he founded, and in 1912 had the joy of consecrating one of his missionaries, Father Luigi Calza, as Bishop of Cheng-Chow.
Blessed Conforti travelled to China in 1928, but was taken ill after his trip and died, after a long illness, in 1931. John Paul II beatified him on March 17, 1995.
Don Luigi Guanella (1842-1915), was a priest who founded two congregations, both of which helped the marginalized during the industrial revolution: the Servants of Charity and the Institute of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. A great friend of Don Bosco, he wanted to join the Salesians, but instead was recalled to the diocese by the Bishop of Como.
For years, he was subject to misunderstanding, persecution and other obstacles but a turning point came when he was when he sent to the parish of Pianello where he met five religious prepared to undertake any service in Italy and abroad. This later gave rise to the two congregations he founded.
His apostolate to the poor made him a friend of Pope Saint Pius X who offered him much assistance. Blessed Guanella left a large legacy in Rome including the home of St. Pius X on the Janiculum hill where the Guanellian nuns care for elderly and disabled, the "St. Joseph" house on Via Aurelia Antica, and the parish of St. Joseph Cottolengo -- all of them visited by Pope John Paul II. He died Oct. 24, 1915, and Pope Paul VI beatified him on Oct. 25, 1964.
Lastly, the Pope will canonize Blessed Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro (1837-1905), a nun from Salamanca in Spain who worked for the social advancement of women workers. She founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and created the "Nazareth workshop" to help poor or unemployed women.
Like many founders of religious institutes, Mother Bonifacia faced strong hostility and at one point was excluded from her own congregation, after which she founded the workshop, which she managed almost until her death in 1905.
The Vatican is expected to reveal the date of the three blesseds' canonizations after the consistory on Feb. 21. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love Your Enemies

 Is it humanly possible to love your enemies?  Remember 9/11?  Did we turn the other cheek and love our enemies?

I don't think it is.  We humans aren't perfect, as our heavenly Father is.  But that doesn't mean we don't stop trying.  We have to work at it.

I can see where an individual can turn the other cheek.  I can see not wishing harm on your enemy, which to me is the equivalent of "loving your enemies."  But I can't see it collectively.  I don't think it's possible for a country to turn the other cheek and love its enemies.

In the homily for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the priest (sorry I don't know his name) told the story of Spiritual Direction.  A Directee asked the priest how he knew if he were doing what God wanted.  He thought he was doing God's work, but how does one know?  The Director asked him "Do you love your enemies?"  That's God's work.

Another story was about a small boy during the War in Kosovo.  A mother sent her little boy out with a pail of soup and a baguette of bread, to bring to his father who was on duty.  The boy got lost and found himself staring into the enemy's trench.  They saw that he was just a little child and asked if he were lost.  He said he was looking for his father.  The soldiers told the kid that his father was somewhere in the trenches over there.

The next day, the mother sent the little boy out again, with the pail of soup and bread.  Again, the little boy found himself looking down into the enemy's trench.  Again the enemy soldiers asked if he were lost.  But this time the boy answered, "No."   "My mother sent this soup and bread for you."

Love Your Enemies.
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Friday, February 18, 2011


Just as the Jews participate in the Passover, so Jesus is sacrificed in the Mass.  It is real.  True.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keep the Internet Open

We need your help! Please contact your Senators and Representative (by clicking on the link below) and tell them not to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the FCC’s open Internet rules. Individuals, educational and religious organizations and non-profits must have the same access to the Internet as others. 

Last year, in response to complaints that cable and telephone companies which offer Internet access were blocking access to some Internet sites, the Federal Communications Commission issued rules to encourage an "open Internet."  Those rules prevent these broadband providers from blocking access to online content, discriminating among their customers, and restricting online speech.  This week, members of the House of Representatives plan to introduce a proposal to invoke a little-used law to strip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its authority to protect the open Internet.  This proposed action would leave religious speech on the Internet subject to control by telephone and cable companies, with no recourse.
The Internet has become essential for conversations on matters of faith. It is also quickly becoming the preferred way for people to access services from church entities, continuing education and other means to improve their lives. As commercial television and radio are narrowing churches’ access to the commercial airwaves, the Internet is sometimes the only way for religious organizations to provide programming to individuals.
The actual bill moving through Congress is happening pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  The CRA allows Congress to overturn regulations passed by federal agencies.  In this case, the bill would overturn the FCC’s recently announced Net Neutrality regulations.  Importantly, the CRA does not just overturn the existing regulations.  It also prevents an agency from passing future regulations on the same topic (basically so an agency can’t just change a word and re-issue the regulations). 

For more information and help writing to your senators and representatives go to the USCCB link.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Brown Pelican

You see the bird in this picture?  Sorry it's the best I could do.  I only have a point and shoot camera.  But the beak looks long and is pointing down.  It is a long beak.  You can't see it's throat, however.  It is large but not full of course because it's in flight.  It's wing span is wide.  This is the brown pelican, which is the national bird of Sint Maarten.  It nests at Fort Amsterdam.  I was so enthralled with them that I climbed up to the fort twice; once in a tour group, and another day, I brought my husband there.

The bird is on the Sint Maarten coat of arms.  You can't see it very well, but it's on the very top of the crest.  The Sint Martin flag is the third one--the farthest.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Sint Maarten Cure

This picture is a little misleading.  This  dock with a little hut is in the middle of the bay. It's not attached to the land.  Sint Maarten is known for it's beautiful diving opportunities and that's what this dock is for.  It's a bar.  Divers can dock there and go in for a drink.

We had a wonderful vacation.  I knew it was going to be good because we saw a rainbow through the window port in the airplane flying to Sint Maarten.

And I figured out what's been spraining my back.  It's low chairs.  The exertion of getting out of low chairs and beds puts a sprain on my back.  I didn't go swimming (I just walked the beach.) in the ocean because there was a bit of an undertow, and the exertion of hiking my body out of the water might re-injure my back.  The resort's lounge chairs killed me.  Laying on a beach blanket was out of the question.  The same is true for jet skiing and horse back riding.  I could stand and walk.

Actually the best seat for me (because it was high) was a bar stool.  

Did I tell you I acquired a taste for mango coolattas.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Sint Maarten

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Well, it was like this.  I was having a really, really, bad week.  It started with my brother's death.  Then we had a blizzard; the governor called a state emergency.  I hurt my back shoveling.  A day latter, another snow storm.  Work was becoming v-e-r-y stressful.  I re-strained my back.

So hubby took me away. 

You see, this year is our 40th wedding anniversay.  (Yeah, we stuck it out.) :-p

But our anniversay is in July--but I needed it NOW! 

We've been in Sint Maarten for a week.     More postings on this vac/second honeymoon coming...

That's where I've been.  And that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Media on the Media

Fr. Frank Hoffman (Fr. Rocky)
I just listened to Father Rocky give a talk on the media.  He was talking about the influence the media has.  How it can sway people.  Sure, just look at how we mimic Hollywood.  Young people want to look and be like the glamorous celebrities that they think are so cool.  And you don't have to be young to be influenced.  I've heard it said, that if all things are equal, the tallest candidate will win.

Father Rocky is the executive director of Relevant Radio.   He places the utmost importance on radio.  He keeps saying that people listen to the radio all the time, especially when they're stuck in traffic.  I'm not so sure.  I know I don't.  I listen to audio books.  I've seen my kids listen to CDs or plug in their ipods.  Once in awhile, I'll put on the radio for the news or weather.  But I've never seen my kids do that.  In fact, the minute they hear a talking voice, they switch.

Next are billboards.  While people are stuck in traffic, they'll read billboards.  Again, I don't agree.  It's rare that I'm stuck in traffic.  I go out of my way to avoid traffic.  I'll ride the "T" or commuter rail.  I hate traffic and avoid it.  Although, while traveling, I admit I am attracted to billboards.

Guess what the poor people who can't afford to buy radio stations or billboard advertising, can do to evangelize.  We can use Facebook.  Yes, Facebook can evangelize.  I think the value of Facebook besides social connection is to alert people to events.  I've made FB friends with like minded people and enjoy the short discussions we've had.  In fact, at the March for Life, I bumped into my FB friend Michael Liccione, at Central Staion. A train station in Washington DC!!!!   Au Bon Pain!  How coincidental is that?  Never met him before--just saw his pix on FB.

But Father Rocky never mentioned blogs.  :-(

My list of media includes, newsletters, blogs, Facebook, and letters to editors in newspapers.  What else?

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Married Saints Too

Last time I talked about St. Anna-Maria and Domenico Taigi.  In this post I'd like to write about Venerable Pierre and Juliette Toussaint.

Pierre Toussaint is the patron saint of hairdressers because that was his occupation.  I wonder if he's the patron of women with alopecia.  He should be because at the time Pierre was hairdressing, men and women wore wigs.  He dressed their hair.

He actually was born a slave in Haiti.  He was lucky to have a good man as a master, who not only taught Pierre how to read and write but also his catechism.  Pierre grew in the Catholic Faith, as his master instructed him.  When the family moved to New York, the household went too; that included Pierre.

Pierre's master, Jean Berard apprenticed him to a hairdresser and that's where Pierre learned the trade.  Pierre was a natural, both because of his personality and also he had a talent.  It seemed he had an eye for what worked where, whether it was hair, dress, or a room in a house.  He became known and was popular.  When the master, Berard died, Pierre took care of his widow until she died.  Upon Mrs. Berard's death, Pierre was freed from slavery.

As a free man, and working for himself, he became wealthy.  He did work hard and had a substantial clientele, and he made enough money to be not only generous to others, but also to invest money in several ventures.  Eventually, Pierre married Noel Gaston.  She was only 15 and a slave, so he bought her.  Then he freed her and asked her to marry him.  She was perfect for Pierre.  They believed and thought alike.  The two of them were devoted Catholics.

Between the two of them, they helped many.  They turned their home into a shelter for orphans, a credit bureau, an employment agency, and a hostel for the poor.  Pierre even contributed to the construction of Old Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

They never had any children themselves, but they did adopt his niece when her mother, Pierre's sister, died.  They loved and cared for this child as their own and  were heartbroken when she died at 14.

Pierre was to outlive his beloved wife.  Noel died a couple of years before Pierre in 1851.  He died in 1853.  It was edifying to read of this successful, and holy, black man in this time period of history.  That he could make it, was certainly a testimony to the grace of God.

h/t Fr. Thomas Kevin Kraft, OP

A Priest's Day

Here is the book review I promised on Monday, for Death Comes for the Archbishop , by Willa Cather.  She really gets into the nitty-grit...