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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dying Alone

"I came in alone.  I'll go out alone."  Many same this, especially "lifers."  People doing life in prison often reflect on their death.  I guess everyone does.  I know I do.  I've had a few serious illnesses and wondered if that was how I was going to die.  But dying in prison really is a lonely proposition.  Of course, there's no family around you and there's a good chance you won't even have friends around to support and pray for you.

This article by Father MacRae describes the fear.

I'm glad to see hospice come into the prison system.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Adventure of Life

Wally Lamb's books are always so-o-o-o long; but they're always so-o-o-o good.  They are very worth the time spent reading them.  I guess She's Come Undone is the author's first.  If this is an indication of his talent, then Wally Lamb is my new favorite author.  His character delineation is excellent.

We meet the protagonist, Dolores, as a teenager.  Her big issue was a dad that basically left the family.  He couldn't keep his zipper zipped.  Her mother had mental and emotional issues and eventually had to be hospitalized.  So Dolores retreated to Grandma's.  Good ole Grandma to the rescue. 

Grandma may have been old, old-fashioned, rigid, odd, but she was always there to pick up the pieces.  Poor Dolores coped by eating.  In high school, she became morbidly obese.  But before high school, when Dolores was only twelve, she was raped.  It did a job on her, as it would on anyone. No wonder she sought comfort in eating.  Her parents were occupied with their own demons and Grandma didn't know anything.  Dolores only friends were the gay guidance counselor and the tattoo artist, Roberta, who lived across the street.

Dolores' Mom really, really wanted her to go to college, even though Dolores didn't want to.  Then Mom died and Dolores felt obligated to try college.

It was a disaster.  Everyone bullied her.  Everyone except the lesbian custodian who befriended her.  After a mammoth fallout with everyone, (Everyone!), Dolores ran into the lesbian's arms. But Dolores was disgusted with herself and grabbed a taxi and left.  In the taxi, the radio news was dominated by a whale washed ashore on the Cape.  So she told the taxi driver to take her to where the whale was. 

From the Cape, Dolores was committed to a mental institution. It was good for her, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  She loses all that weight, and it doesn't come back.   From the hospital, she went to Vermont.  She chose Vermont because an old college boyfriend of her roommate lived there.  In fact, they had apartments across from each other.  This wasn't a coincidence (read the book).  Dolores ends up marrying him.

To make a long story short, this guy isn't her "happy ever after" husband.  He's a loser; he makes her have an abortion.  The trauma of the abortion is something she regrets for the rest of her life.  She eventually gets rid of the husband and moves into the house her grandmother left her in her will.  Dolores even tries a few college courses and straightens out her life as much as anyone can.

In the end, you're happy for Dolores but sorry because the story ended. Now that's a good book.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Introverts aren't Church Goers

I have a new theory of why some people don't like going to church.  It's because they're basically introverts.  They don't like the community.  They definitely don't want to share.  They would be happy if you never knew their name.

What do you think?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Post News: Why we can't stop eating junk food decoded

Post News: Why we can't stop eating junk food decoded:  Foods that are rich in both fats and carbohydrates have a particularly strong influence on our brain's reward system, say scientists ... What do you think?  Add to the fats and carbs the accessibility of the fact that junk food is easier to grab, and you've got appetite lust.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Real Ecumenism puts Christ over Division :: EWTN News

Pope Francis boards his flight to Geneva June 21, 2018. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/EWTN.

Pope in Geneva: Real ecumenism puts Christ over division :: EWTN News  Pope Francis spoke to participants in an ecumenical prayer gathering during his June 21 visit to Geneva for the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. Founded in 1948, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is a global fellowship of churches seeking to foster unity among different Christian confessions and has some 348 members worldwide.

Members are present in 110 countries and represent over 500 million Christians, including Orthodox, Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran and Methodist denominations, as well as many Reformed, United and Independent communities.

While the majority of the founding members came from Europe and North America, currently the bulk of the WCC membership is in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific. The Holy See is not a member of the WCC, but it is an observer, and routinely sends representatives to the organization's meetings.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Alma Rosa Jaramillo

A picture of a dismembered body of Alma Rosa Jaramillo is jumping around in my mind.  I've just begun reading Choosing Peace edited by Marie Dennis.  The very first chapter mentioned the 2016  Appeal to the Catholic Church to Re-commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence.  The chapter continues with the plenary discussion "Nonviolence and Just Peace." The point of the story was to show that even though the atrocities were horrific, the people demanded peace.

For over forty years the people of Colombia were torn apart by various groups: National Liberation Army (ELN), various paramilitary groups, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the current government in power.  A lawyer, Alma Rosa Jaramillo, was working with the displaced small farmers was kidnapped by the ELN and then released.  Later she was captured by a paramilitary group which tortured and sawed the limbs off her body with a chainsaw.

And Alma Rosa Jaramillo was only one of many who was viciously maltreated.  What I want to know is why so little is known about her?  Maybe there are stories and biographies written in Spanish but not even Wikipedia has anything.  I couldn't even find a picture of what she looked like.

My heart is sick over humanity's heartlessness. 

A broken world: While the last century knew the devastation of two deadly World Wars,
the threat of nuclear war and a great number of other conflicts, today, sadly, we find our-
selves engaged in a horrifying world war fought piecemeal...We know that this "piece-
meal" violence, of different kinds and levels, causes great suffering: wars in different
countries and continents; terrorism, organized crime, and unforeseen acts of violence; the
abuses suffered by migrants and victims of human trafficking;...
                                       Pope Francis, World Day of Peace Message 2017

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Question Behind the Question

The Question Behind the Question: On the afternoon of June 14, a rather spirited, fascinating, and unexpected debate broke out on the floor of the USCCB spring meeting in Ft. Lauderdale. At issue was the possibility of reconsidering some social justice, environmental, etc., social justice issues.  But it was really how to get the message across.  That's the issue.  That's the question.  Please read the article.

Mystery Plant

When I was weeding my garden this morning, I came across a strange looking "growth."  See picture.

I tried pulling it out.  I couldn't; it was strong.  In my experience, if it's a vegetable or flower, it falls out easily.  If it's a weed, like a dandelion, then it has strong roots and is difficult to pull out.  So it must be a weed, right?  

It is pretty.  Here's another picture of another little one, just sprouting.

Maybe I'll ask around to see if anyone can identify it.  Meanwhile, I thought I'd dig up the "thing" and pot it.  It's pretty. I was going to bring it inside and keep it as a plant.  

But when I dug it up, I saw that the plant was growing out of a rock--a big rock. 

Wait a minute.  I remembered that hubby told me he planted potatoes.  I bet he put a potato with rooted eyes in the garden and this is what this plant is. You are supposed to cut up the potato and plant the eyes, not a whole potato.  Wait till I tell him.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Third Death

Today as I was praying and walking through the cemetery, I came across a gravestone that I couldn't see due to the overgrown bush in front of it.  The fact that no one has trimmed that vegetation in front of that grave, gave me food for thought.  I thought of the three deaths my Mexican friends describe: when you stop breathing, when you are put in the ground, when no one is alive to remember and pray for you.

Hence, their remembrance of their loved ones on November 2, All Souls' Day, Dia de Muertos.

I actually turned around and walked back.  I took a picture of that vegetation hidden grave.  I even separated the branches and leaves, to read the name on the headstone.  I couldn't.  This was one of those skinny, flat, upright stone markers with the name and dates carved on it.  Only I couldn't read anything.  The information was well worn away.

Why this sight stayed with me, or why it brought to mind Dia de Muertos, is a puzzle, but it brought me to prayer.

 In fact, you know how there are holy cards of saints.  You know, usually get them at funerals.  On the front is a picture and on the back is the information about the deceased: name, dates, etc.  Well, I'm going to keep the picture I took of this old gravestone.  It will remind me of my Third Death, Dia de Muertos, the Communion of Saints, my mortality...  Who knows? Some day it just may be my own holy card.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Guide Book for Third Grade Book

It's summer and school's out.  I call to convene the Grand Book Club.  Our first book is Third Grade Mermaid and the Narwhals by Peter Raymundo.  Here is the guidebook to follow as you read the book.  (Please excuse the format of the questions.  I couldn't copy and paste exactly.)

        1. Who is the author of Third Grade Mermaid and the Narwhals?

2.  What day does the story begin?

  3.  Who is the best bedtime story reader ever?
   4. What is a nonfiction book?
    5. Who are the unicorns of the sea?
    6. What is the name of the story the mermaid wrote?
     7. What is the mermaid’s name?
      8. Where does Vivian Shimmermore sit?
      9. What kind of whale is the teacher, Mr. Spouter?
      10. What happens to the student 
      11. What did everyone do when Cora finished reading her story?


1.     Why did Mr. Spouter nominate Cora to represent the school for the upcoming Ocean Writes Contest?
2.   What happens when you win the contest? 
3.  Who is the smartest shrimp?
4.  What is the name of the jellyfish friend?
5.   What is the name of the sea cucumber?
6.   What is the most deadly creature in the ocean?

1.      What are the 3 S’s?
2.   When sailors hear the sirens sing what happens?
3.         What is that horn on a narwhal?
               4.    What is the SSCAB?
               5.   Why did Cora’s mother say YES?

1.     Who doesn’t have parents?
2.   Who was adopted?
3.    Name everybody who went on the adventure?
1.      Who was everybody afraid of?
                    2.   What is the name of the biggest jellyfish in the world?
                          3. What is the name of the king of the sea pigs? 
                         4.   What was the cage made of?

1.     Who was shrinking?
2. Who was at the sea caves first?
3.   What did Vivian break?
4.   Who was afraid of the dark?

1.      Where did Cora write her story?

1.      What was the worst thing Cora ever did?   


                    1.      Who got on the cover of Splashy! Magazine?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Council of Cardinals finalizes draft of new document on Roman Curia

Council of Cardinals finalizes draft of new document on Roman Curia: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will review a finalized draft of the apostolic constitution that would govern the Roman Curia, the Vatican spokesman said. Read the duties of the Curia, now.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Wearing a Rosary Around Your Neck

There is a little debate about wearing rosaries. In our culture, it isn't usually done.  And then some misguided youth wear rosaries as a sign that they belong to a certain gang.  I'm not talking about the gang symbols.  I'm talking about wearing the rosary around your neck as religious jewelry. 

Something happened to a friend of mine, that made me realize that maybe wearing rosaries as necklaces may not be such a bad idea, after all.

Joe carries his rosary in his pocket.  The other day he was hit by a car and went sailing in the air until he landed on the sidewalk, smacking his head on the curbstone.  He was out cold.  But in looking through his belongings to see who he was, a rosary was found.  They called a priest.

The priest was there for him when Joe came around.  Joe was administered the sacrament of the sick for his abrasions and concussion.  Thank be to God.

What do you have or wear to tell people your Catholic?  By the way, Joe also carries a pocket cross in his pocket.  But all Christians recognize the cross; it was the rosary that told people he was Catholic.

As a woman, I don't always have pockets to carry a rosary in.  I do wear a medal but who's going to take a magnifying glass out to examine the wording on my medal.  All Christians can wear crosses; only Catholics wear crosses with a corpus. But who knows that?  Besides Catholics can wear both types of crosses.

It's the rosary.  The rosary screams Catholic.  I will have to wear a rosary as a necklace.  I'm taking my prettiest rosary to the jeweler, to add a jump link and clasp.  Then my jewelry will scream Catholic.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Misplacement of Course Books

When students enroll for a course, they're given a list of books to get for that course.  I propose that it's a misplacement of the texts.  How does the instructor know where the students are? 

I'm thinking of my RCIA class.  How can catechist assign a text without knowing who's entering the class?  One book applicable to both the Satanists and the Catholic who just needs to be confirmed doesn't make sense.  I think copied pages from different books are more useful.  In fact, I think after Easter, IOW after everyone has gone through the sacraments of initiation, then handing out a book list would be valuable. 

Would this also be true for any course?  How does an instructor know what level of expertise his students are--even introductory courses?  I would wait and see how "introductory" my students are.  Once everyone is on the same page (so to speak) then we all use the same book.

Anyway, I'm not ordering books for RCIA, except the catechism.                                                             And even that, will be a graduation present, not a course book.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

           An Old Pair of Shoes

Did you ever come to the parting point
With an old pair of shoes, that are outworn--   
Beyond fixing?  How you hate to part
With them, they fit so well,
As though they were made on your feet.
You can wiggle your toes in them,
For there is plenty of room.
Your feet have molded them with wear
To the right shape.
That little bump bulging on the side
Its the place that nestled your pet corn.
The thought of new shoes gives you the shivers
That corn--Oh! What new shoes will do to it!
And what that corn will do to me!!
"Ah Heck! These old shoes are good enough
                                    for another week."
by Henry Boulanger
in Cliff Dwellers and
other Poems

Saturday, June 9, 2018

After Mass

Our Lady of the Mountains, North Conway, NH
If you go to Mass at St. Mary's in Holliston, MA, you might be puzzled by everyone kneeling down during the recessional.  I didn't think they were kneeling down because the priest was walking by, but why?  Then one day, the priest didn't recess down the aisle, he left by a door to the side of the altar.  He was gone and still, the people knelt.  I finally asked someone why.  "We pray a Hail Mary in thanksgiving for the Mass."

I thought that was unique.  But while in Our Lady of the Mountains in North Conway, NH, the priest after Mass explained to all us tourists that it was their custom to pray a Memorare, after Mass.

Hail Mary!

St. Mary's Holliston, MA

Monday, June 4, 2018

Losing and Finding Faith

When my father came back from WWII, his family had grown.  His son was married with a baby of his own.  My sister was 20 years old and engaged.  He wanted a baby.  My mother was so happy that he made it home from the war, that she agreed.  It was a new beginning for them.  If I were a boy, my name would have been Jay, but I’m not a Jay.  My name is Faith, but the name has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.  My father said he chose the name so I would have great faith in myself.

The name, in the beginning, did the opposite.  In the 1950’s, the name, Faith was unusual.  Today, unusual names are in vogue, but that wasn’t the case when I was a child.  In fact, the name made me shy.  Yes, it was the name itself.  First off, the first word out of anyone’s mouth, upon hearing may name, was “What?”  In fact, there’s a good possibility that it was also the second and third words out of their mouths.

Then either you had to spell F-a-i-t-h, for them, or explain it further with, “i.e., faith, hope, and charity.”  Of course, that wasn’t the end of the discussion.  Exclamations of what a pretty name were offered. If it were so pretty then why don’t you name your next daughter, Faith?  End of discussion!
Selling Girl Scout cookies or raffles for school fundraisers was a torturous experience:

Ring…..Ring…  or Knock….Knock…. 
Who is it?
…opens door.  What did you say?  Who?
My name is Faith.
Who, oh never mind, what do you want?
I’m selling …
No, I’m not interested Fay.  Thanks, goodbye.

And so it went until I made a mistake on my college application.  When filling out the application I accidentally put my last name, middle name and then the first name.  The school enrolled me as Donna Faith.

I kept my mouth shut. And  I started signing my papers “F. Donna.”  Hey, if F. Scott Fitzgerald could do it, so could I.  At first, I reveled in my anonymous name.  I didn’t stick out.  I didn’t have to go around spelling my name, or listen to banal jokes, e.i., “Do you have two sisters named Hope and Charity?”

However, once in a while someone asked me what the “F.” stood for.  When I told them Faith, I had to listen to what a pretty name Faith was, why didn’t I use it?  In fact, after a year or so, I regretted not using “Faith.”

Why couldn’t I have a regular boring name that I didn’t have to explain or spell?

But life went on as Donna—college, marriage, and work until I started working as a real estate broker in Boston.  The day my business cards arrived, my manager saw my inscribed name and asked what the "F." in “F. Donna Flaherty,” was for.  When I told him, “Faith,” he looked at me incredulously.

You are selling real estate in Boston.  You know the name of the game is name recognition.  You know most of your clients are Boston Irish.  You realize you want them to remember your name to come back to you to sell and buy.

And you chose Donna over Faith?  Are you stupid?

From that moment on I’ve been going by my first name.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Correctional Officers Need Love Too

Here's a must-read for all of us involved in prison ministry.  It's an article by Eve Tushnet in America magazine, entitled, "You have heard it said; Visit the imprisoned.  But what about their guards."

Never, not once, have I ever thought of them.  I've prayed for them to be just, but that's about it.  This article has viewpoints from prison guards
and their families. I never realized the stresses they are under.  It is not unusual for correctional officers to be lonely and isolated because they become suspicious of everyone.  Their suicide rate is high.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Maine bishop had 'no alternative' but to leave state ecumenical group

ON: ,   , IN: 
Maine bishop had 'no alternative' but to leave state ecumenical group: Portland, Maine, May 31, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- After the Maine Council of Churches changed its decision-making process earlier this year, the Bishop of Portland was forced to withdraw from the group.  He withdrew because the group could vote for something contrary to Catholic teachings.  This seems reasonable to me, what surprises me is the question of why don't the other members see this change of process a problem for themselves, also?

The Blood of Goats will Shatter Diamonds

                                                                        Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by  Lysippos ,                       ...