Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Life Given Totally to God

Last Sunday, August 18, the Lord visited the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston to call home our Sister Susan Helen Wallace. Sister was 73 years old. Gifted with a clear mind and quick wit, Sister Helen was a
writer and editor for much of the 52 years she spent in the convent as a Daughter of St. Paul. If you Google her name you will find a long list of titles which she authored. Writing was Sister's way of evangelizing--making the Word of God easily accessible to thousands.
A short video prepared for her wake on August 21, reveals some of her upbeat attitude and dedication. when she speaks of "Maestra Paula" she was referring to Mother Paula Cordero who was the founding Sister of the Daughters of St. Paul in the USA. The word maestra is Italian for mistress, head teacher, instructor. Our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, called each of the Superiors maestra in honor of Jesus Master who is "the" Great Teacher and model for all of us.I hope I can connect you to the link so you too can get a glimpse of Sister Susan Helen's life. May she be enjoying the eternal peace of Jesus Master.   Click on Sister Helen's picture in that link.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Sound Bytes and the Truth

Yesterday's Washington Post had 3 cartoons on its Op Ed page. The bottom cartoon really hit bottom!
The cartoon depicted Pope Francis saying "Who am I to judge?", but adding that you are going to burn in hell, etc. That cartoon is a contemporary display of anti-Catholic sentiment and a distortion of the truth. In the 1800's the "Know Nothing" Party trashed Catholic Churches and burned convents as its members incited  its followers to hate.Whoever drew the image seems totally unaware of the compassionate stance the Church has toward each and every person. Anything new under the sun?
Cartoons such as the WP depiction can re-open old wounds as well as spread falsehoods. As a letter to the editor in today's Washington Post comments--reiterating Catholic teaching--we hate the sin, but love the sinner.
Here is a link that expands and clarifies Pope Francis' comment:
From where I am writing it is a lovely, clear summer day. May you too be enjoying the sunshine. Have a blessed week.
Tomorrow the Church celebrates the dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. A more popular name for this feast is "Our Lady of Snows." When I arrived in Rome at the beginning of August 10 years ago, I looked forward to celebrating this Marian feast. An ancient tradition says that a well-to-do Roman lady was asked to build a church in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To show where it was to be built snow fell in Rome at the site of the present church. It is called "Major" to signify its rank as the first church in the west to be dedicated to Mary. A lovely tradition continues at Santa Maria Maggiore as the Italians call this huge church. As the Gloria is being sung or recited during the principal Mass, white flower petals fall from an opening in the roof. It was a lovely sight to behold even though the temperature outside was at least 40 Celsius or 100 F. May Mary intercede  for us Christians and for all those suffering from wars and violence in Africa and in the Middle East.
Tuesday is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus. In the Transfiguration Jesus briefly revealed a glimpse of his divinity. May we, by our prayers and actions, reveal to those around us that we truly believe in the divinity and glory of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

August Awakening

Recently the town of Campostella in Spain was in the news because of the tragic crash of a high speed train. Most of the passengers were pilgrims headed for the church of Santiago de Campostella. Tradition has it that the remains of the Apostle St. James are kept there. For centuries people from all walks of life have made the 800 kilometer trek from France to Santiago, then some continue on to the ocean where the trail ends.
Just yesterday a young man came into our Center in search of books to bring along with him on the "Camino de Santiago."  Determined to make at least 100 kilometers of the Camino, the youthful pilgrim plans to bring 5 changes of clothes, along with other necessities. He admitted that the things dearest to him right now which he will have to give up on the journey is a hot shower. "I am sort of a neat freak. I like to be really clean." along the way in the small villages where he may stay, a shower will be a definite luxury. 
If you would like to visualize the Camino I recommend viewing the film "The Way" starring Martin Sheen. His son Emilio Estevez who plays the part of Sheen's son directed the film as well. The movie reveals some of the hardships pilgrims face from themselves together with the surprises and trials of a journey on foot through villages, mountains and crowded cities. Trekking for days on end comprises a true penance, and helps to put people in a receptive mood to see what else God has in store for us.
Another film which is more of a documentary is also available from our Pauline Books and Media Centers.
The films may be ordered from Or, you can contact the nearest Pauline Book & Media Center.
In this life we are all on a "Camino" towards heaven. Like the Camino pilgrims we are heading for a rendezvous with the Lord. Before we reach the goal there will be some bumps in the road, and probably some huge craters to challenge us. Like the pilgrims who lean on their staffs for support, we can lean on the grace of God to be there with the strength we need 
At Santiago de Campostella pilgrims who finish the journey there receive a diploma of completion.of The Caminos.
God bless you. If you can get to a beach near you before school re-opens pick up a scallop shell to remind yourself  of the lessons of "The Camino/The Way."