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International Women's Day
2011/03/07 by Lou Anglin, BVM





International Women’s Day Centenary sees largest ever activity


London, March 2, 2011: March 8 sees the highest level of global women’s activity ever witnessed as groups celebrate the International Women’s Day centenary.


The first International Women’s Day events were run in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911 and attended by over one million people. 100 years on, International Women’s Day (IWD) has become a global mainstream phenomena celebrated across many countries and is an official holiday in approximately 25 countries including Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia.




8 March sees extensive global women’s activity. Performer and social activist, Annie Lennox, will lead a mass march across London’s Millennium Bridge for charity. In Washington D.C. over a thousand people will descend on Capitol Hill demanding a better world for millions of marginalized women and girls around the globe. A major international businesswomen’s conference will be hosted in Sydney, Australia. Schools and governments around the world are participating in the day. Trade Unions and charities are campaigning. Global corporations are hosting conferences and distributing extensive resource packs. The United Nations Secretary-General delivers a formal message. The United States even designates the whole month of March as Women's History Month as officially proclaimed by President Obama on February 28, 2011.


International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future. However, activity has not always been on the increase. Australian entrepreneur and women’s campaigner Glenda Stone, who founded the website, a global hub of events and information, said:


“A decade ago International Women’s Day was disappearing. Activity in Europe, where International Women’s Day actually began, was very low. Providing a global online platform helped sustain and accelerate momentum for this important day. Holding only a handful of events ten years ago, the United Kingdom has now become the global leader for International Women’s Day activity, followed sharply by Canada, United States and Australia. 2011 will see thousands of events globally for the first time.”


More recently, social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have also helped fuel International Women’s Day activity. Generally the day has moved away from its socialist Suffragette beginnings to become more mainstream in celebrating women’s achievements. Women’s rights campaigners, however, continue to remind that vigilance rather than complacency is essential in striving for women’s equality.






For more information about activities for International Women's Day go to




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World Day of Prayer
2011/03/04 by Lou Anglin, BVM

“After hearing the voices of our sisters, experiencing their pains with them, and feeling their hopes and fear, we are empowered to act. Prayer and action are not two different things connected by a string but rather inseparable realms of our faith experience. To pray truly is to be changed. To truly let in a new perspective is to be changed. To act in accordance with these shifts happens organically. Action continues our prayer.”




 The World Day of Prayer began in the 19th century when Christian women from the United States and Canada began to dialogue about the necessity to gather in support of women’s issues throughout the world. Since then the movement has become grown dramatically and is observed in 170 countries throughout the world on the first Friday in March.


 The theme for this year’s day of prayer is “How many loaves have you?” All over the world people are gathering to pray in solidarity with women of Chili who continually struggle with:


          -the the impact of globalization and social and environmental issues such as pollution of the environment and over-population in the urban areas.


          -the lack of prospects for young people and issues such as drug consumption and trafficking, prostitution, and dysfunctional families—problems directly affecting women and children.


         -gender issues resulting in the gap in women's rights in theory and in practice, especially regarding equity and respect in the workplace, which oftentimes is in difficult work environments.




Let us all pray and work for the end of greed that accounts for so much suffering in our world. Let us realize that God has given us all what we need to end the pain of so many if we give from our hearts and share what we have.  


                                                         Information gathered from


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Happy Valentine's Day!
2011/02/14 by Carolyn Farrell, BVM

Love on Valentine's Day!
A Ritual

by Diann L. Neu

Love… Love yourself… Love one another… Love the Earth.
Everyone wants hearts and flowers today, but these aren't enough.
Love, like the Divine, is hard to get a handle on. It is tough to name.
But we know it when we feel it.

Read Women’s Words on Love

“Love alone matters.”
—Therese of Lisieux (1897), quoted in Dorothy Day, Therese (1960)

“Love is such a powerful force. It’s there for everyone to embrace—that kind of unconditional
love for all of humankind. That is the kind of love that impels people to go into the community
and try to change conditions for others, to take risks for what they believe in.”
—Coretta Scott King, quoted in The Black Woman’s Gumbo Ya-Ya (1993)

“Love opens the doors into everything, as far as I can see, including and perhaps most of all, the door into one’s own secret, and often terrible and frightening, real self.”
—May Sarton, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965)

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
—Helen Keller, We Bereaved (1929)

“’Till I loved / I never lived – Enough.”
—Emily Dickinson, Poems by Emily Dickinson (1862)

“I venture to say that for women friends, love is an orientation toward the world as if my friend and I were more united than separated, more at one among the many than separate and alone.”
—Mary E. Hunt, Fierce Tenderness (1991)

“Talking with one another is loving one another.”
—Kenyan Proverb

"I love you means let the revolution begin!”
—Carter Heyward, The Redemption of God (1982)

Love is concerned / that the beating of your heart / should kill no one.
—Alice Walker, Love Is Not Concerned (1983)

“The final word is love.”
—Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness (1952)

Your Reflection

What is love for you? Whom do you love? How do you love?

Love Prayer for the World
Prayed by People from Four Directions

East: I, Divine Love, share my Spirits with all creatures of every nation.
South: You, your friends, your daughters and sons shall prophesy my gracious love.
West: Your elders shall inspire dreams of healing for our wounded world.
North: Your youth shall actualize visions of justice and peace.
Response: Come, Loving Spirit, continue your passionate love through us.

East: I will give my Spirit to you and you shall prophesy compassion.
South: These friends, faithful to the covenant, pray to this Everlasting Spirit of Profound Love.
Response: Come, Loving Spirit, continue your passionate love through us.

West: Lover of Our Lives,
North: Wise One of Those-Who-Have-Gone-Before-Us,
East: Most Beloved Friend,
South: Refill us with gifts of your Spirit again and again.
North: Breathe our sacred names.
East: Empty us of angry fears.
South: Crumble ancient walls of hatred.
North: Recreate your love through us.
Response: Come, Loving Spirit, continue your passionate love through us.
Amen. Blessed Be. Let It Be So.

© Diann L. Neu, DMin, is cofounder and codirector of WATER.

We need WATER Interns, Associates, Volunteers, Visiting Scholars, and Ministers!

 Become part of a community where feminism, religion, and social justice intersect.

WATER is accepting applications for Summer 2011 Internships and Visiting Scholar opportunities.
We offer exciting possibilities for students, or for women on sabbatical needing a pause from work as usual. Interns work in the WATER office, learn with the WATER staff, and enjoy all that Washington, DC, has to offer! Visiting Scholar and Minister opportunities, Associateships, and Internships can be designed to meet your needs and WATER's. Click here for more information and an application, or contact or 301.589.2509.


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So, What is "Perfect," Mr. Speaker?
2011/02/13 by Marge Clark, BVM

Blog: So, What Is “Perfect,” Mr. Speaker?


Feb 10, 2011 |

“We have been in the majority four weeks,” Mr. Boehner said. “We are not going to be perfect every day.” (New York Times, 2/10/11) In this statement, the Speaker was referring to the Republican members of the House having NOT BEEN IN LOCKSTEP on 2 votes. I’m quite bothered by the notion that “perfection” in Congress is having all members vote along party lines – no matter what they may think is best for the nation, or for their district. 

“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Members swear (or affirm) support of the Constitution, not to support of their respective party. I expect persons for whom I vote to work with integrity, studying issues and listening to experts, to the party and to the people of the district. However, if the informed conscience of the member does not agree with what is heard from the most vocal members of the district and with the party, I expect “perfection” to be each member’s vote based on informed conscience.


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2011/01/13 by Carolyn Farrell, BVM

This is the lead line in the inside book jacket of New Feminist Christianity, Many Voices, Many Views edited by Mary E. Hunt and Diann L. Neu.  It states that Feminist Christianity isn’t just about women.  It’s about all people who have experienced oppression or discrimination—because of their race, ethnicity, nationality…Feminist Christianity is working to fight these prejudices and realize compassion and justice for all people.


The book is divided into five sections with a total of 28 essays by feminists writing from their particular expertise regarding those oppressed or experiencing discrimination.  Each author provides her theological insights or practical experience in the struggle to bring compassion and justice for the people in their community or the world at large.


Check for a review of the book.


Skylight Paths Publishing, Woodstock, Vermont




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2011/01/11 by Elizabeth Fitting, BVM Associate

The air is cold and damp as I step outside. A low fog hangs in the air blocking out the sun and making the world around seem grey and sad. My garden and those of my neighbors are muted, with few blooms and many dead leaves and plants. Even my winter vegetables of beets, kale, lettuce, and bok choi seem subdued, just holding on, although the weeds are thriving. All of this coldness, dampness and lack of sun make me want to stay indoors where I can turn on my heat and lights: such wonderful creature comforts at this time.


As I reflect on what nature is telling me I realize that this is truly a season that is inviting me to turn inward, to nurture and replenish myself like the dormant plants that need a time to NOT be putting out leaves and blossoms, but drawing what is needed from the soil in stillness.  It is a reminder to slow down and respect this message from nature as spoken so well by the gifted poet John O’Donohoue.


Here is an excerpt from his poem, “A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted


“You have been forced to enter empty time.


The desire that drove you has relinquished.


There is nothing else to do now but rest


And patiently learn to receive the self


 You have forsaken for the race of days.




At first your thinking will darken


And sadness take over like listless weather.


The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.


You have traveled too fast over false ground; Now your soul has come to take you back."


. . . .


"Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.


Learn to linger around someone of ease


Who feels they have all the time in the world.




Gradually, you will return to yourself,


Having learned a new respect for your heart


And the joy that dwells far within slow time."


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January 1, 2011
2011/01/02 by Roberta White, BVM

Mother Us Mary




          Mother us Mary.  Feed us as you fed Him.  Clean


us as you cleaned Him.  Clothe us as you clothed Him so


many times when He was little.  We, too, are little and in


need, so clothe us in His love, His faithfulness, His will


and wishes. Cleanse us with his purity and holy light.


Feed us with his justice and mercy.  He gave you to us.


So now we are totally yours.


          Let us become so totally yours that we are totally


His, as you were.  Thank you Mother, simple,


humble, pure and holy one. We enter your ordinary


hidden life where love is all that counts.  Love that       


cleanses, heals and unites.  Help us to fully live our


ordinary daily life with the greatest of awareness,


presence and love.  Let us be surrounded and


enfolded in graced ordinariness.  Let us see each


moment as an opportunity to meet and see Him. 


          Let us praise, love and serve our God through the


daily stuff, the ordinary, the everyday people,


places and circumstances sent our way. Help us


to be alert, attentive and willing vessels of love


to others we interact with each moment. 


            Mary, we know we are not alone.  You and our loving,


faithful God are always present with us. Let not our


busy-ness push you aside.  Teach us that no matter how


hectic life becomes, you are always at its center.  With Jesus


you are at the center of our lives.  Help us to return to this calm, quiet


center where we meet on holy ground.  Let us keep all


these events of our lives carefully in our hearts as you did.


Guide us to bring great mindfulness to our daily happenings


and their meanings. 


                  Loving Mother Mary, hold us closely.  Feed us.  Cleanse


us. Clothe us and never let us go.  We then are totally united


to you, and therefore to your Son, the  Father and the Spirit for


now and all eternity.  Amen.




     How can I open my heart more this new year to Mary so she can bring me closer to her son, Jesus?


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2010/12/27 by Gretchen Parrish

Birthdays are curious things.  If any of us made a list of the most important, happiest, proudest days in our lives, the particular day we were born would not likely factor high on the list, yet that is the day the world appoints for us to celebrate our life.  It isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It might even be good, but I still wonder about it periodically.  


This year, I experienced a birthday in an entirely new way for me: as the mommy.  Myles turned 1.  I would love to say that I handled the day with dignity, but that would be a lie.  I suddenly contracted the same form of insanity that drives my own mother to set her alarm for 2 a.m. so she can be the first person to wish me a happy birthday every year.  I planned multiple parties, baked for days, cleaned, cooked all his favorite foods—which I must admit was not the most appetizing menu for his guests with actual teeth.  I told my family they were not allowed to buy gifts.  They needed to make gifts at the party because the things they made would ultimately be far more precious than anything they could find in a store.  I even called the members of my family who are prone to bickering and threatened them with an old-fashioned ear-boxing if they uttered so much as one cross word.  Myles is more of a lover than a fighter; I figured he would appreciate the peace on his big day.  


Somewhere in the middle of the whole mother-of-the-birthday-boy insanity, it dawned on me that Myles would see pictures of this day, but he would not remember any of it.  I also reminded myself that he will not list the day he was born among the highlights of his life, so he will ultimately spend the same amount of time considering his birthday as the rest of us.  All this enlightenment changed nothing.  You see, the day he was born is the number one highlight at the top of MY list of best days ever.  


So, this year I plan to celebrate Christmas in solidarity with Mary.  I am sure if Jesus made a list of all the best days in his 33 years on earth, he would overlook Christmas.  Mary, on the other hand, would know just how important the day really is.  In honor of her, I will bake and clean and cook.  I will remind my family that the best gifts are the ones from their hearts, not the mall.  And I will take the necessary steps to ensure peace on my little corner of Earth.  No matter how many millennia have passed since she welcomed Him into her life and ours, He is still her little boy and help never hurts when you have a big party to throw.   Merry Christmas!


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Fourth Sunday of Advent
2010/12/18 by Harriet Holles, BVM

Then God spoke and said, “Ask for a sign, let it be deep as the netherworld or high as the sky!” (Isaiah 7:10)

Dare we ask for another sign when signs are all around us – both deep and high?  The incredible mystery of the cosmos unfolding for billions of years!  The gift nature of our very existence!  The desire for beauty and truth and love that continues to expand within our being!

God is in us, around us, up and down, woven into the fabric of all creation and we, too, are called to be signs of that Incredible Mystery.  Each of us, in a unique way, makes God visible; each of us brings God to expression.  My act of care, your invitation to hospitality, our living in joy and peace, affirmation and thoughtfulness are all signs.  Over a lifetime, long or short, we create, adjust, renew, deepen and highlight the signs that we are.

Little Suzie got that message. 

It was time for art in the kindergarten classroom.  Each promising young artist was intent on producing a masterpiece.  The teacher wandered the room, observing, commenting, encouraging.

“I’m drawing a picture of God,” little Suzie offered. 

“But no one knows how God looks,” responded the teacher, as she glanced over Suzie’s piece.

“WELL,” said Suzie, “they WILL, when I’m finished!”

When we look around us, what wonderful signs we see!  God is coming to visibility in each one of us.  But we’re not finished!  We are always called to more.  There are always deeper invitations.  If we’re still alive we’re not finished.

Little Suzie was right, when she is finished, not with her picture, but with her life, we will all know a little better who God is.

How are you doing with your picture of God? 


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Greetings from the Middle of the World
2010/12/15 by Luann Brown, BVM

The Indigenous of the Andes have compared the Northern hemisphere to the eagle and the Southern hemisphere to the condor. The eagle is associated with logic, reasoning, empirical proof -- the head. The condor symbolizes emotions, feelings, and intuition -- the heart. Modern Andean Indigenous recognize the need for dialogue between the two in order to be healthy and balance life. Below are some of the contrasts between Western Cosmology and Andean Indigenous Cosmovision.

The Cosmology of Western thought is intellectual, empirical, and abstract. It views the cosmos only from ideas, intellect, and reason. The Cosmovision of the Indigenous comes from a sensate, affective, and esthetic conception that includes the intellect.

Andean Cosmovision is holistic and sees that family as a unit. The community comes first in making priorities. Western thought is impersonal and individual. People are separate and individual achievement and self-actualization are stressed. 

Andean Indigenous live in harmony with the land. Equilibrium is found with and within the land.  Human beings are not owners, but guardians, caretakers, and conservators of the land. The Andean lives in harmony with the land. The human community, the natural community, and the sacred community live in mutual empathy. Humans are in conversation with nature and natural elements are considered to be alive (e.g. Yakumama=Mother Water). Andean agriculture conserves and respects, giving nutrition to Pachamama (Mother Earth). Andean medicine is holistic, integrating the body and spirit.

Western Cosmology separates religion and science. It concentrates on information and discovery, viewing nature as a resource. Nature is appreciated for its functional use, to be exploited by people.  Humans are the owners of everything. Humans and nature are not considered sacred. Everything revolves around the human being. Western agriculture is mechanized, using machinery and chemicals, for mass production. Western medicine has side effects. It is cold and mechanical.

With which Cosmology/Cosmovision do you identify? Can the two live in harmony and dialogue with each other?


Information retrieved from a table prepared by Laura Santillàn and Fernando Chimba.


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Our Lady of Guadalupe
2010/12/12 by Kathy Carr, BVM

December 12, 2010

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas.  Today we recall Mary reaching out to Juan Diego, a poor Aztec peasant in Mexico.  Mary, appearing as an Aztec princess, was a sign of God’s love for the oppressed people of Mexico who had been brutally conquered by the Spanish.   With these words of tenderness, Mary reached out to Juan Diego and his people:  “I want to be your mother.  I want to be mother of all the inhabitants of this land.  I want to right the wrongs.” 

Mary empowered Juan Diego to be a Christ-bearer to the indigenous people of Mexico…she sent him forth as messenger and teacher.  Our Lady of Guadalupe stands as a symbol of unity for all those struggling to leave a state of oppression in order to be free.  She invites each of us to be “Christ-bearers” in our world and to help those imprisoned by poverty, prejudice, injustice. 

Each of us can ask ourselves during this Advent season and on this special feast:  “How do I bring Christ’s message of love, justice, forgiveness and peace to our divided world?”

This feast has a special meaning for those of us in the community who made our novitiate at Guadalupe College in Los Gatos.  For us, Our Lady of Guadalupe visibly represents our BVM commitment to justice, especially as called forth in the 1960’s in our community involvement with Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.

Recently at Holy Family in Glendale, some of the former members of the set of 1965 were able to view the DVD of the BVM Historical Society presentation regarding Guadalupe College.  Below are the reflections of Joanne Pfeiler.  We welcome your reflections… 

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2010/12/12 by Elizabeth Fitting, BVM Associate

 At this Advent time I am asking myself what the Incarnation really means.  As I begin to comprehend all that it implies, how will I live differently? In memory of Blanche Gallagher I offer a quote from her book Meditations with Teilhard de Chardin, which is in turn a quote from Teilhard.

“In the humanity which is begotten today, the Word prolongs the unending act of God’s own birth: and by virtue of God’s immersion in the world’s womb, the great waters of the kingdom of matter have, without even a ripple, been imbued with life, the immense host which is the universe is made flesh.”  (Mooney, Christopher. Teilhard de Chardin and the Mystery of Christ. pg. 81)

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Third Sunday of Advent
2010/12/11 by Dan Abben, BVM Associate

Live the Questions

“Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.” These words from Saint James seem to contradict the overall theme of Gaudete—or Rejoice—Sunday. This juxtaposition, however, underscores the already/not yet tension of God’s kindom. On one hand, we rejoice and celebrate God’s dynamic presence manifest in the world around us. On the other, we await the fullness of God’s kindom that is yet to come.

In a world rife with violence and aggression, discrimination and injustice, we may be tempted to cry out, “How much longer must we wait, O God, for the fullness of your kindom?” In these moments we can find comfort in Rainer Maria Rilke’s often-quoted line: “Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart . . . Live the questions now.” Amid this already/not yet tension, we realize that our answer comes only when we live out the questions.

When we listen to and honor the deepest stirrings of our heart, when we choose to live with integrity, when we practice right relationships, we ground ourselves ever more deeply in the always, already present love that God is. Then, firmly rooted in God, we find ourselves able to risk the openness and vulnerability necessary to share God’s love with others.

As we authentically live the questions in the exigencies of our lives we notice the answer to our cry emerging before us: We do not have to wait for the fullness of God’s kindom. By our very being, rooted within God’s very being, we actualize the fullness of God’s love in the world around us.

How are you living the questions this Advent?


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Second Sunday of Advent
2010/12/05 by Ann Marie Dress, BVM

"The voice cries out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’"  Today's Gospel presents John the Baptist announcing the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Kingdom, guided by God's spirit, will be one that establishes justice, provides peace, and radiates joy.  John's message was similar to the message of the Old Testament prophets who chided the people of God for their unfaithfulness and who tried to awaken true repentance in them. Living among a people unconcerned with the things of God, John's work was to awaken their interest, unsettle them from their complacency, and arouse in them enough good will to recognize and receive Christ when he came.  Are you eager to hear God's word and to be changed by it through the power of the Holy Spirit?


 Jesus is ready to give us the fire of his Spirit that we may radiate the joy and truth of the gospel to a world in desperate need of God's light and truth.  His word has power to change and transform our lives that we may be lights pointing others to Christ.  Like John the Baptist, we too are called to give testimony to the light and truth of Jesus Christ.  Do you point others to Christ in the way you live, work, and speak?


 For our second week of Advent, I invite each of us to slow down (as I know I need to do) and ponder the meaning of Christ’s coming, explore how we may or may not be living up to the standards of discipleship, and consider how we might ourselves better seek God's Spirit at work in and around us as we seek to establish justice, provide peace, and radiate joy in our world.


 "Lord, let your light burn brightly in my heart that I may know the joy and freedom of your kingdom.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me to witness the truth of your gospel and to point others to Jesus Christ."






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First Sunday of Advent
2010/11/27 by Joanne Lucid, BVM

Come, Come O Emmanuel 




Imagine entering a room and finding under a lighted tree a beautifully wrapped present with a sign: “Don’t open now”.  Here is the question:  Do you think that you would wait?  What would you do?  Some , might react with the question, “Why can’t I?”  I remember when I did slip under the tree and poke at the package, peeling of the scotch tape to rip open the present…to be in the moment!




Waiting for some us does not come naturally.  Waiting puts us at odds with Christmas.  As we walk into church during these Advent days, we hear the hymns of “Come, Come, O Emmanuel”, we wait for a Messiah who seems to be running late.  In our American culture, we experience a desire for things to be here NOW.  We expect speed:  fast internet, speed reading, microwave, minute managers, to “end the war now”.  Who likes waiting?  A relative of mine tells me that we would be abandoning the people and others have told me that the pressure created in the country will be lasting for decades.  Americans are not good at waiting.




Yet, waiting is at the foundation  of our life. Can we see that in waiting we come to recognize the receiving in our lives of mutuality, listening, trust, friendship.  The capacity to be present in the moment, the Now of our lives is the gift a gift often given in the waiting.




These times have been tough, even fearful for many experiencing huge losses  in their lives….I do not need to remind the readers of the blog our consciousness of those losing their homes, jobs, the confusion as to what to do next, and for the Afghanistan people fearful for their children and themselves as to whose side to be on, how to go forward in their brokenness.




We know that there is room for impatient waiting, waiting for God to come, desperate waiting, “come, comfort, comfort my people”.  And we raise our voices in joy as we watched on our TVs the Chilean miners come up from the prison to be greeted by families, workers, by all of us thanking God for coming quickly to our aid.  Let us remember one another in these weeks ahead.  Remember now, no peeking under the tree!!!




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2010/11/11 by Elizabeth Fitting, BVM Associate


I have been reading Care of Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth by Ilia Delio, OSF.  She describes what she calls “The Method of Reflective Action.”  These are action steps taken after reflection on our relationship to the Earth as we ask ourselves questions like:

1)   To what extent do I realize my interconnectedness: my dependency on the things of the created world: my sisters and brothers as St. Francis termed the sun, the stars, the water and even the wolf?

2)   Do I perceive that in all created things I see around me I am looking at the face of Christ?

3)   Do I give myself the gift of regular contact with nature through walks in the woods, trips to the ocean, gardening or any other activity that deepens my connection to my Mother Earth?

I hope these probing questions stir something in you as they do in me.  More next month.


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Feast of All Souls
2010/11/03 by Luann Brown, BVM

Greetings form the Middle of the World


People in the United Status are celebrating Halloween. This holiday is generally not observed in Ecuador, though some of the practices have crept in. The holiday that is observed here is the Day of the Dead or All Soul’s Day, on November 2nd.  


 Relating to and communicating with loved ones who are deceased is an integral part of Indigenous spirituality.   For the Indigenous, death is a continuation of the life that we know in the spiritual sense. Thus, on the Day of the Dead, people travel to the cemeteries in droves to visit dearly departed. There, they converse with the deceased, telling them how their lives are going and recounting troubles and worries.


 In addition to the conversation, people bring food to share with their loved ones. The most popular foods are from the Andes: potatoes, ocas (a variety of potato), habas which are similar to lima beans, but much better!), and cuy (guinea pig). The specialty foods of the season are guaguas de pan (decorated bread babies which represent the departed souls) and colada morada ( a thick, hot, spicy fruit drink made from black corn, oranges, raspberries, pineapple, strawberries, and other native fruits, flavored with lots of sugar and spices).


 Outside of the culture, one might view these practices as macabre, but they can be cathartic and healing. Continuing a relationship with loved ones who have passed on is a beautiful way to face the loss and feel the presence of those who are physically absent from our lives.



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2010/10/20 by Elizabeth Fitting, BVM Associate



10/8/2010 by Elizabeth Fitting, BVM Associate




I have been working in my city garden the last few days, harvesting the last ripening tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash and enjoying their bounty.  At the same time I am thinking ahead to winter and planning my crop rotation: crimson clover for the nitrogen where the tomatoes grew, moving the strawberries to a fresh bed, and planting kale, broccoli, beets, onions and garlic seedlings to carry me through the winter.




I wonder what the humming bird dipping into my water fountain knows and how the warm earth, that provides so much nourishment to me, feels as I dig.   And I resonate with Passionist Father Thomas Berry’s statement that there is “a profound Christian awareness that the natural world is itself a manifestation of the divine.  This has led to the concept of revelation being contained in two scriptures: one the scriptures of the natural world, the other the scripture of the Bible” 




As I plant, I reflect on Thomas Berry’s words about the New Story: “the story of the universe is the new sacred story. . . The Genesis story, however valid in its basic teaching, is no longer adequate for our spiritual needs. . . .”There is a need for the religious traditions, . . . to appreciate that the primary sacred community is the universe itself  (italics mine).    He goes on to explain, “We need to understand that in all our activities the Earth is primary, the human is derivative.  The Earth is our primary community.” This statement will take me a long time to digest and even longer to grapple with the implications.




Quotes from Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts, Chpt. 4, “Earth as Sacred Community”


Comment (1)

from the Middle of the World!
2010/09/27 by Luann

Greetings from the Middle of the World!




According to the Andean calendar, we are in the season of planting, known in the Quichua language as Kulla Raymi.  At our school, Yachay Wasi, (House of Wisdom),


we have prepared the fertile Andean land for the planting of corn, beans, and habas (which are like lima beans, only much better!)




There is a ritual in which we ask Pachamama (Mother Earth) for a successful harvest and give her thanks for the abundance of gifts in our lives. Each of us offered her half of our favorite fruit and enjoyed the other half for ourselves.




This type of sharing with the earth has been around for centuries. The Andean Indigenous cultures have been practicing it since ancestral times.   It brings to mind the offerings of Cain and Abel in the Old Testament. I ask myself, “What are some other ways that I can express thank to Pachamama and return to the earth something I have been given, rather than only taking of her rich abundance?”




Comment (2)

from the Middle of the World!
2010/09/27 by Luann

Greetings from the Middle of the World!


According to the Andean calendar, we are in the season of planting, known in the Quichua language as Kulla Raymi.  At our school, Yachay Wasi, (House of Wisdom),

we have prepared the fertile Andean land for the planting of corn, beans, and habas (which are like lima beans, only much better!)


There is a ritual in which we ask Pachamama (Mother Earth) for a successful harvest and give her thanks for the abundance of gifts in our lives. Each of us offered her half of our favorite fruit and enjoyed the other half for ourselves.


This type of sharing with the earth has been around for centuries. The Andean Indigenous cultures have been practicing it since ancestral times.   It brings to mind the offerings of Cain and Abel in the Old Testament. I ask myself, “What are some other ways that I can express thank to Pachamama and return to the earth something I have been given, rather than only taking of her rich abundance?”


Comment (0)

International Day of Peace
2010/09/20 by Lou Anglin, BVM

The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") provides an opportunity for
individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on
a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to
coincide with the opening of the General Assembly.


May Peace Prevail On Earth


 “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix


I’m not a big Jimi Hendrix fan but I do I think he nailed it with this idea along with many others over the years who have shared similar thoughts. For me it makes it more personal. It’s not a matter just for Afghanistan and the United States, or Palestine and Israel. It’s also about how I use or misuse power. Yeah, I would like Secretary of State Clinton and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to work from this stance, but I know I also need to challenge myself to do the same.


People all over the world will stop for a minute to pray for world peace at noon Tuesday, September 21st. Join us to pray for peace in the world—and realize that it needs to start in each one of us.


Comment (1)

Internationa Day of Peace
2010/09/20 by Lou Anglin, BVM

The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") provides an opportunity for
individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on
a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to
coincide with the opening of the General Assembly.

May Peace Prevail On Earth

 “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

I’m not a big Jimi Hendrix fan but I do I think he nailed it with this idea along with many others over the years who have shared similar thoughts. For me it makes it more personal. It’s not a matter just for Afghanistan and the United States, or Palestine and Israel. It’s also about how I use or misuse power. Yeah, I would like Secretary of State Clinton and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to work from this stance, but I know I also need to challenge myself to do the same.

People all over the world will stop for a minute to pray for world peace at noon Tuesday, September 21st. Join us to pray for peace in the world—and realize that it needs to start in each one of us.

Comment (0)

International Day of Peace
2010/09/20 by Lou Anglin, BVM

The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") provides an opportunity for
individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on
a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to
coincide with the opening of the General Assembly.

May Peace Prevail On Earth

 “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

I’m not a big Jimi Hendrix fan but I do I think he nailed it with this idea along with many others over the years who have shared similar thoughts. For me it makes it more personal. It’s not a matter just for Afghanistan and the United States, or Palestine and Israel. It’s also about how I use or misuse power. Yeah, I would like Secretary of State Clinton and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to work from this stance, but I know I also need to challenge myself to do the same.

People all over the world will stop for a minute to pray for world peace at noon Tuesday, September 21st. Join us to pray for peace in the world—and realize that it needs to start in each one of us.

Comment (0)

Labor Day
2010/09/03 by Lou



It’s Labor Day and so officially the last weekend of summer—how did THAT happen? It’s also a time of mixed emotions for me. I’m grateful for a work that I find meaningful and at the same time very concerned for all those who are desperately looking for work. The unemployment rate in the U.S. right now is about 9.6%. I know that sometimes when I see a statistic I don’t react too much—but when that number represents people you love who are hurting then it does take on much deeper meaning.




The thing about work, too, is that it is paradoxical—work energizes and exhausts you. If you’re lucky you have friends at work but at the same time you don’t always want to go to work. You need to work but then often wish you didn’t have to work. Sometimes you avoid work which just means you’ll eventually have more work. Or my favorite- if you’re good at the work you do that often just means you’ll get more work to do!




I know my attitude about work, or about ministry which I believe our work really is, makes a huge difference. When I concentrate on being of service and sharing my gifts, then my hours spent at my ministry really isn’t work. The hours spent at my desk or talking with people isn’t hard, but is a privilege. When I find myself thinking that I’d really love to stay home and just read a book instead of going to the office I do really need to think of


the 9.6% who would love to have an office to go to, a work to do. And so I think I’ll make a better effort to be mindful of the gift of my ministry and to also pray for those who need employment.






Also for those of you interested, the US bishops have a Labor Day statement about work and justice issues that is also a good read.


Comment (1)

July 16 -- Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel
2010/07/16 by Carol Braham

Greetings, friends!  All of us are back home with the exception of the Maloney-McCrystal family and Caitlin.  We left for the States on Wednesday with the Maloney-McCrystal's and Caitlin staying behind to enjoy the beauty of the rain forest.  Our family traveled with Fr. Rick and Jeremy while the Stones and Tabaris left a couple of hours later.  We had quite the excitement trying to get out of Ecuador.  For some reason, it took a crazy amount of time to check everyone in and to get through Customs, despite arriving two hours early.  We all had to do the classic "OJ sprint" through the airport.  After arriving in Miami, they lost a trailer load of luggage for about an hour, so we were again in peril of missing our flights.  Alas, we all made it home safe and sound.  Despite the challenges that international travel can bring, it was an awesome trip!!  The Working Boy's Center, Nuevo Mundo School and Damien House, all run by BVM's or BVM associates along with Fr. John Halligan, long term volunteers and committed Ecuadorians, are completely inspiring.  What a beautiful blessing it was to see these programs at work.  Our entire St. Mary's contingent was absolutely in awe of the dedication, perseverance and selflessness of Madre Miguel, Fr. John, Sr. Cindy, Sr. Annie, and BVM associate Pat McTeague.  They serve as beautiful examples for all of us to emulate.  We have returned home with renewed energy and excitement to further their mission.  Our last day there, we brainstormed on new ways to further enhance the relationship St. Mary's has established with the WBC.  Both parents and children have come up with some new ideas to raise funds as well as deepen our solidarity.  It is amazing what can happen when a person is able to witness, first hand, the work of God!  I know we all look forward to the future and what will grow out of this experience - personally, as a parish community and as a partnership with our brothers and sisters in Ecuador.  Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers during our journey and may the peace of Christ continue to disturb you!
God Bless,
Carol Braham


Comment (1)

Friday's Blog
2010/07/09 by Bronwyn Stone

It´s Friday and another beautiful day here in Quito. This morning, we woke up early to participate en los juegos para los niños (games for the kids here at the Working Boys Center). As I ate my delicious breakfast of peanut butter, cornflakes, and banana on delicious bread baked in the bakery here at the center, a yearlong volunteer told us to get it in gear because we were taking the kids to a park today.

¡Que emocion! As I walked through the busy Quito streets, it struck me what an effort it is to escort 105 very excited niños to a park on the other side of town. But the voluteers at the center, as well as Rodolfo, handled it with apparent ease. It was super fun to joke with the kids as we marched in a tight clump to El Parque Ingles.

The park was beautiful and fun for both the kids and myself. They ran on the grass, we played jumprope, and I got to help one young girl named Stephani conquer her fears of the monkey bars. What a day!

Father Rick said a beautiful mass. His homily was about how finding peace is the goal of everyone, be they American or Ecuadorian. His conclusion was that all need to hear and live the word of God to find this inner peace.

Lunch followed at the bakery and I have heard murmurings of future fundraising activities upon our return to the US...we´ll keep you posted. I´m excited to help paint at Centro No. 2 today. I still have paint from yesterday covering my hands and cannot wait to start again.
Hasta luego,     Bronwyn Stone


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The Guadalupe College Story
2010/06/07 by Kathy Carr, BVM

Last Saturday, five of the BVMs who made all or part of their novitiate at our “second” novitiate at Guadalupe College in Los Gatos, CA, shared our story with those who attended the BVM Heritage Society meeting.

This story is unique in that only 10 BVMs made their complete novitiate in Los Gatos, and a few others made the latter part of their novitiate there.

It is also unique because Guadalupe College operated as a novitiate for only five years in the 1960’s. Though the buildings no longer exist, the spirit of Guadalupe lives on in  the lives of all who lived there as professed BVMs, as postulants and novices and those who were BVMs even for a short time.

Because we were “pioneers,” almost every major event was a “first”, and history/herstory was being written.  Thankfully we kept annals, which helped us to go back and relive the joys, the challenges, the changes and the learnings of those years.  Some of the words we feel best describe our experiences are:

  • freedom
    holy time
    growth through cultural, intellectual and spiritual experiences
    the strength of women bonding together 


Kate Hendel summed it up well in her closing comment:


            “Our community at Guadalupe--the BVMs, the lay staff, and our neighbors--was our family away from home.  The warmth and patience, the humor and flexibility, the love and compassion helped in our formation in ways that would not be written in a Directress’ book on how to deal with young postulants and novices.  To remember any of these individuals now, only brings smiles and thoughts of deepest gratitude.”

It was a joy for us (Kathy Carr, Margaret Cosgrove, Fran Donnelly, Kate Hendel, and Regina Qualls) to share the Guadalupe story with the congregation.  A DVD of the presentations will be available in the future."

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Reflections on Chicago Service Trip
2010/05/05 by Kathy Carr, BVM

After having some time to reflect on their experiences of the weekend, several participants would like to share how this has impacted their lives:


"Walking with the poorest of the poor and marveling at their positive attitudes and resilience."  Mary Ann Krems


"The gift of meeting persons and programs that show such respect for each person and their needs.  The blessing of sharing in prayer, processing, conversation with BVMs and associates.  To quote one of the homeless women at Deborah's Place: "The joy is in the journey!"  C. Jean Hayen


"I appreciated the immigration information and process that we had on Sunday morning.  It was so informative and powerful."  Joni Davis


Comment (3)

Chicago Service Trip Activities
2010/05/05 by Joan Judge Mirabal, Associate

(delayed due to technical difficulties)


Friday evening 20 BVMs, friends and associates from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Texas gathered to begin our immersion experience in Chicago.  Sr. Francilla Kirby talked about Holy Family parish, the first BVM mission in Chicago, comparing what the sisters did in the mid 1800's with the ministries they continue to do today.  Sr. Brigid Hart then explained the activity we would do with the women at Deborah's Place on Saturday morning:  make May Baskets, in keeping with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the 6 months of light following the 6 months of darkness!


Saturday dawned bright and sunny as we headed to Deborah's place, a housing and outreach center for homeless women.  We unloaded soil, potting containers and bright pansies and begonias.  The women enjoyed making and decorating May baskets for themselves and for friends.  As the morning wore on, we chatted over cookies and coffee, with much positive energy filling the room.


We then went to Inspiration Cafe in Uptown, where women receive training for jobs in restaurants.  In addition to supporting this ministry, we enjoyed the delicious brunch items on the menu that were served with a smile.


Next, it was across the street to Sarah's Circle, which has a long history of BVM involvement.  Carol Cook and the current volunteer director explained how this drop-in center helps homeless women, many of whom have physical or mental health issues, or have experienced violence in their lives.  Sarah's Circle is a place of confidentiality and safety for these women, offering many services for them.


Carol then took us on a walk through the Uptown neighborhood, pointing out the many organizations that offer various kinds of assistance to the homeless.


Our last stop was the Cornerstone Community Outreach, established by the Jesus People Community to serve the homeless.  They are one of the few organizations that offers housing not only for single men and women, but for that mother, father and children can stay together.  Because we were a large volunteer group, half of us began serving the meal while the others visited with the families, and then we switched places.  We were touched by the fact that so many of the male diners made a special effort to thank us for our presence and our work.


After finishing with the clean-up, we headed back to Wright Hall, exhausted but fulfilled.  We shared our learnings and impressions of the day over pizza...then hit the sack to prepare for a morning of learning about the need for just immigration reform.


P.S. One "small world" experience:  at Inspiration Cafe, we met a young woman who works part-time there (not in the homeless training program)...turns out she graduated with an education degree from Clarke College about 6 years ago and is currently teaching at a Catholic school in Chicago!


Comment (2)

Cutting of the Sod-Kumasai, Ghana Library Project May 1, 2010
2010/05/04 by Irene Lukefahr, BVM

The dream of a community library and adult education centre in Kumasi, Ghana is moving forward!  Approximately 150 children, youth, and adults gathered on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker to give thanks for the work of God’s hands and to ask for a successful completion to the construction process.  The joyful program included music, a brief history of the library, testimonies from a library participant, adult education student, the rector of St. Hubert’s Secondary School on which land the library will be built and hope-filled comments from the contractor. 

Following a reading from the late Archbishop Oscar’s Romero’s “Master Builder” prayer, Archbishop Thomas Mensah shared how his own love of reading began as a middle-school child. He commented on the value of adult education and referred to Archbishop Romero’s inspiring words reminding us that we are all workers, not master builders, prophets of a future not our own. The Archbishop was most generous in his praise and gratitude for the influence and generosity of the BVM Congregation and the many benefactors who have helped further this project.

Prayers of intercession focused on the beauty and care of the sacred land, the generosity of all our benefactors, our Library Advisory Board, architects, volunteers, the children, youth and adults who already use the library and adult education programs, and those who will make use of the facility in the future.

The blessing of the land and all those assembled, the cutting of the sod and planting of a young tree followed. Our concluding prayer reminded us to encourage each other to read, to learn and to expand our vision of a peace-filled world created in God’s image.

Keeping with tradition at such a gathering, was a plea to contribute to the construction costs.  Music and refreshments completed the program as a contagious spirit of gratitude and excitement filled the air. 

Pictures of the day are below.

Comment (3)

Emmanuel Danso from Kumasai
2010/05/04 by Irene Lukefahr, BVM

Emmanuel Danso has been enjoying books since a make-shift library was opened by BVMs in December 2006. Emmanuel shared how reading has given children something to do after school as well as helped them improve their English and writing skills. 


Student explaining why he appreciates library


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Preparing the May Baskets for Deborah's Place
2010/05/01 by Kathleen Conway, BVM from her Blackberry



Comment (1)

Making flower baskets
2010/05/01 by Kathleen Conway, BVM from her Blackberry

Associates preparing flower Baskets for women


Comment (2)

Kathy Carr at Wright Hall with other BVMs and Associates
2010/05/01 by Kathleen Conway, BVM from her Blackberry

BVMs and Assocates as they begin their immersion weekend in Chicago

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Chicago Service Weekend
2010/05/01 by Kathy Carr, BVM

Last night 20 BVMs, Associates and friends came together at Wright Hall for the beginning of our first Chicago Service Experience weekend.  We began with a meal, prayer and sharing what brought each of us to participate in this weekend.  Many expressed a desire to work together, building community while stretching ourselves with new experiences. 


Sr. Francilla Kirby shared with us about the kinds of outreach that continues to be done at Holy Family parish, our first BVM mission in Chicago.  Brigid Mary Hart then prepared us for our first activity this morning: we will be going to Deborah's Place, a  housing and outreach center for women, which offers various activities for women on Saturday morning.  This morning, May 1, we will help them make "May Baskets" with real flowers that they can take with them, and share life with them over coffee and cookies.


Then we're off to Inspiration Cafe, which teaches women how to work in the restaurant business.  We will support their endeavor by having lunch there, before crossing the street to Sarah's Circle, which has a long history of BVM involvement.  Carol Cook and a current staff member will talk about the work of Sarah's Circle, which helps women to get away from a life on the street.


We'll cap off the day at Cornerstone Community Center, where we will serve the evening meal to about 175 homeless families.


Gathering back at Wright Hall tonight, we know we will have much to share and that we will have been touched by the lives of all those whom we meet today.


Please keep us in prayer...that we may be open to the ways God might be speaking to us in each person and event of the day...


Comment (1)

Wednesday April 28 from Quito
2010/04/28 by Elizabeth Fitting, Associate


Comment (3)

Monday April 26, 2010
2010/04/26 by Bill Hare

This will be short since I´m on someone else´s site and I´m not sure how this works.  I am surrounded by kindness.  I am traveling with 11 other ladies and they are kind to me.  We are staying with people of incredible kindness.  We are surrounded by the kindness of strangers.  This is a poor country.  But the people we´ve met as we travel around are - they are something. 
Being here in Quito is kind of like looking out into a snow storm and trying to understand the beauty and wonder in each snow flake.  Sometimes you just have to step out into it.  All the sights and sounds and sensations of the snow as it swirls around me is more then I can cope with.  It will almost swamp my little boat.  I´m sure we will be thinking about this for a long time.

Today we met Annie Credidio.  She is a BVM who has been here for a long time.  She started a hospital that ministers primarily to people with Hanson´s desease.  She recieves them into her place and cares for them without question or condition.  Unconditional love.  She is like all the BVMs we have met, in how she serves the poor around them. 

It is too much I´m going to check out. 

It has been a real treat getting your emails.  I see the little kids here and think of my little kids.  I watch the moms here take care of their little kids and think of you and the way you love your kids.  I watch the dads as they work and kid around with their little kids and think of my sons and the good dads they are trying to be.  Being in this place makes me glad that your are in your place and soon I will see you.  I´m sure all these wives and moms who are traveling with me fee the same way   --- Bill Hare


Comment (6)

Easter Sundy
2010/04/05 by Kathy Carr

Last year during the Easter season, I ran across a beautiful reflection that continues to inspire me.  Based on the resurrection story as told in Matthew 28, Irene Zimmerman describes the faith of the women who come to the tomb to anoint Jesus after the Sabbath.  I find it particularly appropriate for our times—celebrating the call of women to proclaim “the Good News.”




“The heady fragrances they carried rose above their heads like incense, exorcising the garden of death.  ‘Who will roll away the stone for us?’ the women whispered to one another.


            None of the men had offered to go, so the women had set out in haste alone to straighten twisted feet and fingers, comb black blood from matted hair, anoint the precious body with spices.


            ‘But who will roll away the stone?’ they whispered again as they neared the tomb.  ‘Jesus said prayer could move mountains.  We must stay together, continue to believe.’  They stepped firmly forward, balancing their heavy jars.


            When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.  Inside, they heard from a being a dressed in light; ‘You are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He has been raised; he is not here.’


            Fleeing from the tomb, intent on telling no one, they tripped pell-mell over terror and amazement onto the glowing feet of Jesus. ‘Go tell the others!’ he commanded.


            After the telling, they set out in haste—together this time, a community of equals—to roll away stones, straighten crooked paths, comb the far countries, anoint the precious world with Good News. (“Easter Witnesses” in Woman Un-Bent, St. Mary’s Press, 1999)




Words to ponder this Holy Week…




How does the risen Christ empower each of us to share the freeing word of the Good News to a world so often dominated by exclusion, prejudice, hatred and violence?  How can we be sacraments of new life--of inclusion, welcome, hope and peace?





Comment (0)

Good Friday
2010/04/05 by Jean Hayen, BVM

It is the message of Jesus, not His death, that sets us free. 
His message is light for our darkness. Michael Moorwood
How do you experience the Good Friday message of Jesus?
Below is my experience of Jesus message:
Jesus willingly gave Himself over out of love, listening to the Spirit of Love.  He freely chose to accept the cross lovingly for the sake of New Life. Jesus is nonviolence incarnate &fully human.  We are invited to make the same journey. 
How often I have walked the Way of the Cross with our Mt Carmel Sisters.  I recognize in them a courageous and peaceful acceptance of diminishments which are a part of our lifes journey.   How often, Loving Jesus, have I resisted Your Way.  You were so free that You were able to hand over Your life without resistance.  Yet, You lived and walked Your truth.  Grace me to walk Your Way of surrender, acceptance, and peace as I speak and live my truth.
Good Friday
Love lived
Truth spoken
Suffering shared
Life freely
laid down for love Ones.
Truth lived
Price paid for truth lived
Love spoken
Actions speak
Saving all&
God, through Jesus,
experiences heart struggles.
Human journey made divine.
Love lived
Truth spoken
Suffering shared
Life freely
laid down for loved Ones.


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Holy Thursday/April Fool's Day
2010/04/01 by Sandy Rodemyer, BVM



(John 13: 1-15)


After supper, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples...even the feet of Simon Peter, who naturally protested with his usual bravado, “You will never wash my feet.”  Good Jew that he was, Peter was not about to have his Master take on the role of the lowest-of-the-low house servant for HIM.  This traditional Jewish custom of washing the dusty feet of house guests was not what Jesus should be doing.  But Jesus told Peter that he would have no part with Jesus unless Peter complied...which, of course, he did with his over-the-top response, “Then wash all of me.”

“What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.”  Familiar words of Jesus.  And so we have understood...for centuries.  Jesus was setting us the example of what it meant to be His follower.  We were to be servants.  And so we have tried to be.  Being a servant is hard work, challenging work.  We often resist the call because we think that we know the cost of servanthood.

But DO we understand what Jesus did?  REALLY understand?  Could there be more than meets the eye in the washing of the feet?  John Dear, SJ,  thinks so.  In his NCRonline blog of March 23, he presents a radically different view.  He says that Jesus was really following the example of Mary of Bethany, who washed his feet earlier.  Nothing radical about that...except that she was anointing Jesus’ feet to prepare Him for His “impending death.”  Dear believes that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples to prepare them “for the journey of nonviolence, for the Way of the Cross and resurrection, for the consequences of our resistance to injustice and empire.”

Suddenly the notion of “service” seems  Anointing for martyrdom?  That’s a very scary notion.  Maybe that’s just John Dear going off on his “political” bent again.  Maybe....or maybe John Dear is just playing an April Fool’s joke on us.  But then...St. Paul DID say that we are “fools for Christ.”

What will you be thinking about when YOUR feet are washed tonight? To what is Jesus REALLY calling us?  Something to ponder as the bowl approaches.


Comment (1)

Compelled by Love: A Palm Sunday Meditation
2010/03/29 by Kathryn Linhardt, BVM Associate

At the height of his popularity, and with crowds at fever pitch, Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem.  In the midst of palm-swaying adulation, the Messiah-of-the-Moment enters the city knowing that all too soon he will be the Divine Outcast when the mob turns against him. What is he thinking as he travels the parade route to his impending death sentence? Surely, he feels alone in the tumult; a soul already sorrowful unto death.  The chanting multitudes think they know him, calling him by name, but the times are volatile, the mood will change.  In no time at all, this Anointed One will succumb to the treachery that awaits him.  Christ, however, will ultimately rise up, leavened and enlivened by pure and infinite love.  And, tenderly, mercifully, he continues to lead us through the mayhem, illuminating our limited understanding, liberating our stubborn opaqueness, and inspiring us to risk all for love as we journey together to his sacred realm, his radiant kingdom.  Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Lord, Forgive us for being oblivious, self-centered, and superficial, like all your disciples through the ages.  We are frayed and fanned out like tired palm leaves, lacking both the attention span and the compassion to fully comprehend the depth of your profound and redeeming love.  This Holy Week, as we once again read the gospel account that begins in exultation and ends in execution, give us the courage to look you in the eye as you pass by.  For you are The One.


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The Raising of Lazarus
2010/03/29 by Mary Anne Hoope, BVM

The story of the Raising of Lazarus (Jn. 11:1-45) prefigures the resurrection of Jesus. The story is situated just before the passion narrative.
     There are many things one can say about the raising of Lazarus and the desire of Jesus to bestow fullness of life on others but let us focus our attention on Martha, the sister of Lazarus. Apparently Mary, Martha and Lazarus were close friends of Jesus and had often received him into their home. When Jesus is informed of the death of Lazarus, he goes to his friends and it is Martha who welcomes him. She shows tremendous faith in Jesus, not only in what could have been but in what can be. Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died, but even now I know that God will grant you whatever you ask of him  Jesus says
I am the resurrection . Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live,  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
And Martha says, Yes, Lord I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, the One who was to come into the world.
Do these words ring a bell? Sound familiar? Yes. In the Gospel of Matthew it is Peter who makes this profession of faith (Mt. 16:16). In Johns community it is Martha- which speaks of her probable leadership and the great esteem in which she is held in the Johannine Christian community.
     Martha is not afraid. She is self-assured. She trusted her own experience. She receives the revelation of Jesus and accepts the challenge. Do you believe? And she responds without hesitation. Martha is spokesperson for the deepest faith of Johns community.  At the end of the Gospel, John says that he has written all that he wrote that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,  
In the face of death ---and what is more destructive than deathMartha believes in something radically new. She is a woman of hope. She comes to believe not only in the resurrection on the last day but that even now, through Jesus, Gods power to raise the dead to life is available. Henri Nouwen, says that a person of hope is someone who lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.   We might say Gods hands.
     We need to be people of hope, people who dream new dreams, see new possibilities, envision new ways of being and living and sharing. Even in the face of death, though we grieve, we need to witness to our belief in the resurrection and the power of life over death.  Jesus says that he has come that we may have life and have it to the full and that the will of the Father is that we have eternal life.
     The basic meaning of Lent is spring time. Spring is a time of new life and growth. It is a season of wonder and promise, a time when small buds foreshadow leafy trees and flowering shrubs. Spring follows upon the harshness of winter, the bleakness of cold, grey days. The reality of life overshadows the appearance of death. So , too, the Church, in her wisdom, reminds us that the Christ who has died is now risen. The raising of Lazarus from the dead foreshadows the even more miraculous raising of Jesus, a raising to new life in which we who believe will one day share. Like Martha we need only have faith


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One a day reflection
2010/03/09 by Mary Healey, BVM

1.  The disciples asked Jesus, Who has sinned?   This man or his parents? Jesus brushed aside their notions then, but Who has sinned? is a good question now.   Who is responsible for a child being born blind?   Is it a mining company polluting the water his mother drinks?   Or a corrupt official embezzling the funds that should have vaccinated her against measles?  Or some other preventable cause?   Have I sinned in enjoying the benefits of a system that enables this evil?  Today when I hear bad news, instead of thinking, How terrible!  I'll try to think, How could this have been prevented?   Can I do something?

2. Jesus spat, made mud with his saliva, smeared the man's eyes and told him to wash.  This seems a bit unsanitary, but it certainly didnt bother the man born blind.  Where do my cultural assumptions about cleanliness, punctuality, decorum, even noise interfere with my relations with persons from other backgrounds?   Today I will ride the bus among folk who have different standards.  Can I avoid judging them?

3. Some of the Pharisees said of Jesus, He does not keep the Sabbath. Moses wrote, Keep the Sabbath holy. How?   Curing blind men seems plenty holy to me, but other rules, some of which make no sense to me, had been made for the Sabbath.   This makes me think of the current inquiry into U.S. religious women.  The sisters vowed to live according to the Constitutions of their congregations, not according to the rules of outsiders.   What can I do among the people I meet to clarify that?


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Reflection on Third Sunday of Lent
2010/03/03 by Elizabeth Fitting, BVM Associate

Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.(It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water.(Jesus said to her,(Give me a drink.(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.(The Samaritan woman said to him,(How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink? John 4:6-4:10 Doesnt this passage knock our stereotypes if we understand the culture of Jesus! Jesus is asking a woman, a Samaritan woman no less, for something! The Samaritans were considered impure and only in certain situations could a male converse directly with a female. Here Jesus is crossing both religious and social boundaries. That in itself is a lesson for all of us as we worry about who we might offend when we feel the wish to speak out or take some risky action. The path of risk was one Jesus walked most of his public life since his first allegiance was to the Kingdom of God, not to the often petty laws and practices of religious or social leaders. The more touching aspect of this story however is Jesus delicate sensitivity to the Samaritan womans deepest needs despite her off-putting response to his request for water. He shows her first his own need his thirst, making himself vulnerable. Then in a few words he lays opens her life before her, speaking respectfully but honestly. In this place of mutual vulnerability an exchange happens that causes a transformative experience for the woman. Its impact is such that she wants all those in her village to hear the good news Jesus brings and she becomes one of Jesus disciples. She is not one of the well know 12, but one of many generations of woman who, in their own, usually quiet and forceful way, live and spread the gift of searing love and inner freedom that Jesus taught and lived. This story is worth reading and pondering many times with its multiple layers :the vibrant encounter between Jesus and the unnamed woman, the examples of vulnerability, courage and compassionate love, and the symbolism of water from the well- Jacobs Well. Imagination can lead one into the tangled past of the Samaritan woman before the point of meeting Jesus and we can only begin to feel what must have broken open for her in this encounter. Can we allow ourselves this type of vulnerability, courage? Can we let flow the deep wellspring of love that God wants to pour out from our hearts and see where it will take us?

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Second Week of Lent
2010/02/22 by Irene Lukefahr, BVM

Reflection on the Second Sunday of Lent:  The Transfiguration

The Gospel for the second Sunday of Lent gives us a glimpse of Jesus in all his glory. Lukes account of Jesus Transfiguration holds familiar images and many questions to ponder.  
What was this transfiguration moment like for Jesus?  How did he experience more deeply the fullness of his identity as Gods Beloved One?  What specifically were Jesus, Moses and Elijah discussing together?   Why did Jesus choose Jesus Peter, James and John to this communal mountaintop revelation?  Did Jesus gain strength and courage for what lay ahead or did the experience leave him with a heavy heart&a heart filled with unconditional, steadfast love?
What meaning does Jesus transfiguration have for you?  When have you felt Gods transforming love in your life?  Are you growing in the awareness that the same Divinity that shone through Jesus humanity dwells within you and all creation?  Have you grasped the reality that the glory of the Resurrection is already at the very core of your being, shining forth in a world searching for light?? Are you willing to open your heart more fully to Gods transforming grace? How does the realization that you are Gods beloved strengthen you for the Lenten journey?
Pray  Psalm 105 this week:  Glory in the radiance  of the Beloved".  Know you are Gods beloved one.


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Ash Wednesday and the First Week of Lent
2010/02/15 by Harriet Holles, BVM

See, now is the acceptable time. 
See, now is the time of salvation.  (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Lent offers us its gift of “nows” -- forty days and forty nights –
hours, minutes, seconds.
I AM, the great Mystery, holds God’s Being totally in every instant.
We, the creatures, breathe in and out, inhale and exhale, receiving our lives one moment at a time.

Stay, stay in the now reality.  No two---are alike.
  Now can be a moment of presence.
  Now, a moment of opportunity.
  Now, a moment of challenge.

Attend to your breathing, in and out, slowing and calming.
   No longer do I have yesterday,
   and I do not yet have tomorrow.

God’s faithful favors are not exhausted,
  but are new in this moment.
Stop your words and listen.  Quiet your thoughts and accept.

Become aware of your spirit, energized by the Spirit.
  Cherish the gift of consciousness.
  Delight in its possibilities.

Notice your longing, seasoned by your imagination.

Now is the time of choice.
Now is the time of transformation.
Now is the time of union.

“. . .the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be, . . .”  (Mary Oliver)

Have the time of your life this Lent!


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Gentle Discourse or Not?
2010/01/08 by Elizabeth Avalos, BVM


Sandra Schneiders, IHM has written 5 essays for the National Catholic Reporter on religious life. 

What struck me more than her very articulate and thought provoking essays was the strong attack of those opposed to her description of religious life as prophetic witness.

It seems that we are moving away from on opportunity for discourse that allows us to delve deeper into the heart of an issue, but instead we are plunging into the depths of hostile verbal confrontation. 

In Sandra’s second essay she unpacks the story of the woman accused of adultery.  The punishment for such a crime is very violent and those coming with the woman to Jesus, were in a very hostile mood.  Yet Jesus diffused the incident and all walked away without a stone being thrown. 

It is my hope that we will be able to read Sandra’s essays and take the time to reflect on their content and then have a meaningful gentle discourse.



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Christmas Silence
2010/01/04 by Mary Therese Finan, BVM Associate

Little Christmas is almost here which signals the end of the
Christmas season, but the silence and gift of this season continues.

<!--[endif]-->Angels singing, sheep bleating, camels snorting…then

Carolers singing, bells ringing, children laughing…now.

It seems that there are many sounds connected with Christmas. As I sit at my harp playing carols that are triumphant, charming, or lullabies, I realize that so many carols end in with the child asleep, with heavenly peace or with the awed act of adoring the new born.   The night, a time of quiet is called “divine”. It is in this quiet silence that we receive the gift, New Life, newly born for us.

And it is in silence that we come to see for ourselves, to join with the angels, the shepherds, the wise people in deep adoration. It is only in silence that we can receive the Gift of God, the person of Jesus.  And it is in silence that the Spirit joins us to the depth of God’s giving. 



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Christmas Season and National Public Radio

Every day on my way to work the public radio morning news becomes part of my morning prayer.  On Fridays, at 7:30 a.m. right before I make the final turn I catch the Story Corps* portion. Often times I find myself close to tears, or experiencing an “Ah! Ah! moment or just in awe of the humanity around me.  There are stories of death and life, hardship and hope, joy and pain.  Though I do not know the persons formally I feel that they have invited me into their most precious lives for the 3-4 min of my listening.

And isn’t that much of what this Christmas season is all about.  The Son of God becoming human, one of us.  Flesh of our flesh.  Jesus is entering into our humanity in all its aspects – in all our relationships.  Father/son, mother/daughter, sister/brother, friend/ friend, coworker and companion. parent/children, husband/wife and employer/employee and on and on. God’s ultimate love relating to us in all our emotions, thoughts, desires, and longings.  So as one moves through this all too short liturgical season may we reflect on, share and honor our collective and personal relational stories and be willing to share them with one another.  Bonds will be strengthened, insights deepened and love expanded.  Perhaps the world will be a better place, truly a place of peace, which this Incarnational event promises.
-- Marilyn Wilson, BVM

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit oral history project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another's lives through listening.  Since 2003, over 50,000 people have shared life stories with family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is preserved at the Library of Congress.

From StoryCorps participants.
“This project makes it possible to connect the past present and future, which is all we have. What can be more exciting than that?”

“The StoryCorps project may well be the most important cultural event in America today. It's about us. About who we are. About where we've come from, and where we want to go.”


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Mary and Child
2009/12/28 by Joni Davis, BVM Associate

As we enter the days after Christmas we continue to reflect on the meaning and impact of Jesus birth into our world.

 MARY AND CHILD    Mary, your yes changed the world, but especially your world.To first feel the baby in your womb move and know that this was God. Wow!! As a young girl this must have been remarkable to know that the child you were carrying was the result of your Yes to God. As the months moved on the time for the census came just as your time drew near. The trip to Bethleham must have been very long and hard on you. With (no inn( to stay in, a stable will be your birthing room. Joseph and you( deliver God's son Jesus. What a beautiful boy! As you hold him in your arms and kiss him, do you know you are kissing your creator?    

Mary, the shepherd's, poor and the lowest of people, come to adore Jesus. They tell you Angels told them of His birth. In the stable, as Jesus lay in the manger, did you ever realize how important your Son would be to the poor  and down trodden? Mary, as you feed Jesus, do( you feel you are being fed immense love? Joseph was always there to help by cleaning up the stable, getting water and food. How kind, loving and patient he was. Joseph was in awe as he watched the Mother of God holding Jesus.     

When the Kings came bearing gifts, the rich and noble were paying( Him homage. Did you think that your Son would be important to all people, rich and poor alike? A pure Virgin, Mary, there must have been so many(things running through your mind. Your complete trust in your creator, God, was a blessing. It kept you focused on the now moment. When Jesus smiled up at you he must have lit up the place. The love that You and Joseph experienced would light up hearts forever. The love of having Jesus with us would change our lives also.


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December 23rd
2009/12/23 by Rose Mary Meyer, BVM

December 23rd Reflection






Advent prepares us to celebrate Christmas.  Excitement builds, even in the midst of days brimming with busyness. During these last couple days of Advent, we feel a call to stillness, to contemplation.  We find ourselves humming “O come, o come Emmanuel.”




We already know that God is within and among us, but celebrating Incarnation is the heart of Christmas.  Even though we might feel fatigue, we’re dancing from task to task in anticipation and awe.  The mystery of


Incarnation enlivens hope in our lives.




We live in hope


     --hope for the millions in refugee camps, that a “star” may guide these people safely back to a peaceful homeland;


     --hope for those seeking food and shelter, that human beings will be “houses of bread”, reaching out with open arms and hearts, offering nourishment for bodymindspirit;


     --hope for a renewed consciousness of Earth as a living entity, as “house of bread” for all species;


     --hope that people will live the implications of interconnectedness and interdependence with all creation;


     --hope for the victims of trafficking, that we will dismantle the interlocking systems of entrapment so that victims might be released from their bondage;


     --hope for the restoration of human dignity for workers when they receive living wages and benefits;


     --hope for healing the scars of colonialism, dualism, racism, sexism, all systems of oppression;  


     --hope, hope, hope….




The mystery of Incarnation is always unfolding hope among us.  May we live the miracle and hope of Incarnation every day!  Merry Christmas!






                             --Rose Mary Meyer, BVM




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4th Sunday of Advent
2009/12/19 by Rose Mary Meyer, BVM

As I light the fourth candle on the Advent wreath, I imagine Mary and Joseph discussing their plans for their trip to Bethlehem.  I picture Mary busy cooking, baking, cleaning, packing, preparing for the trip.  In the midst of all these activities, was her excitement and her concern about giving birth framing each moment?




I wonder why Mary decided to go to Bethlehem since she was soon to give birth.  Only men had to register to fulfill the decree of Caesar Augustus.  Mary knew that walking to Bethlehem would be strenuous for her. 




On their journey, Mary and Joseph probably noticed the fields around Bethlehem.  In Hebrew, the name “Bethlehem” means “house of bread,” an appropriate description of that geographic area.




As they walked along, did Mary and Joseph express their gratitude for their daily bread, gift of Earth?  Did they remark about the flour ground from the grain in the surrounding fields, the water from the nearby wells, the leaven, the kneading, the fire for baking?  Did they feel gratitude and awe that these natural ingredients are transformed into bread to be broken and shared?




Did Mary speak about the ongoing mystery of her pregnancy, her delight that she and Elizabeth were able to be together and support each other, her excitement and her fears about possibly giving birth away from home, perhaps in Bethlehem?  What meaning would a child born in Bethlehem, house of bread, have for the future?




Those of us living in the 21st century retell this meaning-full journey story. What a powerful story to have lasted for generations!  How does this story motivate us to be a “house of bread”?  What is the meaning of being a “house of bread” in this century where billions worldwide are experiencing the aches of many hungers?




How do we express our appreciation for Earth, sharing an extravagant abundance of ingredients for “bread”?  Bethlehem, house of bread, impacts our lives as it did the lives of Mary and Joseph.




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Saturday, 3rd Week of Advent
2009/12/19 by Kathleen Mullin, BVM

Saturday, December 19, 2009




From  the opening prayer in today’s Mass we ask, “Give to us true faith and love to celebrate the mystery of God made human….”




Jesus came “into this world


to walk a certain path,


fulfill a certain destiny.


He consciously fulfilled what had been ‘written’ for him.


As I look back I see in wonder what was ‘written’


And has thus far been fulfilled


in my own life…


I see with joy what has been done through me


to make the world a better place….”


                               (Anthony de Mello)




With boldness, humility, simplicity, trust and joy we continue our unique journey with Jesus, with our sisters and brothers, with Mary Frances Clarke.


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Friday, 3rd Week of Advent
2009/12/18 by Kathleen Mullin, BVM

Friday, December 18, 2009




Joseph, disturbed by the shocking news of Mary’s pregnancy when they were still engaged and not living together, paid attention to a dream.  There he found a solution and solace.  Joseph dared to believe the astonishing story about Mary


and in the action of the Holy Spirit, as Matthew tells us in the gospel today.




Often we are caught in a dilemma.  Let us pray with Ed Hays in the spirit of Mary and Joseph, Mary Frances Clarke and many who help us interpret our “dreams”.




“Guide us with the light of your Spirit,


            to be aware of the rough ways in our relationships,


            with family, friends and strangers,


            with co-workers, co-learners


            and with those in authority.”




And with Diana Macalintal:


“…Bless us who continue to seek You in dreams.


Open our ears to hear You in our visions,


loosen our tongues to speak Your word,


strengthen our hands to respond swiftly in action,


and embolden our hearts that what we hear in the dark


we may proclaim in the light.”    (adapted)


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Thursday, 3rd Week of Advent
2009/12/17 by Kathleen Mullin, BVM

Thursday, December 17, 2009




Today’s gospel genealogy passage from Matthew tests the proclaimer’s naming skills and gives us a reminder that our family history is significant.  For many of us the transmission of faith and values through generations helps shape our identity and choices. 




“Longing for wholeness is a yearning to live wholly and completely into one’s life, to gather up the unlived bits and pieces of the past,to embrace and love those who loved us, and


to weave them forever into the fabric of memory.


It is an awareness of the coming wholeness, a final transcendence….”


                                              (Nancy Hiles)




May the joy we share,


the kindness and compassion we extend.


the justice we seek for all


and the love we accept and give


enrich our patterns of generativity.


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Wednesday, 3rd Week of Advent
2009/12/16 by Kathleen Mullin, BVM

Wednesday, December 16,, 2009


At our parish, the ecumenical Advent Vespers music and reflections each Sunday echo today’s Alleluia verse,

Isaiah 40: 9, “Raise your voice and tell the Good News.”  The good news of Advent scripture passages link daily with our personal good news toward renewing all of creation in this, our planet’s Eighth Day of Creation. 


Sing and pray verse three of the Evening Hymn, “Creator of the Stars of Night”.

“Give us a love that never dies,

a vision of the world to come:

when all oppression finally ends,

and all the homeless find a home.”


In the weekly service, we pause between the hymns and verbal prayers, and I am reminded of Joan Chittister’s statement:   “Sometimes words get in the way.  Prayer is silence.  It is dance.  It is poetry.  It is song.  It is tears.  It is laughter. Then, little by little, it becomes life.”


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Tuesday, 3rd Week of Advent
2009/12/14 by Kathleen Mullin, BVM

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 




Responsorial Psalm 34 excerpts




O, open your hearts, friends,


that your pain and loneliness


be turned to Love,


and then, we shall rejoice


in the Beloved together!




Keep your heart open and free,


make time to dwell in Silence,


become a peaceful presence


in the world.


                             (Nan Merrill)




The Beloved hears the cry of the poor.




In this holy season, what are we doing to connect with persons in need in our extended family, in community, in our local area?   Recalling responses of John the Baptist in Sunday’s gospel, we sense again the call to renewal, to a commitment to


just living. 




May we be a blessing to each other.


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Monday, 3rd Week of Advent
2009/12/14 by Kathleen Mullin, BVM

Monday, December 14th, feast of St. John of the Cross




“Be silent.  Be still, alone,


Empty before your God.


Say nothing.  Be silent.  Be still.


Let your God look upon you.  That is all….


Let your God love you!”


                           (Edwina Gateley)




John of the Cross, a contemplative, invites us to contemplate. 


His life reflects the balance of prayer and service, of collaboration (with Teresa of Avila) and action for needed change.   He possessed an inner joy despite being opposed and imprisoned for being a reformer.




Being “present to the Presence”, as Albert Haase names the discipline of prayer, “fosters a prayerful, contemplative attitude and approach to daily life”.


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Sunday, 3rd Week of Advent
2009/12/13 by Kathleen Mullin, BVM

Sunday, December 13th, Gaudete-Rejoice Sunday






“Sing joyfully!”


“Cry out with joy and gladness”








Such urgings from today’s readings may challenge our feelings.  As we complete the first decade of the 21st century, many feel assaulted by crucial issues.  Yet we ponder:  “to the anxious:  be strong and fear not!”




Our God is always with us, waiting—


  • for our awakening to the Divine Presence

  • for our trust

  • for our generous sharing with those in need, as John the Baptist taught

  • for us to celebrate our deepening relationships with God, with those treasure, with those who prod us to live the glad tidings.




Rejoice and give thanks!


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Saturday, 2nd Week of Advent
2009/12/12 by Dolores Becker, BVM

SATURDAY   Sirach 48:1-4,9-11    Psalm 80: 2-3,15-16,18-19  Matthew17:101-3


Elijah was a formidable prophet—imagine seeing him go to heaven in a whirlwind, in a chariot with fiery horses. Let your imagination recall someone that powerful in your life—spend time recalling specific instances, maybe you may want to journal or create a poem or art piece.


Lord, let us see your face and we shall be saved. Look deeply into the faces of those you encounter today. Share a smile and see what reaction you get.


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Friday, 2nd Week of Advent
2009/12/11 by Dolores Becker, BVM

FRIDAY  Isaiah 48:17-19   Psalm1:1-2,3,4,6  Matthew 11:16-19




The Lord begs us listen. Are you good at that? If we do listen properly we’ll be like Abraham and our descendents will resemble the sand. If you’re by the shore mingle with the grains of sand. Try and count the individual grains. If you meditate, possibly, with an egg timer—study the grains as they gently pass through the hole.


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Thursday, 2nd Week of Advent
2009/12/10 by Dolores Becker, BVM

THURSDAY   Isaiah 41:13-20   Psalm 145:1,9,10-11,12-13   Matthew 11:11-15


The Lord our God has come and reversed the harshness meted out to Israel; behold rivers, fountains, springs of water and a vast array of trees will appear. The hand of the Lord has given these for us, how am I using and preserving them? Let us make known to all the glorious splendor of the kingdom.


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Wednesday, 2nd Week of Advent
2009/12/09 by Dolores Becker, BVM

WEDNESDAY   Isaiah 40:25-31   Psalm 103:1-2,3-4,8,10  Matthew 11:28-30


Jesus promises to refresh us, if we but “Come”. Advent days are a gift of refreshment. Why not take Jesus at his word and find rest—solace from whatever is burdening you now. If we accept that refreshment then we can soar on eagle’s wings. Use the familiar hymn “On Eagle’s Wings” as your background mantra today.


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Tuesday, 2nd Week of Advent
2009/12/08 by Dolores Becker, BVM

TUESDAY   Isaiah 40:1-11   Psalm 96:1-2,3,10,11-12,13  Matthew 18:12-14


“Comfort, give comfort … speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim that her guilt is expiated.” These words speak to the heart—our Advent task. Maybe in our periods of prayer and overflowing into our daily life today we can exhibit a gentle self to ourselves and those we encounter.


Treat yourself and listen to this hymn as part of Handel’s “Messiah”.


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Advent Monday, Week 2
2009/12/07 by Dolores Becker, BVM

MONDAY   Isaiah 35:1-10  Psalm 85: 9-10,11-12,13-14  Luke 5:17-26


Jesus was a popular teacher. Many would want to hear him. The paralytic wanted to be healed but the devotees of Jesus make it impossible. His friends lowered him through the roof—no thought of sterilization or rude disruption of the session—just getting close to the teacher. What would have been your reaction? Consider being the sick one.


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2nd Sunday of Advent
2009/12/06 by Dolores Becker, BVM

Second Week of Advent


Dolores Becker, BVM






Advent is my favorite liturgical season. To me it’s an anticipatory time, one of great expectation which falls, for many as the busiest four weeks of the year but I’m asking us to give serious attention to the preparatory aspect this year.




Let these days draw us deeper into the Scriptures. I already had an awakening. I prayed and then read today’s Gospel and immediately was caught by the high-powered names mentioned in the opening verses. They caught me off guard and directed my attention to the Palm Sunday Gospel (Luke 22:14-23,56) we’ll hear; we must never lose sight during Advent of the Holy Week events—all are connected because we’re preparing for the Savior’s coming—and that’s the true meaning of Jesus’ name.




Many of us have enjoyed “Gospel” where the Baptist cries out “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” How have you and how are you reaching to prepare the way? Who in your life has been your John the Baptist? Have you ever thanked that person? It’s never too late.




Reflect on your life’s events. Has your way been straight? Have you put obstacles in your own way? Who has helped make your rough windings smooth?




Have you bravely assisted your sisters and brothers to see God’s saving Presence? Or have you experienced a salvific action through another’s guidance?




Baruch tells us God is leading Israel in joy. Children are bubbling at this time. Take your cue from them and let God’s mercy and justice accompany your journey.




We all can say “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” And my wish for each of us is that we may be found rich in the harvest of justice which Jesus is ripening in us.


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Advent Week 1
2009/12/04 by Ann Chaput, BVM

Mary, heavy with child, travels the arduous journey to Bethlehem.Like Mary, we are often taken where we did not expect, led to a path we had not foreseen, when we place ourselves in God’s hands.


Read and reflect:  Luke 2:1 - 5


Prayerful response:  My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.


For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will ages call me blessed.


The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name.


His mercy is from age to age to those who fear Him. 


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Advent Week 1
2009/12/04 by Ann Chaput, BVM

Mary, engaged to Joseph, is with child.  Like Mary, when we are faithful to God, we risk being misunderstood, even rejected.


Read and reflect:  Matthew 1:18 - 19


Prayerful response:  My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.


For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will ages call me blessed.


The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name.


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Advent, Week 1
2009/12/02 by Ann Chaput, BVM

Mary sets out on her own to visit her cousin, Elizabeth.Like Mary, we must stand up, venture out on our own to witness and rejoice in the gospel in the lives of others, especially to the poor, the forgotten and neglected.


Read and reflect:  Luke 1:39 - 45


Prayerful response:  My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.


For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will ages call me blessed.


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2009/12/02 by Ann Chaput, BVM

As we begin this wonderful season of Advent, let us reflect upon the journey of Mary to Bethlehem and unite it with our own Advent journey:


Day 1 – An angel announces/asks Mary to be the mother of the Savior.  Like Mary, we have been gifted with faith, yet we continue to be invited to accept this gift, to say yes.


Read and reflect:  Luke 1:26 - 38


Prayerful response:  My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.


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2009/11/29 by Ann Chaput, BVM

Advent, Week I.




Advent is probably the most contrary to culture season for Christians.  When all about us are busy with gift buying and wrapping, decorating trees and cookies, planning parties and how everything can fit into schedules,


Christians are called to BE STILL.




The darkness of the season calls to us; the voice of prophets announce the coming; Scripture records the promise and the waiting for it to be fulfilled.  And, deep within our own hearts, we know a yearning, a desire for the Gift Advent awaits.




Mary is our Advent companion.  It is Mary who has modeled for us the waiting for the birth of the Savior.  It is Mary who “pondered all these things in her heart.”  It is Mary whose YES made our Advent one of expectation, knowing the Savior has come,


will come again, and is among us even now.


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Happy Thanksgiving!
2009/11/26 by Lou

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice."

                                         ~Meister Eckhart


I offer a humble prayer of thanksgiving for all God's gifts--we live in great abundance.May we always be grateful.


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SOA--Pray that it will CLOSE!
2009/11/18 by Lou

I’m off to Ft. Benning again this year for the School of the America’s protest. As always, I leave anticipating that this will be the last trip down to Georgia because certainly by next year they will have closed the school.




This past Monday, November 16th, was the 20th anniversary of the assasinations of the six Jesuits and their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. They were Ignacio Ellacuria, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Segundo Montes, Arnando Lopez, Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, Juan Ramon Moreno, and Elba Ramos. Graduates of the School of Americas have been linked to these deaths and thousands of others.According to the School of the America’s Watch website “Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.”




Over twenty thousand peaceful people gathered last year to pray for peace and an end to war. We continue to pray for the soldiers and civilians who are in Afghanistan and Iraq and other war-torn places. We continue to pray for the wisdom to see that war is not the answer and that building a just world is the way to peace. Please join us in prayer.




Christian Prayer for Peace


Blessed are the Peacemakers,

for they shall be known as the Children of God.

But I say to you that hear, love your enemies,

do good to those who hate you,

bless those who curse you,

pray for those who abuse you.

To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also,

and from those who take away your cloak,

do not withhold your coat as well.

Give to everyone who begs from you,

and of those who take away your goods, do not ask them again.

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.


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Veterans Day
2009/11/11 by Lou

Veterans Day


Almighty God, gratn us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice among peoples and nations.


                                         adapted from the Book of Common Prayer


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Prayer for Mindfulness
2009/11/06 by Lou

Prayer for Mindfulness


Let us begin by recalling the words of Cesar Chavez: “Every time we sit at a table at night or in the morning to enjoy the fruits and grain and vegetables from our good earth, remember that they come from the work of men and women and children who have been exploited for generations…” Almighty God, too often we don’t pay attention, we don’t stop to think that, even in this day and age, injustice remains an invisible ingredient in much of the food that we eat. Shake us awake, O God, open our eyes to see our power and obligation as consumers to help put things right. Justice demands it. Love demands it.




--National Farm Worker Ministry






Blessing Prayer


Bless the hands of the people of the earth,

The hands that plant the seed,

The hands that bind the harvest,

The hands that carry the burden of life.


Soften the hands of the oppressor and

Strengthen the hands of the oppressed.


Bless the hands of the workers,

Bless the hands of those in power above them

That the measure they deal will be tempered

With justice and compassion. Amen.




--National Farm Worker Ministry *




In Iowa these days the corn is being harvested. It is hard work and a long time coming. We’ve had a wet fall in the Midwest after a late spring that delayed planting. The family farm is in a bad way these days with the price of corn and soybeans being low in addition to trying to stay in competition with big agri-business.




The plight of those who pick most of our fruits and vegetables is even worse. Migrant farm workers leave their homes in order to pick crops that we often just take for granted. Often these people work in substandard housing, get minimal pay and are exposed to dangerous pesticides.  




I am challenged as I pray these words to be mindful of the deep gratitude I owe those who bring food to my table. I am challenged, too, to be aware of the situation of the farmers and farm workers so I can do what I can to be a conscientious consumer—to buy locally when I can, to buy in season when possible, to participate in boycotts of businesses that we know do not treat employees fairly. As in the words of the prayer


“Justice demands it. Love demands it.”




                                               *used with permission


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Harvest Prayer
2009/10/20 by Lou



Please be gentle with yourself and others

We are all children of chance,

And none can say why some fields blossom

While others lay brown beneath the harvest sun.

            Take hope that your season will come.

Share the joy of those whose season is at hand.

Care for those around you.

Look past your differences.

Their dreams are no less than yours,

Their choices in life no more easily made.

And give.

Give in any way you can.

Give in every way you can.

Give whatever you possess.

Give from your heart.

To give is to love.

To withhold is to wither.

Care less for the size of your harvest

than for how it is shared,

And your life will have meaning

And your heart will have peace.


                                    (Anonymous 17th-Century Sermon)

                               used with permission from the National Farm worker website



This lovely prayer, written hundreds of years ago, has great lessons for us today. God has gifted us with a great abundant, generous Earth.To“Care less for the size of your harvest than for how it is shared” however would be a hard sell around Iowa these days as farmers anxiously wait to pick their corn and soybean crops. Family farmers care very much about the size of their harvest as they struggle to make ends meet in an enterprise that has become increasing BIG business.




I think the real challenge has much more to do with the state of one’s heart and the ability to be generous with what we do have. Our culture often tells us that we need to hang on to, stock up on, and buy early and often. But the reality is that we have more than we need. We have a great abundance of material things and an even greater abundance of talent, thoughts, ideas, love—and the list goes on. What is behind the words of this prayer seems to me to be a gentle call to trust God, to look to our universe for answers about how to be in the world. It asks us to be a nonjudgmental and generous presence and that doing so will give meaning and bring peace. As I reflect on the many lessons that this harvest season has to offer, I hope to remember these words.


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Sept. 21-- Civil Discourse?
2009/09/21 by Kathy

For several weeks I have been asking myself, “What has happened in the United States?” How is it that so many people can no longer have civil discourse with one another?  Why are we treating those who might disagree with us on issues of  politics, economics, culture and even religion so rudely…with little or no respect for our shared humanity.  I am appalled at the blatant rudeness that has been shown at town hall meetings, at civic rallies and even in the hallowed halls of Congress.



When we loose the ability to enter into respectful dialogue, we are truly lost…as a people, as a nation.  When we can no longer try to put ourselves in another’s shoes and try to see things from a different perspective, or to try to find the kernel of truth in the other person’s ideas, we have truly closed ourselves off.  What progress can be made under these circumstances?



The first major tenet of Catholic Social Teaching is respect for the dignity of each and every human person, because each of us is made in the image of God…a God of inclusive love who excludes no one:  not because of  religion or race or ethnic background, nor economic status, nor position on the political spectrum.



In this era of discord, perhaps we need to ponder daily on the words St.  Paul wrote to the Romans (12:4 ff):



“As members of one body, we belong to each other.  We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to each of us…Try to outdo one another in showing respect.”


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