DEFENDING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
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St. Teresa of Calcutta The Mother Teresa We Knew Love in Action
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
10 New Ways to Pray I Left My Heart in Bolivia
ST. ANTHONY Messenger
❘ SEPTEMBER 2016 ❘ VOLUME 124/NUMBER 4
ON THE COVE R
SPECIAL SECTION: S T. T E R E S A O F C A L C U T TA
On September 4, Mother Teresa will be canonized on the 19th anniversary of her death. She is a model for all of us to seek out the poor.
30 The Mother Teresa We Knew Hers was an unforgettable life, devoted, as we all know, to the poorest of the poor. Here is Mother Teresa’s story, with interviews from two who knew and worked with her. By Dan Morris-Young
Photo by Manfredo Ferrari
36 Love in Action Mother Teresa constantly told her sisters that the best way to serve God is to do the next loving thing. By Kerry Walters
D E PA R T M E N T S 2 Dear Reader 3 From Our Readers 4 Followers of St. Francis Francis Pompei, OFM
F E AT U R E S
6 Reel Time
14 Defending Religious Freedom This high-profile lawyer has successfully advocated for our God-given right. By James Breig
8 Channel Surfing The Exorcist
10 Church in the News
22 10 New Ways to Pray Exploring these alternatives can enrich your faith. By Amy Ekeh
20 At Home on Earth Call of the Wild
28 Editorial Learning from St. Teresa of Calcutta
42 I Left My Heart in Bolivia After serving people in poverty, my life was never the same. By Pauline Hovey
52 Ask a Franciscan
48 Fiction: Dooley
Was St. Peter Bishop of Rome?
54 Book Corner
Two young brothers struggled to make it on their own. By Barbara Tylla
Keep Your Kids Catholic
56 A Catholic Mom Speaks Enough!
58 Year of Mercy To Forgive, Divine
ST. ANTHONY M essenger
Publisher Daniel Kroger, OFM
In 1213, Count Orlando Cattani of Chiusi sought spiritual advice from Francis of Assisi. Orlando was so pleased at the advice given that he offered Francis the mountain of La Verna (southeast of Florence) as a place of prayer. Francis used it for that purpose six times over the years. During his last visit in 1224, he observed a special Lent before the feast of St. Michael the Archangel (September 29). Shortly after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Francis received the stigmata, the marks of Christ’s passion. That feast is celebrated September 17 on the Franciscan calendar. Francis concealed those marks from everyone except his closest friends. His “Letter to Brother Leo” (who accompanied him during that special Lent) and Francis’ “Praises of God” were composed at La Verna. The Chapel of the Stigmata includes a stunning enameled terra-cotta altarpiece, predominantly blue and white, with a touch of green. This was fashioned early in the career of Luca Della Robbia (d. 1482). While continuing to be a place of pilgrimage and retreat, La Verna also serves as the novitiate for several Italian OFM provinces.
Click the button on the left to hear Father Pat’s further reflections on La Verna.
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President Kelly McCracken Editor in Chief John Feister Art Director Jeanne Kortekamp Franciscan Editor Pat McCloskey, OFM Managing Editor Susan Hines-Brigger Assistant Editors Daniel Imwalle Kathleen M. Carroll Digital Editor Christopher Heffron Editorial Assistant Sharon Lape Advertising Tammy Monjaras
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(U.S.P.S. PUBLICATION #007956 CANADA PUBLICATION #PM40036350) Volume 124, Number 4, is published monthly for $39.00 a year by the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province, 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-6498. Phone (513) 241-5615. Periodicals postage paid at Cincinnati, Ohio, and additional entry offices. U.S. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: St. Anthony Messenger, P.O. Box 189, Congers, NY 109200189. CANADA RETURN ADDRESS: c/o AIM, 7289 Torbram Rd., Mississauga, ON, Canada L4T 1G8. To subscribe, write to the above address or call (866) 543-6870. Yearly subscription price: $39.00 in the United States; $69.00 in Canada and other countries. Single copy price: $3.95. For change of address, four weeks’ notice is necessary. See St AnthonyMessenger.org for information on your digital edition. Writer’s guidelines can be found at StAnthony Messenger.org. The publishers are not responsible for manuscripts or photos lost or damaged in transit. Names in fiction do not refer to living or dead persons. Member of the Catholic Press Association Published with ecclesiastical approval Copyright ©2016. All rights reserved.
2 ❘ September 2016
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
FROM OUR READERS
An Exemplar for Young Catholics
Don’t Pray and Drive
I treasured Rita E. Piro’s article from St. Anthony Messenger’s July issue, “The Legacy of St. Maria Goretti.” When my sister and I were in Rome in 1950, we were honored to be able to attend Maria Goretti’s canonization Mass through the auspices of a dear family friend, Archbishop Celestine Damiano. Sitting in a special section of St. Peter’s Basilica was a dream come true. Receiving a blessing from Pope Pius XII was the highlight of our visit. I am also a great admirer of EWTN and was quite taken by their presentation of the life of this young saint. She suffered greatly, but was so forgiving. What a marvelous example for our young people of today! My prayers are with you all. Nelda Hammers Lewiston, New York
I read St. Anthony Messenger every month, and there are always some great articles and columns that I take to heart and learn from. I appreciate your efforts. But the article “Praying Always,” by Laura Britto—despite being informative and useful—had a troubling detail. I take exception to the suggestion to pray the rosary while driving. This should not be recommended. Driving is hazardous enough without attempting to have a personal prayer to the Holy Mother. Most people are not attentive while driving a two-ton bullet. They are talking on cell phones, in a hurry, texting, combing their hair, reading magazines, and driving offensively. People should be totally focused on their surroundings and drive defensively. Drive safely and concentrate on the road. Rick McMillan McMurray, Pennsylvania
What’s on Your Mind? Letters that are published do not necessarily represent the views of the Franciscan friars or the editors. We do not publish slander or libel. Please include your name and postal address. Letters may be edited for clarity and space. Mail Letters, St. Anthony Messenger 28 W. Liberty St. Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498 Fax 513-241-0399
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‘Pro-Life’ Politicians? St. Anthony Messenger once again came through with great articles. In its July issue, I found “The Doctor Who Saved Flint,” by Patricia Montemurri, and “Praying Always,” by Laura Britto, to be especially engaging. Two of four letters to the editor in the July “From Our Readers” column referred to abortions—one taking on Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal going to Vice President Joe Biden, the other redirecting Daniel Imwalle’s May editorial regarding political choices. If we’re honest, we must admit that abortions will never be zero; but shouldn’t all of us try to make the number as small as possible? There are heavily Catholic countries where abortions are illegal, but have higher abortion rates than ours. I hope the following questions provide food for thought. How would
making our abortions illegal reduce our numbers? Would educating more on the sacredness and preciousness of life decrease numbers of abortions? Wouldn’t paid family medical leaves, guaranteed jobs when returning to work, and affordable child care shrink abortions? Are politicians only pro-life on their voting records, but actually vote against social remedies that would encourage expectant mothers to not abort the baby? Who then are pro-life politicians, those speaking pro-life, or those supporting programs that reduce abortions? Mark Dorais Nashville, Tennessee
What about Mistreatment of Muslim Women? I’m writing regarding the editorial from your July issue, “Advancing Catholic-Muslim Dialogue,” by Susan Hines-Brigger. She asks the question, “Why is it, then, that many Americans hold such a negative view of the followers of Islam?” It undoubtedly is fear of terrorism and also Muslim belief in Sharia Law! It places women on the level of a commodity and not as human beings. Look at their practice of “honor killings”! Toward the end of the editorial, the author states, “Categorizing Islam with broad strokes is bigotry and, quite frankly, unchristian.” But remember, treating women as used tissue is also “unchristian”! I understand the idea of treating all with compassion as Jesus Christ told us is the path we should take, but I don’t think we can jump into that web without some consideration of where it will lead us. I appreciate your magazine and hope you are able to read my comments without cringing. Jo Ann Peters San Dimas, California September 2016 ❘ 3
F O L L O W E R S O F S T. F R A N C I S
A Conduit of God’s Love
F PHOTO BY OCTAVIO DURAN, OFM
ather Francis Pompei, OFM, is the whole package—dedicated priest, inspired preacher, accomplished playwright. He even bears the same name as St. Francis and the pope. All that is impressive, but it fails to reveal what lies beyond those credentials—that he is also a dynamic, loving, creative, spiritual, funny, and faithful servant. Father Francis, a native of Oswego, New York, and Franciscan friar from Holy Name Province, is a traveling preacher as well as author and director of the Franciscan Mystery Plays, a collection of meditations that have been performed by groups of teens in churches throughout the United States for four decades. He resides in Buffalo and has been a friar for 31 years and a priest for 40. Father Francis did not set out to be a playwright, a Franciscan, nor a priest. “I was working with juvenile delinquent teens after college and was falling in love but knew something was missing inside and nothing seemed to fill it,” he says. “It was a painful experience and time in my life trying to find the ultimate question for all of us: What’s the meaning of life and what fills the empty
Francis Pompei, OFM
void?” His search led to the seminary and his serving as a diocesan priest in Syracuse, New York, for eight years. But, once again, Father Francis felt that something was lacking in his life. He wanted to work with the poor and preach, and he also realized that he wanted to be a Franciscan after meeting several friars from St. Bonaventure University. “For diocesan priests, Jesus, their ministry, and their priesthood define who they are. For us Franciscans, it is Jesus, the brotherhood, and fraternity that define us. What we do is secondary,” explains Father Francis. He racks up 15,000-20,000 air miles annually as a traveling preacher, ministering to the US Navy in Spain, and has preached in Belgium, Canada, and Jamaica. He finds most who attend his preaching engagements want “to experience Jesus and not just hear about him.” Humor is an essential element of his ministry, and he says it comes “right after prayer—sometimes right next to it. Personally, I not only like making people laugh, but also making the Lord laugh, and laughing at myself. It’s many times more powerful than any healing service.”
STORIES FROM OUR READERS Learn more about St. Anthony and share your story of how he helped you at AmericanCatholic.org/ Features/Anthony.
A New Record for St. Anthony
4 ❘ September 2016
My daughter and some of her friends host an annual New Year’s family celebration held at a community banquet facility in our town. After the party this year, she gathered up some of the decorations and food-service items and carried them to her car. It was an unseasonably warm night, and, after loading up the car, she drove home with her family, having forgotten her coat. After a day or two, she realized that she had left the coat behind. Several searches and phone inquiries proved fruitless. When she told me about it 10 days later, I immediately prayed to St. Anthony for help. Within a few hours, she called me to say that she had just received a text message that the coat had turned up in a little-used closet at the banquet hall. Once again, St. Anthony has come through—and in record time! —Ann Chardo, Moorestown, New Jersey
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
God’s Judgment St. Anthony writes: “God gives his judgment to the just man, the good follower of Christ, that he may judge himself, so that God will not find in him anything to condemn. ‘If we judge ourselves,’ says St. Paul (1 Cor 11:31), ‘we should not thus be judged.’ Give me your judgment, O God, that I may make it mine and in making it mine may escape yours!” Repentance expands our freedom rather than restricts it. We are able to give up sin’s “shortcuts” (really dead ends) and live fully our God-given freedom. –P.M.
Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to find the light in some of the dark places where he has been called to take the Gospel. In 2010, he presided over the funeral Mass for Mercyhurst College student Jenni-Lyn Watson, who was murdered by a former boyfriend. “The answers to all the hard questions in these situations come from Jesus himself in the Scriptures. I got so tired of feeling powerless in situations like Jenni-Lyn’s murder that I had it out with the Lord and asked him for answers. When I started reading Scripture, different passages jumped out like never before. I actually felt Jesus right there teaching me how to think, what to do, what to say, and how to pray,” he recalls. Father Francis hopes to share with others what he has learned about the love of the Lord. “People are stressed, frightened, and worried,” he says. “I want people to know that we can actually experience and feel the Lord’s unconditional love for us and the power of the Holy Spirit, and that Jesus came, suffered, died, rose from death, and sent the Holy Spirit so that we can rise, too.” —Janice Lane Palko
To learn more about Franciscan saints, visit SaintoftheDay.org.
S T. A N T H O N Y B R E A D
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Send all postal communication to: St. Anthony Bread 1615 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498
September 2016 ❘ 5
PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFM
The National Shrine of St. Anthony is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Consecrated in 1889, it includes a first-class relic of St. Anthony and serves as a center for daily prayer and contemplation. The Franciscan friars minister from the shrine. To help them in their work among the poor, you may send a monetary offering called St. Anthony Bread. Make checks or money orders payable to “Franciscans” and mail to the address below. Every Tuesday, a Mass is offered for benefactors and petitioners at the shrine. To seek St. Anthony’s intercession, mail your petition to the address below. Petitions are taken to the shrine each week. To post your petition online, please visit stanthony.org, where you can also request to have a candle lit or a Mass offered; or you may make a donation to the Franciscans or sign up to receive a novena booklet.
W I T H S I S T E R R O S E PA C AT T E , F S P
Favorite about Brave People Fighting Illness Lorenzo’s Oil (1993) My Left Foot (1989) Miracles from Heaven (2016) The Bucket List (2007) Still Alice (2014)
COURTESY OF OPEN ROAD FILMS
The haunting documentary Gleason looks at football hero Steve Gleason’s battle with ALS. In 2006, during the New Orleans Saints’ first post-Hurricane Katrina home game against the Atlanta Falcons, safety Steve Gleason blocked a punt that led to a touchdown. The Saints won the game 23-3. Steve retired from football in 2008 after seven seasons with the Saints, and married Michel Varisco Gleason. In 2011, he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Soon after his diagnosis, their son, Rivers, was born. Knowing the prognosis for the disease meant that he would lose motor control and the power of speech, Steve began a video diary during his wife’s pregnancy so that their son would know his voice and understand the wisdom that Steve believed a father needed to pass on to his child. Gleason opened at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, the result of five years documenting Steve and his family’s life as ALS took its toll. One of the first things that he wanted to do before he lost his voice was to reconcile with his father, Mike. His parents
had an acrimonious divorce when he and his brother were young. Now, after AA, Mike is a Christian. He questions his son’s faith and convinces him to try faith healing. One of the most moving parts of the film is when Steve tells his father, “Stop trying to understand with your mind the realtionship between God and my heart! I know I am saved!” Gleason is the story of an optimist and his family that is filled with unimaginable challenges. Seeing Steve’s relationship with his wife, speaking from the heart to his son, “banking” his voice, and learning to write with his eyes before his body closes down, is incredibly inspiring. Not yet rated, R ■ Language, mature themes.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople If you are looking for a film that is at once funny and kind, be sure to see Hunt for the St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
© PROTAGONIST PICTURES
Julian Dennison and Sam Neill play two strong-willed people who must learn to work together in Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
COURTESY KINO LORBER
Wilderpeople. Ricky (Julian Dennison) is a 12-year-old foster child who doesn’t fit in anywhere. Children’s services in New Zealand place Ricky with Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her surly husband, Hec (Sam Neill). Ricky doesn’t like the remote homestead, though Bella is so welcoming that he decides to stay. He tells Bella and Hec that he wants to be a rapper and gangsta. When he sneaks out at night, unsure if he should stay or go, Bella finds him. But tragedy strikes, and Ricky decides, once and for all, to run away. Hec finds him, but when the old man breaks his leg and cannot move, the real fun starts. This film is as delightful as it is poignant. Ricky and Hec save each other after a most unpredictable journey. Rachel House, as the children’s services official, has great comedic ability, as does Dennison, who is an absolute star. Neill is also excellent. This beautiful film addresses foster parenting, understanding children, and so much more. Not yet rated, PG-13 ■ Language, peril, mature themes.
In addition to the cultural disapproval the three women feel from their Muslim neighbors, they also face racism and suspicion from others. The central theme of this wonderful film is communication: Fatima can barely speak French; and while Nesrine is more tolerant of her mother, Souad is immature and denigrates her mother’s inability to speak the language. Both daughters are embarrassed because their mother cleans toilets to support them. The beauty of the film is Fatima, who, despite a lack of education, writes poetry that is infused with love and the challenges and beauty of the world around her. She never gives up. This award-winning film is a brave look into the lives of immigrants who strive for a better life. It is loosely based on Prayer to the Moon, autobiographical poems by Fatima Elayoubi. The amazing film is in French and Arabic with subtitles. Not yet rated ■ Language, mature themes.
Soria Zeroual (left) and Zita Hanrot (right) play a mother and daughter struggling in the film Fatima.
Catholic Cl assifications
Fatima Fatima (Soria Zeroual) works hard to support her two daughters—the pre-med student Nesrine (Zita Hanrot) and the disrespectful high school student Souad (Kenza Noah Aïche). Twenty years earlier, Fatima immigrated to France from North Africa. Now divorced, she struggles under the pressure of working three jobs so that her daughters will have what they need to be successful in their own lives. Fr anciscanMedia.org
A-1 A-2 A-3 L O
General patronage Adults and adolescents Adults Limited adult audience Morally offensive
The Catholic News Service Media Review Office gives these ratings. See usccb.org/movies.
For additional film reviews, go to americancatholic.org/movies.
September 2016 ❘
WITH CHRISTOPHER HEFFRON
Premieres September 23, FOX, check local listings William Peter Blatty’s harrowing novel The Exorcist may be a seasoned 45 years old, but its influence over our culture hasn’t weakened. From the Oscar-winning 1973 adaptation of his story, to 2005’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose, scores of film lovers have found the subject of demonic possession too enticing to pass up. And now network television is dipping its toes into those dark waters. FOX’s The Exorcist—not based on Blatty’s novel, but influenced by it—juggles three stories at once: Geena Davis is a Chicago careerist who suspects her family and home are being invaded by dark forces. Alfonso Herrera plays the young Father Tomas Ortego, Davis’ parish priest, who is drawn into the world of demonic possession. And the towering Ben Daniels portrays Father Marcus Lang, an exorcist haunted by demons of his own. Sensitive viewers may find the subject matter hard to swallow—and it isn’t suitable for young channel surfers. But what gives this freshman series its lift is that it shows how God’s grace, seemingly elusive at times, casts light in even the darkest corners. Much like Blatty’s tale, this small-screen version works best as an examination of good overcoming evil. Powerfully acted with genuine thrills, The Exorcist is devilish fun.
Premieres September 22, FOX, check local listings An interesting idea hampered by tepid writing and needless sentimentality, FOX’s new series Pitch centers on Ginny Baker, a talented athlete who becomes the first female pitcher drafted by Major League Baseball. Ginny, whose loving but overbearing father forced a glove into her hand before she was old enough to say no, struggles to live and perform under the national scrutiny. Largely unsupported by her misogynistic teammates, Ginny is a hero to some and a pariah to others. Kylie Bunbury, as Ginny, has the chops to carry the series—and she’s amply supported by a cast of strong players—especially Ali Larter as her nononsense agent, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as the team’s catcher and captain. But even this company of actors struggles to elevate a weak script that insufficiently explores Ginny’s internal struggles. And this is a missed opportunity for viewers: what we’re left with is a female Jackie Robinson with no real flavor. Pitch does have its moments, though. The series honestly (and perhaps accurately) exposes the tactless and often scary interior world of the boys’ locker room, which Ginny bravely navigates. But the struggle pays off when, in the pilot episode’s strongest moment, Ginny locks eyes with a young, adoring girl in the stands holding a sign that reads, “I’m Next.”
Oscar winner Geena Davis and Alfonso Herrera shine in the dark but thrilling FOX series The Exorcist. 8 ❘
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
Loving Memories Plays the melody of “Always in My Heart”
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CHURCH IN THE NEWS
❘ BY SUSAN HINES-BRIGGER
CNS PHOTO/IAN LANGSDON, EPA
Priest Murdered During Mass in France
A photo of slain Father Jacques Hamel is seen among flowers at a makeshift memorial in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, France, the day after the priest’s murder. A morning Mass turned deadly when, on July 26, 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel was killed and a handful of others were taken hostage at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen, France. According to Catholic News Service (CNS), police said two men armed with knives entered the church during Mass and reportedly slit the throat of Father Hamel. They said another person present at the Mass was in serious condition at the hospital. An Interior Ministry spokesman said the attackers were killed by police, ending the hostage situation. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack via its news site, though the group’s involvement has not been confirmed by French police. French President François Hollande suggested the group was behind the attack. A statement from the president’s 10 ❘ September 2016
office said Hollande called Pope Francis to express “the grief of the French people after the odious assassination of Father Jacques Hamel by two terrorists.” Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis expressed his condemnation of “every form of hatred” and offered his prayers for all those involved. “We are particularly stricken because this horrible violence occurred in a church—a sacred place in which the love of God is proclaimed—with the barbaric killing of a priest,” Father Lombardi said. A nun, who identified herself as Sister Danielle, witnessed the attack. She told French radio station RMC, “In the church, everyone screamed, ‘Stop, you don’t know what you’re doing.’ They didn’t stop. They forced him to his knees; he tried to defend himself, and it was then that the drama began. They recorded them-
selves [on video]. They did a little— like a sermon—around the altar in Arabic. It was a horror.” She managed to escape the church and flag down a car for help, RMC reported. Imam Suhaib Webb, a Muslim scholar in Washington, DC, told CNS that Father Hamel’s death is “difficult to come to grips with on so many levels.” He said it reminds him that he could be threatened, or worse, since this spring he and four other American Muslim leaders were placed on an ISIS hit list, accused of being apostates for their efforts to promote Islam’s coexistence within the Western world. On his return from World Youth Day, Pope Francis addressed the issue of religious violence. He told reporters that violence exists in all religions and cannot be associated with a single religion, such as Islam. “I do not like to speak of Islamic violence because every day when I look through the papers, I see violence here in Italy,” the pope told reporters. “And they are baptized Catholics. There are violent Catholics. If I speak of Islamic violence, I also have to speak of Catholic violence,” he added.
Criminal Charges Against Archdiocese Dropped On July 20, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had criminal charges dismissed over its handling of a sex-abuse case and amended a civil petition it reached last December, reported CNS. The charges were filed last June by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, under the leadership of Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. The St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
CNS/GREGORY FISHER, USA TODAY SPORTS VIA REUTERS
N E W S B R I E F S N AT I O N A L A N D I N T E R N AT I O N A L During his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, catcher Mike Piazza spoke of his Catholic faith and the profound effect it had on his career. He said his faith “has given me patience, compassion, and hope” and “is a source of personal strength, not a reason to impose your will or put down those who are different. My belief in God has driven me since my childhood and formed my core values of hard work, faith, and belief in yourself.”
In an interview with the Argentine newspaper La Nación published July 3, Pope Francis spoke of his con-
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month progress report on its compliance with the agreement to Ramsey County District Court Judge Teresa Warner. Attorneys for the archdiocese and the attorney’s office described their strong, ongoing collaboration and affirmed the report satisfied the County attorney’s requirements and demonstrated a significant effort to protect children. Warner accepted the report and commended the work of the archdiocese and the attorney’s office. “What happened to kids in this case cannot be undone, but steps to work together . . . [are] significant,” Warner said. “You rolled up your sleeves, and you looked at what you could do to protect kids going forward.” Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, who was appointed as head of the
CNS PHOTO/DAVE HRBACEK, THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT
attorney’s office alleged that the archdiocese failed to protect children in its handling of the case of Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest who pleaded guilty in two courts to abusing three brothers while pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in St. Paul. The charges included three counts of contributing to the need for protection or services, and three counts of contributing to a juvenile’s delinquency. According to the settlement, the archdiocese has agreed to continue child protection protocols it had already implemented, as well as additional measures. It also agreed to Ramsey County’s oversight of its safe-environment procedures for three years. Prior to the charges being dropped, the archdiocese presented a six-
The lengthy “VatiLeaks” trial came to an end on July 7, when a Vatican court acquitted Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, for publishing confidential documents about Vatican finances, citing freedom of the press. Their source, Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda, secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars for stealing and passing on secret documents. The court determined that Francesca Chaouqui, a member of the former Pontifical CommisFrancesca Chaouqui sion for Reference on the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, encouraged the leak. She received a 10-month suspended sentence.
Members of the US House of Representatives passed the Conscience Protection Act on July 13 with a bipartisan vote of 245-182. The legislation provides legal protection to doctors, nurses, hospitals, and all health-care providers who choose not to provide abortions as part of their health-care practice. The bill was introduced in the Senate in May and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
tinued desire for “a Church that is open, understanding, that accompanies families who are hurting.” When asked about those who do not agree with his methods, the pope said, “They do their work and I do mine. I continue my course without looking over my shoulder.”
Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced the dismissal of criminal charges alleging the archdiocese failed to protect children in the abuse case of former priest Curtis Wehmeyer. September 2016 ❘ 11
Take Risks, Pope Tells World Youth Day Participants
archdiocese shortly after the charges were filed, said: “Words are not enough. We must, we will, and we are doing better. Far-reaching changes are under way.” He noted the archdiocese’s inclusion of more laypeople in its safeenvironment protocols, as well as the impact of Ramsey County’s oversight of the archdiocese’s policies and procedures and compliance with them. “Over the past year, we worked with Mr. Choi and his team to define how the archdiocese can best create and maintain safe environments for children in our parishes, schools, and communities,” he said. “Over the past six months, we have demonstrated our commitment to that path. Today, we humbly acknowledge our past failures and look forward to continuing down that path to achieve those vital, common goals that together we all share.” 12 ❘ September 2016
offered them some simple rules for being the hope of the future. “The first is to preserve your memory: of your people, your family and where you come from, the memory of your journey, and what you received from those closest to you. A young person without a memory isn’t a hope for the future,” he said.
CNS PHOTO/PAUL HARING
“Don’t be afraid to say yes to him with all your heart, to respond generously, and to follow him,” Pope Francis told participants during the final Mass of the World Youth Day celebration, reported CNS. During his five days in Krakow for the event, Pope Francis made a visit to Auschwitz, and made an unexpected stop at a church in Krakow to venerate the relics of two Polish Conventual Franciscans killed by insurgents in Peru in 1991. The pope also visited Children’s University Hospital, where he said that he wished to “listen to everyone here, even if for only a moment, and be still before questions that have no easy answers.” During the closing Mass, the pope told participants: “God counts on you for what you are, not for what you possess. In his eyes, the clothes you wear or the kind of cell phone you use are of absolutely no concern. He doesn’t care whether you are stylish or not, he cares about you! In his eyes, you are precious and your value is priceless.” At the end of Mass, he announced that the next World Youth Day will be held in Panama in 2019. Before his departure, the pope met with the more than 15,000 event organizers and volunteers, and
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to celebrate Mass to mark the 1,050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland near the Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland, July 28.
Bishops Establish Task Force on Racial Issues In light of racial tensions following a series of shootings this year that left both citizens and police officers among those dead, the US bishops have established a new task force to deal with racial issues, reported CNS. The goal of the task force is to help bishops address the problems highlighted by the shootings. Members will gather and disseminate supportive resources and “best practices” for their fellow bishops: actively listening to the concerns of members in troubled communities and law enforcement, and building strong relationships to help prevent and resolve conflicts. Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will serve as chairman of the group. “We are one body in Christ, so we must walk with our brothers and sisters and renew our commitment to promote healing. The suffering is not
somewhere else, or someone else’s; it is our own, in our very dioceses,” said Archbishop Gregory. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), released a statement on July 21, saying, “I have stressed the need to look toward additional ways of nurturing an open, honest, and civil dialogue on issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity, and addressing the question of pervasive gun violence.” The archbishop also called for a national day of prayer for peace in our communities, to be held September 9, the feast of St. Peter Claver. The day will “serve as a focal point for the work of the task force,” according to the statement. The work of the task force will conclude with the USCCB’s general meeting in November, where it will report on its activities and offer recommendations for future work. A St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
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Religious Freedom This high-profile lawyer has successfully advocated for our God-given right.
Attorney Kevin Seamus Hasson, seen here with his wife, Mary, has devoted his career to fighting for peopleâ€™s right to religious liberty.
VEN WHILE BATTLING Parkinson’s disease for nearly 20 years, Kevin Seamus Hasson has carried on with a long-term mission: to remind Americans that their rights
come from God, not from the government.
BY JAMES BREIG
His latest effort is a tightly reasoned book, Believers, Thinkers, and Founders: How We Came to Be One Nation Under God. In it, he argues that retaining an understanding of the divine origin of human rights is imperative because, if the government creates rights, it can also take them away. In his book, published by Image, Hasson cites thinkers from ancient Greece to today’s Supreme Court justices to back up his view that the Pledge of Allegiance’s sometimes controversial reference to “one nation under God” reflects the historic reality of the country. The phrase, he says, is neither an expression of faith to be banned, nor a pious piffle to be ignored. The essence of his complex argument is stated simply in the book’s opening chapter: “The government must respect our rights because they come to us from a source prior to, and higher than, it.”
PHOTO © HECHLER COURTESY OF THE BECKET FUND FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
That notion is found not only in the text of the pledge, but also in the Declaration of Independence, which states that unalienable rights are “endowed by the Creator,” and in the Gettysburg Address, when Abraham Lincoln spoke of “this nation under God.” Hasson freely admits that “the state can, and too often does, violate our rights. But that’s the worst it can do. It can’t actually amend or nullify the rights themselves.” Why? Because those rights “didn’t come from the state in the first place. . . . They came from the Creator.” September 2016 ❘
Following His Passion
CNS PHOTO/NANCY WIECHEC
CNS PHOTO/GREGORY A. SHEMITZ
Hasson, who was born in New York and now lives in Virginia, holds a master’s degree in theology and a law degree, both from the University of Notre Dame. He worked for the US Justice Department before his longtime interest
The Becket Fund has successfully fought to keep “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and in 2014, defended the owner of Hobby Lobby from having to provide abortion-inducing birth control as part of the company’s healthcare plan.
in the intersection of religion and rights led, more than 20 years ago, to his founding the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Hasson says he named the organization in honor of St. Thomas Becket because he “was martyred defending the Church from interference by the king.” The saint, he continues, represented “a good symbol of defending religious liberty, regardless of what the underlying theological issue was.” Hasson’s one-sentence definition of the Becket Fund’s purpose is that it “defends the Catholic vision of religious liberty, which is
religious freedom for all, including those who are mistaken.” Hasson, with tongue in cheek, reveals a “side benefit” that he never imagined when he chose the name. “It has gotten me all sorts of upgrades on hotels and airplanes,” he explains, “because people look at the credit card and assume I’m running some sort of hedge fund.” The nonprofit, located in Washington, DC, has an interfaith staff of about 30 that protects “free expression of all faiths” through court cases, the media, and education. As the group’s website (becketfund.org) puts it: “We’ve defended the religious rights of people from ‘A to Z,’ from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. Our supporters represent a myriad of religions, but they all share our common vision of a world where religious freedom is respected as a fundamental human right that all are entitled to enjoy and exercise.” The organization has won 87 percent of its court cases, including several at the Supreme Court level. One of those blocked a 2004 objection to allowing “under God” to remain in the Pledge of Allegiance. A socialist minister originally penned the pledge in 1892— without those two words. With strong support from the Knights of Columbus, the phrase was added via a 1954 congressional bill that was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Another Becket victory came in the 2014 Hobby Lobby ruling, which affirmed the right of a Protestant business owner not to provide abortioninducing birth control products to employees, because it violated his religious beliefs. One of the attorneys for the company said of the 5-4 ruling, “The Supreme Court recognized that Americans do not lose their religious freedom when they run a family business.” In their majority ruling, five justices used the words “religious” and “religion” 385 times.
The Fight Goes On Hasson’s real middle name is James, but his father nicknamed him Seamus, the Irish variant. “He only called me Kevin when he was mad at me,” the lawyer recalls, and he adopted his father’s preference. His history with Parkinson’s disease stretches back 17 years. “My St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
youngest two kids can’t remember a time before I had Parkinson’s,” he says, “which made it tough to teach them how to throw a good spiral or shoot a basket. On the other hand, I was never very good at those anyway. So maybe it just provided a good excuse.” Hasson, who is nearing 60, credits his wife, Mary, for being “relentlessly cheerful despite all the things that I can’t do. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for that.” Although he stepped down from heading the Becket Fund in 2011 due to his illness, Hasson continues to argue on behalf of the idea that the rights of Americans derive from God, not from the government. It’s a concept that is “in danger from secular extremists who insist that the government is the source of all rights, and that it’s unconstitutional to claim otherwise,” he says. “It’s also under threat from well-meaning friends who insist that lines like ‘one nation under God’ are harmless rhetoric that don’t mean anything, so there’s no reason to get upset about them.” Hasson bridles at those who “instinctively prefer to compromise rather than fight— even over things that can’t be compromised. To delete ‘under God’ would do more than just tinker with a famous one-liner. It would
be to lie to our kids about where rights come from and what difference it makes.” Were the government to reject the idea that people’s rights were God-given, he continues, it would fail to “acknowledge that its reach is limited.” What would follow, he warns, was seen in the 1900s when the world “learned the hard way” how nations behave when unmoored from God-given rights. As for which God—Yahweh, Allah, or Zeus—gives those rights, Hasson insists that the answer doesn’t matter in this regard. As he puts it in his book, “Our government presumes the existence of a God who endows the people with rights. Our rights tradition, in other words, presupposes theism.”
A Historical Foundation To support that view, the lawyer appeals to the guidance offered over the centuries by philosophers and thinkers. In the book, for instance, Hasson cites both Seneca, a Roman who lived at the same time as Jesus, and American founding father James Madison. Although separated by 17 centuries, the two are in agreement that “our greatest possessions are the rights endowed to us by our Creator,” Hasson points out.
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CNS/ TOM DERMODY, CATHOLIC POST; ALEXANDER HAMILTON BY JOHN TRUMBULL FROM GOOGLE ART PROJECT
adds that “as a practical matter, our rights will be safer with a consensus on that point than without one.” What threatens that agreement, he continues, are “well-meaning people who would rather compromise than argue over something they view as merely symbolic in the first place.”
God in Politics
“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments . . . . They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself.”
Seneca, for his part, wrote that “all that is best for a man lies beyond the power of other men, who can neither give it nor take it away.” A 13th-century Englishman pressed the same view, writing that “the king must not be under man but under God and under the law, because law makes the king.” Five hundred years later, William Blackstone, the storied British jurist, insisted that all laws came not from men, but from “the law of nature . . . dictated by God himself.” People don’t have to be Christians or even believers to enjoy the rights that come from —Alexander Hamilton God, Hasson notes. Atheists, he explains, “have the God-given right to deny they have Godgiven rights. They just can’t silence the government or the rest of us when we say so.” Expanding on that theme, he states that “it’s actually not important that the people ANSWERS TO PETE AND REPEAT think their rights are God-given as long as the government con1. An “s” on the school bus is backward. tinues to acknowledge that fact. 2. Sis’ backpack now has a flap. The whole beauty of God-given 3. The headlight is visible behind Pete. rights is that they exist regard4. The dress Sis is wearing is now longer. less of whether people believe 5. One of the lights on the bus is now gray. them or not. Now, the govern6. Another student is seated on the bus. ment may violate our rights 7. Sis has pushed her hair behind her ear. (and it all too often does), but 8. Pete’s belly is bigger. it can never actually abolish the rights themselves.” But the attorney quickly
In addition to thinkers from Rome and Great Britain who agreed over the centuries on God’s role in protecting rights, Hasson points out that every president from George Washington to Barack Obama has endorsed the same notion. “The overwhelming majority of presidential inaugural addresses include some reference to God,” the author says, citing, among others, John F. Kennedy and Obama. JFK noted at his inauguration the “belief that the rights of man come not from . . . the state, but from the hand of God,” while Obama, in his second inaugural address, quoted the Declaration of Independence when he remarked that freedom is “a gift from God.” Alexander Hamilton, a founder who never made it to the White House, but who is drawing sold-out crowds to the current Broadway musical, concurred on where rights come from. “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records,” he declared. “They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself; and can never be erased . . . by mortal power.” Asked to name a political figure who is the best representative of his point of view, Hasson opts for Lincoln. “He took very seriously the idea of God-given individual rights,” the attorney says of his fellow lawyer, “so much so that in his second inaugural he speculates the entire Civil War was a just punishment for denying slaves their rights. Now, I can’t say how theologically correct Lincoln’s speculation was. But it certainly shows the depth of his commitment to the fact that rights exist because they’re given by God.” A James Breig is a frequent contributor to this magazine. His most recent article was a feature on Paul Elie of the American Pilgrimage Project, in the January 2016 issue. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
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AT HOME ON EARTH
❘ BY KYLE KRAMER
Call of the Wild
ing crops and animals, building cities, eradicating disease, even manipulating genetic codes—all these milestones of progress increase our level of control and push “wildness” to the furthest corners of our psyche and our planet. As human power and popGo Wild! ulation continue to grow, we For an extended biblical have a great responsibility to reflection on wildness, manage the Earth’s systems read God’s speech from wisely and well. Part of that the whirlwind in the book management, however, will of Job, chapters 38–41. be remembering to leave room for wildness. There will Consider what Henry David always be things that surprise Thoreau meant when he us, humble us, and teach us wrote, “In wildness is the the limits of our control. preservation of the world.” I think these wild places— the mysteries in our own Try exploring your neighhearts, in our relationships, borhood with a reliable and in the rest of nature— guide to edible wild plants. can be gateways to the spiritual realm. If you doubt this, read the Gospels once again. Jesus never taught systematic theology; he told stories, whose twists and turns revealed a table-turning God, a God full of surprises for those who thought they already understood who God is. Jesus himself would not be tamed, neither by Jewish expectations for their Messiah nor by the Romans, who tried to crush his movement by crucifying him but only ended up making it stronger. I’m glad there are still wild places to visit in our world. It’s also good to know that wherever we may be, the God of wildness and mystery is always hiding in plain sight. A
Kyle Kramer is the executive director of the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
The ponies of Assateague are a wonderful example of nature not fully within the grasp of human control. 20 ❘ September 2016
Click the button on the right to listen to an interview with Kyle.
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
arlier this summer, my family and I took a vacation to the barrier islands of Chincoteague and Assateague, off the Virginia coast. It was a dream come true for our twin daughters, who had fallen in love with those islands after reading Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague series of children’s books. The books are about the feral ponies that live on Assateague. My catalog of great fatherhood memories now includes our children’s squeals of delight upon their first glimpse of the grazing ponies. And I won’t easily forget their slack-jawed wonder when they scrambled up a sand dune and took in the panorama of the Atlantic, its wind-swept waves pounding the shoreline at high tide. I think what so captured our children’s imagination was the wildness that we encountered on our trip. Their home is in the Midwest, where human management has shaped almost every square foot of the landscape. On Assateague, however, they experienced a small taste of things not fully within the grasp of human control. Human history is the story of us exerting more and more influence over our environment. Making tools, using fire, domesticat-
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10 New Ways to Pray Exploring these alternatives can enrich your faith. BY AMY EKEH
RAYER IS THE RAISING of one’s mind and heart to God,” wrote St. John Damascene. Whether we are speaking with words or sitting in silence, prayer is time spent mindfully in God’s presence. Prayer is, quite simply, being with God. It sounds so straightforward, even effortless. What could be more natural than spending time with the God who created us, who loves us, and who holds us in existence? And yet, we know from experience that prayer does not always feel natural. In fact, it can be hard work. Prayer requires discipline, motivation, and even creativity. We may find ourselves approaching our prayer lives as we do other difficult tasks like exercising and eating right. We may start out strong and then slowly lose enthusiasm. We may be disappointed in the results of our hard work and gradually give up. Even if we are dedicated to prayer and keep at it despite its inevitable challenges, we can easily find ourselves in a prayer rut. We may feel that we are not progressing in our spiritual lives or experiencing the “spark” we might expect from spending time in God’s dynamic presence. Whether you are trying to get into a regular habit of prayer or looking for ways to enhance your existing prayer life, trying new ways to pray can be beneficial. Here are 10 ideas for prayer that can jump-start or enrich your prayer life.
Focus on images, not words.
Sometimes you desperately want to pray, but your heart is so heavy with suffering, or your mind is such a jumble of thoughts that you can’t think of the
CHRIST AND THE RICH YOUNG MAN BY ANDREY MIRONOV; PHOTO OF MAN © MICHAEL JUNG/ FOTOSEARCH
right words. You know what you want to communicate, but putting the words together is tedious, tiresome, or just not happening. Remember that we do not always have to pray with words. Our minds and hearts are not one-dimensional. We live in a colorful world, and are gifted with vivid imaginations. Try praying in images instead of words. Is there someone you want to pray for? Visualize that person in your mind and heart, and offer him or her to God in this way. Are you worried about a damaged relationship, an upcoming event, or a big decision? Envision Fr anciscanMedia.org
those people and situations, and offer the images as heartfelt prayers. God already knows your mind and heart. These “image prayers” will make every bit as much sense to him as your words.
Images can offer a wonderful gateway into prayer. Reflect on what the image says to you, or imagine that you are immersed in the scene.
Visit God in your past.
Servant of God Catherine de Hueck Doherty, a Russian immigrant to North America, once wrote a letter to her close friend Dorothy Day in which she described a fascinating way of praying. She told Dorothy that she had been making pilgrimages into her September 2016 ❘
past, stopping here and there along the way to thank God for the joys and sorrows of her life. She wrote, “Short as my life is, as any human life is, there are, strange to say, many a shrine in it before which, as is the custom of my people, I can bow low from the waist, touching the earth with my hands, and singing alleluias in my heart for each.” Consider taking your own pilgrimages into the past. Visit the shrines in your life—the places, relationships, and times when God was present, although you may not have noticed him. Stop along the way, thanking God, asking him for healing, or “singing alleluias” in his presence. Remember, God is eternal, and all moments are equally present to him. The God who described himself as “the one who is and who was and who is to come” (Rv 1:8) is present in your past. Why not worship him there?
We all know how powerful body language can be. When we are in the presence of another person, his or her posture toward us, gestures, and facial expressions
So old it’s new again.
For many contemporary Catholics, “old school” forms of prayer such as novenas and litanies have been relegated to the bookshelf, and rosary beads are languishing, forgotten in a nightstand drawer. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, perhaps it’s time to rediscover those traditional forms of devotion. A novena (meaning “nine”) is a prayer, often written to a particular saint, repeated for nine days in a row. While there is certainly nothing magical about the number nine, the novena is a way to purposefully offer a particular intention for a set amount of time. These deliberate prayer vigils can establish a rhythm in your prayer life and help you set aside time to pray for a particular person or intention. Novenas can easily be found in prayer books or online, or you can write your own! Litanies are another classic form of prayer that is worth reintroducing into your prayer life. The beauty of the language and the natural rhythm of the prayers will invite you into a meditative, spiritually receptive state. The calland-response pattern of litanies also makes them ideal for group prayer. You can find a wide variety of litanies in prayer books or online, as well. Finally, if you have given up on the rosary in the past, try saying just one decade. Choose one of the mysteries of the rosary (which are all events from the lives of Jesus and Mary) and reflect on what it means for you in your own life. Then offer one Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and a Glory Be for a particular person
© SABPHOTO/ FOTOSEARCH
Try different prayer postures.
© AUBORDDULAC/ FOTOSEARCH
The way you use your body when you pray influences your state of mind and the nature of your prayers.
or intention. Say that decade slowly and mindfully, being comforted by the weight and movement of the prayer beads in your hands.
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
communicate a great deal. The same can be true in our prayer lives. The way you use your body when you pray influences your state of mind and the nature of your prayers. Try experimenting with different prayer postures. If you usually sit when you pray, try kneeling in an attitude of humility and openness. Walking while praying can be meditative, helping to clear your mind and keep the ideas flowing freely. Holding a small cross during prayer can comfort you, give you strength, and anchor you solidly in Christ. Don’t be afraid to try things that might look strange to other people. If you are praying privately, prostrate yourself on the floor before God (as you’ve seen priests do on Good Friday), considering what your body and spirit are expressing to God by doing this. Or sit or stand with your arms and face extended to heaven, in a gesture of offering your prayers to the Father. You will be amazed how these different postures help you open your heart to express yourself to God.
imagining yourself in that Gospel scene. Look around you and notice details. Try to engage all of your senses. What are you feeling? What do you want to say to Jesus? What does Jesus say to you? This practice of prayerfully using your Godgiven imagination is a way of bringing to life the stories that make you a Christian and a follower of Christ. It can help you engage with Jesus and his message in a powerful, life-changing way.
Change your prayer environment.
If your prayer time feels empty and uninspired, try something as simple as changing your regular prayer environment. Think about special prayer times you have had when it seemed easiest to pray. Were you in a beautiful church? Were you listening to a choir or focusing on a cross or some other beautiful religious art? Were there candles burning? Were you sitting on a sunny porch or in a dark, quiet room? Different people will find different environments to be prayerful and inspiring. Think about what has worked for you in the past and try to incorporate some of those elements
Pray with Gospel stories.
The Gospels are the very heart of our sacred Scriptures, and provide fertile ground for prayer. Read one of the stories,
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Prayer is something both personal and communal. For some, a church is where they feel most prayerful. Others may take comfort in the outdoors or in the pages of the Bible. © SFRAME/ FOTOSEARCH
in your own prayer space. It may be worth stopping in a quiet church on your way to work or turning a corner of your room into a peaceful, inspiring prayer space.
Recite the Jesus prayer.
Another classic prayer that is worthy of reviving is the Jesus Prayer. Based on the humble prayer of the tax collector in one of Jesus’ parables (Lk 18:13), and prayed with purity and simplicity for centuries, this ancient prayer has the power to center us, relax us, and remind us of who we are and who Jesus is. The classic form of the Jesus Prayer is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The beginning of the prayer is a declaration of faith in Jesus as Lord, Christ, and Son of God. The second half of the prayer is a declaration of our own sinfulness and a petition for his hallmark mercy. Or use the shortest form of the Jesus Prayer: simply speak the name “Jesus.” Try using either form of the Jesus Prayer with your rosary, slowly moving your fingers bead by bead while speaking the Jesus Prayer or the name of Jesus on each bead. The Jesus Prayer can be offered as a prayer of praise, petition, faith, hope, and love. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer” (435).
Write a personal prayer.
You know what you want to pray about on a regular basis, how and why you want to praise or thank God, and the ways you need God’s help. Write a prayer that includes all of these things. Take your time
and add to it or edit it over time. Remember, your prayer does not have to be beautifully written or grammatically perfect. God is listening, not grading. Once it is written, you will have a personalized prayer—one that is easy to pick up and pray every morning or evening. It will include what you most want to say to God on a regular basis.
Read the psalms.
In the Book of Psalms, we have 150 ready-made prayers. Found in the middle of the Bible, these prayers are inspired, sacred Scripture that for generations have been prayed by both Jews and Christians. The authors of the psalms call upon God for rescue, praise him for his greatness, and pour out their hearts with honesty and raw emotion. The psalms range in tone from elation to desperation and capture just about every human emotion in between. The psalms can help us pray when we have no words of our own. As you pray the psalms one by one (try saying one each day), mark the ones you find most meaningful in your own prayer life. Go back to your favorites, the ones that help you express your own struggles, sorrows, joys, and emotions. God has heard these prayers many times. The beautiful thing is that he will know exactly what they mean coming from you.
Talk to your friend Jesus.
Many Catholics do not grow up talking to Jesus. Rote prayer is comfortable and familiar, but simple and spontaSt A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
neous conversation with God is new and intimidating. It may even feel silly or childish. But these are not reasons to avoid speaking from the heart with the one who is always waiting to hear from you. Some people talk to Jesus while they are driving to work, while others sustain an ongoing dialogue with him throughout the day. Some imagine God sitting or walking next to them. Do what works for you. There is only one rule here: speak plainly, from your heart. Yes, God already knows your heart and your needs. But, like any friend, he wants to spend time with you.
“Do that which best stirs you to love.” —St. Teresa of Avila PHOTO BY NHEYOB
Embrace the Process As you try some of these prayer ideas, remember two things. First, give yourself time to adjust to something new. Allow yourself to feel a bit uncomfortable as you slowly “break in” a new way of praying. Writing your own prayers or praying with your arms extended may not feel right at first, but after some time and patience, doing these things can feel as natural as slipping on your favorite old sweater. Finally, as the spiritual master St. Teresa of Avila taught, when it comes to prayer, “Do that which best stirs you to love.” Sparks will
not always fly when we pray, but over time, prayer should lead us more deeply into love. So do that which brings you most mindfully into God’s presence. Do that which raises your mind and heart to God’s love. A Amy Ekeh is a freelance writer from Milford, Connecticut, where she writes her blog amyekeh.com. She is a retreat director and instructor in the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Biblical School.
Can we light a candle for you at the National Shrine of St. Anthony? Fr. Carl lights the candles for your intentions. Each burns for five days, a reminder of St. Anthony’s attention to your prayer. Candles dispel the darkness and offer hope. In lighting a candle, you are asking St. Anthony to intercede with the Lord for your intention. Can we light a candle for you? Visit us at www.stanthony.org. The Franciscan Friars 1615 Vine St., Ste 1 Cincinnati, OH 45202-6492
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September 2016 ❘
Learning from St. Teresa of Calcutta She may have been the 20th century’s most generous follower of Jesus. “What took so long to officially recognize her holiness?” many people may be asking. Since the 13th century when only the bishop of Rome could proclaim someone a saint, several people have been recognized almost immediately (for example, Anthony of Padua in less than a year and Francis of Assisi in fewer than two years). On September 4 when she will be declared a saint, will Mother Teresa strut around heaven and rub it in that she has been officially recognized whereas most of the other souls there have not? Unlikely. We formally recognize saints not for their benefit, but for ours. The saints’ holiness should encourage ours—not substitute for it. So what should we be learning from her?
God Is Not Finished with Us Yet After joining the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin in 1928, Gonxha (Agnes) Bojaxhiu received the name Teresa and made her novitiate in Darjeeling, India. After 18 years as a very successful teacher and administrator in a school for wealthy girls in Calcutta, she felt a “call within a call” to leave that commendable work in order to live and serve women and men whom she described as “the poorest of the poor.” She once described a dying man in her care. “I have lived like an animal, but I am going to die like an angel,” he said. Her new community, the Missionaries of Charity, soon attracted young women to offer similar service and donors to support their work. In time, she founded three male religious communities and a group of lay associates. Mother Teresa heard this initial “call within a call” while riding a very crowded train on the way to her annual retreat. At times, have we ever been on the cusp of some deeper conversion to God’s ways, but instead may have drawn back, arguing that 28 ❘ September 2016
the timing was not right, that needed resources were not available, or for some other reason? St. Teresa might have refused that call in 1946, remained where she was, and still have become a saint, but she would probably not be officially recognized as such now. When I heard her speak in Cincinnati in 1981, she encouraged all of us to see Christ in hungry, homeless, and very needy people made in the image and likeness of God. Her quiet life and energetic ministry prompted people around the world to reconsider their priorities. We are constantly tempted to say “enough” long before God says that. We often need to borrow courage and energy from holy people such as St. Teresa.
Still Benefiting Others Although it may seem rude to mention money in connection with her canonization, once the expenses have been paid, money raised for her cause may help the Church officially recognize other holy women and men who have lived out the Gospel with great courage and generosity. Last March, Pope Francis established new regulations about accountability for money collected to help recognize new saints. That money is now to be given to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for causes that are very worthy, but not well funded. Perhaps some of the money collected for St. Teresa, for example, will benefit the cause of Servant of God Dorothy Day, a laywoman and cofounder of the Catholic Worker, or other people assisting women, men, and children suffering on the margins of every society. Mother Teresa’s canonization will certainly help the religious groups she founded to sustain and expand their corporal and spiritual works of mercy on all continents. She was open to the greater sacrifice that God asked of her during that train ride. Are we similarly open and generous? —P.M. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
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OTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA strips you and me of every excuse to do nothing to help the hungry, the sick, the lonely, the unloved, the rejected, the hurting, the confused, the imprisoned. Over and over again the tiny woman, who will be officially proclaimed a saint on September 4, asks us not to praise her but to join her; to remember that slums, homes for the dying, and prisons are not the only places where mercy, love, and attention are needed. Her canonization will take place one day before the 19th anniversary of her death, in 1997 at age 87. Look across the dinner table, she instructs. Be alert at work, at school, on the subway, at church. BY DAN MORRIS-YOUNG Be aware of what’s around you. Constantly. “God doesn’t ask us to do great things. He asks us to do small things with great love,” she tells us. Those who knew her well repeatedly state that the core message of the “saint of the gutters” is simple, clear, and melded at high mystical heat to Jesus’ words: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these . . . you did for me.” In his homily to the 300,000 people crowding St. Peter’s Square for Mother Teresa’s beat-
Hers was an unforgettable life, devoted, as we all know, to the poorest of the poor. Here is Mother Teresa’s story, with interviews from two who knew and worked with her.
ification ceremony, declaring her Blessed in October 2003, St. John Paul II used one of the pending saint’s often-used descriptions of the abandoned and broken—“Jesus himself, hidden under the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor”—to underscore her conviction “that in touching the broken bodies of the poor she was touching the body of Christ.” And that is what a 36-year-old Loreto sister who had taken the name Teresa (she was born Gonxha [Agnes] Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 27, 1910) made the focus of her life after she underwent “a decisive mystical encounter with Christ” on September 10, 1946, on the way to a retreat. In that interior locution and others over the following months, the future Mother Teresa, by her own account, was told by Jesus “to give up all and follow him into the slums— to serve him in the poorest of the poor.” “The voice kept pleading, ‘Come, come; carry me into the holes of the poor. Come, be my light,’” she said. It took two years, but in 1948 Sister Teresa received the official permissions needed to leave the comfort and safety of the Catholic girls high school in Calcutta (now Kolkata), where she had taught geography and history since 1931. After taking basic nurse training at Patna, India, she boarded a train for the slums of Calcutta and would begin her work. Alone. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
Mother Teresa We Knew
CNS PHOTO/COURTESY KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
“Teresa was not alone for long. Within a year, she found more help than she anticipated. Many seemed to have been waiting for her example to open their own floodgates of charity and compassion,” writes Joan Guntzelman, author of A Retreat with Mother Teresa and Damien of Molokai: Caring for Those Who Suffer (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1999). “Young women came to volunteer their services and later became the core of her Missionaries of Charity. Others offered food, clothing, the use of buildings, medical supplies, and money. As support and assistance mushroomed, more and more services became possible to huge numbers of suffering people,” adds Guntzelman. Many people are holy. Many are charismatic. Many do good works. A good number incorporate all three. Yet Mother Teresa seems to take it to another level—to apostolically inspire others deeply, quickly, and often for the long term.
Missionaries of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator of Mother Teresa’s cause, talks about her legacy at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Connecticut.
“Yes, she had a remarkable effect on people, even after a single meeting or even a glance at her,” said Missionaries of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, who is the postulator— primary advocate—of Mother Teresa’s sainthood cause, as well as the superior general of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. “I heard once that a man came back to the practice of his faith by just seeing her, not even actually meeting her,” Father Brian told St. Anthony Messenger from Rome. “I think the presence of God she radiated and the power of her example had this extraordinary effect,” the priest continued. It probably did not hurt that the former high school teacher was fluent in five lan-
guages—English, Albanian, Serbo-Croatian, Hindi, and Bengali—and could understand some Italian and Spanish. “Her words and messages were quite simple, yet it seems that her voice had some kind of anointing. I remember even before I met her, I listened to a tape of her speaking at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia in 1976 and was especially moved to tears by her praying the prayer of Cardinal [John Henry] Newman on radiating Christ [see box on p. 35]. “She was able to give hope and encouragement even to people in seemingly hopeless situations. She was like a catalyst to many good endeavors. People saw her work and wanted to contribute, to participate, or even to do the same in their own places,” says Father Brian.
A Friend’s Report An emphatic “amen” to that would come from Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, who has written and spoken widely about her lengthy friendship with Mother Teresa, and who has written three books about the saint of Calcutta. “Mother Teresa could connect with others easily because she never judged a person. She only loved and served, seeing Jesus in everyone,” says the popular author and well-known EWTN radio and television personality. “Mother Teresa did not have her head up in some lofty cloud contemplating heavenly bliss. Her worn-out sandals were planted firmly on the ground,” Cooper O’Boyle tells St. Anthony Messenger. “She was well aware of today’s state of affairs and did not mince words when opportunities arose to speak out against the sins of abortion and euthanasia—always in protection of human life.” One such occasion was her acceptance speech when awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1979: “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion. . . . If a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me but to kill you and you to kill me?” “Most of the time, though,” says Cooper O’Boyle, “Mother Teresa’s speaking out was accomplished quietly, and, I dare say, almost secretly, as she ministered to each need as it unfolded before her. She taught that the poor are not only those who are starving for a piece of bread, but the poor might be someone in your own family who is starving for love. She St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
A longtime friend of Mother Teresa, DonnaMarie Cooper O’Boyle says she found solace in letters the two exchanged during a difficult time in her life.
PHOTO BY JACK WINTZ, OFM
remained small and let God do the work. Each person she ministered to was ‘Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor.’” One of the nearly two dozen letters that Mother Teresa wrote over a decade
Mother Teresa addresses the friars of St. John the Baptist province in Cincinnati to mark the occasion of the 800th birthday of St. Francis of Assisi. Fr anciscanMedia.org
to Cooper O’Boyle urged the mother of five to apply that often-employed image to her former husband, with whom she was having brutal childcustody battles. Cooper O’Boyle says she asks Mother Teresa for her intercession “several times a day” and credits her “spiritual mother” for helping her break down unneeded walls between her public persona and personal life. “As years unfolded and my ministry grew, I was often face-to-face with so many wounded people, all starving for love and understanding,” says Cooper O’Boyle. She talks of one time in particular, one that she writes about in the preface of her memoir, The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross. She remembers when a young single mother was sharing her story: “I decided, on the spot, to let her know that I had been a single mom to five children and that God had gotten me through all of the trials and tribulations that came with the territory. She was shocked to hear that I, an EWTN TV host, had been a single mother.” Cooper O’Boyle could clearly see that the woman had gained hope from her
Commemorating Mother Teresa’s Canonization as a Saint on September 4, 2016
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Fruit that Multiplies Mother Teresa began her heroic ministry in the slums of Calcutta in 1948 and was soon attracting supportive followers. In 1950, pontifical approval was given for the establishment of the Missionaries of Charity. There were 12 sisters. CNS PHOTO/ANDY CARRUTHERS, CATHOLIC STANDARD
Today there are more than 5,000 Missionaries of Charity sisters in 758 houses in 139 countries. There are also three Missionaries of Charity communities of men: • Nearly 400 active brothers in 69 houses in 21 nations; • Four dozen contemplative brothers in eight houses in five countries; • More than three dozen Missionaries of Charity priests in nine houses in five countries.
own example of success. “I knew then that it was so important to share our own personal struggles to help others. In a way, I think that when others know that someone can truly understand their plight, they can more easily relate to God’s message of love and mercy.” And Mother Teresa? She was hesitant, at first, to share her story. “As time went on, Mother Teresa allowed some media coverage when she realized that the attention could raise an awareness of the poor all over the world and the poor right in our midst,” Cooper O’Boyle observes. Still, Mother Teresa “strove to remain hidden as much as possible” and “did not want any attention given to herself, but instead wanted all glory going to God.” Another firsthand example: Father
Brian tells a story from “a superior of our community in Calcutta during Mother Teresa’s last years,” which “provides a window into her sense of humor.” His confrere told him: “Media exposure was a great penance to her. She only put up with it to make the message and the work known. She joked amongst us that for each photo taken, Jesus had to release one soul from purgatory. With her constant sense of humor she was able to joke in the last year of her life that now Jesus had to release two souls from purgatory instead of just one, for each photo taken. Her reason was that prices were going up everywhere. ‘Inflation!’ she’d say. Since everything else had become more expensive, a photo should certainly cost two souls now! “She was such a public person who
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still managed to keep her personal life private during her lifetime,” Father Kolodiejchuk says. “Her ordinariness on the outside hid so much of her holiness inside. Now in heaven, her perspective is different. Now so many details about her interior life and her actions are revealed for the benefit of others.”
Surrender Your Heart The priest is alluding to the jarring posthumous revelations about Mother Teresa’s searing lack of divine consolation for nearly 50 years following the founding of the Missionaries of Charity. “This is an aspect of Mother Teresa’s life that warrants a full explanation not possible in the confines of an interview,” the postulator tells St. Anthony Messenger. “But briefly, I could say that her darkness was more a trial of faith and especially of love, but not a real doubt in the sense of actually doubting God’s existence or presence or call. “She was so united to Jesus by pure, naked faith that she paradoxically lived that union by not experiencing it. Just as Jesus was always united to his Father, but did not experience it in the Garden [of Gethsemane] or on the cross, so Mother Teresa knew she was united in mind and soul to Jesus, even when she experienced the opposite.” Cooper O’Boyle says that “finding out about Mother Teresa’s dark night of the soul only reaffirmed for me the St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
Mother Teresa’s Favorite Prayer Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
Experience a trulyy sacred
that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.
PHOTO © KEVRON2001/FOTOSEARCH
Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus! —Blessed John Henry Newman
deeply profound holy life that she lived, and the certainty that she was specially chosen by God to live out these particular trials. Jesus allowed her to experience some of the things he endured—suffering, abandonment, and more. “She teaches us to fully surrender our hearts to God. We cannot rely on our feelings.” Decades ago Mother Teresa confided as much in a note to Jesuit Father Joseph Neuner, an adviser to her and a well-known theologian, influential at Vatican II: “I accept not in my feelings—but with my will, the will of God—I accept his will.”
For God’s Glory Because Pope John Paul II waived the five-year waiting period required for the initiation of a sainthood cause, Mother Teresa’s campaign was launched in 1999. Father Brian was named postulator, the person overseeing the cause to completion. “From the testimonies and the documents, we were able to put the mosaic of her life together and see, as we were not able to while she was alive, the profundity of her holiness,” he says. “Certainly a most surprising” aspect of the work for him, he goes on, was verification of the private vow Sister Teresa took with permission of her confessor in 1942—a “vow to refuse Jesus nothing.” Fr anciscanMedia.org
“The biggest surprise of them all was the spiritual darkness” unveiled in her letters, the priest says, adding: “I think that until these ‘secrets’ were discovered, most people admired Mother Teresa as a holy woman known for her charitable activity toward the poorest of the poor throughout the world. But then, we were able to recognize the depth of her holiness and that, in fact, Mother Teresa is one of the great mystics of the Church.” What might Mother Teresa have said about being named a saint? “It is ‘normal for a religious to be a saint,’ she used to say to the sisters,” Father Brian answers. “So being holy is what she would have expected. On the other hand, about being proclaimed a saint, she would probably say what she said about all her awards and recognitions— ‘let it be for the glory to God and the good of the people, especially the poor.’” That humble approach will, no doubt, be on this priest’s mind as he presents Mother Teresa to Pope Francis for canonization: “When she would be asked point-blank if she was aware of being called a ‘living saint,’ she would say all the time, ‘Holiness is not a luxury of the few, but a simple duty for me and for you.’” A Dan Morris-Young is a correspondent for National Catholic Reporter and author of Beatitude Saints (Our Sunday Visitor).
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Love in Action Mother Teresa constantly told her sisters that the best way to serve God is to do the next loving thing. BY KERRY WA LT E R S
CNS PHOTO/ COURTESY CATHOLIC PRESS PHOTO
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
N INDIAN ADMIRER of Mother Teresa once gifted her with her own personal “calling card.” He was a businessman, so perhaps he intended a bit of whimsy in offering such a worldly item to a woman who had renounced wealth to serve the poor. But Teresa liked the card so much that she had copies made and regularly handed them out to people for the rest of her life. Written on the small yellow cards were spiritual lessons Teresa had learned from the Church, her prayer life, and her ministry to the poor. She summed them up in five steps.
From first to last, the spirituality that inspired Mother Teresa and her sisters was centered on Jesus Christ. It was he whom they heard in silent prayer, he who sustained their faith, he whom they lovingly served, and he who gifted them with the peace that passes all understanding. As Teresa once said, speaking on behalf of the entire order, “My vocation is to belong to Jesus, to cleave to Jesus. The work is the fruit of my love and my love is expressed in my work. . . . Prayer in action is love in action.” The Missionaries of Charity, in other words, aspired to be “contemplatives in the heart of the world,” disciplined through prayer to recognize Christ in every person they encountered.
A Powerful Example Teresa’s understanding of herself and her sisters as contemplatives in the heart of the world wasn’t an identity she developed from scratch. She had absorbed it during her first two decades as a nun, because it’s the spirituality of the Loreto Sisters. Although officially titled the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM), during Mother Teresa’s time, the order was widely known as the Loreto Sisters, named after the shrine in Fr anciscanMedia.org
CNS PHOTO/COURTESY OF BAR CONVENT
The Simple Path The fruit of silence is PRAYER. The fruit of prayer is FAITH. The fruit of faith is LOVE. The fruit of love is SERVICE. The fruit of service is PEACE.
Italy where the founder, Venerable Mary Ward, used to pray. Ward was an extraordinary woman. She was born in Yorkshire, in 1585, into a Roman Catholic family in a time in which it was dangerous to be an openly practicing Catholic. Her family was well-off. Despite their wealth, Ward’s grandmother was imprisoned for 14 years for refusing to renounce her faith. Persecution like this drove Catholic families underground or abroad. Mary chose the latter course, leaving England for the Netherlands when she was 15 to enter a Poor Clare convent. Ward soon discovered that she wasn’t temperamentally suited for a cloistered life. She yearned to serve God in the world while maintaining the interior calm fostered by the contemplative prayer she learned in the convent. In searching for a spirituality that suited her temperament, she was inspired by the Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola only a generation earlier. The Jesuits aren’t a cloistered order. Instead, they labor in the world ad majorem Dei gloriam, “for the greater glory of God,” and seek to discern God in all things. Ward dreamt of an order for women who, like the Jesuits, would travel the world as missionaries to spread God’s word. The members of this new order would be tasked with the specific mission of teaching the poor to help them attain a better station in life. At the same time, sisters in the order would lead deeply spiritual interior lives, fueling their good works with regular prayer. In 1609, back in England, Ward gathered together like-minded women into a community, and it flourished almost immediately. She also formed a similar community in France. The English sisters operated secretly; the French ones openly. Ironically, it was her fellow religionists, not the English Protestant establishment, who eventually persecuted Ward. Church authorities grew deeply suspicious of a non-cloistered religious community of women, especially one that embraced the spirituality of the Society of Jesus, an order that would soon be persecuted by the Church as well. Ward came under additional scrutiny because she was learned, fluent in several languages, including Latin, in an age when educated women were suspect. In the final years of her life, she was interrogated by the Inquisition and, on several occasions, imprisoned, and the houses of sisters she founded were disbanded. When Ward died during the English Civil War, still remaining loyal to her ideal of contemplation and action
Sister Mary Ward, seen here in an undated painting, was foundress of the Loreto sisters. Ward and the Loreto sisters provided Mother Teresa with a shining example of service. (Opposite) Mother Teresa comforts an ailing man. The call to serve those in need was one fostered in her early years with the Loreto sisters.
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in the world, she must have felt as if she’d utterly failed in what she hoped to accomplish. But she hadn’t. Loreto houses endured on the Continent, and before long returned to England. One of the hallmarks of both Loretian and Jesuit spirituality is the regular practice of discernment, a careful scrutiny not only of the world, but of one’s responses to it. The goal is to learn to see and serve God at work in the world, even when things seem to be messy or even chaotic, and to distinguish God’s will from personal desires. The spiritual clarity sought is cultivated by regular self-examination and contemplative prayer in which one cleaves to Jesus in silence and humility. For Mary Ward, Jesus was the foundation upon which the spirituality of her order was built. As she lay dying, she repeated his name again and again.
Seeking God in Others
CNS PHOTO/PAUL JEFFREY; (BIRD) © PASTORES PHOTOGRAPHY/ FOTOSEARCH
It’s within this rich tradition that Teresa served her spiritual apprenticeship, and it’s also the one that she transmitted to her sisters and brothers in the Missionaries of Charity. As she was forever reminding them, “Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, everywhere, all the time, and seeing his hand in every happening—that is contemplation in the heart of the world.” It was so central to the aim of the Missionaries that its requirement was explicitly mandated in the order’s constitution. Our life of contemplation shall retain the following characteristics: ■ missionary: by going out physically or in spirit in search of souls all over the world. ■ contemplative: by gathering the whole world at the very center of our hearts where the Lord abides. ■ universal: by praying and contemplating with all and for all, especially with and for the spiritually poorest of the poor. Jesus’ words from the cross—“I thirst”— were [central] to Teresa’s spirituality. For her, they signified, first and foremost, Christ’s thirst for our love, our kindness, our trust, and our hope, and she wanted that longing of Christ to be the centerpiece of her order. As she once wrote, “The heart and soul of MC [Missionaries of Charity] is only this—the thirst of Jesus’ Heart, hidden in the poor.” Missionaries were called to so love the Lord that they’d be willing to do everything they could to ease his suffering by tending to the physical and emotional thirst of the people in whom he abides.
Teresa and her sisters were under no illusion that serving Christ in the poor and the marginalized would be easy. But they were also convinced that the more they sacrificed, the more they eased the pain of Christ in all his distressing disguises. The occasional heartache and more or less permanent physical weariness they took on in the service of others, they believed, was well worth it. Mother Teresa once expressed this point in a parable so simple that it might have served as a Sunday school lesson, but so powerful that it was wise counsel to her sisters. “There is a story of a little robin,” Teresa told them. “He saw Jesus on the cross, saw the crown of thorns. The bird flew around and around until he found a way to remove a thorn, and in removing the thorn stuck himself. Each of us should be that bird.” But sacrifices made with sorrowful sighs and self-pity, Teresa believed, are worse than no sacrifice at all. The people who relied upon the Missionaries of Charity deserved to be treated with dignity and love, and that obliged sisters and brothers to feel and display genuine joy in coming to their assistance. “The Missionaries of Charity do firmly
believe that they are touching the body of Christ in his distressing disguise whenever they are helping and touching the poor.” How, therefore, could one possibly minister to them—to him—with “a long face”? As Teresa told Malcolm Muggeridge, “We [Missionaries of Charity] must be able to radiate the joy of Christ, express it in our actions. If our actions are just useful actions that give no joy to the people, our poor people would never be able to rise up to the call which we
Sister Paula, MC, provides support for a patient at the “House for the Dying,” in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The hospice cares for patients with AIDS and other serious illnesses.
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
want them to hear, the call to come closer to God. We want to make them feel that they are loved. If we went to them with a sad face, we would only make them much more depressed.”
A Difficult Lifelong Journey
Seeing God in Ourselves Teresa’s counsel to her sisters isn’t intended as a therapeutic bit of self-help, although becoming aware of God’s presence in the heart can certainly be psychologically comforting and a source of deep calmness. Instead, she offers it as an unavoidable fact about the spiritual life: it’s unlikely that we can discern and rejoice in Christ in others unless we also discern and rejoice in Christ in us. The more in touch we are with the divine presence in us, the more easily we recognize it in others. The more cognizant we are that God loved us into existence and sustains us with love, the more readily we know that God has done and is doing the same for others. Over the centuries, saints in many religious traditions, but especially in Christianity, have
CNS PHOTO/ PIYAL ADHIKARY, EPA
The Jesus-centered contemplation in the heart of the world that is the spirituality of the Missionaries of Charity demands a lifelong process of conversion. Most of us live in me-centered universes. We find it difficult to value other people to the degree we value ourselves. Their needs are secondary in importance to ours, and if push comes to shove, we’re pros at rationalizing, grabbing more than we can use, and leaving them with less. How does one begin to turn away from a lifetime of selfishness to embrace a vocation of contemplative service? What does it take to convert? The necessary starting point is a recalibration of one’s way of looking at the world. We must recognize—re-cognize, come to re-know—the nature of reality and the humans who inhabit it. The reason silence was so important to Teresa is because it offers us the opportunity to begin shedding false understandings of ourselves and the world. It clears a space, so to speak, for the recognition that converts. Silence and prayer become the wombs in which we’re reborn. They “enlarge the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself.” As we progress in our conversions, the rebirth midwifed for us by silence and prayer nurtures an abiding and grateful faith in the essential goodness of creation and the Creator. This in turn makes us long to protect and preserve the creation, not because we consider it a duty, but because our recognition of its divine origin instills in us a loving desire to steward it. God loved creation into being, and we should respond lovingly to it. This recognition of God’s imprint upon the created world, and especially upon humans, made in the likeness of God, in turn prompts us to discern the presence of Christ in each and every person we encounter. That’s the contemplative insight that undergirds the activity of the Missionaries of Charity. But what’s just as important as seeing God in others is discerning God’s presence within oneself. This is an aspect of Mother Teresa’s spirituality that often goes unnoticed, focused as we typically are upon the works of mercy performed by Missionaries of Charity. But for
Teresa, it was an essential preparation for loving the Christ in those in want of food, medicine, shelter, or love. She urged her sisters to “promote and maintain” during their times of deep prayer and recollection “the constant awareness of the Divine Presence everywhere and in everyone, especially in our own hearts and in the hearts of our sisters with whom we live.”
taught the importance of recognizing God’s presence in both oneself and others. Cistercian monk John Eudes Bamberger, a trained psychiatrist who is also a contemplative, nicely describes the dynamic interplay of this recognition. He observes that God is discernible everywhere for those who know how to see. But “the most fruitful place to search for God is at the center of the soul of the person you love most personally and so most purely, with
A sister from the Missionaries of Charity holds a prayer card bearing the image of Mother Teresa. Such an image is a visual reminder of our call to serve those in need.
September 2016 ❘
CNS PHOTO/ANTO AKKARA
Missionary of Charity Sister Leo Therese greets Majoni Bibi and her baby at a refugee camp in Basagaon, India, in October 2012.
the greatest respect for the uniqueness and well-being of that person.” Moreover, doing so encourages us to discover “reflexively in our own spirit, the same presence, the same uniqueness that strives to honor the goodness that is the other.” Everyone, Bamberger thinks, has an “elusive” sense of God’s presence in both themselves and others. But a loving relationship calls forth a lived recognition that makes the presence less elusive. Love “casts a brighter light” that enables us to perceive the “radiance that is at the heart of human life.” Mother Teresa would have agreed wholeheartedly with this observation. After all, as her calling card proclaimed, the fruit of faith is love in action and the sense of wholeness or peace that it creates, in both the individual and the world. When we arrive at the recognition that we and our fellow humans are made in the likeness of a loving God and hence are lovable ourselves, we may be so overwhelmed with gratitude that we long to do huge things for God. But Mother Teresa cautioned her sisters, and us as well, that it’s much better to do something beautiful for God. This was the advice she consistently gave people who wrote or asked her in person what they could do to contribute to the Missionaries’ work. Doing something beautiful for God didn’t require massive reform or overnight changes in social and economic structures of oppression. Rather, it means that whatever one does is entirely and perfectly beautiful if done out of love for Jesus. Contemplative love in the heart of the world is judged by its qualitative accomplishments, not by quantity. As Teresa 40 ❘
wisely noted, “It may happen that a mere smile, a short visit, the lighting of a lamp, writing a letter for a blind man, carrying a bucket of charcoal, offering a pair of sandals, reading the newspaper—may, in fact, be our love of God in action. Listening, when no one else volunteers to listen, is no doubt a very noble thing.” In saying this, Teresa was perfectly in step with the Loreto spirituality of finding God in all things, no matter how seemingly insignificant they are. Also apparent is the influence of Mother Teresa’s namesake, Thérèse of Lisieux, and her “little way” of serving the Lord. The spirituality of the Missionaries of Charity, contemplatives in the heart of the world, and its emphasis on the presence of Christ’s love in each of us, has sustained hundreds of the order’s brothers and sisters, and thousands of the people they serve. That’s why it came as a shock for so many to discover that Mother Teresa lived for nearly a half century without any sense of that presence. Yet even though she languished in spiritual aridity, she persevered in her service to God and to the world’s millions of Christs in distressing disguise. A This article is an excerpt from St. Teresa of Calcutta: Missionary, Mother, Mystic, published by Franciscan Media. Kerry Walters is professor emeritus of philosophy and peace and justice studies at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. He is a prolific author whose books include Atheism: A Guide for the Perplexed, Practicing Presence: The Spirituality of Caring in Everyday Life, and The Art of Dying and Living. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
HONORING MOTHER TERESA’S CANONISATION Official legal tender, limited-edition 24K gold-plated coin! Genuine legal tender coin with the Queen’s portrait plus 2016 on the obverse
Mother Teresa’s humble blue sari stripes plus an embossed white dove and two crosses on the reverse
Fully layered with 24K gold
Date of canonisation
Full color depiction of Mother Teresa of Calcutta with her hands clasped in prayer
EVENT: On September 4, 2016,
n the historic occasion of the canonisation of one of the most beloved servants of the Church, the Bradford Exchange Mint is proud to present an all-new legal tender coin honoring the newest saint — Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be canonised, becoming a saint.
TO A BELOVED MISSIONARY A GOLDEN TRIBUTE AND OUR NEWEST SAINT
Filled with meaningful symbols of her gentle devotion, this official, legal tender coin is a golden commemorative that features a full color portrait of Mother Teresa on the reverse. Wearing her simple, blue-striped sari vestments (blue signaling her devotion to Mary), and with her hands clasped in prayer, Mother Teresa is remembered as millions around the world knew her. A white dove, two crosses, and an additional blue-striped design element adorn the 24K gold-plated coin.
This historic coin is strictly limited to 2,016 collections (the year of canonisation). Due to the extremely low quantity available, only the earliest applicants will be able to successfully secure this legal tender coin.
CONDITION: Intended as a collectors’ item, this genuine legal tender Crown is fully plated in 24K gold and offered in Proof Condition. A full color image of Mother Teresa praying adorns the front. EXTRAS: Your coin arrives sealed within a crystal-clear holder and comes complete with a Certiﬁcate of Authenticity.
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A true commemorative meant to celebrate the life and works of the founder of the Missionaries of Charity and Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Mother Teresa Canonisation Gold Crown is legal tender of Tristan da Cunha and strictly limited to 2,016 complete collections — the year of her canonisation. Quantities are limited, so don’t miss this opportunity to acquire the Mother Teresa Canonisation Gold Crown as well as additional issues in The Mother Teresa Legacy Collection. A historic opportunity...order today! Act now, and each edition in the collection, premiering with this commemorative coin created to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event, can be yours for just $49.95, payable in two convenient installments of $24.98 each. Your purchase is risk free, backed by our unconditional, 365-day guarantee and you may cancel at any time simply by notifying us. Send no money now. Just return the Priority Reservation Certificate below. But hurry—high expected demand is likely to impact availability and those who delay risk missing out. Order now. ©2016 BGE 17-01177-001-BI
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I Left My Heart After serving people in poverty, my life was never the same. B Y PA U L I N E H O V E Y
NTICIPATION GROWS as I gather with seven other women at Washington-Dulles Airport to begin our pilgrimage to Cochabamba, Bolivia, and the Amistad Mission. We come from different backgrounds, different Christian denominations, and we range in age from 40s to 70s. We are leaving behind chil-
PHOTO BY BONNIE BOWEN
Fellow pilgrim Juli WilsonBlack, of Alexandria, Virginia, quickly makes friends with these twin sisters at the family outreach center in Cochabamba.
dren, husbands, work, ministries, and other responsibilities for one week. And, like Father William Wilson, the founder of Amistad and a former Trappist monk who followed a call to live among the poorest of the poor, we have set an intention to be open to how the Holy Spirit will speak to us on this journey. Some of us have been on missions before; others have never stepped foot in a developing country. Only one, Anne Grizzle, has previously visited Bolivia. In fact, Anne has made numerous visits to the Amistad Mission, which she and her husband have financially supported since its inception. As a family, they’d arranged trips to Cochabamba to introduce their three young sons—now adults with their own families—to the children living at Amistad, a name that means “friendship.” Both the mission and Father Will gained such a special place in the heart of the Grizzle family that soon Anne’s children began their own fund-raising efforts for their Bolivian friends. As a spiritual director, retreat leader, and friend, Anne has often shared her love of Amistad with us. Now each of us is responding to a call heard in the silence of our own hearts to “come and see.” For me, the only Catholic and widow in the group, with my only son soon to graduate from college, this pilgrimage is about prayerfully seeking where God is calling me next. Having recently returned from a year of missionary service, most of which I’d spent at the US-Mexico border, I realize I can no longer live my life as usual. My awareness of the St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMISTAD MISSION; FABRIC PATTERN © ALEXANDRAGL/FOTOSEARCH
poverty, austerity, and violence many migrants and refugees are fleeing has made that clear.
Who Will Care for the Children? While waiting to board our plane to Miami, where we will connect to an all-night flight to Santa Cruz, Anne hands me a book on the history of Amistad. When Father Will arrived in the 1980s, the conditions at Cochabamba’s government-run orphanages were atrocious. Although he didn’t intend to visit any orphanages, he providentially came across one and discovered more than 50 infants and another 50 children under the age of 6 being cared for by only two women. The stench of the place, along with the faces of so many neglected and sick children, was too much for Father Will. He knew he had to do something. By 1990, with the help of US and Bolivian friends, he opened Villa Amistad for orphaned, abused, and abandoned children. Based on the family model, where children live as sibFr anciscanMedia.org
lings in a Christian-based community, the Villa now has eight individual houses and cares for more than 65 children between the ages of 3 and 16. In addition, there are two youth houses for young men and women who attend university or technical school. Each house has a caretaker called a mamá and her assistant tía (aunt) who are responsible for up to 10 children, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As I read about Father Will’s calling to live among the poor in Bolivia, how his experiences of the injustices and suffering of others left him feeling “disturbed and no longer comfortable in the safety and isolation” of his hermitage, I know why I am on this trip. His words and sentiments echo my own. Already the Holy Spirit is speaking to me.
Mamá Teodora (left, back row) sits with the nine children under her daily care at the Casa Copacabana, one of the Amistad Mission’s eight youth houses.
Mothers of the World A tour of Amistad and a day of activities with the children are on our agenda for later in the week, but our first full day we have made plans September 2016 ❘
to bring the mamás and tías to our guest quarters at La Morada—a compound built especially for visitors and pilgrims to Amistad. We want to treat these selfless women to a day of pampering. Each of us has brought a gift to offer. Liz has brought her art supplies; Barbara, knitted prayer shawls; Nancy, Juli, and Mary Lou, lotions and oils for foot washing and massaging; and Bonnie, her camera along with 8-by10 picture frames. She plans to take individual photographs of the women—something they’ve never experienced—and, by week’s end, she will carefully frame these photographs and present them to the women. “My hope,” Bonnie tells me, “is this will give them a feeling of pride and let them know how much they are appreciated and loved for who they are— God’s beloved.”
(Right) As Mary Lou McMillin bends to wash the well-worn feet of a caretaker, we are reminded of Christ’s similar action in John’s Gospel.
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMISTAD MISSION; (ABOVE) PHOTO BY BONNIE BOWEN
(Below) Children at the Amistad Mission are given more than shelter and education; in the organic garden, they grow food for daily meals and learn to care for creation.
To begin the day, the mamás and tías gather with us in the La Morada chapel. We share the Eucharist and offer prayers for one another. The women express their hopes and dreams: “for a healthy family,” “a little house of my own someday,” “no more orphans or abandoned children”—prayers we all share as women, as mothers of the world. In the presence of their simple yet strong faith, I experience our solidarity in Christ. At the foot-washing station, I massage the women’s feet with lotion after Mary Lou has lovingly washed and patted them dry. As I rub the sweet-smelling salve against well-worn brown heels and in between calloused toes, I sense the women’s shyness. Some look away, not sure where to let their eyes land. Others smile with obvious delight. Each one hugs me afterward, expressing in some way her gratitude for this gift she has never before received. I’m reminded of when, after washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus said, “Do you realize what I have done for you? If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. . . . As I have done for you, you should also do. . . . If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it” (Jn 13:12-17). These women do not realize how blessed I am for the gift they have given me.
Meeting God in Aramasi Midweek we travel to the remote Quechua village of Aramasi and the hermitage where Father Will began his ministry. It was here, tucked in the peaks of the Andes, that he intended to live quietly among the poorest of Bolivia’s poor while praying for and loving the indigenous people who surrounded him. But God had other plans. Soon villagers were showing up at his door suffering from tuberculosis and life-threatening pregnancies. The only hospital was a treacherous two-hour drive through the mountain pass. Realizing God was calling him to do more than remain in his hermitage, he reached out to a Bolivian husband-and-wife doctor team, who began practicing medicine in Aramasi. Eventually the doctors expanded their practice, and funds were raised to not only build a clinic, but also install a well for clean drinking water, start sustainable farming, and improve the village school, where now-healthy children could be educated. As our bus makes its way up the treacherous, winding dirt road to Aramasi, it’s impossible not to be affected by the rampant poverty outSt A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
side my window. I ride in silence, choosing to be present to what I witness. Crumbling facades, makeshift shacks, and huts dot the landscape. Campesinos peddle papaya and mangoes on the road, small children by their side. Women with long black braids wearing wide-brimmed sombreros herd goats and sheep along the hillsides. An elderly woman on the side of the road stops our bus, hands outstretched, crying out for food. I let the tears come as I look upon these sights, so strongly contrasted against my own wealth and abundance and that of my country. Then, in the silence of my heart, I hear, “My love contains all the darkness.” At Aramasi, Anne has arranged for the local Quechua women to display their weavings so we can help support them. Some women have traveled more than an hour on foot to be here. They smile as they answer questions about their lives and families while our Quechua guide translates. One woman laughs whenever she speaks, exposing missing teeth. I am struck by how this unexplainable joy exists alongside the extreme poverty of their lives. Our accommodations here are similar to a monk’s cell—small stone structures with thin, worn mattresses laid across wooden planks raised above the bare floor. But none of us complains. This is why we have come, after all—to be with the people, to experience living among them as Father Will did, even if only for a couple of days. Each hermitage has a Bible, and I reach for
mine as soon as I enter my “cell.” It falls open to Song of Songs, and I read: “Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields and lodge in the villages. . . . There I will give you my love” (7:12-13). Despite the austere conditions of this tiny hermitage, with its primitive outhouse, I feel as though I could stay for months, simply listening to God in the silence. Throughout that night, in my bed by the starlit sky, like Jacob in the Old Testament I am assaulted by dreams. One particularly vivid dream awakens me with a message that I don’t want to leave. Glowing orange hues light the sky as I open my eyes, and I shoot out of bed like my own star on fire to watch the rising sun. As it unveils all its beauty, glory, and promise, I remember Jacob. Surely, God was in this place, and I did know it.
Surprised by Joy On Saturday we visit the Amistad Villa to play with the children and tour the facilities. The full-time staff of this well-run program includes executive directors in both Bolivia and the United States, a psychologist, a social worker, and an agronomist who support the children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Financially, a wide range of US churches and individuals—from New York to Florida, from Texas to California—support the program. We tour the gardens, the preschool and catechism classrooms where the children attend the catechesis of the Good Shepherd program,
PHOTO BY BONNIE BOWEN; PRESCHOOL PHOTO COURTESY OF AMISTAD MISSION
(Far left) Though the poverty is palpable in the village of Aramasi, so is the pride this elderly Quechua woman has in her woven wares. She is among several indigenous women who walked many miles to sell her crafts to the American pilgrims. (Left) Is this little boy at play or learning? It turns out the answer is both; he is one of 15 toddlers who attend the Montessori preschool at the Amistad Mission.
September 2016 ❘
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMISTAD MISSION
who cared for street children in Turin, Italy, has inspired me. For some reason, I’d felt compelled to watch a DVD on his life before I’d left for this trip. To find him here now is no coincidence. It only affirms the growing calling in my heart. As soon as our tour is over, the children grab our hands, wanting our attention. We have become immediate friends. On the playground, the boys yell, “¡Más fuerte, más fuerte!” (“Stronger, stronger!”) from their posts on the metal merry-go-round as I whip the poles as hard as I can. They scream and laugh with delight, and I laugh, too. Then the little girls, from their perch on the swings, yell, “¡Amiga! Amiga!” as they call me to come push them. In between running back and forth I recognize the Spirit speaking to me once again. It’s the presence of joy.
Amistad Offers Hope, Opportunity, Love Bolivia is the poorest country in South America, with an estimated 59 percent of the population living in poverty, according to UNICEF. More than two-thirds of the population are indigenous, the highest percentage of any Latin American country. Over 2.5 million Bolivian children—more than 60 percent of the entire child population—suffer from malnutrition, abuse, or abandonment. The country’s orphanages are overcrowded, especially in Cochabamba, which has the largest percentage of the country’s abandoned children born to impoverished mothers. Alternatives like Amistad offer abandoned children hope, opportunity, and love. Those who make their way there are the lucky ones. Many others will grow up on the streets, picking through garbage and strangers’ pockets, sniffing glue, or acquiring other addictions while dodging feelings of overwhelming loneliness. It’s a reality for many poor children in Latin America. For more information on the Amistad Mission, contact Chris King, executive director of Amistad, in Nashville, Tennessee, at cking@amistad mission.org, or visit the Amistad website at amistadmission.org.
and the chapel where a local priest comes to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments. But we visit only one of the eight houses for the children. And that one holds a special surprise for me. Each house has a prayer area devoted to a saint who has become their patron. As I make my way over to this prayer space, the face of John Bosco stops me in my tracks. It’s the same face plastered on a coffee mug in my kitchen cupboard. For years, the life and calling of John Bosco, founder of the Salesian Missions, 46 ❘
Depending on God Our last night in Bolivia, we gather to reflect on our journey. Each of my friends shares how Father Will and the people of Cochabamba have taught her the meaning of continual dependence on God. “It is remarkable what happens when one person follows a call,” Anne says of Father Will. She could have been speaking directly to me. But Juli’s words strike me the most. A pastor of a small, understaffed church in Alexandria, Virginia, she shares how she’s gained “a new perspective on how, the less we are able to do for ourselves, the more we are forced to rely on God and experience grace”—a reality most of the world’s people face every day. “When we can’t tie everything up in our lives neatly with a little bow, it means that we have more opportunity to be grateful for what does go right, and to be surprised by God.” That’s certainly true for me. Not everything in my life has been tied up in a neat little package. Unexpected challenges and tragedies, like my husband’s death, have thrown me off course, leaving me unable to rely on my ability to figure things out. And on this pilgrimage, I certainly have been surprised by God. I have heard a deeper call to mission—a call that will require my own deepening dependence on God every day. In the silence of my heart, I make a decision to return to Cochabamba. A Pauline Hovey is a freelance writer with a heart for mission. Since writing this article, she has returned to Cochabamba to attend the Instituto de Idiomas Maryknoll (Language School) before continuing to follow a call to minister to the Latino people. St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o r g
Dooley Two young brothers struggled to make it on their own. FICTION BY BARBARA TYLLA
HE BAR AND GRILL squatted like a clapboard oasis next to the potato fields. Dooley would have said Ridgley’s was perfect. The sign said it served harvesters, so no one would notice another man dressed in faded overalls and work boots. If the place was busy, money was always on the bar, and who would be the wiser if a 50-cent piece or two went missing? “Stealin’ ain’t sinful,” Dooley assured his nephews, “as long as you do it to fill your stomach and not for profit.” Slip thought there was something wrong with this logic but he didn’t argue because he liked eating too much. In those early years of the Depression, the finding of food occupied most of their days. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. That his uncle had sometimes been a thief was a fact, but it didn’t matter anymore because he was dead. Dooley was done with this world and dealing with the next, and, like it or not, Slip was the head of the family.
H ILLUSTRATION © TIM ZELTNER/i2iART.COM
e glanced at his little brother, who was chewing on a piece of quack grass. Slip put on a good face for Rudy, but the truth was he was scared. He didn’t like being on his own. He didn’t want to be in charge of his brother. He’d been praying every night for three weeks, but so far God hadn’t heard. The screen door to Ridgley’s was open, and he could smell the aroma of coffee and frying bacon. His mouth began to water. They hadn’t eaten since the day before, and that had only been a shared can of peaches and a biscuit. A blond-haired woman appeared in the doorway, holding a cup of coffee. She eyed the boys and Slip’s heart quickened, thinking she might call to them. But she only opened the door to September 2016 ❘ 49
let a dog out. It was an old dog—Slip could tell by its silver muzzle. It lumbered off the porch to do its business, then eyed the boys curiously. “It looks like Smoky,” Rudy said. Smoky had been their neighbor’s dog, a spaniel mix who’d spent more time at the Smiley house than it did at its own. “It doesn’t look anything like Smoky,” Slip snorted. “Smoky was black; this one is spotted.” He stopped because Rudy wasn’t listening. The dog had limped to his brother and rolled over, exposing a belly of tangled hair and burrs. “Look! Look!” Rudy chortled as he dropped to his knees. “He wants his belly scratched.” “You do that and you’ll never get rid of him.” The words came from the woman, who had stepped onto the porch. “He loves a belly rub.” “What’s his name?” Rudy asked. The woman smiled—a nice smile that lightened an otherwise plain face. “When he could hear, he answered to Riley. He’s deaf now, so he doesn’t
So that his work might continue...
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50 ❘ September 2016
answer to anything.” “How do you get him back if he gets out?” “We don’t. He comes back . . . eventually.” She took a sip of coffee. “Are you boys staying around here or passing through?” “Staying,” Slip said. “We’re lookin’ to work the harvest.” “Both of you?” She glanced at Rudy, and Slip could hear the doubt in her voice. “It’s not easy work.” “We’re not lookin’ for easy.” She smiled. “How old are you?” “Old enough,” Slip said stiffly. “I’m 16 and my brother’s 12.” It wasn’t true. He wouldn’t be 16 for another four months and Rudy wouldn’t be 12 until June, but Dooley had always rounded their ages up. He took off his cap and stepped forward. The smell of the bacon was making him dizzy. He glanced at Rudy, but he was still busy with the dog. He seemed unaware of the bacon. “Our uncle told us about the potato harvest. He said it was different than field work, but we’d learn fast enough.” “I don’t doubt it,” the woman said. “But . . .” “You think we’re too young?” A sympathetic smile curled her mouth. “No, but you’re too late.” “Too late?” “For this year’s harvest.” Slip’s shoulders dropped. “Uncle Dooley said it was in September.” “Yes, but mid-September, not late. He should have told you that.” “I guess . . . he forgot,” Slip mumbled. He couldn’t tell her that three weeks ago they were burying Dooley in a cottonwood grove in Missouri. It had taken two weeks to get to Mt. Ida on their own.
lip suddenly felt exhausted; no longer hungry, just tired. He turned to Rudy. “Leave the dog alone. It’s time . . .” He never finished the sentence because all at once there was a roaring sound in his ears and then the road was rising up to meet his face. When he opened his eyes he was aware of two things: he was off the
road, and there was a wet cloth on his nose. “Must have been something I ate,” he groaned. “Most likely it’s not food that did this,” the woman said. “When did you eat last?” “Yesterday,” Rudy piped. “We had peaches.” “Peaches?” “And a biscuit,” he added. The woman’s hands were gentle as she examined Slip. “Your nose is going to swell, but I don’t think it’s broken. If your uncle thinks you should see a doctor, I can get one.” “No need,” Slip mumbled. “I don’t know. I think I should talk to your uncle.” “You can’t,” Rudy said, his eyes filling. “Uncle Dooley’s . . .” “Sick,” Slip said with more vehemence than he intended. “He didn’t feel good so we told him to stay in camp.” The woman’s eyes softened. “Well, it’s a poor substitute for work, but I can give you breakfast and make something for your uncle, too. How would that be?” Slip closed his eyes with relief. Maybe God had heard him after all. Her name was Jenny Hammill, and she was the granddaughter of the owner of the bar, a man named Amos Ridgley, who lived in the brick house across the road. Jenny and her husband lived in the house, too. They cared for her grandfather and helped him run the bar after a stroke the year before had left him crippled.
enny was nice and so was her husband, Tim, a lanky man who whistled while he cleaned the stove. Slip was bothered by their questions, though. “Where is home? Why did you leave? How long have you been riding the rails with your uncle?” “They might be some of them mission folks,” Slip said to Rudy. “The ones who grab runaways and put ’em in county homes. We don’t want to end up in one of those places again, do we?” Rudy shook his head. They’d spent a month in a county home after Pa died. The place was overcrowded and understaffed, and there wasn’t St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
enough food or beds to accommodate the children. They were glad when Dooley had rescued them. “Do you really think Jenny is a mission lady?” “You never can tell.” “But she’s so nice, and Riley likes her.” “A dog likes anyone who will feed it.” The words were harsh, but he had to keep Rudy on his toes. Rudy was like a yard weed, putting out feelers for any nourishment he could find. He was already in love with the dog. It wouldn’t take much for his feelings to expand. If the Hammills hadn’t offered them work, they’d be on a freight train now, but their money situation prevented refusal. On Friday, a birthday party was being held at Ridgley’s, and Jenny had hired the boys to serve and clean up. Slip sighed. The country was starving, but people still wasted money on parties. It didn’t seem right, but he wouldn’t complain. The money they’d make would buy supplies for two weeks. “Just watch yourself with the Hammills,” he said. “If they ask about Dooley, tell ’em he’s still sick. We don’t want our cover blown.” “Why do we need a cover? Why can’t we just tell the truth?” “Because . . .” Slip sighed, but then they spotted the shed, so he didn’t have to answer.
t was an old storage building sitting in a potato field west of Ridgley’s. It was in bad shape, but after they cleaned it out it didn’t look too bad. They had lunch—the egg sandwich Jenny had made for Dooley—and then the headache hit. Groaning, Slip flopped on his blanket. “Maybe I can sleep it off. Think you can stay out of trouble for an hour?” Rudy grinned. “Can I go up to Ridgley’s and play with the dog?” In retrospect he should have said no, but it was too much of an effort, so he didn’t. When he woke, his headache was gone but his nose hurt like fury and his eye had swollen shut. He glanced at his watch. It was 3:30, Fr ancisca n Media .org
and Rudy wasn’t back. He didn’t want to go up to Ridgley’s, but he supposed he had to if he wanted to get Rudy away from the dog.
here were half a dozen cars in the parking lot and a sign out front said it was “Chili Tuesday.” An old man in a wheelchair was greeting folks at the door. He smiled at Slip. It was only half a smile because one side of his mouth didn’t work. “You’re the boy who had the fight with our road today.” Slip flushed and grinned. “Yes, sir. I think maybe I lost the battle, though.” The man chuckled. “Yep, tussling with a road never works.” He extended his hand. “I’m Amos Ridgley, Jenny’s grandpa. I guess you came for your brother.” “Do you know where he is?” The old man shrugged. “The last I heard he took Riley over to the pond.” “The pond?” “It’s across the road on my property. Riley likes to worry the ducks.” Slip frowned. “How long ago was that?” “About two hours.” “Two hours?” “He probably lost track of time, but it’s going to get dark soon so Jenny sent Tim to fetch them.” Jenny brought over a bowl of chili for Slip. “How’s your uncle? Feeling any better?” Slip lowered his eyes to the chili. “Better,” he said. “Good, because Tim was wondering if he could help tend bar on Friday. Do you think he’d feel well enough by then?” “Maybe,” Slip muttered. He wondered what excuse he could make when Friday came around, but then Tim returned and suddenly Friday wasn’t important. He was holding two things in his hands—a dog’s leash with a broken clasp and one of Rudy’s boots. “They’re in Fancher’s Woods,” he said, and his face was grim. Fancher’s Woods, Jenny explained, was a 400-acre forest edging part of her grandfather’s farm. Tim thought Riley might have scared a rabbit into the woods and Rudy had followed. “We’ll find them. But I hope we do
it before dark. Fancher’s Woods is no place to be at night.”
uck was with them. The pair was found just before dusk. Except for a few scratches, Rudy was OK, but Riley was not. The little spaniel didn’t have a mark on him, but nevertheless he was dead. “It’s not your fault,” Tim said to the sobbing boy. “He was an old dog and his heart gave out. You’re not to blame. It was his time.” But Rudy could not be consoled. He shook his head from side to side. “No. It’s like Dooley. He’s dead like Uncle Dooley and he ain’t comin’ back.” And then, of course, everything came out. Everything about Pa and Dooley and the trains and the yard bull waking them that morning waving his steel pipe, and Dooley jumping in front of him to take the hit and telling the boys to run. Slip dropped his head when he finished. “So what’s going to happen now? Are you going to call the police?” Jenny seemed surprised by the question. “Why? Your brother was lost, but we found him. Why would the police even care?”
hat night, after Chili Tuesday was over, Jenny’s grandfather told the boys to bring their gear to his house. He had an empty room going to waste, and wasting anything was a sin in times like these. “You can stay until Friday when the party is over or until you find something better.” So they moved into the house across from Ridgley’s into the room at the top of the stairs. In hushed voices they talked about the day, how it had started and how it had ended; and then Rudy fell asleep. Slip was restless, however. He couldn’t stop thinking about Dooley. He wondered if there were potato fields in heaven and if his uncle had found one, too. A Barbara Tylla is a mother of four and grandmother of 10 who lives in Racine, Wisconsin. She’s an award-winning playwright and has written articles for Columbia, Guideposts, and other publications. September 2016 ❘ 51
ASK A FRANCISCAN
❘ BY FATHER PAT McCLOSKEY, OFM
Was St. Peter Bishop of Rome? In his book The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis, Garry Wills states that there is no evidence before AD 100 that there was any bishop in Rome. He also writes, “The idea of the primacy of Peter was first tried by Pope Stephen (25457)” but was denied in the East. Wills later asserts, “Where records were lacking, they were simply made up.” Is that true? No. First of all, there were probably several house churches in Rome before Peter arrived there, each with its own leader. In time, Peter was recognized as the leader of the entire Church in that city. Although Acts of the Apostles records the martyrdom of neither Peter nor Paul, there is a very long tradition that each was martyred in AD 64 when Emperor Nero began persecuting Christians. From antiquity, Peter and Paul have been venerated together, but Paul has never been described as a bishop in Rome. Peter disappears completely from Acts of the Apostles after 15:7. Paul refers to him in Galatians 2:7, 8, 11, and 14. Peter is identified as the author of 1 Peter (1:1) and 2 Peter (1:1), with a suggestion that the letter’s author was living in Rome when those letters were written. In any case, Peter had been leading the whole Church for at least 20 years before he arrived in Rome. The late Father Raymond E. Brown, SS, explains Peter’s leadership in Rome in Q&A 97 in Responses to 101 Questions on the Bible. For more information on literary and archeological evidence of St. Peter in Rome, see Daniel O’Connor’s book Peter in 52 ❘ September 2016
Peter had never led the Church in Rome. In the mid-second century, the spot where Peter was buried in a pagan cemetery already had a marker that Christians could interpret. Having read this book by Wills, I think you should be cautious about some of his other historical assertions. He states, for example, that a general persecution of Christians existed in the Roman Empire for only about 12 years between AD 64 and AD 313. In fact, there are many well-known saints who were martyred outside the 12 years that Wills accepts. It is certainly true that persecution of Christians was not equally fierce throughout the Roman Empire for 250 years, © ZATLETIC/FOTOSEARCH but Wills fails to give an Rome. No other city has ever claimed accurate picture of its extent and that Peter died there. See also Antioch duration. and Rome: New Testament Cradles of The emperor Constantine cerCatholic Christianity, by Raymond E. tainly thought that he was building Brown and John P. Meier. the original St. Peter’s Basilica over We are used to one bishop headthe grave of that apostle. Constaning the Church in a given region. In tine cut away a huge part of the New Testament times, however, Vatican hill and completely covered there could be two or more bishops over a pagan cemetery (very risky (episcopoi, “overseers”) in the same business to favor a newly tolerated city. St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippireligion!) in order to build that basilans indicates that in 1:1. ica where he did. It was torn down in In fact, the Letter to the Romans the early 16th century and gradually does not acknowledge Peter as leadreplaced by the present one. ing that Church when this letter was written in the winter of AD 57-58. Block under Jesus’ Feet Before his death as a martyr in Rome in AD 107, St. Ignatius of Anti- Some crucifixes have a block under Jesus’ feet, and others do not. What och wrote a letter to the Church purpose did that block serve? there. He said, “I do not give you orders like Peter and Paul. They It is called a suppedaneum and cruelly were apostles; I am a condemned enabled the person crucified to criminal.” straighten his or her legs, thus proI very much doubt that Ignatius longing death by asphyxiation. would have written those words if St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
For this reason, we read in John 19:31-33 that Pilate sent soldiers to break the legs of Jesus and the two criminals crucified with him so they could be buried before the Sabbath began. Because Jesus had already died, they did not break his legs.
Suffering from Natural Disasters Father, I understand your answer in that we, humans, are responsible for our own actions (June, “Is God Missing in Action?”). We inflict a lot of pain and suffering on one another. However, there is a lot of pain, suffering, and all kinds of abuse that is not the result of human decisions. What about hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and all forms of natural disasters? We do not and cannot control nature; only God can do that. And perhaps only God can answer this question. Why do you think God inflicts such natural disasters on many innocent, God-loving people? This isn’t Sodom and Gomorrah, or is it? Thanks for writing. My response should have included this type of suffering. Doesn’t your question assume that God operates in human time (past/present/future), initiating these natural disasters as punishment for some human action? Is that really the case? What if God is equally present to all time simultaneously? I realize that may sound crazy, but isn’t that better than imposing our sense of time on God, forcing God to operate in human time? The natural disasters you list indeed kill people, injure others, and destroy vast amounts of property and goods. All of that is regrettable. These disasters, however, reflect atmospheric conditions—for which God is ultimately responsible. Does God decide which person gets hit by lightning and then dies? No. Does God decide which thousands of acres may be destroyed by a single wildfire? No. Does that then Fr ancisca n Media .org
mean that some parts of God’s creation are beyond divine control? No. Some people use all human suffering as a reason not to believe in God—as though God were supremely indifferent to human suffering. That is not the God we meet in God’s most trusted self-revelation: the Bible. The community of faith, however, identifies the Bible as divine selfrevelation; the Bible does not come with a table of contents. Believers recognize the unique status of those books and help us sort through questions that still arise. In my observation, people are more likely to stop believing in God because of tragedies caused by the misuse of human freedom than because of the natural disasters that you cite. God wants us to respond to both types of suffering by a proper and generous use of human freedom. We cannot prevent last month’s natural disasters, but we can take steps to make ourselves and others less vulnerable to the next ones. A
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September 2016 ❘ 53
❘ BY CAROL ANN MORROW
Keep Your Kids Catholic Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick
What Our Friends and Followers on
By Marc Cardaronella Ave Maria Press 142 pages • $14.95 Paperback/E-book
Reviewed by TOMMY TIGHE, Catholic husband and father of three boys. A licensed marriage and family therapist, he is also a writer for Catholic Mom.com and author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook (Ave Maria Press), in bookstores Fall 2017.
Recommend The Name of God Is Mercy Pope Francis Mother Teresa: A Life Inspired Wyatt North Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith Robert E. Barron Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves Jason Evert My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir Colleen Carroll Campbell
54 ❘ September 2016
Amid growing godlessness encroaching on our culture, author Marc Cardaronella offers a game plan for all Catholic parents in need of strategies to strengthen our children’s faith. As the director of faith formation for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, with a master’s degree in theology and Christian ministry specializing in catechetics from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he’s got the knowledge and experience to back it up. Cardaronella kicks off his field guide for Catholic parents by making something very clear: leaving the religious education and spiritual formation of our children up to the parish and Catholic school will not work. Rather, the primary source of education and influence for our children, when it comes to the faith and their relationship with Jesus, has to be the family. As a father of three kids myself, that’s a pretty terrifying realization. In addition, Cardaronella shares two other powerful observations about passing on faith and making it stick. First, understand-
ing of the faith and prayer life of the parents needs to be developed in order for children to reap the benefits of living alongside their example. Second, the faith is less an intellectual viewpoint to be learned, and more a relationship with Our Lord. At this point, being a cradle Catholic, I had to set the book down and take a deep breath. Me, the primary educator of the faith to my children? Me, needing to work on my own faith life so as to give my children an example of holiness that would stick with them down through the years? Me, developing a personal relationship with Jesus? In Keep Your Kids Catholic, Cardaronella pulls together a challenging, yet easy-to-understand plan to guide parents in the right direction. Starting with helping the reader understand how faith works—thanks in part to sharing his own journey in, out, and back into the Catholic faith—he continues by providing a step-by-step guide to strengthening our own faith before trying to hand it on. The beauty of his plan is that it meets us all right where we are, which makes the idea of solidifying our own faith a lot less intimidating. Next, Cardaronella artfully wades into waters often left uncharted by Catholic parents, as he discusses the importance of the Bible, the liturgy, and the relationships we need to foster with God and others in order to create an environment of faith that will leave a lasting impact on the ones God has entrusted to us. As parents, our vocation is to set our children on a path that will eventually lead to them coming home to Our Lord in heaven; and, as this book points out, it is absolutely imperative that we consciously take steps to create an environment of faith within our family so that they will have the tools needed to stay on that path, come what may. Most Catholic parents spend a great deal of time anxiously preoccupied with the job we’re doing passing on the amazing and wonderful gift that is our Catholic faith to our children. By presenting us with a challenge, while also encouraging us to remember that we can do this, Keep Your Kids Catholic is the antidote to our anxiety! St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
Spiritual Enrichment for All The Spirituality of the Psalms Prayers for All Times By Margaret Nutting Ralph Twenty-Third Publications 96 pages • $12.95 Paperback
The Spirituality of Wine By Gisela H. Kreglinger William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 300 pages • $24 Paperback/Kindle
A new volume in Twenty-Third Publications’ Adult Faith Formation Library, Margaret Nutting Ralph’s The Spirituality of the Psalms immerses readers in this beloved book from the Bible with practical insights and warmly delivered wisdom.
Reviewed by RICHARD MEYER, who received his bachelor of arts in theology from Xavier University in 2015 and is currently completing his master of arts in bioethics at Wake Forest University.
For the Love of All Creatures
The theology of wine is the theme of Gisela Kreglinger’s journey as she explores a topic not often pursued. She explores how wines derived from vineyards in both Europe and the Americas have influenced culture and the Christian understanding of wine in the Church. With an ancestry deeply rooted in Bavarian viniculture and viticulture and a background in theology, she marries the two subjects in an informative and interesting way. She begins at the earliest points of wine cultivation and explores how wine culture has changed. Kreglinger then dives into biblical passages, acknowledging the dangers of wine while also realizing the benefits of enjoyment in moderation. By the end of the first part of this book, the reader has a rich understanding of the history of wine. The second part offers a commentary on the practice of vintners and their understanding of the importance of their work in Christian spirituality. Kreglinger shares her own experiences from growing up on a vineyard and interviews other vintners from around the world. This book is recommended for anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of wine in the Church. The Spirituality of Wine is well-researched and, though deeply rooted in theology, Kreglinger expertly explains concepts that may be unknown or confusing to readers. Fr ancisca n Media .org
The Story of Grace in Genesis By William Greenway William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 178 pages • $18 Paperback/E-book Author William Greenway, an associate professor in philosophical theology, shines a light on the creation and flood narratives in Genesis. He uncovers how these narratives inspire care for creation in our troubled times.
Gospel— The Book of Matthew A New Translation with Commentary By Thomas Moore Skylight Paths Publishing 224 pages • $29.99 Hardcover/E-book In the introduction to his translation of the Gospel of Matthew, Thomas Moore welcomes Christians, agnostics, Buddhists, atheists, and anyone looking for enrichment in their lives. This book truly is for everyone. —D.I.
Books featured in Book Corner and Book Briefs can be ordered from
St. Mary’s Bookstore & Church Supply 1909 West End Avenue • Nashville, TN 37203 • 800-233-3604 www.stmarysbookstore.com • email@example.com September 2016 ❘ 55
A CATHOLIC MOM SPEAKS
❘ BY SUSAN HINES-BRIGGER
I Click the button above to listen to Susan’s reflections on family life,
56 ❘ September 2016
feel as if I’ve written this column before. If I have, I mourn the fact that I feel the need to write it again. If I haven’t, maybe it’s because I know that I have already written it a thousand times in my heart. I have written it each time I see that news ticker or alert pop up on the TV, my computer, or my phone: Dallas, Orlando, Paris, Turkey . . . and the list goes on. They are all very different places that have one thing in common—acts of unspeakable violence. Whatever and wherever the situation, the bottom line is that lives were lost. Someone suddenly was left without a husband, wife, partner, parent, child, sibling, or friend. Almost immediately following these inci-
dents, defenses go up, lines are drawn, and calls for swift and tough action go out. But then they disappear from the headlines and, for the most part, we go back to business as usual—until the next time it happens. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” These days those words seem almost prophetic.
Let’s Talk Following the deadly attacks this past July on police officers in Dallas, during a protest St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
rally prompted by the killings of two men in Louisiana and Minnesota, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for dialogue on the issues behind such events. “The need to place ever greater value on the life and dignity of all persons, regardless of their station in life, calls us to a moment of national reflection. In the days ahead, we will look toward additional ways of nurturing an open, honest, and civil dialogue on issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity, and addressing the question of pervasive gun violence,” he said.
Though it was not written by St. Francis, this prayer is often attributed to him. Regardless of the author, though, the message is still important to hear, especially in times such as these. Lord, make me an instrument Of your peace: Where there is hatred, Let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, To be understood As to understand, To be loved as to love. For it is in giving That we receive, It is in pardoning That we are pardoned, And it is in dying That we are born to eternal life.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARY KURNICK MAASS
I’m not naïve enough to think there is an easy fix for the violence that we see. Violence is nothing new to society. It dates back to biblical times. Does the phrase “an eye for an eye” sound familiar? But does that mean we have to just accept that that’s the way it is and always will be? For instance, when my kids are arguing, I let them know that I’ve had enough. Rather than sit and endure it, I speak up. I let my voice be heard—sometimes rather loudly— to let them know that it’s not OK and I won’t accept it. They are well aware of my policy of putting their hands on each other. Movies are screened for unnecessary violence. Video games are monitored. Am I going to eliminate all of their exposure to violence? Of course not. But I can let them know my intolerance for violence—on all levels. It seems so minimal in the face of these horrific attacks, but then I think of the saying about it only taking one spark to light a fire. So on the off chance that it might make a difference to even one person, this mom says, “Enough!” A
THE PEACE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS
Do you have comments or suggestions for topics you’d like to see addressed in this column? Send them to me at “A Catholic Mom Speaks,” 28 W. Liberty St., Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498, or e-mail them to CatholicMom@FranciscanMedia.org.
PETE AND REPEAT These scenes may seem alike to you, But there are changes in the two. So look and see if you can name ILLUSTRATION BY TOM GREENE
Eight ways in which they’re not the same. (Answers on page 18)
Fr ancisca n Media .org
September 2016 ❘ 57
YEAR OF MERCY
❘ BY JEAN GONZALEZ
To Forgive, Divine The Corporal Works of Mercy ■ Feed the hungry ■ Give drink to the thirsty ■ Clothe the naked ■ Shelter the homeless ■ Visit the sick ■ Visit the imprisoned ■ Bury the dead
CNS PHOTO/WOODY HUBAND, ST. AUGUSTINE CATHOLIC
The Spiritual Works of Mercy ■ Admonish the sinner ■ Instruct the ignorant ■ Counsel the doubtful ■ Comfort the sorrowful ■ Bear wrongs patiently ■ Forgive all injuries ■ Pray for the living and the dead After going missing, Father Rene Robert’s body was later found by St. Augustine, Florida, police. Friends and loved ones, seen here at Father Robert’s funeral, have struggled in forgiving the man who took his life.
58 ❘ September 2016
her that those angry feelings would pass. “In the end, she knew she could hear what Rene might say to her,” the priest says. “All of us will try to do more knowing that he gave his life doing for others. And there will always be a hole in the place he left behind.” A
tal Digi as t Ex r
Click here for a longer version of this article.
Jean Gonzalez is editorial/online director at the Florida Catholic, the newspaper of the Diocese of Orlando.
POPE FRANCIS ON MERCY “Take care of the wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving the people who have injured us and treating the injuries that we have inflicted on others.” —Pope Francis, December 2014
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
CNS PHOTO/PAUL HARING
ranciscan Father Rene Robert, 71, ministered to those with hearing impairments in Florida for 36 years and was beloved by those whom he helped. So when his body was found April 18 in Georgia, it shook the community in the St. Augustine area. Evidence pointed to murder. In this Year of Mercy, people asked, “How could someone do something so horrible to a person who lived to serve others?” They questioned how, in light of Father Robert’s own forgiving spirit, they could forgive his alleged murderer. Father John Gillespie, pastor of San Sebastian Parish, where Father Robert’s funeral was celebrated, heard the comments many times. Father Gillespie said that, initially, “The key for people is whatever strong emotions you feel, feel them . . . and then you can move on.” He recalled counseling a woman who confessed about how angry she was, assuring
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surveys, and from your letters and e-mail, that you are of various ages and backgrounds. Many of our readers are women, mostly older than 50, but
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we have younger readers, too: men and women, married and single, all in some relationship to the Catholic Church, usually active, but sometimes reading from outside the Church doors. Not all of our articles and columns are the same. Some are warm and inspiring, some are news, some might be challenging. Our goal is to keep the magazine lively, interesting, relevant, and always contemporary. Some of you love our short stories, which serve a variety of tastes. Do you like sentimental tales? We try to offer them from time to time, without becoming saccharine. I know, some of you think we cross that line sometimes! One recent story explored how a husband and wife grappled with infidelity and friendship. At least one reader complained that she felt uncomfortable with the topic. We take a chance, sometimes, in looking for stories that are contemporary, with conflict and believable resolution. Sometimes, though rarely, they touch on social issues. One of our stories, years ago, even became the basis for the major Hollywood film Testament. It was a tale about life after nuclear war. There’s rumor of one, decades ago, that received the prestigious O. Henry award. I’ve never been able to verify that, though I haven’t ruled it out. Retired Managing Editor Barbara Beckwith might be able to help us there! We try not to be squeamish, but we need our stories to live within Catholic sensibilities. July’s story, “My Father Is Beautiful,” by Liz Dolan, is a case in point. If you read it, you would have found some challenging themes. In the end, you and I read of a gaping, perhaps unresolved, wound, seen through the loving eyes of an innocent child. It’s a little stronger than our usual fare; its quality I found irresistible (in spite of some caution from my editor-readers). I think that the best short fiction can legitimately challenge our assumptions. I hope that you agree.
Editor in Chief @jfeister
60 ❘ September 2016
St A n t h o n y M e s s e n g e r . o rg
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