February 19, 2018

Setting our Hearts for the Way: Lent 2018

The popular Christian song Jerusalem, My Destiny written by Rory Cooney captures my attention as we enter this first week of Lent. The title and lyrics highlight the significance of Jerusalem in the life of Jesus. In Luke’s Gospel Jerusalem was the site of Jesus’ passion and resurrection and, later, the place of Pentecost. Whether consciously or unconsciously, from the start of his ministry Jesus’ gaze was fixed on Jerusalem and all he would encounter there.

Cooney suggests that we, too, “set our hearts for the way” for the journey is also our destiny. That phrase invites me, indeed all of us, to open our minds and “set our hearts” for the lessons of this holy season, for more closely following Jesus, the Way, and for all the blessings and challenges we may encounter on the path of discipleship.

This sacred season invites us into the very mystery of God’s love for us, the unimaginable love of God demonstrated in the self-emptying gift of Jesus. As we ponder Jesus’ life and death and all they teach us, we can’t help but examine our own lives and service. How do we measure up as humble, compassionate and loving disciples? Where do we see need and reach out to assist others? Where do we step out in faith to engage a stranger? How easily do we extend forgiveness? How do we allow our hearts to be changed by these encounters? How do we set our hearts … in love, compassion, and courage … for all the future holds?

The way before us may be fraught with difficulties and challenges and even evil, as evidenced by the most recent school attack in Florida. How do we set our hearts to deal with the grief and hopelessness and outrage such incidents inspire? How do we allow the love of God to touch us, comfort us and teach us? Can we draw upon Jesus’ example to help us extend that same love to others, and to proceed courageously and hopefully on the journey before us?

As we embark on our Lenten sojourn let us strive to set our hearts for the way, that we might bear witness to the mystery of God’s love through our imitation of Jesus and to the Easter glory that awaits us as members of God’s family. – Susan Bremer, OSU

February 5, 2018

The story of the Lost Son Luke 15:11-32

The younger son asked for what was his right, the money due him. The father divided the property between his two sons. The younger one took his money, packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, living a life of luxury, satisfying his own needs, and practicing me-ism (me first and foremost) he ended up in misery. There was a famine. The boy was facing starvation. He signed on with a man who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. This serious condition brought him to his senses. He realized he was starving to death while the hired workers on his Father’s farm sit down to three meals a day. He decided to go back to his Father, admit his failure as a son, and ask to be a hired hand. He got up and went home.

His Father was waiting, watching and longing for his son to return. When the son started his speech about his misery and mistake, the Father who wasn’t listening, simply hugged his lost Song tight and the party began.

Often the parables of Jesus can apply to me alone, or they can overwhelm us with a much broader view of the real reality called life.

Perhaps the prodigal son is a symbol of the whole world, or at least some countries.

In the bigger picture, what if the United States is the lost prodigal? Maybe we, ourselves, who are fortunate enough to be in the first world think we have the right to take everything that we believe is our due and live in extravagance and consumption, of superficiality, and make believe, of luxury and leisure, of grabbing more and more for ourselves….

When will we wake up to our situation?
When will we turn and run home to our Father?

How will I bring home others to our Father?

Just pondering….. mj (Sister Mary Joan Grisez)

(Last week)

A Dangerous Unselfishness

This past month I have been reflecting on a sentence that Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in his final speech in Memphis 50 years ago this April. He said, "Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness." What does this mean? How can unselfishness be dangerous? To explain, Dr. King, just like Jesus often did, goes right into a story to explain what he means. The story of the Good Samaritan shows that unselfishness is dangerous when we decide not to be, as King states, "compassionate by proxy" and when one has the capacity to project the "I" into the "Thou" and be concerned about our brothers and sisters – to put the needs of others above our own fears.

These days call us to develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. Some examples of dangerous unselfishness include the homeless outreach workers who go out every day to check in on our brothers and sisters living under bridges, along the river, and behind bushes. Dangerous unselfishness can be found in the humanitarian aid workers who travel miles on foot to place water on the migrant trails in Arizona desert to save lives. The communities and churches offering sanctuary to our brothers and sisters at risk of deportation embody a dangerous unselfishness.

When you are faced with the choice of helping someone along the Jericho roads of today will you ask yourself as the Samaritan did and as Dr. King stated, "If I do not stop to help my brothers and sisters what will happen to them?"

                                                      ~Paula Miller,
                                                      Social Justice Coordinator, Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland

January 22, 2018

Ordinary People

Mark’s Gospel for this Sunday tells of Jesus walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and observing fishermen at their work. He calls out to several of them, invites them to follow him, and they go with him. The pair of brothers, Simon and Andrew, and a second pair of brothers, James and John, don’t pause to discuss the relative benefits of following Jesus versus continuing the work that is their source of livelihood. They don’t say that they will give it serious consideration and get back to him tomorrow with their decision; they don’t ask anyone’s permission to leave. They simply put down their nets and go with him. He had called and they were willing to be among the first to join his band. They were clueless about what they were getting into, but that did not seem to bother them.

Why would they do such a thing? It is entirely possible that Jesus was no stranger to them. They may have heard him at some point prior to the day he invited them; the gospel does not necessarily tell the whole backstory to this incident, but it does make clear that Jesus invited these men personally. It was not a “y’all come” invitation given to a crowd. No, these men experienced a special, personal call from Jesus. Simon and Andrew, James and John were simple folk, laborers, who were not members of the financially secure or influential upper class, but they had ample experience with fishing; they knew the best way to handle nets, how to work on challenging seas and how to respond to varying weather conditions. In their comfort sphere they were capable, hard-working laborers who served their community and who lived ordinary lives. They may have already heard something about this man, and now he was inviting them to get to know him better, so they went. It was as uncomplicated as that.

Simple, hardworking, ordinary people like us are still being personally invited every day to deepen our relationship with Jesus. And the invitation is often so subtle that we may not even recognize it as such. However we hear that voice, feel that nudge toward something that might take us out of our comfort zone to introduce us to a new endeavor, are we willing to respond? Have we ever greeted someone who is different from the people we are most comfortable with, and extended a gesture of friendship? Have we ever joined a group for some sort of service outing that takes us to new territory previously unfamiliar to us? Have we ever initiated a conversation with someone whose position on a controversial issue differs from our own in an effort to understand better the other person’s opinion? Simple overtures of kindness that stretch our boundaries can grant us a new experience, introduce us to a new person, create a new insight, and just possibly open us to a deeper relationship with the incarnate God who walked earth as a friend of simple laborers and who told them and us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

                                                                                      ~Sister Janet Moore, OSU

January 15, 2018

Live a New Life

At the beginning of this New Year, it is good to recall that our faith in Jesus Christ is all about newness of life. The encounter with “God-with-us” makes everything new in us, over and over again. The Reign of God is about newness. The Resurrection is about newness. Pentecost is about newness. Baptism is about newness. Reconciliation is about newness. The list goes on.

No wonder that in her Seventh Counsel, St. Angela Merici encourages her readers to live a new life! Let’s walk by faith in this New Year. Let’s grow together into the realization that newness is not reserved to January 1st only, but is the pattern for our Christian way of life each and every day.

                                                                                         ~Sister Joanne Buckman

January 8, 2018

Last week


Resolution 1: May we go deeper with God
Resolution 2: May we be there for others in the finest sense of the word.

  • May we look for God’s goodness in people who seem least likely to carry his love.
  • May we behold God’s radiance in the ones we quickly pass by at home or work.
  • May we embrace God in the persons whose faithfulness we take for granted.
  • May we see God’s empathy in those serving the wounded of the world.
  • May we recognize God’s courage in the valiant people who speak out for justice.
  • May we notice God’s non-judgmental acceptance in those who keep an open mind.
  • May we search for God’s gentleness when it is covered with harshness in another.
  • May we observe God’s generosity in every gift we receive, no matter how small it is.
  • May we reveal God’s mercy when we pardon someone for having turned against us.
  • May we welcome God’s joy in the delightful voices and happy play of children.
  • May we convey God’s compassion when we visit those with illness and poor health.
  • May we detect God’s patience in those who put up with our impatience and hurry.
  • May we unite with God’s peace hidden be-neath the layers of the world’s disharmony.

Remembering the Sacred Presence of the One Who Dwells among Us,” by Joyce Rupp

                                                                                      ~Submitted by Sister Julianne McCauley

December 18, 2017


Sister Elaine M. Berkopec

From the second reading for the Third Sunday of Advent:

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.

This is a beautiful passage from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. It is a call to be prayerful in all aspects of our lives. This is what can enable us to “test everything; retain what is good.”

How do we test our decisions to make sure that we are retaining good and refraining from evil, or at least avoiding a bad choice and its consequences?

St. Ignatius of Loyola has laid out the process for us. When he was recovering from his serious battle wounds, he became aware of various movements in his spirit and emotions as he envisioned his future. He understood these movements as signs of either consolation from God, affirming their goodness, or desolation, signifying that they were not of God.

When our thoughts and imaginings result in dark or disturbing emotions, inner turmoil, doubts, and extreme anxiousness, and we feel cut off from others, or overly self-absorbed, the question to ask is: Where are these experiences coming from and to where are they moving me? The answer to this question is key to understanding that these feelings could be those of desolation, and thus are not coming from God or God’s Spirit. We need to stop at that point and check the direction of our lives.

If in our imaginings or our circumstances we experience peace and gratitude, connection with others, and are prompted to be grateful and to draw closer to God in faith, then these experiences can be those of consolation, coming from God’s own Spirit. We can be sad or happy and still be consoled; sadness is normal when, for example, dreams and hopes are dashed, or we lose someone or something we cherish. However, sadness can lead to greater openness to God and compassion for others; this sadness could be present even in a spirit of consolation.

Ignatius can be our best teacher in these situations, and his rules for discernment can be found in the Spiritual Exercises 313-336. A good spiritual director will be familiar with these rules, too.

My Advent prayer for all of us is the same as Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians in the rest of the passage:

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

December 11, 2017

photo by Jeremy Bishop (unsplash.com)

Another new beginning for us in this Advent season! What a blessing! We have an opportunity to turn our lives around and God will do whatever it takes to get us there. The One who has loved us from the very beginning (and even before there was a beginning) once again reminds us that whatever we need will be provided: “I will change the very face of the earth. I will find you in the hidden places you run to. I will do the wild and crazy things it takes to get your attention.”

Meister Eckhart reminds us that “God is at home. It’s we who have gone out for a walk.” Let’s walk back toward God again this Advent season and rejoice fully in the One who is Emmanuel.

Mark 1: 1-8
Isaiah 40: 1-5, 9-11
2 Peter 3: 8-14

                                                ~Sister Laura Bregar

December 04, 2017


In 2013, Pope Francis issued a pastoral entitled Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). He wrote:

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.”

Advent is a perfect time for us to recall Jesus’ encounter with us as one totally human - flesh and blood, emotions and feelings. Jesus, God, Second Person of the Holy Trinity, continues to reach out, offering an encounter with each of us in all the circumstances of our life.

I pray that I may be open to Jesus’ presence, especially during this Advent season.

Jesus, light the Way
Greet anew my pilgrim soul
Invite me to grasp Your Hand
As my soul journeys forth
Trusting Your Gospel message.
May I live hope, love joy.
And encounter you as my Lord and Savior!


irene charette, osu

November 28, 2017

Our Advent Journey Awaits

We find ourselves in the closing days of Ordinary Time, heading into Advent and the start of a new liturgical year. Throughout our Advent journey we prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Christ, the nativity of the Word-made-flesh through whom our salvation has been won.

But our celebration is far more than a simple remembering of a past event; likewise, Advent is more than a mere preparation for Christmas. It is an acknowledgement of Christ’s ongoing presence among us now and a preparation for his final coming. The Scripture readings assigned to the days of Advent encourage us to watchfulness, to patient waiting and to joyful hope as we look to that coming and to the time of joy, peace and fulfillment that will dawn in its advent.

But how do we continue to rouse ourselves to hope, to joy? In our troubled world these are difficult to muster. With violence raging and natural disasters turning life upside down, it is easy to become discouraged or hopeless. And waiting for relief, for peace, for respite is difficult enough, without anticipating even farther to the coming of the Lord at the end of time.

That is why we band together as people of God to encourage one another to hope and to patient waiting, reflecting on the continuing presence of Christ in our world and on God’s kingdom already within. We acknowledge hands extended in comfort, in love, and in healing through family, friends and strangers through whom Jesus is born anew each day.

Our aim in Advent is to celebrate the fact that Christ was born, that through the Spirit he remains a vital presence in the world, and that he will come again, bringing lasting peace and joy for all who remain faithful. For people of God, Advent is an ongoing journey in which we continue to wait in joyful hope for the final coming of our God and Savior, Jesus the Christ.

May this Advent season renew our hope and zeal for the journey … with all its ups and downs, joys and sorrows. And may Christ our light be born anew in our hearts, in our lives, and in our world. – Susan Bremer, OSU

Last week

November 13, 2017

Sweet Death!

The invitation to “come and see” was a favorite of the Christ. Let’s do just that with this reality called death.

See the Fall season of the year. What beauty as the leaves die and float to the ground.
Death must be really very beautiful from the “other side” of all that is. Think of the time a dying relative or friend smiled or radiated joy as they came alive in Christ. There is something more… something mysterious but very beautiful about this experience we are all so afraid of.
In looking back at loved ones that have died I recall that once they surrendered, they seemed to be deeply in peace….maybe they are safe…content…….even looking forward to sweet death, and flowing into the arms of Christ. 

Imagine yourself as a babe in your mother’s womb….She speaks to you, waits for any movement from you… perhaps you sense that there is more…you remain in the womb of your mother for 9 months...then you are born, kicking and screaming into the womb, of the earth….the earth womb gives all she has to feed you, care for you, comfort you, carry you for many years…the earth pours out her fruit, the sun pours out her energy…then, one day again, maybe kicking and screaming you are born deeper into the womb of God…the mystery of love…. a fulfillment, a completing of greater life. Love goes on carrying you, caring for you. You are loved forever in the womb of God.

See the bigger picture of the earth. This living reality doesn’t seem to have a problem with death. Beings live and die, and new life is born. Metamorphosis is all around us. The pattern is that of living, entering into a crisis time, and dying so something more can live.

Come and look closer at a caterpillar. It moves along, goes into a larva stage, (crisis or struggle), where the initial cells trying to form the new life are killed but gradually they get stronger, and behold – a butterfly. New life! Transformation!

Really look into the cosmos….crisis seems to precede transformation…the pattern is like a spiral.. we easily see that pattern in the storms coming off the ocean…the movement of the mystery is spiraling forward …something new always being born… death and life always go “hand in hand” in the universe, if we but really look and see.

Scientists tell us that the universe is unfinished… we are part of the universe, derivative from its very being…look and see how incomplete we are…what is ahead must be more life…new life…a new form of life. We are loved into it by a Divine attraction…we yearn for more…Perhaps we are constantly dying and being born in a new way…in our yearning for fulfillment…just as the cosmos is moving through transformation to greater life…to Omega. Perhaps the Paschal Mystery (the dying and rising of the Christ) is at the heart of the universe and therefore of the earth. The pattern, the flow by which everything is moving forward toward fulfillment in love.

Come and see….see and come close to the mystery of life, the Cosmic Christ, the Paschal Mystery…

Just pondering… Sister Mary Joan

(Last week)

November 6, 2017

On Nov. 9th, we celebrate the feast of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. As novices we were introduced to this humble French Carmelite nun by Sister Kenan who wished us to meet her because of Elizabeth’s great love of the Trinity.

Sister Kenan herself had this love as well and taught us Elizabeth’s prayer. As a novice, I was taken up with this beautiful expression of love for God, the Blessed Trinity. It has continued.

I was happy and grateful to learn of Elizabeth’s canonization last year in October. Here is part of her prayer:

O consuming fire, Spirit of Love, “come upon me,” and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature; “cover her with Your shadow,” seeing in her only the “Beloved in whom You are well pleased.”

 ~Sister Miriam Fidelis

(Last week)

October 30, 2017

Solemnity of All Saints

This week a number of Christian churches will be celebrating the Feast of All Saints. What do you think of when you think of the word “saint”? What does it take to qualify? A little child who has been given a holy card with a pretty image of a haloed “saint” may give you one answer. A teenager may shrug and give you a blank look or a textbook answer. But what would you say? Do you know any saints?

We know of some bonafide saints, of course – people like Saint Francis of Assissi or Saint Paul or Saint Teresa of Calcutta who have been declared deserving of the title, and we accept that they are now receiving their heavenly reward. But there are other saints too -- people that you may know, people whom Jesus described as “blessed / happy” in his Sermon on the Mount even though not all would necessarily agree. The people whom the world would probably not call blessed or happy would have been considered countercultural then and such people still are now. They are guided by a distinct moral compass and measure happiness by unique criteria, the criteria outlined by Jesus in the Beatitudes. They are striving to make the world a better place in their own sphere of influence, no matter where that is – at home, at work, in their social circles among their friends and/or strangers. Blessed /happy are those who unselfishly put others’ needs ahead of their own; those who are poor in spirit; those who are meek, merciful, peacemakers, clean of heart. They live in the real world of struggle, loss and pain; they know what it is to mourn, to hunger and thirst for justice and sometimes to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Yet on that mountain Jesus preached that such people are truly blessed. He tells his listeners to “rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven." Do you believe him? Can you take Jesus’ word for it? Are such people really blessed? Genuinely happy?

If so – if the “good news” of the Gospel is truly that – “good news” -- I ask you again: do you know any saints? Have you ever caught a glimpse of one looking back at you from the mirror? Nobody achieves sainthood overnight, but each day God gives us the grace and opportunity to accept the invitation to journey in that direction. On the Solemnity of All Saints let us reread the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12a) and pray for the grace to believe that if we follow that path regardless of the cost, we too will find the “kingdom of heaven” and the One who promised it.

Sister Janet Moore

October 23, 2017


Love, Faith and Hope

We begin the 29th week in Ordinary Time with the First Letter to the Thessalonians. Paul begins the letter with these wonderful words:

We keep thanking God for all of you and we remember you in our prayers, for we constantly are mindful before our God and Father of the way you are proving your faith, and laboring in love, and showing constancy of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. We know, too, brothers [sisters] beloved of God, how you were chosen. Our preaching of the gospel proved not a mere matter of word for you but one of power; it was carried on in the Holy Spirit and out of complete conviction. (1Thes. 1:2-5a)

These words are spoken to us today as well as to the Thessalonians so many years ago.

LOVE Paul is telling us that loving and caring for one another is a hallmark of Christian life. A significant part of that love and care is taking each other to prayer. How often do you pray for the person who annoys you? How often do you pray for your family members and friends? Is gratitude part of that prayer? Paul tells the Thessalonians that part of his responsibility and that of his fellow Christians is to be grateful for each other and to pray for each other. If we bring others to our prayer, we will feel and act differently toward each other. If we listen with our hearts to others we will bond with them in new or renewed ways that contribute to the true meaning of the Christian community.

FAITH When we read the gospels and other New Testament writings it becomes clear that faith is really love put into action. When we look at love we see the example of Jesus. When we believe that Jesus died for us, that we are redeemed, that we are destined for eternal life together, then our actions will reflect these beliefs. When we deeply believe that God loves us we will freely return that love. Love is made real through action. Faith is a personal relationship with Christ as our brother and Lord. This is not merely an intellectual assent to a corpus of beliefs but rather it is something alive, something dynamic. Faith is experiential. Faith, when it is most alive, is the active love we show Christ and others.

HOPE True faith, while showing itself in action, must look forward in hope - a hope of something more, of something beyond our present experience. But that hope in the future is based on what has already been, on what we already know and experience. In other words, our faith and love in God and each other is real now but there is always the seeking for something more, something deeper. We continually long for the Reign of God to be fulfilled here and now. Yet, the Reign of God is one of those paradoxes that says "it is" but not yet. We must continue as Christians to make the "it is" as real as possible in our own lives and in the lives of others.

We are told that the two great commandments consist of love of God and love of neighbor. Faith, hope and love are intimately tied to these interlinking commandments. One without the other is impossible. We are to model that continually.

How are faith, love, and hope lived out in your daily life?

Sr. Maureen McCarthy, OSU

(Last week)

October 16, 2017 

Above all, let your love for each other be intense….”

(1 Peter 4:8, New American Bible)

Above all let them be humble and gentle. And let all their behavior, their actions and their words be with charity; let them bear everything with patience….”

(St. Angela Merici, Fifth Counsel, Ursulines of the Roman Union translation)

Above All

At the beginning of the first letter to Peter, I was drawn in by its “Above all” introduction. It spoke to me of importance and primacy. In other words, do this the first thing and always!

St. Angela Merici, our Foundress, also uses this phrase several times in her writings as she explores the heart of Ursuline living.

Above all for the Christian disciple, the spiritual gift of love communicates through its many facets and descriptors. Love is patient, kind, bears, believes, hopes, endures all things, rejoices in truth, is neither jealous nor pompous, not inflated nor rude. 1 Corinthians 13, sums it up, love is the greatest gift and it never fails.

As we pray for transformation in ourselves and in society may our love for each other be intense, witnessing to charity, above all!

                                                                           ~ Joanne Buckman, OSU

October 9, 2017

Think of These Things
by Gus Lloyd

Henry Ford once said, “You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are.” What he meant was that the things that we put into our mind, the things that we think about, the things that we dwell on, will shape what we are becoming. He’s so right.

St. Paul obviously knew this. And that is why he gave some very sound advice to the Philippians that we read in our second reading today. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

We all have “tapes” that we play over and over again in our minds. For far too many people, those “tapes” contain negative messages. We remember every bad thing that our parents ever said to us. We replay in our minds that we’re not good enough, not strong enough, ugly, fat, too skinny…the list goes on and on. Let me give you some sound advice today: STOP IT!!!! Read Philippians 4:8 over and over again and put it into practice in your life, in your mind. Think about good things, and good things will come to you!

Father, help us to get rid of the many negative things that we tend to dwell on. Help us to live out Philippians 4:8. Amen.

October 02, 2017

Shelter in the Day of Trouble

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

...For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.

I believe that I shall see
the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Parts of Psalm 27

Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/prayer/2010/03/prayers-for-comfort-after-tragedy.aspx?p=2#q6LOtw0B46eMTsC8.99

(Last week)

WE ALL belong to God!

If there is a Gospel parable that can nudge us out of our comfort zone, it is the reading for Sunday, September 24th, the parable of the generous landowner. At first, it sounds more like the parable of the unjust paymaster.

WHY should a worker who started at the end of the day get the same wage as the one who put in a full day’s work?

That’s one question. Perhaps the real question that Jesus wants us to consider is the one of the landowner: “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

After all, the parable is about God and God’s inclusive, indiscriminate love. God loves all, is generous to all no matter what. All belong to God, no matter what. If we consider the question to be coming from the mouth of God to us, it takes on a different tone. God can indeed choose to do what God desires to what belongs to God…and WE ALL belong to God!
                                                             ~Sister Elaine Berkopec

(Last week)

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praying blessings and gratitude in the midst of loss and frustration and moments of near-despair is a struggle.  It is also the source of deep peace and the daily ability to place one foot in front of another.  Notice the small gifts and large graces and embrace them all in a mighty hymn or a small squeak of praise to God, whatever your soul is able to manage.  Squeak a bit if it is all you can do.  It is enough because God is always enough.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
For pancakes and chocolate sprinkles,
For caregivers who recognize the absurd and love anyway,
For portable wheelchairs and walkers,
For the ability to surrender when it is wiser than being stubborn.
Bless our God, O my soul.
For banter and laughter and letting loose,
For tears that carry loss and love down our cheeks,
For waves and sunlight and the sound of sea birds,
For bagels and fresh corn cobs and strawberries.
Bless the Lover of us all, O my soul.
For the compassion that holds sorrow for us
when we cannot hold it ourselves,
For poetry and prose and paintings,
For respite and the hands that offer it,
For whispers of energy today and the promise of hope tomorrow.

Labor in the Lord is never in vain. (1 Cor. 15:58)

With this week’s observance of Labor Day, this verse seems an appropriate topic for reflection. Since the very beginning of time, people throughout the ages have been engaged in labor. We work to provide food, shelter and clothing for our families. Sometimes we work to help provide for those unable to support themselves, or we lend a hand to restore the efforts of those whose lives have been toppled or by natural disaster or by the economic collapse. We work in imitation of God whose labor produced all of creation to please us and to serve our needs.

Regardless of the work we do, whether physical, mental or pastoral, there is a common thread that binds all workers together. That thread is the dignity that is inherent in all work, the dignity that comes from serving as co-creators, co-workers with the God of Life. Like the three servants in the Gospel parable who are placed in charge of their master’s estate, we too are charged as stewards of the earth. We are given the responsibility to work the land, to care for it, to increase its yield so that all people may live healthy and holy lives. Unless we labor together in partnership with God, all of our efforts count as nothing. Conversely, our simplest efforts, if offered as prayer and praise to God, are mightily blessed.

In our observance of Labor Day, we are reminded of the source and inspiration of our work, and of the dignity of all labor and laborers. We are reminded as well of the countless persons who are denied the opportunity to work or to earn a fair wage. In our prayers let us remember all the unemployed, all who seek honest labor, and all who labor in the shadows of unjust or oppressive conditions.

Let us be mindful of the privilege we have been granted to serve as co-workers, and let us be grateful for the particular work entrusted to our care. Let us also be confident in our efforts knowing that it is God who inspires and directs our labor. Finally, let us pray in the words of the psalmist, that God, the author of all life and labor, might continue to prosper the work of our hands. – Susan Bremer, osu

August 28, 2017

As the story goes: St. Francis of Assisi would stay up all night to pray. He would say, “O my God, who are You and who am I?” All night.

Though I may not stay up all night to answer the question that Jesus poses to me, “Who do you say that I am?” – I will spend the rest of my life and into eternity, I pray, contemplating the answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!” Matthew 16:16

Indeed, as Harrington say in Jesus our Brother, part 1: The greatest Christian truth is that, in Jesus of Nazareth, God is really and truly present, His humanity is not the whole of it. The identity of Jesus is mystery in the strictest sense.

Significantly, the author of the Gospel of Matthew places this question and answer as the centerpiece of his Gospel. The challenge for me is to always make Jesus my center. To ever fix my eyes on Him, His Life, the Truth. He is the only way for me to follow.


“The transcendent, unknowable God is now visible and knowable in the incarnate Son.” – Harrington

“The Word became flesh and lived among us.” – John 1:14

(Last week)

Mary, Our Mother

“Open your mouth wide and I will fill it…I would feed you with the finest of wheat and with honey from the rock. I would satisfy you.” Ps. 81:10-16

“But we have a treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” 2 Cor. 4:7

Is it possible to creatively imagine what the heart of Mary was like?

I imagine her to be like a vessel… open…empty…

I imagine that she was about expectation….wonder….

I imagine that she was aware…attentive…

Like the early Church she was charismatic… bringing healing…..liberation

to all those in her midst, to the four legged and to the earth…

Like the early Church she was concerned with harmony…bringing

together…including all…engaging all…reaching out to all…

Like the early Church she was connected to the universe….gazed at the

stars and knew she was made of them…

I think Mary was part of a great whole….involved in the whole….engaged in

the wholeness of all that is…

I think Mary was deeply aware of energy surrounding her….giving good

energy to the world… emptying herself for the sake of reconciling all

that was discordant…out of harmony…

I think Mary loved to watch new life….new energy…new emergence of

greater life….fullness of life…

She may have learned from her Son about encounter with the Father

….relatedness…belonging to someone...growing to a greater fullness…

She may have learned from her Son about new being and new

life…crisis…the necessity of death for greater life…

She may have learned from her Son about love and it’s extravagance…it’s

pain….it’s sacrifice.

She must have been very empty….sensitive… loving. A vessel….a treasure, born of earth….filled with Him.

                                                Just pondering and imagining, Sr. Mary Joan

(Last Week)

What is the most common commandment in the Bible?

If you guessed, “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid,” you got it!

In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells Peter: Do not be afraid. It was fear that left Peter sinking into the stormy sea, and the open hand of Jesus that lifted him out. It’s good to remember: that the hand of Christ is always open to us. We will sink sometimes, and we will be afraid, but the love of Jesus is stronger than fear, or strong winds, or even death itself.

(Last week)

August 7, 2017

The Transfiguration

The familiar Transfiguration narrative is full of details supplied by the three evangelists who included the event in their Gospel accounts. Last Sunday we heard Matthew’s version. The basic story takes place near the close of Jesus’ public life when he took Peter, James and John up a high mountain and allowed them to experience a glimpse of his divinity. His appearance was dazzling beyond description; he was joined by Elijah and Moses, and a voice from a cloud was heard to say “This is my son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” While all this is amazingly powerful and worthy of profound reflection and prayer, what occurred next is the portion of Matthew’s text that struck me forcefully this year.

When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.”

Of course, Peter, James and John were petrified, their legs buckling under them at the impact of the vision they were witnessing. But after they had collapsed on the ground, each of them felt a strong hand, the hand of a familiar friend, touching them, reassuring them that they were safe and encouraging them to stand again on their own two feet. The voice that spoke to them now had a familiar resonance, one they had heard many times before, the voice of the teacher they had come to trust, and the message was one they also had often heard before – “Do not be afraid.” The Jesus whom they saw was no longer the transfigured Jesus of the glorious vision; he was the Jesus that they had come to know and love, the Jesus they had followed and listened to for months, the man who understood fishing and planting and hunger and hard work and fatigue and healing and forgiveness. The Jesus who gently touched them with his strong, calloused hands stood there in his usual work clothes and sandals and simply said, “Get up and do not be afraid.” The invitation was a familiar one. Yes, they had been gifted with a mountaintop experience but the stunning, miraculous vision would not last; the memory would last and be a source of encouragement to them in the dark days ahead but the glory would not last. “They saw no one except Jesus himself alone” and that was enough. Whatever was to come as they descended that mountain, they would find their strength in keeping their eyes on Jesus himself alone. Back on more familiar turf they would experience again a call to walk with their friend, to see his likeness in the faces of all they would meet, to carry his good news of mercy and acceptance to all those who were seeking a meaningful life, to the hurting, to the marginalized, to the disenfranchised, to the searching. Keeping their focus on Jesus alone would be enough to strengthen them in any difficult situation.

We may never have a mountaintop experience of our own, but that type of awesome vision is not essential. The real miracle is found in the grace to see Jesus alone in the responsibilities and challenges, the pain and the joy of daily life. With that vision we can get up and walk with confidence. So look to Jesus alone. Listen to him. Get up and do not be afraid.

                                                                 ~Sister Janet Moore

(Last week)

“Realize that the need you have to serve others
is more important than their need to be served by you.”

(The First Counsel, St. Angela Merici)
The Gift Exchange

Christmas is not the only time to engage in gift exchanges.  They happen daily through acts of simple service.
Each one of us has a story about the importance of serving others, don’t we?  I recall a “gift exchange” that occurred once while I was volunteering.  In a large meeting room where I served, a woman sat knitting.  I will call her Angela.  Day after day she worked at her craft stitching together varied colors and textures of yarn.  She often accepted fabric donations from others, always with a smile and a gesture of gratitude.
I worked at various tasks doing whatever was needed; cooking, cleaning, talking with our guests, and praying.  One day, Angela called me over and handed me a brown paper package tied with a piece of yarn. Hesitant to accept her offering at first I pulled back slightly, but her words came swiftly.  “Please accept this small token of my appreciation.  Each of us has the need to give and to share his or her gifts, whatever they may be.”
In that moment the words of the First Counsel of St. Angela Merici echoed in my ears.  With a hearty thank you I opened her package, and uncovered a beautiful pair of hand-crafted slippers.  The “gift exchange” was now complete.  
I never see a pair of knitted slippers that I don’t think of my “gathering room” teacher, and remember her service to me in word and in deed.

~Sister Joanne Buckman

(Last week)

Just Like Dad

The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:19

Isn’t it endearing to see a child mimicking his parents? How often we’ve seen the young boy in a car seat, gripping his imaginary steering wheel intently while keeping a close eye on the driver to see what Daddy does next.

I remember doing the same thing when I was young. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than doing exactly what my dad did—and I’m sure he got an even bigger kick watching me copy his actions.

I would like to think God felt the same way when He saw His dearest Son doing exactly what the Father did—reaching out to the lost, helping the needy, and healing the sick. Jesus said, "the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does" (John 5:19).

We too are called to do the same—to “follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love” (Eph. 5:1–2). As we continue growing to be more like Jesus, may we seek to love like the Father loves, forgive like He forgives, care like He cares, and live in ways that please Him. It is a delight to copy His actions, in the power of the Spirit, knowing that our reward is the affectionate, tender smile of a loving Father.

Jesus, thank You for showing us the way to the Father. Help us to be more and more like You and the Father each day.

                                                                     ~"Our Daily Bread" - writer Leslie Koh

(Last week)

From Being Driven to Being Drawn
A reflection by Richard Rohr

When I was a young man, I liked ideas and books quite a lot, and I still read a great deal. But each time I come back from a long hermitage retreat, I have no desire to read a book for the next few weeks or even months. For a while I know there is nothing in any book that is going to be better, more truthful, or more solid than what I have just experienced on the cellular, heart, and soul level.

If you asked me what it is I know, I would be hard pressed to tell you. All I know is that there is a deep “okayness” to life—despite all the contradictions—which has become even more evident in the silence. Even when much is terrible, seemingly contradictory, unjust, and inconsistent, somehow sadness and joy are able to coexist at the same time. The negative value of things no longer cancels out the positive, nor does the positive deny the negative.

Whatever your personal calling or your delivery system for the world, it must proceed from a foundational “yes” to life. Your necessary “no” to injustice and all forms of un-love will actually become even clearer and more urgent in the silence, but now your work has a chance of being God’s pure healing instead of impure anger and agenda. You can feel the difference in people who are working for causes; so many works of social justice have been undone by people who do all the fighting from their small or angry selves

If your prayer goes deep, your whole view of the world will change from fear and reaction to deep and positive connection—because you don’t live inside a fragile and encapsulated self anymore. In meditation, you are moving from ego consciousness to soul awareness, from being driven by negative motivations to being drawn from a positive source within.

Through a consistent practice of contemplative prayer you will find yourself thinking much more in terms of both/and rather than either/or. This is what enables mystics and saints to forgive, to let go of hurts, to be compassionate, and even to love their enemies.

Gateway to Silence:
Give me a lever and a place to stand.

A Memorial Day Reflection

As we enter the day of remembering our veterans, living and deceased, we especially pray for those who grieve our brave men and women who gave the last ounce of their very breath, for others. We offer this beautiful reflection by Edward Hayer for their comfort and peace:

As I took leave from this earth, my last breath did not say “goodbye,” for love is timeless.

I leave my thoughts, my laughter, and my dreams to you whom I have treasured beyond gold. I give you what no thief can steal:

The memories of our times together
The tender, love-filled moments
The successes we have shared
The hard times that drew us closer
And the roads we walked side by side

I also leave you a solemn promise that now that I am finally at rest in God, I will continue to be present to you whenever and wherever you call upon me. Whenever you are in need, I will come to you.

All I take with me as I leave is your love and millions of memories. So I enter new life richly blessed. Do not fear or grieve at my departure, for in the Tree of Life our roots are forever intertwined.

Feast of the Holy Trinity

If we were in any library or in any bookstore, we find many books considered to be mysteries. The same is true if we looked through the TV Guide. Many of the TV shows are in the category of mystery. In both the books, and the TV show, we usually find the mystery to be solved by the end of the book, or by the end of the TV show. Real life is not always like this. There are many mysteries in our lives that we have no answer for. Why do some people have certain health problems, and yet some of their friends and family members who are older are healthy and active? Why is there cancer or Alzheimer’s disease in our world? These are mysteries that we have no answer to, and we sometimes become frustrated, when we continually want an answer.

On June 11th, we will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. When we read the gospels, we find Jesus calling God his Father. Jesus spoke about the Father, and promised to send us the Holy Spirit. Here we find three persons, and yet we have one God. How can this be? Well we call this a mystery. We can’t know how this is possible; we can only accept it on faith. Being able to embrace mystery, can have a significant impact, on effective and happy living. Always wanting certainty, often leads to unhappiness.

It’s much more realistic for all of us, to accept the fact that there things and persons that we will never understand. They will always remain mysteries. In spite of knowing that some things remain mysterious, we should never stop trying, to learn more about our Creator God, about Jesus, and about the Holy Spirit as well as continually learning to know ourselves better. Instead of trying to explain, or control people and situations around us, we can love them, just as they are, and leave it at that. Humans, have more need for faith, than for all the facts or answers.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our deeds, that is, all our thought, words and actions, each day were done because of our deep, intimate relationship with our Triune God? There would be no mystery as to why we act the way we do. It would be clear that God is the center of our lives.

~Sr. Maureen McCarthy, OSU

Just to be is a blessing

As the loveliness of spring surrounds us, we are reminded of what Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote: “Just to be is a blessing. Just to be is holy”.

We know when we are so busy that we forget what we are doing, that it is time to slow down. According to Simone Weil, a French philosopher of the early twentieth century, attention is the way to help us do this. Her understanding of attention is not what we may remember from our early school days, when the teacher asked us to “pay attention”. Then we sat up straight and tensed our muscles. True attention, on the other hand, requires us to suspend our thought and to be open and receptive to take in what is before us – be it a rainbow, a sunset, or a friend. We can look at anything that is, and see its truth, goodness and beauty.

Attending to the truth in everyday life situations may challenge us to act courageously on behalf of that truth – especially when it is not popular. At the same time, the more attentive and aware we are, the greater impact we can have on our world through our actions and service.

Acknowledging the goodness of what is, we realize how we are all linked to one another and to the entire universe, as we long for God – the ultimate source of goodness. Attention to the good, compels us to share with our sisters and brothers who are victims of oppression and injustice in our communities, our country, and throughout the world. Such attention to goodness can move us to work for peace and justice.

What is, as beautiful, manifests order, harmony, and creativity. When we are open to the beauty of something or someone –a star-studded sky, a poem, or God –our vision is expanded and we feel connected to the whole universe. This appreciation of beauty can only enhance our everyday living and relationships with each other and God.

As we anticipate the slower-paced days of summer, let us try to balance our life between doing and being, realizing anew each day that “just to be is a blessing”.

                                                                                ~Sister Ann Kelly

(Last week)

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day -- a bonanza for florists, jewelers, chocolatiers and greeting card companies. A day when restaurants require a reservation and back yard chefs present their finest offerings. A day when memory mixes with gratitude often seasoned with laughter and sometimes with tears. It’s all good. But what is the very best way to thank our mothers? Isn’t it to truly listen and learn and live the lessons they have given us? For that matter, it seems that the best way to show appreciation to all the fine women whose lives and wisdom have nurtured and guided us is to take them at their word and follow their advice.

My own mother

  • Why are you fretting? Didn’t God say that He takes care of the flowers of the field and the birds of the air? Don’t you think He can take care of you too?

Helen Keller

Saint Angela Merici

  • Build community wherever you go.

Sister Thea Bowman

Rosa Parks

  • You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.

Mother Teresa

  • I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.
  • The beginning of prayer is silence. If we really want to pray we must first learn to listen, for in the silence of the heart God speaks.

Edwina Gateley

  • The deeper we enter into the journey, the bigger God becomes—until we reach the stage where we no longer have any names or definitions for God. God is. We can only stand in awe before God’s amazing love… God’s love is far beyond our comprehension. We cannot even begin to sound the depth and breadth of this love for each single one of us and for all of creation. It is a love that takes precedence over all else, and must be fundamental to our call as Christians. This, I believe, was the message of Jesus and one which, clearly, we seem to be having a hard time embracing.

Those words of wisdom are still valid.

During this week preceding Mother’s Day, consider the legacy from your own mother and the other fine women who have touched your life. Thank them if you can – in prayer or in person but most especially by modeling what you learned from them. The next generation looks to you to be their mothers, their wisdom figures.

(My suggestion to any men who may be reading this reflection: on Father’s Day start your own list.)

                                                                                    ~Sister Janet Moore

(Last week)

On the Way: An Easter Season Reflection

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 13:32, Walk to Emmaus)

Post-Resurrection Gospels certainly abound with lots of activity. Don’t they? It seems to me that participants in Easter narratives are often on the way somewhere. For example, “on the way disciples” are moving to and from the empty tomb. Others are walking on the way between Jerusalem and Emmaus. And, for all of their outward displays of walking, running, bending and jumping into the sea, their inner movements are just as stunning; fear and joy, grief and peace, doubt and belief.

So it is with us, and our developing Christian faith. We are all on the way, no matter the age, but when we encounter “Christ, The Way” and He speaks to us and opens the Scriptures for us, our hearts are freed to burn within.

The Risen One walks daily with each of us on our own Emmaus journeys and on the way transforms us, inside and out. During this Easter season may we appreciate anew the growth that meeting Christ on the way offers to us, and to our world.

                                                                                       ~Sister Joanne Buckman

(Last week)



Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.

-Kahlil Gibran


Gratitude and Kindness are two of love’s most magnetic expressions which draw to us 

the highest and best life has to offer.

-Doc Childre

 Grateful living brings in place of greed: sharing;

in place of oppression; respect;

in place of violence; peace.

-Br. David Steindl-Rast

 Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.

All things break and all things can be mended not with time but with intention.

 So go intentionally, extraordinarily, unconditionally.

The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

-LR Kost

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

As we journey through this Holy Week, we are called to reflect on God’s gift to us in Jesus. God’s love was so great, God became one of us and suffered the fate that so many still endure: judgment, condemnation, pain, and death. Yet, being one of us in every way was not enough; God proved love beyond all measure by raising Jesus from death into new life, making him the first fruits of God’s promise of resurrection.

Christ is still with us, still one of us, yet fills all creation with his risen glory. As we pray through this week, let’s remember that no matter what happens in our lives—to us or to those we love—we are never alone. The one who has loved us has planted the glory of Christ in our hearts, and walks with us through all of life’s journey.
                                                                            ~Sister Elaine Berkopec

(Last week)

New Life Emerges

In a recent LCWR publication (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) we read:

“There is a mystery that occurs when our hearts are broken. Our place of most devastating loss can become a place of profound transformation, enabling our hearts to become larger than we ever imagined. Grief becomes a threshold, a passage that opens us to greater reserves of love, hope, and grace than we could summon on our own. Because it works with the most raw and elemental forces within us, grief is chaotic and wild. This makes it a perfect place for the work of the Spirit. This is where creation happens, new life emerges, and love finds its most transforming path.”

 What a beautiful reflection for the season of Lent where we meet Mary and Martha, grieving over the death of their brother Lazarus and, even more starkly, where we stand at the foot of the cross with Mary, agonizing as she watches her son die.

We experience grief in our lives regularly. A brother-in-law faces a cancer diagnosis, a sibling takes her own life, a mother slips away into dementia, a godchild pleads guilty to felony charges. But life does not end there, even though it sometimes feels as though that is exactly what is happening. If we allow ourselves to be the “perfect place for the work of the Spirit,” new life emerges – painfully, slowly and maybe even a bit grudgingly. But life will not be denied. Compassion grows, patience deepens, new forms of gratitude spring up.

In spite of winter storm Stella that pounded the earth in March, the flowers will bloom. So can we.

                                                                   ~Sister Laura Bregar

(Last week)

Lent: A Journey into the Mystery of Love

These Lenten days provide us with special opportunities for reflection. The disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in which we engage enhance our awareness of God – the God who dwells within us and within those around us. Even more, this sacred season invites us into the very mystery of God’s love for us, the unimaginable love of God demonstrated in the self-emptying gift of Jesus. 

As we reflect on the life and death of Jesus we discover that even in his sufferings he taught us how to live.  The Way of the Cross, the traditional Lenten devotion recalling the last hours of Jesus’ life, offers striking lessons in humility, compassion, and love.  We see Jesus modeling humility in accepting Simon’s assistance in carrying the cross and allowing Veronica to wipe his face. We see Jesus ignoring social and cultural boundaries in accepting the tears of the women of Jerusalem even as he endeavors to comfort them. Finally, in his last moments, he extends compassion to the repentant thief and promises him a place in paradise. A teacher till the end, Jesus gives up his life for the salvation of the world. 

Even as we ponder Jesus’ life and death and all they teach us, we can’t help but examine our own lives and service. How do we measure up as humble, compassionate and loving disciples? Where do we acknowledge our weakness and allow others to help us? Where do we see need and reach out to assist others? Where do we step out in faith to engage a stranger? How easily do we extend forgiveness? How do we allow our hearts to be changed by these encounters? 

Lent offers us sacred time and space to reflect on the amazing love of God, to learn from Jesus’ example of service, and to offer ourselves as instruments extending that same love to others. 

May our Lenten journey draw us ever more deeply into the mystery of God’s love and to the Easter glory that awaits us as members of God’s family. – Susan Bremer, OSU

(Last week)

The Second Year at the Pepper Pike Motherhouse (2600 Lander Road)
In the fall of 1959, 23 strong dug deep into dirt every Saturday afternoon; they planted rock and blossoms on the side of an incline on the South Side of A.
A rock garden, they called it, seemingly a lesson in futility but really it was a chance to meet each other on our knees close to the earth and close to each other.
We were postulants, the first year of our lives as a possible Ursuline.
Now the rock garden is all grass and so much more, for it is the back yard of our new home soon to be built. Those of us who planted are closer to being planted or are already in the earth. But we who wait for our new home are ever hopeful to welcome a new generation to come and journey with us, and maybe even plant a garden.

~Sr. Miriam Fidelis

Last week

A Way to Pray

A reflective prayer that can be prayed while exercising, working, waiting, sitting or anytime at all.
Begin by reflecting on what little we know about the universe
stars, black holes, galaxies and whatever….
After reflecting say: With all of it I give thanks, honor, glory and praise.

Then reflect on what we know about earth
Mountains, hills, caverns, sands of the seashore, rocks,
canyons, dirt, wastelands, plains…..
In union with mother earth,
I give praise, honor, glory and thanks.

Consider the air that we breathe in union with all the other creatures on the earth, all the birds of the air, little and big…
With all flying birds I give thanks, honor, glory and praise…

Think of the waters, streams, oceans, ponds, puddles
For all the waters and all the fish enjoying the water
I give thank, honor, glory and praise….

Imagine all the living things on the earth, forests, plant life,
Farmers crops, herbs, large and small life filled beauty ….
In union with all life, I give praise, honor, glory, and thanks..

Reflect on all the 4 legged animals, big and little ones, wild and tame
ones, maybe your personal ones….
With all the 4 legged I give thanks, honor, glory, and praise…

Then the 2 legged ones, my brothers and sisters across the face of the earth, those who are suffering, the sick, sorrowful, dying and birthing ones, those who are lost and forgotten, the immigrants….
With all my earth family I give thank, honor, glory, and praise…

Consider the Church across and world and our Holy Father, the ordained, the LCWR, the suffering Church, the struggling in the Church,
United with holy Mother Church I give thanks, glory, praise
and thanksgiving…

Gradually let your prayer become local, to your home, your workplace, your
relationships….Make it up as you go along, maybe add petitions such as,
Pour your Spirit on those working for peace…
Move people to rescue animals in need…
Enliven with your Spirit those who are engaged in healing the earth….

This is a starting point to praying always. Make up and add whatever.
So much prayer is needed today….

                                          ~Just praying, Sr. Mary Joan

February 27, 2017

The last Sunday of Ordinary Time before Lent reminds us of God’s boundless care for us and all of creation. As God feeds the birds and clothes the wildflowers, so too does God provide for all our needs.

These encouraging Scriptures precede Ask Wednesday which calls us to repentance and a deepening of our relationship with God and each other. A specific area of repentance to consider is how we are harming earth and each other. In his encyclical Laudate Si, Pope Francis highlights the enormous problems we are now facing regarding environmental degradation and social inequality. Likewise, based on his experience as a former lay missioner in Brazil, Dave Kane challenges us to acknowledge our guilt and repent:

As a human family we have become unaware of, and insensitive to, how our actions and       lifestyles contribute to the destruction of both God’s creation and human dignity. We fail to acknowledge how we are active participants in a system that strangles all forms of life with toxins and pollution while forcing hundreds of millions of people to go to bed hungry.

It is crucial that we remember that everything we buy and use is made of something extracted from earth and processed by human workers. Our consumption directly implies the destruction and removal of parts of earth’s bounty….

Our constant search for cheaper products pushes corporate leaders to search for places where they can pay the lowest wages and pollute most freely in order to lower costs. We often blame corporate CEO’s for these rapacious actions without recognizing that they are responding to our own demands. We are all a fundamental part in this process.

The concept of repentance is not an easy one for many people We like to focus on the positive, on the promise of the Easter Resurrection, instead of dwelling on Ash Wednesday’s call for repentance or the suffering of Good Friday. But in order to truly resurrect into a new way of living and acting, we first need to acknowledge our failings and the part we play in the human and environmental suffering we see around us.

This Ash Wednesday, let’s stay in the uncomfortable space of repentance….What changes can we make in our lives to help restore humanity and earth?

How do I spend my money? Does my money support life or death? Does my investment fund chase the largest profits with the most destructive businesses or does it sustain healthy livelihoods and ecologically responsible business practices? How do I use my time? Do I spend more time contributing to the planet’s human and ecological wounds or to healing them? How can I change my actions and lifestyle to be more in tune with God’s plan for the world?

A Maryknoll Liturgical Year (A), eds. Judy Coode & Kathy McNeely (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2013) 65-66.
                                                                               Submitted by : Sister Ann Kelly

(Last week)

The first readings for the Masses each day this week are usually taken from the Book of Sirach, a book that contains wise advice on any number of subjects. One of those subjects is friendship. In the 6th chapter the author comments, “ Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant. When you gain a friend, first test him, and be not too ready to trust him. For one sort is a friend when it suits him, but he will not be with you in time of distress. … A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth.” (We understand that there was no consideration of gender equality at the time in which the book was written, so we will forgive the author for omitting women from his discourse.) Friendship is a topic that knows no boundaries of time, place or culture. It is a subject addressed by many thoughtful writers.

"I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light."
 Helen Keller

 "A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow."
― William Shakespeare

 "Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit." 
― Aristotle

"However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship".
Albert Einstein

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship".
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you have read thus far wondering how well or if your friend(s) measure up to these high standards, I now suggest that you reread all the same passages to consider how well you measure up. Are you the type of friend that you wish to have?

I do not call you servants any longer… I have called you friends. … As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. ...I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:9, 11, 15)

Try sitting with the lines from John’s Gospel. No effort. Just sit. Ponder. Hear the words deep within you. Absorb their meaning. The gift of friendship is being offered. Will you allow yourself to receive it?

~Sister Janet Moore

(Last week)

The Seeds of Violence

Our world today is rife with violence. We hear of wars, murder on our city streets, domestic violence and bullying of children and adults. But violence resides unseen as well as what we see in the daily news. Violence sometimes is present in our own thoughts, words and actions - although not as obvious as public violence.

There are times in our own lives when we may be judgmental about the words and actions of another person. There may be times when we criticize others or we complain about something another person said or did. We may harbor prejudices about people who are of another ethnic group, racially different or have faith beliefs different from our own. These may never be thought of in the same way we think of the radical violence that surrounds us today, but these thoughts words and actions do not reflect the words and actions of Jesus.

If we say we are Christians we must know the Jesus of the gospels. We must imitate the Jesus who welcomed everyone, including sinners. Jesus saw the needs of others but never asked about their background before he healed them of their maladies. Jesus is the essence of what a loving, compassionate person must be in our world today.

We can make a difference in our small portion of the world if we act as Jesus did.

Are there any seeds of violence residing in your heart and mind today? 

                                                      ~Sister Maureen McCarthy, OSU

(Last week)

This week's web reflection (2- 7 -17)

“Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.” (Luke 12:6-7)

 The Notice of God

 During a recent conversation, someone said to me: “Thank you for seeing me.” At first, I was taken back by the comment, but upon reflection realized that it spoke volumes about relationships today, and the importance of “seeing others” as central to our Christian witness.

Various gospel stories portray blind persons asking Jesus for sight. In each case it seems to me that the healing miracles begin with Christ “seeing” the one in need. Luke 12:6-7 reminds us that nothing escapes the notice of God. Every person and every sparrow is seen and valued by God with attention given to the smallest of details. Ought we not to emulate such divine delicacy?

Today, let’s try together to “see” someone, “notice” something, and then be amazed that miracles do happen…one glance at a time!
                                                                                Sr. Joanne Buckman, OSU

(last week)

Strengthen Us to Answer with Brave Hearts

 God of Grace, as you did with Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, Robert Kennedy, Jr, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Dorothy Kazel, OSU and so many others, strengthen us to answer with brave hearts your call to help shape a world not of death and oppression but of life and hope.

God of Power, strengthen us to help shape a country where our children will be free of the burdens of racism and sexism, fear and exploitation, violence and indifference, greed and pollution; where all people work with dignity, are rewarded fairly, and respected fully; where labor, rest, play, and worship are in blessed, graceful balance.

God of Glory, strengthen us to help shape a society where the value of families is reflected in decent homes, good schools, safe neighborhoods, mutually earned trust, glad gatherings, respected differences; where older persons are not for-gotten, trivialized, marginalized or brutalized, but honored for their experience, cherished for their gifts, sought for their wisdom.

God of Mercy, strengthen us to help shape a nation where diversity is a source of enrichment, compassion is common, life’s poetry realized, suffering lightened through sharing, justice attended, joy pervasive, hope lived, the hum of the universe heard, and together with you and with each other we build what is beautiful, true, and worthy of your generosity to us, and echo of your kingdom.

With the passion of the prophets and in the insistent spirit of Jesus,

we say, Amen! Amen!

 Loder, Theodore W. “Prayers of Petition.” 

My Heart in My Mouth Prayers for Our Lives. 

Wipf & Stock Pub, 2013

(Last Week)



When a certain number of people come together and choose in a moment of time to create a precise emotion in their hearts, that emotion literally can influence the very fields that sustain life on Earth.

These fields are now implicated in everything from the immune response of humans, throughout the planet, climate, weather patterns, cycles of war, in peace, our abilities to solve problems, our cognitive activities.

All of these as different as they sound from one another are linked to our relationship to the magnetic fields of the earth.

So what makes this so beautiful is that every human on the planet is linked to the field, but not every human on the planet has to be consciously aware of their relationship to benefit from what a relatively few number of people come to understand.

And the bottom line is this, that we can choose to feel feelings that create what we call coherence in our bodies. Coherence is the language, the quality of the language between our heart and our brain.

Certain kinds of heart based experiences, such as appreciation, gratitude, forgiveness, care, compassion, those are the ancient understandings that have always been taught in the truest traditions of our past and now our own science is finding those same traditions are documenting this very real effect within our hearts.

When we can feel those feelings in our bodies, they’re mirrored in the field and everyone benefits from the experience of relatively few.

Gregg Braden

All we have to do is our own inner work, to practice love, compassion, gratitude and to be consciously aware that when we do fall out of alignment with our true self, we can let go gracefully of our ego and fears to find our balance again.

We are all well aware, from experiences of giving and receiving, that our energy can effect ourselves and others in a positive or negative way.

I hope that this video and the work of Gregg Braden can light up this world with love so everyone can feel it.


(Last week)

Let Peace Begin Here

These days of conflict, confusion, violence, and darkness are times that call us to be witnesses of peace—the peace for which our hearts and our world long so deeply. Praying the Peace Mantra, given to us by the Peace Mantra Foundation, may be a good way to foster peace within and around us.

Find a quiet place, settle into a comfortable chair, and breathe deeply several slow breaths. Then, continue to breathe, repeating a line below with each inhalation:

Peace in my Heart
Peace in this Place
Peace in our Land
And throughout the World

the peace mantra - summer 2008

Collective prayer created by the seven founding members of The Peace Mantra Foundation, West Cornwall, UK.

The simple structure of the mantra allows one to substitute another word or quality for 'peace.' In other words, 'Love in my Heart,' 'Love in this Place,' 'Healing in my Heart,' 'Joy,' 'Compassion' ... whatever feels right is perfect to use.

Found at www.worldprayers.org

(Last week)

Rise Up in Splendor!

Rise up in splendor! Be radiant! Your heart shall throb and overflow!

Christmas celebrates shockingly new life in Christ, God come to us, conforming ourselves to become Christ for others. Simple words to type and read but astoundingly mysterious to comprehend.

Christmas often enough does not look like the latest Hallmark movie or American Greetings card. It looks more like a dirty stable, exhaustion from labor, fear of what is to come. And yet, and yet… Christmas offers us hope even amidst the stench of animals in a stable – or the stink of terror or injustice or even death.

We need to choose. Will we be like Herod and seek to kill what is good and holy because we know fear? Or will we be like the wise ones who trusted God and found another way around the evil and sin to new life?

“Those whose eyes are always cast to the ground will never see the stars.” Raise your eyes. See the splendor. Let your heart throb and overflow, in compassion for those who suffer and in joy for the great gift that is Jesus Christ.

                                                                           ~Sister Laura Bregar

Last week

Periwinkle Sky

Deep midnight skies
Yielding to aurora's touch
Break gently silently
Into soft hues
Readying earth
For day's warm glows.
Periwinkle sky births hope!

Periwinkle clouds
Usher in dawn’s rose-gold morn
Off’ring light’s life energy
To slumbering souls
Presenting new day
Where dreams may come true.
Rose-gold morn refreshes joy!

Rose-gold morn resounds
For Angels herald graces
Gilded by holy repose
Day's prism refracts dreams
Proclaiming God's gifts,
Transforming night's myst'ries.
Day illumines Jesus' Way!

Jesus lights the Way
Greets anew pilgrim souls
Invites each to grasp His Hand.
As soul journeys forth
Believing Angels' songs
She lives hope, loves joy.
For He has pierced periwinkle sky!

Lord Jesus, I praise You. You
sent periwinkle prophets who announced
the coming of Your New Day and then
You came creating at your birth the rose-
gold morn that ushered in your New
Day of Salvation. I am humbled by
my faith and know more than ever
that I am undeserving…but still You
gift me with your patient love. I bow
down in gratitude. Amen
                                              ~Sister Irene Charette 

The Joy of Christmas Continues

The joy of Christmas cannot be contained in a single day. It lingers in the echo of carols and in Luke’s proclamation of Jesus’ birth. The essence of our celebration is Jesus, God’s gift of love and grace poured upon the earth and upon all humanity in limitless supply. Jesus is the gift we celebrate, the gift we share and the gift we await.

We celebrate his coming into our world more than 2000 years ago. We remember how God’s own son came and comes still to restore harmony to a broken and fragmented world, and to heal whatever keeps love from shining through all people. And we look to the day when Jesus will return in glory to complete the work of salvation.

In the account of Jesus’ birth, Luke recounts the angel’s words: I come to proclaim good news to you, tidings of great joy! Who among us couldn’t use some good news, some glad tidings? With wars raging, the economy and jobs floundering and violence erupting on our streets, good news is hard to come by. But the celebration of Jesus’ birth reminds us that we are not alone, that God is with us in our struggles.

In the crib of Bethlehem, Jesus radiates what the world needs today, what we need today: gentleness, light, hope and peace: Gentleness as an antidote to violence; Light to offset the shadows that darken these days in our history, Hope to heal those who feel abandoned or who find no meaning in their lives, and Peace to transform each fearful, anxious heart.

 These are God’s gifts to us through Jesus. This is the good news of Christmas, the good news that echoes through each day, each year, from one generation to the next.

Jesus tells us elsewhere in the Gospel, “What you have received as gift, give as gift.” It follows, then, that if we have been recipients of gentleness, light, hope and peace, that we are called to extend these same gifts to others. We have limitless opportunities to allow God’s love to radiate through us, to be sources of grace and blessing for others. And who knows, maybe it will be contagious; maybe our efforts at gentleness, light, hope and peace will start an epidemic that can effect change in our small communities and in the world itself! That would be good news indeed!

 Through Jesus, grace came down at Christmas; through us that grace continues to flow. Yes, that is good news. Let us continue to proclaim it with our lives this Christmas, as the Son of God is brought to birth in all of us again and again and again.

                                                                                  – Susan Bremer, OSU

(Last week)

A One Hundred Year Anniversary

On East 35th Street, near downtown Cleveland, lives a small community called Little Brothers and Sisters of the Eucharist. They have transformed the neighborhood through their ministry of presence. Blessed Charles de Foucauld is the inspiration of this Eucharistic community. Charles lived among the Juareg in the Sahara in Algeria in the late 19th, early 20th centuries. He wished for followers but had none who stayed. He lived as a neighbor among the neighbors in the Presence of the Eucharist. It was there in Northern Africa that he was martyred on December 1, 1916.

In my early years in ministry I would often gather with the Fraternity of the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Eucharist for Mass on Thursdays. Their influence still touches my heart, especially in a prayer I learned there. Though I’m not able to get away on Thursdays from St. Angela Merici’s for Mass, I still say their prayer everyday:
                                                                                                  ~Sister Miriam Fidelis

"Father, I abandon myself into your hands. Do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you; I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures—I wish no more than this Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul: I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. Amen."

Charles de Foucauld


(Last Week)

Periwinkle Sky

Deep midnight skies
Yielding to aurora's touch
Break gently silently
Into soft hues
Readying earth
For day's warm glows.
Periwinkle sky births hope!

Periwinkle clouds
Usher in dawn’s rose-gold morn
Off’ring light’s life energy
To slumbering souls
Presenting new day
Where dreams may come true.
Rose-gold morn refreshes joy!

Rose-gold morn resounds
For Angels herald graces
Gilded by holy repose
Day's prism refracts dreams
Proclaiming God's gifts,
Transforming night's myst'ries.
Day illumines Jesus' Way!

Jesus lights the Way
Greets anew pilgrim souls
Invites each to grasp His Hand.
As soul journeys forth
Believing Angels' songs
She lives hope, loves joy.
For He has pierced periwinkle sky!

Lord Jesus, I praise You. You
sent periwinkle prophets who announced
the coming of Your New Day and then
You came creating at your birth the rose-
gold morn that ushered in your New
Day of Salvation. I am humbled by
my faith and know more than ever
that I am undeserving…but still You
gift me with your patient love. I bow
down in gratitude. Amen
                                            ~Sister Irene Charette


(Last Week)

The Second Sunday of Advent encourages us to continue to slow down and make time to deepen our relationship with God, as we acknowledge God’s love for us and its manifestation in the birth of Jesus.

Sunday’s readings call us to reflect on the meaning of peace in our lives. Isaiah predicts the coming of our Savior to establish a reign of justice and peace. We are charmed by his images of the wolf and the lamb living side by side and the baby playing unharmed by the cobra’s den. The psalm foretells of the reign of King Solomon when justice and profound peace will extend throughout the land.

In St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, we find the key to this harmony in the challenge to be not only accepting of one another, but also welcoming one another as Christ has done for us. Matthew’s Gospel, in which John the Baptist preaches repentance and care for each other by good works, expresses another pathway to peace.

In our own current war-torn world, we ask how can peace be possible? Peacemaker Thomas Merton, whose 48th anniversary of death occurs on December 10th offers further insights into being a maker of peace. In his earlier writings, Merton clearly articulated his belief in ending all war, dismantling nuclear arsenals and promoting global nonviolent conflict resolution. It was only later that he became aware of the more subtle ways we neglect to be peacemakers in our daily lives. Echoing the Dalai Lama, he said that to change the world and work for peace, we need to create peace within ourselves.

For Merton, the spiritual life is a journey of peace following the Gospel to the God of peace. He was convinced of our need to face our own inner violence and resentments, our hurts, anger, and our lack of forgiveness of those who have hurt us. God can transform these limitations into compassion, mercy and nonviolence. Merton recommends the practice of nonviolence in our personal prayer – to be in the presence of the God of peace to discern God’s will for us both individually and collectively. He believed that if we make this our daily practice, we will radiate peace personally and advocate for universal peace

Advent gives us a wonderful opportunity to pause as we deepen our awareness of our need for conversion and seek ways to spread peace to others. What specific actions can I take this week to be a peacemaker?

                                                                                      ~SisterAnn Kelly

(Last week)

Declutter your heart

It’s that time again – late November, early December -- when time seems to move faster and faster until it spins out of control in a rush of unfinished tasks and unsolvable situations.

This week …

Our world shudders with news of the latest natural disasters and inhuman cruelties;

Our country struggles to regain its equilibrium in the aftermath of a contentious campaign and election like no other;

Our neighborhood hunkers down with snowplows at the ready for the polar vortex that is predicted for the near future;

Our family having just devoured the last Thanksgiving leftovers and Black Friday sales are now asking, “What’s on the to do list for Christmas?”

Our children are being seduced by catchy TV commercials to convince Santa of their “need” for all the latest colorful and expensive toys;

Ours is a coarse age, a materialistic age, an anxious age, a hyperactive age, a distracted age

--- but it is not an age without hope.

Because this week …

This week also marks the beginning of Advent – an exceedingly countercultural season – that season of the church year when the world around us is rushing, fretting and consuming but we are invited to slow down and wait and empty ourselves -- to wait with simplicity, serenity, sincerity, silence and maybe also a song. We are called to get rid of the clutter in our hearts in order to make room for awareness of the divine presence. Jesus won’t be born on Christmas; he has already willingly entered our messy world. Yes, we joyfully commemorate that birth on Christmas, but the reality is that the divine is constantly with us but we are so often oblivious to it. Merton tells us “The presence of God is like walking out of a door into the fresh air. You don’t concentrate on the fresh air, you breathe it. And you don’t concentrate on the sunlight, you just enjoy it. It is all around.” It only takes a moment to appreciate it. This Advent, develop the habit of intentionally taking a silent moment of awareness several times each day. Slow down, take a deep breath, be still and wait. Declutter your heart. You may find in the quiet emptiness a growing awareness of God’s unconditional love for you and that would be the best present of all, and you won’t have to wait until Christmas to enjoy it.

                                                                                             ~Sister Janet Moore

Last Week


During November we are reminded to give thanks because of Thanksgiving Day. This is admirable but one day a year is not sufficient. Gratitude is something we should practice every day of our lives. We are surrounded by enormous examples of negativity in the world. Gratitude for the good and beautiful is a great antidote.

Just reflect on today. You are surrounded by God’s love. That is always a good start to a positive way of looking at your day and one for which we should give gratitude. Think about your loved ones - another reason to give thanks. Whether the sun is shining or snow is falling nature surrounds us and is reason for thanks. Positive examples for giving thanks are too numerous to list. All you need to do is be open to the experiences of each day.

There are benefits to being a person who is grateful. Gratitude contributes to our happiness and the following are a few other results of being a person who is grateful:

Report higher levels of positive emotions

Have greater life satisfaction

Experience greater vitality

Are more optimistic

Are healthier

Build stronger relationships

Handle adversity better

Experience lower levels of depression and stress.

Start today to increase your awareness of all the blessing you experience each day!

~Sister Maureen McCarthy

(Last week)

The Way of Love: Surrender and Gratitude

In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, Saint Therese of Lisieux identifies not great deeds, but surrender and gratitude as foundational to her relationship with God. She pictures the road to Divine Love like the child who rests securely in the arms of his/her Father.1

When I was young, my mother taught me how to swim. The back float was a particular challenge for me. After many failed attempts, mom suggested that I envision resting my head on a pillow. As I did so, she gently held me on top of the water, and the next thing I knew I was floating!

Relationships built on trust like these teach us about ongoing surrender, dismantling fear. They witness to the power of a steadfast presence that awakens our understanding of love and authentic freedom. God, who is love, invites us to rest in it through contemplation and then to give it away with grateful hearts. What a gift God offers us! What a gift we in turn can offer each other!

As Thanksgiving Day nears, let’s bring our THANKS to God who holds everyone and everything with love, and then ensure love’s ongoing expression by GIVING our own little acts of self-surrender to God, and each other. THANKSGIVING then will not only mark a day on our November calendar, but animate a lifetime of days and beyond.

1 Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul (Washington D.C: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1972) 188.

Be Still, Reflect, Pray

1. Who helped/helps form your understanding of authentic love? How do you pass it along?

2. Pray with 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13.

3. What is God asking you to surrender today?

4. How will I give thanks during this holiday season?

~Sister Joanne Buckman 

(Last Week)

In Honor of the Recent Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta,
here are some beautiful excerpts from her letter to the 
Missionaries of Charity March 25, 1993 that will touch your heart.

My Dear Children …

“Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much love He has for each one of you – beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus – one to one – you and Jesus alone. You may spend time in chapel – but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love?  Do you really know the living Jesus – not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace. He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying ‘I thirst.’ in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person – not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say, “I love you” – impossible. Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air. If not, prayer is dead – meditation only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him – speaking in the silence of your heart.

“Be careful of all that can block that personal contact with the living Jesus. The devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes – to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you.  He loves you always, even when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes – He is the one who always accepts you. My children, you don’t have to be different for Jesus to love you. Only believe – you are precious to Him. Bring all you are suffering to His feet – only open your heart to be loved by Him, as you are. He will do the rest.

“You all know in your mind that Jesus loves you – but in this letter Mother wants to touch your heart instead … if you remember anything from Mother’s letter, remember this – ‘I Thirst’ is something much deeper than Jesus just saying ‘I love you.’ Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirst for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you or who He wants you to be for Him.” 

 Mother Teresa of Calcutta

(Last Week)

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

God Is for Us
Love is just like prayer; it is not so much an action that we do, but a dialogue that already flows through us. We don’t decide to “be loving”; rather, to love is to allow our deepest and truest nature to show itself.

The love in you – which is the Spirit in you – always somehow says yes (see Corinthians 1:19-20). Love is not something you do; love is Someone you are. It is your True Self. {1} Love is where you came from and love is where you’re going. It’s not something you can attain. It’s not something you can work up to, as much as something you allow yourself to fall into! It is the living presence of God within you, often called the Holy Spirit, or what some theologians name uncreated grace.

You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct. You can’t make God love you one ounce more that God already loves you right now. You can go to church every day for the rest of your life but God isn’t going to love any more than God already loves you right now.

You cannot make God love you any less, either – not an ounce less. You could do the most terrible thing and God wouldn’t love you any less. (You probably love yourself much less, however.)

You cannot change the Divine mind about you! The flow is constant and total toward your life. God is for you!

You can’t diminish God’s love for you. What you can do, however, is learn how to believe it, receive it, allow it, and celebrate it, accepting Trinity’s whirling invitation to join in the cosmic dance.

Catherine LaCugna ends her giant theological tome on Trinity with one simple sentence. It’s taken her two-and-a-half inches of book to get to this one line, and its simplicity might overwhelm you, but I can’t end in any better place than she does:

The very nature of God, therefore, is to seek out the deepest possible communion and friendship with every last creature on earth. {2}

That’s God’s job description. That’s what it’s all about. The only things that can keep you out of this divine dance are fear, doubt, or self-hatred. What would happen in your life – right now - if you accepted being fully accepted?

It would be a very safe universe.

You would have nothing to be afraid of.

God is for you.

God is leaping toward you!

God is on your side, honestly more than you are on your own.

{1} See Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013) for a thorough teaching on your True Self and how to access it.

Last week

Let us pray for peace:

Great God, who has told us
"Vengeance is mine,"
save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.

Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.

Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.

We ask, O God, for the grace
to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.

We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel
as well as for ourselves.

Give us the depth of soul, O God,
to constrain our might,
to resist the temptations of power
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand
that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace--not war--wherever we go.

For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.

And so may we be merciful
and patient
and gracious
and trusting
with these others whom you also love.

This we ask through Jesus,
the one without vengeance in his heart.
This we ask forever and ever. Amen

prayer for world peace - sister joan chittister - benedictine sisters of erie

(Last week)

“Pray always without becoming weary.” Luke 18:1

 How can we pray ‘always’? When we hear the word ‘prayer,’ most of us instinctively think of formal prayers like the Lord’s Prayer. And we should, since formal prayers are integral to Christian spirituality. There is another way of thinking about prayer in Christian life, however. It is the effort to make our whole life into a prayer—that is, to pray always. This kind of prayer involves offering all that we are and have and do to the service of God, calling ourselves into the presence of God at various times during our day and making all our personal encounters and actions into a kind of prayer. This form of prayer means bringing all our successes and failures, joys and sorrows, and highs and lows to God in prayer. This habit of prayer, of course, needs to be complemented by formal prayers. But the combination of the two can add up to praying always.

-Daniel J. Harrington in America Magazine 10/15/07

A few months ago I had the privilege of attending the annual national meeting of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCWR). This dynamic group of women who have an amazing collective breadth of experience in international ministries was encouraged to remember that: “Times are urgent. Slow down.” Yes, war is confronting us all over the globe and we are heated up about global warming, not to mention grieving the deaths of those killed by gun violence and the Sisters who have been murdered in Mississippi and Haiti -- and every one of us is touched by the not-so-civil discourse leading up to the national election next month. It is hard to stop and take a breath when everything seems to compel us to action, to do everything we can to make the world a better place. Yet Luke reminds us in the Sunday gospel this week that there is a larger call, a call to be in the presence of God and to make every effort to BE the presence of God in the midst of the pain and chaos. If you and I can live in such a way that our deeper breathing, our more expansive loving and our more tender words can touch lives with God’s being, then we are truly BEING a better “place” in the world. I encourage and invite each of us to slow down, see and hear and touch God in the daily moments of our lives and then to bless others with our presence. God longs to touch Her people. Will we be the answer to someone’s prayer with our life today?

                                                   ~Sr. Laura Bregar

(Last week)

Through the saints God writes the Gospel

People of faith are still celebrating the canonization of Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of the poor. This small but mighty dynamo and the community she founded have left a mark on people throughout the world by seeking out and serving the “poorest of the poor” in the name of Jesus.

One individual interviewed for the canonization proceedings noted that Mother Teresa was a “pencil in the hand of God.” What a fitting image! There is nothing terribly glamorous about a pencil, a simple, ordinary object. But in the hand of God, such an implement can be transformed into an extraordinary instrument.

Not only Saint Teresa of Calcutta, but perhaps all the saints, particularly two we celebrate this week -- St. Therese of Lisieux (October 1) and St. Francis of Assisi (October 4) – can be celebrated as pencils in the hand of God. Through each of them God wrote for us a modern day gospel and provided a guide for all to emulate.

Our newest saint, Teresa, extended mercy to the poor and needy, to the very outcasts of society. In this year dedicated to mercy, we would do well to follow her example and reach out to those less fortunate than we.

In St. Therese, “the Little Flower,” we have an example of simplicity and holiness. In her short life, marked with loss, disappointment and sickness, she set her heart on doing what she could, however small, to please God. This gentle Carmelite reminds us that even the little things we do can help advance the kingdom of God.

Finally, we have Francis of Assisi, known for renouncing his privileged life for a life of poverty and also for his great love of creation. In both instances he demonstrated his belief that all are part of a larger “brotherhood” or family. He accorded all persons the same honor, respect and love, regardless of status or standing. So, too, with nature; the whole of creation – sun, moon, winds, water, and every manner of bird and animal – was family. His example calls us to similar regard and care for all persons and all of creation, no small thing in today’s world and society.

Teresa, Therese and Francis likely did not set out to be saints, but their love of God opened them to God’s working in and through their lives. Let us pray for the grace to open our hearts and hands in love and service that we, too, might become “pencils in the hand of God” through which God might continue to write a Gospel of love and mercy. – Susan Bremer, OSU

(Last week)

This summer Ursuline College hosted the annual Faith and Sharing Retreat with the theme: “Let Nothing Be Wasted”. These words, shared by Father Larry Gilleck, S.J., sparked my reflection.

“On a journey to an unfamiliar airport to be met by an unknown person, I stood, highly visible on the side of a well-traveled route.”

Father Larry wove this image into his tale to invite us all to “stay where you can be found---by God”.  Oh, did I mention, Father Larry is blind?

“About Hanging Out where you’ll be Found”

Stay in the gap
wherever that may be
In clear sight,
simply where God will find you:
In a garden perhaps
or on a Mountain,
or desert,
by the Crib
or ‘neath the cross.
In tears or laughter,
darkness or light,
sadness or joy.

For it is not so much that we seek God in all things, as God finds us in everything always

~Sister Miriam Fidelis

 Birth to Fullness

“Look at how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.” Luke 6: 29-30

Birth from our mother’s womb.

We were carried in our mother’s womb for nine months…during that time mothers often talk to their children in the womb, telling them of their love, their lives, their hopes and dreams for their child. The child is comforted, safe, and happy but somehow knows there is more. It stirs, kicks and finally is ready for birth. Kicking and screaming the child is thrust out of the mother’s womb into the womb of the earth. What does a child experience during this time….fullness of life…greater life…birth into an unknown


Birth into a second womb – mother earth.

We know we are safe again in this marvelous place and we are content. The second womb is quite nice and full of excitement. Mother earth talks to us and reveals to us the vast beauty in her earthly womb. We are safe here, surrounded by Divine presence, revealed in every leaf, every creature, every flower, every mountain, every body of water, every herb and vegetable, every companion who journeys through this earth womb with us.

If we are awake, if we listen and see, if we ask and are open to the Divine energy, the Holy Spirit reveals in a thousand different ways a presence that is with us, revealing itself to us. This is really a womb of Divine love, full of energy and reflecting the Beloved as a mirror. We see beauty and life around us and before us. If we are attentive we hear and see the revelation of “something more” that is yet to come. We receive glimpses of something more. Our hearts are restless for a greater fullness of life.

Like children we often take advantage of the very goodness of it all. We use it and fail to respect this second womb. We get self absorbed in it. We experience different forms of idolatry even knowing that temporal things cannot carry ultimate reality. They crumble and we are lost. We become fearful, distrusting, sad, and disappointed. Hopefully we learn along the way that we are of the earth womb, and yet long for something more.

Birth into a third womb – the fullness of life.

Eventually, at some point again we are thrust out of this earthly womb into the fullness of Divine life, sometimes kicking and screaming again. Maybe we are already living in the kingdom, are “saved,” are walking the journey, seeking fullness, completion. We have tasted, have believed in the fullness of Divine life, the heartbeat of God at the center of the universe welcomes us and we realize we knew that love energy, that Divine life already in the womb of the earth, and in our mother’s womb. 

Consider the lilies…help me to trust. Just pondering….
                                                                                          ~Sister Mary Joan

(Last Week 9-11-16) 

As we observed the 15th anniversary of September 11th and remembered all those who died on that tragic day, the Scriptures for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time call us to forgiveness.

The Israelites betrayed their fealty to God and worshiped a golden calf, but when Moses pleaded, God in God’s mercy, forgave the people for their deception. Likewise, in his letter to Timothy, Paul praises God for God’s mercy in forgiving him for his former life persecuting Christians and in calling him to be a disciple to proclaim God’s goodness to the world. In both instances, those who were lost were found through God’s forgiveness.

The Gospel of Luke reflects on three parables about losses, and the joy that comes when the lost is found – whether a coin, a sheep or a prodigal son. The widow, the shepherd, and the father throw parties and invite others to share in their joy.

The prodigal son offers us much food for thought. When we forgive another person or ask for God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a burden that has weighed us down is lifted, and we experience joy like the prodigal’s father. Yet the older son resented his father’s forgiveness and refused to join the celebration of his brother’s return, thereby being burdened by resentment. Am I sometimes like that older son, withholding the act that could enable me to forgive?

In visit to Assisi in August, Pope Francis said: “Too many people are caught up in resentment and harbor hatred because they are incapable of forgiving. They ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them rather than finding the joy of serenity and peace”. Often when we have offended others, we expect their forgiveness, but then again, when others offend us, we demand justice rather than mercy.

Pope Francis maintains that “In this Holy Year of Mercy, it becomes clearer that the path of forgiveness can truly renew the church and the world….To offer today’s world the witness of mercy is a task from which none of us can feel exempt”. Let us take these words to heart and be agents of forgiveness in a world where hatred, violence and wars are all too common.

What specific ways can I continue to respond to this challenge in my daily life?

Ann Kelly, OSU

Last week (9-5-16)

Since 1894 Labor Day has been observed as a national holiday in the U.S. on the first Monday in September. It recognizes the dignity of work and the important contribution of American workers in every field of endeavor; it also gives the workers a well-earned day off from their labors. Over the years, besides the occasional parade, political gathering, evening fireworks, etc., Labor Day has evolved basically into a time for some traditional family R&R, maybe a cookout and for marking the end of summer. Respect for labor per se is no longer the focus.

This year, however, September 4, the day before Labor Day is going to be memorable for a distinctly different reason. The life and labor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta will receive considerable worldwide attention because she is to be canonized, i.e., declared by the Roman Catholic Church to be a saint. This amazing little woman who is well known by many is certainly the epitome of a dedicated worker. Her efforts on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable have earned her such recognitions as the Nehru Award, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize among many others. Fortunately we have record of many comments she has made (or is presumed to have made) about the nature of work. Therefore, on this Labor Day and the week that follows it, it might be worthwhile to consider what this saintly woman had to say about work. Perhaps her wise words can cast new light on the view we have of our own work and its worth, how and why we do it, with whom and for whom we labor.

There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.

In the West we have a tendency to be profit-oriented, where everything is measured according to the results and we get caught up in being more and more active to generate results. In the East — especially in India — I find that people are more content to just be, to just sit around under a banyan tree for half a day chatting to each other. We Westerners would probably call that wasting time. But there is value to it. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches us about love. The success of love is in the loving — it is not in the result of loving.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.

I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’

Work without love is slavery.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

                                                   ~Sister Janet Moore

(Last Week)

During two Sundays in August the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland celebrated Golden and Diamond Jubilees. On August 7th, nine Ursulines were honored for fifty years of committed Ursuline life and dedicated service to the People of God. The following Sunday, six sisters celebrated sixty years of being faithful witnesses to their community and those they served. These were significant signs of commitment to the greater Cleveland community and to all who were present to share in the events.

What’s important to remember is that these committed women religious chose religious life as their way of living out their baptismal commitment to their Church and God. They were not the only ones to do this. Every baptized Christian is called to the same commitment whether that occurs through marriage, single life, priesthood or religious life. Every baptized person is to live this commitment by following the life and example of Jesus, nourishing a spiritual life through liturgy, spiritual reading and prayer, and reaching out to brothers and sisters in need.

It is not easy in our time and society to model what it means to be a committed Christian. We are bombarded with racial, religious, gender and ethnic bias and downright hatred that seems to be all around us. Do we ever stand up for what we believe when we experience this negativity?

We are in the midst of a nasty presidential campaign. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has obtained thousands of signatures asking that regardless of our political stance that we use civil discourse in our words. Those of us who are committed a loving and compassionate God should be models for every person with whom we have contact.

Do you have reason to celebrate your 25, 50, or 90 year commitment to your baptismal responsibility and your relationship with the Christ? May every day and every year of your life be a cause to celebrate that commitment!

                                                                                 ~Sister Maureen McCarthy

(Last week)

When Israel was a child I loved him…It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks. Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. (Hosea 11: 1, 4)

Living with Tenderness

At a recent gathering, I sat behind a young couple and their toddler. The parents worked as a team in response to the constant needs of the little girl. With back and forth movements their care resembled a well-choreographed dance, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.

Moments earlier I had heard on the news about another act of mass violence, and I came to this shared prayer experience seeking a word of hope. And, the word did not delay; in fact, it was acted out in front of me! Over and over again as these young adults raised their daughter to their cheeks, tenderness was gently proclaimed.

Between sips of water and healthy snacks, both mother and father held her close, gently stroking her blonde tresses, and kissing her. Stooping down, and rising up again, they communicated to their daughter and to each other, another way of being in the world.

The prophet Hosea uses such a parental image to describe the relationship of God with Israel. His description assures us that God acts with tenderness, with “bands of love” toward his people. The Holy One, who created every community and every person in each of them, draws and fosters like a father, stoops and feeds like a mother.

Confronted daily with the relentless violence that overwhelms our senses and pierces our hearts, let’s seek to mirror the actions of our Divine Healer who still touches our world through the tenderness we show to each other.

Be Still, Reflect, Pray

1. Describe your favorite image of human tenderness. How did you react?

2. Have you experienced the tenderness of God recently? How? Where?

3. Pray for children, young parents and all families.

(Last week)

Child of God’s Womb

 “Child of God’s womb,
my child within,
tell me what God is like;
I’m beginning to forget.”

 “Come deep inside 
where mysteries dwell,
and who God is
I’ll surely tell.

 God sang of life 
one autumn morn;
God drew a breath
and I was born. 

God looked at me
with two kind eyes.
God is tender;
God is wise.

God’s warm caress
Supports my head.
I tug God’s breast
and I am fed.

God hears my prayer,
my cry, my plea.
God looks with love
and answers me.

God understands
my doubt, my fear.
I hold so tight,
God’s heart I hear.

God presses me
against one cheek.
In whispers soft
I hear God speak.

 God smiles and laughs
and sings a song.
With joy, with love,
I’m swept along.

God gentles me
with fond embrace,
and leans so low,
I touch God’s face.

 God smooths my hair.
God strokes my arm.
I sleep secure;
I’m safe from harm.”

 “Oh, sweet, sweet child,
this image gained,
I will not soon
forget again.

 I see the God
you’ve shown to me,
and know at last
that God is she.”

                                                        ~S. Julianne McCauley, OSU


(Last week)


From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

pale blue dot - carl sagan

Excerpt from Carl Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space named after the photograph of the earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990. Seen from about 6 billion kilometers, the Earth appears as a tiny dot within the darkness of deep space.

Last Week

“Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.” (Luke 11)

Mother, Sophia, Creator,
One who nourishes and sustains us,
One who dwells within us as close as our breath and heartbeat,
One who surrounds all of the universe in your loving embrace…
Holy are you in your many names,
in your many faces -- and our many faces,
in the oneness that is your being,
in the multiplicity of your manifestation…
May your dream and reality of all abiding in your presence
for all eternity become real in us.
Grace us with gratitude for the many gifts that are ours,
enough for the day, enough for the other, enough.

May the conviction that you are mercy
invite us to extend loving kindness to all.
Always and ever draw us to yourself
that our choices and decisions
may direct us in the way of holiness,

(Last week)



“Breathe on me, O Spirit of God!”
I do breathe on you, my love!”

 Be attentive, O my soul!
My heart’s rhythmic beat
Soothes you, beckons you
To pierce time’s unknown limits.

 My creative soul, now tranquil
Warmed within heart’s heat
Radiates Word’s light
Erases fears, heals wounds.

 Co-creating, heart and soul
Humbly walk Truth’s Path.
Transformed into peace
We breathe out Word’s awesome Joy.

 “Breathe on me O Spirit of God!
Heart and should together with You,
Now co-create sacred peace!”
“I shall continue to breathe on you, my love!”

 Prayer:  Heavenly Father, Divine Son, Holy Spirit, I beg You to continue to dwell in me. Enable me to co-create with You a spirit of peace wherever I go and whatever I do today.  My heart bursts for love of You!  Help me to walk humbly the path of Truth and to breathe out Your awesome Joy.  I ask this through Your sufferings, death and resurrection, Jesus.  Amen.
                                                                                        irene charette, osu

(Last Week)

Finding God in the Midst of Life’s Trials, Tragedies

An Old Testament passage recounts a story about the prophet Elijah who, fleeing from those who want to kill him, searches for God in order that God might protect him.

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountain and crushing rocks – but the Lord 
was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake – but the Lord was not in 
the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was fire – but the Lord was not in the fire. 
After the fire, there was a tiny whispering sound. [It was here, in the whisper of a breeze 
that Elijah discovered the Lord he sought.]  -- Kings 19:11-12

 This story, while perhaps unfamiliar, is one with which we have all identified at one time or another. It describes one person’s search for God in the midst of difficulty. Have we not encountered similar situations?

The recent mass shooting in Orlando and other such horrific attacks and tragedies shake us to the core. Likewise, serious illness, family problems, natural disasters or misfortune of any kind may prompt us to wonder where God is in the midst of it and why God isn’t intervening. Elijah found that the Lord was not present in the destructive wind, earthquake or fire. Similarly, we must remind ourselves that God plays no part in floods or other natural disasters; neither does God send illness or violence or misfortune. Such occurrences are part of the nature of the created world and the effects of a free will that allows each person to make choices for his or her life.

While not responsible for the difficulties we find in life, God is ever-present to us in the midst of our trials. Elijah found the Lord in the gentle whisper of a breeze that directed him to a place of safety. Disaster victims no doubt discover God in the outstretched hands of individuals – often strangers – offering help and assistance and financial support.

The presence of God is available to the seriously ill through family and friends who visit, send cards and offer prayerful support, and through the medical personnel who treat them with tenderness and compassion. Likewise, to those families coping with problems, God is present in the very love and courage required to heal and transform relationships.

While our God is all-powerful and almighty, our God is also a God of quiet and gentle presence. God is not to blame for the ills that befall us. Many are simply part of the process of nature and its cycles; others are often the result of poor choices or of evil that co-exists with goodness in our world. God does not cause these events and situations, but God can definitely be counted upon to provide comfort and assistance in the midst of the very worst that life sometimes sends our way.

Let us pray for those afflicted in any way, that in the midst of difficulty, they may experience the gentle, comforting presence of God. – Susan Bremer, OSU

(Last week)

A  Springtime reflective story…..

   Once upon a time there was a Father who liked to watch the butterflies in the field behind his home.  There were many wildflowers and the butterflies would fly from flower to flower.  He had a son, and when the son was old enough, Father and son would walk over to the field to view the butterflies.

   One day the body noticed that a butterfly hurt another butterfly and chased him off a flower. The boy was upset.  Things got worse and worse and the butterflies fought over the flowers.  One day a butterfly killed another little butterfly.  The boy was more upset and gave the situation much thought.  When things were getting really worse and worse among the butterflies the boy decided and said to his Father, “I am going to the shape-changer and ask her to change me into a butterfly so I can dwell in their midst and help them to just be butterflies.”   The Father protested and refused to hear of such a thing.

Boys will be boys and finally he was able to go to the shape-changer.  Again he was refused.  She said, “Why would a human being want to become a bug?” 

   The boy persisted and so he woke up on day, a butterfly among the butterflies.

   It was hard.  He woke early in the morning and began teaching the butterflies how

they should be – just butterflies.  He showed them the field of flowers and taught them

to go to another flower rather than fight.  Some listened but most of the butterflies

ignored him and continued fighting.  The boy butterfly went off in the evening to talk

to his Father.  He stayed with a few of the butterflies who understood what he was trying to do.

   One day a butterfly killed another butterfly. The boy butterfly touched the dead one and it came to life again.  Now, they feared him because of his power.   The council of butterflies spoke against the boy and things got very tense, bitter, nasty and violent.

The boy butterfly continued to talk to his Father and then went to stay with the few that understood him.

    We know how it went.  In their tiny tiny world, they falsified a case against the boy butterfly, took him to court, tried him in their little bitty judgments, and sure enough

finally executed him.

     The shape-changer doesn’t have any power over spirit so the Spirit of the boy was set free and began to flow invisibly through the lives of the little butterflies, urging them to

Just be butterflies, helping them to just be who they were born to be, nothing more, encouraging them to seek other flowers instead of violating one another.  

     Are you one of the few that understood….that understand?  

                                                                                                        Just pondering

                                                                                                            Sister Mary Joan


(Last week)

“Crossing the Threshold”
Many times today I will cross over a threshold.
I need to remember that my life is, in fact
a continuous series of thresholds:
from one moment to the next,
from one thought to the next,
from one action to the next.

Help me appreciate how awesome this is.
How many are the chances to be really alive . . .
to be aware of the enormous dimension we live within.

On the threshold the entire past, and the endless future
rush to meet one another.
We find You there and, we are found by You.
Help me cross into the present moment-
Into wonder, into Your grace:
that “now-place,” where we are all unfolding as Your Life - moment by moment.

(adapted from Being Home by Gunilla Norris)



(Last week)

In many churches during the past several months, Christians have celebrated the retelling of the Paschal mystery that is central to our faith: Christ’s total gift of self in the events leading to his crucifixion, Easter resurrection joy, the Ascension to his Father, and the powerful presence of the Spirit at Pentecost. For many of us the liturgical celebrations of these events in our faith heritage, although very familiar, never fail to gift us with renewed awareness of God’s unconditional love for us . And yet those feast days are now behind us for this year and we enter into “ordinary time.” So now what? Now what will anchor our faith life? What is being asked of us now? What is being offered to us today?
Pope Francis in a homily delivered in Washington D.C. September 23, 2015, suggests that Jesus himself gives us the answer. “The joy of the gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away. “ He then eloquently describes the way Jesus took life as he saw it, embraced all people the way he found them, exacting no preconditions to his generosity, excluding no one. “Go out and in my name embrace life as it is and not as you think it should be. … Go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, without superiority, without condescension to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out and proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father….Go out to proclaim the good news that error, deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person’s life. Go out with the ointment which soothes wounds and heals hearts….Mission is never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organized manual. Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing.”
Could mission be the answer to my question, “So now what?” If sometimes you find yourself asking the same question, could this by your answer too?
~Sister Janet Moore



(Last week)

The Easter season ended with two great feasts – the Solemnity of the Ascension when Jesus squarely places his mission into the hands of his disciples. And the second was the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon those disciples giving them the power to witness to all they learned and experienced while they were with Jesus.
Christ told the disciples they were to go out and bear witness to his mission and change their world, and he promised to give them the power to do it. We, as the present day disciples of the Christ, face some very serious and difficult challenges in our own world today. Christ commands us to speak out against all kinds of injustice, even if we’re misunderstood or criticized for our stance. We’re commanded to lay down our lives for our neighbors. We may not be called to do this literally, but we are called to help others – the poor, the marginalized, the sick, the homeless, the trafficked, the sinner and the stranger – even if it costs us dearly to do so. We’re commanded to forgive our enemies whether they be friends, neighbors or family members we just don’t get along with anymore, or even the members of Isis. We may well say, “What!” We can’t do all of this. It’s beyond our ability to do this. But, and this is an important but, we can’t forget that Christ gives us the power of the Spirit to accomplish all that Christ asks of us. Because of this we need to regularly pray and reflect on all the graces, talents and other gifts that we’ve received. We need to pray and reflect on all the needs we see around us. And then we are to respond to them in whatever way we are capable of doing.
Even though we celebrate Christ being raised up in glory and are grateful for the Spirit we received at baptism, we can’t forget that Christ remains with us until the end of time and is inseparable from the activity of the Spirit, as well as the mission of the Church. Christ’s spiritual body is here right now -present within us, present around us, and present through us.
~Sr. Maureen McCarthy


(Last Week) 

Community: Woven with Spirit
Sr. Joanne Buckman, OSU

Reflecting on the values of our world, unity and oneness appear wanting and elusive, at best. Even given that technological advances connect multiple devises and span vast distances, I suspect there remains a shared human longing for expressions of authentic community. We are after all unique persons seeking wholeness, and social persons facing the challenges of belonging in church and society.

The New Testament reminds us that we are not alone. Post-resurrection narratives, for example, image the disciples locked behind closed doors; knotted by negative patterns of fear, discouragement and shame. Their encounters with the Risen Christ near the empty tomb, on the Emmaus Road and along the beach, retell stories fraught with opposites; death and life, fear and courage, joy and grief. Shaped by paradox, these early followers struggle to open themselves up to new ways of being and of being together.

What changed for them, or more precisely, what changed them into the bold witnesses of early Christianity? We learn in the Acts of the Apostles that the disciples trust in the promise of Christ to send the Holy Spirit. As believers they wait and gather to pray, preparing themselves to receive the Advocate, the Helper.

The Spirit comes with wind and fire, signaling change and transformation. Differences, even in language, find common threads of understanding. Diverse gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord, work within and among persons to weave together a community of firm faith, purpose, and unity.

Anticipating Pentecost 2016, we remember once again the bonds of Spirit that bring us together as Christians. In the days ahead, let’s vigil and pray that this same Spirit may once again untie the knots that bind us, and recreate with new strands the wholeness and authentic community for which we hope. Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

Be Still and Reflect

1. How will I vigil in preparation for Pentecost Sunday this year?
2. What does community mean to me? What does it look like, feel like?
3. Who inspires the sense of authentic community for you? Pray in thanksgiving.



(Last week)

Pentecost will be celebrated on Sunday, May 15th, this year. Preparation for the apostles consisted of waiting in the upper room, without Jesus’ presence following the Ascension, in prayer and reflection anticipating the Advocate who would come. It would do us well to spend the following days in prayer and reflection also as we anticipate the coming of the Spirit in our own lives.

Richard Rohr, OFM tells us: “I am convinced that rediscovering the power, gift and meaning of the Holy Spirit is the key to recovery of the contemplative mind and heart. … I offer you an old-style Catholic litany to teach the mystery experientially – which is how the Spirit teaches! Instead of a verbal response to each title, I recommend that you take a calm breath in and out while reciting each sacred name. These are metaphors to help describe the Holy Mystery Within, and to begin the constant and conscious breathing called prayer. …”

As you pray this litany each day, it would also be wise to pause when a particular name grabs your attention and speaks to your heart. Instead of finishing the litany spend time asking yourself why that title is important today and how it relates to what is happening in your life right now. Close your reflection with a prayer of your own to the Spirit addressed with the title you chose.


Pure Gift of God
Indwelling Presence
Promise of the Father
Life of Jesus
Pledge and Guarantee
Eternal Praise
Defense Attorney
Inner Anointing
Reminder of the Mystery
Homing Devise
Knower of All Things
Stable Witness
Implanted Pacemaker
Overcomer of the Gap
Always Already Awareness
Compassionate Observer
Magnetic Center
God Compass
Inner Breath
Divine DINA
Mutual Yearning Place

Given Glory
Hidden Love of God
Choiceless Awareness
Implanted Hope
Seething Desire
Fired of Life and Love
Sacred Peacemaker
Non-Violence of God
Seal of the Incarnation
First Fruit of Everything
Planted Law
Father & Mother of Orphans
Truth Speaker
God’s Secret Plan
Great Bridge Builder
Warmer of Hearts
Space Between Everything
Flowing Stream
Wind of Change
Descended Dove
Cloud of Unknowing

Uncreated Grace
Filled Emptiness
Deepest Level of our Longing
Attentive Heart
Sacred Wounding
Holy Healing
Softener of our Spirit
Will of God
Great Compassion
Generosity of the Creator
Inherent Victory
The One Sadness
Our Shared Joy
God’s Tears
God’s Happiness
The Welcoming Within
Eternal Lasting Covenant
Contract Written on our Hearts
Jealous Lover
Desiring of God

You who pray in us, through us, with us, for us, and in spite of us.
Amen! Alleluia!
Submitted by Sister Julianne McCauley for May 2nd, 2016




(Last week)

What better way to ponder the love of our Good Shepherd than to pause and reflect on Psalm 23.
Say each phrase slowly and out loud. When a word strikes you, stay with it. What does it mean? What is the Lord saying to me personally in this Psalm? How can I respond to God’s loving word this day?
Continue to read the Psalm in the same way, to the end, once or twice more. God’s word is living and active.

We only need to pause and listen.
The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
he restores my soul.

He guides me along right paths
for the sake of his name.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.

You set a table before me
in front of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD
for endless days.



Last week

Come, Follow Me

John’s Gospel takes us full circle. In the first chapter, after the magnificent prologue and the baptism of Jesus, we hear Jesus say to his new disciples, “Come and see.” This week in the final chapter we hear him invite them once again, “Follow me.” The message hasn’t changed much, has it? But the disciples have been irrevocably changed in the meantime. With a clearer understanding of the call, the disciples embark on a new life, filled with both the pain of the cross and the joy of the Resurrection. Perhaps in this Easter season we might reflect on our own annual Lenten journey as a microcosm of our life’s faith journey. Let’s ask ourselves if we are more ready to embrace the sufferings and deaths that come our way, in small ways and in more threatening ways. Let’s take some time to recall our baptismal commitments and wonder if we are more excited than ever to share the new life we encounter, every day in fresh beginnings and at the end of our lives when we are invited to never-ending love and joy in the presence of God. The brilliance of the Resurrection outshines all fear and death. Rise from the waters of the baptismal font with hope and enthusiasm and share your Easter “Alleluia!” boldly. Christ is, indeed, risen from the dead! Follow unreservedly.

~Sister Laura Bregar



Last week 

Truth Seeds

"Let us sell this dreamer!"
Twenty pieces of silver
They received and his cloak
Their real prize years later
Forgiving redemption
For non-dreamer brothers
Joy for father Israel.

"I must sell this Dreamer!"
Thirty pieces of silver
He received and despair
As he set in motion
Jesus' salvific act
For us non-dreamer souls
New hope for sinners all.

Joseph, Jacob's beloved son
Spoke truth esteemed probity
Revered his father and his faith
Drew upon himself hatred
Jealous brothers craving
Power not familial ties
Heaped grief upon Israel.

Jesus, Divine Son of God
Unveiled laws of Mercy
Relieved pain dispelled evil
Drew upon Himself hatred
Stony eyeless hearts craving
Power not Christ's message
Seeded the earth with His Blood.

"I have risen!"

"My truth seeds will flourish
My forgiveness redeems
Rely on My Presence
My life-giving Sacraments
Let not your hearts harden
Find your rest in Me
I will never turn you away."

irene charette
March, 2016