Thursday, March 6, 2014
Visit our website, http://www.osfphila.org/about/ncsw for a more detailed account of National Catholic Sisters Week and for a glimpse of some of the ways the sisters in my congregation, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, have ministered to meet the needs of others--from our beginnings in 1855 and continuing today.
And that's not all! Pope Francis designated 2015 as the Year for Consecrated Life--a year focusing on the life and work of religious brothers and sisters! This special year will actually open with a special celebration on November 21, 2014, and will end a year later on the anniversary of the Vatican II document on the renewal of religious life--"Perfectae Caritatis."
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I was particularly intrigued by the phrase Lent 4.5. The material from the Earth and Spirit Center explained that, if Earth's usable land were divided equally among Earth's seven billion human beings, we would each have 4.5 acres from which we would have to meet all of our needs. A chart based on Global Footprint 2009 data outlined the amount of acres which individuals in various countries actually use. The vast differences were staggering. To cite a few:
- Congo -- 2.4
- Haiti -- 1.2
- Canada -- 14.2
- New Zealand -- 18.7
- United States -- a whopping 22.3!
In listing action steps, Lent 4.5 encourages us to "do more than give up chocolates. Simplify your life." There were some very practical ways to do that--several of which I was pleased to see that we are already doing in the convent where I live.
- replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient CLF bulbs
- use refillable mugs for coffee, water, etc.
- give up plastic bags and opt for reusable bags for shopping
- abstain from overscheduling your life
- reduce exposure to advertising
- read Psalm 104--celebrates God's majesty in creation
- get out and consciously connect with God's natural world at least once a week.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Faith and begorrah, St. Brigid must have visited Our Lady of Angels Convent! Known for her virtue of hospitality, St. Brigid is an Irish saint who lived in the fifth century. Sixteen centuries later, that same virtue lives on at Our Lady of Angels Convent. And nowhere was it more evident than on January 26, 2014.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
This morning around 7 A.M., Sr. El and I heard loud voices crying and screaming on the hill near our house. We couldn’t imagine what it was. My window is next to the main path so I usually hear people passing by as they take their animals down to graze. Then I saw our neighbor, Elmina, going quickly up the path. I asked her what was happening but I couldn’t understand her response. I ran to the other house to ask Fidelis and Jo if they knew what was going on. By then other neighbors were passing by. It turned out to be a death in the village—the brother of Mayolon, a man in our parish who plays the bass in chapel on Sundays. The custom of crying and screaming—called “keening”—is done by the women. People from the village continued to visit the family all day to pay their respects. The funeral always takes place the following day with more keening, singing, and the support of many people in the village.
The children prepared to sing the Haitian Pledge of Allegiance. Notice the position of their hands--palms down.
This past week has been an enjoyable, exciting, and exhausting time! We had a group of 21 people here. The fact that we only have thirteen beds is part of why it was exhausting. We had to empty out the classroom for mattresses and sleeping bags and put the classroom table in the kitchen area for meals. It was a tight fit but the group had a great spirit, and just went with the flow.
go about preparing for our next class together. Next week I will be teaching 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. Hopefully it will be another good experience. I’m sure I’ll be nervous again but maybe a little less than today.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
A gypsy couple and their child in front of their new home--a home which is still very modest but much better than where they previously lived.
The challenges of running the summer camp which we have supported through our grant program are significant for the CR staff and children. According to Betsy McCoy, many of the gypsy children came to camp so dirty and lice-infested that they needed to be bathed, have lice removed, and then be given new clothing. In addition, the children had multiple skin infections and minor health issues. Initially the gypsy children resisted being put in different groups and wanted to sleep together, despite the fact that boys and girls slept in different locations. At various times, they would try to disappear from camp and had difficulty mixing with other children. They were often disruptive but, despite the disruption, the camp staff opted for inclusion.
We won’t forget these young summer campers, especially the gypsies. How about you? We hope that you can take time to examine the beauty of these people and carry them in your heart.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Today is Thanksgiving! It’s not a national holiday here, of course, although I must say that for these people, the words “Merci, Bondye, Merci” (Thank you, God, Thank you) seem to be on their lips every day. Srs. Fidelis, Jo, and I are having our own celebration. We declared a holiday for ourselves—no business today (no English classes, either). Sr. Fidelis made banana pancakes with the pancake mix our visitors brought us. Our neighbor was injured and is not able to work so his wife asked us to buy two chickens to help them. We are having those chickens for our Thanksgiving meal (she prepared them for us). Sr. Jo is going to make the yams with marshmallows, and all the other trimmings. My contribution today will be to do the dishes. Of course, we all miss our beloved U.S.A and will certainly be praying for you and thinking of you today.