Mar. 16: Compassion Class

At St. Vincent Academy in Newark, New Jersey, students learn more than just school subjects.  “Learning compassion is a major theme of our school,” explains the administrative director, Sister June Favata, S.C. “We must pay attention to the ‘soul and heart’ development of the young women who are students at our school,” she adds. Toward that end, the high school has a “Students-in-Community” service program.  In one activity, freshmen and sophomores welcomed more than 100 special education and special needs… Read more

Mar. 15: Harnessing the Sun

OB-GYN Laura Stachel left her Berkeley, California home to investigate why so many women in Nigeria were dying in hospitals while giving birth. She discovered hospitals there lacked reliable electricity.  “I watched [cesarean sections] where the lights would go out and the doctors literally finished with my own flashlight,” she says. Stachel turned to her husband, who was familiar with ways to create solar electricity. He designed a simple suitcase containing solar panels that convert sunlight to electricity, which is… Read more

Mar. 14: Blindness Leads to New Vision

In 1996, 23-year-old David Bigoney was shot in the head by his stepmother, who also killed his father and then herself. Undiscovered for seven hours, Bigoney survived, but was left completely blind.  Initially unable to navigate his home without bumping into walls, he began training for Iron Man triathlons to give himself purpose. He finished his first event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, just minutes before the 17-hour deadline. Bigoney was surprised to hear he inspired others. “Inspire you?  I’m here… Read more

Mar. 13: Aging Faith

Krishna Roy, 83, lives outside of Washington, D.C.  She has worn many hats in her lifetime—working for the Indian government, the United Nations and a community-based health care clinic, to name but a few. As she ages, she sees faith as critical to facing life.  “I feel that I have been tested several times, and the kind of faith I grew up with taught me that hope and love are the most important aspects of my life,” she explains. Roy… Read more

Mar. 12: Everything Changes

A professional musician, Marie Bellet sings about what she knows—as a wife and mother of nine.  “A lot of my music is trying to find the supernatural meaning of what we’re doing every day at the grocery store, in the laundry room, at the dining room table,” explains the singer-songwriter to Catholic Digest. The title of Bellet’s fifth album, Everything Changes, has a deep meaning for her as well.  She says, “We have to constantly be open to being transformed. … Read more

Mar. 11: Can Hollywood Forgive Its Own?

Actor/Director Mel Gibson’s public indiscretions and offensive outbursts have been well-documented by the press.  Some wondered if he would ever work again.  In 2011, at the 25th Annual Cinematheque Award Ceremony, he presented an award to actor Robert Downey Jr. at Downey’s request. In his acceptance speech, Downey made a stirring plea: “I asked Mel to present this award for a reason.  When I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope and encouraged me to find… Read more

Mar. 10: Judging Your Neighbor

In his book series In Conversation with God, Francis Fernandez encourages Christians to become more understanding toward the faults of others, especially during Lent.  He writes, “Charity changes the heart so that there is room in it for all, even those who don’t understand us or who fail to respond to our love.  With the Lord beside us, we will not feel anyone to be our enemy.” “[St. Bernard advises], ‘Although you might see something bad, do not instantly judge… Read more

Mar. 9: No Shortcut

A prominent businessman who was enrolling his son in a prominent university shook his head when he started to examine the institution’s catalogue of studies. “Does my son have to take all these courses?” he asked the dean.  “Can’t you make it shorter?  He wants to get out quickly.” “Certainly he can take a shorter course,” replied the dean.  “But it all depends on what he wants to make of himself.  When God wants to make an oak, He takes… Read more

Mar. 8: No Loaves, but 40 Fish

“Small miracles are all around us,” writes Catholic News Service columnist Father Peter Daly.  For instance, a woman in his parish in Prince Frederick, Maryland, who works cleaning houses, took in her three recently-unemployed adult children and their families.  Altogether, she now had 18 mouths to feed. Another parishioner had been catching fish to help feed this mother’s significantly-enlarged table of guests.  One day, he enlisted the help of two teenagers from the parish’s Catholic Heart Work Camp for his… Read more

Mar. 7: How to Sharpen a Student

In his monthly Apple Seeds newsletter, Father Brian Cavanaugh recalled asking a college student how her midterm exams went.  She replied they weren’t too tough, except for one professor whose tests are “impossible to pass.” Father Cavanaugh asked, “Do you learn more studying for her tests, or from the teachers that are not so difficult?” The student admitted she had learned more with the difficult professor, but still wondered why she had to be so tough.  Father Cavanaugh then asked… Read more




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