On Fire: St Barbara, MoDowd, Sr Farley and the Grand Inquisitor

stbarbara

The day began with fire.I smelled smoke at 4 a.m. and walked outside to see billowing grey clouds reflecting two-story flames and full of lightning flashes, just half a block away. Burned power lines cracked like rifleshot. Sparks and pieces of burning roof tar paper sailed toward me on the wind. I swear I saw a bird on fire, furiously beating wings of flame. In the predawn darkness, I prayed a storm novena (9 consecutive seconds of very intense prayer, a devotion I learned from my … [Read more...]

Howdy, Neighbors!

welcome-sign

Hi. I'm Joanne. Come on in. Pull up a packing crate, help yourself to the cheese and crackers, and I hope you don't mind that the wine's in coffee mugs, because I don't quite remember which box the glasses are in. I'm still unpacking and hanging the new wallpaper, so please excuse the mess and make yourself comfortable.This is my first post from my new digs in the Patheos Catholic Channel neighborhood, and like anyone on moving day I'm excited and scared. I'm delighted to have made some … [Read more...]

The Stony Road of Scandal

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Stones in the road Leave a mark from whence they came A thousand points of light or shame Baby, I don't know . . . ~ Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Stones in the Road"I'm thinking about stones today--particularly the stumbling stones in the road set down to trap and confuse us. The Greeks called a stumbling block or snare a skandalon, and it's from that root that we get the word scandal. The road we travel as Church seems littered this week with the stumbling stones of scandal, and I am … [Read more...]

12 Extra Years: Anna Quindlen, Aging, and the Unreason of the Trinity

Waking up early on this Vigil of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, I caught a rerun of a Tavis Smiley interview with Anna Quindlen.I've never shared the enthusiasm for Quindlen that many women my age profess. Much less would I join Smiley in referring to her as one of America's greatest living writers. I find her prose pedestrian at times, and shrill often--and I had those reactions even during the great span of my life in which I agreed with her opinions. But there was nothing else on (I … [Read more...]

The Visitation: A Bubble of Glee and Mystery

I'm trying to get past being a sad, angry old Catholic lady today.First there was CBS This Morning (which I'd recently switched to from TODAY, out of the blessed relief of finding a Kardashian-and-Kate-Gosselin-free zone with some actual news in it) getting the CDF inquiry into the LCWR's positions and practices spectacularly wrong. Vatican Vs Nuns! was the title, promoted at every bump in the first hour, with Gayle King kicking it off by implying that if you thought the Inquisition was bad, … [Read more...]

Hearing Voices

St Therese of Lisieux portraying St Joan of Arc in prisonOn every thirtieth day of May, being the anniversary of the death of the said most blessed daughter of God, there shall in every Catholic church to the end of time be celebrated a special office in commemoration of her; and it shall be lawful to dedicate a special chapel to her, and to place her image on its altar in every such church. And it shall be lawful and laudable for the faithful to kneel and address their prayers through her to … [Read more...]

Speaking Truth to Power: The Irony Edition

Today President Obama awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to 13 people, three of them posthumously. On the list were a number of familiar names--Bob Dylan, Madeleine Albright, Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, John Glenn. I was glad to see the inclusion of Dolores Huerta, whose efforts alongside Cesar Chavez in support of the rights of migrant farm workers I celebrated a couple of weeks ago. Among the less familiar (to me, anyway) names, I found … [Read more...]

Come, Holy Spirit! Get Us Out of This Box!

Tomorrow we celebrate Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, huddled in fear in the upper room.It's traditionally known as the birthday of the Church, though it was a Jewish holiday first. The reason all those polyglot crowds were present in Jerusalem in the first place to miraculously hear and understand the Good News was to celebrate the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot--which might, in turn, be thought of as the birthday of Judaism. Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Law on … [Read more...]


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