Breathe, Henny-penny!


One day Henny-penny was picking up corn in the cornyard when---whack!---something hit her upon the head. "Goodness gracious me!" said Henny-penny. "The sky's a-going to fall; I must go and tell the king." Henny-penny (aka Chicken Little) seems to have seized control of my Facebook news feed lately. From those ubiquitous (and universally bogus) posts warning of dire privacy breaches or other internetual urban legends to news stories that appear to imply The End of the Catholic World as We Know … [Read more...]

Roll Up! Roll Up for the Mystery Tour!


Be careful what you pray for.I thought I was going to have trouble finding blog material, but it's arriving by the busload.In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.The bus tour is a response to ablistering critique of American nuns released in Ap … [Read more...]

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


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!


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


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...]