Saying Goodbye to Our Favorite Uncle

KINSMAN_FRED_13_CC_06092013

My sister and I lost the last of our mother's generation this month. Uncle Fred, born in 1918, was the eldest of our mother's 5 brothers; at going-on-95, he outlived her and his younger brothers---as well as two wives---by years, even decades. His memorial service at the First Congregational Church in Eugene, OR, where he offered to God his glorious bass baritone every Sunday morning until he was too weak to stand, is going on right now. We aren't there, for reasons of expense and work and … [Read more...]

Five for Joy: June Gloom, Love Decoded, and Other Saturday Mysteries

noir palms june gloom

On the always sage advice of The Anchoress that the best way to recover from a fall off your blog is to climb right back on it with a little something every day, I'm back. Not quite George Costanza-style yet, but here I am. And because Saturday is a low readership day, I'm going to start with a collection of little bits, like the 7 Quick Takes Friday format popularized by Jen Fulwiller at Conversion Diary. I'm hoping to make this a regular Saturday thing, and taking counsel from my … [Read more...]

iDolatry? There’s an App for That!

Elizabeth-Scalia-Strange-Gods

Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life by Elizabeth Scalia Ave Maria Press, 2013 While over for dinner the other night with his parents, my going-on-4-year-old grandson was engaged in his usual sweeping of my apartment for Interesting Stuff. I'm trying to keep the acquisition of things to a rigorous minimum, but Luke can occasionally spot a new refrigerator magnet, a surprise toy, or something chocolate, so this surveillance is part of the arrival ritual. He paused at the … [Read more...]

“A Palpable Hopefulness”: A Book Response and a Wish

lady angels

The Lady of the Angels and Her City: A Marian Pilgrimage by Wendy M. Wright Liturgical Press, 2013 I can't think of a better day than May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, to bring to your attention Wendy Wright's new book---and to make a wish for Wendy herself. The publisher's description sums up well the author's intent, and why this lavishly illustrated volume is of interest far beyond the widespread boundaries of the largest Catholic diocese in the United States: The Lady of the … [Read more...]

Catholic and Crazy: The Asylum of Faith

dymphna-1b

When you're locked in a rubber room, wearing paper pajamas that leave far too little to the imagination, trying to find patterns in the ceiling tiles as cracked as your brain, you wouldn't expect to find yourself conversing with the spirit of an Irish teenager 1400 years dead---murdered by her own father, the story goes, when she resisted his incestuous advances. But that's how it works when you're Catholic and crazy. The communion of saints means we're never alone, even in a psych ward. In … [Read more...]

Seven Buses: The Love That Builds Bridges

pope

This started to be a story about attending my 45th high school reunion last Sunday. But it's really more a story about the ways a good mother loves---which is to say, it's a story about God. Alma Mater The first mother in this story is my alma mater, my soul-mother, Immaculate Heart High School. I've written before about the debts I owe the Women of Great Heart I encountered there---the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart who taught me and inspired me and called me out on my idolatrous … [Read more...]

In the Breaking of the Bread: A Book Review

Fritz von Uhde, "The Mealtime Prayer"

Recipe for Joy: A Stepmom's Story of Finding Faith, Following Love, and Feeding a Family by Robin Davis Loyola Press, 2013 We're all on a journey of faith, love, and family. It's a journey with detours and U-turns, scenic roads and midnight breakdowns. But whether in Emmaus or Columbus or wherever (as the airline pilots say) our final destination may be, when we come to ourselves it is always around a table. I'm weighing in shamefully late, as in the very last hours, with my contribution … [Read more...]

Something New, Something Other: An Annunciation Diptych

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Today we celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation, liturgically transferred from March 25 this year because Holy Week and the Octave of Easter take precedence over any other feast. I love the art of the Annunciation, from its earliest Byzantine expressions through the many beautiful and thought-provoking contemporary depictions of the angelic greeting to Mary. It's only right that this moment when the Word becomes flesh has inspired so much iconography. I usually celebrate this solemnity … [Read more...]


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