Real life keeps intruding on my playtime

Now that my computer seems back on track, I find myself needing to once more run out and send Buster stuff he needs for school. (He loves college life, btw, and is adjusting well. Strangely enough, so am I. It’s not a bad thing to get reacquainted with the spouse or to clean a room and have it stay clean. I adore my kids and miss them every day…but empty nest syndrome lasted only a week or so…Am I a bad mother?)

Anyhow, before I zoom out, allow me to direct your attention to these issues/stories and one day-brightening video for your enjoyment!

Deacon Greg relates
this terrific story of a man working for the official canonization of his wife. Gwen Coniker sounds an amazing woman but of course this opens up all those, “my wife is a saint to put up with me” jokes. In our house, it’s the reverse. Go read Deacon Greg’s post, though, and the article. You’ll like. After you read about Gwen Coniker, just scroll up Greg’s blog for more very interesting stuff on Vocations in Africa (we have Nigerians priests all around us here – we’ve become the mission country – and they’re joyful and wonderful. But they speak so quickly…) and on whether Rock and Roll is a distinctly Catholic art form. Yes, really – read the whole provocative thesis here. The good Deacon is always interesting and lately more prolific than I. He is also not too happy with Cardinal Mahoney in Los Angeles but then that feeling seems to be shared by many. The Cardinal brings it on himself.

Professor Bainbridge shares some disturbing news from Dutch Dominicans. I find it troubling on several levels, and will write on it more later, perhaps. Unless someone smarter than me writes first., which is very likely. (H/T the always-interesting Maggie’s Farm, where one often finds thought-provoking links one won’t find elsewhere.)

Newsbusters gives Katie Couric credit for going where Diane Sawyer would not and makes a good point about the press, near the end.

Several people have emailed me this, wondering about it. The truth is I have never heard about Our Lady of America. I know that Our Lady of Guadalupe was named the Patroness of the Americas by Pope John Paul II in 1999, but until this morning I had never heard of this. Anyone? Anyone? Myself, I find Marian apparitions to be interesting but I am never really moved beyond that. Although I wouldn’t mind a trip to Lourdes!

Madeleine L’Engle has died. One of my happiest childhood memories was having A Wrinkle in Time read aloud to us by our fourth grade teacher in a Catholic elementary school. A prolific writer, Ms. L’Engle wrote for both children and adults – I recall reading and enjoying a book of hers about a piano playing woman and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I don’t recall the name of the book, [update: Thanks to reader Mark L., it's title is A Severed Wasp. I kept thinking, "bees...bees..."] but her love for that Cathedral (she worked in its library) and for the Episcopal church, of which she was an enthusiastic member, glistened through the pages. Her ruminations on the Incarnation, Bright Evening Star, is one of my favorite books because I too find the Incarnation a matter of year-long-wonder, not something to be contemplated at Christmas, only.

Speaking of year-long-wonder, our kids bring us lifelong wonder if we are open to it. Enjoy this adorable tyke and his father, both laughing their heads off. More later.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • AngloCathJoi

    Madeline L’Engle’s book changed my life. I picked up Wrinkle in Time when I was 11, because it was supposed to be a classic, and i thought I ought to read it. Nothing was the same ater that. She was my introduction to sacramental and incarnational thinking, and one of the first Christian novelists I read that did not assume a rift between science and faith, the material and spiritual worlds, and “real life” and spiritual experience.

    While I was writing the post for my blog [edited to admit link - admin] about her death, and what her writing had meant to me, I really how much of my adult self was shaped by her work. Her sense of wonder, her faith in the midst of doubt, her belief in the power of love, her incarnational living…I would have been a very different person without it. My world would have been much darker, colder, and more faithless. Not she herself was the light, but she poked a lot of holes in my sky and let the light of God shine through them.

  • Gayle Miller

    There are days, and this is one of them, when you make me ashamed of my terribly imperfect spirituality. My belief is bone deep and unquestioned, but sometimes I believe I fail in the area of anger, due no doubt to my Hungarian ancestry which lends itself to fiery commentary!

    But reading you and following the breadcrumbs you lay in our paths is an excellent way to get back on track.

    And no, you are not a “bad mother” – in point of fact you are an extraordinary mother – but also HUMAN. Don’t feel guilty. Enjoy the small freedoms and the tidy rooms.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    It really is very disturbing that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is going to literally toss these nuns out into the street.

    If they could sell the former cathedral (St. Vibiana’s), they certainly can now move the See to some small parish and sell the monstrosity known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to pay for these settlements.

  • autmnwnd

    Hello Anchoress,

    I have known about the approved apparitions of the Blessed Mother to Sr. Millie for at least 15 years, possibly 20; an older lady in my parish gave me a small booklet about them at that time. I will have to dig it out of my book boxes and review it, however, if I remember correctly Sr. Millie became a contemplative sister later in her religious life, she did not originally join a contemplative order. She worked as a housekeeper and a kindergarten teacher while an active sister. When her order established a contemplative branch, she was given permission to join it. I believe her experiences began within 5 years of her original profession as a religious and continued throughout her life. She was a very humble sister, she assumed that her experiences were commonplace, or surely someone like herself would not be having them. Most of them involved only Sr. Millie (i.e. they were personal, not public, and for Sr. Millie’s spiritual development under obedience to her spiritual adviser), though for a period of time Sr. Millie was instructed in the apparitions in a specific devotion to the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of America, which Sr. Millie was commanded to propagate. Sr. Millie had close spiritual supervision by her confessor (there were 2 or 3 spiritual advisers through her religious life) who reviewed the messages for anything that might be contrary to faith or morals as taught by the Church. There is a medal, some specific prayers; I believe the last of the message occurred in the early 1980′s. Sr. Millie made a sketch of the apparition’s appearance as the basis of the statue design. Sr. Millie’s apparitions stressed purity, family, and the interior indwelling of the Trinity.

    I do believe in the authenticity of some apparitions; but think that the vast majority of them are either a case of mistaking the action of the mind in prayer and under the influence of grace for something much greater; or the result or commingling of some mental or emotional disorder in some cases; or in others completely false and produced by charlatans looking for attention, influence, notoriety, or cash. Usually lots of cash.

    A true apparition will point you back into the heart of the Church and send you there. It will never take you away from the Church, it will direct you firmly back to it, and advise you to be obedient to it in all things. There are people who elevate an apparition above the Church, which is a grave error. Very few apparitions are approved. They are never approved while they are ongoing, they must be examined in totality. There is a rigorous process for approval; it often takes a long time for an apparition to be approved. Even when an apparition is approved, no one is required to believe in it. A true apparition of the Blessed Mother will do what she always does: lead you to her Son.

    One item I remember especially from the apparitions was Sr. Millie being told that countries had angel guardians, just as people do. There were 2, the Angel Sultra (USA) and the Archangel Sardis (America). I do love the angels, so remember that clearly. There were a few messages about consequences for America if it continued in impurity. I remember thinking when I read the booklet that we had realized a number of those consequences already. That’s about all I can remember about it offhand, I’m sure the website would give more information if you were interested in investigating it further.


    P.S. I adored Madelaine L’Engle. I gave her books to my younger siblings, to my children, my nieces and nephews, and have a set ready for my first grandchild, as soon as he is old enough to read them.

    P.P.S. I love my empty nest. When the youngest child left, I enrolled in a course and trained and certified my dog as a therapy dog, and an R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dog). We visit assisted living facilities, children’s center, schools and libraries, hospitals. There wasn’t time for that when the children were home. I love it when the children are back visiting, and I do miss them; but I don’t miss everything. I don’t miss the constantly ringing phone and the banging doors and cupboards. I don’t miss opening the refrigerator to discover someone has eaten what I had planned to serve for dinner. :^)

  • Piano Girl

    I’m almost embarrassed to admit it (my daughter doesn’t ready your blog on a regular basis ~ only when I send a note saying, ‘check out what my friend The Anchoress’ is saying today), so she is unlikely to see my thoughts on empty nest syndrome. I think it lasted about 5 minutes when she went off to college, and perhaps 10 minutes when she moved into her apartment 18 months after graduation. And then I felt guilty that it didn’t bother me more!!! That didn’t last long, either. But, my life has blossomed SO much in the past 8 years now that I’m in my dream job, and I don’t have time to worry about having an empty nest. Of course, judging by the amount of her stuff still sitting in the basement and her room, it’s not quite the “empty” nest I had envisioned.

    So glad to hear how well Buster is adjusting to college!!!

  • kycatholic

    The laughing baby was precious! His Father must save a lot on toys :-)