Oprah, Sisters of Mary, Haiti & Random Stuff -UPDATED

Sisters after making Perpetual Profession

I was busy with other work this morning, and so Thomas Peters beat me to it, and he has exclusive pics, darn him! Our friends the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist -about whom I have written many times, most recently in this vocations update will be featured on the Oprah Winfrey show, (tentatively scheduled for February 9). Apparently Oprah’s crew was in Ann Arbor yesterday, filming on the premises and talking to some sisters, and today several are in the Chicago studio, taping the show.

I am in the process of interviewing one of the sisters, myself, for a print piece, so I can tell you they’re pretty excited to have their mission and message being given such wide exposure. Please pray for the sisters who are interviewing today.

UPDATE: Deacon Greg, who has worked in the media all his life, notes that Oprah is hosting the sisters during sweeps week:

The fact that Winfrey is bringing these gals on during February sweeps is telling — she knows that they’ll be a draw, and that she’s offering something the world rarely sees, and probably doesn’t quite understand. I’m sure she has a lot of questions, and I have no doubt she’ll get some great answers.

And there’s this: when was the last time a global audience of tens of millions — the majority of them, women — actually saw on television a group of happy nuns? Who knows what kind of impact that could have, on vocations or on evangelization.

Indeed. Ms. Winfrey, whether she intends to or not, may well be the tonic that chases away the “miserable” cliche so beloved of Maureen Dowd.

Rocco Palma notes that the Haiti news cycle is moving on, but the heroic work is still afoot:

[U.S. born] Fr. Rick Frechette . . . who has built 18 schools and several street clinics [in Haiti], including Haiti’s lone free pediatric hospital [and the hosptial - called St Damien's, is beautiful, take a look] was caring for his dying mother in the States when last month’s 7.0-magnitude quake devastated much of his adopted country.

[His mother told him] “to go [back to Haiti]. The problems there are worse than mine.”

He did, and while St Damien’s building suffered only minor damage, not only has the demand for care been overwhelming (and supplies running out), but a report in the quake’s wake showed the staff working outside to avoid aftershocks.

To aid the ongoing efforts, an impromptu medical team of eleven — all members of a Passionist-run parish in North Carolina — left for St Damien’s last week. So that they wouldn’t add to an already pressing food shortage, the nine docs and two nurses brought along their own meals — and, thanks to the local medical community, a “massive” infusion of supplies.

I have news from Petit Goave and Missionary Ed, who reports that the US Marines were able to deliver quite a lot of food to his area, but as the marines could not stay for the hand-out, things got a little hairy as people stood in the sun in long lines, and the local committee was, perhaps, a bit over-careful; this slowed things down enough to make people get antsy, and frustrated. The food dispersal had to be halted until, finally, three Haitian police officers were able to create an authoritative presence. Ed reports that people were not trying to take anything away from each other, but they are getting hungry and the fear was that there simply would not be enough to go around. In the end, thankfully, everyone got a package, and hunger is staved off for a while. Haiti, meanwhile, is debating whether it should move its capital.

People in a “vegetative state” may not be the “broccoli” so many believe them to be. A very troubling but enlightening bit of research, that I am really glad to see being reported in the Washington Post:

. . . an international team of scientists decided to try a bold experiment using the latest technology to peek inside the minds of 54 patients [in "vegetative states'] to see whether, in fact, they were conscious.

One by one, the men and women were placed inside advanced brain scanners as technicians gave them careful instructions: Imagine you are playing tennis. Imagine you are exploring your home, room by room. For most, the scanner showed nothing.

But, shockingly, for one, then another, and another, and yet two more, the scans flashed exactly like any healthy conscious person’s would. These patients, the images clearly indicated, were living silently in their bodies, their minds apparently active. One man could even flawlessly answer detailed yes-or-no questions about his life before his trauma by activating different parts of his brain.

“It was incredible,” said Adrian M. Owen, a neuroscientist at the Medical Research Council who led the groundbreaking research described in a paper published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. “These are patients who are totally unable to perform functions with their bodies — even blink an eye or move an eyebrow — but yet are entirely conscious. It’s quite distressing, really, to realize this.” . . .

“This should change the way we think about these patients,” said Nicholas D. Schiff, an associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. “I think it’s going to have very broad implications.”

You’ll want to read the whole thing

Pope Benedict
: scores a direct hit in the UK, talking about “natural justice”:

The British government today backed down from pursuing parts of its Equality Bill, legislation which would have removed the Church’s right to refuse employing certain lay staff including, for instance, the right of a Catholic school to employ a Catholic as a head teacher. . . . On Monday, the Pope told the bishops that the Bill and other types of similar legislation would “impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.” The Pope added: “I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended.”

I think the pope’s visit to the UK in September is going to rock that tiny Island, and perhaps Europe, itself, in ways they cannot expect.

I’m wincing in pain just reading this

Cap and Trade: Is Obama bailing? No, not really.

St Blaise and the blessing of throats. An old Catholic custom that is getting fresh attention. (H/T Frank Weathers)

Lovely: The Incarnation of the Memory of God. (H/T New Advent, natch)

The Certainty of an Attempted Attack on the US: AJ Strata is all over it. Even CBS is asking if the administration is playing politics with our safety.

Europe gets a clue: Bush was not the problem; Obama is not the solution

Dude, stop making stuff up and you know, flip-flopping all around!

Kim Priestap has more thoughts on the Tim Tebow ad

Hugh Hewitt: Interviews Jake Wood of Team Rubicon. Don’t miss it.

Discipline: A good piece for gearing up for Lent

John Hawkins: An Interview w/ John Yoo

Meet the Super Bowl Chaplains

And, finally, how Hollywood sexualizes your children.

Makes me very grateful, actually, that Oprah is talking to the Sisters of Mary. It is a welcome contrast.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://theanchoress Conservative Pat

    Regarding the article on brain activity in vegetative patients, please note the obligatory euthanasia “spin” on this otherwise hopeful story. First, we are told that this technology may not be able to help the patients tell us if they want to continue living or not. Amazing–we discover that these people are processing information and we want to know if they will give us permission to kill them. Second, the article had to point out that Terri Schiavo’s injury involved lack of oxygen, meaning that, according to the topic of this article, she most likely would not have “responded” to verbal stimulation, as did the patients in this study. Thus, the appropriateness of Terri’s death by starvation and dehydration could not be revisited in light of these revelations. The article conveniently leaves out the fact that Terri was very responsive and communicative ON HER OWN. She would not have needed her brain waves studied in order to show that she was very much alive and able to comprehend basic information.

  • http://sevenoaks-jeanne.blogspot.com/ Jeanne

    Why are the sisters going on the Oprah show? Oprah has never been very positive towards Catholics…what’s the story?

    [I don't think it's anything nefarious, if that is what you suspect. The little I know is that there is an EWTN connection, and Oprah became interested in the community and decided that since she'd never done a show on religious life, she would. Remember what we always say around here: the Holy Spirit uses whatever He will to do His will, sometimes confounding us with His tools. I mean, look at this silly blog. If the Holy Spirit can use this, sometimes, then He can use anything, anyone! :-) -admin]

  • Klaire

    How very intereseting that the sisters are going on Oprah. Firstly that they WANT to, and secondly that she will have them.

    I’ve been noticing that Oprah has recently made a quick exit out of “New Age” since the new season this past September. Between the fall of Obama and the loss of many loyal (mostly Christian) fans from going too wacko new age (many Protestants ministers have also spoken out against her), I guess she figured, “What the heck, I can out saying I’ve done it all.”

    I’m certainly no Oprah fan, and have done my share of speaking out against her perilous new age anti-Christian messages, but I too remain open as to what good might come from this.

    Regardless of what any of us think about Oprah, the “Oprah Effect” is certainly real. And so is the Eucharist. I’ve long said that if Oprah could only use her platfom for the TRUE greater good, especially the Eucharist, it could change the world.

    I won’t get my hopes up, but I also will stay open. What I do know is this country has never needed the “Real Presence” more than it does now.

  • SallyJune

    I saw the word “Oprah” and frowned. Then I scrolled down to the picture and my face lit up. I suspect these beautiful ladies will do much good by their appearance, in ways we fully appreciate only when we join the Church Triumphant (translation for those of you who don’t know: in Heaven).

  • Mary

    This is priceless publicity for the Sisters and Catholic religious in general. I hope the Sisters’ website is ready — an organization I work for was featured on Oprah and we were told that an appearance on the show routinely crashes that person or organizations website because of the unbelievable number of hits. A great problem to have!!!!

  • Barbara

    Lovely ladies and I will pencil Oprah in to DVR. Quick, comment on the CBS story re the Christmas Day bomber. Why does the reporter say that the decision was made in “chaotic” circumstances that followed the arrest? How much chaos was there in Holder’s home? In the police station? Unless there was a riot or a natural disaster going on in Detroit or DC, CBS is making yet another excuse for a totally stupid, PC decision.

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