The Sickly Anchoress, Getting an Assist from Ireland

Gallarus Oratory, 8th Century early Christian church, in the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Western Ireland. Image courtesy of

So, this is how things happen, sometimes:

Leah Libresco mentioned on Facebook that she would be heading to Ireland with her mother, and wondered if anyone would be interested in having her speak to their group while she was there.

Naturally, because she is an endlessly interesting young woman who has countered the culture in a most public way, people did want to engage as you can see here.

I am not her agent but one young Irishman, seeking to book her in Dublin, wrote an inquiring email to me and did it so delightfully that I asked whether he was a writer. Turns out he is a columnist with The Irish Catholic, and after reading a few of his pieces I invited Ben Conroy to write something for our Symposium on the Synod for the Family.

In a matter of hours, he wrote three, sending full-bodied, expressive “sketches” that would serve very well as full articles with minimal edits, and as fine blog posts, as they were. I gratefully chose to feature his piece on “Euthansia: A Further Erosion of Familial Understanding”.

It is an issue the church needs to get in front of as the Culture of Death continues to sell suicide as a civilized and thoughtful option, and it’s also an issue people simply don’t want to talk about. I am very glad that Ben undertook it, and he did so while also guest-blogging a post over at Leah’s place.

I like his energy,
particularly as my own is somewhat lacking at the moment. As I continue to deal with a respiratory situation that is dragging me down, and appears to require some further testing and investigation, I’ve invited Ben to spend a little time here with the old Anchoress, and spruce up the anchorhold a bit — slap a coat of whitewash on the walls and maybe put up a tea kettle. Okay, a Guinness barrel!

Please make Ben Conroy welcome and keep your eye out for his byline for the next week or so. I think he will keep you more than engaged in some thoughtful reading!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Victor

    ((( with the old Anchoress, )))
    “As I continue to deal with a respiratory situation that is dragging me down, and appears to require some further testing and investigation.”

    Please take good care of yourself Elizabeth cause when I do manage to follow your vast blog post and for what “IT” is worth, you’re one of my female hero right hers, “I” mean writers, even if “I” don’t always make “IT” known. :)

    God Bless you

  • George

    My prayers go out for you Mean Lizzie.

  • Sherry

    Feel better. I know how upper respiratory things can drain away all energy.

  • Sadie Jane

    First I want to wish you well and as a fellow Oblate will pray for your quick recovery. Second, I want to apologize for posting this here as it is in response to your post “Marriage! Annulment! Sex! Sacraments! Symposium Roundup Part I”. I missed the posting deadline as I had to think about this for awhile. I understand if you choose not to post this response. So here I go:

    A good start? Well, that’s everyone then, yes? Hmmm…

    Well as a start it surely is many and even probably most but not necessarily considering everyone. I am not discounting the important and difficulty of issues being taken up nor the struggles facing families today, but I feel the Church is again discounting me and the growing number of those like me. I am a daughter, a child of God first, foremost and always. Through His divine will God the Father formed me as part of his creation. With the grace of Baptism established by His son Jesus I am claimed and adopted into the family of God, whose membership I in turn claimed (and continue to claim) as my own when I was sealed with the Holy Spirit In the grace of Confirmation. I am Family! Yet nearly invisible to society and even to the Church, and certainly to this Synod on the Family.

    I discovered this invisibility for the first (but certainly not last) time more than 20 years ago when a nurse co-worker, also Catholic, informed me that I should be willing to work Christmas for her (not my turn) because “I didn’t have a family” and she was married with small children. Less than 2 years ago I was discussing the various states of life and ministries supporting them with the director of the Family Life Office in my Archdiocese. She informed me that because we (older singles) don’t make public vows (as ordained, consecrated and married persons do) that they can’t possibly know who we are in order to minister to us. How much more invisible can I/we be! Who are we? We are Catholic (not in RCIA), middle aged and older (not in primary or secondary school, not young adult), straight (not LGBTQ), never married (not separated, widowed or divorced), never had children, unconsecrated (not consecrated or ordained), and chaste (though not necessarily without struggle). We are family! Family places us. It should mean that we are known. For us it is often grossly apparent that things just didn’t work out for us in the vocations category. Sometimes painful family dysfunction blocked vocation, sometimes not. We, too, face many of the thorny issues in our daily lives that our other family members face.

    All of us are called to partake in the mission of Jesus Christ through His Church and to accept the Church’s teachings, and all of us may struggle in living out that mission. Where in a given diocese do I go to find and share information, support, assistance, education or conversation on living as a follower of Jesus in cooperation with His Church in this type of single state of life? Please don’t purge us for surely there is room for us in this family, and though it is surely too late for this to be taken up at the Extraordinary Synod it is not too late to be taken up here at Patheos.