Hecker like the Flour!

Illustration by Dr. Pat McNamara, 1993I somehow neglected to share with you last week this very interesting profile of a very interesting Catholic priest who had an profound impact on the faith in America.Dr. Pat McNamara writes about the Vibrant, Active Piety of Fr. Isaac Hecker, yes, Hecker like the flour that is currently in my cabinet. That family:Early 19th-century America was an exciting time, an age of reform. Known as "the era of the common man," it saw a movement toward greater … [Read more...]

A Balm for Fried Brains

Longtime readers know that when I get over-busy and overworked there is a crash and burn, (strangely enough, it's often an Crash-and-Burn-in-ADVENT) followed by a period of fried-brains-recovery that involves staring at beautiful fabric and period clothing, because despite my Tomboyish ways, somewhere within me there is a pathetically girly girl who is living in the wrong era and occasionally must be served.The past few days, which featured all my regular work, plus a few promised projects and … [Read more...]

"Are you a woman of God?" UPDATED

That's the question Sr. Lisa Doty got from a kid in trouble:“Yes, I am,” I responded, “is there something I can do for you?”Looking down at his feet, he stammered, hardly audible, “I’m not sure what you can do, but I really could use your prayers.” He went on to explain how he had gotten into a lot of trouble at school, and as a result of it, he was expelled. Naturally, his folks are angry, and they worry he won’t be able to go on to college. “I’ve ruined everything! I have no future now!” Te … [Read more...]

Finding Closure with Jumper Cables

The latest entry into the Habit of Witness series is a particularly poignant one, written by Carmelite Sister Timothy Marie.When the convent car breaks down, Sister seeks out some help and her need allows kindness to come full circle, putting paid to "centuries of ignorance and prejudice:A lot of big trucks were parked nearby. Truckers! My answer had come! Saying good-bye to my newfound friend, I went to the crosswalk and, feeling like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music scene where she is … [Read more...]

Buster, Gratitude, Hillbilly Thomism UPDATED

When Buster was pretty small, perhaps three or four years old, a priest asked a rhetorical question during his homily--I don't remember the question; it might have been "why are we here, today" or something like that--but the boy was determined to answer it, and his hand shot up and remained there, like one long skinny flagpole wavering, while the priest tried to ignore him.After a while, Fr. Patient--who had baptized Buster and knew him well--sighed and said, "okay, Buster, what's your … [Read more...]

Benedict, Condoms, Humanae Vitae – UPDATED

"O Lord, in your light we see light itself." --a 1st Antiphon of LaudsIn the comments section of the post below, the subject of Humanae Vitae has arisen. I am of the opinion that Paul VI's encyclical was prophetic, but poorly taught and too quickly dismissed; its message was unwelcome in an "if it feels good do it" era.Deacon Greg notes that what Pope Benedict has said in Light of the World is not appreciably different from what Paul VI proclaimed in 1968:"The Church does not consider at … [Read more...]

The Heroic Ordination at Dachau – UPDATED

Deacon Greg brings us a look at a secret ordination that took place at Dachau:Leisner was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and in Dachau his condition began to deteriorate. Fearing that the great dream of his life -- to be a priest -- would never be realized, he and the priests in his cellblock secretly sent a petition to a local cardinal (aided here, and in so many areas, by a heroic nun known as the "Angel of Dachau," Sister Imma Mack.) The cardinal granted permission for a French bishop … [Read more...]

Oprah to revisit Sisters of Mary

The Dominican Sisters of Mary will be featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday, November 23rd.Some may remember that this community--which is a good friend to this blog--made an appearance with Oprah back in February of this year.This will be a brand-new episode that includes interviews with foundresses Mother Assumpta, Sr. Joseph Andrew, Sr. Mary Samuel, Sr. John Dominic and other Sisters, as well as on-site filming of the First and Final Profession Masses and this year’s Entrance D … [Read more...]

Retreating Nuns…

I want to go to there.Yes. I want to go to there. I want to go to the retreats with the retreating nuns who are preparing for the new liturgical year by taking rather long retreats into silence, prayer and study.I want to go to there.I want to go to there, now. … [Read more...]

Roman Collar as Yoke and Witness

There is a story--or a bit of blarney, I'm not sure which--about why Catholic priests wear the distinctive Roman Collar, all black with just a tab of white showing at the front, rather than the full white collar. I heard it a while ago, and don't remember details, but in this telling it seems that during wartime many priests were easy targets because their all-white collars were easy to see, particularly at night, and so the collar was changed to what we see today, and the rectangle of white … [Read more...]


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