The Life of “An Apostle of Charity”

Antoine Frédéric Ozanam by Raymond Sickinger 412 pages, University of Notre Dame Press $60.00Raymond Sickinger, a professor of history at Providence College, has written an impressive new biography of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, the mid-19th Century French layman who Pope St. John Paul II called an "apostle of charity" and "a precursor of the social doctrine of the Church." As a 20 year-old student, Ozanam founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a lay Catholic apostolate focused on pro … [Read more...]

Francis meets TED, Talks About ‘Solidarity’

"How wonderful it would be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work and became instead the default attitude in political, economic, and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries. Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the ‘culture of waste,’ which doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techn … [Read more...]

Shelter From the Storm

The truth is, I'm going to be just fine during the Trump Administration. I 'm holding a straight flush: white, male, able-bodied, middle-class, and middle-aged. I have a business of my own and my wife has a solid, well-paying job with a Fortune 10 company. We own our home and have other assets, including investment and retirement accounts. Our son has already been to war and is in no danger of having to go again. Our daughter can rely on us for economic and emotional support. Frankly, there is l … [Read more...]

Passing the Test (for Cynthia)

[An old friend in pain recently emailed me to share some anguish and doubt. (S)he wrote that despite years of intense but unanswered prayer, (s)he had finally failed the test of faithfulness. Most disturbing of all, (s)he commended me on having passed that test, no doubt truly believing that in fact I have. This was my reply. I offer it today for my new friend Cynthia.]Thank you, my friend, for reaching out to share these thoughts with me, for trusting me with emotions so raw and doubts so p … [Read more...]

Novena for Peace: August 29 – September 6, For an End to the Injustice of Exploitation

Join us at Novena For Peace!General Intentions: For an end to the injustice of exploitation. For the redemption of structures that enable the powerful to abuse the Earth, bind women and children in sexual slavery, promote pornography, and deprive workers of just wages. For the spread of an integral ecology that protects nature, promotes the dignity of the human person, and seeks the common good.Particular Intentions: For those people known to us who suffer from exploitation, and in re … [Read more...]

The Novena for Peace Begins Today

Eighty-one days of prayer for justice, peace, and racial reconciliation in the United States. We begin today and end on November 8, Election Day, which also happens to be the birthday of our patron, the Servant of God Dorothy Day.Please consider joining us at any point along the way. This isn't magic. We're not "multiplying words as the heathen do" (Matthew 6:7). We are Christians lifting our hearts and minds to God in lamentation, supplication, praise, and thanksgiving on behalf of our … [Read more...]

The Real Threat to Religious Liberty

Up front, you should know that I don't intend to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in November. It's not a tough decision, frankly. I live in the bluest of blue states, Rhode Island, where the only real question is whether the Democratic nominee will go over or just miss the 60% mark. So, although I have deep moral objections to both candidates, it's an easy call for me: I'm writing in Wendell Berry's name again.But if I lived in a battleground state and had to choose between Cl … [Read more...]

Praying for Miracles

Every summer for the past 19 years, the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City has prayed a "novena of novenas" for justice, peace, and the care of creation. I recently stumbled upon their novena while looking for prayer resources online. This discovery got me thinking: if we all agree that the United States is on the wrong track; that injustice, racism, and violence still permeate our society; that today we are as far from the Beloved Community as we were when Dr. Martin Luther … [Read more...]

Junger’s Hunger, And Ours

A couple of years ago, I took some members of a large Rwandan refugee family to a St. Vincent de Paul store nearby. I was accompanied by a Rwandan friend and translator, Jeanette Akimiyimana, herself a refugee who has been in the United States for ten years. As we pulled away from the triple decker where the family had been placed, Jeanette began to chat with one of the teenaged girls in Kinyarwanda, the principal language of Rwanda. Before long they were laughing and the pace of conversation had … [Read more...]

Preparing for President Trump

What I’m about write is not an exercise in partisan advocacy. I belong to neither of the dominant political parties in the United States, which I consider to be two dead ends in the same blind alley. Nor do I belong to any other party. Nor do I consider myself a member of the Right or the Left. Nor do I appropriate for myself meaningless labels like liberal and conservative.No, this is not a partisan statement. But it is deeply political. The notion that any thinking, believing, and p … [Read more...]