November 23, 2015

After the Paris attacks, predictably the hastag #PrayforParis surfaced. In an interview the Dalai Lama responded by saying that “we cannot solve this problem only through prayers” suggesting that prayer was simply asking a Divine being for help, or solace. As a Buddhist, the Dalai Lama believes in prayer, but his point is that if we want to defeat terrorism and hate we must do the work ourselves. This trope plays on an increasingly common caricature of monotheistic religion wherein… Read more

November 23, 2015

One of my first stops on my way south was in Portland, OR to see the National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother, also known as the Grotto. Located on approximately 62 acres, the site contains a beautiful statue of Mary holding the dead body of Jesus inside a rocky grotto. Above the grotto, is a perched meditation chapel, Servite monastery and forested grounds, dotted with shrines, rosaries and chapels. As I walked the grounds in the cool, dripping air, I… Read more

November 23, 2015

This week begins about six months of PhD field work throughout the Western US, where I will be conducting interviews with Catholic monastics about how they dwell in and manage their diverse landscapes. As I drive south on the I-5 Corridor, a hurried pilgrimage, I rise and fall with the contours of the land. Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, and Mount Shasta rise into the sky. I crisscross rivers and watersheds –the Nooksack, the Columbia, the Rogue, and the Klamath. I… Read more

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