Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Heart on Fire

During 2018,  the Society of the Sacred Heart is celebrating the bicentennial of the arrival of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne in the New World. To commemorate the occasion, Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, has written Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne: A Heart on Fire Across Frontiers (copyright 2017, Society of the Sacred Heart).  Although it is brief (67 pages), the book offers a good overview of Saint Philippine's life and the struggles involved in bringing the charism of the Society to the United States. 

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne
In the conclusion of the book, Osiek states,  "Philippine's life was one of courage, vision and generosity.  With open heart, she faced and overcame incredible obstacles in order to bring the love of Christ to those who did not know it.  Two particular characteristics should make her beloved by those who struggle in the same way.  First, though she wanted to accomplish her life's work in younger days, obstacles of all kinds prevented her from following the call of God until she was well into middle age.  Those who struggle to follow God's call for them and are prevented through many years will find in her a companion and friend.  Second, though her zeal and love could overcome great difficulties, she was never able to learn the language that, after her own, would have been the most helpful for her mission.  In our multicultural world, those who find their effectiveness hindered by lack of ability in languages should know that she shared their frustration and can be present as encourager and friend" (64).

Those familiar with the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity will recognize the significance of the Society of the Sacred Heart to Pauline von Mallinckrodt.  Prior to the founding of the Sisters of Christian Charity, Pauline was looking to place the blind children under the care of a religious order of Sisters and to enter the order which would consent to care for the blind.  One of the orders she visited in this quest was the Society of the Sacred Heart.  In her Autobiography, Mother Pauline wrote, "I spent about three weeks with the Ladies of the Sacre Coeur and I consider this experience one of the great graces of my life.  The superior-general, Madame Barat, is a very spiritual and intelligent lady.  Among her spiritual daughters, too, there was evidence of much beautiful virtue, culture and refinement -- all of which served greatly to my instruction and edification."

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
"Madame Barat"  -- Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat -- founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1800 and was its superior general for 65 years.  In 1818, she sent five Sisters (including Rose Philippine Duchesne) to the United States.  We join with the Society of the Sacred Heart in celebrating the bicentennial of the arrival of their Sisters in St. Charles, Missouri, beginning a legacy that has extended to 41 countries through the work of over 2,500 sisters, who strive to "deepen the understanding of God's love and reveal it to the world through the service of education" ("Brief History," RSCJ website).

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Prayer for International Women's Day

Please click here for a prayer from Education for Justice for International Women's Day (celebrated annually on March 8).

Sunday, March 4, 2018

March Issue of Stop Trafficking Newsletter

The March 2018 issue of Stop Trafficking -- focusing on how slave labor is part of our seafood supply chain -- is available here.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church

Today the Vatican announced that the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church will be added to the General Roman Calendar -- which means it will be celebrated by the whole Roman Catholic Church -- on the Monday after Pentecost (May 21 this year). Click here for more information from the Catholic News Agency.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

National Call-In Day

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued a call to U.S. Catholics and people of good will across the nation to take part in a "Call-In Day' on February 26 for the protection of Dreamers -- protecting them from deportation, providing them a path to citizenship and avoiding damage to existing protections.  Click here for more information about participating in the National Call-In Day.

For your March Calendar

Here are some dates you might want to remember in March:

  • March 8 - International Women's Day
  • March 21 - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • March 22 - World Water Day
  • March 25 (Palm Sunday) - International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
  • March 29 - Holy Thursday
  • March 30 - Good Friday
  • March 31 - Easter Vigil

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Barking to the Choir

Perhaps you remember the 2010 book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, by Gregory Boyle, SJ.  In 1988, Father Boyle (with the assistance of many others) founded Homeboy Industries as a way to intervene in the increasing gang violence in the Los Angeles area.  Since then, Homeboy Industries has grown exponentially and "serves as a beacon of hope and opportunity for those seeking to leave gang life, for whom barriers and challenges are great, and for whom there is virtually no other avenue to enter the mainstream" (from the Homeboy Industries website).  Visitors to the website are met with this audacious claim:  "Hope has an address."

Now, Father Boyle has published Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship, which just might be the book you'd like as a companion during the rest of your Lenten journey.  Continuing to tell the stories of Homeboy Industries and the variety of people who find refuge and transformation there, the author challenges us from the beginning of the book.

Here's an excerpt from page 2: "Human beings are settlers, but not in the pioneer sense.  It is our human occupational hazard to settle for little.  We settle for purity and piety when we are being invited to an exquisite holiness.  We settle for the fear-driven when love longs to be our engine.  We settle for a puny, vindictive God when we are being nudged always closer to this wildly, inclusive, larger-than-any-life God.  We allow our sense of God to atrophy.  We settle for the illusion of separation when we are endlessly asked to enter into kinship with all..  The Choir has settled for little . . . and the 'barking,' like a protective sheepdog, wants to guide us back to the expansiveness of God's own longing."