Friday, August 30, 2019

Fire at Straight and Narrow

Many of our readers are familiar with Straight and Narrow, an addiction treatment facility operated by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Paterson, NJ.  On August 24, a devastating fire caused the loss of one of the facility's buildings.  Thankfully, no one was injured, but much was lost.  Please click here to go to Straight and Narrow's donation page, where you will find information about financial and in-kind donations.  Let's continue to pray for everyone at Straight and Narrow as they rebuild.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Anniversary Celebration in Argentina

Thanks to our Sisters in Argentina for this video of the August 21 celebration in Buenos Aires of the 170th anniversary of the Sisters of Christian Charity.  (Email subscribers, please click here  to view the video if you do not see it below.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Deportation Story

Matt Cameron is an attorney in Boston, specializing in immigration law -- especially deportation defense and asylum. He has been doing Central American asylum cases since 2006.  He can be followed on Twitter (@matt_cam). Here is his tweet from August 27: 

Without violating attorney-client privilege, Mr. Cameron uses his Twitter feed to provide a detailed explanation of the law behind this decision.  It is worth reading if you can. 

In another post, he states, "I'm the person in this story whose life will be least affected by this tragedy, but it's been sitting with me. . . . I knew this news had to be coming, some day. I was never going to be ready for it."

Matt Cameron and others are attempting to open "Golden Stairs," a full-time legal services center to offer pro bono services to non-citizens in New England. 

Are you aware of such services that are available in your area and should be highlighted here in order to inform others?   Please comment on this blog post to share them.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Anniversary celebration in Germany

The Archdiocese of Paderborn published this article about our German Region's celebration of  the 170th anniversary of the founding of Sisters of Christian Charity.  On August 21, the Archbishop of Paderborn, Hans-Josef Becker, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Motherhouse chapel.  At the end of the day, a prayer service was held at the grave of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt.

Congratulations to all SCCs who celebrated this anniversary and to our jubilarians who observed significant anniversaries in consecrated life.

Archbishop Becker and priests celebrate Mass of Thanksgiving

Prayer service at the grave of Blessed Pauline
(Both photos courtesy of Archdiocese of Paderborn)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

170th Anniversary of the Sisters of Christian Charity

A little over 170 years ago, on February 24, 1849, Mother Pauline received a document granting corporation rights to the Sisters of Christian Charity.  Exactly 170 years ago, on August 21, 1849, Mother Pauline and Sisters Maria, Mathilde and Elisabeth became the first four Sisters of Christian Charity.  This Congregation has spread from Germany to North America, South America and the Philippines.

As we gratefully celebrate 170 years of service to God by "giving Christ's love to everyone in cheerful, wholehearted service" (SCC Charism), we pray for the grace to persevere in responding to the needs of the "least" of our brothers and sisters.

Blessed Pauline, we pray to you, lead us to God!

Monday, August 19, 2019

"Holy Chaos"

Congratulations to Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus and Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, who received the 2019 Outstanding Leadership Award from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) on August 16.  (You will recall from this and other posts on this blog that several SCCs ministered with Sister Norma in June.)

This Global Sisters Report story by Soli Salgado and Dan Stockman provides some background on Sister Norma and coverage of the presentation of the reward at the LCWR annual Assembly last week.  In her speech and in a subsequent interview, Sister Norma described her ministry as "holy chaos," noting that when she started doing this ministry years ago, serving 200 people in a day would have been considered a busy day.  Now, the ministry serves over 700 migrants each day.  Describing the urgent need, Sister Norma said, "There are times we must decide who we are, what we stand for.  We must ask ourselves, dear Sisters, 'What else must I do in the world today?' If it is not now, then when?  If it is not you, then who?  For it is in times of extreme pain and suffering that extreme measures of love are needed. . . . As consecrated people dedicated to our ministries, we must never lose sight of why we are doing this. I can be comfortable with chaos, and sometimes the Humanitarian Respite Center can be chaotic [in] how it looks, but there's a sense of order within that chaos, and that's why I call it 'holy chaos.' "

Sister Norma addresses the LCWR Assembly. (Photo from Global Sisters Report)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Feast of Padre Hurtado

August 18 is the Feast Day of Chilean Jesuit, St. Alberto Hurtado, S.J. (1901-1952), who is featured in this article from America magazine by David J.W. Inczauskis, S.J., "Why more U.S. Catholics should know about St. Alberto Hurtado, S.J."

The article suggests that three features of Padre Hurtado's life are significant:  "his vivacious attentiveness to the material needs of the poor, his fervent commitment to justice for workers and his passionate prayer life."

In addition to addressing the immediate needs of the poor by founding Hogar de Cristo (Home of Christ), Padre Hurtado was known for the a spiritual life characterized by "a serious sense of Christ's oneness with the poor."  The phrase ser otro Cristo ("to be another Christ") permeates his writings.  Pope Benedict XVI said of Padre Hurtado: "The objective of his life was to be another Christ. He experienced the pain of others as his own, and this propelled him toward a greater dedication to the poor."

The article continues:  "The priest's writings reveal why the Mass was such a passionate moment in his daily life.  In a reflection titled, 'My Life is an Extended Mass,' he claims that, in addition to offering Jesus' body as a sacrifice to God the Father at the eucharistic table, we also enjoin 'our personal immolations, offering our work and difficulties . . . participating personally in the victimhood of Jesus Christ.' The people whose burdens Father Hurtado carried, the dreams for justice he longed to achieve, the pains of illness by which he died an early death -- all of these experiences found expression when he raised the host and chalice over the altar."

Today, let us remember St. Alberto Hurtado by praying this prayer that he wrote (taken from this website, where the Spanish version may also be found):

Lord, help me to speak the truth in front of the strong
and not say lies to gain the applause of the weak.
If you give me fortune, don’t take happiness away from me.
If you give me strength, don’t take reason away from me.
If you give me success, don’t take humility away from me.
If you give me humility, don’t take dignity away from me.
Help me always see the other side of the medal.
Do not let me blame others of treason
for not thinking like me.
Teach me to love people as myself
and to judge myself as others.
Do not let me fall into pride if I triumph
nor in despair if I fail.
Rather, remind me that failure
is the experience which precedes triumph.
Teach me that forgiving is the grandest for the strong
and that revenge is the primitive sign of the weak.
If you take away my fortune, leave me with hope.
If you take away success, leave me with the strength
to triumph from the defeat.
If I fail people, give me the courage to ask pardon.
If the people fail me, give me the courage to forgive.
Lord, if I forget You, don’t forget me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August Books

This month, we are introducing two newly-published books written by women religious:

River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey by Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ is somewhat of a "prequel" to Dead Man Walking (1993), beginning with days as a novice and ending when she was first invited to correspond with a man on Louisiana's death row.  In the description of the book, we read, "Sister Helen Prejean's work as an activist nun, campaigning to educate Americans about the inhumanity of the death penalty, is known to millions worldwide.  Less widely known is the evolution of her spiritual journey from praying for God to solve the world's problems to engaging full-tilt in working to transform societal injustices. . . . Sister Helen writes about the relationships with friends, fellow nuns, and mentors who have shaped her over the years."

Beyond the Crossroads: Religious Life in the 21st Century, by Amy Hereford, CSJ is somewhat of a sequel to Religious Life at the Crossroads (2012).  As a canon lawyer, Sister Amy works with various religious communities, which gives her the unique opportunity to engage with women and men religious whose communities are at various stages of evolution.  In the Preface of the book, we read, "This book continues the exploration of contemporary movements in religious life and emerging currents, particularly among the smaller cohorts of younger religious in mainstream communities of women religious. . . . This book is another series of extended reflections about where we are in religious life and where we're headed."