Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: Another Way to Help

We have all seen on the news the outpouring of support for our brothers and sister in Texas who have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.  What a wonderful response to such tragic circumstances!  While so much has been donated, one thing lacking is clean underwear.  The charity "Undies for Everyone" has made a wish list on Amazon (available here) for people to order underwear and have it sent to those in the Houston area who have none.  What a very tangible way to respond to the need!

Don't forget our previous suggestion of donations to Catholic Charities USA or to Catholic Charities Galveston-Houston.

As always, please continue to pray for everyone affected by this hurricane and for those who are responding to their needs.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Response

Please click here to contribute to Catholic Charities USA's Hurricane Harvey Response and here to read the statement of USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is also the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Continued Expansion in America
South America

In South America, besides their activities in schools, especially colegios, both Provinces were very involved in care for the poor.  There was planned support of needy families by Sisters, pupils and alumnae "on the spiritual level by regular catechetical instruction and on the material, by providing daily bread and necessary clothing" . . . In 1952, the Sisters in Montevideo, Uruguay opened a Gratisschule, a free school.  At first a small house was used for 45 children in three classes.  By the end of the school year, the number had risen to 80 children and a new building was needed.  On a plot of donated land and, for the most part, financed by donations, a new school arose, which is still in existence today.  Escuela Madre Pauline was dedicated in 1953 and had a school population of 134 children.

Since the beginning of 1956, the Sisters have been visiting a poor section of Buenos Aires, gathering the children, giving religious instructions, distributing food and clothing, visiting the sick in their homes and "in every possible way helping the priests in their pastoral work."

Again and again the countries in South America suffered from natural catastrophes.  In San Bernardo in 1946, part of the Chilean Motherhouse was destroyed as a result of a chimney fire.  In July 1948, the hospital in Puerto Varas burned to the ground within three hours from an unknown cause.  One employee was killed, but the sick were all brought to safety.  A major flood was reported in Uruguay in 1959.  Two thirds of the country was submerged and suffered much damage. . . .

A severe earthquake, during which many of our houses were damaged or destroyed, shook all of southern Chile.  A further quake in May 1960 and its numerous aftershocks, which surpassed any previously recorded earthquakes in strength and duration, destroyed on third of the country.  All that survived the quake of 1939 was destroyed in this one. . . . The coastal area that was affected was about 560 miles long. . . . Immediately, relief activities began everywhere: collections of clothing, money, medicines, food, household items, etc. Pupils, alumnae, friends, acquaintances got involved.  The effort Help for Chile continued for weeks and months.  Most of the items were sent to the central locations, the Motherhouses, sorted, organized, packed and sent in huge shipments of 100-200 freight items. . . . In the Motherhouse in Paderborn the relief effort took on large proportions, because church and public organizations took part.  At this time, many of the Sisters in the Chilean Province were from Germany and a large number of them from the Archdiocese of Paderborn.  Thus, donations came from all sides.  Thanks to this generous and continued help, by late autumn 1961, heavy machinery of all kinds could be sent, so that the Sisters in Chile were able to help others in need.  Through the collection organized by the Archbishop, the contributions of the Caritas Society and gifts from various persons the most necessary repairs and also the reconstruction of the destroyed houses could begin.  An important reason for this readiness to help was evident from the letter that accompanied the contribution from the city of Paderborn: "This contribution should underscore the old bond between the city of Paderborn and its 'Liebesschwestern' and at the same time be a recognition of your loving response to the citizens of Paderborn after the bombing.  It was your Congregation, with the active support of your Chilean foundations, that offered so many people in Paderborn, who had lost home and hearth in the terrible events of the last war years, the necessary nourishment in your Community Kitchens.  Only this made it possible after 1945, for life to gradually return to Paderborn. . . ."

Friday, August 18, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Continued Expansion in America
North America
The main apostolate, education in different types of schools, as well as religious instruction for children in the parishes who attended public schools, continued to expand in the 1950's.  In 1956, the leadership of the Western Province attempted to return to and implement Mother Pauline's first apostolate, the education of the blind children. . . . A further activity undertaken for the Kingdom of God which was a big challenge was the opening of a school for African American children in North Little Rock in 1957. . . . In 1956 the Eastern Province took over its first school for African American children in Greenville, NC. . . . St. Vincent Orphanage in Normandy was thoroughly renovated and rebuilt in 1959.
. . .
A special project expanding our apostolic activities was undertaken in the North American Eastern Province during these years.  The Province moved into new territory by the decision to build and administer a hospital, Divine Providence Hospital, in Williamsport, and to become engaged in health care. . . . At the blessing of the cornerstone, a Catholic Monsignor, an African American Minister from the Baptist community, a Lutheran minister and a Jewish rabbi spoke, certainly a symbol indicating that "in this hospital all the sick regardless of race or religion would experience the blessing of Christian Charity" . . . Preparations for the construction of a second hospital, Holy Spirit in Harrisburg, were begun in 1957, and the dedication took place in 1963.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Share the Journey

"Share the Journey" is the theme of the new, two-year, global campaign of Caritatis Internationalis to raise awareness of migration.  In preparation for the campaign -- which will be launched officially in Rome by Pope Francis on Septermber 27, 2017 -- the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services will host a webinar on August 23.  Consider attending the webinar to prepare your community to "share the journey," thereby answering the repeated calls of Pope Francis toward a "culture of encounter."  Click here for more information.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Gradual Changes in Fields of Activity
The diversity of activities in Germany, already established because of the Kulturkampf, was strengthened during and after the Second World War.  After pioneer activities during the initial postwar years, the Sisters placed renewed emphasis on their main apostolate: the rearing and education of children and young people in schools and kindergartens, in the School for the Blind, in boarding schools and homes.  A second apostolate included service in hospitals, homes for the elderly and as visiting nurses, as far as was possible given the available personnel.  In modern times, new emphasis is being given to service in parishes and pastoral activities, partly integrated in the above mentioned tasks, but also explicitly in parishes and in the retreat house.
. . .
Given the changes everywhere in state, Church and society, combined with the search of many people for the meaning of life, it was appropriate that further answers to the needs of the times be found.  There was opportunity for timely pastoral activities, which were in keeping with the purpose of the [retreat] house.
. . .
After the problems of the first postwar years, schools steadily improved.  Children and young people of all ages were enrolled and challenged by multi-faceted possibilities.  Again and again, increasing demands by officials necessitated structural and program changes.  These called forth much effort, but in the end, had positive results. . . . What had been "Community Schools" now became "Schools in the Community's Tradition," . . . aware of their responsibility to keep this tradition alive and to make it visible in the various aspects of school life: Pauline von Mallinckrodt continues to be the role model.
. . .
During the first years after the war, homes concerned themselves with recovery  from damages and the need for daily bread. . . . Amid changing political and social circumstances, new pedagogical findings, legal policies and changed requirements had to be implemented. . . . The goal of training in a home is oriented toward a Christian view of the human person.  It gives children and young people the help they need to develop their personality, to be able to return to their families or to lead independent lives after they leave the home.
. . .
The area of nursing services is vast. . . . In the German Province there was a gradual shift away from large institutions and administrative positions to activities that were more geared toward spiritual and pastoral service in the same institutions.  The reason for this lay partly in the availability of personnel, but more pressingly in need, brought about by the times, for concern for and spiritual care of people.
. . .
"Serve the blind!" The Congregation considered these words of Mother Pauline a mandate to do what it could in the work for the blind. . . . A constant adaptation to the demands of the times is evident.  Mother Pauline's straightforward and challenging mandate is still valid.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Blessed Oscar Romero's 100th Birthday

We are invited to remember the 100th birthday of Blessed Oscar Romero on August 15.  Whether it is  a Mass in his honor around August 15, an added intercession during Mass on the feast of the Assumption, or another prayerful way, let us remember this "voice of the voiceless."  Click here for an article from America describing the centenary.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Pastoral Letter on Migration

On July 18, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, issued a Pastoral Letter on Migration entitled, "Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away."  Click here to read the letter (in English or Spanish).

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Prayers for Japan on August 6

The United Church of Christ has offered this prayer for Japan on Sunday, August 6 -- the 72nd anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima:

Compassionate God,
On this Hiroshima Day, we pray for peace.
We pause to remember the devastation caused by the atomic bombs 72 years ago and the human suffering that continues to this day.  We also remember the horrific nuclear disaster in Fukushima 6 years ago.  Be with the people of Fukushima and neighboring areas who still suffer.  We pray for a world that is free from the suffering caused by nuclear weapons and nuclear disasters.  Give our leaders the wisdom and the leadership that is needed for true peace in this world.  As Jesus had compassion for those who were hungry and sick, let us too have compassion.  Let us also share what we have so that all are able to eat and be filled.  Let us believe that with faith in God, we too can make possible what seems impossible!  Help us God so that we are not complacent with systems that leave people to suffer.  Help us give voice to the injustices that exist and help bring about the peaceful world you meant for us.
Be with us and guide us,

Friday, August 4, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Return to Previous Apostolic Activities - New Foundations

One example will give us a brief glimpse into the turbulent times.  On March 28, 1945, the female teacher in the town of Wünnenberg took two now homeless Sisters from St. Joseph House into her home -- her blood sister, Sister Siglinda Potthast and Sister Virginia Gerke.  The long-cherished wish of the people and their pastor to have Sisters in their parish reawakened.  Besides, the rooms of the kindergarten, which had been dissolved by the NSV were empty.  After the Sisters could no longer withstand the pressure, Sister Siglinda rode to Paderborn on a bike to consult the Provincial Superior.  In the meantime, to keep herself busy, Sister Virginia had begun to clean and get the kindergarten rooms in order.  In the midst of housecleaning, the pastor met her and asked when kindergarten would begin.  Sister told him that "first the answer from the Motherhouse was still pending and, besides, there was still much to do. . . . As he left, the pastor said, 'We begin tomorrow.' Sister did not take him seriously.  The next morning (April 20) she could not believe her ears when at the end of Holy Mass, he announced, 'At 10:00 am today kindergarten will begin, conducted by the Sisters of Christian Charity.' Three hours later, 80 to 100 mothers appeared to entrust their children to the Sister.  What could she do?"  She never expected such a large group.  She began her work trusting in God and "with silent concern in her heart" what the Motherhouse would decide.  Late that afternoon, Sister Siglinda returned -- with a refusal.  The Sisters were to be recalled from Wünnenberg on April 23.  Paderborn had no way of knowing how the situation had changed here.  So, the following day, Sister Virginia traveled to the Motherhouse to explain everything.  The result:  the Sisters were able to stay in Wünnenberg.  Upon a further request from the people, a Sister nurse came on Many 29 and in the course of the year two more Sisters.  In November/December, they were able to move into their own house and to open a sewing school.

Later on some of these convents were closed, because the Sisters were needed for other activities in the Congregation.  According to Canon Law, convents with less than four Sisters were not recognized and, after the General Chapter of 1948, had to be dissolved.  The decision brought much unpleasantness with it.  The people had gladly taken the Sisters into their homes in 1945 and they had been such a blessing everywhere.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Laudato Si Pledge

Last week, the Global Catholic Climate Movement announced that Pope Francis endorsed its "Laudato Si Pledge."  Click here for more information.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Stop Trafficking Newsletter for August

The August 2017 Stop Trafficking newsletter -- highlighting the trafficking of homeless youth -- is available here.