Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Feast of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt

Today, Sisters of Christian Charity and Companions of Pauline around the world celebrate the feast day of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, who died on April 30, 1881.  Pauline was born on June 3, 1817 in Minden, Westphalia (Germany).  Her family's wealth and prestige did not close her mind to the hardships of others.  As a young woman, she was particularly involved with the poverty-stricken families on the outskirts of Paderborn, Germany.  She nursed their sick and brought them food.  To aid them further, she opened a day care center for the children of working mothers -- an undertaking which brought to her attention the needs of blind children and led her to found a school for the blind.

When Pauline's works of charity became too vast for her to manage alone, she founded a religious community, the Congregation of the Sisters of Christian Charity, in 1849.  The story of the spread of the Congregation beyond Germany to other parts of Europe, the United States, South America, and the Philippines is worth exploring.  Discover more information about the Sisters of Christian Charity by visiting scceast.org or sccwilmette.org.

This video (located at scceast.org) provides a wonderful overview of the life of Blessed Pauline:

(Email subscribers:  If you do not see a video embedded above, please click here to view the video.)

Today, we pray:  Father in heaven, lead us in the way of love as you led Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt.  Open our hearts to others, that loving them as your Son commanded, we may be one with them in your heavenly kingdom.  Amen

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

For Your Easter Reflection

Albert Holtz, OSB, is a monk of Newark Abbey in Newark, NJ,where he is the director of formation and teaches New Testament in the monastery's inner city prep school.  He has written Faces of Easter: Meeting the Paschal Mystery in the People Around Us (Liturgical Press, 2019).  With a daily reflection from Easter until Pentecost, this book gives the reader an opportunity to accompany the author "through the fifty days of the Easter season, listening in on his intriguing interactions with local street people and his inner-city high school students, . . . giving an insider's look at what goes on in a monk's heart as he chants Vespers to the sound of police sirens" (from the publisher).

Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Prayer 2019

Thanks to Education for Justice for providing this prayer, by Jane Deren, Ph.D., for Earth Day 2019:

In the light of this Spring, this Easter Season,
We see the beauty of your Creation, O Lord,
Resurrection mirrored in the green growth around us,
Rebirth visible in buds and branches.

Yet we also see the tragedy
Of the changes in climate
Bringing floods, the fear of famine,
Destruction of homes and habitats.
Growing landfills and polluted seas
Reveal our failure at containing
Plastic refuse and unending bags of trash.

How do we hold both these realities,
How do we reconcile gift and guilt,
How do we delight as well as debate?

Make our attention to your Earth --
Our common home --
A prayer that we utter every day,
A prayer of thanksgiving that becomes
Embodied in our advocacy and our actions
As we recommit, as the trees do every Spring,
To grow and to give glory to God,
Through greening and healing Creation.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!  Here are some thoughts from Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt (1817-1881), founder of the Sisters of Christian Charity.  This meditation is taken from her retreat notes in August 1849, just days before she and three other women became the first Sisters of Christian Charity.

"Jesus lies in the grave.  His soul is separated from his body.  On the third day, soul and body are reunited and he rises from the tomb.  The soldiers and the stone would like to hold him back, but he rises.  Thus it is with us.  Let nothing hold us back; let us, too, arise to a new life.  

What did Jesus do during the forty days he remained on earth?  He used it to structure his work, to institute the sacraments, to complete everything.  Let your life proceed that way.  

Peace came forth from him wherever he went.  Let your whole life henceforth be one of blessing and peace.  Be eyes for the blind, a staff for the lame, consolation for the discouraged, the way for the erring, and knowledge for the ignorant.

Oh, arise with Jesus, and remain with Jesus, then your flesh will arise in splendor and glory, too.  Amen."

Friday, April 19, 2019

Walking the Way of the Cross with the Poor: Sister Eugenia Bonetti's Meditations

Long-time readers of this blog will recognize Sister Eugenia Bonetti as a Consolata Missionary who is very involved in anti-human trafficking ministries.  This year, Pope Francis invited Sister Eugenia to prepare the meditations for the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday.  Those meditations are available here.  Drawing on her long experience of fighting human trafficking, Sister Eugenia's meditations focus on "Walk[ing] this via dolorosa in union with the poor, the outcast of our societies, and all those who are enduring crucifixions as victims of our narrowmindedness, our institutions and our laws, our blindness and selfishness, but especially our indifference and hardness of heart" (from the Introduction).

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Beatification Anniversary

On April 14, 1985, Pope John Paul II presided at ceremonies in St. Peter's Square for the beatification of two religious, the Servants of God Pauline von Mallinckrodt [Foundress of the Sisters of Christian Charity] and Maria Caterina Troiani [Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary].

During the Liturgy, which was attended by crowds of pilgrims from several countries, including sisters of the two congregations founded by the new Blesseds, the Holy Father gave a homily that is available (in Italian) here.  The May 13, 1985 Weekly Edition of L'Osservatore Romano provided this English translation of the homily, in which the Pope made special note of Blessed Pauline's love of the poor, her kindness, trust, faithfulness and self-sacrifice.  He also mentioned Blessed Pauline's exercise of humility and patience amidst her bold (some translators would say, "audacious") plans, which were carried out among struggles and difficulties.  Concluding his remarks about Blessed Pauline, the Holy Father noted that her message is always relevant, "for the search for God is always relevant."

More information about Blessed Pauline is available here.

Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of the beatification of our Foundress, we pray that we may continue to follow her example.  "Blessed Pauline, we pray to you: Lead us to God!"

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Have you seen "Unplanned"?

Unplanned, the movie about Abby Johnson's conversion from Planned Parenthood clinic director to pro-life activist, opened in theaters last Friday.  Have you seen it?  Reply/comment to let us know your thoughts about the movie.  Click here to read a review by Emma Winters in America and here to read a review by Sister Rose Pacatte in NCR.  Winters writes that the movie will "get under your skin," and Pacatte writes that the movie is "important, but not exactly entertaining.  What do you think?  Please let us know.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Stop Trafficking Newsletter for April

Please click here to access the April 2019 issue of the Stop Trafficking newsletter, which highlights housing for trafficked survivors and the healing that is needed.