News & Views
Check in each week to read interesting articles from Catholic writers, discover what Catholics are talking about in the wider world, find out what's happening in the lives of Catholic leaders, and keep up with the latest news from the Sisters of Bon Secours!

MUSIC LEADS TO UNDERSTANDING

B.G. Kelley, September 6, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

Flash Gordon and I saw or talked to each other just about every week for 50 years. Frustrated over his sudden, unexpected death from an aneurism that burst in his head, yes, I wanted to put God on the witness stand to defend my friend’s death, or at least explain it. Flash was spiritually and emotionally connected to his wife of 40 years, and to his son and daughter. His children were certainly lucky to have the memories of their father as a good man who always attended their basketball games and dance recitals — even more, who prayed each day for them.

Instead, I sought for some sign from God to be more trusting of his decision.

I found it in the music at my friend’s Mass of Christian Burial.

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LEARNING FROM MOTHER TERESA

Cindy Wooden, August 16, 2016  | Global Sisters Report

If there is one person who immersed herself in the “peripheries” Pope Francis is drawn to, it was Blessed Teresa of Kolkata.

If there was one who showed courage and creativity in bringing God’s mercy to the world, like Pope Francis urges, it was the diminutive founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

For many people, the Catholic Church’s Year of Mercy will reach its culmination when Pope Francis canonizes Mother Teresa Sept. 4, recognizing the holiness of charity, mercy and courage found in a package just 5-feet tall.

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LIVING MARY’S MISSION

Laura M. Leming, August 23, 2016 | Global Sisters Report

As a vowed religious with nearly 40 years of profession, I cannot speak for the newest generation of religious in apostolic congregations. But I feel impelled as one called (and privileged) to accompany novices to share some reflections on the next coming age of religious life.

My context is Marianist, one of the plethora of religious institutes born out of the challenging times of the French Revolution. Our mission is to continue Mary’s mission of bringing Christ into our own day and time and to challenge religious indifference by creating, living in and fostering communities where faith is lived with the daring of the apostles. So it is natural for me to look at the pattern of Mary’s life as a model for the new forms of religious life needed in our world today. Looking back 50 years on, I suspect we will see this as a Joshua moment, similar to when the Moses passed the mantle of leadership to the next generation. My hope is that we recognize this as a time when young religious carried the flame into a new time and new places.

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TO SERVE AND BE SERVED

Peggy Ryan, August 17, 2016 | Global Sisters Report

It is early on a muggy summer morning at the Holy Family Food Pantry in Waukegan, Illinois. As I walk through the pantry recording the temperatures of our 27 freezers and refrigerators, I notice that inside the pantry it is a whopping 82 degrees. While finishing my task, I thank God for all of the donated fans and AC units that will do their magic to offer a comfortable place for our guests by 10 a.m.

The consolidated parish called La Santísima Trinidad, Most Blessed Trinity, took an empty church building, removed the pews, and filled it with food. Families in all shapes and sizes, the elderly on a fixed income, those offered citizenship and those denied it, those with homes and those without are all invited to receive food. This same description can fit all those who donate food too. I recently had a woman bring me a bag with four cans of corn in it. She told me that last year, while homeless, we really helped her, and she wanted to start giving back.

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WORKAHOLISM AND MAKING BETTER CHOICES

Kathryn James Hermes, August 3, 2016  | Global Sisters Report

Recently at provincial meetings, a presenter talked about workaholics as if they weren’t people. In her rather dated way of looking at balance in life, she referred to workaholics as if they were a special breed of “automatons” who lived in a vacuum. Shortly after, a sister who came by my office surprised me by greeting me with the words, “Hey, Workaholic!”

It is true that I work long hours, not always by choice, sometimes by necessity, occasionally as an escape, and at times because others need me to be available. But I resent being reduced to a label.

I also have many inner struggles around the work I do. Some of the things I have been asked to do in mission required long hours. Sometimes I have gotten angry about the amount of work expected of me; other times I know I could give more but am holding back. On the one hand, I feel like I need to always be available; on the other hand, I can use work as an escape. I look at others working more, working less, and in both cases I feel guilty. I want what I do to flow from who I am, and the integration — when it happens — feels wonderful! How complicated is the human heart!

Reflecting on my own experience, over the past months I have identified three guides that help me in unraveling the motivations of my heart; to connect my “doing” with my “being” so that my work flows not from workaholism but from something deeper.

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TRAINING YOUNG ADULTS AS VOCATION AMBASSADORS

Elizabeth A Elliott, August 16, 2016 | Global Sisters Report

Araceli Ontiveros was drawn to the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, California, because one of her aunts worked at the convent where elderly sisters who need special care are housed. “They are intelligent women, nurses, engineers, and use their gifts to serve others,” she said. Ontiveros had grown up outside of San Francisco, the oldest of three children in an immigrant family from Mexico. She was the first of her family to attend college, then went on to become a lawyer. “As a lawyer, I seek to do something meaningful with my degree, and I also want to serve others,” she said.

She had been discerning a vocation with the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael for about a year when the director of vocations ministries asked her if she would consider participating in the Vocation Ambassadors Program, which provides media training and communications skills to young adults to promote religious life in the church and to the public.

The Vocation Ambassadors Program is “about building and sustaining relationships on so many levels,” said Sr. Deborah Maria Borneman, a Sister of Saints Cyril and Methodius and director of member relations and services for the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC), which created the program.

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HEADED TO THE OLYMPICS!

Kelly Seegers, August 13, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

SILVER SPRING, MD.
When Thea LaFond, a parishioner at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring, found out she would be headed to the Olympics, the first thing she did was thank God and ask: “How did you do this, God? How did this happen?”

She will represent her home country, Dominica, in the triple jump, part of track and field competition. While she was just shy of the qualifying mark for the Olympics, each country is entitled to two athletes — one male and one female — and since Dominica only had a male entrant, the Olympic Committee accepted LaFond as the female competitor. (more…)

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A DESPERATE SEARCH FOR SAFETY

Bishop Gerald Kicanas, August 9, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

They are coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and countless other places that are difficult or dangerous to live in. They are mostly young men but many families as well. They have left behind everything: their jobs, their homes, their belongings, their security. They left desperate to get away from violence, war, the death of family and friends, the impossibility to find work to sustain themselves. They left wanting to find a safer place for their children to live and to grow up with some semblance of dignity.

They travel several routes to get to the West. Each route is challenging and risks the loss of their lives. (more…)

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YOUNG PEOPLE CALLED TO MODEL TO ADULTS

Cindy Wooden, August 1, 2016 | Catholic News Service

Aware of the risk of being called naïve or being accused of spouting platitudes, Pope Francis called on young people to model for adults the paths of mercy and respect, and then demonstrated what he meant.

“Today we adults — we adults — need you to teach us, like you are doing now, how to live with diversity, in dialogue, to experience multiculturalism not as a threat but an opportunity,” the pope told young people gathered for a prayer vigil July 30 in Krakow, Poland.  “Have the courage to teach us that it is easier to build bridges than walls.”

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POPE FRANCIS SHARES HIS LOVE IN TEXAS

Brenda Nettles Riojas, July 26, 2016 | Catholic News Service

As World Youth Day kicked off in Poland today, a group of Catholic youth in Texas, some without the money to travel to Poland and others without the legal papers to travel there, got the next best thing: Pope Francis came to them via video, with a message tailored for the community there.

Why did the rural area known as Pueblo de Palmas, near Peñitas get such an honor? Why would the Holy Father send a message to the people of a rural area that some consider “insignificant”?

Three missionary sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who have been living and helping in the area for 12 years will tell you that it’s because the people of God here have a deep faith that is not daunted by poverty or other hardships they may endure.

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