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Monday, October 31, 2005

I sometimes attend a parish that is basically a box. Their pastor has plans in the works for a new church building. I spoke briefly with one of the parishioners who thought that there was no need for a new church building. I disagree.

Fortunately there does exist specific rules about how churches are to be laid out. I'm glad that there are ground rules that give us the essentials. I like the idea of church buildings being cruciform. I like church interiors which lift our minds and hearts to the majesty of God ... high ceilings, abundance of natural light, statues of saints, stations of the cross, a general arrangement of "things" that remind us how important God is.

I've been learning just a wee bit about "Gothic" as it relates to church. "Romanesque" would the the half-circle arches and thick walls with few windows. With Gothic, the arches were pointed and stress was trasferred to buttresses, allowing for thinner walls and more windows. Cathedrals in those days took generations to build, and where quality was compromised due to lack of resources, those structures did not withstand time.

The Sisters of Divine Providence in San Antonio have a Gothic chapel that is absolutely beautiful, especially since they've recently renovated it. The
Adrian Dominicans (courtesy of Natty's blog) also have a Gothic chapel, though without "permanent seating." In one of the other blogs, I think I did run across a link to the Benedictines (maybe?) somewhere and they had Romanesque, though modernized (meaning that they don't need the thick walls). If can locate it, I'll update this post.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

My morning: oil change, mass, Michael's craft store, Barnes & Noble booksellers, Office Depot, Petsmart, Target, Walmart, home by 12:30 p.m. Back out to get flowers. Spent a few bucks at each place, except Target. That and one car payment, and the coffers are empty. No groceries yet. Went to pick up some little folks, then we're off to a birthday party.

First time I've seen a guest overstay the welcome (it wasn't me). The guest wouldn't budge off the couch even after several appeals over a span of 30 minutes. The appeals were "Hey, we're leaving, come follow us so you can get home" and "C'mon, we're really ready to go." We were sitting in the car waiting for this guest, and would have to get out and go back in the house to repeat the appeal. Mentally unbalanced, maybe? Not drunk because there was no alcohol. If I were hosting, I think I'd say, "I appreciate your company. I thank you for coming. But hey, go home so I can go to bed." **boot** (I never said I was a nice person.)

Dies Domini tomorrow! yay!

new beginnings

Friday, October 28, 2005

I do get tired of talking about me. But sorry, that's all I have for you at this time.

My talent for sleeping was peeping up again: dozed on and off during noon mass and could never really shake it, I even dozed off during the intercessions while I was standing. Then this evening as I was standing in line at Walmart, I had a split second of snooze.

Got my official layoff notice today. I took it as a compliment that my manager had a difficult time breaking the news to me. Looks like some 26 people (give or take a few) got laid off this go-'round. There were some dozen or so layoffs back in September. Truthfully, I'd been spared over the past few years and several rounds of layoffs; the company is down to meat and bones and now they have to cut into the meat.

I look forward to a new beginning. I've already started cleaning out my desk. :)

a lead

Thank you, Lisa for pointing me to
Sisters of Christian Charity
Western Province

Seems interesting.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

It was NOT a normal day at work today...
(that's all I'll say about that)
I was at a little Taize service tonite. Nice.

Came home with a chopped baker (baked potato stuffed with BBQ beef) for dinner. Satisfied my hunger but upset my stomach. My lactose-intolerant system is objecting to the sour cream and melted cheese.

I am now tired. My talent for sleeping is starting to shine.
Today's reading: nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Thank God.
For fun: What's your favorite "picker upper" to cheer you up or egg you on?

One of mine: "You should feel that you're so far ahead that you just can't lose."
From a homily, reminding us that God has chosen to love us and bless us.

I love the priesthood

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

When I first became Catholic, though I love my pastor, I was annoyed that he seemed so dictatorial. Anything that was suggested was always met with "Run it by Fr.x." And when Fr.x was not around, it was as if the world stopped.

So I asked myself, "What is a priest, anyway?" I surfed the web and came across this document which I found to be very helpful. I don't know how it happened, because I surfed recently and couldn't find it. But by fluke of luck, I had a copy stored on my computer, from which I then knew specificly what to surf for.

Vatican Instruction: "The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community"

Burned in by brain is the following mini blurb (the part I bolded):

His basic identity has to be sought in the character which has been conferred on him by the Sacrament of Holy Orders and from which pastoral grace derives. The priest, therefore, must always know what he has to do, precisely as a priest.
Sounds like a tall order. Lots of good stuff in the document.

Anyhow, I love the priesthood. I thank God everyday for all his consecrated (all religious and clergy). We the community and we the Church fail most miserably when we fail our priests--in training, in guidance, in support, in correction, in encouragement, in expectations, and in forgiveness. Yes, I love priests. Jesus loves his priests. Please, no more suicides by anyone, especially not priests.

going nowhere

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

OK, on review, the essential three requirements for religious life are motivation, fit, and readiness. I think I have the right motivation. With all the different communities out there, I ought to fit somewhere. But the readiness just isn't there: yes I have obligations, yes I have debt. I feel like I'm just thrashing about and going nowhere. And indeed, without all three, I'm not going anywhere. And yet though I'm exhausted, I keep thrashing because I am restless.
Hey folks, how do you find leads on communities that you might want to visit?

Simplicity: "No, I didn't look around. They taught me. I like them. I joined." --one of the Sisters I spoke with

faux pas

Monday, October 24, 2005

At a major vocational event last year, we were seated in a big circle: discerners and VD's from various orders. This is the moment to ask your questions. So I loudly blurted, "Tell me about the money."

Ouch. Not only am I an idiot, I'm a money-grubbing idiot.

Undaunted, the VD's launched into a history of no cash, no credit, evolving into the the wiser modern day credit card system. Also covered were "Don't sell everything, don't get rid of everything, do loan to a relative" for those entering.

What I had meant, and never clarified because we ran out of time, was "How much money do I need to save to enter?" This worry was due to my hearing of one entering the Daughters of St. Paul and having to pay for the personality or psychology test of some sort. She might have had to pay for the religious garb as well, I wasn't sure. I imagine the magnitude of those expenses would total in the hundreds. I still don't have the answer, but I figure I'll just cross that bridge when I get there.

OK, so maybe that just makes me a communications idiot.

In the meantime, I might be blacklisted in the diocese. But I'm counting on God to grease the skids where needed, so I'm not too worried.

changed orders

a Passionist vocation story

This is not unusual. I've been told of two sisters who changed orders (one became Benedictine, the other, Dominican). I know of two women who entered the convent but did not stay (one got married, the other didn't). I know of a fella who entered the seminary but left and is now married. Great guy. I know of two women who were once married, but now they're Benedictines. These folks are in "my world" and not some far off story.

This is not a commentary one way or the other. It's just an acknowledgement that "it is what it is."

2005 Catholic survey

results of the NCR 2005 survey of American Catholics

I've not read it. Anyhow, there you have it.

morning offering

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"Hey, you, wake up!"
"Huh? What?"
"You're late."
"Late? For what?"
"You're late for work."

Ever had that happen? Forget that you had to go to work? It happened to me once even though I'd been at the same job for years. It still amazes me to this day that it happened.

Years ago, before I became Catholic, I'd try to rouse myself out of bed with a mental "YOU TOO can get out of bed!!!"

Nowadays, I may start off thanksgiving several times before I am conscious long enough to start AND finish the thanksgiving. Then that is followed by a rather lame morning offering.

Help me out folks. Please suggest a relatively short (remember, I'm less than half awake) morning offering that I might be able to embrace.

...falsehood is nothing except the existence in thought of what does not exist in fact. --St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

Who are you?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Once at a retreat, we were given a hand-out, the gist of what I'll try to recapture below. (Sure wish I could find the original.)

Who are you?
...I did not ask for your name.
...I did not ask what kind of work you do.
...I did not ask for your age.
...I did not ask what you look like.
...I did not ask for your familial ties.
...I did not ask for your religious beliefs.
Who are you?

The original is much longer. In other words, do you know how to just "be" ? What "things" are you allowing to define you? Are "you" gone when your looks are gone? Are "you" gone when you're out of work?

Just a little nibble food.

"I'm only brave when I have to be." --from the movie "The Lion King"

The religious habit

Friday, October 21, 2005

Breaking my rule of having only short posts...

Yes, there is something appealing about the religious habit. At a minimum, it identifies. It identifies our beliefs, and to which group we belong. It is visible witness. It's wonderful how the religious habits stand out in a crowd.

So identifiable are the habits that they make for some rather whimsical situations. The secular love to have some fun with them. The religious themselves sometimes enjoy a little extra oomph of humor that the habits add to their moments of playfulness. A game of softball is more entertaining when the players are in full religious habit.

It is also simplicity. No more thinking about what to wear.

I hope that communities that have abandoned the habit will revisit it from time to time. It may be that the decrease in vocations has to do with the lower visibility of religious--lower visibility due to them not wearing the distinctive habit. At the same time, I know that much discernment went into the decision, and I respect the decision to shed the religious habit. Undoubtedly, it was determined that they could minister more effectively without the garb.

I hope that communities that continue to wear the religious habit will explore the possibilities of the newer, technical fabrics. Surely those in the south are NOT expected to wear wool!

For me, I will continue to focus on the spirituality and personality of a community above all else.

Please voice your opinion regarding the religious habit.

must have's

Thursday, October 20, 2005


When visiting different communities, what were some of the "must have's" that you were looking for? daily mass? religious habit? large community? etc.

For me, the must have's include daily mass, liturgy that resonates with me, and a compatible sense of humor.

And it was made clear to me that all things are good even if they are corrupted. They could not be corrupted if they were supremely good; but unless they were good they could not be corrupted. ... If, then, they are deprived of all good, they will cease to exist. So long as they are, therefore, they are good. Therefore, whatsoever is, is good. Evil, then, the origin of which I had been seeking, has no substance at all; for if it were a substance, it would be good. ... I understood, therefore, and it was made clear to me that thou madest all things good, nor is there any substance at all not made by thee. --St. Augustine of Hippo in his Confessions

discernment invite

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

from the CDP's in San Antonio, Texas

Dear seekers of God's Will,

You are invited to come for 6 days to Our Lady of the Lake Convent in San Antonio with the Sisters of Divine Providence

January 7 - 13, 2006 "Life with Providence Week"

Come, live the Gospel - serve the poor and learn about the Sisters of Divine Providence.
Help the poor and needy of San Antonio as you learn more about the life of a Sister of Divine Providence. Join in volunteer service and community life.

  • Help feed the homeless
  • Join in daily prayer and fellowship
  • Learn to see God's Providence in daily life

We hope that you can come help the poor, experience community life and share in the spirit and joy of religious life. We have limited space, so we are asking you first. Please respond so we can plan accordingly.

Contact (e-mail address broken up to resist spam)
Sr. Elsa Garcia (elsacdp at in San Antonio, or
Sr. Helen Marie Miksch (mikschhm at in Houston.
Congregation of Divine Providence

length of discernment?

How long did you go through discernment before you applied for entrance? Did you search beyond your city? Did you enter a community that is out of town, out of state? It's been sporadically over a year for me.

Regarding the Word of God:
The spiritual writers, paraphrasing
Matthew 7:7, summarize in this way the dispositions of the heart nourished by the word of God in prayer "Seek in reading and you will find in meditating; knock in mental prayer and it will be opened to you by contemplation." (CCC 2654)

first one

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Everybody's blogging. Might as well blog too to see what it's like. If you're like me, short posts are better than long ones because my attention span is short. I'll be asking more questions than posting comments.

For those of you in religious life, what was your age when you entered the convent? late teens, twenties, thirties, forties, etc?

Dear God, if you'd like for me to be a religious, please help me get there. Else, please take away this desire.