- Created on Friday, 15 March 2013 19:00
Kathleen Michel, one of our Residents from Gallup, New Mexico, is the first to share her love for our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, writing in the following. We all share in Kathleen's joy at this exciting moment in the life of the Church:
It’s hard to believe there have been eight Popes in my life time. Yet, when I was little, I didn’t pay attention to the Pope, he was so far away. These days with Television (especially with EWTN) we are able to see the Holy Father on the other side of the world.
I see each Pope taking another step closer to us also by their humility. Years ago they were carried in the “Sedia Gestatoria” now they simply walk close to the people. Then they stopped crowning the Holy Father with a three tiered Tiara, and the Pallium is given to them, which is a sign that they are the Bishop of Rome.
Pope Francis asked the people to pray for him before he gave his first Papal Blessing. Then he took a bus with the other Cardinals to go back to his room, rather than taking a Papal Car.
In today’s world we see their sufferings, all the many burdens that they must carry as Holy Father. I pray for the Holy Father each day, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide the many decisions they must make each day. Thank you Lord for giving us so many saintly Holy Fathers, who have helped us in our faith.
And from Pope Francis himself today, an encouraging message for his brother cardinals referencing their "old" age:
“Courage, dear brothers! Probably half of us are in our old age. Old age, they say, is the seat of wisdom. The old ones have the wisdom that they have earned from walking through life. Like old Simeon and Anna at the temple whose wisdom allowed them to recognize Jesus. Let us give with wisdom to the youth: like good wine that improves with age, let us give the youth the wisdom of our lives.” - Pope Francis
World Day of the Sick: Go and Do Likewise
- Created on Sunday, 10 February 2013 23:43
Today has traditionally been celebrated as the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. But since 1993, twenty years ago today, we have also celebrated it as the World Day of the Sick. The aims of the World Day of the Sick are numerous:
- to increase awareness of the need to provide the best possible physical and spiritual care to the sick;
- to help the sick find value in their sufferings;
- to involve Christian communities in the care of the sick through a culture of solidarity;
- to emphasize the importance of spiritual and moral formation for health care workers.
Each year the Church gives us a theme for the celebration of the World Day of the Sick, and this year’s theme is the parable of the Good Samaritan, with the concluding words, “Go and do likewise.” The Good Samaritan is a well-known concept, even apart from any religious affiliation. We all understand a Good Samaritan as someone who comes to the aid of another in distress. We even have Good Samaritan laws that protect those who help strangers from prosecution if things don’t turn out so well.
Samaritan or Levite?
Today let’s take another look at the parable itself, which is in the Gospel of St Luke, chapter 10, by looking at the main characters in the story. We can skip over the thieves because none of us wants to be like them. So let’s start with the man who has been robbed and beaten. We don’t know anything about him really, except that he was traveling on the road to Jericho. All of us are going somewhere in our lives, pursuing goals, hoping to achieve a milestone or obtain something we don’t already have. In short, all of us are on the way somewhere; we have not yet arrived at our final destination. And along the way, we all fall from time to time. Maybe someone has knocked us down, like in the parable, or maybe we have fallen because of our own weaknesses or missteps. Suffice it to say that we can all identify with this man because at one point or another in our lives, we have all been down.
Now let’s look at the priest and the Levite. They can be lumped together because they reacted in the same manner to the suffering man — they turned the other way and kept going. We don’t know why they didn’t help to him; but they just kept going. Maybe they were afraid, or didn’t know first-aid. Maybe they were on their way to an important meeting, or they knew they’d be fired if they were late for work. Maybe they didn’t stop because helping other people wasn’t in their job description, because they didn’t know the man, or because he wasn’t of their class. Maybe they didn’t have any sympathy because they felt it was his own fault that he was in such a predicament. Or maybe they had always been taught not to talk to strangers. We just don’t know. What we do know is that they did not stop; they did nothing to help the man.
Next is a character in the story you may never have thought about. The Samaritan is usually pictured with a donkey, a beast of burden. He couldn’t have accomplished his good deed without the donkey after all, because he puts the wounded man on the donkey’s back to carry him to the inn. But what about the donkey? We know that animals don’t have intellect and free will, so we can assume that the donkey is saddled with the wounded man without his consent, without really accepting this burden. He may have bucked his owner or resisted the task; he certainly didn’t offer to help out with a generous heart; but in the end, there he is, weighed down with the wounded man. Aren’t we all a little like the donkey sometimes? We just because we happen to be in the right place at the right time, and so we are drawn into other people’s problems, but we don’t really do it wholeheartedly. We might even give our help grudgingly, mumbling under our breath. There was a popular song in the 60’s, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Do you know it? The words go like this:
The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
Do you think the donkey was humming this song as he carried the man to Jericho? We could probably all do some soul searching over those words ourselves!
Let’s move to the next character. Skip over the Samaritan for a minute and think about the inn keeper. We can assume that the inn keeper did what the Samaritan asked, taking care of the wounded man until he came back the next day. Let’s also assume that he was a good person, and did his best to make the man comfortable for the night, to bathe his wounds and give him something tasty to eat. He could have refused to accept the man, since he didn’t have a reservation, but he was a good man so he made room for him. But he was also getting paid for his goodness, with the promise that he would be paid more if he had to spend more than what the Samaritan gave him at the outset. So the inn keeper is like the person who faithfully does his job, carrying out his duties to the letter of the law — or maybe a little bit more — but in the end, who does it because he knows he will get his just reward. He is the “good and faithful steward,” but would he have taken the man in for nothing? Would we? Do we reach out beyond our comfort zone to help others with a generous and open heart, even when they are not of our chosen group, or when we won’t get any credit? When we won’t be paid back in any way? These are good questions to ask ourselves today!
That is exactly what the Samaritan did! He didn’t stop to consider what was in it for himself, or what an inconvenience it was going to be. No, he responded to the need of another person spontaneously and wholeheartedly. He put the other person’s needs before his own. Speaking of the parable Martin Luther King, Jr. reflected: “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’” This selfless attitude is what made him GOOD.
But there is more about the Good Samaritan. His love was non-discriminatory, universal. It didn’t matter that Jews and Samaritans aren’t supposed to get along; he helped him anyway. Someone else speaking of the Good Samaritan said: “We instinctively tend to limit for whom we exert ourselves. We do it for people like us, and for people whom we like. Jesus will have none of that. By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need — regardless of race, politics, class, and religion — is your neighbor. Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbor, and you must love your neighbor.”
There is much more that could be said about the Samaritan, but maybe it’s enough to remember that he is the one in the story who for ever received the title GOOD because he put his whole heart into serving another. Today maybe we can reflect a little on how we might open our hearts, get out of our comfort zones, go out of our way, or roll up our sleeves a little more each day, to be more and more a Good Samaritan to everyone we meet, whether it be at work or in our personal lives. Let’s “go and do likewise!”
A Place for the Elderly Poor
- Created on Friday, 08 February 2013 13:55
Although not familiar with the author of a blog that appeared today on Patheos' website, we publish this text because its author presents an enlightening view of our apostolate...
The Little Sisters of the Poor: Religious Conscience and Government Mandates
When you’re poor for your entire life, it’s possible to become somewhat inured to misery. If you keep your line of vision low, keep from looking too far to the right or left, and manage your expectations properly, then—through practice—it might even be possible to control the thoroughly natural desire to possess more.
“What you’ve never had, you never miss,” I’ve heard it said.
But I wonder about the likelihood of such a thing when the poor grow old. For at that time, the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune are sure to be felt more keenly. When the labor required merely to exist is no longer possible, sufferings are more acute, as the meager distractions that toil provides are gone as well. The aged poor have a unique plight, caged mentally and physically within a prison of need. CLICK TO CONTINUE READING.
The Little Sisters Walk for Life in San Francisco
- Created on Friday, 08 February 2013 14:06
In its ninth year, the 2013 Walk for Life West Coast took place on January 26th in San Francisco. For the Little Sisters, the day began with a standing-room only Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. Archbishop Cordilione was the principal celebrant joined by Vatican Ambassador to the United States, the Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who read a message from the Pope and gave the Papal blessing to the congregation that came from all over the United States.
Mass was followed by a rally at Civic Center Plaza and the walk with a record crowd, estimated at over 50,000 people, filled the streets of San Francisco from City Hall to the Ferry Building. Many parishes and religious congregations were represented, but of significant note were the overwhelming number of young people present.
Five of our Little Sisters and a novice had the joy of being a part of this important gathering of people that represented not only different geographic locations, but also different cultures and age groups united together celebrating the sanctity of life.
A Real Hero Goes to Her Final Reward!
- Created on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 02:41
Scottish nun who hid from Nazis dies aged 100
By FRANK URQUHART
Published on Wednesday 6 February 2013 00:49 in the scotsman.com
A SCOTTISH nun who spent six years courageously hiding from the Nazis in a French convent during the Second World War has died in Dundee, nine months after celebrating her 100th birthday.
Sister Anne Green was forced to go into hiding to evade capture two years after she entered the order of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
And at one point she concealed herself in a cart of potatoes to evade discovery by a German patrol after briefly leaving the convent in search of food.
Sister Anne, one of 11 children, was born in Springfield, near Cupar in Fife, in May 1912 and later moved with her family to Dundee. As a child she was inspired by the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor which runs the Wellburn Home in the city and entered the order in 1937.
Two years later, shortly before the outbreak of the war, she took her vows at the Mother House in La Tour in Brittany where the order had been founded. And when the Nazis invaded France she was moved to a house run by the Little Sisters near Belgian border.
Speaking last year as she celebrated her 100th birthday, Sister Anne recalled:”When the Germans occupied the town, the mayor phoned the Reverend Mother and warned her that if there were any British citizens there, she should send them away.
“There were four of us, including an Australian, and she told the mayor that there was nowhere for us to go. He said he would burn our registration papers and that we should remain in hiding.”
For the next six years Sister Anne remained in hiding at the home, helping to care for the home’s elderly residents.
She explained: “When they (the Germans) came to the home, where we looked after many old people, we would hide either in the cellars or in the attic. This went on for six years, but no one ever betrayed us.
“I used to look out the window and long to be able to go outside, but it was too dangerous.”
Sister Anne, however, came close capture after she persuaded her fellow Sisters to allow her to leave the home to help collect fruit and vegetables from neighbouring farms. She set off with another Sister and an elderly man who helped around the home on the food gathering mission. But, as they set off to return to the home, they spotted a German patrol in the distance. Sister Anne had no choice but to hide in the back of the cart amongst the potatoes they had gathered.
Said Sister Anne: “My heart was hammering as the Germans approached. I was sure I would be found. I prayed like I’d never prayed before. They asked the old man and the Sister for their papers and what they had in the cart.
“The two of them remained so calm and just told them it was fruit and vegetables for the home. I hardly dared breathe and then they just told them to move on. I never ventured out of the home again.”
Her days in hiding finally ended in 1945 when American tanks rolled into the village. Sister Anne told how she had run up to the American commander and stopped the convoy.
She said: “I told the American soldier my younger brother Tom was in the Army and asked him to find him. He said to me, ‘Sister, there are just a couple of million soldiers back there, but I’ll see what I can do.’
“Two days later, they found him and brought him to see me. I will never forget seeing him walking in. It was absolutely wonderful.”
Sister Anne remained in France for another four years, working in a number of homes run by the order before finally returning to Britain in 1949. She then worked in various homes for the elderly run by the Little Sister of the Poor around the UK before returning to Dundee in 1993 where she ran the shop at Wellburn. She also made soft toys to raise money for the home.
Mother Aimee, the Mother Superior at Wellburn, paid tribute to the popular centenarian. She said: “She was exemplary. Her continual smile and serenity were testimonies to her happiness in religious life.
“She will be greatly missed by all of us in the community.”
A requiem mass for Sister Anne will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) in Dundee’s Wellburn Chapel and will be led by Bishop Vincent Logan, Bishop Emeritus of Dunkeld, and priests of the diocese.