Friday, May 29, 2015

What I do all day

I've been back in the States for 6 months now, assigned to the publishing house's digital department. We're (as you might guess) the new kid on the Pauline block, and given our area it is really tricky to nail down just what we do. Like the digital world itself, our work just keeps shifting, changing and embedding itself in more and more places.

Right now I am working on about five projects in alternation: a new website (for our downloadable content, whether books, apps, music or movies); an app; our autumn fundraising "webathon"; a new portal for artwork by Sister Laura (she of the garden; some of her artwork would make incredible ordination gifts); and I am scrutinizing the audio files for our forthcoming audio book (sponsored by you!) of The Prodigal You Love. "Scrutinizing" means making sure that the audio follows the published text accurately (not only the words themselves, but the correct pronunciation of odd names and Latin titles); I am also taking note of any popping "p" and sibilant "s" sounds that might be distracting in an audio book. Happily for me, this is work that can be done outside, under a tree, with a tall iced coffee!

Interspersed between the publishing house work are the community sign-ups. These include cleaning duties in the various parts of this immense complex and filling in slots at the switchboard or in the kitchen when the regular staff takes a personal day or calls in sick. On Memorial Day, I had signed up
Pizza, cut Chicago-style. It works better this way, trust me.
 Picture from a foodie site.
to handle the community's supper. Signing up for kitchen can be like volunteering for an episode of the Food Network hit "Chopped," with the chefs preparing a coherent meal from random veggies and proteins. Sunday evening, in chapel, I was asking Jesus just what to prepare. Later I went to the community reading room where Sister Susan James was relaxing after a Sunday parish book fair. "The parish was selling pizzas for one of the organizations; they gave us the five they had left. Do you want to use them for supper tomorrow?" Recognizing an answer to a prayer when I hear one, I thanked Sister Susan and ran down to the walk-in refrigerator to earmark the pizzas: MONDAY SUPPER.

God bless Sister Susan, on Monday afternoon she came in to help me prepare things for supper. We dolled up the plain pizzas, two with chopped chicken, cooked onions from the salad bar, creme fraiche (donated months ago and untouched) and tarragon; two others got topped with sautéed spinach and garlic (and dabs of creme fraiche); one (for the less adventurous members of the community) got only a sprinkling of oregano. The industrial oven has a pizza setting, and those babies came out perfect. I cut them Chicago-style, causing no small amount of comments among the elder sisters who had never (ever) seen square pizza slices. But there were no leftovers. (My next kitchen sign-up is for Saturday breakfast, the most challenging meal of all. I'm thinking bread pudding, since I can get that started tonight.)

The Eliot School, built in 1696 and just two miles from here.
And then there are the unexpected errands. Today, after praying my rosary (outside!) and watering that famous garden, I headed up the slope from the garage to the house. Silently, I prayed, "Jesus, I'm too sleepy to go to chapel right now, but should I try anyway?" When I got to the back porch, there was Sister Mary Joseph, looking a little concerned. "Are you free, like, now?" She needed a ride to her art class nearby. It's actually within walking distance, but she was weighed down with supplies. And so I discovered something new in the neighborhood: an actual colonial-era schoolhouse (endowed 1690) that is still being used as a school, albeit not a grammar school, but a school of "Fine Arts and Crafts."

Being in the neighborhood, I zipped over to the local library branch to get my Minuteman Library System card accepted into the Boston system (I'm thinking ahead to abundant e-books and audio books for my vacation). Before returning home I swung by the coffee shop for something to see me through the hour in chapel and the friendly Jewish man behind me in line treated me to it!

Next week I head to Atlanta for a long weekend: first I will help our Charleston sisters staff a book display table at the Atlanta Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress; the next day is the Catholic New Media Conference, where I will commune with bloggers, podcasters and other social media evangelizers. The airline miles I gained from my trip to England came in quite handy for this!

Speaking of England, our sisters are getting ready to launch their new website. I am excited for the opportunity at long last to share this with you! In the meantime, I have to figure out a coding issue on our own page...

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How does your garden grow?

The hydroponic garden (I was out of town for two weeks.)
Long time readers of NunBlog know that although God has blessed me with many gifts of nature and of grace, a green thumb was not one of them. Years back when I was stationed here in the publishing house I had a coleus plant in my office window. I loved that plant, but it only thrived when I went out of town and the secretary took care of it. In Chicago I had an electric, hydroponic herb garden. All one had to do was plug it in, add water and pre-measured nutrients, and press a button. Even with that, results were disappointing (thankfully, I can assign some of the blame to the Chicago water which has a high chlorine content; once I switched to distilled water, some of the plants grew like crazy. Well, the basil grew like crazy. (I have since learned that basil is kind of like a weed: hard to kill.)

The lilies of the valley grow wild
on the corner by our parking lot.

All this by way of introduction. Right now about half of the community is on retreat at our St Thecla house north of here (between Lexington and Concord). Sister Laura (one of our most gifted artists) is out there, cooking for the sisters. Sister Laura is a gardener. Her sister lives on a farm, for crying out loud. And before she left for St Thecla's Sister Laura asked me, Sister Anne of the Touch of Death, to water her garden.

I warned her. "I love plants, I really do, but I have no idea how to take care of them."

The rhododendron tree towers to
the second floor!
Sister Laura was not dissuaded, in part, I am sure, because there are so few sisters left here at the motherhouse that she could ask. I tried to impress upon her the risk she was undertaking, and she fully assumed it. (Plant people just have no idea...) So every day (or two? maybe three?) I have been going down to the garden plot, unreeling the hose and communing with nature. (God has only watered the plants once in all these ten days!)

What a blessing! Yesterday enormous poppies started popping from Muppet-like buds, and today I noticed that the bushy lavender plants are sending up tall budding spikes that promise an immense and fragrant future. A little patch of Sister Laura's seedlings grew two inches since yesterday morning! And the "dead" rose plant is putting forth a tentative new green shoot. The lupine seems to have seeded itself all over the garden: the distinctive leaves are showing up in a haphazard way that could not have been planned by any earthly gardener, but that hint at new beauty later in the summer.

Granted, there is one patch of garden that doesn't seem to be doing anything, and I do fear for it, but Sister Laura will be home next week to remedy the situation there. Meanwhile, there is so much to enjoy, I am going to have to thank Sister Laura for insisting that I really could take care of her garden while she was away!

Does that bud not look like a Muppet character?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Guest Post: Hometown Saint

Over the weekend there was a flurry of beatifying activity in the Catholic Church. Here in the Americas, all eyes were on San Salvador, where Oscar Romero, Bishop and Martyr, was raised to the honors of the altar. Meanwhile, in Kenya, an Italian missionary sister was beatified. The ceremony took place in Sister Jacqueline Jean-Marie's hometown (while Sister Jacqueline herself was preparing to transfer from my hometown of New Orleans, where she was assigned upon making her first vows two years ago, to my second hometown of Chicago). Sister Jackie (we still call her that sometimes; old habits are hard to break!) wrote in our community newsletter that her Mom and Dad were able to attend one part of the beatification. 

Here's the story, in Sister Jacqueline's own words:

What are the odds of a beatification happening in your own home town?

Today, we had the first beatification ever in Africa that took place in my home town of Nyeri, Kenya. Blessed Irene Stefani, a Consolata sister from Anfo (Brescia), Italy, was missioned to Kenya where she worked for almost 15 years bring God's love particularly to those who were ill and suffering. Here is an excerpt from Sr Irene Stefani website:

"With unconditional love she gave herself out in the pastoral activities of the Mission: Taught in school, Catechism in the parish, visited the villages. She would run to help the sick, the dying and anyone who was in need of her help. She would never remain indifferent to the needs of the people. She would literally run and kneel at the bed-side of the sick, always with gentleness, respect and maternal care. The people nicknamed her Nyaatha [pronounced nyuh-th-uh]: “Mother all mercy and love”. To date she is still remembered like that and with other similar expressions, like: “Good mother who loves everyone”, “Secretary of the poor”, “Angel of charity”. The desire to
announce Jesus Christ was immense and it greatly involved the life of Sr. Irene. She would take advantages of any occasion to encounter to make the Lord and his Gospel known to people. She would naturally speak about God with joy and deep conviction."

As I reflect on Sr. Irene's life and mission, I feel blessed that as Paulines, we too have been loved, chosen and sent bring God's light and love to so many around our world today. What a gift! We may never know the difference (however small) our words and actions make in someone's life. Thanks to Sr. Irene's selfless gift of her life, my life as well as many in my home town, country and the world have been renewed by God's love and grace. So, ever onward!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Facing the Death Penalty

Saturday's Boston Globe (full page treatment)

I grew up in the Deep South at a time when the death penalty was taken for granted pretty much across the board. The explanations were simple enough for a child to understand: if you take a life, you forfeit your own; society had to defend itself; the threat of capital punishment was a deterrent to violent crime. The same explanations might have been given to a child 500 years ago, or 2000, or 5000.

Catholic tradition has long upheld the approach to criminal justice that the Old Testament presumed even while introducing moderating guidelines like "an eye [one eye only] for an eye." These teachings were incorporated into the first edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2266, 1992 ed) , although the very next entry urges public authorities to limit their action to "bloodless means". But just five years later, the entire treatment of protecting the common good was rewritten. Recourse to the death penalty is still "not excluded" (#2267), but only tolerated as a last resort when the public authority simply has no other way to keep the person from doing harm.

All that was going through my mind Friday afternoon when the jury here in Boston rendered its verdict on a case that has been on the front page (and in full-page spreads) every day for weeks on end. I had really thought that, even though the jury selection process had screened out anyone with principled objections to the death penalty, this would be a watershed moment, and the salvageability of a very damaged soul would be recognized.

Instead, we are still on the level of transitional justice. It's a very American viewpoint, seeing society as a collection of more or less undifferentiated individuals, the loss of any number of whom, while unfortunate, does not really affect the whole in an essential way. "An eye for an eye" works out well enough in this sort of system. When something goes wrong with a part of the body, though, be it a cell, an organ or a limb, we are not quite so cavalier. Nobody says, "an eye for an eye" when it is a matter of their eyesight. Heck, we are not even comfortable with Jesus' own words, "If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out!" (although a few people in history have gone that far).

The trouble I see with transactional justice, especially when it goes as far as the death penalty, is that it keeps society on the level of transactional violence: it is just that society is authorized to carry out the violent act and random citizens are not. When it comes to ideologically motivated crime, such as the terrorism in Boston, there is no deterrent effect; there is not even the acknowledgement of legitimate authority. (The Tsarnaev brothers, having immersed themselves in an extremist culture of transactional violence, felt justified in taking lives in retribution for lives lost in the far-off Caucasus.)

Capital punishment is a distant reality for me (I don't know any Death Row prisoners; I have never met anyone affected by a capital crime), but I do understand the transactional approach to society. Indeed, I could probably limit myself to this one area and never run out of things to bring to the sacrament of Penance. I have a terrible tendency to treat people in a transactional way; to reduce them to the roles they carry out, or the function they occupy in society (or, God help us, in community). Since the Friday verdict, I have been more aware of the Church's appreciation of society as a body made up of unique and unrepeatable members. Even (as St Paul says of the Church) the members who outwardly seem to have little merit turn out to be indispensable. When one part suffers, all the parts suffer. When one part is honored, all the parts share the benefit.

Boston's sorrowful journey can still be a watershed moment.

- - - - - - 

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1995 edition) (I highlighted the values it affirms: just because the criminal disregards or dismisses these values doesn't means society ought to lose sight of them.)

Capital Punishment
2266 The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. the primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.67 
2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor. "If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.' [John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]

Friday, May 15, 2015

World Communications Day links for You!

For World Communications Day, here's a chart with links to (frequently updated) lists of pertinent material concerning digital technology, culture and ministry:

Social Media for Beginners

Articles about Digital Culture

Social Media Starter Tools

Books about Media for Ministry

Important Studies on Digital Communications

Various Social Media Resources
US Bishops Documents on Communications
Vatican Documents on Communications

Social Media Guidelines
Social Networking in the UK
Porn Addiction Recovery and Accountability

JUST RELEASED: The prayerbook of the New Evangelizer! Prayers of Blessed James Alberione and by members of the Pauline Family:  prayers for media and those who work in the various media fields; the "Pauline offering" of reparation and petition for media; media spirituality and more!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ascension Thursday

The liturgy geek in me is doing a little happy dance: After many, many years, I am at last able to celebrate the Feast of the Ascension on the 40th day of Easter. I remember bringing up with Cardinal
George the problems caused by moving Holy Days to Sunday. While telling me, quite bluntly, that the situation was not going to change, he agreed that the biggest negative aspect is that moving the feast to the nearest Sunday diminishes its importance in people's understanding. A feast that requires you interrupt your workday and go to Mass really makes an impression!

The usual depiction of the Ascension features a pair of feet
poking out of the clouds. I preferred to use an image that tells
the rest of the story. 
Anyway, here in the ecclesiastical province of Boston (that's an actual technical term), I'm enjoying not having the Easter season out of sync with itself.

What is impressing me the most this year about the Ascension of Our Lord is that from now on, the heavens are open to us. This probably couldn't be more important for us as we witness pivotal changes in Western civilization. People will follow whichever culture has formed their imagination. The words of T.S. Eliot (in "The Family Reunion") come to mind: "I feel happy for a moment, as if I had come home. It is quite irrational, but now I feel quite happy, as if happiness did not consist in getting what one wanted or in getting rid of what can't be got rid of but in a different vision. This is like an end."

The feast of the Ascension tells us that humanity is enthroned before the majesty of God (as in this detail of a fresco by Raphael). A victory has been won, and we can be part of it if we choose. The outcome is assured. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will not pass away."

From now on, we have a way of seeing things from the vantage point of how things work out. This is all over Paul: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" "Set your heart on things above, where Christ is... Your life is hidden now with Christ in God." Even the Lord's parting words in the Gospel of Matthew ("Go into the whole world...I am with you to the end of the age") are really saying, "You are with me, where I am."

Without the light and strength of the Holy Spirit, we cannot "live in a manner worthy of your calling"; thankfully, with the Pentecost novena beginning today, we are reminded of that, too!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Book Review: Tweeting with God

So I received a review copy of a book I had heard about, appropriately enough, on Twitter. From the tweets, I thought it was a book about social media. WRONG! It's a kind of coffee table catechism. Here's what I found:

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Guest Post: The "Tudor Scribe" writes about a lost world

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the TV series "Wolf Hall" and its inaccurate presentation of St Thomas More, recommending a series of novels set in the same time frame that offer a very different (and more true to life) perspective. Today NunBlog is honored to welcome author Nancy Bilyeau, Twitter's @TudorScribe, as a guest blogger:

When, ten years ago, I began to work on a series of novels set in Tudor England, I decided to create a Dominican novice as the protagonist. I wanted to write something different than the usual stories of kings and queens, princesses and ladies of the court. I was excited about writing a suspense story with a woman at the center of it all, and I thought that a nun living through the Dissolution of the Monasteries would be very dramatic.

I knew quite a bit about 16th century history but not a great deal about the ordinary nuns, or monks or friars or priests, who lived through the trauma of Henry VIII’s reign, when he broke with Rome. I soon discovered that there isn’t a great deal of information readily available. “History is written by the winners,” goes the saying, whether you attribute it to Winston Churchill or Niccolò Machiavelli.

But I didn’t give up. I found books, and contemporary documents, that helped me learn about the lost sisters of Dartford Priory, the sole Dominican house for women in England that I chose to set The Crown in.  I traveled to England to learn more. All that remains of the priory now are pieces of stone wall along a busy road. The handsome brick gatehouse that was raised on the rubble of the priory is today a popular setting for wedding receptions—which I find ironic. I did receive valuable assistance from the two men who run a small museum in Dartford, sharing the town’s rich religious history.

At the end of The Crown, the priory is demolished, despite everything my main character, Joanna Stafford, does to prevent it. In the second book, The Chalice, Joanna is drawn into a shadowy conspiracy against Henry VIII and must choose between fighting for her way of life and holding true to her values. In the third book, The Tapestry, published this spring, Joanna, who has a talent for tapestry weaving, reluctantly answers a summons to Whitehall from a tapestry-obsessed king, and is soon fighting for her life.

Thomas More's daughter Meg would have
been not that much older than the fictional
Joanna Stafford.
While my main character and some of the supporting characters are fictional, I worked hard to place them in a detailed world based on diligent research. The Historical Novel Society review said about The Tapestry, “Joanna is a force of nature. Smart, persevering, yet true to herself and her beliefs, she gets better in each incarnation. Up to her ears in court intrigues, religious persecutions, beheadings galore and Henry’s erratic and volatile nature, Joanna shines – remaining ever vigilant. Bilyeau’s rendering of the court and its diverse personalities, the palpable tension between Protestant and Catholic, and the very smells and sounds of the streets are intensely evoked. A lot of fun, and highly recommended.” My first novel, The Crown, made it on to the short list of the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award, and The Chalice won the award for Best Historical Mystery from the RT Reviewers. These acknowledgements are very encouraging.
 This is why the TV series Wolf Hall on Masterpiece Theatre, based on the Hilary Mantel books, although it is well written and stars some fine actors, has me shaking my head. The protagonist of the series is Thomas Cromwell, who was the mastermind of the Dissolution of the Monasteries and many of the other religious upheavals of that era. His treatment of those who resisted the reformation was famously brutal. Yet in this series, Cromwell is humane and empathetic, a family man –literally cuddling kitten-- who is disgusted by torture. This would come as news to the group of Carthusian martyrs who died, horribly, after being starved and tormented on Cromwell’s watch. They refused to sign the Oath of Supremacy that meant acknowledging Henry VIII was the spiritual head of the kingdom.

The real Ambassador Chapuys (above)
also figures in Bilyeau's trilogy.
Instead, Wolf Hall creates an alternative reality. In Episode Five, Eustace Chapuys, ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor, says disapprovingly to Cromwell, “I heard you’re going to put all the monks and nuns out on the road.” This prompts a self-righteous response from Cromwell of “Wherever my commissioners go, they meet nuns and monks begging for their liberty and after the scandals I’ve heard, I’m not surprised.” 

But this is not what I learned in my research into the monastic world of the early 16th century. After the nuns were ejected from their homes with small pensions, they often banded together to live in community, trying to stay true to their vows. When Mary I ascended the throne, they joyfully returned to their priories, only to be thrown out a last time when she died and her half sister Elizabeth I succeeded. There were instances of fraud and corruption in the abbeys, but nowhere near the level that Wolf Hall assumes. A growing number of historians believe that the “corruption” found in Cromwell’s investigation was a foregone conclusion—and a pretext for the legal seizure of the vast amount of land owned by the abbeys. After all, most were endowed by pious kings going back centuries.

Wolf Hall is not alone. The C.J. Sansom Tudor mystery series also takes the position of Catholic decay and corruption, with a main character who is a Protestant lawyer (who initially works for Cromwell). When I attended the play Anne Boleyn at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 2011, I felt uncomfortable when all around me, the audience laughed at a joke about debauched monks or nodded approvingly when a heroic Tyndale entered the story, to be opposed by dimwitted enemies.  

There are historians such as Eamon Duffy who’ve written brilliant books challenging the accepted wisdom that Protestantism replaced a dying and corrupt system, and thanks to them, perceptions are changing.  In the English media, there was a storm of protest—small but loud—over the distortions in the story of Sir Thomas More in Wolf Hall.

My hope is that my series of books will find readers who are open and willing to see this tumultuous time in English history with new eyes. And that the stories of the brave women and men who were indeed “put out on the road” in the 1530s will at last be heard.

To learn more, go to


Sister Anne here: I found Nancy's historical novels quite hard to put down. If you enjoy historical fiction (and romance so clean and normal a nun can read it without blushing), look them up!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Violence, Vengeance and Virtue

In his document announcing the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on the "Works of Mercy," traditionally listed in two categories: the "Corporal Works of Mercy" (like feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned and so on--read Matthew 25) and the "Spiritual Works of Mercy" which include "instructing the ignorant" and the less popular "bear wrongs patiently."

That's what came to mind this morning in the light of yesterday's news from Baltimore. People have been wronged and some, seeing no resolution in sight, went on a rampage of destruction. Clearly, they've had enough of "bearing wrongs patiently." what does that really mean: to "bear wrongs patiently"? Is it a spiritual work of mercy to offer oneself as a doormat? Or does it simply mean to refrain from outwardly violent expressions of grievance? Aren't there sophisticated forms of destruction of property that make use of legal forms to achieve the same ends: presenting oneself as a victim of injustice by way of a lawsuit against another party that must pay the price even if it leads to their financial ruin? Is that really any less violent than what we saw in Baltimore last night?

What if "bearing wrongs patiently" is nothing other than the flip side of " 'Vengeance is mine; I will repay,' says the Lord" (Dt 32:35)? "Do not avenge yourselves; leave that to God's wrath," Paul advised (Rom 12:19). Is Paul saying "Let God hurl those thunderbolts for you"? Or rather, "allow things to play out to their naturally destructive conclusion; your adversaries will not be victorious in the end."

That takes faith! It also takes a long time. But that was the advice of the wise Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34) when the Apostles were brought to trial for teaching the inflammatory message of the Risen Jesus: "Let them alone. If this cause is merely human in origin, it will destroy itself." God's "wrath" as God's non-intervention is decidedly harder to accept than God's thunderbolts.

"Bearing wrongs patiently" is the work of mercy proper to the meek, who, Jesus (quoting Psalm 37) assures us, "will inherit the earth"--an earth that will not be ravaged by retaliatory violence. It is also fundamentally connected to two of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: fortitude and fear of the Lord, neither of which come naturally to people who are accustomed to taking justice into their own capable hands.

I see the a deep connection between the outward violence in Baltimore and the subtle violence of so many litigations related to the cause that is today being argued before the Supreme Court. No matter how the Court decides, people will need the ability to bear wrongs patiently; they will need fortitude; they will need fear of the Lord. They will need the Spirit's gift of wisdom.

We are just four weeks away from Pentecost. Will you join me in praying a daily "Come Holy Spirit" for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit to "fill the hearts of the faithful with the fire of divine love"? Here's a familiar enough version of the "Sequence" we will pray at Mass on Pentecost:

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
From the clear celestial height.
Thy pure beaming radiance give. 
Come, thou Father of the poor,
Come, with treasures which endure;
Come, thou Light of all that live! 
Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul's delightful guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow. 
Thou in toil art comfort sweet;
Pleasant coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe. 
Light immortal, Light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill. 
If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill. 
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour thy dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away. 
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray. 
Thou, on us who evermore
Thee confess and thee adore,
With thy sevenfold gifts descend. 
Give us comfort when we die;
Give us life with thee on high;
Give us joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Read All About It (in Today's @BostonGlobe)

For the benefit of NunBlog readers who are not on Twitter where I have posted copious links, today's Boston Globe features an article about my community and its mission. Remarkably (and providentially), the story was published on the anniversary of our Founder's beatification (12 years ago--and I was there!).
Sister Mary Frances watches as a truck backs
up to the shipping department's loading dock.
The story originated in Globe reporter Cristela Guerra's clever way of looking through online fundraisers for interesting leads. Remember our "audiobooks" campaign? She found it and thought, "I bet there's an interesting story behind that." The rest is history. (Except that now we are doing a different fundraiser: the sound studio needs a new shrink-wrap machine. Hopefully the Globe article will inspire someone to find that campaign!)

Cristela came to the motherhouse to see what we have going on here and to meet with the sisters, especially the sister-authors whose books were lined up to be transformed into audiobooks (thanks to that very successful fundraiser). She also called Boston native Sister Helena Burns up in Toronto--and it is Sr Helena who has the first and last words in the article, which also mentions our newly released documentary about the Founder, which Sr Helena wrote and produced.

The online article has my picture, standing here
at my desk (a bookstore display unit that I have repurposed), where the scarf we each received at the beatification is stretched across the top to hide all the drives and storage on the shelves below.

Sister Mary Paula, 88, was thrilled when the Globe photographer stationed herself in the aisle in chapel to get just the right angle of Sister praying. I was so glad for her sake that one of those pictures made the final cut in the print edition!