Intriguing Facts about the Blessed Virgin Mary

As I worked on my latest book about Mary, my research uncovered some interesting facts. Hope you enjoy reading them: • This is the fact I found most interesting: During the Middle Ages Europe’s crops were plagued by pests. After farmers prayed to Mary, beetles appeared that preserved the crops. These beetles were dubbed ladybugs…

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Mary, God’s Mother and Mine

It’s May, Mary’s month, and the month we celebrate Mother’s Day. The other day I was thinking about my relationship with our Blessed Mother. She has been woven all through the tapestry of my life. So this week’s blog is rather like a memoir. I remember as a child I drew Mary over and over,…

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Glory to God!

Recently I edited a paper about God’s glory and realized this would be a fitting topic for an Easter blog post. Glory has several meanings. When we speak of God’s glory we mean his intrinsic holiness, his majesty, splendor, beauty, transcendence. It is so overwhelming that Moses had to hide his face when God passed…

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Father Thomas, Hero of the Titanic

Previously I posted about a heroic woman, Rosemary Koenig. Last week a friend alerted me to a heroic man I was not aware of:  Rev. Thomas Byles, who went down when the Titanic sank in April, 1912. Today I would like to introduce you to him. Born in Yorkshire the oldest of seven children, Thomas…

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Less Meat Protects Earth

Did you know that April is Earth Month, and April 22 is International Earth Day? Pam Waitinas, an SND Associate, asked me to promote Meatless Mondays on this website. I was not familiar with this movement. Katie Drager, the co-director of my community’s Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office, provided ample information for me.…

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Happy Easter!

When I was a child, I loved Easter. For days Mom would be at the stove decorating Easter eggs by dipping a straight pin into melted beeswax and creating delicate designs. On Friday we tried not to talk from noon until 3:00 p.m. and went to church for stations. On Saturday we took a basket…

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Making Suffering Meaningful

Who hasn’t suffered? Suffering may stab us periodically, like a toothache or a friend’s betrayal. Or we may be awash in it constantly, as when we have a chronic illness. The mystery of suffering has always tormented us—in particular, why do the innocent suffer? Why is there such devastating misery in Ukraine? No answer satisfies.…

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A Modern Day Holy Woman (Part II)

As editor of the Christ Our Life textbook series, I once lived in Chicago to facilitate reaching the publishing deadline. For two weeks I lived in a convent that was a bus ride away from the publishing house. Then for the remaining eight weeks, Father Flaherty, the Jesuit director of the company, located a place…

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Saints Canonized and Not (Part 1)

Recently a religion teacher told me that when she asked her students to name saints, they were stymied…until they began naming schools nearby named St. Something. What a pity that saints are not better known! Why is this? For one thing, many babies are named, not for saints, but for the sound or creativeness of…

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Sisters of Notre Dame Crucifix and Its Artist

This morning during meditation I asked the Holy Spirit for an idea for this blog. During the past years I’ve already covered most topics related to our faith. This creative Spirit did not disappoint. As I sat down before my computer, strangely my crucifix was clearly reflected, centered, in the shiny black apple at the…

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God’s Compliments

A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil. ~ Victor Hugo It’s predictable: In Hallmark movies when two dating people are dressed up to go out, the man says, “You are beautiful,” and the woman replies, “You look good yourself,” or words to that effect. People in love and friends are quick to…

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The Cross of Christ, a Redeeming Symbol

On Ash Wednesday, people around the world will have a cross traced on their foreheads with ashes. It is a sign of death, but also of new life, thanks to Christ. My favorite crucifix used to hang in Cleveland Benedictine’s St. Andrew Abbey. It showed Jesus on the cross … but he was leaping off…

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A Lenten Resurrection and the Pieta

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday! What happened? It seems like I just put away the Christmas decorations. As I get older, time seems to be on fast forward. As we edge toward Lent, it’s time to decide what we will make of it this year. How will we invigorate our spiritual selves? Repeat our New…

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Everyday Miracles per St. Augustine

Today I read a news item that said that the core of Earth is a liquid-solid as hot as the sun and affects our magnetic field. And here we are walking around on Earth’s surface without a thought for its monstrous blazing hot center that keeps us in existence. Over the course of time humankind…

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Caring for Yourself for Valentine’s Day

We are in the month of Valentine’s Day, when we focus on love. What might seem like a detour, I’m writing today not about expressing love for your beloved, but about showing love for yourself. When Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” he presumed that we love ourselves. There are good reasons…

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When You Need a Life Jacket

Years ago when I was overwhelmed by a seemingly impossible task and beset by criticism, lack of support, and bad luck, a woman I didn’t know came to visit. She proposed another job for me to consider taking on. As I walked her to her car, I said, “Pray for me.” Right then and there…

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Laughs for a Winter Day

If your weather is like ours here in Chardon, Ohio, it might be time for a little lightheartedness. So here is a collection of winter/Christmas cartoons that I posted on Facebook. Enjoy! Remember, as a real human being, Jesus laughed too. The movie “Chosen” portrays him this way. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend…

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When Your Prayer Life Is Stuck

Last week I reread my book “Praying on Empty.” You might find some thoughts from it helpful—if not now, sometime later… My God, grant that I may love you, and grant that the only reward of my love will be to love you always more and more. A priest advised a man who couldn’t pray…

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Amanda Gorman’s Encouraging Poem for the New Year

In case you haven’t seen this yet: A poem for the New Year by Amanda Gorman, who writes: “This is such a unique New Year’s Day, because even as we toast our glasses to the future, we still have our heads bowed for what has been lost. I think one of the most important things…

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St. John’s Many Hats

St. John’s feast day is a mere two days after Jesus’s birthday. This is appropriate, for John was exceptionally close to him. In fact, I use John as a model when I give my talk “Intimacy with Jesus.” Many churches are named in his honor. The cathedral church of Rome is the basilica known as…

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A Fly’s Lesson on Prayer

This is an odd sort of blog post, but the Spirit moves me to write it. At liturgies in our Notre Dame chapel, I sit in the front row, where I can hear better. This past week before Mass a fly was on the white cloth on the altar. Then he lit on the lectionary.…

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Advent Overshadowing of the Holy Spirit

The three so-called Advent figures are the Blessed Virgin Mary (of course), John the Baptist (the Lord’s precursor), and the prophet Isaiah (who spoke of the Messiah and God’s kingdom). To my thinking, the predominant Person was omitted from this line up, namely, the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Father sent the Son to save humankind,…

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Adventing in Advent

It’s the night before a new post goes up, and I just discovered that I forgot to set this one for last week at the top of the list. So for the sake of those who didn’t see it, here it is again this week! As a teacher, I presented Advent as the season to…

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The Value of Little Things

Christmas is more than a month away (although you wouldn’t think so judging from the displays in stores). However, this post is a reflection on gifts—small gifts that can be given anytime. You’ve probably heard the saying “Good things come in small packages” and the rejoinder “Like dynamite and arsenic.” Nevertheless, there are multiple cases…

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Hands of Blessed Mother Mary

Last week I wrote about the hands of Jesus. This week I’m giving a talk about his mother, Mary, at a local parish, and this prompted me to write about her hands now. Mary did not have the soft, pampered hands of a queen, but the strong, capable hands of a working woman. As a…

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Human Hands of Jesus

When I was a high school freshman, my first article was published. The piece, “The Hands Tell the Story,” was printed in our school’s literary publication. I thought of it now that I’ve developed a trigger finger, which has made me pay more attention to my hands. This has also led me to reflect on…

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Saints: Flawed Heroes

Happy Halloween (Saints’ Eve) and Happy Feast of All Saints! What pops into your mind when you hear the word saint? Do you think of someone pale and sickly, serious (if not downright grim), clothed in religious garb and living in caves or on clouds? Actually the saints had their feet on the ground. They…

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Pros and Cons of Criticism

A friend was deciding whether to volunteer to be a reader at Mass. I warned her that if she did read, she had to be ready for feedback, not from the mike but from people! She might hear things like “You were too soft.” “You were too loud.” “You were too fast.” “You were too…

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The Rosary Musn’t Be a Mystery

This post is mostly a repetition of a former one, but it is still appropriate. October is the month of the rosary, no doubt because October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. This feast originated with the Battle of Lepanto when, against all odds, Christians overcame the Muslim forces attacking…

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Angels at Work for Jesus and Us

This has been a week of celebrating angels: September 29, Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael; and October 2, our guardian angels. Science cannot prove that angels exist. Neither can it prove that they don’t exist. Believing in angels is a matter of faith. As Catholics, we accept the Church’s word that there are angels in…

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Season of Creation

The Season of Creation runs from September 1 to October 4 (Feast of St. Francis of Assisi). In honor of this season, I present (again) the Introduction to my book Voices: God Speaking in Creation . . . I said to the almond tree, “Sister, speak to me of God.” And the almond tree blossomed.…

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Announcement

Here is a link about a free app that you might find helpful. Its creator, Ryan Bilodeau, explains: “At a time when we as a society are facing unprecedented moral challenges, the app collects, categorizes, and stores the Church’s official moral teachings in one place. Searching through the Catechism of the Catholic Church can be…

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Humility, Humus, and Humiliations

When I was in the novitiate, each Monday we were assigned an act of humility. Of the four possible practices, the easiest was to pray Cardinal Merry del Val’s “Litany of Humility.” Some lines from this prayer are “From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me,…

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Perfume and Anointing, Lavish Gifts

One day when I was riding a rapid transit in Arabia, I stood beside a young Muslim woman garbed in black. Her fragrance was so enticing that I asked what it was. She said it was jasmine. Perfume and cologne are a big business. We all like to smell good! Here is a chapter from…

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The Power of Names

Parents usually spend a great deal of time deciding on a name for their child. The name might honor a family member like grandma or reflect a certain attribute like strength. It might simply sound good. Did anyone ever make fun of your name? If so, that was an insult. Our name represents us. We’re…

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Serendipities: Coincidence or God’s Finger

Last week a strange thing happened. My novel The Book of Ruth: A Tale of Great Loves had just come out. At our provincial center we sign up to do the Mass readings. For the Friday reading someone had erased her name, and no one signed to replace her. Although I had recently read, I…

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Advice from Two Spiritual Experts

Arguably the world needs joy more than ever as we grapple with the natural disasters of fire, hurricanes, earthquakes and Covid in addition to human-made tragedies such as the horror in Afghanistan and the surge of refugees in our southern border. Besides these challenges, some of us are dealing with personal tragedies. How do we…

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Prayer in Time of Need

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoRBAOY_yf4 Click on this link and you will see me interviewed about my latest novel, Book of Ruth: A Tale of Great Loves. ) This past week two sources introduced me to a new way to pray: a book by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser (Forgotten among the Lilies) and a TV broadcast by Dr. Charles Stanley…

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Conquering the Vocation Crisis

It’s no secret that the number of priests and consecrated religious in the Catholic Church is in free fall. A sad 20% of parishes have no resident pastor. Today there are about a quarter of the religious sisters that there were in the 1960s. The words of Jesus can hardly be more relevant: “The harvest…

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Loyalty and Faithfulness: Ruth, Naomi, God

Immigration, infertility, fidelity, and catastrophes that make one question God—all these are threads woven through the tale of Ruth. They make this book in Scripture (God’s word to us) a book for today. The following words of commitment are incorporated in some wedding ceremonies: “Wherever you go, I will go; where you will lodge, I…

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Inspired, Empowered by the Holy Spirit

Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, was the President of Notre Dame University for 35 years. He was also involved in myriad government, international, and Church projects. One day someone asked him, “So, how’d you do it all?” Fr. Hesburgh replied, “Every morning, I pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ … and away we go.” I love that story.…

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Art for Faith, Creating and Appreciating

This week my book Jumbo Book of Art Ideas for school and home was published. It contains directions for over 300 art projects, many of them accompanied by beautiful samples created by my Sisters of Notre Dame—all in color. This prompts me to reflect this week on art’s role in fostering our faith. As you…

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Presumed Guilty

I just finished reading the book A Stone for a Pillow: Journeys with Jacob by Madeleine L’Engle, famous author of A Wrinkle in Time. This book based on the biblical story of Jacob is quite different. In it L’Engle weaves in many personal experiences. One in particular that she mentions several times was an unsettling…

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God Loves You…Unconditionally

Here is a very abridged chapter from my book, A Love Affair with God: Twelve Traits. It’s entitled “Presence.” When we love a person we long to be with them. Meister Eckhart asserted, “No human being has ever desired anything as much as God desires to be with him or her.” At the Last Supper…

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Modern Penance: Lemons into Lemonade

Saints of old practiced what we would consider bizarre penances. St. Thomas More wore a hair shirt under his clothing. In pictures St. Rose of Lima has a crown of roses. She actually wore a thick silver circlet with spikes on the inside (like a crown of thorns). When I entered the convent, we were…

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What Did Jesus Look Like?

The other day a few of us were discussing how Jesus looked. Not surprisingly, our opinions differed. He lived 2,000 years ago before cameras were invented. And he was Jewish, which meant that images were forbidden. (The first commandment forbade idols.) Therefore we have no accurate picture of him. This has not stopped people from…

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Joy, a Gift from God

One of my most precious memories is pushing my four-year-old nephew in a wheelbarrow on a farm. He was laughing hysterically and this made me laugh. Life is full of joyful moments like that one. Reflecting on them warms the heart. We feel joy when someone does us a favor, when we accomplish a difficult…

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The Sacred Heart Is Not Passe

This Friday is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It fittingly occurs during June, the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart. To some people this title for Jesus smacks of times gone by. On the contrary, the concept of the Sacred Heart is relevant and meaningful. Take the idea of heart. To us,…

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Mary’s Visitation

May ended with a bang: On May 31 we celebrated the Visitation and Memorial Day. At our Mass in the Notre Dame chapel, Father Jay wove together three events. He pointed out that Mary surrendered her life to God and this showed in her loving service to Elizabeth, our veterans gave their lives to serve…

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The Bible: God Speaks

Don’t expect God to talk to you on your cell phone. He doesn’t zoom or text either. God communicates through the written word in a sacred book: the Bible. For thousands of years people have found strength, courage, and comfort in Scripture. It is a powerful book because it is God’s Word. One way to…

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The Significance of a Name

An important role of new parents is naming their child. It used to be that Catholic parents named their baby for a saint, like Patrick, or for a feast, like the Assumption. Nowadays they choose a name to honor a relative, like Aunt Caroline, or to imitate an idol, like Taylor Swift, or to be…

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The Power of a Compliment or Lack Thereof

I was going to write this week’s post about paying compliments. Then I discovered that one on that topic that I wrote six years ago had value (with some revision). So I compliment myself: Good work, Kathleen! I recall once introducing my niece to someone and remarking what a great job she does at her…

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Creation Praises Its Creator

This is not the blog post I intended to write. But then a friend emailed me this incredible video, which I had to see twice. Morning prayer included the Canticle from Daniel 3:57-88, which calls on all creatures to “bless the Lord.” One line is “You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord.” Simply…

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The Marvelous Gift of Music and Song

This week two friends informed me of outstanding pieces of music. I found the pieces on youTube and was delighted to listen to them. Music has the power to lighten our spirits and move us to tears. It makes our feet tap and our hands clap. It moves us to get up and dance. Animals…

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Our Father: The Lord’s Prayer and Ours

Every day I pray the Our Father in the Rosary and in Morning and Evening Prayer in the Divine Office, and (before COVID) at Mass. Often I glide over the words unconscious of what I am saying. St. Teresa of Avila taught that slowly and reflectively praying this prayer and the Hail Mary are sufficient…

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A Happy, Happy Easter

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been experiencing a number of deaths, in particular friends and Sisters. Thank goodness, there is Easter to remind us that this world of ours isn’t the end. A whole new world lies on the other side, and it’s supposed to be more breathtaking than this gorgeous one…

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The Stone Rolled Away: Resurrection

“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.” Luke 24:2 On the morning of the resurrection, women who went to the Lord’s rock-hewn tomb found that the stone blocking the entrance was rolled away. In Matthew’s account, the women saw an angel move…

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Easter Special

Happy Easter! May we all experience new life. Here is a moving rendition of a version of the popular “Hallelujah” for your enjoyment and refection. I especially like it because the lyrics appear with the hymn. The singers are sisters.

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Celebrating Spring as We’re Sprung from Our Lockdowns

It’s spring! We are watching the woods on our property, waiting for the light green haze they give off before the trees burst with leaves. Increasing numbers of birds are singing and flying by our windows. On social media people are posting photos of crocuses and snowdrops peaking through the soil. Soon our dry, brown…

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St. Patrick, Fact and Fiction

Because my name is Kathleen, occasionally someone will ask me if I’m Irish. I’m not, except on March 17, when suddenly everyone is Irish. We eat corned beef and cabbage, wear green, decorate with shamrocks, dance an Irish jig, and sing “Danny Boy.” The Chicago River has already been dyed green as usual. All of…

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Putting up with Pet Peeves

The other day someone asked me a question. Before I had a chance to open my mouth, a person about three yards away called out the answer. Now that irritated me! Nevertheless, it did some good, because it suggested the topic for this week’s blog: pet peeves. I think every human being is irked by…

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God Knitting Our Marvelous Body

“You knit me together in my mother’s womb. . . . I was being made in secret, intricately woven” (Psalm 139:13–15). What a beautiful figure of speech for our Creator God! The artwork here depicts God as an old man. Knitting, however, is usually the work of a woman. Maybe someday an artist will draw…

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Going the Extra Mile (Especially in Lent)

This morning I saw a commercial for a car inviting people to “go the extra mile.” Now that is a good slogan for a Christian. After all, Jesus taught us disciples, “If anyone wants to sue you and take you coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile,…

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Perseverance to Mars and Heaven During Lent

On February 18, 2021, the rover Perseverance is to land on Mars and collect samples. This achievement is the result of NASA’s perseverance. Perseverance, or persistence, is a virtue. Its partner patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Perseverance takes courage, a gift of the Holy Spirit. How is your New Year’s resolution going?…

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The Greatest Love of All

Today I saw this posted on Facebook: “The sweetest time of the day is when you pray because you’re talking to the one who loves you the most.” Valentine’s Day is a good time to reflect on God’s love for us. We all crave to be loved. Sometimes we need to know we are loved…

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Poems for Poetry Lovers and Others (Repeat)

(This post was unavailable for some time last week due to technological problems, so I’m repeating it.) Even if you are not a fan of poetry, I think you would enjoy Sister Mary Doreen’s poems. When she died this year, she left behind a legacy of more than 300 of them. They are simple and…

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Leaving Home for Sake of the Mission

My friend Andy Woconish, who ministered with me at St. Dominic Church, wrote an imaginative piece on a Gospel story that I think will make you chuckle. He agreed to be my guest blogger this week. . . . This coming Sunday we hear a familiar gospel story about the call of the first Apostles…

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Some Uplifting Thoughts for Trying Times

Last week Amy Cattapan interviewed me about my newest book A Love Affair with God: Twelve Traits. It was the first time I was interviewed live with my face (and my apartment) showing. The interview is now on youtube. A friend who watched it commented that it was “a grand slam.” When I thanked Amy…

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Joseph, the Silent Saint Gets His Year

Pope Francis declared this year “the year of St. Joseph.” It’s about time! Joseph can teach us many things. Long ago I heard a bishop recount in a homily how at Christmas his mother would set up the Nativity scene at their house. Every year she would take the stable and figurines out of the…

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A Mentally Healthy New Year Review

The end of a year is a good time to look back and assess the 365 past days. The year 2020 is generally considered a terrible year, one that we will be glad to be rid of. Everyone has experienced disappointments if not suffering during this unprecedented time. Psychologists recommend ending each day with a…

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Season of Love: Divine Intimacy

As promised, here is the first chapter of my book “A Love Affair with God: Twelve Traits.” Merry Christmas! 1 An Unlikely Couple To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him, the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement. ~ St. Augustine Do you ever lie awake at…

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God’s Amazing Love at Christmas: Divine Intimacy

Christmas is a celebration of God’s love: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” Just in time for Christmas I finished writing “A Love Affair with God: Twelve Traits.” Although one publisher considered the book “too romantic,” I was guided by St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila,…

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Thoughts on Advent

Father Tom Weber gave this homily during Advent one year. I like the twist at the end. A couple of months ago, I went over to the Department of Motor Vehicles bureau in Mayfield Heights. I took a seat along the wall and after a while, a clerk asked me, “What are you waiting for?”…

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Ideas for Safe Celebrating

This year we are challenged to keep in touch with family and friends in meaningful ways in order to celebrate our holidays. My friend Roman Vaynshtok, founder of the Peace and Balance Reiki Center, emailed me the following suggestions that you might wish to adopt. Holidays ideas during the pandemic. First things are first. There…

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Meditation on a Sinner, Zacchaeus

Today’s Gospel was the story of Zacchaeus. It reminded me of the time I led a class of ninth graders through a reflection on it. The next day they surprised me by asking for another prayer like that one. Wow! I saved the reflection, and for what it’s worth I’m presenting it here. It may…

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A Woman Saint for Our Time: Julie Billiart

A question on Facebook today was, “Will you still serve God if Christianity becomes a felony?” That might seem a farfetched question at first. But in view of the chaos in our country recently—vandalized religious statues, attacks on churches; attempts to eliminate God in schools, in the Pledge of Allegiance, and on our coins—the question…

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Links for the Eucharist and a Powerful Song

This past week I enjoyed two programs that I think you would also like. The first is a talk on the Eucharist, life, and art. The presentation includes much artwork, for which the Reverend Alexander Gorklavs, an Orthodox priest, gives many insights. You might skip the introductions and begin at 10.01. The talk is followed…

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Autumn Reflections

Trees aglow with amazing fall colors surround our provincial center. How grateful I am to live where we experience all four seasons. Each one has its own beauty, but in my opinion autumn is the most spectacular. The red, orange, and gold leaves are simply glorious. But how quickly they fall! (Is this why fall…

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Don’t Fret. Be Patient. God Cares.

On Sunday mornings I like to watch Dr. Charles Stanley while I eat breakfast. This week he mentioned that God says, “Do not fret,” three times in Psalm 37. I had to check it. He was right. This was new to me, although I did know that in the Bible God says, “Do not be…

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Down with Bible Illiteracy!

Last week on “Jeopardy” the final “answer” was “He tells his Son not to worry about the lamb for the burnt offering. God will provide it.” The brainy contestants wrote Joseph, Job, and Jonah. None of them recognized one of the most famous stories in the Bible: Abraham and his willing sacrifice of his son…

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Reading My Way Through the Virus

Like many others are experiencing, lockdown has given me extra time. My talks and retreats have been cancelled. No more lunches or parties off our property. The upside of this deprivation is that besides writing more books, I’ve been able to read more. Here are a few: A retreat on images of Mary in art…

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Holy Angels on Earth and in Heaven

Today is September 29, feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. The day after tomorrow we will be in October, the month dedicated to the angels. And October 2 is the feast of our Guardian Angels. You probably memorized the prayer to your guardian angel: “Angel of God, my guardian dear . . .”…

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God Speaking in Dreams

This week I read a book that in part promoted listening to God’s messages in your dreams. I tried it that night, but my many dreams were so jumbled I couldn’t glean any message from them. I figured that way of communicating with God was not for me. Then last night loud and clear I…

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Can You Help Parents, Teachers, and Me?

RESOURCE 1: Today Covid-19 makes it necessary for parents to more fully carry out their role as the chief teachers of their children. It also means that children are spending more time at home and in the house. Parents are faced with the question, How do I keep them busy and in a meaningful way?…

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Covid and Creativity

My friend Jodie Bowers, a pastoral minister with whom I worked at St. Dominic Parish in Shaker Heights, has written a reflection that I thought was worth sharing. Here it is: One of the blessings of the pandemic has been the invitation to slow down and live with mindfulness and intention. Breathe deeply and exhale. As our…

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Trust in the Time of Pandemic

Some time ago a friend gave me this little bird along with the scripture verse “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feed them. Are you not you more important than they?” (Matthew 6:26) The bird sits next to my…

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Tips for Writing and Common Mistakes

I think we have an innate drive to teach others what we know. Parents constantly teach their children how to walk, talk, say thank you, and in general how to live as a good human being. By sharing what they know, mentors at work prepare others to do their job. Of course, the most important…

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Tiny Things That Bring Happiness

Recently someone posted on Facebook a list of tiny things that bring joy. I wish I had copied it. Because I didn’t, I’ve come up with my own list. At the end is something worthwhile that I did copy: a reflection on happiness. Although it is attributed to Pope Francis and sometimes to a poet…

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Nuggets from a Retreat on Marian Artwork

My annual retreat this year was via Zoom and presented by Father Terry Grachanin, an artist. The topic was Marian art through the ages. Some concepts were new to me, and I thought they might be new to you too. So in this post I will share a few of them. The retreat was in…

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Staying Positive During COVID-19

A Sunday church bulletin offered the following suggestions for staying sane and happy (or at least not depressed) while living through our present ordeal. I thought they were worth sharing with you: Limit your intake. You could watch 24-hour news channels, listen to dire warnings on the radio, or visit countless websites and be bombarded…

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Funny Cartoons During COVID-19

Every day I’ve been posting humorous cartoons on Facebook. Several people have told me how much they enjoy them. We need something to lighten our spirits when it is easy to be overwheled with bad news. In case you are not my “friend” on Facebook, this week I’m providing thirty of the funniest cartoons for…

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Ten Occupations in COVID Isolation

When I was a child, my mom was fortunate to own a green book called What Can I Do Now, Mother? It was filled with creative projects to keep a child busy and out of her hair. Without it, the four of us kids would have spent many days bored and whining. Nowadays do you…

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Laughter, the Best Medicine

Isn’t it amazing how during ordeals, people still find or create something to laugh about? Look at the number of jokes, cartoons, and puns on Facebook nowadays! I was going to write a post on laughter because in these times we need it. Then I remembered I had already written one. So here it is,…

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Devilish Distractions

Once at a Christmas party while we were dining, my three-year-old grandnephew stood at the table crying hard. My brother-in-law said to him, “Go get Grandpa a cookie.” Instantly the little boy stopped bawling and went off in search of a cookie. My brother-in-law commented to me, “Your sister taught me how to distract him…

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Heart of Jesus: Sacred and Human

Today I finished writing a book about God’s love for us and our love for God and sent it off to a publisher. In the process I learned a few things. Because we are in the month of June, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart, let’s focus on the love of Jesus for us.…

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Holy Spirit and Pentecost

In honor of Pentecost, the celebration of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the Church, here is the introduction to my newest book: The Holy Spirit: Font of Love, Life, and Power. Introduction At first I was tempted to title this book “The Holy Spirit: Our Superhero.” Since the 1930s, people have been intrigued with superheroes…

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A Saint for Our Time: St. Julie Billiart

Many people have never heard of St. Julie Billiart. She happens to be the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame and the spiritual mother of us Coesfeld Notre Dames. I remember in grade school praying for her canonization, which occurred fifty years ago. In honor of that anniversary, we Chardon SNDs had planned a…

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May and Mary, Our Blessed Mother

A recent post on Facebook read something like this: This month is called May because it may rain, it may snow, it may be 70º, or it may be 20º. No matter what the weather, something that doesn’t change is Mary’s love for us, her God-given children. And the month of May is dedicated to…

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My Brother’s Keeper?

This morning I read an article about Bishop Gregory Mansour, the Maronite bishop of Brooklyn. I once helped him with writing a religious series for Maronite children. I knew him to be a kind, humble man. The article revealed his love for people. As the bishop walked down the street, he saw a man who…

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A Journey with Jesus: Emmaus and Pandemics

When I visited the Holy Land, our first stop was “Emmaus,” where we were told no one knows where Emmaus really is. This was confirmed when a friend emailed me that his friend on a pilgrimage had a similar experience. His Franciscan guide asked, “Is there anything else you want to see?” The friend said,…

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The Resurrection and Stones

The Easter Season lasts fifty days, so the following chapter from my book Voices: God Speaking in Creation is still appropriate. Each chapter is a reflection on a physical object mentioned in Scripture. This chapter draws lessons from a stone: They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they…

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Easter Story for All God’s Children

I was asked to make a video of me reading the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus for children from one of my books. During this holiest of weeks—especially if you are sequestered with children—you may find this video helpful. It can be found by clicking on the link below, which takes you…

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Humor and Inspiration in the Age of the Coronavirus

During this dark and terrifying time, our sense of humor and urge to encourage one another are healthy. For your delight and inspiration, this week I’m presenting twelve images I’ve shared on Facebook and one fascinating video that shows what the human race can accomplish when we work together. Finally, at the very end is…

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Teaching Children about the Crucifixion

Moms and dads and grandparents might find the following article I wrote helpful now that we are approaching Holy Week. Feel free to pass it on! How should you speak to your child about Our Lord’s suffering and death? Convey this powerful story cautiously, sensitive to the impact it will have on your child. Impressions…

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To Hoard or to Share

The news is carrying stories and photos of depleted shelves in stores. Facebook users are sharing cartoons of people stocking up on food, sanitizers, and toilet paper. The current pandemic is transforming many people into hoarders. They are trying to be proactive—preparing for the future. As a result, people who really need some of these…

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Music as a Pathway to God

Saturday evening I had the joy of attending a concert by the Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall. The main number was Mendelssohn’s Symphony #2, which is also known as “Hymn of Praise.” It is a series of Scripture passages, mostly from Psalms, set to music and sung by a mighty chorus, two sopranos, and a…

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Listening to the Spirit in Lent

During a Day of Recollection recently, in a talk “Engaging the Spirit Within” I pointed out that God dwells within us—a fundamental truth of our faith that we don’t often remember. In the depths of our being, the Holy Spirit, the Person responsible for sanctifying us, frequently nudges us to perform good acts. We used…

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Psalms: God’s Love Poems

I was going to write a post on the psalms but then discovered that I already had written three of them! Here is one resurrected from the past: Did you know that we pray to St. Anthony for lost articles because he once lost his Psalter and the AWOL novice who took it came back…

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The Human Body: A Physical Wonder

Recently I read a book that referred to our body as a physical wonder. This prompted me to reflect on the truth of that statement. The wonder of our bodies was brought home to me most powerfully after weeks of experiencing excruciating pain in my upper arm. To my surprise, the doctor’s diagnosis was a…

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Happy Quotations and Advice

Recently I exclaimed to someone that I was “very, very happy.” Coincidentally a friend of mine is giving a talk on happiness at the college I attended, and I’ve just read a book about happiness. Wikipedia defines it as an emotion or mental state ranging from contentment to intense joy. It is a goal that…

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Competition—Good or Not?

Superbowl 2020 is over, and the Kansas City Chiefs are the winners. This is one of the most watched competitions. It seems we are hard-wired to engage in competitions. We grow up competing in various ways. In school we participate in spelling bees. We play games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey where one…

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The Holy Spirit: The Hidden God

My newest book is published and available. It is about the Third Person in God: the Holy Spirit. The introduction to the book says what I wish to say about the book, so I reproduced it here. If you would like a copy of this book, please purchase it directly from me so that my…

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Coping with Death

In January it seems we attend more funerals and send more sympathy cards than usual. Whether death comes as a relief after a long illness or as an unexpected shock, dealing with it is difficult. Our faith tells us that death is only the door to new, eternal life where we will be with God…

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The Value of Christmas Cards

For decades my mother saved all her Christmas cards. Each year she rubber-banded them and put them in brown bags. Some people might call her a hoarder, but these cards were precious to her. My cards this year are hanging from my kitchen counter as seen above. The are part of my Christmas decorations and…

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Christmas Musings

Mary Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here is a Christmas gift for you: Two reflections from my book Heart to Heart with Mary: Love Made Flesh December 24 My child, some things are so awesome that words fail us. Imagine what it was like to hold my newborn son in my arms knowing he…

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A Cat Christmas Story

In a Christmas letter this year, a friend whose pet cat had died recounted how she noticed a calico cat roaming her property. It was “small, skinny, and timid.” She didn’t take it into her house but let it return to the woods. Regularly the cat came around, and the woman brought it lunch by…

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Kindness for a Better World

We are in Advent, preparing to celebrate God’s incredible act of kindness to us human beings. Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, meaning that God is alive and active in us. On the Internet I saw a list of things considered good etiquette. This inspired me to draw up a list of twenty…

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A Layman Answers Why Are You Catholic?

Len Calabrese, a friend of mine, wrote an article for the series “Why I Am Catholic” in his parish’s Gesu News. Thinking that his reflection is a good refresher for all of us Catholics, I asked Len for permission to share it on my blog. Here’s hoping that it evokes a deeper appreciation of your…

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Advice for a Happy Thanksgiving Dinner

In the Pastor’s Notes of the bulletin from St. Dominic Church (where I spent many happy years) Father Tom Fanta offers some tips for a pleasant and holy Thanksgiving. I thought they were worth sharing and think you will too: There is always a bit of tension as families prepare to gather for a holiday.…

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