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Catholic Virtues Series: Caring for God’s Creation

“Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything you will...Read more

The Value of Humilty

It’s taken a long time to straighten out my understanding of humility. As a child I was taught that to say anything positive about yourself was vanity and a display of pride, one of the seven capital...Read more

Virtues Series: Prudence and the Problem of Christmas Excess

I still remember the Christmas we gave our children bogus plush toys. The craze at that time was for stuffed bears emblazoned with rainbows, shamrocks, and other colorful symbols. Their retail price,...Read more

Closing the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog about the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It included an explanation of the opening of the Holy Door in the Vatican and in basilicas around the world. Now those great...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Prayer for Integrity

My fascination with Abraham Lincoln started at a young age. I pulled a hefty tome about his assassination off my parent’s bookshelf while in fourth grade and immediately immersed myself in the story....Read more

Returning to the Virtue of Modesty

Pope Francis has served for over three years now and we still are still getting used to his humble demeanor and actions. I can still picture him riding back to his hotel on the bus, garbed in his...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Uncovering Virtue

Much as I love the season of fall, I am going to miss my mornings on the front porch. I start most summer days there, reading from a book of reflections and writing in my journal. The birds have...Read more

Cultivating the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

“What if this year we were to let the Holy Spirit turn us into people of overflowing fullness?” Brother Roger of Taizé Read more

Gifts of the Holy Spirit– Understanding

Of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, understanding seems to be the most multi-leveled. It brings to mind a Russian nesting doll in which each one opens into another and another until we reach the...Read more

Spiritual Practices: Keeping a Gratitude Journal

“What a grueling two days it’s been… Can I even give thanks for the pain and struggle?” Even now, almost twenty years after writing those words, the difficulty of that time comes back to me. It felt...Read more

Pope Francis in Mexico: Build Bridges of Compassion, Mercy, and Hope

It’s a shame that a single quote seems overshadow Pope Francis’ recent visit to Mexico. His comments about the folly of building walls versus bridges were reduced to a single sound-bite and touted...Read more

Catholic Virtue Series: Wellness and Spirituality

There is nothing like a head cold to remind me of the blessing of good health. Each time I come down with one, I am once again taken by surprise at how awful I can feel. It makes the day-by-day...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Unity in Christ

"So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:21 Read more

Catholic Schools Week Reflection: The Joy of Knowledge

When I was teaching second grade, I sometimes felt sorry for my colleagues in the upper levels. They didn’t receive the kind of love notes that appeared on my desk each morning. One of the most...Read more

World Day of Peace

It was the song that always ended our concerts, sometimes as an encore after receiving a rousing response from our parents and classmates. To this day I associate “Let There Be Peace on Earth” with...Read more

How Mercy and Love Can Heal Our Wounded World

After learning the news about the horrific terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris, I could distinctly hear my grandmother’s voice. “Have mercy!” she used to exclaim when presented with some kind of...Read more

Celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy

“I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: ‘Be merciful,...Read more

Psalm 23 Reflection: Surely Goodness and Mercy Will Follow Me

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…” Psalm 23:6 Of all the psalms, the twenty-third is certainly the most familiar. Each verse is worthy of deep reflection and...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Meek and Humble of Heart

Of all the Beatitudes, the one calling for meekness might seem the most puzzling. Isn’t it the strong and most forceful who conquer lands and acquire power? Meekness is for the weak, the naïve, or...Read more

Catholic Virtues: Image of Mercy from a Catholic Family

Growing up in a Catholic family, I was used to seeing images around our house reminding us of our faith tradition. One of the most memorable was the framed picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Hunger and Thirst for Justice

“Everybody wants to see justice done on somebody else.” Bruce Cockburn  When I taught fourth graders I quickly learned their mantra: “It’s not fair.” Being, as they were, in a stage of moral...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Honesty Is the Best Policy

As January comes to an end, I am busy collecting all the necessary forms and receipts in order to file my taxes. Each year I try to get a jump start on this but it generally takes longer than I...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Lessons in Patience

I don’t know the reason for it but I recently spent a morning feeling impatient with everyone and everything. The drivers going a few miles below the speed limit. The woman taking way too much time...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Empathy and Comfort

“Twelve Years a Slave” was on television recently and I found it no easier to watch the second time around. The same heartache enveloped me as scenes of brutality, suffering, and massive injustice...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Loyal Loved Ones

“Wherever you go, I will go…” (Ruth 1:16) These words from Ruth to her mother-in-law, Naomi, encapsulate the bond between two women from divergent families and backgrounds. The marriage of Ruth to...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: The Contagion of Joy

I love how Pope Francis has resurrected the concept of joy. In his encyclical, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), he emphasizes the importance of gladness as part of spreading the message of...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: The Legacy of Generosity

When I got the email about Ray’s death, my heart sank. It wasn’t a surprise, as the cancer in his system was depleting his energy and slowly draining the life out of him. Nevertheless, I felt as if a...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: The Value of Cooperation

A few weeks ago I mentioned the training my husband, Ron, had been doing for a 50-mile ultra-marathon. The race has been run and Ron finished in good measure, even winning third place in his age...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Creativity

“How many of you are creative?” The question generally draws only a smattering of positive responses at one of my women’s retreats. Those answering yes typically describe their talent for art or...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Moments of Reverence

I read a newspaper article the other day about how a Compline service in a large urban cathedral was attracting a large number of young adults. They come with pillows and blankets and sit or lie on...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Lenten Initiative

As the winter Olympic Games in Sochi were wrapping up, the television network played its requisite montage of memorable moments. Skiers, snowboarders, and skeleton-racers soared to new heights and...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: The Gift of Reflection

Some people start their day with coffee and the newspaper. Mine begins with orange juice and my journal. The cat is usually waiting for me to settle into my favorite chair. She then nestles beside me...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: The Grace of Stewardship

A few years ago, while serving on a parish staff, I was asked to speak at the weekend Masses on the theme of stewardship. Just as I was heading to the lectern, I heard someone mutter, “Here comes the...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Accessible Holiness

Every once in a while I come across a holy card stuck in a book. We had dozens of them when I was a child. Most were of Mary, but a number depicted various saints, each with his or her defining...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Respecting All Life

Each of my pregnancies were times of wonder, but nothing surpassed the first. Facing the prospect of motherhood was both fascinating and daunting. The latter wasn’t helped by being so far from home....Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Hospitality and Welcome

My brother likes to joke about how many people my mother could feed with a single package of deli meat. Sandwiches might have been thin, but everyone ate. If there is a single word to sum up my...Read more

Catholic Virtue Series: The Faces of Caring

“Where have you been?” Those words always stopped me in my tracks when trying to sneak past my parents’ bedroom after a too-late night. I had to come up with a feasible explanation, something...Read more

Catholic Virtue Series: Quiet Fortitude
Catholic Virtue Series: Mary’s Obedient Heart

Sometimes I wonder if the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in the middle of the night. Not in a dream, like Joseph, but in one of those wide-awake, mid-night moments when the heart opens in ways...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: Saintly Love

With All Saints Day approaching, I have been thinking about the small “s” saints in my life. My parents, saints Al and Nellie. My friends, saint John the chaplain and saint Joanie the high school...Read more

Catholic Virtues Series: The Significance of Empathy

The nuances in the Gospels are a constant source of intrigue to me, making them treasures that keep unfolding. A case in point is the healing miracle in Mark 7:32-37. In addition to being deaf, the...Read more

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