Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Bishops' Meeting in Rome February 2019

Ideas you discuss, but situations have to be discerned.
                                                            Pope Francis

      I came upon the above quote in a recent issue of Commonweal (2.22.19) in an article by Austen Ivereigh. The author was reflecting on Pope Francis’ remarks to reporters on his way home from Chile.

      Between February 20th and the 24th bishops from around the world will be meeting at the Vatican regarding the global sex abuse crisis in the Church. The summit is designed to be about conversion, a change of heart, rather than a meeting to develop and produce more norms, codes, laws or procedures. The goal of the summit is to bring about a true awareness of the suffering of the victims and to name the root of the problem. Only then can reform be effective.

      Let us support the assembled bishops in our prayer.

              Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup, OSB

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Give Civil Engagement a Chance

       Valentine hearts are not enough. To truly love, that is to regard the other in an unconditionally positive way, we must listen and be open to the person. This is needed on a personal as well as global scale. In launching One Small Step, StoryCorps©suggests, We are living through complicated days in these United States. The country is increasingly disconnected –our mutual distrust is amplified by everything from the corrosive effects of social media to the forces seeking to weaken the foundations of our democracy. Many people in American feel unheard, alone or distrustful. This project, currently being promoted by NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, is one way of bringing people together, one on one, to share their thoughts and feelings without judging or being judged.

       The Northern Kentucky Justice & Peace Committee is studying this and other possible activities to promote civil dialogue. But it’s not complicated. At the heart of every process are these basic guidelines:

  • Invite someone whose point of view is different from your own to have a conversation over coffee or lunch.
  • Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be respectful.
  • Share some of your life experiences.
  • What issues deeply concern you?
  • Be curious.  What have you always wanted to ask someone from “the other side”?

      I am drawn to take action in this way. I haven’t quite figured out who I will invite, or when, or the other specifics that need to be planned to really turn the idea into action. But writing this is my launch pad. Thank you for empowering me by listening.

      A final thought from Rumi:
                Out beyond ideas of right doing,
                wrong doing,
                there is a field.
       I’ll meet you there.

Sr. Dorothy Schuette, OSB 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Joys of February

            It’s official! February is here! Punxsutawney Phil has already predicted what the weather holds for us for the next 6 weeks.  February is my least favorite month.  Although it is the shortest; it seems like the longest to me.
            “February got its name from the Latin FEBRUUM meaning purification.  FEBRUA was a purification ritual held February 15, (full moon) where people were ritually washed.  These great festivities were to re-establish the Emperor’s focus on righteous living.” (Writer’s note:  Wouldn’t that be great!)
            It’s possible that FEBRUA (purification) had some influence on the Christian three part celebration on February 2nd.  One part is the Presentation of Jesus in the temple by Mary and Joseph. Jesus, the Son of God, is offered and redeemed by two turtledoves.  Simeon, the elderly prophet, tells Mary and Joseph that Jesus is destined to be “the Light of the world.”  Jesus, as “light,” is symbolized by candles. Second part is Candlemas Day when the Church blesses candles for use in the liturgy.  The final part of this day is Mary’s Purification.  The ritual women participated in after the birth of first born child.
            We Benedictines have a special interest in February.  The 10th is the feast of Saint Scholastica, Benedict’s twin sister; the 25th the feast of Saint Walburg, the saint for whom our monastery is named.
            Presidents’ Day February 18th (this year) celebrates our many presidents especially, Washington (22) and Lincoln (12) whose birthdays occur during this month.           
            We can’t forget Valentine Day the 14th.  According to Wikipedia “there are energy shifts toward love and compassion.  We find happiness in the simplest things.”  On Valentine Day we take the time to reflect on the love given us from others, and show them how much they mean to us.  We give valentines—by our love in words, actions, simple gifts.
            I’m ready for spring with warmer weather and more sunshine.  I have begun to look for the tiny heads of tulips, crocus, and daffodils peaking out of the ground.  Even “the Old Farmers’ Almanac said that this is the month to plant a garden. Start onion seeds, these are firmer than sets. Parsley should be started indoors.”
            Maybe it’s a good thing to have a “Leap Year” every four years, thanks to Julius Caesar’s astronomers.  Or, we may not have enough of “February” to enjoy all its l-o-n-g days.  Maybe I’ll learn to like February better.

        Sr. Kathleen Ryan, OSB