Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where mercy matters...

Today, I am blogging from a park bench in Williamsburg, VA - that's "colonial" Williamsburg. I had the great pleasure of teaching two "Church History" classes as Walsingham Academy - a magnificent Catholic school founded by the Sisters of Mercy.

I love being in a classroom. Somehow, the old teacher in me returns and I get so excited about EVERYTHING. WA is a co-ed school that goes from grades 1-12, I think. I visited the "Upper School" and was welcomed over the PA system by the principal - talk about hospitality! I was amazed by the attentiveness of the students - after all, monasticism is kind of weird. And the quality of their questions was superb. I'm so grateful to Miss Bialkowski - "Miss B.", as some students lovingly call her - for inviting me to come. I love talking about our way of life - especially to young people. Special thanks to Jonathan, my tech support. (It's never dull trying to get a computer to talk kindly with a projector!) As I post this, I'll power-down and head back to SGHS. The Sisters of Mercy have done a brilliant thing in Walsingham Academy. I bet their patron, Mother McAuley, is bragging about this wonderful school all over heaven.

Blessings and love to you all..
- Sister Vicki

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Hey, Jude..."

“Na, na, na, na-na-na, na…” Today the Church celebrates Simon and Jude, Apostles of the Lord. My Mother loved Saint Jude. In the late sixties – before her first cancer, I remember hearing the Beatles song on the radio in our wood-paneled station wagon. I thought it was about Saint Jude. How nice, I thought, that a Catholic saint made the real radio!

By 1973 my Mother’s journey into cancer had begun. Jude became important to me in a new way because Saint Jude was important to her. My Mother’s love for Jude was faithful – even as the cancer returned a second time. Cancer isn’t the only “impossible” situation and I can never know what she really asked Saint Jude to do. I have the idea, though, that Jude helped my family stay together some 15 years later when a third and final cancer took my Mother home. We were all so young, so angry and so filled with grief. There were times nearly 20 years ago, when I thought we’d never make it as a family – that our pain was too great and too particular to each of us. But time and grace transform grief into something new if we do our work.

We are a family – a circle of love and care. Three wonderful spouses have joined the circle and seven gorgeous grandchildren. And my Dad is our precious treasure – our touchstone of the past and our biggest cheerleader for our futures. Maybe, just maybe, my Mom asked Jude to take care of us – a broken circle of impossible people. I like that thought. I know she loved us more than anything in the world. And now, because of Christ, she loves us from glory – whole and radiant, free from every suffering – and gazes on GOD, face to face. Thanks, Mom. And thanks, Saint Jude. “Take a sad song, and make it better…”

Blessings and love to you all...
- Sister Vicki