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Showing posts from July, 2013

Martha, Martha...

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A while ago, a friend of mine had to explain to me what a ‘Monica complex’ was, a reference to obsessive compulsive behaviour of one of the characters from the TV series ‘Friends’. Well, how about a ‘Martha complex’!? Today the Church celebrates the feastday of this saint who in a way suffered the fate of St. Thomas (aka Doubting Thomas) who is remembered for his lack of faith and not his discipleship after this! Monica kind of got labelled as the complaining workaholic who went to Jesus to get her sister Mary to do some work. She was also the one to reprimand Jesus for his tardiness when her brother Lazarus died! That said, the liturgy of today (at least here in Canada) gifts us with the Gospel text of Luke 10:  38-42. We are presented with the scene of Mary and Mary who welcome the Lord into their house at Bethany. Mary ‘sat and listened’. This was the usual posture of a disciple of any teacher in the ancient world. However the disciples were usually male, so Mary must have been qu…

“Sister, are you pro-life?”

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Last night, with my Rosary in hand, I watched the Dail live debate until the adjournment at 5am. With the five hour time zone difference, for me it didn’t entail an all-night session as it did for friends and fervent pro-life supporters who prayed throughout the night outside the Dail. Recently I have been posting links and coverage to the Protection of Life bill in Ireland on my social media but from some of the emails and messages received, not everyone is happy with my stance. ‘Free will’, ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’ are words that pop up quite regularly as people indicate that the posts are like ‘ramming religion down our necks’. Another broken record is the tune, ‘Look at the Church has done in the past, deal with that first before you lecture to people about morals’. There is also the other extreme. I remember being asked last year if I was pro-life. It is sad that in this day and age one has even to ask a priest or a sister or a practicing Catholic if they are pro-life…

Out and about in Downtown Toronto

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Yesterday gave me an opportunity to visit Downtown Toronto a little! After mastering the local bus and subway system, we arrived at the CN Tower. The CN Tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere and is considered one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. As of 2013, there are only two other freestanding structures in the Western Hemisphere which exceed 500 m (1,640.4 ft) in height. Apparently there is a metal staircase which reaches the main deck level after 1,776 steps. This is four times the amount of steps I was used to taking descending from our community where I had my daily lunch at the Cupola in the Vatican to our souvenir centre adjacent to the Basilica! The stairs are not open to the public, except for two times per year for charity stair-climb events. So we took the glass elevator which is lined with glass, allowing for views of the city as it makes its way up the Tower. It is pretty am…

Trip to Niagara Falls

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For those of you who have lost track of me ( I know, I lose track myself!), I am now in Toronto staying with my religious community for a few weeks. Ten days ago I had my last exam so I was free to leave Ottawa and head back to community life here in Canada until the end of August. Wednesday was spent vacating my room and packing but in the evening we took time out for pizza to welcome back our Deschatelets companions who had been travelling over these past few weeks. On Thursday I took an early bus from Ottawa to Toronto, a five hour trip on the national bus service, Greyhound. The time went by quite quickly and soon I was at Downtown Toronto perfectly on schedule. Two of our sisters kindly came to meet me and we made the journey to our community which is in York, about a good half hour from Downtown.
One of the great things about religious life is that no matter which community I go to in any part of the world, I immediately feel at home. This is the beauty of sharing in a common …

Blessed are the pure in heart: St. Maria Goretti

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Lust’s opposing virtue, chastity, deserves an equally unforgettable advocate. St. Maria Goretti knew the importance of chastity for union with God and its necessity for the wholesomeness of both personal and social life. Today we commemorate her in the liturgy of the Church.

In every age, the saints of God have proven that they were God’s servants by their lives of faith and purity of soul. In St. Maria Goretti, youth have a heavenly patroness who, in Pope John Paul’s words, is "a model of Christian life," "a model of authentic holiness," and "the Agnes of the 20th century." Not yet 12 years of age, she was a countercultural sign to a world in the process of rejecting God and genuine love.  In the 1947 Decree of Beatification of the Congregation of Rites (a section of which was transformed in 1969 into the Congregation for the Causes of Saints), we read the following concerning the heroic virtue of the young girl who died after being stabbed 14 times by …

Happy Birthday Canada!

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On the 1st of July, we celebrated what is more frequently referred to as "Canada's birthday", particularly in the popular press, the occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on 1st of July 1867.

Where better place to be for the birthday of a country than in the capital, Ottawa, the locus of the celebrations where large concerts and cultural displays are held on Parliament Hill, with the governor general and prime minister typically officiating, though the monarch or another member of the Royal Family may also attend or take the governor general's place. Rising early, myself and one of my classmates made for Parliament Hill where most of the action would be happening for the morning. Already people were ‘out and about’ (said in my best Canadian accent!), dressed in red an…