Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Many Facets

Greetings and blessings from Beautiful Minnesota!  The fall colors these beginning October days are simply spectacular!  In fact, I feel called not to be sitting at the computer!  I do want to stay in touch with you, however, in spite of my weeks of absence, so here I am.  What do you call this:  the tension of inside/outside, of breathing out and taking in?  All of life seems characterized by this, as Fr. Timothy Radcliffe recently described – even love itself.  Love’s dimensions need to be both intimacy and allowing the beloved his/her own space.  Life is never one-dimensional.  So I struggle with blogging.

This brings me to my heart’s desire.  St. Paul says it:  I want to know the height and the depth of Christ, the Word of God – and the length and width of Christ’s Presence and Meaning in life.  It is something of which I have no control, and so I pray for it, this experience of the multi-dimensional richness of relationship in Christ.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


One of our Sisters lost her cell phone.  She would be set back terribly in her professional work if she did not find it.  Besides, where would she find the money to buy a new one?  She had calls to make and could not do it.  Lots of stress and distress.  The last time she had touched the phone was in a church two hours away, to turn it off.  My mind went to the suspicious.  There was a family with small boys behind us.  Did one of them sneak an entry into her purse?  
Unexpectedly Sister had met a friend at the church.  At the discovery of the loss, Sister called her friend to ask her to look for it in and around the pew where we had sat.  A telephone call came this morning:  would the friend say she couldn’t find it?  (If someone else had found it, it could be gone forever.)
The cell phone was found in the sacristy of the church.  Whoever had found it at the pew had placed it in a safe place where the owner could find it.
The loss of a cell phone is an every-day kind of grief that takes place for all of us sooner or later.  It’s just a tiny example of the many sufferings of life.  In her book, The Emergent Christ,  Ilia Delio makes a big point that suffering is connected with love.  God is love.  How can one embrace the suffering from having lost one’s cell phone?  On hind sight, at least, one can see points of love in the story above.  The friend was there for Sister.  The one who found it respected that the owner would be delighted to have the phone. 

Monday, August 29, 2011


Have you noticed how often the word “love” is appearing in advertisements?  The word “love” must have an attraction to draw the attention of people more than it used to have.  I wonder about that, because it seems we are being called more and more to be a loving people. This love is being  expressed  through relationships in a diversity of cultures, in and through the social media, in a growing volunteerism, etc.
Are we growing from a culture focused primarily on being rational, having “the facts”, judging, counting, and categorizing everything as things to a more relational mode of living?   In the book The Social Animal, David Brooks tells of the difference between how North Americans and Chinese respond to a test to categorize the subjects in a picture of a cow, a chicken, and grass.  The North Americans point out that the cow and the chicken are animals.  The Chinese  put  the cow and the grass together because they are related.    

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We Measure Everything


Picture this:  lunch together at the motherhouse:  one missionary Sister with her guest-- a citizen of Tanzania, Africa--, myself and my brother  from the Black Hills of South Dakota.  My brother asks of the Tanzanian, “How much rainfall do you get?”  The Tanzanian laughs and says:  “You Americans, you measure everything!  We just know when we have enough rain for the crops, or not enough.” 

These days of this dome of heat together with an amount of humidity surpassing any record for 28 states so far, I wonder how we would do if we just relied on experience and said, “It’s hot out there.  Grandma should stay inside for now.”  Of course, the meteorologists would be out of a job, which would not be good..  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Time Out

I am up and running!  I have heard it said not to wait until you are sick or dying to improve your relationship with God.  It is not easy to pray when one is sick.  Nor is it easy to blog.  About a month ago I had emergency surgery to remove a perforated appendix, and I am just coming back from that.

How are you?  I pray that you are noticing more and more how God our Father tenderly cares for you in the little things as well as in the big, as I have been learning during this “time out” from the usual.  May God bless you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Way of Jesus

Sometimes we do the “non-reign of God” thing because we do not know what else to do.  We killed Osama bin Laden to make the world safer and yet we know from Jesus’ teaching that the way to go is to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.

I would rather do the type of action that promotes the Reign of God. All I can do is take care that my own thoughts and actions do that, with God’s help.  I catch myself putting others into categories that “put them down”.  Lord, help me to see Your love and Your goodness in every other person. Help me to see clearly how Your Way of respect and littleness is truly victorious.

I have begun reading a book about Islam so that with the next Muslim I meet, I will be able to dialog and affirm the Spirit in that person.  Lord, may your kingdom come!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first Easter.  Wow!   But the Bible does not say that Jesus was resuscitated and therefore brought back to life.  Jesus’ new life is different from that of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, so that Lazarus could go on living with his sisters, Martha and Mary, as before his death, in Bethany.  Lazarus would have to die again some day.
What is this business of Jesus being raised from the dead?  Jesus apparently had the same body as before, because the disciples recognized Him when He appeared to them.  After the Resurrection, Jesus was definitely alive; He even ate some breakfast with His own.    He did not seem to be confined within space.  He could go through walls when He wanted to be with someone.
Death no longer has dominion in this world.  Am I ever glad about that!  It sure is a mystery as to what exactly lies beyond our dying.  What I do know is that Jesus, the Son of God -- this wonderful, loving Savior -- will be there to receive me.  Alleluia!!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Hello, on this bright, blustery day!
I think I know why religious communities of Catholic Sisters and Brothers are not receiving many new members these days.   Forty-some years ago it was clarified by church authorities in a world-wide Council that THE CALL TO HOLINESS IS UNIVERSAL.
Before that time I had had a big argument with my brother.  He told me that “You Sisters can be Saints, but we lay people can’t.”  I remember telling him, no, that we are equal in that matter.  But he wouldn’t listen to me.  For whatever reason, he was convinced that his way of life could never bring him to that intimate relationship with God.
Nowadays many know better:  God is in reach of all of us and we can all be Saints – no matter our calling in life.  Hey!  I don’t have to be a Sister or a Brother to reach that noble goal. 
I am eagerly anticipating meeting my brother on the other side of the pearly gates where he has gone fully living in God’s love.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


How can God allow such terrible suffering as we see in Japan or which may hit us in the future?  I believe that, as far as suffering caused by nature is concerned, God created the universe to evolve, and allows this evolution to take its course.  When it’s time for the continental plates to move, they move, and the consequences may be grave for those people who have built their homes there.  In general, we cannot fault people for mistakes made as to where they live, because many times it is not known when nature will strike destruction for humans.  We are part of nature.  At the same time, we live with the special light God has given us in Christ.  Our response to the tragedies brought on by nature is to alleviate the suffering by the self-giving love of Christ in and through us. Our call is to do all we can as God’s instruments for God’s presence of love in the world.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I wrote my last blog on the morning of the earthquake in Japan, before I knew that it had happened.  I mentioned my impatience with the length of the winter here in Minnesota and the frequent appearance of snow, how beauty and problems come in pairs.  After seeing the images of the ravages of the earthquake and the tsunami, I said to myself, “Rose Mae, how insipid you must appear in your blog – talking about the inconveniences of winter and the beauty of a snowflake when hundreds of thousands of people are suffering terribly and many people have died in Japan!”

Yet I see it again:  the terrible ravages of nature on one hand, and the beauty of the Japanese people on the other hand.  Beauty and suffering, together in one glimpse.  May God grant healing, relief and blessings for our suffering, beautiful sisters and brothers!  I am very sorry I cannot be there.

Friday, March 11, 2011

God Bless Us

The snow is melting!  How can something be so beautiful and yet be so troublesome?  When more and more of that white stuff appeared, I definitely felt impatient and I had to do very little of the shoveling!  A lot of other people did some back-breaking work all winter – and then, of course, there were those who did the snow plowing through the night or during the early morning hours.  It does seem that beauty and problems come in pairs with each other.  May God bless all of us as we face each new day (or night!).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spoon or Soup

Hello, out there!  Have you ever had the experience of being in a room or other space and, not seeing anything nor hearing anything, were able to sense that someone else was present?   That is how it is with God for me:  can’t see God, can’t hear God, but there is a great Personal Presence everywhere that I know is there.

Recently I listened to a talk by Edward Hays in which he gave the analogy of the use of a spoon used to carry soup to the mouth.  Which would you rather be – the spoon, or the soup?   Edward said that many of us “religious” people are like the spoon, able to feed the nutritious stuff about God, and forgetting that it is the soup itself in which people are interested.  Hey! It’s difficult to be the soup. 

To know God’s active presence and to live accordingly takes the gift of Faith.  I know that I had nothing to do with the fact that I have this gift.  I do know that a personal response of love on my part helps in the relationship.  It helps to sense that great Personal Presence that is everywhere.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Death is most likely the most important moment of our life, outside of the fact that we were born.

Moments in nature can be prepared for.   Giving birth is a natural process and we have discovered ways that a woman and her husband can prepare for the giving of birth, to make it easier. . . .   I am discovering that death, too, can be prepared for.  People who have had a “near-death experience” can tell us some of the first things to expect when dying.  I am a neophyte in this.  I have not thought about the natural process of dying, so I am embarking on a research venture, asking God to lead me.  Do you know anything about this?

Sisters Marguerite Barbein and Leonette Bursch have just died.  I will pray to them to help me in this venture.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I feel like I’m swimming in an ocean of desire. 

The huge upheaval in Egypt swept up out of an aching desire on the part of the Egyptian people for their freedom from a corrupt regime.  Desire, freedom, want, longing for, seeking, are words that attempt to describe the human heart.

The 33 miners who had been trapped for over two months and then were rescued still seek healing from their horrible experience.  Many returning veterans long for their former life of innocence from the horrors of war.

Wherever I look, there is desire.  Today is Valentine’s Day.  Love is desire.  The translation of “I love you” in Spanish is: “te quiero”, or “I want you”.    Someone recently reminded me that a vacuum always seeks to be filled.  Desire is like a vacuum which attracts the loved one and the union with God and with others for which we were created. 

The choice to live in poverty “without anything of one’s own” by Saint Francis was indeed the desire to be open for love in God, who is love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Did you ever watch a bee that’s caught between a screen and a window?  It’s a pitiful sight as it desperately searches for a way to freedom.  Nowadays we try not to crush a honey bee because it is so precious and we will help it to find its way out.
On Monday of this week I visited a prisoner in jail.  He was jailed because he was caught a second time driving without a license.  Of course, he can’t get a license to drive because he is from a different country and can’t get documentation.  He told me that he has worked in our area for seven years, and that the owner depends on him if he has to leave for awhile.   This prisoner has a wife and three-month old baby.
I wondered how this man feels there in jail.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Little Kids

Saint Francis just “blows me away” sometimes.  Yesterday I read one of his admonitions in which he wrote:  “There is no one who does good.  Not even one.”

My take on that spontaneously is:  but I do good sometimes, and I even compliment others when they do good.   Oh, Rose Mae, how far you are from full faith!

Francis had preceded the above statement with a reference to something Saint Paul had said:  “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.”  What is this mystery that only God is good and that any good we see in creation comes from God?

Is it like a little kid who is learning for the first time to hit a ball with a bat?
The little kid’s father holds the bat with the little kid and when the ball comes near, the father (with the little kid holding on) swings the bat and hits the ball.  I dare say that the little kid thinks that he was the one who made the ball go!

It seems that God tolerates our misconceptions that we are the ones doing good.  I would guess that God would prefer an openness on our part to give credit where credit is due.  Our union with God is there but we are still like little kids.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Splendid Differences

I used to wear a uniform. I wore it for about twenty years. It is called a habit. Now I dress with a variety of clothing and colors that show what mood I'm in.

As I looked around in Chapel this morning at the endless variety with which the Sisters dress, I praised God for the delightful differences among us Sisters, the splendor of God's glory shining through.

I have noticed that the snowflakes also carry this fullness of the richness and the generosity of our Creator. Each snowflake is different! Have you checked this out? I shall carry in my memory the image of one snowflake I got to see the other day sitting so prettily in its purity on my green winter coat sleeve: the crystal perfectly made, and unique in its tiny splendor. The trillions of all the other snowflakes lift my spirit into the wonder of God.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I love the color red.  It changes everything to glorious!  What a gift:  to be able to see red!  So much for Christmas is presented in red:  the poinsettias, the gift wrap and tissue paper, sweaters and shirts, the St. Nick outfit, lights.

Not much of that original stable and manger was presented in red.  But “the Word was made flesh” and lo!  behold!  life-giving red blood nourishing that wonderful Person Who became one-with-us.  I shall try to be gently aware.