There are many kinds of pioneers, and the Sisters of St. Ann demonstrate this superb diversity. Since their founding in Quebec, Canada, by Blessed Marie Anne Blondin in 1850, their original spirit continues vigorously today.
-Editor’s note: Kathy Coffey’s latest article, “Perennial Pioneers: The Sister of St. Ann” was published on the Global Sister’s Report in January. To read the full article, click here.
“As Richard Rohr often reminds us, we see things not as they are, but as we are. Lately, I’ve been trying to see things through the banquet lens. Surely, that was one of Jesus’ best images for his reign: a table overflowing with favorite foods, wines gleaming like rubies in glass goblets.”
Check out the rest of Kathy Coffey’s new article, “Seeing all of life through the banquet lens” on the NCRC website.
What lifts peoples’ spirits now is what always has: the arts. The people of the Middle Ages walked through squalid streets and lived in miserable poverty. But they could lift their sights to the spires of Chartres Cathedral or see Bible stories in its luminous stained glass. Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky knew the horrors of prison camp. But he wrote, “the world will be saved by beauty.” Franciscan missions throughout California were built around an inner garden, lavish with bougainvillea and roses, and often a sparkling fountain. These are only three examples of a long history. For over 2000 years, the church has offered beauty at critical times for the human family.
When depression threatens or anger overwhelms, the arts move us outside ourselves and into a realm beyond the economy. They remind us we were born not only for work, but also for joy, praise, appreciation.
If we have spent time appreciating the arts, we have strengthened the imagination. It then suggests new possibilities for a new era, new ways to live and different ways to cope. Jim Wallis says that the problems we face now are as formidable as mountains. It takes faith to change them, and fortunately Christians are in the mountain-moving business. Our times call for heroic responses. This is our moment; “now is the time of salvation.”
Some of this material appeared originally in Everyday Catholic.
Crisis in the Ukraine, in Gaza, on the southern U.S. border. What does faith have to say in such desperate circumstances? Christians believe that we can bring the lens of faith to bear on every issue, no matter how painful. The challenge today is avoiding pious platitudes that help no one, instead finding insights to support and strengthen people enduring difficult times. The ancient Latin “adsum” means “I am here.” These are the times we are called to; this is our moment. God’s pattern placed us in 2014, not 947 or 2078. Why? Two brief possibilities:
The church has always been a powerful voice for immigrants, and must continue to speak for 50,000 undocumented children crossing the borders. The Christian community speaks the concerns of the voiceless who might otherwise be crushed by politics, greed and irresponsibility. Faith often comes alive in times of crisis, and this era is no exception.
While Congress dithers over immigration law, the nuns are on the ground in El Paso, working. Three Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, fluent in Spanish because they’ve worked in Peru, offer food, showers and safe sleeping quarters. The children respond with large embraces, perhaps recognizing the first kindness they’ve encountered in a long, arduous journey.
To be continued…
“The Church is not a refuge for sad people. The Church is a house of joy.” -Pope Francis
In Kathy Coffey’s latest article, The Joy of Being Catholic, she offers reasons for our Catholic joy:
When Catholics are baptized, the Christian community welcomes them “with great joy.” Not with an agenda, criticism, challenge, or a 14-page questionnaire. Instead, new members are welcomed with the “great joy” (Lk 15:5) of the shepherd who hoists the lost sheep onto his shoulders, focused more on love than sin.
You can read the rest of the article here.
Check out Kathy’s article on Sept. eCatechist.com, which starts, “I am a conference junkie…”
Best Catholic Spirituality Writing 2012 a collection of 30 of the best essays from National Catholic Reporter, includes Kathy Coffey’s article, “Praying with the eye of the soul.”
It’s available from these eBook sellers for $9.99: