I just added www.detroitblog.org to my blogroll. The entries are not particularly frequent, but they are extremely well written and offer a glimpse into the lives of real Detroiters who “keep on keeping on” in the face of tough times. Sure, it might be more fun to follow the antics of a lying, flamboyant former mayor or the bizarre behavior of some city council members, but the people this anonymous blogger writes about are are a big part of what I love about Detroit.
Archive for March, 2009
Enjoy…here’s a slideshow of the photos I took one day while in Florida. Most of them are from the Wakodahatchee Wetlands and the Green Cay Wetlands, though the last 2 are from Sr. C’s back yard. If you want to peruse the photos in a more leisurely fashion, feel free to click on the link to the album on Photobucket.
So, as I squeeze a bit of school work between the wash and dry cycles of my laundry, I thought I’d take a short break to share with you Rome’s bit of wisdom commemorating International Women’s Day…
The Vatican’s newspaper appears to have come out in support of the washing machine as God’s greatest gift to women in the 20th century, Reuters reports. A weekend article in l’Osservatore Romano suggested that the time-saving gadget polls ahead of birth-control and suffrage in liberating the fairer sex. It’s called “The Washing Machine and the Liberation of Women—Put in the Detergent, Close the Lid and Relax.”
I must admit that I wouldn’t want to go back to the days our elder sisters describe…standing over vats of scalding water, risking fingers and hands operating huge mangles. However, I can’t seem to put the washing machine over the right to vote or to work outside the home as the most significant contribution to the liberation of women.
I don’t know about you, but my experience with time and labor saving technologies is that once I begin to reap the benefits of these technologies, the bar is raised and I am expected to add additional work to my already full plate. Is that your experience as well?
I don’t know…it’s just my caption for the picture (see below) I snapped from the back yard of one of our sisters who lives in Florida. Sr. C. has been in Florida for many years, since before I entered the Baden CSJs, so we hadn’t really met properly. But since she lives only 2 hours from the friends I’m visiting, I went down to Cooper City for an overnight to visit and to help her with some computer problems. Fortunately, I was able to help her get her computer running smoothly (running Windows XP with 256MB of RAM is a good way to go crazy….upgrading to 1GB was like giving her a new machine!)
Here a couple of excerpts from articles in the National Catholic Reporter that appeared soon after the announcement that the Vatican was undertaking an “Apostolic Visitation” of women’s religious orders in the U.S. The first is from Sr. Joan Chittister’s regular column. I found her take on the shift within many U.S. women’s communities to be quite helpful as I ponder the journey we are on.
And all the while they went on “giving their lives to God” in prayer and with communities of strangers while they ministered on the streets, opened rural spirituality centers, taught and lectured and developed spirituality programs and retreats, ran half-way houses for battered women and day-care centers for Alzheimer patients. They had no desire to be “a higher vocation.” They simply set out to be an authentic one.
Most of all, they went on doing those things years beyond the work life of the average person. They exhausted themselves administering programs, pounding the pavement, providing hospitality, keeping priestless parishes operating, working to protect the environment, and caring for the newly abandoned underclasses in order to take the church where the church of this time needed to be. They began the outreach of a whole new church in the United States.
The second, which was originally meant to be a private communication to colleagues, is from Sr. Sandra Schneiders, an eminent scholar on religious life. Her analysis seems to be much in agreement with what Joan said in her piece. Might I add in response to Joan’s characteration of comtemporary religious as on a journey to greater authencity, that this journey, if truly authentic, is rarely as smooth and linear as some might expect or hope. The road to integrity, authencity, wholeness is fraught with uncertainty, mistakes, heartbreak, and yes – great grace, knowing that we are utterly dependent on God. For some, the fact that such journeys can be messy and not all wrapped up in a tidy, predictable package is unnerving. I, for one, would rather have others let me worry about my own unnerving journey than try to put me back into the tidy little package that eases their discomfort but robs themselves and others of the witness of a real, authentic religious life lived with honesty, openness and integrity.
So here’s an excerpt from Sandra’s communication:
In my work on the renewal of Religious Life over the last eight years I have come to the conclusion that Congregations like ours [the kind represented by LCWR in this country] have, in fact, birthed a new form of Religious Life. We are really no longer “Congregations dedicated to works of the apostolate” – that is, monastic communities whose members “go out” to do institutionalized works basically assigned by the hierarchy as an extension of their agendas, e.g., in Catholic schools and hospitals, etc. We are ministerial Religious. Ministry is integral to our identity and vocation. It arises from our baptism specified by profession, discerned with our Congregational leadership and effected according to the charism of our Congregation, not by delegation from the hierarchy. We are not monastics at home. We are not extensions of the clergy abroad. Our whole life is affected by our ministerial identity: searching out the places (often on the margins of Church and society) where the need for the Gospel is greatest (which may be in Church institutions but often is not); living in ways that are conducive to our ministry; preaching the Gospel freely as Jesus commissioned his itinerant, full time companions to do. Our community life and ministries are corporate but not “common life” in the sense of everyone in the same place at the same time doing the same thing.