Archive for April, 2007

As I was getting ready to shut down my machine and head to London (no, not England – Ontario), I saw the following message sent to me by one of our sisters…it made me laugh out loud…enjoy…(I would guess it’s not exactly a true story, but it’s funny anyway.)

George W. Bush was recently addressing a group of Indians in South Dakota. He spoke for nearly an hour on his plans for increasing every Native American’s present standard of living. Although he was rather vague about the details of his plan, he seemed most enthusiastic about his ideas for helping our “red sisters and brothers”. At the conclusion of his speech, the Tribes presented the president with a plague inscribed with his new Indian name – WALKING EAGLE”. George W was proud of his new name as his motorcade departed. A news reporter later inquired of the group of chiefs how they had come to select the new name for the president. They explained that WALKING EAGLE is the name given to a bird that is so full of s*** it can no longer fly.

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Today I had lunch with a friend who works for the Archdiocese of Detroit, who told me there was a collective sigh of relief among some co-workers when this news broke. (Our Archbishop, Cardinal Maida, has applied for retirement, and it’s anyone’s guess how long it will take Rome to assign a successor.)

Here’s an excerpt from TwinCities.com:

As bishop in New Ulm, Nienstedt wrote a regular column, “And Miles to Go,” for the diocese’s newsletter and Web site…

…He has used his column to air his views on homosexuality, saying people became gay or lesbian as a “result of psychological trauma” when a child is between the ages of 18 months and 3. Homosexuality, he wrote, “must be understood in the context of other human disorders: envy, malice, greed, etc.”

Interesting…very interesting…I wonder if Rome would agree that we need to change the number of deadly sins to eight to allow the “elevation” of homosexuality from a mere “objective disorder” to a downright “capital sin”…

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I just posted something for today, but I cannot let this good news go by without saying anything. The new Congregation of St. Joseph, made up of seven formerly autonomous congregations, finished its first General Chapter last week. I got some of the scoop from my friend Marie, who was actually elected to serve on the leadership team. And I also found more info on the Wheeling SSJ web site, which I’ve excerpted here:

A new congregation of Catholic Sisters approved by the Vatican effective last March 19th, distinguished its first official meeting in Chicago over the weekend with a powerful statement of promise to work for systemic change to diffuse the world’s most threatening global problems.

The delegates at the meeting elected seven members to the Congregation’s first central leadership team. They are: Nancy Conway, CSJ, of Cleveland; Marguerite O’Brien, CSJ, and Kathleen Durkin, CSJ, both of Wheeling, W.Va; Pat Bergen, CSJ, of LaGrange Park, Ill.; Jean Masterson, CSJ, of Cincinnati; Marie Hogan, CSJ of Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Jeanne Cmolik, CSJ of Cleveland. For legal and canonical reasons, the first person elected, Nancy Conway, is designated president.

In the Congregation’s statement, its members and lay associates promise:

• to surrender their lives and resources to work for specific systemic change in collaboration with others so that the hungers of the world might be fed.

• to recognize the reality that Earth is dying, to claim oneness with Earth and to take steps now to strengthen, heal and renew the face of Earth.

• to network with others across the world to bring about a shift in global culture from institutionalized power and privilege to a culture of inclusion and mutuality.

• to be mutually responsible and accountable for leadership in the congregation.

Here’s a picture of the new leadership team.


The new Congregation of St. Joseph, a multi-state community of women religious, has elected these women as its first central leadership team. Standing (l to r) Nancy Conway, CSJ, Cleveland; Marie Hogan, CSJ, Detroit; Kathleen Durkin, CSJ, Wheeling, W. Va.; Jean Cmolik, CSJ, Cleveland. Seated (l to r) Jean Masterson, CSJ, Cincinnati; Marguerite O’Brien, CSJ, Wheeling W. Va.; and Pat Bergen, CSJ, LaGrange Park, Ill.

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Almost done!!

Here I am, sitting here in the classroom while my students write their final exam. I’ve responded to a comment on this blog, made a few comments of my own on “A Nun’s Life“, and now just a short post to let you know that yes, after the rest of the grading, I will have survived this term of teaching three new courses. I have a lot of reflections to write up as part of the course assessment…what went wrong, what went right, what we need to change about our approach to this integrated curriculum design, but the daily pressure of having to stand up and teach something new that I’ve never taught before is gone until I teach a new course next fall (but only one of the 3 courses I’ll be teaching will be completely new).

Yippee!! And I rode my bike to work today…just in time before we get some more colder weather tomorrow.

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To the delight of some and the horror of others, North American women religious in the 21st century are a rather diverse lot. The ongoing conversation, “Where are all the young sisters?” has me wanting to open another can of worms.

It seems to me that one of the most divisive issues among sisters I know, my congregation included, is that of sisters choosing to live singly or in twos rather than in larger groups. It is also my perception that whenever this topic comes up at a meeting we never seem to get beyond judgment and defensiveness.

I’m wondering if this blog might not be a forum for a respectful sharing about why this diversity in living situations causes such consternation. Perhaps some of you who live singly or in twos could share what that’s like for you, what about it gives you life, etc. And perhaps some of you who live in larger groups could share their experiences of that. And let’s share honest questions, by all means. But please, please please…the way you ask a question makes all the difference.

For example, if I ask someone, “How can you say you are living community when you live alone?”, it is clear that I have put a value judgment on another’s choice before she has even had a chance to respond. If I’m really curious about another’s choice and can suspend judgment to really listen to her, I could simply ask her what “living community” means to her and how it plays out in her life.

So let’s see if we can come to a greater level of mutual respect for the different ways we have of living our commitment to God in religious life. If you are not in a community, you are welcome to share your own questions and perceptions…again, respect is paramount – these are people’s lives we are talking about.

Let’s keep talking…

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Like most people in this nation, I’m stunned by what happened yesterday in Virginia. I know some colleagues who teach engineering there, and I cannot imagine the shock and grief they must be experiencing.

This is not something I can easily make sense of; in fact, it is probably impossible to make any sense at all of it. There are sure to be lots of questions and finger-pointing as the investigation continues, but today for me, that all takes a distant back seat to simply extending heartfelt sympathy and my promise of continued prayers and support for the victims, their families, and the Virginia Tech community.

Virginia Tech, you are not alone…

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Where is everybody?

Hello, are you out there…? It’s been really quiet on this blog…what’s on your mind? Let’s talk…

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