Archive for June, 2009

From Bryan Cones in a June 12 U.S. Catholic article…

Above and beyond the call | USCatholic.org

It must be hard being a Sister in America. You spend a century creating a hospital system from scratch and educating generations of Catholic children of every race and class on a shoestring. Not only are you barely paid for your efforts, you occupy a decidedly second-class position on the Catholic totem pole.

When invited by the Second Vatican Council to rediscover your roots, you charge forth in service to the poor and marginalized, explore new ways of thinking about God, and reach out to people of other faiths. Even as the number of those joining your way of life shrinks and some question your new directions, you persevere. Your reward for a lifetime of service? A Vatican investigation.

Such were my thoughts when I heard in January that the Vatican, on its own initiative, had begun a study of the “quality of life” of U.S. women religious and then in February announced a “doctrinal assessment” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents about 95 percent of the country’s nearly 60,000 sisters and nuns.

Bryan goes on with a touching testamonial to the Sisters who helped to form him in his faith. Thanks, Bryan, and all those of you who speak kindly about the Sisters you have encountered in your own lives. It means a lot to us as we face a bit of uncertainty in the face of a process that is decidedly not all too mutual…keep the prayers coming.

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musicSo, if you’ve been following my Twitter or Facebook updates, you know I’ve been running from one thing to the next the past several weeks, the latest of which was the big Silver Jubilee celebration at the mothership in Baden, PA on Saturday. There is a lot to blog about, but for now, let me just share with you one aspect of my experience of the day. As I was praying about and planning the liturgy for that day, I was very aware that I wanted this celebration to be a gift for our community and all the friends and family in attendance; I didn’t want it to be about me. Of course, that couldn’t be completely avoided, but all in all, it really seemed to me like it was a grand celebration of God’s great faithfulness to all of creation.

And as I was reflecting this morning about my wanting this celebration to be my gift to those in attendance, I was also very aware of how in so many ways that others were doing their part to make their participation in the celebration a gift to me. Special kudos go to the singers and musicians who worked very hard to learn some new, and in at least one case, challenging music. Also to my brother Kevin, who brought his DJ/karaoke gear to provide entertainment and music for dancing at the party after the liturgy. I could go on and on…the kitchen staff, the motherhouse administration and staff handling arrangements, from decorations in the gym, to flowers in chapel, to printing the programs, to God knows what else…

The kind of mutuality I experienced in this celebration seems to me to be what the reign of God is all about. I am grateful for the presence of all those who were able to be there that day, as well as the prayers of all those who couldn’t be there in person, but whose presence was no less real. Many reminded me that a jubilee celebration is meant to be a year-long event, so in a sense, the party is just beginning.

I’m taking today off work (well, mostly, anyway…), just to rest and savor the blessings of these days. I’m around for 2.5 weeks before my next trip…maybe I’ll manage to figure out where things like band-aids, cold medicine, etc are packed from the move before I take off again.

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Welcome to any new visitors from the ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) conference who may be seeing my blog for the first time!

Ok…so the ASEE camera caught me in the act of dancing at Stubb’s BBQ. Thanks to National Instruments and Freescale for hosting a nice party…here’s hoping I win the drawing for the Kindle or Lego Mindstorm…(hint, hint)

Now a picture of me riding the mechanical bull might have been more surprising to my nuns back in PA, or maybe not…in any case, I’m guessing my spinal surgeon would not have approved of me taking a turn in the saddle, so I resisted the urge to tame the “wild beast.”

Check out the ASEE conference blog at: http://blogs.asee.org/annual2009/

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Reject fear…

From Nicholas D. Kristof’s Thursday column in the NY Times…

Op-Ed Columnist – This Time, We Won’t Scare – NYTimes.com

Rick Scott, a former hospital company chief executive, leads a group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. He was forced to resign as C.E.O. after his company defrauded the government through overbilling and is now spending his time trying to block meaningful health care reform by terrifying us with commercials of “real-life stories of the victims of government-run health care.”

… Mr. Scott’s public relations initiative against health reform is led by the same firm that orchestrated the “Swift boat campaign” against Senator John Kerry in 2004. These commercials are just as false, for President Obama is not proposing government-run health care — just a public insurance element in the mix.

No doubt there are some genuine horror stories in Canada, as there are here in the United States.

But the bottom line is that America’s health care system spends nearly twice as much per person as Canada’s (building the wealth of hospital tycoons like Mr. Scott). Yet our infant mortality rate is 40 percent higher than Canada’s, and American mothers are 57 percent more likely to die in childbirth than Canadian ones.

So it seems that higher expenditures on health care do not guarantee better outcomes. Read Kristoff’s entire column to get the story he tells of an American living in Canada and her experiences with both Canadian and American health systems…

It seems to me that the scare tactics being used by groups like Scott’s hearken back to the “red scare” theme of the Cold War. The strategy: call anything proposed by the federal government that threatens the huge profits of big corporate interests “Communism” and hope that politicians will be cowed into submission. I know, that may be an oversimplified take on it, and the “big corporate interests” would surely publically deny this, but in my bones, I feel there’s more truth than fancy in this notion…what do you think?

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