Wednesday, October 3

It's official: I'm on the speaker's schedule for the 2002 National Catholic Education Association convention in Atlantic City next April. My topic will be Equipping Teens to Deal with Fundamentalist's Questions About Catholicism .
A great piece in The New Republic by Leon Wiesletier here. A couple of quotes to give you a sense of where he's going:

So now depth has buzz. The papers are filled with hip people seeing through hipness, composing elegiac farewells to the days of Gary Condit and Jennifer Lopez. The on dit has moved beyond the apple martini. It has discovered evil and the problem of its meaning. No doubt about it, seriousness is in. So it is worth remembering that there are large swathes of American society in which seriousness was never out.....Everybody was shocked by the attack, but not everybody was philosophically unprepared for it.

If it makes sense to call on religion in times of trouble, it is not because religion abolishes spiritual pain, but because religion acknowledges spiritual pain.

Feast of Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin

Who's that? None other than our own personal local saint, that's who. Well - beatified, at least. Mother Guerin was a French Sister of Providence who immigrated to the US in 1840 to minister here in Indiana. You can find more about her here and here. Her biography says that she founded a school here in Fort Wayne, but I don't know which one - the Perpetual Adoration chapel in our parish is named after her, but since our parish was founded in the 1930's, I don't think this was Mother Guerin's school.

Some of you regular readers may recall that Michael, Joseph and I paid a visit to St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, founded by Mother Guerin in Terre Haute, last summer. We were struck by the discomfort the modern sisters (at least those in charge of the chapel and grounds) obviously seem to feel about their foundress. She is buried in the church, but her place of burial isn't set off by any sort of barrier - you could walk right over the plate set into the floor, if you're not careful. The "shrine" is basically the narthex, or (in plain English) the vestibule of the chapel - there's a couple of chairs and a painting of Mother Guerin. It looks like the waiting room of a funeral parlor.

If these sisters seem ill at ease with the foundress of their college, one can only imagine what she'd say about them. The schedule of retreats for the fall include programs on The Enneagram and Spirituality and Earth Spirituality. (These ladies are pretty down with Gaia all around - the college offers a graduate degree in "Earth Literacy.") There's also Zen meditation on Wednesday evenings.


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