Tuesday, November 19

Hey. Did the Nuns of America send out press releases to media in every area of the country about their good work or something?

Why the little bump in Good Nun stories today?

Anyway. This one's from Florida:

Four sisters ministering in Apopka

When Sisters Ann Kendrick and Cathy Gorman arrived in Apopka 31 years ago, most of the streets were unpaved, and streetlights adorned only major thoroughfares.

And the people the nuns had come to help -- hundreds of mostly black farmworkers -- lived west of the railroad tracks, jammed together in warehouselike barracks, and worked in the vegetable fields, citrus groves and ferneries for little money.

But what a difference three decades and four Roman Catholic nuns can make.

Sisters Ann and Cathy and fellow nuns Gail Grimes, 64, and Teresa McElwee, 73 -- all members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur order -- have started a staggering array of social programs in Apopka, most of them now operated by the farmworkers they serve..

....Over the years, the dynamic foursome has established the West Orange Farmworker Health Clinic, today called the Community Health Centers; the Justice and Peace Office, which teaches farmworkers to read and write; and the Community Trust Federal Credit Union.

They also created the Farmworker Association of Florida, which organizes farmworkers in four cities to deal with the social and political issues; Families in Power, a counseling program for at-risk families; and the Apopka Family Learning Center.

Better than the flying variety:

Sister Eileen, the Hitchiking Nun

Each morning deep into her 80s, the nun would choose a corner on top of Queen Anne Hill. There she'd wait, watching passing cars and trucks and praying to "Our Blessed Mother" to send her the right ride to her "work" making lunches for the needy at the St. Vincent de Paul kitchen of Sacred Heart Church across from Seattle Center.

When she sensed the driver was safe, Sister Eileen wasn't passive. She stepped off the curb in front of the oncoming car to make certain it would stop. "They're not going to run over me in a veil!" she said with a laugh when we first met five years ago.

Afternoons, Sister Eileen would reverse the route, cadging rides home to St. Anne's Parish in everything from low-slung limousines with cocktail tables in the back to rusty trucks too high for her without a hand-up from the wheel man.

It never failed. Every morning she made it to work by 7:30 a.m. Every evening she arrived home intact.

Why she did it was hard for her to explain even to the other Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. She told them what she told me -- that trust can be contagious. If she trusted people enough to hop into their cars and they trusted her enough to let her in, everyone went away feeling better.

From the NYTimes (LRR): Nuns doing tremendous work in Mississippi

In the 1980's, a half dozen orders of Catholic nuns looked around the country to see where they could be most helpful, and they began sending members into the Delta, with the support of the Diocese of Jackson, Miss. Since then, several hundred nuns have settled in communities like Tutwiler, Tunica, Marks, Rosedale and Jonestown — places that whites had deserted with the desegregation of schools.

With little fanfare and no government help to speak of, these sisters help reinforce the town's crowded and underfinanced public schools. They are also nurses, doctors, counselors and community organizers. They build medical clinics, nonsectarian preschools for the youngest children and houses with Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

They provide the towns' only refuges for many children to do homework or make decorations for Halloween. They organize programs for teenage girls as alternatives to becoming pregnant.

Using church and private donations — nothing from government agencies — they have opened a new brick Community Education Center in Tutwiler with a big gymnasium. In Jonestown this year, they opened a Montessori school for children ages 2 to 6.

People say the sisters keep their towns afloat in the face of the Delta's intractable poverty. Lavorn Burnett, 51, and her husband, Donal, 52, own a service station next to Jonestown's cramped City Hall. They use the health clinic of Manette Durand, 60-ish, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

A nurse practitioner, Sister Manette is the only health care provider in town. "She can do everything but cutting," Mrs. Burnett said. "She takes time to talk to you. You can call her if you're having a problem. You can talk to her like friends. She gives you the advice you need to make a decision.

University of Georgia's Baptist Student Union sending missionaries -

to Paris.

During the next four years, UGA's Baptist Student Union -- through a Georgia partnership with France -- hopes to send short-term volunteers during Christmas, spring break and summer break. They plan to send a semester missionary to work with the Campbells each year, and they hope God will call two journeymen through the project to serve two years in Paris.

Beats Papua New Guinea, eh?

Reader David wants to know:

Is it just me?

When I walk around your blog, the eyes of St. Rose Phillipine Duchesne
seem to follow me.

John Podhoretz takes appropriate aim at the new Harry Potter moview, effectively skewering it for an almost total lack of human interest and real thrills:

"We see the flying car twice. And what we see is: A flying car. We don't get a sense of exhilaration, of liberation. What we get is a couple of kids in a car that happens to be flying.

True, except that he forgot to mention that Columbus attempts to communicate the efffect of the flying car is by unending close-ups of Harry and Ron, mouths wide open, screaming, in true Cannonball Run style.

Good review, and one that, along with my current reading of some Potterological Interpretation over the past couple of days, makes me very sad about the lost opportunities of this movie series so far. Faithful to the externals, yes..but at the same time unfaithful by neglect of the themes Rowling is weaving.

You probably remember the terrible story from Oregon about the two nuns raped and murdered while they were out walking.

Here's an illuminating article about the schismatic traditionalist group of which they were a part: the Tridentine Latin Rites Church

... the two nuns attacked in Oregon were among the 100 or so followers who have stuck with Schuckardt, convinced that they, the members of his Tridentine Latin Rites Church and the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation, are living the Catholic faith the way God intended it to be practiced. ...In recent years, the Tridentines have largely kept to themselves — attending Mass at night in the rented hall in Renton that is as long and narrow as a two-lane bowling alley.

The church uses a post-office box for correspondence, has no published phone number and has changed names nearly a dozen times in the past decade, mostly because of fights with similarly named groups that want no association with it.

In fact, the church might have remained under the public radar were it not for the Klamath Falls attack, which made headlines around the country.

Rosemarie Offenhauer, a Colorado woman who once belonged to Schuckardt's order, recognized it from the reports: Nuns in blue habits, selling dolls outside a grocery store during the day, out praying the rosary when others were long asleep. Nuns oblivious to the risks in the world or confident that God would protect them.

Offenhauer began contacting reporters, insisting that the women were not true Catholic nuns but members of a cult to which she herself once belonged. Among the other members, Offenhauer said, was her mother, who left her husband of 40 years a decade ago to follow Schuckardt and hadn't been seen nor heard from since.

There are, it turns out, dozens such as Offenhauer — traditional Catholics who look sadly or bitterly on the years they spent with the church under Schuckardt.

The Tridentines' only priest, Father Alphonsus Maria Barnes, dismisses the criticisms, saying they are from people who would rather blame others than face their own inability to live the hard life required to be in communion with God. And current members express their unflagging loyalty to Bishop Schuckardt.

The bishop himself is elusive. He hasn't presided over a Mass in two years, and some critics suspect he is dead.

A new round of lawsuits in Oregon

Archbishop Milingo will be traveling to Zambia for a visit in December.

Apostolic Nuncio in Zambia Archbishop Orlando Antonini yesterday said Archbishop Milingo would while in Zambia complete the traditional burial rites of his sister Adelaide Chilumbu who died last year.He said Archbishop Milingo would celebrate a public Holy Eucharist on Saturday December 14 with archbishops and bishops in Zambia, presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio himself. "Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo after a long retreat with Focolare community in Argentina on Wednesday, November 13, 2002, thanks be to God, resumed his ecclesial ministry at a spirituality centre, prepared ad hoc, at Zagarolo, Italy, after the completion of the renovation works at the centre," he said. According to a statement released by the Vatican on Friday, Archbishop Milingo will resume his public ministry on November 21, ending more than a year of penitential isolation following his return to the Church.The Vatican stated that the Archbishop would preside over a public Mass for the feast of the presentation of the blessed Virgin Mary at an 11th-Century Cistercian abbey about 60 miles south-east of Rome.

I knew he'd been in Latin America, but I didn't know his retreat time was with a Focolare community.


During the radio broadcast of Archbishop Dolan's installation Mass, the station ran an advertisement for...Well, you can read about it yourself.

Bishop Hoffman of Toledo has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus

Coincidentally, my own father has recently been diagnosed with the same disease in the same place. He starts chemo and radiation this week. We appreciate your prayers!

A very interesting Catholic blog: Conversations that Matter in which a collection of nice folk offer thoughts on the Scripture readings for the coming Sunday. Well worth regular visits.

For those of you in the vicinity, you might be interested know that author Michael O'Brien is speaking at Notre Dame on Wednesday night.


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