For further information on any of the news items listed here, please contact Alice Black, PhD, OPA, Director of Communications & Mission Advancement, at 614-416-1020.


Time For Action

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

The hot pink shoe laces caught my eye.  As I looked more closely, I could see the laces belonged to a pair of tennis shoes surrounded by many different pairs of shoes and placed in the lawn in front of the capital building.  What was this, I wondered?  It was one of 7,000 pairs of children’s shoes representing the children killed by gun violence since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The global advocacy group Avaaz organized the displayed called “Monument for our Children” in front of the U.S. Capital to “bring Congress face to face with the heartbreak of gun violence.”  There is no doubt that it tells a powerful story.

The immediate reaction to a horrendous shooting is to offer thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. Comfort fills an immediate need for these families who have lost a child much too young to be gone.  Sadly, prayer and words of sorrow have become hollow especially when said by our congressmen or senators because they have failed to make any substantive changes to gun laws that would prevent these types of shooting from happening again.

The silent shoe demonstration took place in the early hours the day before the student walkout all around the country. This walk out by thousands of students lasted 17 minutes for the 17 students and staff killed in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Students held signs saying #enough is enough,  protect children not guns, and how many more? For them, prayers are no longer enough. Now we need action.

Let us to put continual pressure on our representatives to stand up to the NRA and pass common sense gun safety laws that will make a difference.  Every one of us can take some kind of action. Write a letter, make a call, march in the #Marchforourlives event this Saturday, March 24th.   I fear that we will again be praying for victims and families of gun violence in our schools if we fail to act on this issue while we can.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

The Coming of New Life

Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP

Amazing! The March 1 storm had sent two heavy branches crashing down on our house causing extensive damage. Already the next day, when Sr. Barbara and I returned home after supper, we were surprised to see the place cleaned up—the fallen branches and a close-by live pine tree were reduced to a pile of sawdust, the pierced window boarded up, and protective plastic covered broken places where persistent rain might leak into the house.

The insurance adjusters along with our maintenance men thoroughly assessed the damage both exterior and interior. A few days later they presented us with a plan to repair and restore the house to its former glory or make it even better. Several improvements are planned: better drainage to prevent basement water seepage, new landscaping including adding some colorful trees, a redesigned front porch, the removal of old wiring or hiding them in encasing before re-siding and painting both interior and exterior as needed. It will be like a ‘resurrection’ and new life! But that won’t happen overnight…

Life, death, resurrection. It is a recurring pattern in nature. We can see it everywhere—after every destructive storm, in the coming of Spring, in live seeds and bulbs dying to burst forth in colorful new life, plus countless other ways.

As we have witnessed after the many wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, and earthquake disasters in the US, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and other places, we know the “resurrection” does not always happen within a week!  Restoration to a former state may not come at all, but new life does surely come; and often its only when looking back that we can see it best.

Next week is Hoy Week, when Christians around the world will be focusing on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ and Savior. We reverence the retelling of how the Son of God willingly let himself and his precious life be ‘handed over’ into the hands of others. He accepted death by crucifixion, and as he promised, rose to new life.  His going before us through this living mystery encourages us not to lose faith as we each undergo our own daily dyings and risings to new life. May we take heart when our ‘resurrections’ are long in coming.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Hurting Jesus?

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

Every Friday during Lent in my grade school years, we endured the Stations of the Cross.  We knelt for what seemed like hours, and as Father and the altar boys moved from station to station, we dutifully read from a little red-covered book imprinted on the front with a crown of thorns. At each station, there was a prayer to be read aloud by all, with slashes indicated for pauses, which detailed Jesus’ suffering at each stage of his Way of the Cross.

And so we read of Jesus’ physical agony, and ended each meditation with a sentence that went something like this, “Teach me to understand that when I sin, it hurts you more than (name suffering, such as “the nails pounded into your hands and feet.”)  I don’t know if this ever sunk in, or I ever believed my responsibility for this was concrete. Jesus wasn’t all that real in my everyday world, but something stuck–the rhythm of the common reading comes back to me, and a faint sense of the physical sufferings of Jesus in my own wiggly discomfort kneeling through the stations and then Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

An Offended God?

This attitude toward the effect of my sins on Jesus or on God still lurks around today. Parents and teachers still tell children that they are “hurting Jesus” when they do wrong, and often we feel a sort of residual guilt hearing  prophetic passages of the Hebrew Scriptures and even some of the sayings of Jesus in a “I have offended God and I will be punished—or am being punished” way. Perhaps we will never quite overcome that, for the Redemption and the Resurrection of Jesus and the vastness of God’s  energy as Love are beyond our comprehension, and we tend to ascribe our human responses to wrongdoing, and our demand for justice, as being founded in God.

The Risen Body and A New Humanity

I’m pondering two mysteries of God-in-Christ that should help us make peace with this nagging tendency. First, Jesus is Risen from the Dead and not only cannot ever die again, but suffers no more. We simply cannot “hurt” Christ Risen, although we trust his presence to us in our own trials. And the second, perhaps the deeper and more difficult mystery is this: Jesus left us his Spirit, that Divine Dynamism who is our bonding with one another, in what we call, as did Paul, the Body of Christ.

So we can and do “hurt” and neglect Jesus who dwells in and among the humans that form his Body. Incarnate among us, with a presence that transcends time and place but is also firmly rooted in the here and now, Christ continues to “home in” and offer the hope of salvation graciously and expansively through us, stretching his life and his mercy and that constant connection in the Spirit to all our brothers and sisters, and the vastness of the whole of creation.

Insofar as the Incarnation, sealed by the Resurrection, is the bond that holds us together, here and now, it is right to ponder our capacity to hurt, neglect, resent, belittle. But by grace, we are also Other Christs: Healers and Intercessors, Voices for Peace and Justice, Servants and Lights for the world. Holy Mystery.

And Holy Clarity, as Jesus firmly states in Matthew 25, ”Whatever you do to/for them, you do for me.”

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

From Life to Death to Life

Blog by Sr. Luisa Derouen, OP

From the time she was four years old Sara knew that music was at the core of her being, particularly Mozart’s Symphonies.  She also knew by age four that she was not a boy but a girl and her name was Sara.  But she learned very quickly, as most transgender children do, to keep that information to herself.

By the time Sara was 37 years old, she was an international concert pianist and playing with top tier orchestras in the U.S. and abroad.    But her international fans knew her only as David Buechner.  The inner struggle that began in early childhood never left her and eventually led to alcoholism, drugs and many suicide attempts.  On Nov. 27th, 1996, she clearly heard God ask her, “Do you want to go there?”  “Yes, God, I need to go there to survive.  I need to make the journey across the gender divide.”  She needed to finally be Sara and not David.

In the two and a half years that followed, she transitioned.  She made her First Communion and became an active member of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church.  She also totally lost her career and was reduced to teaching piano lessons to children.

But in the process she gained herself, and over the last two decades, she is again giving concerts to rave reviews internationally.  She is an Associate Professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.  She and I have been friends since 2007.  She loves to say that when she is playing that’s her face time with God.  Transgender people don’t choose to be transgender.  They discover it, and most often very young.

Is Sara’s music less beautiful because she now plays as a woman or is it more beautiful and authentic because she plays as her true self?

Give yourself a treat.  Go to her website and enjoy some of her music!

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Something That Makes Me Go “Hmmm”

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

My daughter texted me recently on a cold Saturday morning: “Be Careful! BLACK ICE!” accompanied by the crying-laughing emoji.

I laughed out loud.

She knew that her text would get me going because I get a little miffed when people talk about “black” ice.

I remember the first time I heard a meteorologist mention “black” ice. I thought: what the heck is black ice? – ice is transparent.

As I listened to that weather forecaster’s warning about “black” ice, my speculation was immediately confirmed: black ice is more dangerous than any other form of ice.

Ridiculous, I thought, ice is ice. You can slip and fall on any kind of ice and your car can spin out on any kind of ice.

After doing a little research, I discovered that black ice, according to science, is almost perfectly clear and is only black because we can see the pavement surface underneath. It has no air bubbles or swirls (called occlusions) trapped inside.

White ice, on the other hand, has occlusions (or imperfections).

Since black ice has no imperfections and is perfectly clear, why don’t we call it clear ice or just plain ice?

For me, the warnings from weather forecasters can easily be translated into: “Watch out! ‘Black’ ice will sneak up on you and injure or kill you!” I can’t help but laugh out loud because it’s almost comical, except that it continues the historic association of white with good and black with bad.

I understand that it is called “black” ice because we can see the (black) pavement through the transparent ice; but my research turned up an interesting fact: before there were paved roads, motorists were never concerned about black ice. There was certainly ice without imperfections, but it would have been the color of dirt or whatever surface was underneath it. It seems the term “dirt ice” or “macadam ice” never really caught on. “Black” ice, however, has become a phenomenon.

Hmmm … I wonder why.

Posted in Associate Blog, News