Sunday, October 23, 2011

A 40 Days Surprise

I arrived at the Planned Parenthood clinic to do my regular Saturday morning hour for 40 Days for Life, when I got a pleasant surprise.

Usually when I arrive no one is there. I generally spend most of my shift alone. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, a person who is scheduled for the shift after mine arrives early - or someone with a spare moment stops by - and I get to chat and pray with another person.

Today, I arrived to find 8 women finishing a set of Mysteries of the Rosary. They were there from a Catholic study/prayer group. Several of them were first-timers.

Brief introductions, then some of them had to leave. Others stayed and we said the Glorious Mysteries. I love to say the Rosary by myself, but there's something wonderful about saying it with others.

We got a lot of thumbs-up and positive shout-outs from people driving by or going to the vet's across the street.

After the Glorious Mysteries most of the women had to leave, but a college student - a first-timer - remained with me. Turns out she's planning to be a teacher, so we chatted about that. She said it was nice to hear someone talk about teaching positively. I recommended a book to help with classroom management. We talked a little about music - she's planning to be a music teacher and I'm a guitar thumper. We discussed the pro-life cause, being involved in it, and touched on some safety issues. And then we discovered we had a mutual friend, a woman religious whom I knew long before she joined an order and with whom I'd played in church groups, and we talked about her.

The hour passed by quickly. A new group had arrived - praying down the street right in front of the clinic.

We both had to head out. I wished her well.

Those women - and particularly the young ones - give me hope.
Thank you, Lord, for that Saturday morning gift.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 22, 2011

40 Days haiku

outside the clinic
a prayer for each child lost
fallen leaves

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Maureen Madonia, SFO, Rest in Peace

Maureen Madonia, a gentle woman and a true Franciscan, passed away October 12 after a battle with leukemia.

She was the treasurer of our fraternity. Her husband, Joe, is our formation director.

She was a delightful person to know. She did so many thoughtful, kind acts.

I will miss her.

But the good thing is that I now have another saint I can ask to pray for me.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Haiku Fun

This afternoon I went to the Haiku Poets of Upstate New York meeting. A great group.

They helped me revise a couple of haiku I was working on. I hope to submit those to some magazines. At the least, I'll use them with my writing class to show my students how even "grown-up" poets revise and seek input from others.

We also had some fun.

The presenter gave us a printout with 100 haiku regarded as classics. After we talked about our favorite ones on the printout, he suggested that we write haiku "inspired" by some of them - more than just parodies, but certainly with a bit of of humor.

I wrote two.


under the vast sky
I have no hat on (Hosai)


into the vast sky
the hat no longer
on my head


beneath the tree
in the soup, in fish salad
cherry blossoms (Basho)


on the table
in soup and salad bowls
dog hairs

Okay - my fellow haiku poets found them amusing!

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Morning Sunshine

I didn't make it to the Transitus celebration this week - that lingering cold. It's the first one I've missed since becoming involved with the Secular Franciscans. I have a physical on Monday and I'll bring that and assorted other ongoing ills to the doctor's attention. I may end up with an antibiotic, an inhaler, a recommendation for pain relief for my hands, and maybe even a heart scan of some sort! Ah, age is creeping up on me.

Whenever I feel under the weather I try to remember to offer it up - and to recall St. Francis' own suffering.

Today, though, I feel better. I'll be off to morning Mass, and then to Planned Parenthood for the 40 Days vigil. Work, the Chesterton Conference, and being sick has kept me from getting down there, and I feel like a prayer slacker! The sunshine and warm weather in the forecast today makes it easier to do it today - and I won't get worried glances from my Good Looking One.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Transforming the Culture: Rochester Chesterton Conference.

Dale Ahlquist was on page 8 of his 9 page presentation on "Apocalypse Later" when he realized he did not have page 9 on the lectern. It was in his briefcase in another room.

Never mind.

A couple of quips, and he ran out to retrieve it, turning what could be for many speakers an embarrassing moment into a bit of whimsy and self-deprecating humor.

Typical fare for a Chesterton Conference.

Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society and host of EWTN series on Chesterton, was one of four speakers for the conference. He was joined by Dr. Tom Martin, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska, Kearney, who spoke on "The Ultimate Test": Joseph Pearce, author of a myriad of books, including ones on Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Shakespeare, and more, who spoke about "Transforming the Culture Through Beauty"; and Kevin O'Brien, actor, writer and director of Theater of the Word Incorporated, who, well, stepped aside and let Hilaire Belloc "Roar Again."

Lots of observations on the culture. Lots of Chesterton. Lots of conversations in between the talks. Lots of books for sale (of course!).

A delightful day.

Pax et bonum