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It’s National Thesaurus Day!

It’s National Thesaurus Day!

January 18 is, believe it or not, National Thesaurus Day! And for someone like me who loves words, it’s a great holiday to celebrate. But it also got me to thinking about the many different ways we refer to God—the thesaurus of the Bible, if you will.Here at the Pauline Books & Media publishing house, there is a poster we pass many times a day, as it hangs in a busy corridor. It lists the many ways Scripture refers to Jesus:And thou shalt call his name Jesus, Prince of Peace, Mig...
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What Martin Luther King Did When He Was Afraid

What Martin Luther King Did When He Was Afraid

I’m always hyper-aware of Martin Luther King Jr. Day for several reasons. My own birthday falls right around the same time. I did my doctoral work at Boston University, as did the Rev. Dr. King; in many ways he is still a presence around the B.U. School of Theology. And I am, as are we all, deeply aware of his writing, his sermons, and the influence he had on the American psyche.But as a Catholic, I’m always looking a little deeper. What sort of spiritual practice undergirded what he...
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I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s Why.

I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s Why.

We live in an odd world. As soon as we manage to get through the wonderful madness of Christmas, the first thing on everyone’s mind isn’t rest, or rejoicing in the birth of Christ, or enjoying the quiet of the Christmas season after the day itself.No; what’s on everyone’s mind is change. This is the year, we all decide, when we will lose weight, manage our finances, start a new hobby, be nicer to our spouses. We’ll buy a self-help book and replace all our old bad ha...
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How to find Christmas joy when life is not joyful

How to find Christmas joy when life is not joyful

Silence. Complete and utter silence. It filled every crevice of the stable. It stretched to the highest heavens, reverberating throughout the midnight sky. It settled quietly and peacefully in their hearts… A tiny light shone, one brave soldier in the midst of a darkness draped over the tiny shelter they were given against the winter wind. The young virgin Mother rested her arms on the side of the manger where she’d laid her tiny newborn, bundled against the cold.Behold the handmaid...
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Welcome to Advent! God’s presence with us

Welcome to Advent! God’s presence with us

And so Advent begins. Some of us are ready: our wreaths are out, our calendars prepared, our readings marked. Some of us, on the other hand, are feeling already overloaded as the year seems to accelerate toward Christmas. Ready or not, though, it’s here.I’ve recently been reading some of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s writings, and the other day I came across his homily at the First Vespers of Advent in 2009. “Advent,” he writes, “this powerful liturgical season...
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Thanksgiving—and Gratitude

Thanksgiving—and Gratitude

Last week, I had one of the most frustrating days ever. I was supposed to pick up a prescription, then do a series of errands that would take up an hour or so of my time. My prescription wasn’t ready; the office-supply place had to order my printer-ink refill, the grocery store had to give me a raincheck for the eggs that were supposed to be on sale, and I was feeling like life just shouldn’t be this difficult. Then, when I came home, I happened upon an article about a man in Mexico ...
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Favorite Pumpkin Recipes from our Kitchen

Favorite Pumpkin Recipes from our Kitchen

For many of us, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be complete without pumpkin pie. But there are so many other things we can do with pumpkins, and they’re all delicious! Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking, and most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers!Here at the convent, we have the opportunity to try many wonderful and varied dishes, as each sister brings her own family recipes into the bigger family ...
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Could You Be a Saint?

Could You Be a Saint?

Have you ever looked at the life of a saint and thought, I could never do that—I’m nothing like them? Have you ever felt like sainthood was challenging you to a stare-down, and you couldn’t hold your gaze steady?Some days, the thought of being called to be holy seems about as achievable as making it up Mount Everest without an oxygen tank!We all know that we’re called to sainthood—and that we all fall short. How many times have you heard questions or insecurities, w...
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Purgatory, Candy, and All Saints

Purgatory, Candy, and All Saints

On Wednesday night I waited forlornly for someone to come to my door trick-or-treating. I live in a cottage community that’s largely seasonal in nature, and by now nearly everyone’s left and gone “home,” but I hoped there were still some kids in the neighborhood who might stop by.No one came. I ate a lot of chocolate.I was wondering later why I felt so deflated, until I realized it had a lot to do with homesickness. I grew up in France, and I listen to a French radio stat...
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Why Passing on the Good News Matters

Why Passing on the Good News Matters

It was late on a Sunday afternoon, and I was sitting in the chapel of a hospice care facility, waiting for Cherry to die.Cherry and I weren’t related by blood, but as her dementia increased—she was in her nineties when we met—I was asked to take on legal and other responsibilities around her care. It was my honor and my delight: I never knew my grandparents, and she became in many ways the Nana I would have loved to have. She was still smart, still funny, still kind.Even before...
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