Saturday, April 30, 2016

Father Daniel Berrigan, Prophet of Non-Violence and Social Justice Died Today, Statement from the Berrigan Family
April 30, 2016

Daniel Berrigan, Uncle, Brother, Friend,


A statement from the Family of Father Dan Berrigan, SJ

This afternoon around 2:30, a great soul left this earth. Close family
missed the “time of death” by half an hour, but Dan was not alone,
held and prayed out of this plane of existence by his friends. We –
Liz McAlister, Kate, Jerry and Frida Berrigan, Carla and Marc
Berrigan-Pittarelli—were blessed to be among friends—Patrick Walsh,
Joe Cosgrove, Father Joe Towle and Maureen McCafferty—able to surround
Daniel Berrigan’s body for the afternoon into the evening.

We were able to be with our memories of our Uncle, Friend and Brother
in Law—birthdays and baptisms, weddings and wakes, funerals and
Christmas dinners, long meals and longer walks, arrests and marches
and court appearances.

It was a sacrament to be with Dan and feel his spirit move out of his
body and into each of us and into the world. We see our fathers in
him—Jerry Berrigan who died in July 2015 and Phil Berrigan who died in
December 2002. We see our children in him—we think that little
Madeline Vida Berrigan Sheehan-Gaumer (born February 2014) is his
pre-incarnation with her dark skin, bright eyes and big ears.

We see the future in him – his commitment to making the world a little
more human, a little more truthful.

We are bereft. We are so sad. We are aching and wrung out. Our bodies
are tired as Dan’s was—after a hip fracture, repeated infections,
prolonged frailty.  And we are so grateful: for the excellent and
conscientious care Dan received at Murray Weigel, for his long life
and considerable gifts, for his grace in each of our lives, for his
courage and witness and prodigious vocabulary. Dan taught us that
every person is a miracle, every person has a story, every person is
worthy of respect.

And we are so aware of all he did and all he was and all he created in
almost 95 years of life lived with enthusiasm, commitment,
seriousness, and almost holy humor.

We talked this afternoon of Dan Berrigan’s uncanny sense of ceremony
and ritual, his deep appreciation of the feminine, and his ability to
be in the right place at the right time. He was not strategic, he was
not opportunistic, but he understood solidarity—the power of showing
up for people and struggles and communities. We reflect back on his
long life and we are in awe of the depth and breadth of his commitment
to peace and justice—from the Palestinians’ struggle for land and
recognition and justice; to the gay community’s fight for health care,
equal rights and humanity; to the fractured and polluted earth that is
crying out for nuclear disarmament; to a deep commitment to the
imprisoned, the poor, the homeless, the ill and infirm.

We are aware that no one person can pick up this heavy burden, but
that there is enough work for each and every one of us. We can all
move forward Dan Berrigan’s work for humanity. Dan told an
interviewer: “Peacemaking is tough, unfinished, blood-ridden.
Everything is worse now than when I started, but I’m at peace. We walk
our hope and that’s the only way of keeping it going. We’ve got faith,
we’ve got one another, we’ve got religious discipline..." We do have
it, all of it, thanks to Dan.

Dan was at peace. He was ready to relinquish his body. His spirit is
free, it is alive in the world and it is waiting for you.

Saturday, April 30, 2016 

The Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan, a Jesuit priest and poet whose defiant protests helped shape the tactics of opposition to the Vietnam War and landed him in prison, died on Saturday in New York City. He was 94.
The United States was tearing itself apart over civil rights and the war in Southeast Asia when Father Berrigan emerged in the 1960s as an intellectual star of the Roman Catholic “new left,” articulating a view that racism and poverty, militarism and capitalist greed were interconnected pieces of the same big problem: an unjust society.
Father Berrigan; his brother Philip, a Josephite priest; and their allies took their case to the streets with rising disregard for the law or their personal fortunes. A defining point was the burning of Selective Service draft records in Catonsville, Md.
Read more »

Quote from Fr. Dan: "The difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything."

"Jesus the Wisdom Teacher on Violence Against Women" by Anne Keller, ARCWP

Jesus the Wisdom Teacher on Violence Against Anne Keller

The story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:2-11) speaks silent volumes about the thinking of Jesus on the subject of violence against women. The usual interpretation of this Gospel story focuses on Jesus' admonition to the Pharisees to refrain from judging a sinner unless they themselves were free from sin, which of course, they were not. In fact, the phrase, "Let one cast the first stone" is used even today as an admonition to refrain from judging. But there is more to the story.

Jesus had just saved this woman's life, even though Torah provided for a death sentence for a woman caught in adultery. He did not condemn her, but rather told her to go and don't do it again. This is truly radical, for adultery was a graviora delicta (more serious crime) of 1st century Judaism, even more serious than murder. To understand why this was so, it is necessary to know how adultery was viewed in Jewish society.

In the world of 1st century Palestine, a man's wealth was not measured by the amount of gold or jewels he owned, or by the lavishness of his house, or by the size of his flocks or his fields. A man's wealth was measured by the number of sons he had.

The average life span was about 40 years. Given the
prevalence of disease, children often did not live to adulthood, so it was important to have many, especially sons as they were the only ones who could inherit. Those who lived into adulthood were expected to provide care for their aging parents.

When the father died, all the material wealth went to the oldest surviving son. This usually included land, which was of prime importance to the family. To ensure that the land remained in the father's family, it was important that the bloodline not be adulterated by another man. But as is usual in patriarchal cultures, it was the woman's responsibility to ensure that she did not cause her husband's bloodline to be adulterated. If she were unfaithful to her husband, she faced execution by stoning.

Jesus of course knew the Law. He knew this woman faced an excruciating death because she was caught in the act. Although Jesus knew she was guilty, he did not condemn her. And he called the bluff of the Pharisees who had been so eager to do  just that. Instead he showed love and compassion. Stoning is not acceptable in most countries today. But another kind of violence against women, intimate partner violence, is epidemic in contemporary Western society. In today's world a woman does not have to commit adultery to be beaten. In fact, a woman doesn't have to do anything to be a victim of domestic violence. One of the inherent problems in patriarchal cultures is that many men see it as a God-given right to have control over their wives.

The Church has reinforced that over centuries of teaching atonement theology. After all, one of the most infamously misused verses of Scripture, Ephesians 5:21, says that wives must submit to their husbands. The part about mutuality in love – verses 22-25 – is seldom quoted or preached.

The women who endure abuse from men who are supposed to love them are today's unseen, unsung heroines, as are the victims of trafficking, sexual assault, slavery, and poverty. The clients that I counsel are some of the bravest women I have ever known. Jesus, the compassion of Sofia made human, suffers with these brave women as they struggle to survive the violence perpetrated upon them by men. Jesus, the Wisdom of God, would take them in, tend to their bruises, help them to get away from the violence to safety, and empower them to move ahead in their lives. But, most importantly, Jesus would not judge them or blame them. Jesus would love and accept them as they are while helping them to become stronger.

I walk that same path that Jesus showed us, the path of compassion, love, acceptance and empowerment, as do many counselors who work in the domestic violence field.
I help my clients secure protection from abuse orders, safe
housing if they need to relocate, financial help for food and shelter, job training, child custody issues and a host of other social services meant to empower them to take back their lives from their abusers. But the most important thing that I do for my clients is to listen to them without judging, without blaming, and with empathy and compassion. And I believe inthem.

That last statement is so important. The look of relief on the face of an abuse survivor when she realizes that I believe her story is indescribable. Before she comes to see me, she has been marginalized in every way imaginable. To find someone who believes her and accepts her without judgment is the first step in her recovery.

0, Sophia, Wisdom of God, we thank you that you came to us in the person of our Brother, Jesus. He showed us your compassion, your understanding and your love for us. He taught us there is a way to live without resorting to the violence that destroys our humanity. We ask that you watch over your people, especially women and children who are so often the objects of male violence. Grant us the grace to refrain from judging others, and the courage to treat victims of violence with compassion, dignity and love.

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Liturgy, Sixth Sunday of Easter, April 30th, Presiders: Lee Breyer and Kathryn Shea, ARCWP Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons

Welcome and Gathering Song: All Are Welcome #414 (verses 1,2,3)
Kathryn Shea ARCWP Co-Presides at Liturgy with Lee Breyer

Gathering Prayer
Presider: Let us pray as we come together to break bread and share the blessings we have received on the wings of an angel and the openness of Mary and Joseph. We thank you, Incarnate God, in the name of Jesus, your Son…our brother. All: Amen.

Presider: Wisdom, your grace joins all heaven and earth. With you we labor, with new life to give birth. Come now, O Wisdom, you are our peace, open our hearts to your world, one without end. All: Amen.
Lee Breyer and Kathryn Shea ARCWP , Co-Presiders at Liturgy 

Opening Prayer
All: God of life, wholeness and holiness, you who direct all creation to its fulfillment in Jesus, the Christ – open our hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice may guide our lives. Loving God, bless all of us gathered here and all those of our community who are not with us today. We ask this of you, our brother Jesus, and our sister Sophia. Amen.

Penitential Rite and Community Forgiveness
Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets hidden. We ask you to send your Spirit to us so that we may live more fully according to your will for us and we give thanks that you have called us to be your chosen people.

All: (with an outstretched arm): God, our Father and Mother, help us to hear Wisdom’s messages, to faithfully understand them, and to receive the compassion to act on them with our brothers and sisters. Compassionate God, teach us the virtues of pardon and peace so that we may – in turn- learn to forgive our failures to care for one another and for our planet Earth. We ask this of you in the names of Jesus, our brother and of the Holy Spirit, our healer and comforter. Amen

Glory to God
All: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all God’s people on earth. Creator God, heart of the universe, we thank you for the breath of the Spirit sustaining everything that exists, everywhere in the cosmos. Through the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, you gave us the grace to know that you are always among us – and that we can experience you in our brothers and sisters. We give you glory and praise through Jesus Christ, our brother, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.

Liturgy of the Word
First reading: Acts 16:9-15       All: Thanks be to God.
Psalm 104: Responsorial: Send forth your Spirit, O God, and renew the face of the earth. #806    
Second reading: Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5   All: Glory and thanks to our Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia
Gospel: John 14:23-29
Shared Homily/Community Reflection
Homily Starter – Sixth Sunday of Easter-April 30, 2016
Kathryn Shea, ARCWP

Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  But the kind of peace I give you is not like the world’s peace.”  Jesus was preparing his disciples for his physical departure and reassuring them that he would be with them spiritually, always.  He tells us to love him and be true to his word.  But, how do they love and stay connected to a Jesus they can no longer see, hear, or touch?  A Jesus who is physically gone from them? 
Again, Jesus tells his disciples and all of us how we are to do this.  We are to follow his teachings.  It sounds so simple.  But how are we certain we know for sure what we are called to do in any given moment in this ever-changing and complex world of 24-7, 52 weeks, 365 days a year of mental and emotional bombardment from the media and the news in the world?
How can we know what Jesus would do and how he would act in any given concrete specific situation?  Again, Jesus anticipates our confusion or lack of faith and gives us the answer.  “The Paraclete, the Advocate, the Protector, the Holy Spirit, will be sent by God in my name, and will instruct you in everything, and the Spirit will remind you of all that I have told you.” 
So, I have really been pondering this and asking myself, how do I know when I’m calling upon the Spirit to guide me that I am responding in the way that Jesus would?  How do I know it’s not my own ego or opinion that drives my response?   
How did Lydia know?  So, I’m sure you noticed I changed the first reading for today because I did not like it.  After reading the Gospel several times, I thought of the story of Lydia.  She was a well-respected business woman who made and sold purple dyes.  She was a Gentile who believed in one God and sought greater understanding.  She formed a women’s prayer group and asked for guidance.  I think the telling of Paul’s vision is a bit confused, because I think it was actually Lydia who appeared in his vision asking for someone to be sent to Macedonia, and not a man.  Lydia never laid eyes on Jesus.  She did not hear him speak.  She did not hug or touch him, and yet he was alive and present to her and in her in the strongest of ways.  She was the first Christian convert in Europe and spread the Gospel far and wide.  Lydia experienced the peace Jesus is talking about. 
So, I ask myself, how do I know when I am experiencing the kind of peace that Jesus is talking about and not just the world’s peace? 

How do each of you know when you are in this special, holy, place that is beyond all understanding and how do you stay grounded in this peace that Jesus gives to us?
Profession of Faith
All: We believe in God, the Creator of the universe, whose divinity infuses all that exists, making everything, everywhere, sacred. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who leads us to the fullness of humanity. Through him, we become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Wisdom who keeps the Christ-vision present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives – and the Sustainer who heals and energizes us when our spirits may grow weary in our journeys. We say: Amen to courage, to hope, and to truth. We say: Amen to the partnership and equality of all people of different genders, races, and faiths. We believe in a world of justice and peace for everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. In all of this, we surely believe.

Prayers of the Community
Presider: We are a people of faith, believing in the power of prayer. We are always mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for all of us. And so, we bring the needs of people – throughout the world – to our merciful and gracious God.   After each intercession, respond: Compassionate God, hear our prayers.

Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. We ask you to strengthen us in our caring for one another and in our works for justice, equality, and peace in a world without violence. As always, we make this prayer in the names of Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.

Offertory Procession: Song: “Blessed Are the Gifts” by Mindy Lou Simmons

Blessed are the gifts that we receive
As we give so love returns in kind
So let us breathe love and live peace
And do the best we can
To give ourselves in service to our God Divine. (2-3 times)

Preparation of the Gifts
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, this grain that the earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, this fruit of the vine that human hands have made. It will become for us our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God forever.

Gathering of the Gifted
Presider: Jesus, who has sat at our tables, now invites us to be guests at his family table. Everyone is welcome around our family table.

ALL: Nurturing God, we are united in this sacrament by our common love of Jesus. We are in communion with everyone, everywhere, who proclaims your mercy to all those who are marginalized and oppressed. May we love tenderly, do justice, and walk humbly with you in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. May we live as prophetic witnesses to the Gospel, supported by the vision of Jesus and the wisdom of the Spirit. Amen.

Presider: God dwells in each one of us.            All: Namaste!
Presider: Let us give thanks to the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.
All: With hearts full of love, we give God thanks and praise.
Presider: Holy Spirit, we realize your presence among us as we gather at our family table.
All: Fill us with reverence for you, for one another, and for all your creation.
Presider: Let us lift up our hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Holy One, living in us and loving through us.

Eucharistic Prayer
Voice 1: Ever present and always caring God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. In you we live and move and have our very being. Your Spirit dwelling in us gives us the hope of unending peace and joy with you. And so, we sing your praise…

All: sing: We are holy, holy, holy X3….we are whole
                   I am holy, holy, holy X3….I am whole
                   You are holy, holy, holy X3….You are whole. (Karen Drucker)

Voice 2: We thank you for the gift of Jesus in history and the gift of Jesus in faith. On earth, Jesus burned with the vision of his mission and truth. He revealed you to us through his compassionate life well lived. Jesus showed us not only how we should live, but also for what we might die. Through him, you continue to breathe life into us.

Voice 3: (Place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right) Merciful God, let your Holy Spirit rest upon us, your people, converting us from the patterns of the world, until we conform to the shape of him whose food we now share.

All: O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these gifts that we gathered from the fields and placed on our table — this simple wheat and wine. May she have them become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our brother.

(With an outstretched arm as we pray the consecration together. We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died. He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it. This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. Do this in memory of me. [Pause]

In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this, all of you, and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. Do this in memory of me.

Presider: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.

All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ lives in us and through us in the world today.

Voice 4: In memory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we offer you, God, this life-giving bread and this saving cup. May all who share this sacred meal be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit. And may that Spirit, that Wisdom, that moved in Jesus move freely in our lives as well.

Voice 5: God, remember your church throughout the world, help us grow in love, together with Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and all your people everywhere – especially those who live on the margins of church and society. Remember also all those, living and dead, who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts. We remember especially….(mention names, if you would like to).

All: Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Creator God, forever and ever. Amen (sung).

All: Our Father and Mother ……..Amen.

All: Lord God, we have prayed that your kindom may come among us. Open our ears to hear it, our hands to serve it, and our hearts to hold it.   Amen.
The Sign of Peace
Presider: Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”   Look on the faith of those gathered here and ….

All: … grant us your peace. O God, following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace throughout the world, to everyone, everywhere, no exceptions. Amen.

Presider: May the peace of God be always with us, and let us extend that peace to one another.

Litany for the Breaking of Bread

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence for peace and justice.   We will live justly.

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of forgiveness and understanding, healing and compassion everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you.

Presider: This is Jesus, who liberates, heals, and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. All: We are the Body of Christ.

Pre-Communion Prayer

Presider: Lord God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters.

Men: We cannot eat this bread and forget those who are hungry. O God, your world is one world and we are stewards of its nourishment for your people.

Women: We cannot drink this wine and forget those who are thirsty. O God, the very earth and its people cry out for environmental justice.

All: We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the world at war.

During Communion – You Are the Face of God – Karen Drucker

After Communion Reflection Song: Be Not Afraid #430 (verses 1 & 2)

Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion

Presider: Eternal God, may this Eucharist in which we always share Christ’s healing love deepen our oneness with you and our unity with one another. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Christ, and the Spirit, the Wisdom.   All: Amen.

Community Prayers of Gratitude and Announcements

Closing Community Blessing

Presider: O God of Compassion, Jesus showed us how to love one another and heal our hearts. Through the power of your liberating Spirit at work within us, we will give and receive forgiveness, live joyously, and work for healing, justice and equality for our earth and for all your holy people.   As Jesus gave to us his peace, may we spread his peace to all peoples of the earth, everywhere; no exceptions. ALL: Amen

All: (with an outstretched arm in blessingMay we realize Emmanuel, God-in-us, and give generous expression to this wonderful gift that we all share. May our nurturing God bless us all gathered here and all those in our communities. We ask this in the name of the Creator, in the name of Mary’s child, and in the Name of our Wisdom as we minister to one another as the People of God. Amen.

Co-Presiders:   As we all go in the peace of Christ, let our service continue in all that we do!
ALL:   Thanks be to God. Let it be so! Alleluia!

Concluding Hymn: City of God #379 (all versus; using God for Lord)

Dinner at Panero's 

"And Justice For All" by Siliva Brandon-Perez, ARCWP , A Story About Suffering, Solidarity and Justice for an Elderly Widow in Need

A heart-warming story about advocacy in loving action for a poor widow in need by Silvia Brandon-Perez ARCWP. Be inspired by Silvia, a woman deacon, defending the rights of an elderly widow and read the story in the link above on Silvia's blog that shares her journey to obtain justice. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Homily on John 17:20-16 by Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP, Colombia, South America

The community'ps-punishable listening to the text of John 17: 20-46
The community of post-punishable listening to the text of John 17: 20-46
We are in the new headquarters of the Foundation Hand Embroidery, today 29 April 2016. motivating them, reflecting and sharing the Word, for the Eucharist on Sunday.
Do not let overlook, today, one of our holy very important in the life of the Church patron saints: St. Catherine of Siena and publicizing it the following sentence:
                                        St. Catherine of Siena
Eco how beautiful this woman leaves us to this day.
Now think how nice things does not leave the Word of God we have just heard?
Maria Elena : I think Jesus was complaining to God that the world has not known you, "but if you've met and these have known that thou hast sent me" .
How well Maria Elena. Let's see who wants to add something to this comment.
Silencioooo ... Let's see, all the time not to listen to us.
Saturnina do you mean? For days not seen you, I take the opportunity to welcome you.
Saturnina : I was thinking ... and I say here, I hardly know my God, and I have many years I'm old ...
Ligia:  happens to me the same. How can we know God?
Consuelo:  We have said that God is everywhere.
Beatriz:  That you said Consuelo, is true. But, it's like a habit to say, we have not worried confirm their presence.
Well said Beatriz, thanks: "We have not worried confirm their presence" I think that we would have to do continuously. Who made this day?
All God!
And yesterday? All God!
If he / she has created Heaven and Earth and all that exists. When someone throws cigarette butts into the street, take garbage, dirty water, cut trees, runs over the animals, children, the elderly, all living things. Who we are "littering" trampling?
All To God!
The Spirit of God is in all creation!
I have recently received many complaints, saying, "is that God is deaf, does not hear me, I have asked and asked and does not serve me."
I think the problem is that we have not known how to relate to Him / Her. Today we will learn to relate with the Divine, with God. It is that He / She does not like to send you running errands (message-reasons). It is that often the messenger / a does not give the reason it is, or you lose the ticket. If it happened to us, right?
Well, well, Divinity-God wants us to speak each / a of us / as personally with our own words, without intermediaries / as, without using words others. Every day in this.
In today. Today and he likes to give you thanks.
Our relationship with Divinity, must be of You-to-you without hierarchies.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and all the saints, are our friends, with your life, have left the teaching of how to relate with the Divine-with-God.
Our mothers, in their homes, they have been carriers of our faith, and have also taught us in his experience to relate to God the Father-Mother.
As women, we have a great responsibility to "know his name and let him know" that the love with which he / she loves us this at all / as we / as. So here at the Foundation reject anyone, anyone discriminate, that would reject Him / Her.
Divinity is one, for all / as everywhere!
Here ended and tomorrow, we are invited / you to participate in the bazaar that has organized the Foundation to raise funds for many things we need yet.
We thank the Divine for his presence among us / as, by the host of the companions of Spring Corporation, by people who have helped us yesterday, today and tomorrow, by the volunteer team that accompanies us, by the legal office it is already running, the support team of psychologists / os voluntary.
The Community is ready to receive food aid, organized by themselves, who have brought, which in the Plaza Retailers, who already know them, have given them to share with the families of the comrades who are in prison , their relatives, especially, grandparents and children.
And we hear from the windows to the boys that nobody approaches them and are afraid, "for, you good thing". I asked what they meant by that street slang. And I said, is like a blessing: the best for you the best for you!
That is, it protects us Divinity through boys!
* Roman Catholic presbyter.

Friday, April 29, 2016

St. Catherine of Siena, mystic, prophet and activist, walk with us on our journey toward spiritual renewal and justice in our church.

Read more at:

Bridget Mary's Thoughts:

In one of her mystical experiences, Catherine encountered Christ, who standing outside her door, told her she could serve God by loving others.  "The service you cannot do for me, you must render to your neighbors." As a result, she left her solitary life  and ministered in two nearby hospitals, nursing those raged with disease and comforting the dying. She also counseled prisoners.

Catherine became involved in the political and ecclesiastical affairs of her time. This included feuds between the papacy and the city states, the return of the papacy to Rome,  the reform of the Church and the Great Schism in which both Clement VII and Urban VI claimed to be pope at the same time.  In Avignon, she advocated for the pope's return to Rome. She acted as an advisor to Urban VI, reprimanding him for silencing a friend of hers whose ideas she hoped would bring reform to the church.

Catherine died on April 29, 1380. Today is her feast day.

In 1970  Pope Paul VI declared Catherine of Siena a Doctor of the Church. 

Like Catherine, we are called to be mystics, prophets and activists who love and serve our neighbors, advocate for justice, challenge abuse of power by church authorities, and work for reform, reconciliation and healing. 

In many ways, Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air in our church. He had challenged economic injustice and been a prophet of compassion for the poor and oppressed around the world.

He has also  reached out to groups who were condemned by previous popes.  Francis has extended an olive branch to St. Pius X Community, who rejected Vatican II , and who had ordained their own bishops. He has restored them to good standing in the church. 

It is my hope that Pope Francis will affirm primacy of conscience of Catholics who support gender equality and the ordination of women in the church by dropping all excommunications and ecclesiastical punishments against our international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement.  

Today, like in the time of Catherine of Siena, silence in the face of  the domination and the subordination of women, kills the soul. Sexism damages women's lives in our world and leads to abuse, violence and poverty. As Martin Luther King reminded us, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 

Today we cry out for justice and equality for all the marginalized including women in our own house.  Let us walk  together with our brother Francis in the spirit of our sister, Catherine of Siena, who inspires us all to live as courageous activists and mystical prophets in the community of faith. 

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

(Source: Praying with Visionary Women by Bridget Mary Meehan, published by Sheed and Ward)