As identical twin sisters, Sister Judith and Sister Maristella Maldonado not only look exactly alike, but as members of the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, they dress alike, wearing that order’s white habit and black veil with white trim. And they also have the same outlook on life and approach to their faith, embodying what Pope Francis calls “the joy of the Gospel” in their ever-present smiles and happy demeanor. “Being a witness of Christ, you cannot be sad!” said Sister Judith. That witness, she added, “is telling people there is hope. No matter what, if you have God in your life, you can be happy.”Read More.
When I was in college and then as a young adult, I wanted to be married and have a family, but in my mid-20s I heard God’s call to something else. A call to something radical, sacrificial, and even “noble sounding,” and it was accompanied with a promise of His divine help live it out. This divine call joined an innate desire I always had to combine fulfillment and joy with a life of service. I was called to be a Catholic priest. This summer, (with less than a year until ordination), like so many Catholics I was horrified at the evil revealed inside the very heart of the Church. I am angry and scandalized by the unspeakable abuses by priests and the titanic cover up by the bishops. While the report does appear to show that the national church reforms enacted since 2002 have been successful in radically reducing the amount of abuse, another scandal of this summer prevents me from relegating this evil to the past. The face of the Catholic response to the 2002 clergy child abuse scandal, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, allegedly abused children and seminarians and continued to rise through the ranks of the Church hierarchy despite attempts of priests and lay people to blow the whistle.Read More.
Organizing and decluttering are big business these days. Thanks in part to mass consumption of largely unnecessary material goods, many find themselves in a state of too much stuff. Marketers have tapped into this issue, addressing the desire some feel to declutter into a clever avenue to get people to buy more stuff to help organize the clutter. Entire stores and television shows are devoted to this industry. It’s a brilliant cycle for retailers, yet sinful and challenging for consumers. Author Mary Elizabeth Sperry has also tapped into this issue but in a unique, refreshing, positive and pragmatic way. Unlike the savvy advertisers, Sperry does not entice the reader to buy more. And unlike the secular self-help resources already available, Sperry does not repeat recommendations for purging and organizing already promoted on the aforementioned television shows.Read More.
Q. One of the beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Does that mean those simple-minded people who don’t ask any questions? (Lake Monticello, Virginia) A. I like it when people ask me about the beatitudes because I don’t think we focus enough on them. They are central to the lives of those who would try to follow Jesus.Read More.