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Rosalie Dorothy Bergstrom Wilcox

St. Catherine has some words for us today:

Experiencing freedom(Quotations from Catherine of Siena)

God speaking to St. Catherine in a vision:
They find joy in everything. They do not sit in judgment on my servants or anyone else, but rejoice in every situation and every way of living they see, saying, “Thanks to you, eternal Father, that in your house there are so many dwelling places!” And they are happier to see many different ways than if they were to see everyone walking the same way, because this way they see the greatness of my goodness more fully revealed. In everything they find joy and the fragrance of the rose. This is true not only of good things; even when they see something that is clearly sinful they do not pass judgment, but rather feel a holy and genuine compassion, praying for the sinner and saying with perfect humility, “Today it is your turn; tomorrow it will be mine unless divine grace holds me up.”…

They do not waste their time passing false judgment, either against my servants or the world’s servants. They are not scandalized by any grumbling on anyone’s part: if it is against themselves they bear with it in compassion for their neighbor, grumbling neither against the grumbler nor the victim, because their love for me and for their neighbor is well ordered. And because their love is well ordered, dearest daughter, they are never scandalized in those they love, nor in any person, because in this regard they are blind, and therefore they assume no right to be concerned with the intentions of other people but only with discerning my merciful will.

The rest of the story….Dialog of Catherine of Siena

Happy Feast Day, my Dominican friends.

King James translation device brings faithful to TV age

LOUISVILLE — Members of ultra-conservative “King James only” churches who have avoided the one-eyed monster for decades now have an electronic ally which allows them to watch television in their preferred dialect.

The KJV Box, invented by Sacred Translations, Inc., in Buffalo, N.Y., turns everyday English into “thees,” “thous” and “wherefors” for people who refuse to read the Bible or be entertained in modern language.

“Our group has missed not only the era of Friends and Frasier, but of Dallas and Dynasty,” says Elisha Turner, pastor of One Word Only Church of Louisville, Ky., who last watched television in 1979. “The KJV Box gives us access to the mainstream culture while filtering out the scuzz.”

The Box has revolutionized daily life for these once-insulated viewers. Housewives who hadn’t watched talk shows since Donahue now gather most afternoons to watch Dr. Phil, whose straight talk they adore, and whose “Lady, get off your butt and do some exercise,” translates to, “Rise from thy hindquarters, daughter, and exert thyself!” They titter as the translated dialogue comes through the Box’s speakers.

Read the rest of the story here.

perusing a weblog link today, I finally saw the Exorcist. You can too. Of course, be forewarned, it’s performed by bunnies….

Recently Shannon asked me to teach her how to knit. So, last night, as we sat in Shannon’s living room, with its third floor view down Bush Street towards downtown San Francisco, as the evening light outside faded, the light within began to grow.

What made you decide you wanted to learn to knit? I asked because I’ve been pondering why so many people, young women, children, teenagers, men, are these days taking up this handcraft. I learned so I could carry on a family tradition of slipper-making. In the learning, I found a practice that gave me life and opportunities to grow in faith and relationships.

Shannon explained that as she is training to be a spiritual director in the Catholic Christian tradition, she’s being challenged to allow herself to be more vulnerable and present to others’ suffering and indeed to her own suffering. She began thinking she needed to develop a tool she could use to ground herself in her body: some physical activity that would also allow her to become quiet and open. Invited to my knitting retreats in the past, she had been unable to make any of them. So, she asked me how could she learn this craft? Rather than send her on her way to a local knitting store to pay 65 bucks an hour to learn, I said I’d be right over.

So, there she is, casting on 42 stitches – knitting her first row, and her second, third and fourth. She’s a natural. She’s focused on the learning, she’s paying attention. She’s not making any mistakes. Which is a problem.

We have only this hour and a half for the first lesson. Usually in that time, a new knitter makes a bucket full of mistakes. And the teacher can take the time to show them how to fix their mistakes. Here’s the crochet hook, I’ll say, this is your knitting salvation. Drop a stitch, pick it up with this.

But Shannon is knitting like she’s been doing it for months. Her rows are even and proportional – she’s not dropping any stitches, she’s not picking any up and her count comes up 42 after each row.

At some point I give the advice, “just pay attention and stay loose.” She nods and admits this is good advice – it’s just sometimes hard to decide which things to pay attention to.

As she’s knitting the first and second rows, I ask her how the spiritual direction program works. For the three-year commitment that is the program, her class meets once a month. The first year they learn the who, what, where, when, how, and why of spiritual direction. The second year they intern, actually practicing direction in class, and with volunteer directees” The third year? We didn’t get to that as she is in the second year and finding herself deeply transformed by the process. She’s learning how to listen, not only to the directees, but to God and God’s movement in the lives of those around her: a woman she sees at the bus stop, a family member with whom she’s previously had trouble interacting, herself as she’s discerning her vocation as a child of God.

It takes a long time to knit those first two rows, because sharing this part of her life is intense; and she pauses in the knit to formulate a thought. Then we begin talking about family and life and history, and the knitting continues more fluidly on her strong slender hands. She stops to watch me knit a row, then looks back at her own hands, shifting a bit to model a looser hold on the yarn.

Later, we have a treat, a cold popsicle with actual chunks of strawberry in it. Chad, her husband, has joined us and he comments it’s a mystery why the last bite always tastes the best. We don’t figure out the mystery though we try – the final bite is that much tastier because of all the ones that went before; it’s been melting just the right amount of time; the fear of the whole thing dropping on your white shirt is finally past…

Anyway, Shannon, by now, is looking at my knitting kit and asking what each type of needle is for (the hats, the socks, the big-ole-honking afghans.) She points to a pen and says, what do you do with the pen? Because I’ve just taken a drink of water, I can’t reply right away, and in the second that passes, we all realize how funny that question is. Chad and Shannon get a good laugh at my struggle not to blow the water out my nose. And then we say goodnight.

I believe biography … is inherently theological in the sense that it contains already – literally by virtue of the incarnation – the news of the gospel whether or not anyone discerns that. We are each one of us parables. So says William Stringfellow who’s the “saint of the day” in the text All Saints. Shannon, knitting and popsicles: the parable of friendship?

wouldn’t you know it, the day that the temperature in San Francisco goes a-soaring, 85 degrees at 3:00 p.m., is the day the air conditioner conks out in the Pastoral Center where I work. Whew. Made me think of poetry for some reason and so here’s a tidbit from my favorite Poetry Site (Poetry Daily)

They don’t drink much, don’t stay out late at night
because their lives take place in the sun,
and the old will say that’s why they lost the war:
they missed the sun and the food, they missed
cruising the magnificent piazzas
calling Ciao bella! and Ma che cazzo dici!

from Young Italians, a poem by Douglas Goetsch

I’m going to hear Sarah Vowell tonight at the City Arts and Lectures series. I discovered Sarah Vowell last November in a bookstore – just brousing…. I’m a fan of the essayists. The book jacket blurb included:

Her essays confront a wide range of subjects, themes, icons, and historical moments: Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton; Canadian Mounties and German filmmakers; Tom Curise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; twins and nerds; the Gettysburg Address, the State of the Union and George W. Bush’s inauguration.

Ah, you guess what hooked me. Now I want to be Sarah Vowell’s new best friend.


Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. John Lubbock


When he named St. Francis patron of ecology, Pope John Paul II noted that St. Francis “offers Christians an example of genuine and deep respect for the integrity of creation. As a friend of the poor who was loved by God’s creatures, St. Francis invited all of creation—animals, plants, natural forces, even Brother Sun and Sister Moon—to give honor and praise to the Lord. It is my hope that the inspiration of St. Francis will help us to keep ever alive the sense of ‘fraternity’ with all those good and beautiful things which Almighty God has created. And may he remind us of our serious obligation to respect and watch over them with care, in light of that greater and higher fraternity that exists within the human family.”

American Catholic dot org

Take the Earth Day biological footprint quiz – IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE ME, WE WOULD NEED 3.3 PLANETS. Hey, that’s a lot of planets! How about you?

Some Earth Day reading:

Catholic focus

Global focus

Personal focus.

Environmental focus

Comprehensive focus Join the Charter!

One Political focus

Effects of Terror – right here on planet earth.

A Mother Remembers Columbine


The Depressive and the Psychopath – At last we know why the Columbine killers did it. By Dave?Cullen

I’m a pacifist and a conflict avoider. Days like today make me crazy. But days like today are everyday. So I pray. How about you?

April 2004