A review of Julian’s Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich,
by Veronica Mary Rolf, published by Orbis*, 2013.
Veronica Mary Rolf is a most interesting writer. A recent podcast with America magazine reveals she spent much of her life in the professional theatre, as a playwright and actress. She also trained and directed professional actors around the world. Now, Rolf teaches Christian meditation and the history of Christian mysticism. She brings her dramatic sensibility and vivid descriptions of Julian’s context and time to Julian’s Gospel in a unique approach to the favorite spiritual guide of Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, and many others.
If I can feel the wood and know who’s whittled,
Read paragraphs and know the author’s name,
Can hear one riff and know Grapelli’s fiddled,
Or sense in silhouettes the dancing flame,
Why can’t I scan for style erratic lines
And temperamental scribbling on earth’s page:
Consistent inconsistencies, design,
Caprice, rich legacies of tenderness and rage?
Perhaps the world I cherish is chaotic,
Perhaps its pedagogy is insane,
But if it is sufficiently quixotic,
The signature, for students, will be plain.
Ah, crazy-witty worldlings, pitch a tent,
Absorbing and translating sacrament.
As an NGO with UN consultative status, Maryknoll was present at events aligned with the UN Climate Change Conference held in Lima, Peru in December 2014. World leaders are working to establish the fundamentals of a strong, global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, hopefully to be finalized in Paris in 2015.
The faith-based coalition OurVoices organized #LightForLIMA, a global, multi-faith prayer vigil held in locations around the world prior to the Lima Conference. They now invite us to join in prayers from our Ambassadors to inspire us for the road to Paris (http://ourvoices.net/limaprayers).
Maryknoll is one of nearly 100 Catholic national and international member groups in the newly formed Global Catholic Climate Movement (http://catholicclimatemovement.global/fast/).
This coalition of laity, religious, clergy, theologians, scientists, and activists agree with scientific findings that humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions contribute to widespread and mostly harmful changes to planetary systems. Its focus is on the moral and spiritual issues involved, and to raise awareness of Church teachings on the care of creation.
What was the magic of their secret?
Was it the memory of the busy and noisy, strange City?
Was it the color and beauty of exotic flowers and sunsets?
Was it the unbelievable sweetness and richness of wines grown and ripened on the other side of the globe?
Was it the aftertaste of the spices which strange foods had left on their tongues?
What was it all about?
Was it the laughter echoing through their souls?
Was it a song, a melody?
Was it just a memory of the face they could not forget?
Was it a smile that had warmed their hearts?
Who will ever know?
So they returned to their cobblers’ benches and broken shoes...
To their trading stores and wares...
To their oxen, ploughs, and farms...
To their sick-houses and their dying...
To their schools and books and students.
And it followed them.
Because now it had gone to their very center.
Somehow they lived on. But...sometimes they still wondered...and
THEY WERE NEVER THE SAME AGAIN!
Like many Affiliates, I have an indelible memory of hearing that President Kennedy had been shot. On November 22, 2013, in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, we and people across the country, including some at the SOA Watch Vigil in Columbus GA, attended Readers Theater performances of Project Unspeakable. ProjectUnspeakable.org was inspired by the Orbis hardcover book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, by James W. Douglass.
Special Prayer Request
Fr. Jim Madden, who founded the Maryknoll Affiliate Movement with Sr. Ellen McDonald, has notified us that he has cancer and asks for our prayers. Father Jim has remained in close contact with the Affiliate family since stepping down from his leadership position and has continued to offer support to us on many, many levels. It is difficult to find the words to express our gratitude to Jim or our concern in learning of this diagnosis. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you, Father Jim, throughout this time.
Our Readers Comment:
Share Your Skills?
Order this one now! (By L. Susan Slavin and Coralis Salvador, Orbis, 2013.) And while you’re at it, order copies for your family and friends! You’ll want to share it without losing your copy.
Sr. Eleanor Keeney, who died on Nov. 29, was born in NJ, trained as a nurse and then joined Maryknoll in 1948. Her medical expertise took her to Ceylon, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and the US, where she established various programs: AIDS support, rural clinics, hospice, home care, and more.
Sr. Joan Campbell died on Dec. 14, 2013, after 66 years as a Maryknoll sister. Born in NJ and educated in PA, she served in Tanzania as a teacher/headmistress.
Sr. Elizabeth Lee, a Maryknoll sister for over 70 years, died on Feb. 4, 2014. Teaching gradeschool, ESL, and teachers of ESL, she worked mostly with Chinese populations in the US and Taiwan.
Kelly Gordon, my former student and a Red Bank Maryknoll Affiliate for three years, was killed on April 10th as she attempted to cross 84th street in New York City.
Kelly, a senior at Boston College due to graduate in May, was in NYC with her sister to interview for a job. Kelly was a quiet and wonderful young woman who had a deep sense of compassion for all, but especially for children.
Sr. Rose Duchesne Debrecht, MM, a Maryknoll sister since her entry in St. Charles, MO, in 1940, died Feb. 22, 2014. Serving the youth in Hong Kong for over 60 years, she was a teacher, principal, spiritual directress, journalist, and English tutor.
Sr. Rosemary Bass, MM, a Maryknoll Sister for 64 years, died March 16 at the age of 88. She taught English to Japanese students at all levels, in Los Angeles and in Japan. In the 1970s, she was in charge of the Center’s Direct Mail Department and then cared for her ailing mother.
Sr. Agnes Cazalé, MM, after a long illness, died on April 8th. Born in New Orleans, LA, in 1923, she entered Maryknoll in 1943 and was a Maryknoll Sister for 71 years. She served in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, primarily in spiritual direction and counseling.
Where Am I Eating? by Kelsey Timmerman, published by Wiley, 2013.
Author Kelsey Timmerman, having previously taken readers through the question, Where Am I Wearing?, next tackles food products (Wiley, 2013). Traveling to countries that are major exporters of coffee, chocolate, bananas, lobster, and apple juice, Timmerman seeks to experience a day in the life of the grower/harvester of each product.
Board Member Ann Hayden, MM, made this bookmark for the Maryknoll Affiliates gathered at MAC 2014.
The land of expectation lies neglected, worn and used... leaving only starlit dust sparkling against the surrounding backdrop of dense unknowing, just beyond.
Hope, the energy of seeking, lures us to set off on a sacred search along uneven roads in unfamiliar places to encounter that space of creative eagerness, which rises in the depth of all that members the earth and awaits the seed of tomorrow’s fruit.
Each day, each now, whether in the fresh anticipation of dawn or in the weary silence of the midnight hour, we are stilled to hear life murmuring in each new place where, in the familiar rich earth of every place we’ve ever known, we recognize life’s connections and hope blooms lovely in our midst.