Watch videos of Mother Dolores reading Scripture and Homilies of the Fathers of the Church.
• July 11th—and following: A Series of Readings on St. Benedict.
• April 4th at the Easter Vigil—From the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, Chapter 6, verses 3-11.
• March 27th—From the Book of Revelation, Chapter 21, verses 1-7.
• February 25th—The Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord according to St. Mark, Chapter 9, verses 2-10.
• February 25th—A Commentary on the the Transfiguration by Pope St. Leo the Great.
JUNE 27, 2014
GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES—MY PARTICIPATION IN THE ATLANTA EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS
On June 21st I had the privilege of speaking at the 2014 Eucharistic Congress hosted by His Excellency Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and the Archdiocese of Atlanta. As I was introduced my heart was in my throat as I looked out at the sea of faces in the crowd of 35,000 people. How was I going to communicate a personal message to each and every one in that convention hall? Then I saw the camera and the monitors and I knew I had my answer. As an actress in film for many years I felt at home speaking into a camera, and that small camera lens gave me the entrance point to speak intimately to the heart of each man and woman in the audience seeking a deeper relationship to Jesus in the Eucharist.
The theme of the Congress was Go and Make Disciples and I presented how I, as Dean of Education at Regina Laudis for forty years, have been called to lead others to discipleship in ways one may not expect. I have found that the way to Christ is through the wound. Everyone has a wound, a wound that may make you feel you can never be a whole person. But if you face the wound, it is the beginning of knowing you can have a gift. The mission is to take that wound and turn it into a value. In our life at Regina Laudis we call the good that is in us a bonum, a good that cannot be taken away no matter what violence or violation we have experienced. Find the love that is in you, that can be transformed—you will know the love of Christ.
I am 70 years old and after 50 years in the Abbey have found that no two people are alike. To think that through an act of love a unique human being is created in the likeness and image of God and meant to be for eternity. We cannot "make disciples" unless there is a love relationship. And relationship comes through the offering of body. For how many centuries in the Church have we been told to "give up our bodies"? Yet in our life in community we have been given the freedom of coming to know the body through a medium, an incarnation that reveals Christ to us. I ended my presentation by sharing my recent experience (which I describe in the reflection below) of losing my parrot Tobiel and his continuity in the unexpected gift of a new parrot Beau—and my gratitude for knowing God's love through the medium of these creatures.
JUNE 2014 PASSAGE OF A BELOVED CREATURE
In the times when I was alone, one of the best friends I had was Toby. It was good to be with another creature that didn't care about what pain was, didn't care at all. He wanted his head stroked or a peanut...
From Mother Dolores' Autobiography The Ear of the Heart
On May 5th my African grey parrot Tobiel (Toby) died unexpectedly. This feathered friend had shared my studio Corpus Christi with me for 24 years. Every day after Vespers when Mother Abbess and I would meet in the studio and review the events of the day, Toby would come out of his cage and walk across Mother Abbess' shoulders and head. He listened to classical music and NPR news and danced to the harmonica. For long hours Toby reviewed films that had been nominated for Academy Awards with me. He could imitate anything: a room full of people laughing, a dog barking, or fool us with sound of a fax machine to get our attention. But this intelligent creature also remained silent, cocking his head and listening to my conversations with novices and community members seeking my counsel and consolation in this hub of the Education Deanery in our basement. And when needed Toby offered his own words of advice:
Cheer up Sweetie!
Tobiel's death has inspired a reflection about time and how we strive to see time as God sees time. In my grief I had to recognize my own humanity and came to see how much my humanity is involved in change. After Tobiel died another bird-lover offered us the gift of a new African grey whom I met 10 days ago at the breeder in Massachusetts. This little creature you see on the right won my heart and he was the one I chose from the clutch of chicks. He actually chose me...It was not until I saw a photograph of the moment he was hatched that I learned he broke into this world on Holy Saturday, April 19th. When we are bridled with our emotions such as grief, even for an animal, we are unaware that a new cycle is being born. God is already preparing the answer! The mystery is overwhelming. In God's time the whole thing is already there. You just have to "be there" and respond positively. Then your time relates to God's time. I had decided to name the chick Bo for "bonum" or "the good" of which St. Benedict speaks in his Holy Rule, the good we all bring to our monastic life. To my amazement I learned that the man who is giving us our new African grey had a beloved bird name Beau! So our chick will be named Beau for he is "beautiful" and in his birth and coming shows us the beauty and goodness of God opening a new cycle in His time.
MAY 2014 "GRANNY GET YOUR GUN..."
Annie Get Your Gun which will be performed at our theater this summer, is not a show about gun violence but rather the story of a remarkable woman, Annie Oakley—strong, intelligent and possessing world class athletic skills. Annie began to develop her shooting skill at the age of eight after her father’s death. Her family was hungry and she learned to shoot game first to feed her mother and seven siblings, and later to sell game to a general store to support her family.
My own personal experience of seeing a gun in the hands of a woman was with my Granny on the North side of Chicago. A man was following me up the staircase to our apartment. She told him “lay off and get going”. When he did not and I was safely behind the living room door, she insisted yelling: “if you don’t leave by the count of ten I will shoot two holes through this door". She began counting and reached for my grandfather’s hunting gun and sure enough, on the count of ten, she shot two holes through the door. We heard someone duck, roll down the stairs, and drive off. I indeed would not suggest we change the name of the play to Granny Get Your Gun but deep in my heart I will always look for two shots fired by Annie to “save the play”.
Indeed I don't personally carry a weapon or can boast about my own excellence in marksmanship, but I have learned as most all of you have, that there is an instinctual capacity for violence in all of us. Whether we shoot a gun, or shoot off our mouths, or however we destroy rather then seeking an order to contain our anger, we regret the fact that an ugly spirit has ruled us. In fact the fear of acknowledging and ordering the violence that comes up in us is very often a response from a genetic pool that we are not really responsible for. Violence is so often confused with an honest female masculine in a woman that knows she has something to say, and the pattern of being told to "shut up", "be quiet", "be a good girl"—however the rain falls—can brew a witch in us. A woman has got to know she has the right to speak out, to defend her loved ones, and to express the most endearing quality of a good wife, mother, sister, or grandmother. She must protect life.
An important song in Annie Get Your Gun which was sung all over the country for years after the play debuted, was called "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better". The guy and the gal singing it illustrated the deep and gentle cry between the sexes that we pray will resolve in "They Say It's Wonderful". And the wonderful is LOVE!
My Lenten reading has been Pedro Arrupe: Essential Writings with this introduction by Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
Arrupe’s reflections speak to such hungers and passions for they emerge from the heart of a man who knew intimately the Spirit and the world. Poignant and at times personal, these recollections, essays and prayers reveal a man whose familiarity with suffering and long apprenticeship in the art of spiritual conversation rendered him finally, simply human.
Father Arrupe, Founder of the Society of Jesus, says:
The bloodiest century in recorded history now recedes from view. It seems a time of unending tragedy and horror, it was also a century of unexpected light and grace.
His remarks have stayed with me as I ponder the resurrection, that in the resurrection we will get back our bodies! It resonated with a recent discussion I had with a physician who had told me that it is now possible to take a photograph of the thumbprint of a fetus. To think that a fetus has a thumbprint, a unique identity—making abortion even more of a horror. In the resurrection that soul created by God is given a body. A body discovers its identity and mission and is an eternal expression of who you are—that is denied to an aborted fetus, a life that has a right to fulfillment. The more we grow in consciousness the more we'll understand the violence we're committing.
The time of transition from life is a gift. A person approaching death can make external changes, decisions that change his/her relationship to God. We have no right to interrupt this process, to decide when one should die.
We have entered an era of technology where we can talk to someone anywhere in the world. This technology can show us the power of God to be present to each one of us anytime anywhere. The digital world will reveal the power of God.
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