12 Sep 2015 1 Comment
27 Jul 2015 1 Comment
NEW CLAIRVAUX WINERY, and its under-construction abbey church.
21 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
([the beginning of] an attempt to toss all those forgotten travel photos onto one site)
More 2010: Provence (w/o captions) + Vienna, PTown, Siena, Pondicherry, Agra —
13 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
To be sure, it’s a question I’ve often been asked, especially lately, by friends – nonbelievers, former Catholics, protestants. I know some who resolve the question by being able to claim a Cultural Catholicism: it’s in their DNA, it’s the way they grew up, so even though they can’t attend Mass or receive the sacraments, they still find that they can’t simply shake it (RC-ism) off. They can’t not be Catholic.
However, as some of my children (you know who you are) used to say about my attempts to serve things like plain yogurt popsicles or cooked-to-dryness pork chops, That doesn’t work for me.
Recently, two pieces of news: charges brought by my hero, the Ramsey County attorney general, against my archdiocese. At last! And now, the pope has approved the creation of a Vatican tribunal “for judging bishops accused of covering up or failing to act” in cases of clerical abuse. Every news article singles out the archbishop who lives up the street here, so naturally I’ve joined the multitude crowing and posting giddy status updates on Facebook. Still, that doesn’t work for me, so I’m looking beyond the news – beyond Facebook, even.
With the warmer weather, I’ve been taking a morning or afternoon walk, and as usual end up on the south side of my neighborhood church. I’ve been taking grandkids here for a couple years, and so we have a routine — more about that in minute.
This view, this photo, brought me back to Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation, specifically to his chapter on the Renaissance, in which he writes of the decadence and the wonder of the Renaissance. True, Clark’s text is dated (he talks of Man, and he writes of only male Renaissance artists). Yet, he gets many things right, especially the part about beauty rising out of decadence. That almost works for me.
Last week, my oldest and dearest friend told me she’d wondered this same question aloud – why stay Catholic – to her spiritual director, a priest who personally knows more than he might wish to know about the vagaries and pitfalls of ecclesial politics. His response to her? The reminder that her archbishop “is not the Catholic Church.” It works for me.
As for the cathedral and kids: It’s a great place, with ledges to walk, stairs to run, and railings to shimmy– all that, outside. Inside, on a quiet weekday, it’s always still, and in small doses, perfect for an active little boy to slow down and wander. True, a few times I’ve had to stare down tourguides, but not often, and as I do, my prayer just goes something like this: All Are Welcome, REMEMBER?? Or should be and must be and will be.
(click photos to enlarge)
As for the future of Roman Catholicism? Following the Pew Research Results showing millenials leaving in droves, Notre Dame’s Christian Smith argues that, despite the New Evangelization, his research proves that the situation really is grim among young people (is there no middle ground, between Crushed Ice and Wine?).
18 Apr 2015 3 Comments
For CONTEXT, part of a letter (in italics) I wrote Gloria Steinem’s handler
I turn 70 on Sunday, 19 April, and unlike Gloria, who, I’ve read, expects her funeral to be a fundraiser, I prefer not to wait so long. Consequently, to celebrate my birthday, I’m holding a fundraiser for the school which is near to my heart, BLESS School, Tamil Nadu.
27 Jan 2015 Leave a comment
Just over a month at Northern School for the Blind, and I’m [not] ready to leave. A K-12 school of 210, all but 10 students board here.
Below are not necessarily highlights, because there are too many, but some idea of life at NSBCM, as I’ve known it.
Week 1: Teaching NOUNS to Class 1 Wouldn’t I love to say I’ve gained control over the ensuing days; see Week 4, for the video-truth
Week 4: Thorough review of new nouns – body parts, this time – again, videos don’t lie. “Head and Shoulders” and etc.
Yes, the students with whom I’ve worked, especially the littles, are an ABSOLUTE HOOT.
In between, there were field trips, the most notable being the one to what I thought was an enourmous rice field (photos, Facebook). We spent a long morning and part of an afternoon there, working on that rice. The following week I learned it was not RICE, but MUSHROOMS that had been packed in the straw we heaved into the long, rectangular mold and carefully pushed and pummeled until we could then lift out thebundles and set them in neat stacks. BTW, that experience was so typical of my weeks here, I can’t begin to tell you.
Still, I’ve learned a lot.
The first week I watched lessons about coconuts: how they are opened, where that incredible liquid actually spurts from, and where the meat is, in relation to the skin. Last week, one lesson I took part in was Sticky Rice on a Stick, which some inventive MN Thai has probably already introduced to the MN State Fair, but until this visit, I hadn’t seen.
This past weekend, I went deeper into the Old City – near where Elizabeth and I stayed for awhile – for a haircut. This is the mother of the woman who cut my hair. And the haircut set me back… you don’t want to know, not if you’ve recently had a haircut in the U.S.
MUCH, MUCH MORE TO SAY, as they say, but I’m headed out to dinner with the person who has overseen me/answered every question I had and several I didn’t, given me driving tours of the area — and last week was in Bangkok receiving an award from the government. In Thailand, that means, of course, from royalty.
The weather forecast for the eastern U.S. at this moment – see it in top right of this weather forecast screenshot – has been mentioned here with what I can only call disbelief!
17 Jan 2015 Leave a comment
THE ART OF WALKING
I walk to work, passing many shrines, and sometimes, an enormous monastery. I also pass a 7-11 and several restaurants. If you double-click them, the thumb-nails should (!) enlarge.
THE ART OF THE RED TRUCK
If I’m going any distance – Mass, museums, my favorite EngLish language bookstores – I take a Songthaew (“2 benches”), one of the ubiquitous Red Trucks of Chiang Mai. As long as I don’t ask, 20 Thai Baht, about 60 cents, gets me just about anywhere w/in the Old City. Here’s how it works for me: When I arrive at my destination and climb off, I walk to the front, hand a 20 TB note through the window, and with a huge smile, murmur, “Korp-kOOn,” as I walk away. Very Quickly.
It’s not always a quick hop-on or hop-off,however. I’ve been known to flag down 4 or 5 Red Trucks before finding a driver willing to take me where I want to go.
What’s more, the drive can take awhile. Last Week, I practiced, as I always do, the trick Elizabeth & Roy taught me in Beijing: have the address on your phone, and be sure it’s written in the driver’s language. Normally, this photo gets me to 7 Fountains, the Jesuit retreat house across town:Not quite so straightforward, though, last Sunday. I jumped in, and already in the Red Truck were some German university students. We went first to the airport, where they didn’t want to go (“Plane? No! “), then to the train station, where they DID want to go – before being dropped at 7 Fountains
THE ART OF WALKING, cont’d
Around Arak Rd, soi 2 (things I pass on my walk to work) —
i live on soi 2, a studio apartment (truth? A large bedroom, with armoire & desk; a door from here leads first to a closet holding a refrigerator and plastic electric teapot; from the closet is a door to ithe bathroom: toilet, sink, and handheld shower head.). It works for me: breakfast here, terrific lunch at school, dinner, out. Every night. In an ideal world, if I could have either a personal chef or dinner out every night, I’d be hard-pressed to choose.
Besides the funeral shop on my walk to work, I pass those places at the top of this page. The gods of technology are against me right now, so I’m forcEd to end here. I say: GO BACK AND LOOK AT THOSE NICE PHOTOS OF FRIED BANANAS AND WHITENERS AND WATS!