Why Charles Dickens Cried When He Met St. Jeanne Jugan

11/27/2015 Comments (2)

With the Little Sisters of the Poor the focus of religious freedom threats recently, I was curious to know more about the order.

St. Jeanne Jugan is the foundress of the Little Sisters, who today quietly devote themselves to care of the elderly and alone in 31 countries.

Born in 1792 in Brittany, France, Jeanne grew up in tough times. The French Revolution meant begging was a way of life for many. Religious orders were suppressed and those who openly practiced their faith were often imprisoned. Her father died at sea when she was just four, leaving her mother to raise eight children in a one-room cottage. Jeanne learned her faith secretly at home from her mother and a group of women who...READ MORE

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Full Text of Pope's Meeting With Clergy, Religious and Seminarians in Nairobi

11/27/2015 Comment

The Vatican has now published the official transcript of the Pope Francis' extemporaneous remarks to priests, religious and seminarians in Nairobi. News.va also has a video of the Holy Father's address, with side-by-side English translation provided by the Pope's interpreter, Msgr. Mark Miles. 



Sports field of St Mary’s School, Nairobi (Kenya)
Thursday, 26 November 2015


V. Tumsifu Yesu Kristu! (Praised be Jesus Christ!)

R. (Milele na Milele. Amina.) (Now and forever. Amen.)


[Thanks for being here. I wish I could speak in English, but my English is not very good. I have listened...READ MORE

Filed under clergy, kenya, pope francis, religious, seminarians

Full Text of Pope Francis' Address at Kangemi Slum

11/27/2015 Comments (6)

The depth of suffering found in slums is "not a random combination of unrelated problems" but the "consequence of new forms of colonialism" in which "countries are frequently pressured to adopt policies typical of the culture of waste, like those aimed at lowering the birth rate, which seek to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized."

Pope Francis' words today when he visited the Jesuit-run Kangemi parish, home to one of the largest slums in Kenya. 

He spoke of the "dreadful injustice of urban exclusion", and the "very serious problem" of "lack of access to infrastructures and basic...READ MORE

Filed under kenya, nairobi, pope francis, poverty, slums

Ten Things to Do as a Catholic Before You're Dead

11/27/2015 Comments (16)

Bucket lists (i.e., lists of stuff you should oughtta wanna do before you kick the bucket) are hot these days.  So, canny fellow that I am, I thought I would put together a bucket list of ten things a Catholic should oughtta wanna do before he or she takes the dirt nap, lays down in the back of that long black Cadillac, and otherwise stops squeezing the plasma pump behind the sternum.

The trouble with this clever idea is that you then have to make a judgment call.  Should I give you my personal bucket list about stuff I’d like to do (which might include something like “read all the works of Shakespeare”) leading to your eyes crossing and a warm numb feeling stealing over you?  Or consider:...READ MORE

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Dear Simcha

11/26/2015 Comments (2)

Dear Nobody,

Here is my annual Thanksgiving Day “Dear Simcha” advice column! I hope and pray that, according to tradition, you (Nobody) will continue your so-far unbroken record of reading this post with the close attention it deserves.


Dear Simcha,

As you may know, yesterday was Walk-in Warrant Day at court, which means that lots of people who have a warrant out for their arrest turned themselves, hoping the judge would be reluctant to send someone to jail right before Thanksgiving.

I did this myself, and it worked like a charm, and I’m going home, instead of the lock-up. So, rather than spending the holiday trapped in a dim, drafty, funny-smelling building with a bunch of...READ MORE

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Trump Mocks Journalist for Disability

11/26/2015 Comments (29)

Mocking the weak is not a desirable trait in someone seeking the most powerful office in the world. Donald Trump would be in hot water if he were any other candidate but he's apparently immune to such things mainly because so many love the way he confronts his opponents and the media (is that redundant?).

His candidacy, while built on his immigration stance, has persevered because many refuse to let the media take him down. It's not just appreciation for Trump, it's also anger at the media. I'll admit I've gotten a kick out of him at times. But Trump's latest is, I think, revealing of his character. And it's not pretty.

He apparently did not just mock someone with a disability but he may...READ MORE

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Pope Francis' Address to UN Office in Nairobi

11/26/2015 Comments (7)

I would like to thank Madame Sahle-Work Zewde, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, for her kind invitation and words of welcome, as well as Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, and Mr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat. I take this occasion to greet the personnel and all those associated with the institutions who are here present.

On my way to this hall, I was asked to plant a tree in the park of the United Nations Centre. I was happy to carry out this simple symbolic act, which is so meaningful in many cultures.

Planting a tree is first and foremost an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like...READ MORE

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Beware of the “Creep”, and Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

11/26/2015 Comments (4)

Do you have your Thanksgiving Day shopping list done? Have you plotted your route from store to store so that you can snap up all the great holiday deals?

For weeks, television, radio, and cyber-ads have been blasting at us, inviting us to get out there and get the jump on our Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day. They’re promising deep discounts and a variety of sundry bells and whistles to entice us to leave our Thanksgiving tables early – or skip them entirely.

The trend for stores to open on Thanksgiving Day has grown to the point that media are now referring to Thanksgiving as “Grey Thursday” and the trend itself as “Black Friday Creep.”

I think “creep” is the perfect word and I...READ MORE

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