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A Conversation I Never Wanted to Have

Possibly proving that good can come out evil, the garbage happening with Judge Kavanaugh forced me to have a conversation with my adolescent daughter I never envisioned happening. However … and God forbid, PLEASE!, that this ever happens … if she should ever find herself the victim of a sexual assault, I hope she will now be better situated to deal with it in a way that will increase both her credibility and that justice will come to the person who attacks her.

If she is ever sexually assaulted (or assaulted in any way), she should do each of the following:

  1. Get immediate medical attention. Don’t shower, don’t wash, don’t douche (I didn’t say that part, but it should factor in), don’t collect $200, just pass “Go,” and get to a doctor, Urgent Care facility, or hospital. That way medical experts there can collect scientific evidence that will help convict the perpetrator if police ever catch him or her.
  2. Go to the police. “How?” she asked. Have a friend or family call, call 911, ask the medical personnel, stop a cop, make the police station your first stop on the way home. Do whatever you have to do, but make sure you give them a written statement. That way a public record is extant, and thereby no confusion exists that later calls into doubt the date, the time, or the fact that such an assault happened. But, I heavily stressed, don’t ever file a false report for any reason. To do so, I told her, “would be evil, about the worst thing you could ever do outside of murder.” Because you would then be murdering someone’s good name and reputation.
  3. Tell friends and family. Tell them. Let them know. Yes, you’re embarrassed. Yes, you’re ashamed. Yes, you’re feeling emotional pain. Yes, you’re afraid. However, do it anyway. By doing so, you now have hopefully credible people who can vouch for you should your recollections ever be called into question.
  4. Journal about your experience. A diary is not a public record. It does, however, provide additional written evidence that can be shown to authorities at a later time that will help bolster that X happened on Y date in Z place, and this is how it went down.

None of this will guarantee that someone will get arrested. None of this will guarantee a conviction. It will not even guarantee that people will believe you, especially if the accused has a reputation of good standing within his or her community.

What it will do, though, is to increase the chances that good people will believe you, that your accusations will result in an arrest, and that this arrest will result in a conviction. Why? Because you will have created an evidentiary trail that others can follow.

After all, what is the biggest problem with the charges against Brett Kavanaugh? No such evidentiary trail exists. This is why I and countless millions of others refuse to believe the dark charges that scum are attempting to use to paint over the canvas of brilliant colors that is the rest of the Judge’s life. They have no hard details of date, time, and corroborating witnesses. In fact, no one has backed up a single charge made by these people.

So if this sort of thing does happen to anyone — again, please, God forbid — then doing the above creates a better chance that people will receive a victim’s charges with credence and support.

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Church News, Saints Stories

Promulgation of the Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

On 6 March 2018, the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.DB., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the Congregation to promulgate the Decrees concerning:

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), Supreme Pontiff; born in Concesio, Italy, on 26 September 1897 and died in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on 6 August 1978;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Oscar Arnolfo Romero Galdámez, archbishop of San Salvador; born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, on 15 August 1917 and killed in San Salvador, El Salvador, on 24 March 1980;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Francesco Spinelli, diocesan priest; founder of the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, born in Milan, Italy, on 14 April 1853 and died in Rivolta d’Adda, Italy, on 6 February 1913;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Vincenzo Romano, diocesan priest; born in Torre del Greco, Italy, on 3 June 1751 and died there on 20 December 1831;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of Blessed Maria Katharina Kasper, founder of the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; born on 26 May 1820 in Dernbach, Germany, and died there on 2 February 1898;

– the miracle, attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (née María Felicia Guggiari Echeverría), professed nun of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites; born in Villarica, Paraguay on 12 January 1925, and died in Asunción, Paraguay, on 28 April 1959;

– the martyrdom of the Servant of God Anna Kolesárová, layperson; born in Vysoká nad Uhom, Slovakia, on 14 July 1928 and killed there in hatred of the faith on 22 November 1944;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Bernardo Łubieński, professed priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer; born in Guzów, Poland, on 9 December 1846 and died in Warszawa, Poland, on 10 September 1933;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Cecilio Maria Cortinovis (né Antonio Pietro), professed religious of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; born in Nespello, Italy, on 7 November 1885 and died in Bergamo, Italy, on 10 April 1984;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Giustina Schiapparoli, founder of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence of Voghera; born in Castel San Giovanni, Italy, on 19 July 1819 and died in Voghera, Italy, on 20 November 1877;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Schiapparoli, founder of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence of Voghera; born in Castel San Giovanni, Italy, on 19 April 1815 and died in Vespolate, Italy, on 2 May 1882;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Antonella Bordoni, layperson, of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, founder of the Lay Fraternity of the Little Daughters of the Mother of God, now Little Daughters of the Mother of God; born on 13 October 1916 in Arezzo, Italy, and died in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on 16 January 1978;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Alessandra Sabattini, layperson; born on 19 August 1961 in Riccione, Italy, and died in Bologna, Italy on 2 May 1984.

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History, Spiritual Reflections, This and That

Give Us Beauty in the Liturgy … PLEASE

This article appeared in Crisis magazine today, and it calls for restoring chant and polyphony in the Liturgy as a way of building up the faithful. Typically, however, you only find this in the extraordinary form of the Mass, which makes use of the 1962, pre-Second Vatican Council missal.

That said, please, please do this if you have it in your power to make it happen where you are.

The importance of good liturgical music (contemporary Christian music does not count or even begin to suffice) cannot be understated. Continue reading

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Spiritual Reflections

My Lenten Sacrifice

For Lent, I’m giving up complaining.
Not about the political order. When that is not working, we have to raise our voices.
Instead, I’m talking about things such as, “This isn’t hot enough for me.” “Why have they moved everything around in this store?! I can’t find my precious bottle of dish detergent!” “That person is a true jerk to me, and I don’t like them.” See the common thread here? Complaining often leads us to place an unhealthy emphasis on “me.” And that is pride. And pride is the root of most if not all sin. So if I want to give up sin, which should a 24/7/365 endeavor, then I must give up pride. And to give up pride, I have to give up the things that tend me toward pride.

Continue reading

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History, Saints Stories

Algerian Martyr: Sr. Odette Prévost

Sr. Odette Prévost of the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart lost her life for Christ on November 10, 1995. She was the last female of the modern Algerian martyrs to lose their lives.

She was born on July 17, 1932, in Oger, France. After graduation from school, she worked as a school teacher for three years before entering the Little Sisters of the Sacred heart in 1953, taking her final vows in 1959.

First sent to Morocco and then back to France, her order finally stationed her in Algiers in 1968. There, too, she taught students, typically the poorest of the poor.

Sr. Odette spent her nights helping young children with their homework.

Sister would make homemade yogurt so the local children would have “enough protein to grow.” In addition to her free tutoring, she played games with them. Because of this, there “was always a gang of them in the kitchen.”

Days before she died, she asked an Algerian Christian friend for a kiss goodbye. The friend, laughing, said, “‘No, I’ll come back tomorrow.’ She said, ‘Tomorrow might be too late.’”

Encouraged to leave Algeria, she refused “so as ‘to resist through solidarity’ the enveloping violence and chaos to show through their presence that ‘one can live fraternally with difference.’”

Benedictine Father Martin McGee writes, “Odette purposely decided to remain in Algeria in order ‘to be Christ’s own presence.’ She understood her decision to stay in light of the Eucharist–Jesus’ self-offering on our behalf.” In this light, her death on a Friday while on her way to the holy sacrifice of the Mass is fitting.

 

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History, Saints Stories

Algerian Martyr: Sister Paul-Hélène Saint-Raymond

Along with Marist Brother Henri Verges, Sr. Paul-Hélène Saint-Raymond became the first person in the modern era to undergo martyrdom in Algeria on May 8, 1994.

Sister was born in Paris on January 24, 1927, the eighth of ten children. She did scientific studies in Sorbonne but found her religious vocation, joining the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1952, so she could serve the poor. Subsequently she studied to be a nurse and made her final vows in 1960.

For roughly four years, Sr. Paul-Hélène worked amongst the poor in Rouen, before transferring to Algeria, where she was head nurse at an Algiers health center. She was a whirlwind of activity so that she would exhaust her fellow sisters and had to be told to go easy on them. She became so skilled she could perform minor surgery.

Archbishop Teissier says she was someone who “chose what she wanted to do and she did it.”

Sister Paul-Hélène Saint-Raymond was born in Paris on January 24, 1927, the eighth of ten children. She did scientific studies in Sorbonne but found her religious vocation, joining the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1952, so she could serve the poor. Subsequently she studied to be a nurse and made her final vows in 1960.

For roughly four years, Sr. Paul-Hélène worked amongs the poor in Rouen, before transferring to Algeria, where she was head nurse at an Algiers health center. She was a whirlwind of activity so that she would exhaust her fellow sisters and had to be told to go easy on them. She became so skilled she could perform minor surgery.

Reflecting on the violence that then reigned, she wrote that “one must start oneself to fight against one’s own violence.” To Msgr. Teissier who warned her of the danger all were facing, she replied, “Father, our lives are already given anyway.”

Sister, an engineer by training, had lived 30 years in the Maghreb (i.e., northern Africa from Morocco to Libya’s western border) serving the people there. Upon her retirement, rather than returning to France, she moved to the capital to assist Brother Henri Vergès in running the library, which served 1,200 young people from neighboring schools.

The French Wikipedia article on her says, “She was very helpful, unfailingly generosity, of a very logical mind, of a lively intelligence, and possessed of a great memory. However, her frankness, her outspokenness, and her lack of tact caused her relational difficulties, and her determined character sometimes made her difficult to live for the other nuns, but her humility, her fraternal spirit and capacity for dialogue promoted reconciliation. Her vast culture and knowledge also makes her known as ‘Madame Encyclopédie.’ The depth of her faith helped her to overcome her inner struggles. She remained very attached to prayer, individual and community.

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History, Saints Stories

Algerian Martyrs: Sister Caridad Alvarez Martín and Sister Esther Paniagua Alonso

On October 23, 1994, Sisters Esther Paniagua Alonso and Caridad “Cari” Alvarez Martín were each shot in the head as they walked to Mass.

Sister Esther was a nurse who worked with sick and disabled children and had painstakingly learned fluent Arabic. In the discernment meeting with Msgr. Teissier about whether to stay or go, she said to her sisters, “At this moment, for me, the perfect model is Jesus: He suffered, he had to overcome difficulties and led to the failure of the cross from which springs the source of life…. Nobody can take our life because we have already given it … Nothing will happen to us since we are in the hands of God … and if something happens to us, we are still in His hands.”

At the same meeting, Sister Caridad, who worked with the elderly and poor and had a deep devotion to Our Lady, noted, “I am open to God’s and my superiors’ will for me. Mary remained open to the will of God. Probably that cost her. In the present moments, I want to remain in this attitude before God.”

Again, their murders happened while on their way to Mass. They had set out with two other sisters, but before leaving, their Mother Superior, worried about the violence, said to not walk together so that if something happened it would be only to two and not to all four.

Sisters Esther and Caridad had turned a corner ahead of their companions when shots rang out. People ran past their two companions with fear on their faces, which impelled the women forward to see what had happened. Several young people held them back, however, and told the Sisters their friends had been shot.

The doctor who received them screamed in agony, “When will the killing end?! We no longer know where to put the corpses!”

Esther died first, a little over an hour after being shot, while Cari, transported to a military hospital, at first seemed she might pull through, even though the bullet had lodged in her head. However Sister Cari, too, died the next morning.

The Algerian journalist Saïd Mekbel wrote, “They were two women on their way to God to ask forgiveness. They were undoubtedly offering their little prayers for us, unfortunate Algerians, oppressed by the scourge [of violence]. Perhaps we will be lacking for a long time the final prayers of these two religious who wished to tip the scales in favor of peace and mercy. Towards what world of darkness will we now plunge, we who only dream of light.”

Less than two months later, terrorists also assassinated him.

During the aforementioned discernment retreat, which had lasted two days, Algiers Archbishop Teissier encouraged them to move to a less working class and dangerous neighborhood.

Their response: “This is the district where we are known, this is the district where we must remain.”

 

 

 

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