Sunday, October 30, 2022

Zacchaeus, Come Down


In today’s gospel we hear the familiar story of Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector.  Due to his position, he was not popular with the people.  Zacchaeus saw a crowd and wanted to know what is going on, trying to get close to Jesus, he climbs a sycamore tree to see Jesus.  Jesus calls him down and tells him he is going to host a dinner for Him.  Hospitality is so important in Zacchaeus’ time as well as in our own times.  God calls us, comes to us, and encourages us to change anything that is keeping us from following.  Jesus comes and invites us to be His friend, welcomes us, knows what we are about and gives us countless chances to welcome Him into our hearts, all we have to do is accept the invitation.

What keeps us from accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow?  There are many reasons why we shy away from accepting Jesus’ invitation.  We are fearful, anxious, burdened by the needs of our times, and concerned about what will people think of me.  Jesus recognizes the faith of this tax collector exhibited in his search for salvation and calls him down from the tree. In the hospitality he extends to Jesus and in his conversion of heart, Zacchaeus is raised up by Jesus as a model of salvation.  We, too, can experience what Zacchaeus did if we open our hearts to humility and accept Jesus’ call to follow in faith and hope.  Jesus only wants what is good for us.  He wants us to be happy, to care for one another, and follow Him unreservedly.  We are called not to a certitude of the mind but a certitude of the heart.  Let us be like Zacchaeus open to Jesus’ invitation to follow with hearts full of love and joy.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Celebrating St. Ursula

On Friday, October 21st, for the first time in two years we were able to have an in person prayer service for the Feast of St. Ursula.  It was a lovely gathering that in many ways mirrored the original company founded by St. Angela in 1535.  There were about 28 of us present and we gathered in the context of prayer and shared a meal together.  The prayer service we used was prepared by one of our Ursuline sisters from our Central Province and was perfect for the occasion.

The legend of St. Ursula, flourished 4th century, she was the legendary leader of 11 or 11,000 virgins reputedly martyred at Cologne, now in Germany, by the Huns, 4th-century nomadic invaders of southeastern Europe. The story is based on a 4th- or 5th-century inscription from St. Ursula’s Church, Cologne, stating that an ancient basilica had been restored on the site where some holy virgins were killed. Her story was that she was to be married to a pagan ruler and she asked to go on a pilgrimage.  There she met her fate.

Our prayer began with listening to the song Standing on the Shoulders by Earth Mama.  In this song we recall that we stand on the shoulders of the ones who came before us.  During our prayer we were able to name those whose shoulders we stand on.  It was very powerful to listen to the names of those whose shoulders our province stands on.  Our evening concluded with a festive dinner together.

I invite you to listen to the song and think about those whose shoulders you stand on.  

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Glory of God's Creation


This past weekend I had the opportunity to drive up to Malone, New York for a meeting with our Associates there.  It was an incredible drive filled with so much beauty and recalling fond memories.  As we drove north, I keep seeing trees in various stages of change.  The colors varied from green, yellow, orange, and red.  The further north the deeper the color changes.  It was a moment of awe and wonder in the glory of God.

During the drive I kept thinking of Marty Haugen’s song, the Canticle of the Sun.

           The heavens are telling the glory of God,         

           And all creation is shouting for joy!

           Come, dance in the forest, come, play in the field,

           And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord!


Praise for the sun, the bringer of day,

He carries the light of the Lord in his rays;

The moon and the stars who light up the way unto your throne!


Praise for the wind that blows through the trees,

The seas' mighty storms, the gentlest breeze;

They blow where they will

They blow where they please to please the Lord!


Praise for the rain that waters our fields,

And blesses our crops so all the earth yields;

From death unto life her mystery revealed

Springs forth in joy!


Praise for the earth,

Who makes life grow

The creatures you made to let your life show;

The flowers and trees that help us to know

The heart of love


As we drove through the mountains, I kept recalling this song and simply enjoyed the beauty surrounding me.  During this fall season take some time to enjoy the beautiful gift of the change of seasons.


Sunday, October 9, 2022



In our readings today we are invited to reflect on gratitude.  St. Teresa of Ávila once said, “In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.”  We are reminded to be grateful for the many blessings our God has showered upon us each day.  As I thought about gratitude, I came across the poem by Rumi.  May we always have hearts full of gratitude.


Guest House

An Inspiring Poem About Gratitude

Written by 13th Century Persian poet, Rumi


This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


Sunday, October 2, 2022

Season of Creation Concludes


The 2022 Season of Creation closes with the celebration of the feast of 

St. Francis of Assisi on October 4th.  The prayer/reflection below was 

prepared by Mary Ann Dooling and Pat Harris from UrsulineAcademy

in St. Louis.  


                                                The Season of Creation/Service of Commitment


As followers of Angela, we share her Franciscan roots and her love of 

all creation. Angela, who found beauty and strength in the world around

her, calls us to be lovers and stewards of the world God has entrusted 

to us.


Opening Song: Canticle of the Sun


Reading: The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence,

there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail,

in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face. The ideal is not only to pass 

from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the

soul, but also to discover God in all things. Saint Bonaventure teaches 

us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s

grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in

creatures outside ourselves.” Laudato Si #233.


Response of Gratitude


For the galaxies, the stars, the solar system which ignited into the 

wonder, the beauty,vand ecstasy of the Universe.  We Thank You.


For all creatures, may they open our ears and move our hearts and 

teach us to contemplate and listen to the voice of each as they declare 

your glory. We Thank You.


For the cries and pleas of indigenous people, women and the whole 

bioverse; let us listen and hear their voices and laments; let us be 

grateful for their continuing care of the earth. We Thank You.


For the Voice that is telling us what to do; the time spent in reflection 

on the vastness of creation: and the gratitude for our ability to continue

to stand on this holy ground. We Thank You.


For the determination to imitate the Creator's love and care for creation 

as a "brother", a "sister", a “neighbor" as we live out our growing 

convictions. We Thank You.


For the resolve to promise direction and hope, commitment, and love for 

the Earth and Humankind. We Thank You.


Reflection: I Will Be a Hummingbird



Have hope and firm faith in God, for God will help you in everything.

St.  Angela


As a follower of Angela and member of the Ursuline family, I promise:

~ to advocate for those who lack the power to advocate for themselves

~ to recognize all of God’s creation as gift and worthy of care

~ to live simply and not adopt a consumerist mentality

~ to learn more about the true costs and advantages of the          

   “green economy”

~ to engage with others in specific action to improve our local 


~ to investigate more about the impact of my actions on climate change

~ to spend time in nature celebrating the wonder of creation.

Closing Prayer: God of all life, guide and strengthen us that we may truly be 

co-creators and cosustainers with you. Grant us the insights and energy 

to fulfill your call to us to respect, repair and renew your precious of 

creation.  We pray in the name of our brother Jesus and through the

intercession of Saint Angela. Amen.