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Carol P and Janet

The Sparkle of Connection

This past week I have had the extraordinary blessing of being in Florida for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist formation.  It’s a blessing because… well, it is Florida… and it is warm.  Not to be underestimated after a semester in the middle of Minnesota.  But more so because I’ve gotten to be with a whole course of wonderful people including my dear sister (Happy birthday, Janet!) and longtime catechist Carol P.    Carol and I have crossed paths in the CGS world on any number of occasions—not only in Florida, but in South Dakota.  When rental cars were pricey she found

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milky way

On Incarnation and the Stars

Happy New Year!  I hope that you have enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) a wonderful Christmas season.  I have finally made it back home to Atlanta as of yesterday after spending the fall semester in Collegeville, Minnesota and am now set upon the urgent task of fixing my windshield (which somehow go a large crack in the journey) and fixing my hair (which has me currently looking like a banshee).  Hopefully both of these will be remedied within a week, before I set out for a couple of CGS courses in Florida—the best way I know to bounce back from the cold of Minnesota.

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Stella Maris

Learning to Walk on Water

The Stella Maris Chapel is a two mile walk from St. John’s Abbey on a winding path along the edge of Lake Sagatagan.  For much of the year, there are points along the path that you can no longer see the chapel because the foliage is so thick—green in summer, gold in the fall.  But then suddenly the chapel will reappear before you like a jewel on an island in the middle of the water and a short plank bridge crossing over to it.

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jbap

John the Baptist's DNA test

Gosh, it is hard to believe that it is Advent already.  I say that every year, and this year I’ve had plenty of time to anticipate its arrival.  We’ve had snow on the ground at Collegeville already since November 10.  Nevertheless, it has caught me unaware yet again… even as all the readings the first week are about staying awake and being ready. 

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worlds largest ball of twine

News from Lake Wobogon

Apologies for ghosting you all the past six weeks.  As mentioned earlier, I’ve been on a sort of writers sabbatical at the Collegeville Institute this semester working on a new book.  I’d imagined long, luxurious days of uninterrupted silence in which I would make so much progress that I would need extra craft projects at night to keep me occupied.   Are you surprised to hear me say that it hasn’t turned out like that?  No, probably not.  Nevertheless…

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st Francis of Assisi

Walking Around with a Chirp on the Shoulder

With the feast of St. Francis of Assisi right around the corner now, I found myself thinking back to the fall when my son was four.  Halloween that year fell on a Sunday and College Church– wishing to avoid a deluge of frightening costumes that might thrill some little ones and terrify others—suggested that the children come dressed up as saints.  Micah (whose middle name is Francisco) consented to put aside his Pokemon Squirtle costume for the morning to come as St.

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Montana sunrise

Grasshoppers and Red Sunrises

The past two weeks since I last wrote have been filled with morning mist hovering over the lake waters, long walks serenaded by grasshoppers, and brilliant red sunrises and sunsets.  The beauty of early September makes evident why the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitros first proclaimed September 1st as the Orthodox Day of Prayer for Creation back in 1989, and why his initial effort has been joined by so many other faith communities around the globe that now the whole month—through the feast of St.

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gregory the great

Remembering Gregory the Great

This week we mark the memorial of St. Gregory the Great, one of the saints from Redeeming Administration who has left the most lasting impression on me.  Mostly because when he found out he’d been elected pope, legend has it that he hid himself in a wicker basket, had himself lowered over the walls of the city and escaped to the forest for three days before the people tracked him town and yanked him back.  Some of us hear God’s voice to leadership and say, “Here I am, Lord.”  Some of us take for the woods.  

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upright

Thank you, Flint Friends!

Not two hours after I posted my last newsletter—alas—I tested positive for Covid.  Which meant no visit to family in Pasadena and San Diego. Which meant no catching up with one of my great mentors in life in Alahambra.  Which meant no gathering in person with the teachers I’d been preparing to meet with.  It was a genuine bummer.