Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why, hello

Sorry I've been pretty AWOL for a couple of months! My whole family has been sailing on a sea of seething drama, so the bloggy fell to the lowest spot on my list of concerns.

My sister was sent home from the convent :( She has become extremely ill with ulcerative colitis and her body is now steroid dependent. Conventional medicine has failed to help her and the only cure is removal of her colon.

Her insurance with the convent ran out in March, and the surgery would cost tens of thousands of dollars. the hospital has "pre-approved" her as a charity case, in other words they will probably write the whole thing off. So that is a huge relief.

They want to do another colonoscopy before making a final decision, but surgery looks like the most likely outcome for her.

Needless to say she is very disappointed about being back at home, and she is in pain most of the time, but we hope that her doctors will be able to restore her quality of life. She still feels she has a vocation to the religious life but she is concerned about whether she will ever be accepted to another community, although post-surgery, the downside would just be that she would have to go to the bathroom 5-6 times a day. I suspect that cloistered orders would be more accepting of her condition than "active" ones. Especially the Visitation... I believe that is part of their charism... St. Francis de Sales and all.

In other news, this Lent she and I went to the Cathedral to hear Bishop Lennon give a talk on the Three Great Days, the Triduum. He was a very genial man, self-deprecating and warm. And taaaaaaall.

During questions-and-answers there was a discussion on the practice of washing women's feet at the Maundy Thursday Mass. His Excellency got a twinkle in his eye and noted that the Latin text says "viri," meaning "men," and not the Latin, "homines" for generic "people" of either gender. The Vatican could have easily used "homines" when preparing the document, but they didn't, he pointed out. Isn't it interesting, he added, that if some people find a Vatican document that says what they like, they will "shove it down your throat" (his words!) but if there's one they don't like, they suddenly become all wishy-washy about it and insist that "viri" doesn't mean anything at all.

The bishop said that the reason priests include women in the feet-washing is to avoid a blow-up, but that if he had been the Ordinary when the document came out he would have only washed men, weathered the avalanche of criticism, and then ten years afterward nobody would think anything of it because it was just the accepted thing. But by the time he was made Administrator in Boston, and when he got to Cleveland, there was already an established "custom" of washing women's feet as well, and it would cause a debacle to simply waltz in and overturn it.

Personally I think he should just weather the debacle the same way he would have weathered the initial blow-up. But it was eye-opening to hear the issue discussed from a bishop's perspective and I definitely have more sympathy and understanding now.

He also mentioned that he was trying to get "my girls" to re-establish a Catholic bookstore in Cleveland. He means the Daughters of St. Paul, to whom he was chaplain for some years in Boston. Apparently they had a great relationship, to the point that they sometimes called themselves "The Lennon Sisters." I would love a Catholic bookstore. Drooling.


  1. So glad you are back. What a shame about your dear sister. I'm sure God has other plans for her, though. Remember Mother Angelica's story from her younger days, when she was desparately ill and wanted so much to be a nun, and later when she was crippled by the floor buffer. It's a painful road, but I pray there is some way for your sister to serve the Church.

    I agree with your impressions of our Bishop. I think he is a good man, and I think Pope Benedict has been very careful about who he selects as bishops, especially after all the horrors from the scandals. I pray for him every day, and I think we are in better hands now than we were before.

    Very best wishes and prayers for you and your sister - smk

  2. I hope your sister gets better..I will pray for her..