a column of benevolent gossip
‘Jesus sez, ‘Let’s talk’ —Interior life meets daily life in Sister Helena Burns' "He Speaks to You."
“He Speaks to You” by Daughter of St. Paul Helena Burns (Catholic New World’s very own movie reviewer), is written for young and not-so-young women, who are hungry for a prayer life relevant to them.
Society is a nasty wasteland today for women seeking more than a Facebook friend. Sister Helena and her religious community already enjoy the richness of a good spiritual formation. Her light bulb idea was: Why not share this treasure trove of the church’s wisdom with women in every state of life?
Her book is a blend of “The Imitation of Christ” and “Julie and Julia, My Year of Cooking Dangerously.” Well, all three authors take us by the hand day-by-day, into a year’s diary of the unknown. Granted, Sister Helena’s quest is more akin to Thomas a’Kempis — listening to Christ speak to us on ways to grow in grace. And a page-a-day by Sister Helena is a lot easier to manage than Julie Powell’s self-imposed discipline of cooking a different recipe by Julia Child every 24 hours.
There’s a different theme for each month. Sister dates each page. Each one begins with three or four lines where the Jesus voice sets a mood or proposes a challenge. Next is “God’s Word,” a Scripture quote for reinforcement. The “Words of Wisdom” that follow can be a short quote from a sister in another order, or there’s even one from Jean Donovan, the lay missionary martyred in El Salvador. The next two topics are cool actions, “To Do” and “To Journal.” She gears them to both Marthas and Marys. Each page ends with a one line “Dear Jesus” prayer, or one to a saint. Voila!
Besides movie reviews, Sister Helena gives talks, workshops and accompanies young women discerning their call in life. You can also catch her blog: hellburns.blogspot.com. “He Speaks to You,” is $10.95 plus shipping from Pauline Books & Media, (312) 346-4228, or at www.Pauline.org, or by email at chicago@ paulinemedia.com.
Parish potpourri —
At Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary (W. 46th St.) they will use their Aug. 25 parish festival to say farewell to their former pastor and hello to their new one by having them both work the dunking tank.
Looking ahead —
Maryville will celebrate its 129th birthday Aug. 14. It was Archbishop Patrick Feehan who saw the need for a Catholic harbor for homeless boys and later homeless girls, and started St. Mary’s Training School in Des Plaines. It later transitioned from an orphanage into Maryville Academy, and today’s model is meeting the specialized needs of children and families in 2012.
Praying twice —Elizabeth Poynton of St. Fabian Parish.
Elizabeth Poynton of St. Fabian Parish (Bridgeview) was the only teen chosen from the State of Illinois to participate in the National Catholic Youth Choir, June 12-27, on the campus of St. John’s Abbey and University, in Collegeville, Minn. She’s been a member of her parish youth choir for five years and is a solo voice at their annual Irish Mass.
It was a liturgical chance of a lifetime for Poynton. The motto for the two-week summer camps, founded in 2000 by Benedictine Father Anthony Ruff, is “Spreading the Catholic Faith Through Great Music.”
Selection is tough for the up to 45 campers (boys and girls entering grades 10-12) who make it. While there was plenty of “fun and games” for Poynton, there was a code of conduct as well as a dress code, with lights out at 11 p.m. each night. Her daily schedule included classes, from cantoring to music theory, in preparation for a midwest multi-state concert tour they completed.
The choir performs music of various Christian traditions, from Gregorian chant to 20th-century music like Chicagoan Keith Hampton’s “Praise His Holy Name.” Their conductor is Austrian-born Axel Theimer. Besides sports, boat rides and picnics, Poynton rolled up her sleeves for a few parish service projects with fellow singers as well. You can see the choir’s concert repertoire, photos, and learn more about NCYC at www.catholicyouthchoir.org.
Spreading the Good News —
Deacon Roger Mullaney celebrated his 40th anniversary as an ordained deacon June 24 at St. James Parish (Highwood). He’s ministered across four states, serving for a while in Atlanta, Texas. There he mentored a young Catholic man who went on to eventually become the vicar general of the Catholic Extension-supported Diocese of Tyler, Texas, Msgr. Joseph Strickland.
Send your benevolent gossip to Church Clips, Catholic New World, P.O. Box 1979, Chicago, IL 60690-1979; or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.