Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ten Verbs Dear to the Heart of Blessed Alberione

Next week, we will conclude our summary of the 2017 Pauline Cooperator Convention. This week, we let the Founder, Blessed James Alberione, speak for himself about the Pauline apostolate. Ten verbs jump out at his Pauline Family from his writings, used over and over again to describe the carrying out of his vision. The quotations below are taken from the writings of Blessed James Alberione.
Alberione and St Thecla's Retreat House
Composite photo by Sr Margaret Charles
TO MOVE AHEAD
Onward! The word is an adverb, used as an imperative, with the verb "to move" implied. Blessed Alberione used it often. "Onward! Blessed are the footsteps of those who bring the Gospel, who bring peace. Blessed are the walkers of God! Today the world has changed, and to travel the paths of this world we must update ourselves, using all the means that can serve to communicate the Gospel."

TO COMMUNICATE
"St. Paul carried out the work of communicating Jesus Christ. Our Family was raised up to continue this work, to be Paul alive today. The first thing our apostolate requires is standard knowledge and then a knowledge of communications. The pastoral spirit is to communicate Jesus Christ as he defined himself: 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.' "

TO DIFFUSE
"Diffusion is evangelization. It is a continuation of the public ministry of Jesus: 'I came into the world to bear witness to the truth' (Jn. 18:37). Without diffusion, the apostolate of the press is like a light under a basket."

TO PUBLISH
"The Liturgy of the Blessed Virgin Mary says: Edidit Salvatorem 'She has given us the Savior'.The glory of God and the salvation of all people: this is the purpose of the apostolate of the editions."

TO FORM
"In order to form people, one must have knowledge, will power and common sense. Jesus formed his apostles by giving them a heavenly doctrine accompanied by the example of a holy life, and by praying incessantly for them."

TO WORK
"God works on behalf of those who work for him. Thus we must always work as if everything depended on us, pray and hope in the Lord as if everything depended on him."

TO ORGANIZE
Be a tree, not a twig! "Organize the good. Organizations have great power. Even if a person is holy, alone he/she is just a twig. Everyone should harmonize with the others, like the members of a beautiful opera."

TO PREACH
"To preach is to communicate Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life. Our machines are pulpits; our apostolate rooms are like churches; our workers are preachers: all these realities should be understood in this new and unique way."

TO PRAY  
"Those who do not pray abundantly do not make much progress. Until we reach the point of believing that prayer is as necessary to life as bread and air, we will be inadequate, empty and inconstant. Prayer is the soul of every apostolate."

TO WRITE
"Transform yourselves into the pens and mouths of God, through Jesus Christ our Master. To write is a spiritual work of mercy toward 'our' poor: those who do not know God. It is the apostolate of the pen."

Verbs are action words. What verbs inspire you to action in the Apostolate?
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Sr. Margaret Kerry, FSP, celebrates 40 years of life and mission as a Daughter of St. Paul. With a Masters from Boston College School of Theology & Ministry, she gives presentations on the vocation and mission of the laity, media literacy, and evangelization. She directed the Association of Pauline Cooperators for 15 years and was creative editor of The Pauline Cooperator magazine. An author (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross), Sr. Margaret is working on a young adult book. You can reach her at mkerry@paulinemedia.com.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 Convention-- celebrating 100 years as Pauline Cooperators. Part I

Happy Centenary, fellow Cooperators!

Group photo, 2017 Centenary Pauline Cooperator Convention

Last weekend, the Daughters of St. Paul hosted the 2017 Pauline Cooperator Convention at Cabrini Retreat House just outside of Chicago. The theme of the weekend was, "Wake Up the World With the Light of the Gospel." This is a very special year also-- the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Pauline Cooperators in 1917 by Blessed James Alberione.

The weekend was wonderful-- a meeting of old friends and new. Morning prayer, daily Mass, confession, adoration, film night (cinema divina!) and two stellar Saturday talks. Sr. Margaret Edward Moran examined the parameters of the prophetic call, while Sr. Helena Burns made pointed remarks and gave us relevant pointers on "Using Media Humanly." There was a lot of meat in those Saturday sessions. I'd like to sketch the essence of Sr. Margaret's talk this week, and Sr. Helena's next week.

Final sharing session, 2017 Centenary Pauline Cooperator Convention



"The Call of a Prophet", by Sr. Margaret Edward: A Summary

  • An essential part of the Pauline charism is to be a prophetic voice in the world. 
  • The call of a prophet typically follows a common pattern of elements:
  1. a prophet is called during a time of crisis in the community (e.g., Moses and the bondage in Egypt, Jeremiah and the rise of Nebuchadnezzar.) Blessed Alberione's call came during a crisis of modernity in the late nineteenth century brought about by rapid social, economic and industrial change.
  2. a prophet is called when he or she is involved in ordinary affairs of the day.
  3. the prophet experiences an extraordinary encounter with the Divine (e.g. Moses' burning bush, Isaiah's vision of Glory of God filling the Temple, St. Paul's experience of light, sound and vision on road to Damascus.) Blessed Alberione experienced an extraordinary awareness of the Divine Presence emanating from the tabernacle on the Night Between the Centuries, while he was at adoration.
  4. the prophet is called by name (e.g. "Moses, Moses, take off your shoes"; "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?")
  5. there is a "missioning" or "commissioning" of the prophet: a sending forth by God.
  6. the prophet resists, objects, or runs away ("The Objection")
  7. the prophet receives assurance of God's continued presence and support.
  8. the prophet receives a sign or proof of his mission.
Prophetic ministry is the province of every Christian. It is also, according to Blessed Alberione, an integral part of the Pauline apostolate. Sister Mary Edward invited us to think of our own calling as Cooperators. How did or did we not experience these elements of the prophetic call in our own lives?

  •  A prophet has five tasks:
  1. to bear the Word of God
  2. to intercede for others 
  3. to unmask idols
  4. to maintain the Big Picture, eyes on the future
  5. to bring forward and revivify the traditional wisdom of the community
  • The Founder identified poverty as one of the Four Wheels of the Pauline apostolate. The others are sanctity, study, and apostolate. The five tasks of the prophet line up with the five functions of poverty:

  1. to produce (actively bear the Word)
  2. to provide (mediate between God and the people; offer reparation)
  3. to renounce (unmask the idols of the culture)
  4. to build (eyes on the future)
  5. to preserve (bring forth and revivify the traditional wisdom) 

In conclusion: Jesus Christ has a threefold office as Redeemer: prophet, priest and king. By virtue of baptism, each believer has the same threefold office. But how often do we think about what that really means, and how it is relevant to our lives and our apostolates? What a blessing it was to dig deeper into the prophetic office.

Next week, we'll look at a couple of questions Sr. Helena raised in her presentation: are you satisfied with the way you are using media? Are the people around you happy with the way you use media?
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Rae Stabosz has been a member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators since 2003. She and Bill Stabosz, her husband of 48 years, have six sons, three daughters, ten grandsons and eight granddaughters. They eagerly await the birth of grands #19 & #20 in October. Rae retired in 2007 from the University of Delaware, where she was a technology and media specialist for 27 years. She is co-founder and past president of The Society of Catholic Scholars of Delaware and proprietor, since 2004, of the Pious Ladies Bookmobile. 


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Slaves, Labor, Human Dignity & Salvation

Our Lady Queen of Apostles

This week, we mark three celebrations, one secular and two spiritual. On our secular calendar, we celebrate the American national holiday of Labor Day, highlighting the dignity and contributions of people and their work. We cannot ignore the fact that there are still so many people in our world whose labor continues to be under-valued, unappreciated and under-rewarded.
On the Liturgical Calendar, we have the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady. As Pauline Cooperators, we celebrate Mary in a special way in her role as Queen of Apostles and patron of those who labor in the fields of Christian spirituality. In theory, it is easy to separate the idea of simple material labor from spiritual apostolates. However, in real life, the secular material world and the spiritual evangelical world are inextricably intertwined. That intertwining is often apparent in the life work of so many of our great saints.

 This is especially evident in the life of the second saint whose feast day we celebrate this week. September 9th is the feast of Saint Peter Claver, a 17th century Jesuit missionary. His work provides a preeminent example of a faithful apostolate which reflects great sensitivity, charity, and evangelical zeal. As a young man, Claver became acutely aware of the injustices and outright evils in then-accepted burgeoning slave trade throughout the pre-modern world. He was to become a significant advocate for and missionary to the slave populations, first in Europe and, later, in the Americas. His work in the apostolic fields left a lasting legacy, still richly present in this 21st century, especially for African-American communities in the United States.

As I was reading the “Saturday Weekly Prayers” in The Prayers of the Pauline Family (the official Pauline prayer manual published by the Daughters of Saint Paul, Boston: 1991), the image portrayed in the prayer to our Queen of Apostles described much about the love and charity, as well as of the evangelical zeal, of Saint Peter Claver:

“With your all-powerful intercession and your humble and irresistible prayers, which always move God’s heart, obtain for me the grace to realize the value of every human person ransomed from hell with Jesus’ most precious Blood. May each one of us be enthusiastic about the beauty of the Christian apostolate. May the charity of Christ urge us on. May the spiritual misery of poor humanity move us.... Grant that vast Africa, immense Asia, promising Oceana, troubled Europe, and the two Americas may exercise a powerful attraction in our being.” (p. 160)

Peter Claver was born on June 26, 1580, and died September 8, 1654. He is a patron saint to slaves and to African Americans in particular, as well as a patron to seafarers. His entire life was dedicated to mitigating the effects of slavery and to promoting human rights for even the lowliest members of society. This Jesuit priest from Spain ministered to African slaves in Cartagena, Spain, and later in the Americas as a missionary to Colombia. Peter Claver is said to have converted over 300,000 slaves to Catholicism.

Father Peter Claver was canonized by Pope Leo XIII on January 15, 1888. By an interesting echo in history, the 41st anniversary of his canonization would see the birth of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a spiritual leader who would become the world’s pre-eminent civil rights activist. These great men and their legacies provide excellent examples to all.

In 1909, Father Conrad Friedrich Rebesher, a Joshephite priest, founded the Knights of Peter Claver, Inc.  It was modelled after the Knights of Columbus, and is the largest African-American fraternal organization in the United States. In 1922, just two years after passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote, a Ladies Auxiliary was formed to engage African American lay women in the mission of the Order.
Today, the mission of the Order includes the following goals:
v  Supporting the local pastor, parish and bishop;

v  Engaging in activities which exemplify their Catholicism;

v  Helping to develop character in youth and providing scholarships to advance their education; and

v Sponsoring programs which encourage spiritual and intellectual stimulation as well as civic pride among its members.

As a Pauline Cooperator, I can appreciate their mission and see great similarity to our own mission as collaborators with Our Lord and his mother, our Queen of Apostles.
Here is the Collect Prayer from the mass of Saint Peter Claver from the USCCB Liturgical Readings website:

"O God, who made Saint Peter Claver a slave of slaves and strengthened him with wonder, charity and patience as he came to their help, grant, through his intercession, that, seeking the things of Jesus Christ, we may love our neighbor in deeds and in truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  
 
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Marie-Louise Handal is a Pauline Cooperator based in Manhattan, New York City. She is an educator and writer who has participated in organizing and hosting a number of Pauline Family special events, media presentations and educational programs in the New York Archdiocese and environs.
      Her education includes a Master’s Degree from St. Joseph's Seminary, a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the New York Archdiocesan Center for Spiritual Development, a Master of Science in the Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Mathematics & Science from Hunter College. She is currently a candidate for the S.T.L. from the International Marian Research Institute, the American Branch of the Pontifical Theological Faculty Marianum, Rome.
 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Prayer that can Move Mountains!!

I recently attended the Steubenville-STL Mid-Atlantic Youth Conference in Springfield, MO, where 4000 teens gathered for a weekend of prayer and praise. It was a powerful weekend and Jesus drew near to these kids in wonderful ways. And Jesus drew near to me, as well, teaching me once again, the power of prayer.


I don’t know about you, but I need to be told over and over and over, that prayer and specifically MY PRAYER can and at times does have the power to move mountains! As a Daughter of St. Paul I pray a lot each day, but Jesus had to show me once again (as it takes  me awhile to get it!) that my prayer can make a difference, a BIG difference in the lives of many. And he showed me this through two women I met at the Conference.

The first was one of the Conference Speakers named Katie, and the second was a woman I met in the Conference Book Store (now where else would you find a Daughter of St. Paul?!) Katie told a story during her talk of a pivotal moment in her life at a Steubenville Conference she attended as a teen. After the Conference she decided to begin praying for the man she would one day marry. She prayed for him daily, asking Jesus to strengthen him when tempted, aid him in his struggles and protect him always. She said she prayed like a warrior for this man who she did not know but who Jesus knew very well. She even kept a journal of her prayer and this helped her to be faithful.

Sharon had a similar story, but in reverse. Her husband began praying for the woman he would one day marry in the sixth grade. “Sister,” Sharon said.  “I am sure it was his prayers for me that kept me going. And I am sure I would not be a woman of faith and the mother of ten children if he had not prayed for me! God protected me from so much…!”

After hearing both of these women’s stories, all I could say to myself was, “WOW!” How amazing and how good God is! But why should I be so amazed? Doesn’t Jesus say over and over, “ask and you will receive;” so why am I so surprised and amazed? Because I needed to hear it yet again!

Image result for pictures of Blessed AlberioneBlessed Alberione was a man of prayer, of deep prayer. (As a 16 year old kid he prayed for four hours before the Eucharist! Many of us make not an hour of adoration, but four hours of adoration?!) Alberione would tell us Paulines, “prayer first of, above all, the life of all!" Obviously he considers prayer to be pretty important...

In the documentary “Media Apostle:The Father Alberione Story,” the movie tells us that Alberione would pray up to six hours a day. And that was in addition to all the work he was doing!  “Many people wanted to follow Alberione, the man of action,”  the film says, “But few the man of prayer.”  Yet prayer is what causes the “action” to bear fruit, to have an effect!

During August we typically think of heaven. This is because of the two Marian feasts that we celebrate during this month: the Assumption of Mary (into Heaven) and the Queenship of Mary (where she reigns as Queen in heaven.) And her “work” in heaven is us! She reigns in order to intercede for you and for me and to present our prayers to Jesus. So don’t you  think it is a good time to “up the prayers” (at least in intensity!) and to present them to Jesus through Mary. And then we will see some amazing things happen…

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Sr. Laura R. Brown has been a Daughter of St. Paul since 1985 and has been assigned to many communities. Her current assignments in St. Louis, MO, include outreach, as well as assistance with Pauline Book & Media Center events. She has an MA in Theology and Pastoral Ministry and participated in the Pauline Charism Course in Rome from 2008 to 2009.