Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Centenary Year Full of Thanksgiving and Celebration !

Pauline Family in Culver City
In the Los Angeles area, we are very fortunate to have 7 branches of the Pauline Family represented: The Society of St. Paul (from the Mexican Province), the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, the Daughters of St. Paul, the Annunciationists, the Gabrielites, the Holy Family Institute, and the Pauline Cooperators.

On June 25th, 2017, the Daughters of St. Paul in Culver City hosted the 100th Anniversary Mass for Pauline Cooperators with Fr. Jim Barnes as the main celebrant.  Members of the Pauline Family joined in the Mass and Pot Luck dinner reception which followed the celebration.

Christin Jezak

Christin offered these reflections after the celebration: “It was such a blessing to gather with the different branches of the Pauline Family to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Cooperators!  We renewed our promises together, which was a reaffirming experience.  It's always good to remember that you are not alone in the Pauline mission.  For the mass, we used the readings for the feast of St. Paul and his presence was truly felt!  It was great after to sit down and have a meal together and to catch up with old and new friends of the Pauline Family”.  

As the Centenary of the Pauline Cooperators celebration year continues, we prepare to gather again at the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master’s house for the Feast of Jesus Master in October and I am sure we will celebrate again close to the Feast Day of Blessed James Alberione and in January 2018 close to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.  As Sr. Tiziana, PDDM, remarked in an email after our recent celebration, “these times of celebration together remind us that we are truly a Pauline Family”!

The candidates and promised Pauline Cooperators have enjoyed these opportunities to meet and come to know the other members.  This year of thanksgiving and celebration will provide many joyous occasions to come together as a Pauline Family.   One of our promised cooperators, Maria Siciliano said, "I enjoy meeting fellow Pauline Cooperators at the many events hosted at Pauline Books and Media in Culver City.  My spirit is nurtured and my faith fed at these gatheringsWe Cooperators were excited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our founding at the special Mass held on June 25th at Pauline Books and Media in Culver City, CA.  As a Cooperator, I am honored to be part of Father Alberione's mission to evangelize my corner of the world through media and the written word.  As a grandchild of Italian immigrants, I am always happy to travel to Italy to see that beautiful country and my family that remains there.  In May 2018, I will have the additional privilege of traveling with my Pauline family to see where Father Alberione lived, worked, and prayed.  I can't think of anything better”!  

 Maria Siciliano
As mentioned by Maria above, we are looking forward to the grand conclusion of the Pauline Cooperators Centenary Year with the Pilgrimage to Rome May 18-28, 2018.  There are two days of conferences for this international gathering and the themes that will be presented during the 2 days of conferences are: 1) The Pauline Cooperators and the Pauline Spirit (the Spirit of St. Paul), 2) The Pauline Cooperators and the Church Today: the Role of the Laity, and 3) The Pauline Cooperators in the Pauline Family: Charismatic Aspect of the Mission of the Pauline Cooperator.  Imagine the joy of gathering with Pauline Cooperators from all over the world to reflect together on these themes and then travel in Pilgrimage to the original sites of the founding of the Pauline Family!  Your RSVP forms to reserve your place for this once in a lifetime adventure is due to Sr. Patricia Mary Maresca by August 31st!  Her email address is With the Grace of God, I hope to see you all there!


Sr. Marie James Hunt entered the Daughters of St Paul community in 1981. She is currently missioned in California where she is the local superior of the Culver City community.  Sr. Marie James is also the West Coast Coordinator of the Pauline Cooperators.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Beauty in Breaking Bread

“A shared meal is the activity most closely tied to the reality of God’s kingdom, just as it is the most basic expression of hospitality.” -- Christine Pohl, “Making Room, Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition.”

Our modern society hungers for community.  Our novels and films are full of images of isolation and alienation.  Adult singles and families often find it hard to maintain connections even when everyone seems to want to do so.  Especially when many of us live far away from our extended families, our church communities should be filling some of the functions of extended families but too often our church structures reinforce our culture’s exclusive emphasis on immediate families as our only sources of close relationships.  This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

My friend Liz heard about Jewish communities where people structure their lives around a regular Sabbath and this creates space for people to come together and share meals and share time as a regular part of life.  She and I are Christian, not Jewish, but we wanted to do something similar for our own community.  We decided to collaborate.  Her apartment is better for hosting than mine so that is our home base.  And every other Friday night we have an open invitation to come over for dinner.  We do ask people to let us know by Wednesday if they’re planning on coming so we have a sense of how many to prepare for, but other than that this is quite open.  A few people are there every time.  Some others are there most times.  Others come by occasionally and others haven’t made it yet but hope to at some point.  Most people there are part of our church community, but people have brought other friends along.  One week we had four people and one week we had sixteen.  This seems to be scratching an itch for a lot of people.  After dinner we’ve played games, or celebrated someone’s birthday, or just enjoyed each other’s company.  At the end of the night everyone spends a little time cleaning up so the apartment is left sparkling clean with a running dishwasher.

We’ve learned a few things as we go along.  Having Peapod deliver the groceries reduces the stress load significantly.  Some menu plans are easier than others when cooking for a large group.  We’re still figuring out the best ways to incorporate some liturgy beyond just saying grace.  The first week we tried to pray Evening Prayer from the Daily Office, but it seemed too long to really work well in this setting.  We’re still experimenting with some other possibilities.

Over the summer we are doing this every other Friday night.  Once the school year begins again that schedule will be unsustainable but we’ll try to continue once a month.

As Christians we have always cherished sacramental table fellowship around the altar. That is precious and holy, but in a different way there is also something precious and even holy in fellowship around an ordinary dining room table.

Our current culture doesn’t make it easy to create space for each other, but our experience shows that when we do make the effort the results can make that effort worthwhile.


Kristen Filipic has been involved with the Pauline family since 2010 and completed the Cooperator Formation program in 2014.  She is a native Midwesterner but has lived in Boston for the last twelve years, where she works as a civil rights attorney.  She serves as a lector and a Bible study leader in her home church.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Quiet, Be Still, and Know.

At a recent Sunday mass the priest spoke in his homily about the amount of noise there is in our everyday lives.  It is a challenge to find any amount of quiet.  Oftentimes quiet is uncomfortable, and when we find ourselves in a moment of quiet, we quickly fill it with something on our list of things that need to be said or done.  Finally, worn out, we steal away on vacation or retreat, desperately seeking a precious place of peace, rest, stillness, of quiet.

Why do we need times of quiet?  For rest, yes.  To refresh our minds and our spirits, certainly.  But in our spiritual lives quiet is most essential for us to listen.  Days can become an overwhelming frenzy of commuting, work, attending to family needs, caring for and developing friendships, managing our homes, bills, appointments, more commuting, prayer and working on our spiritual lives, and finally, trying to squeeze in some sleep before it all begins again sooner than we’d like.  The quietest part of my day is my 45 minute-each-way commute.  During this time I do make an effort to pray, to reflect, to make petition to our Lord for my needs and those of others.  But while merging in traffic, focusing on the road, and dodging aggressive drivers, am I really able to listen to the Lord?  To hear the quiet voice of God speaking to us in our everyday lives, we need to find a true place of quiet, of stillness, to make time to listen.

We hear over and over again in the gospels of how Jesus went off by himself alone to pray.  Jesus, the Son of God, knew the importance of quiet and solitude, and regularly set aside time to listen.  One of my favorite teachings of Jesus is when he calls to us in Matthew, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Who among us doesn’t labor or feel burdened in some way?  Don’t we all just thirst for the rest Jesus’ words illustrate here?

I had a particularly challenging school year this past year.  I work as a middle school teacher for adolescents with autism.  New responsibilities this year and the added challenge of continuing my education stretched me far beyond what I thought I could handle.  I was drowning in school work and paperwork, facing pressure from my superiors, and trying my hardest to show up each day for my students with a smiling face and nurturing spirit.  I recalled the story of the 12 apostles on the boat, crossing the sea, when a storm blew in and threatened their safety.  Jesus, too, was in the boat, asleep.  “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” they shouted to him, overwhelmed and in fear.  I was in that boat with them, feeling the waves crashing over me, wondering why things had to be so difficult.

 One morning I came in to my classroom and found an envelope on my desk.  Inside was a card, and printed on the front was a line from Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Be still.  In my everyday flurry of busyness and stress I was praying, for sure.  I was petitioning God’s help unceasingly.  But being still?  There was just no time for that.  I was looking for results, for solutions, trying to finish this school year that had become like a race.  A caring colleague, who was also dealing with her share of challenges, had noticed my struggle, and had taken time to remind me of God’s word.  I remembered then how Jesus spoke those same words to the waves and the storm when the apostles woke him up from his nap in the boat.  “Quiet, be still!” he said, “and there was great calm.”

“The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” Exodus 14:14

Finding that time for quiet can seem impossible some days.  We all juggle enough responsibilities to fill each moment and then some.  But when we call on the Lord for help, for answers, we must also take time to listen.  Sure, we “know” that God is God, but when he tells us to “Be still and know,” we can’t forget to “be still.”  Stop, for some time, the fighting, the searching, the struggling.  “Come away” with the Lord, even if for just a few minutes each day.   “Quiet, be still,” and listen.  Know, remember, trust that he is God, he hears, he fights for you, he saves.  Make that time to remember all he has done, trust that he is even now working for your good, and know that you, yourself, can’t do everything.  Let the Lord take some of your burden from you, give it to him, and listen.  Listen for his voice, speaking to you in the quiet.  I pray that in that quiet place, we will hear his voice, and find “great calm.”

Sarah Rzasa made her promise and became a Pauline Cooperator in 2014. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.  Sarah is a teacher and a proud “cioci,” or aunt.  She cooperates with the Daughters of St. Paul in Jamaica Plain and helps the children of the Holy Family Institute in Boston.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Pauline Cooperators in St. Louis!

On the very first day of the Centenary of the Pauline Cooperators we welcomed four new members into the Pauline Family here in St. Louis! Mimi Ravarino, Patti Anderson, Charlene Henke and Marlene Shelton all made their Promises on June 30 during our mass for the Feast of St. Paul, Apostle. And I know that St. Paul is thrilled to have them in his “family”!

A little about each new Cooperator:

Mimi Ravarino has served as a very active member of our Advisory Board for some years now. She first came in contact with our Sisters when we were on Pine Street and she was working near by. Her Uncle Joe Badaracco was on our very first Board here in St. Louis. For the past four years she has been a regular volunteer in our Book Center, helps with children’s events and the now “annual” Christmas Concert and is a benefactor of the St. Louis community. Welcome Mimi!

Patti Anderson has known us since we were downtown on Pine Street and she was working at the Phone Company. She met us once again at the Steubenville Conferences in Springfield, MO and Sr. Donna William reached out asking if she would help with a parish exhibit. The rest is history. Patti is one of our “star” exhibit volunteers, helps on occasion in the Book Center and is a member of our Advisory Board. Welcome Patti!

Charlene Henke is a frequent patron in our Book Center! She comes to many of our Book Center events and classes and promotes these at her parish. She is our “direct liaison” with St Peter’s in Kirkwood! Charlene loves to share the books and dvds that she purchases with her fellow parishioners, and prays for the good use of media in her daily rosary. Welcome Charlene!

Marlene Shelton has been a long-time patron of our Book Center in St. Louis but her visits became more frequent following her retirement four years ago. She loves to read, bought numerous books and began attending some of the classes that we offer. She also has helped on several exhibits. And this all led her to the next step: formation as a Pauline Cooperator. Welcome Marlene! 

It is always a joy to welcome new members into the Pauline Family. Welcome, all!


Sr Laura Rhoderica Brown has been a professed member of the Daughters of St. Paul for 30 years. She has worked for many years in a number of Pauline Books & Media Centers around the country, as well as in parish outreach and evangelization. She is currently assigned to the FSP community in St. Louis where she also serves as the regional coordinator for Pauline Cooperators.