Listen to your Heart

As a current student teacher, I am given opportunities each and every day to reach my goals and chase my dreams, and I hope my students can see that anything is possible. Being able to motivate those around me to be the best they can be and reach their fullest potential is my mission now and as I continue forth as an educator. When you listen to your heart, it leads you to greatness and allows you to be something extraordinary.

Submitted by, Michelle LaTorre/Student Teacher, Spring 2015

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Loquitur Interviews Missioners from Cabrini Mission Corps

Three of the Cabrini Mission Corps missioners are serving at Cabrini
College.  Missioners, Martin Garcia, Matt Kaehler, and Connor White are serving  in Campus Ministry and the Wolfington Center.  The missioners  recently shared their experiences with the College’s Loqation staff,  Lauren Hight and Stan Thompson.  The interviews aired on the College’s radio station Cavalier Radio WYBF and on the web at
LOQation. Their interviews offer wonderful insights into the service minded thinking of young people today.  The interviews are available from the Loquitur’s website.

 

Submitted by:  A. Schwelm, Assistant Librarian

Posted in Together on the Journey: News from the Missionary Sisters | Leave a comment

Textually Speaking  

Many people will select a spiritual text to read during Lent for personal edification, devotional practice, or just-plain pleasure. Sometimes, it is a combination of those reasons. For those who don’t read books on a regular basis and find reading tedious, committing to completing a Lenten book can be an almost penitential practice, or a form of self-flagellation. For most though, the practice is richly rewarding and joyful, providing spiritual growth.

Regardless of why you choose spiritual reading, the sheer volume of those old canonical and classic Christian books can be overwhelming to the casual shopper looking for a Lenten read. Clearly, our Christian predecessors were not shy with the pen.

The glut of contemporary Christian writing is even more overwhelming because of the ease and economy of today’s on-demand printing and the almost costless-to-produce e-book. You might even say that the amount of contemporary Christian writing being produce suggests a spike in “sinful vanity” among Christians, who long for the accolades of authorship.

Nevertheless, this all leads us Lenten-reading Christians wondering how to wade through the inky waters to find a fulfilling, meaningful text. A Mother Cabrini fan might look to what the Saint read for guidance.

“In Weakness Strength: The Life and Missionary Activity of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini,” biographer Segundo Galilea gives us a glimpse into some classics that Mother Cabrini studied. It is important to note that this is a snapshot of a moment in the Saint’s life, and not a comprehensive analysis of her lifetime reading habits.  Nonetheless, Galilea tells us:

In effect, Mother Cabrini, since definitively leaving Sant’ Angelo, has no true spiritual master. Her reading consisted of very few books, always the same. We would say today that they were not always the best of Christian spirituality. The rest of the sisters shared the same reading material, which was basic in the novitiate of Codogno. We know they read and re-read, (in addition to the Bible), The Imitation of Christ by a’ Kempis, The Spiritual Exercises by Saint Ignatius, the Treatise on Perfection by the Jesuit Alphonsus Rodriguez, The Holy Nun by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, The Religious Solitude by Pinamonti.

Galilea makes an editorial judgment when he says, “We would say today that they were not always the best of Christian spirituality.” Finding books that are “not always the best” is hardly ideal, but at least it is not spiritually harmful. Today, one must tread carefully lest you finding yourself pages-deep into a text of hogwash pretending to be living water.

To avoid potential soul-damaging or misleading Christian writing, as a general rule avoid these themes in contemporary Christian texts:

  • Anything that espouses the “prosperity gospel.” The Gospel doesn’t draw blueprints for getting rich or reward tithing by fattening wallets.
  • Books about Jesus by non-believers in Christ’s divinity. Those who think Jesus was just human, but also a “wise man” or “life-affirming” or “a social revolutionary,” are shallow thinkers. If Jesus wasn’t God, then he was a liar, a con-artist, and a lunatic. So if someone thinks he’s “wise” and “not-God,” they are not really listening to what Jesus said of Himself.
  • Texts that say we shouldn’t do things that Jesus himself did. Jesus often drank wine, dined with sinners, promoted uneducated fisherman into leadership positions. If an author says these things are “un-Christian” for us to do, that author thinks he/she knows better than Jesus.
  • Any texts that read the Gospel as a “Manual on How to Avoid Hell.” Even if you are among the decreasing number of Christians who still believe a loving God would sentence someone to eternal punishment after having one-shot during a short life to “get it right,” focusing on this illogical, cruel fate isn’t healthy. Plus, you run the risk of becoming puritanical. Remember, Christ talked about love, hope, faith, and forgiveness more than anything else.
  • Books written about people who’ve “been to heaven or hell and returned.” This news lede from an NPR story says it all: “Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy’s story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of ‘The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven,’ Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.”

What then should one read for Lenten edification? Look for a book endorsed with a cover-blurb (or blurbs) from a notable authors or theologians. If all of the blurbs’ authors seem to be respected Christian thinker and writers who avoid the topics and themes listed above, then the book might be authentic and faith-affirming.

Biographies of saints are always good idea too, as they are often aspiring and relatable. Be certain they are honest about the Saint’s human faults and struggles in equal measure to their sanctity, or otherwise you run the risk of feeling unequal and somehow falling short. Remember, Saints fell short at moments, too. You could start with a biography of Mother Cabrini, the most accessible being Segundo Galilea’s “In Weakness, Strength” (mentioned above).

Also, look to modern Christian writers who have withstood the test of decades (modern meaning the last one-hundred years, as opposed to contemporary, which here means the last decade or two). Writers like Thomas Merton, Daniel Berrigan, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Day, Fulton Sheen, and Henry J. M. Nouwen.

Specific recommended modern and contemporary texts include:

  • Seven Story Mountain. Thomas Merton’s acclaimed autobiography.
  • And the Risen Bread: Selected and New Poems, 1957-1997. By activist-priest Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
  • Crossing the Threshold of Hope. John Paul II’s very frank, straight-forward answers to some of faith’s most perplexing questions.
  • God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest. By Edward L. Beck.
  • Paul: A Novel. A powerful novelistic account of the Apostle by Christian novelist Walter Wangerin

What matters most is to select a text that appeals to your spiritual needs and interests this Lent, while being certain that the text is not one that could damage your relationship with God.  Literary pop culture already does a good enough job of separating us from God, so why have our spiritual literature add to that burden. Once you’ve selected your text and double-checked the authenticity of the author and subject, simply enjoy it as a Lenten grace. And have fun.

By Christopher Grosso, Senior Writer, Cabrini College 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Mother Cabrini's Philosophy of Living

Mother Cabrini Set the Standard

“Education of the Heart” encapsulates St. Frances Xavier Cabrini’s approach to reaching and teaching each and every learner.  Before phrases such as “Differentiated Instruction”, “Universal Design”, I.D.E.A., or Core Curriculum flowed from the lips of educators or legislators,  Mother Cabrini espoused this holistic and pulsating approach to teaching and learning. Mother Cabrini set the standard for blending the spirit and needs of each child into every lesson in order to reach the heart, soul, and mind of each of His unique creations. The Cabrini College Teacher Education Department remains committed to modeling St. Frances Xavier Cabrini’s inspirational and motivational  legacy to future generations of educators in order to maximize each child’s gifts.

Maryann C. Lanchoney, Ed.D./Director of Partnerships, Student Teaching, Field Experience

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St. Frances Cabrini Shrine featured in the New York Times

Michael Luongo of the New York Times recently wrote a comprehensive account of the restoration project currently underway at the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine in New York City. The article spotlights the Missionary Sisters and features the Shrine as a sacred place of comfort for pilgrims and immigrants.  Luongo points out that details of the mural that had become dull over the years, have now reemerged. Kristine Reed, director of the Shrine, referred to the halo around Mother Cabrini’s head. “It’s very subtle,” she said. “[Her halo] starts out very faint when she is a child, and then [in the image where she is a saint], it is a golden halo.” To read the full  account: NY Times

Submitted by:  A. Schwelm, Assistant Library Director

 

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40 Days of Lenten Renewal

“Make our hearts like Yours. In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.” – Pope Francis

Pope Francis asks that during our 2015 Lenten journey, we raise up the needs of the world in prayer, sacrifice by giving up food and material wants, and offer our time, talent and treasure as good stewards of the gifts God has given us.

What Is Lent?

  • Lent is the penitential season of approximately 40 days set aside by the Church in order for the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.
  • During Lent we examine our lives and repent or gain a new perspective or path forward. Christians often take up special spiritual practices during Lent such as fasting and spending more time in prayer.
  • Lent is a time when we stop and assess how we’re doing in our walk with God. Lent helps us identify spiritual areas in which we can grow and sinful areas that we need to avoid.
  • The word “Lent” comes from an old English word for springtime. Think of it as a form of spring-cleaning for the soul. In the early years of the Church it was confined to a few days before Easter. But by the fourth century it was extended to forty days before Easter, a period associated with the forty days and nights that Jesus spent in the desert just after his baptism.
  • As the Church points out, we are all sinners and we all need repentance.  Lent gives us a chance during a special time of the year to do just that.

When Does Lent Begin? How Long Does It Last?

  • Lent begins today, Wednesday, February 18th this year, when hundreds of millions of Catholics and other Christians receive ashes on their foreheads in churches all over the world. We call this day, Ash Wednesday. We use ashes as an outward expression of our need to begin again.
  • Lent ends at the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, April 2.

Why Ashes? 

  • Since Old Testament times, ashes have been used as a symbol of mortality.  When ashes are placed on our foreheads we hear the words: “Remember man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Gen. 3:19 or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
  • It’s a reminder that the world that often seems so important to us at this moment is passing and we need to give more thought to what lies at the end: eternal life.
  • Ashes are also a sign of our need to do penance, a heartfelt acknowledgment we are sinners. To many in the modern world, the very concept of sin seems old-fashioned.  Yet sin is part of our human nature.
  • Ashes, made by burning palms blessed the previous Palm Sunday, symbolize the transience of our earthly status. The body must fall temporarily into dust. This fact should serve as a challenge to spiritual accomplishments. Through grace we were “buried” in Christ that we may rise with him and “live unto God.” Ashes are not a sign of death but a promise of life.
  • Ashes may be received by anyone who wishes to do so.
  • With the blessing of ashes the priest asks that we be faithful to the Lenten observance and thus be able to celebrate with clean hearts the paschal mystery.

Ash Wednesday at Cabrini

Ashes will be distributed at Mass in the Bruckmann Memorial Chapel of St. Joseph at 12:30PM and 5:15PM.

Ashes will also be distributed in the lobbies of the Iadarola Center and Founder’s Hall, 9:20‑9:40AM and 1:30‑1:50PM.

Living Lent

  • The three traditional pillars of Lenten observance are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The Church asks us to surrender ourselves to prayer and to the reading of Scripture, to fasting and to giving alms.
  • The fasting that we all do together on Fridays is but a sign of the daily Lenten discipline of individuals and households: fasting for certain periods of time, fasting from certain foods, but also fasting from other things and activities.
  • Likewise, the giving of alms is some effort to share this world equally—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents.

What the Catholic Church asks of us as baptized Catholics: 

  1. The days of fast (only one full meal) and abstinence (no meat) are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
  2. All other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence (no meat).

Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast (only one full meal) as above.  From the age of 14, people are also obliged to abstain (no meat: this obligation prohibits the eating of meat, but not eggs, milk products or condiments of any kind, even though made from animal fat).

The obligation to observe the laws of fast and abstinence is a serious one for Catholics.  Failure to observe one penitential day in itself is not considered a serious sin.  It is the failure to observe any penitential days at all, or a substantial number of days, which must be considered serious.

The obligation, the privilege really, of receiving the Eucharist at least once a year — often called “Easter duty” — for those in the state of grace should still be fulfilled during the period from the First Sunday of Lent, February 22nd to Trinity Sunday, May 31st.  However, the Church’s law does permit this precept to be fulfilled at another time during the year when there is a just cause.

Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are the three traditional disciplines of Lent. The faithful and catechumens should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and preparation for baptism or renewal of baptism at Easter.

If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the “paschal fast” to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily His Resurrection.

Online Lenten Resources

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for Lent 2015

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – Pray, Fast. Give

Father Barron’s Lenten Reflections – Sign up for daily reflections sent right to your inbox.

What is Lent? – Video Series by Catholic Relief Services

What Should I Do For Lent? – Pope Francis’ 10 Tips

Prayer for Lent

Merciful Father, send your Holy Spirit upon us this Lent to guide us by the light of the gospel. May we set aside all that keeps us from taking up our cross and following Jesus. May all our prayer, self-denial and acts of charity lead us closer to you and deepen our compassion for our suffering brothers and sisters. Revive in us a lively sense of the divine gifts of faith, hope and charity so that, whatever the circumstances of our lives, we can trust in your everlasting care. Amen

Submitted by Sharon Shipley Zubricky ’76

Posted in Our Catholic Faith

Cabrini Action and Advocacy Coalition Opens Cabrini Closet

Most of the time after rescue, victims of human trafficking have nothing more than the clothes on their back.  To address the need for suitable clothing, the Coalition has started  “Cabrini Closet”.  Housed at the MSC Mission Offices at the Cabrini College
Cottage, the Closet provides trendy, size appropriate clothing that victims would be proud to wear.   Last week, the Cabrini Closet had its first client.  Please check your closets, ask your daughters, friends, co-workers, for “like new” clothing.   The Closet can also use large or good sized shopping bags.  Donations can be mailed or dropped off at the Cottage at 1260 Upper Gulph Rd. Radnor, PA 19087.  Questions may be directed to Karol Brewer  610-902-1038, cabriniformation@aol.com.

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