Tag Archives: Witness

Potpourri: I love the Pope, Dominican Vocations, Happy Priests!

Inspired by my incredibly creative friend Maggie and her beloved “Clippings” posts over at Ten Thousand Places, I thought I’d try out a similar series of posts on this blog. Each Potpourri post will consist of a list of miscellaneous links, photos, videos, quotes, and/or other tidbits I came across during the week that I thought might interest you all. Let me know what you think!

  • I just now got around to reading the Holy Father’s address to young women religious at World Youth Day in Madrid. LOVE this quote (emphases mine):

“Gospel radicalism means being ‘rooted and built up in Christ, and firm in the faith’ (cf. Col 2:7). In the consecrated life, this means going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart, putting nothing ahead of this love (cf. St. Benedict, Rule, IV, 21) and being completely devoted to Him, the Bridegroom, as were the saints… Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter. … In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”

– Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Young Religious, 19 August 2011
Nuns at World Youth Day in Madrid

There were LOTS of young nuns at World Youth Day in Madrid!

  • More good news from the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN: 1 sister recently made final vows, 15 novices made first vows in July, 24 received the holy habit and began their novitiate (including a friend from my hometown, now Sr. Malia Grace!), and 16 new postulants entered in August. Deo gratias!
  • A spunky young blogger reflects on the journey that led her to enter the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI: “Why I’m Joining the Habit-Wearing, Rock Star Sisters” (Ha!) And just for the record, this is yet another proof that in the Young Catholic Church, “six degrees of separation” do not apply; it’s always more like one or two degrees. Exhibit A: Meris has just entered the same convent where a dear, dear friend of mine from college (Sr. Mary Martha!) just began her novitiate. Exhibit B: Meris’ high school friend, Brother James Claver, was a missionary with me in Honduras back in 2008. In both cases, it’s just one degree! Crazy!
  • Meris’ friend Carolina, who also entered the Sisters of Mary this fall, has shared a beautiful “glory story” on her blog about the generous donors who paid off her student loan debt so she could enter the convent. Praise God!
  • Clergy are ranked #1 on a list of the “Ten Happiest Jobs,” based on a survey conducted by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago. I always love to hear the clergy that I know describe their job as “being a happy priest!”
Happy Seminarians

Happy Seminarians. I have no idea who took this photo, but I just love it!

That’s all for now. Look for another I’m-so-excited-about-vocations! linkfest next week!



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Filed under In the News, Other Blogs, Potpourri, Vocation Stories

Continued Prayers for Seminarian Philip Johnson

Some of you may remember my asking you to join me in praying the Immaculate Conception Novena for Philip Johnson, a seminarian with an inoperable brain tumor, back in December. In case you haven’t been keeping up with his blog, I thought I would let you know that Philip is still in need of our prayers. Due to the demands of his chemotherapy treatment, he did not return to seminary this semester and will instead continue his studies with a private tutor.

Philip is truly an extraordinary witness. Take a look at what he wrote about his call to the priesthood back in 2008:

“As I deal with a brain tumor, I am not sad that it may eventually cause me to suffer and die. …  The single worry I face every day is that because of various circumstances – some of which are beyond my control – I may never know what it is like to serve God as the alter Christus I desire with all my heart to be. It brings tears to my eyes to imagine departing this world without pronouncing the words of Christ at the Last Supper, ‘This is My Body; This is My Blood’ … I pray fervently that I may one day have the privilege of absolving sins… I offer my suffering from this illness for the intentions and sanctification of all bishops, priests, and religious, and for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life.”

And when you’ve got a half-hour to spare, check out this video of a talk Philip gave to students at a Catholic school in Raleigh. Powerful stuff!

(HT to Fr. Z and my friends at The Catholic Underground)

Please join me in continuing to pray for Philip, particularly during the upcoming season of Lent. You can follow his blog at: philipgerardjohnson.blogspot.com

Mother Mary, be his comfort and his joy! Teach him how to suffer with Our Lord. Keep him always close to your Immaculate Heart!

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Filed under Other Blogs, Prayer Requests, Videos, Vocation Stories

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

The White Rose: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and Cristoph Probst

The White Rose: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and Cristoph Probst

You’ve probably heard of Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of over 1000 Jews during World War II. Maybe you’ve also heard of Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty, who famously smuggled escaped POWs and members of the Italian Resistance through the Vatican, right under the noses of the Nazi authorities.

Have you ever heard of the White Rose?

This non-violent resistance group was organized by students from the University of Munich, who sought to aid the larger German Resistance movement by distributing anonymous leaflets of anti-Nazi literature. The group’s adamant rejection of Nazi ideology stemmed from the firm belief of each of its members in the dignity of every human person.

Among the leaders of the White Rose were 21-year-old Sophie Scholl, her older brother Hans Scholl (both devout Lutherans), and their friend Christoph Probst (a Catholic father of three). These three youths were eventually arrested by the Gestapo, put on trial before the Nazi-sympathizing People’s Court, and condemned to death for treason. Today is the anniversary of their execution.

The story of the White Rose, and of Sophie in particular, has impacted me in a deep and lasting way that I did not quite expect. Though I suppose she’s not technically a martyr (and not a canonized saint), she reminds me a great deal of St. Joan of Arc. I think of them both when I feel afraid, and think: If those girls could bravely face the stake and the guillotine, I can certainly be brave now!

If you’d like to find out more about Sophie and her extraordinary witness, I highly recommend the film Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. It is simple, eloquent and gut-wrenching (without being gory) – absolutely a must-see.

Julia Jentsch as Sophie Scholl

Julia Jentsch as Sophie Scholl in Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

The film is in German with English subtitles. It is available on Netflix and for viewing online from Amazon Video On Demand ($2.99 for a 7-day rental).

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Chiara Badano Beatified 20 Years after Her Death

Bl. Chiara "Luce" Badano

Blessed Chiara, pray for us!

Chiara “Luce” Badano was born in Italy in 1971, to devout parents who had waited 11 years to welcome their first and only child. From a young age, she was active in the Focolare Movement, and her joyful witness earned her the nickname “Luce” (Light).

As early as age 12, Chiara expressed a desire to give herself totally to Jesus, to take Him her spouse — and she set out to “give Him to others” in the ordinariness of her daily life. Full of zeal for God and souls, Chiara was eager to reach the heights of holiness — never guessing that her opportunity to be united to Christ would come much sooner than she expected.

At age 17, Chiara was diagnosed with bone cancer, and an unsuccessful surgery left her paralyzed from the waist down — but this did not dampen her spirits. Throughout her excruciating illness, Chiara remained cheerful and offered up her suffering for souls, even refusing morphine because she wished to remain alert and to offer her pain to Jesus. She often said, “It’s for you, Jesus; if you want it, I want it too.”

Chiara died in 1990 at age 19. Her last words to her family were, “Be happy, because I am happy!” This weekend she was proclaimed “blessed,” and her very proud parents were present at her beatification.

Read more on Zenit.org.


Filed under In the News, Vocation Stories