Monday, March 1, 2021

Letting Go . . .

To let go does not mean to stop caring,

it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off,
it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To let go is not to enable,
but allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
it’s to make the most of myself.

To let go is not to care for,
but to care about.

To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their destinies.

To let go is not to be protective,
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny,
but to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more
To let go and to let God, is to find peace!
Remember: The time to love is short.

                                     “Letting Go Takes Love”,  Author unknown

The Blessing of Light, Rain and Earth


May the blessing of Light be on you
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
And warm your heart till it glows
Like a great peat fire, so that the stranger
may come and warm himself at it
and also a friend
And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you
Like a candle set in the windows of a house
Bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.

And may the blessing of the Rain be upon you, the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up
And shed their sweetness on the air
And may the blessing of the Great Rains be on you
May they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean
And leave there many a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines
And sometimes a star.

And may the blessing of the Earth be upon you, the great round earth
May you ever have a kindly greeting for them you pass
As you're going along the roads
May the earth be soft under you when you rest upon it
Tire at the end of the day
And may it rest easy over you
When at the last you lay out under it
May it rest so lightly over you
That your soul may be out from under it quickly
And up, and off, and on its way to God.
 - Traditional Irish, Scottish Blessing

Author Unknown

Mother Agnes – Leading through Courage, Initiative, and Inspiration

 Remembering Mother Agnes ~ 1847-1905

Death Anniversary of Mother Agnes Hazotte ~ March 6 ~ Foundress

“Our sisters go out as mission sisters and we teach the poor and care for the orphans. We take such places where many other communities would not take.” ~Mother Agnes Hazotte

• Anne Marie Hazotte was born in 1847 in Buffalo, New York, the youngest child of Christoph and Mary Ann Hazotte, who had emigrated from France just in time to escape the Revolution of 1848.

• Before the age of 15, Anne Marie lost her mother, father, two sisters, and a brother – difficult trials that shaped the heart and spirit of this determined, future woman religious leader.

• On a cold January day in 1862, 15-year-old Anne Marie became the “child of destiny,” as she was called by the congregation’s founder, Father Caspar Rehrl. Two years later, at the age of 17, she took her final vows and was elected as the first superior general on the same day. She served in that capacity for the next 40 years and came to be known as Mother Agnes.

• Pioneers in the frontier territory of Wisconsin, the Sisters of St. Agnes were dedicated to the education and faith training of the children of German immigrants who had settled in the region. Father Rehrl sent his sisters to schools throughout the area, relying frequently on the hospitality and generosity of the area settlers for food, lodging, and other needs.

• Moving the congregation in 1870 from Barton to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was the culmination of ongoing tensions between Mother Agnes and Father Rehrl, whose missionary zeal and frequent absences due to his demanding responsibilities often left his candidates and sisters ill prepared for the challenges of teaching. Recognizing the need for more spiritual, educational, and ministerial opportunities for the sisters, Mother Agnes and most of the sisters made the historic move and continued to thrive under the spiritual guidance of Father Francis Haas, a Capuchin.

• As superior, Mother Agnes accepted the challenges of sustaining the congregation through prudent and innovative financial decisions. Throughout the course of her leadership, conscientious foresight and compassionate insight guided her decisions and led the congregation to become a foundational pillar of community development, both in Fond du Lac and in other communities around the nation, where the sisters were sent to teach and heal.

• Responding to the needs of the community and the requests of the doctors in Fond du Lac, Mother Agnes took up the challenge of opening and staffing St. Agnes Hospital in 1896, and purchased Cold Springs Farm on the outskirts of the city to provide fresh food for the patients and the sisters in 1899. (The current convent and motherhouse are now located at this site.) In 1903, the Henry Boyle Catholic Home for the Aged was established as the first facility for seniors in the area.

• After years of suffering from tuberculosis, diabetes, and a heart ailment, Mother Agnes Hazotte passed away on March 6, 1905, surrounded by the prayers of her sisters – leaving behind her a legacy of courage, determination, and faithful devotion to mission, and paving the way for generations of sisters who continue to inspire and transform lives.

Writings of Mother Agnes:
"Where there is union, there is strength.” (Letter to Sr. Angeline, August 20, 1902)

“Love your God, and give yourself entirely to Him.  He is the true friend.” (Letter to Sr. Seraphine)

“I shall never forget the evening when we knelt at the little altar, poor as it was, and offered our first vows to God. We were both young and inexperienced but God directed us wonderfully during these 25 years.”  (Letter to Sr. Bernardine, June 29, 1888)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Walking in Hope, Living in Hope, Loving in Hope . . .


Rough Translations by Jan Richardson

Hope nonetheless.

Hope despite.

Hope regardless.

Hope still.


Hope where we had ceased to hope.

Hope amid what threatens hope.

Hope with those who feed our hope.

Hope beyond what we had hoped.


Hope that draws us past our limits.

Hope that defies expectations.

Hope that questions what we have known.

Hope that makes a way where there is none.


Hope that takes us past our fear.

Hope that calls us into life.

Hope that holds us beyond death.

Hope that blesses those to come.


From: Circle of Grace, Wanton Gospeller Press, Orlando, FL, 2015 
©Jan Richardson.
Photo by sjh

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

People of the Cloud!

(Artist and source unknown)

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. 
Scott Peck 

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. 
Pema Chodron  

Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep. They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing we call human existence.
 Anthony de Mello     

In the Gospel, for Sunday, Jesus has taken his BFF’s  up the high mountain.  It was believed that on mountains one could go who was seeking a special relationship with God.  Here on this mountain, Jesus stands with two prophets, Moses, “the liberator” and Elijah, “the troubler of Israel.”  On this holy mountain, Jesus bursts forth into a presence that overwhelmed the disciples.  Jesus turned into a radiant laser-like beam of energy!

The voice within the cloud directs the disciples to listen to God’s Beloved – “not just here on the mountain top – but on the plains of challenge and within the valleys where the people of God experience hunger, injustice, poverty and exploitation at the hands of the powers that be.”

The Transfiguration is a moment of glory commissioning us all and empowering us to live in the presence of God and to see the radiance of that presence in all the events of our lives: the people, the cosmos, and in ourselves.  Initially, the disciples were overcome by sleep, yet with this “explosion” of divine energy, they were awake . . . wide-eyed awake!

By our Baptism, we are all called to be “people of the cloud.”  We are invited to listen, and to be wide-eyed awake to express something of God through our lives. Through us, God wants to say something to this world.  Our task is to radiate the image of God and let it shine through us by our compassion, our healing, our understanding, and our willingness to be transformed.  It is said, that the purpose of life is not to be happy.  The purpose of life is to matter, to have it make a difference that you lived at all.  Our Baptism is the gift in which we choose to live out our purpose and it is the purpose of every human being to give God glory simply by being who we are with all our potential.

In an ancient story, it is told of an old pilgrim who was making his way to the Himalayan Mountains in the bitter cold of winter when it began to rain.  An innkeeper said to him, “How will you ever get there in this kind of weather, my good man?” The old man answered cheerfully, “My heart got there first, so it’s easy for the rest of me to follow.”

So let us be open to the graces of these

·                  Let us take up the challenge to be prophetic voices, “people of the cloud” and to speak for the least, the last and the lost.  

·                  Let us take up the challenge to not stay in the comfort of the present, but with an urgency move with the mission of Jesus into a future full of mystery, paradox, ambiguity, wonder, and wisdom.

·                  Finally, let us get up, look up - and see only Jesus, and not be afraid to follow our heart’s purpose and may we allow the light of God to shine in us, through us and to transform us and our world.


Gospel – Mark 9:2-10

2 Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,

3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.

4 Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.

5 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

6 He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.

7 Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

8 Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Lenten Pondering . . .

Gather Me to Be with You

O God, gather me now to be with you as you are with me.
Soothe my tiredness; quiet my fretfulness; curb my aimlessness;
Relieve my compulsiveness; let me be easy for a moment.

 + + +  
O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.
Forgive me for claiming so much for myself that I leave
no room for gratitude; for confusing exercises in self-importance
with acceptance of self-worth;
+ + +
For complaining so much of my burdens that I become a burden;
For competing against others so insidiously that I stifle celebrating
them and receiving your blessing through their gifts.
+ + +
O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.
Keep me in touch with myself, with my needs,
my anxieties, my angers, my pains, my corruptions,
that I may claim them as my own rather than
blame them on someone else.
+ + +
O God, deepen my wounds into wisdom; shape my weaknesses
into compassion; gentle my envy into enjoyment,
my fear into trust, my guilt into honesty,
my accusing fingers into tickling ones.
+ + +
O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.

(From: Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder)

Friday, February 19, 2021

Lent~a season of soul-growth!

A story:
A businessman needing to attend a conference in a faraway city decided to travel on country roads rather than the freeways so he could enjoy a relaxing journey.  After some hours of traveling he realized he was hopelessly lost.  Seeing a farmer tending his field on the side of the road, he stopped to ask for directions. “Can you tell me how far it is to Chicago?”  he asked the farmer. “Well, I don’t rightly know,” the farmer replied.
“Well, can you tell me how far I am from Fond du Lac, WI?” the businessman questioned again.  
“Well, I don’t rightly know,” the farmer again replied.  
“Can you at least tell me the quickest way to the main road?”  The exasperated businessman asked.  
“Nope, I don’t rightly know,” the farmer again answered.
“You really don’t know very much at all, do you?” blurted the impatient businessman.
“Nope, not much, but I ain't lost,” the farmer calmly answered.
(Original source unknown)

Lent is a season of soul growth –  possibly we will need to take leave of the “business as usual” main roads in our lives and risk taking some back roads that may lead us into spaces within ourselves that we have hesitated visiting. We may find ourselves having to be more aware and watchful of signs and symbols that gently direct us to the next turn on our journey. We may even find ourselves a little lost, and having to stop to ask for directions, or just sit listening for the soft and intimate voice of the Divine whispering encouragement to our fearful and anxious hearts.