Sunday, January 29, 2012

First, Do No Harm

Disclaimer: Habitually Speaking, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, and the Roman Catholic Church do not support any particular political party. The following entry is about a human rights violation that happens to be undertaken by the current administration of the United States. The political party is irrelevant,  because this issue is beyond party lines. Both Republicans and Democrats are upset about what has happened.

One of my favorite things about our Community is our commitment to social justice.
  • We stay informed on the status of human trafficking, and on January 11th, we had a special evening prayer for all human trafficking victims.
  • Some of the Sisters at our Motherhouse and surrounding convents volunteer regularly at Hope House, which provides housing and services to help homeless people get back on their feet.
  • Our Community also provides our lay employees, no matter what their jobs are, with a living wage and health benefits.
These are some of the issues that we are committed to. Very recently, we found another thing to be concerned about: one that affects us in a significant way, because we sponsor some Catholic hospitals.

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan explains:
"all but a few employers will be forced to purchase coverage for contraception, abortion drugs and sterilization services even when they seriously object to them. All who share the cost of health plans that include such services will be forced to pay for them as well. Surely it violates freedom of religion to force religious ministries and citizens to buy health coverage to which they object as a matter of conscience and religious principle.
The rule forces insurance companies to provide these services without a co-pay, suggesting they are "free"—but it is naïve to believe that. There is no free lunch, and you can be sure there's no free abortion, sterilization or contraception. There will be a source of funding: you.

Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience. Organizations fear that this unjust rule will force them to take one horn or the other of an unacceptable dilemma: Stop serving people of all faiths in their ministries—so that they will fall under the narrow exemption—or stop providing health-care coverage to their own employees.

The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease." (
In order to be exempted from this new law, Catholic hospitals can only treat Catholic patients, and can only hire Catholic employees. Really, is that possible? Even if it was, would we want to be so exclusive? Never.

Doctors should be able to live out the Hippocratic Oath according to their consciences.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said,
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are not backing down. We are joining the efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Health Association of the United States to stop this law from taking effect. Our administration has asked us to participate through our prayers.

Please also pray for the protection of the freedom of conscience.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Photography and Basketball

Sr. Caritas Marie, Sr. Regina Rose, Sr. Leslie, Regina, and I just finished a game of basketball in the gym. We had a lot of fun together. It was 2 on 3, so we kept switching up the teams and we played zone ball so that a person would only be guarded by one person.

I also got a chance to practice shooting some action photos for my digital photography class. I experimented with the settings, and realized that if I have to choose, I prefer the "grainy" look to the "blurry" look.

Grainy look

Blurry look

I am hoping to learn how to get somewhere in the middle of these two. I think it would help to be in a brighter place.

We are in the experimental stage of the class right now...just getting used to using the different manual settings on our cameras, instead of relying on the ever popular Auto Setting.

I am also enjoying taking Logic (a philosophy class), which was a surprise for me, because I know people who love it and people who hate it. I wasn't expecting to be one of those who love it, because I always thought of my thinking process as more intuitive. I like the class, though, because I enjoy word problems, and that is essentially what it is. I must have had good teachers.

Church History and World Religions are also great classes, and they fit together really well. I'll write more about them in a future entry.

***Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Remember Roe? She's pro-life now. Please join her in prayer for a greater respect for all human life.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Mission Experience in Greenwood, Mississippi

I have been home from Mississippi for a little over 24 hours and the day has been full. Classes began today for the Spring Semester. I started working on my online class- World's Living Religions and I attended my first Digital Photography class. Tomorrow I have Logic and Church History (and more World's Living Religions).

Regina, Sister Regina Rose, Sister Leslie, and I have all been sharing stories about our mission experiences whenever we can. We also had evening praise and supper tonight with a high schooler....that was fun. She's a really nice person!

Things are going back to normal, but I am feeling refreshed and I had a wonderful time at St. Francis of Assisi in Greenwood, MS!

(For more pictures and also to view pictures of the experiences of Sr. Leslie, Sr. Regina Rose, and Regina, click here.)

I got to stay with Sr. Mary Beth, Sr. Mary Ann, Sr. Francis, Sr. Kathleen, and Sr. Annette. They are great Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity! We had fun together!

Greenwood, MS is where The Help was filmed, so one of the first things we did was go on a tour of Greenwood, and the Sisters pointed out the places that were in the movie. The hard part was to see, in person, the division between the poor and the rich, separated only by a bridge. Racism is also very strong.

After the tour, we ate at La Piñata, which has the tastiest refried beans I have ever eaten. That night, we watched The Help. It was my first time seeing it, and I loved it.

The Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province came to Greenwood in the early 1950s to establish a school and parish. They come over to FSCC's convent for morning prayer (and Mass when there isn't Mass at a later time).

       Camp Franciscan Reunion: Mrs. Toy and Jailynn! It was so good to see them again!
I also got to meet Jailynn's little brother Jy'Veon.

Another Camp Franciscan Reunion! It was great to visit with Daisy and
meet a few of her friends!

To sign up for Camp Franciscan 2012, click here! (Note: this is a PDF file.)

I got to judge the Spelling Bee alongside Sr. Mary Ann. It was an honor, and I enjoyed it very much! I was very impressed with all of the spellers!

Some hard work in Pre-K!

I went out for recess with the kindergarten a few times and it was always a fun time!

Throughout the week, I helped in Sr. Mary Ann's office (the principal), helped in classes, shared my vocation story, and other activities. This is a picture of me giving a math lesson to the kindergarten.
Throughout the week, I was very impressed with the quality of education offered. I realized that the students were a year ahead, knowledge-wise and maturity-wise than others I have worked with.

Favorite quote from one of Sr. Kathleen's kindergarteners:
"Sr. Monica, I know why you have a white veil and Sr. Kathleen has a black veil. It's because you are learning how to pray and when you know how to pray then you will get a black veil."

I also shared my vocation story with children, teens and adults at Sacred Heart Parish is Winona, MS, where Sr. Mary Beth serves as a Catechist for the children. Here are two of the children she works with.That was a nice community.

There is so much I could have shared in this entry, but this at least covers some of it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Going Down to the Delta!

My bags are packed and I am all set for a weeklong mission experience with our Sisters in Greenwood, Mississippi! Needless to say, I am very excited for this adventure.

Here is more information about where I am going: Greenwood, MS

This is where the others are going:
Regina: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Sister Leslie: Cambridge, Ohio

Sister Regina Rose: Westpoint, Nebraska

I am taking the overnight train. Trains are my favorite mode of transportation. I should sleep well tonight, because I am bringing my Lions-Packers fleece blanket along, and I made sure to get less sleep last night. ;)  For our New Years Eve celebration, we had a wonderful Holy Hour together in St. Mary's Chapel, followed by a social. Then a bunch of us watched Jane Eyre (1996).

It was fantastic! Neither Regina nor I have read the book or seen the movie before! It certainly had us at the edge of our seats as we waited to see how it turned out. We also paused it just on time to count down to the the New Year with Dick Clark!

I went to bed just at Wisconsin was welcoming the New Year. It's nice being in the Central timezone, because we get all the excitement and celebrations at 11pm, and we can retire by midnight...

All in all, it was a fun way to bring in 2012.

I hope that your 2012 is a year of health, happiness and growth in relationship with God!