Shortly after the third birthday of her firstborn, Mabel and her two boys left South Africa for England. Her husband, who was unable to vacate his banking post at the time, was to join her as soon as the opportunity arose. The opportunity never did arise. While still confined to South Africa and 5,000 miles away from his family, he died as a result of a severe hemorrhage.
What does a visitor from a foreign but friendly country sense about the United States just days before the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks? G.K. Chesterton, one such visitor who came a long time ago, wrote that this was a "country with the soul of a church." America is baring her soul this week.
Dawn Farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan is a place where addicts and alcoholics recover the lives they lost to drugs and alcohol. Recover is an innocent-sounding verb for the grueling, gut-wrenching metamorphosis that takes place in the human body and spirit as it separates from the chemical demons that possess it. But close to 75 percent of the people who undergo treatment at Dawn Farm really do reclaim their lost lives and achieve long-term recovery.
June 22 is the Feast of one of our greatest saints: Thomas More. St. Thomas More (1478-1535) was one of the most gifted men of his day. He entered Oxford at about age 15, was a brilliant scholar, writer, and lawyer (thereby showing that lawyers can get to heaven) was fluent in Greek, Latin and French, was schooled in mathematics and was an accomplished musician.
I began the spiritual journey in a fervour of prayer, asking God to give me the companions I needed for the road. The voice in my heart was gentle but firm, Name your needs. Ah, but that was easy! There were three whose company represented my constant longing. Wisdom! Compassion! Holiness! I cried.
My own young daughter, Kemper, was in agony from lupus, a disease ravaging her body, and I worried about leaving her to visit Washington's poor. But I had promised to share my time with a small child in one of the poorest housing projects of our nation's capital, so I had to keep my word. This visit was part of the ongoing Catholic ministry of Exodus Youth Services, Inc. (Exodus) that my husband and I had founded in 1985.
When I first met them, at the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco, I hadnt gone to Mass regularly for years. I enrolled in their program knowing but not caring that it was Catholic. I just wanted to live in San Francisco and read great books. I didnt have even a passing interest in the faith. The St. Ignatius Institute changed that.