Category Archives: Uncategorized

Unplanned

While the acting and directing could be better, Unplanned presents the experience of Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood (PP) clinic director, who does a complete 180° transformation on her views on abortion after viewing an abortion. There’s a lot of flashbacks that go from post-transformation to Johnson’s college days when she had two abortions and when she became a volunteer for PP.

The actress who plays Abby does a fine job, as do some other supporting actors, like Abby’s husband and parents, but many of the actors don’t have much to work with and I think could benefit from a script that gave characters more facets and personality. The director could also have developed those features more.

The film has some gory moments as it holds nothing back. There are scenes which feature the blood and gore which are part of the patient’s experiences. I wouldn’t bring children to this R rated film. While Gosnell, tells a story about abortion, it’s not as graphic, though the actions of Kermit Gosnell were more violent. Gosnell kept the gore to the minimum.

The film did inform me. I didn’t get have much knowledge of what it’s like to work in a PP clinic. The characters, except for the director, were shown as well-intentioned people. The first director does seem one-dimensional, but a lot of people do see their bosses as stereotypes. In this case the director is all about money and she does show what a business this is. As the director, Abby’s mentor, said, “non-profit is a tax status, not a business model.” The film does show PP’s sales techniques and vision for growth. Like many businesses, the goal is to grow and to pressure customers to use a service so there’s more money for a big new office or center.

The film has a message and it does a decent job of conveying it through the life story of Abby Johnson.  It did make me think and it seemed authentic.


Christian Suburban Women & Beto

I think Allie Beth Stuckley is wonderful. I discovered her when she made a video for PragerU.


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An Advent Prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

For advent. I’m going to memorize this.

Renovate

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Let Your goodness, Lord, appear to us, that we,
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder,
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.

By St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Cistercian monk and church reformer.

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Monsieur Vincent

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Vincent tries to get someone to adopt this orphan

When Monsieur Vincent opens, we see Vincent Depaul entering a deserted town. Whenever he knocks on a door, someone throws rocks at him from the second floor. Finally, Vincent who’s the new priest in town gets let inside. He discovers that the aristocrats inside are hiding hoping to avoid the plague. They’re in the midst of a wild party just in case they don’t escape the plague.

As the new priest, and one that lives the gospel, Vincent tries to convince the nobles to take in a girl whose mother has just died. They’re all to scared. He winds up taking her in a very modest room he’s rented.

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Vincent’s wisdom is revered by the rich. He’s soon the mentor and spiritual guide for a wealthy couple, but he wants to help the poor. When he tells his patrons that he plans to leave they keep him near by supporting his charity efforts more. This works for a while, but eventually Vincent goes to Paris where he begins a charity for the poorest of the poor.

Throughout his work with the poor, Vincent recruited wealthy women to help him and found great frustration when they didn’t agree with his ideas of expanding and expanding their charity programs. Eventually, realizing that people who understand the poor may be better to work with, he taps a poor girl to become one of his first nuns. Actually, she came to him and the light bulb went off.

I went to a high school named after Louise de Marillac, a wealthy woman, who became key to Vincent’s outreach to the poor. In the film, she’s just in a couple scenes. You can see that she’s a peer of the wealthy women, so Vincent wants her to lead them, though it’s tough to convince these opinionated women to trust Vincent. (St. Louise de Marillac wound up leading the Daughters of Charity, an order of nuns that serves the poor.)

This bio pic was interesting and well done. I was surprised that so much of the time Vincent Depaul dealt with administrative issues and trying to persuade the aristocracy to help him more. I thought he was more “hands on.” In any event, the film moved along well and introduces people to this 17th century saint.

In French with subtitles.


From the Writer’s Almanac

It’s the birthday of St. Teresa of Ávila (books by this author), born in Gotarrendura, Spain (1515). She grew up in a wealthy household in a walled city. She was fascinated by the spiritual life even as a young girl, particularly the martyred saints. At the age of seven, she ran away from home with her younger brother, hoping to find wherever it was that the Moors lived and be martyred. Their uncle found them just outside the city and dragged them home.
Teresa was also a beautiful and social girl. She loved perfume, jewelry, and elegant clothes. Her mother died when Teresa was 14, and she was heartbroken. Her father felt that it was inappropriate for his beautiful daughter to be without a female companion, so he sent her off to a convent school, which would teach her the necessary skills to become a good wife and mother. Instead, she decided to become a nun. A couple of years later, she suffered from malaria and almost died. She survived, but her legs were paralyzed for three years. During her illness, she had mystical visions, falling into trances or levitating during times of intense rapture.

Although she stayed at the convent for 20 years, it was not the sacred place she wanted it to be. Each nun had a set of private rooms, and sometimes a personal maid. They were allowed to wear jewelry, leave the convent, and entertain daily visitors, both women and men. Teresa eventually broke away and founded the Discalced Carmelite Order (the word “discalced” means “shoeless”). In this new reform order, the nuns lived in poverty and simplicity, devoting their time to prayer, according to ancient traditions. After establishing her own monastery, Teresa traveled around Spain on a donkey, setting up 16 new monasteries for women. She also wrote several books, including The Way of Perfection (1566) and The Interior Castle (1580).


Lenten Ideas to Help Us Focus on and Become More Like Jesus

Here’s a wonderful post with ideas on Lent.

Fruitful Words

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan. And I wrote about the following: When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held.) On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan.  . . . .  And I wrote about the following: . . . . . When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held Evans.)

I dabble in Lent. For the past 8 years I’ve done various things: given something up (social media, unnecessary spending), added something (usually a spiritual discipline), donated (money and items) to a good cause, and prayed more. I’m not of a liturgical bent, so I don’t really know what I am doing.

I never did well at fasting. I never spent extra time in confession. And come to think of it, many of my other attempts were also lame.

But I did these things to prepare myself for Easter. And while they were done imperfectly…

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The Devil is in the Details

I never dreamed we’d reach this low. Such foolishness too.

St Monica's Bridge

Harvard, I weep for you. 

Actually, I weep for all of our country and our world, but Harvard, today you get the most of these tears. I am offering up the lovely and wonderful gastro-intestinal virus I have been suffering through for your penance.

 “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Harvard, you’re about to find out how true that is. Satanists doing this for a joke? You’re about to find out that Satan is no joke.

But what about us Catholics? Well, they said they won’t use a consecrated host, the actual body of Christ. Or will they? Let’s not kid ourselves, if we’ve saved the Body of Christ, we’ve won a battle, but not the war. The Devil, as they say, is in the details. Satan uses confusion to muck us around and the chaos threatens to cause a severe sin…

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Deo Gratias

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Deo Gratias is Latin for “Thanks be to God.” Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! Colleen at Thoughts on Grace has organized this meme and you can contribute by clicking here. This week I’m thankful for:

  1. A warm house with a fireplace. I don’t mind hibernating especially since I’m fortunate to not be cold. I realize that this is a luxury that many don’t have.
  2. A dryer. I’m in the U.S. now and in China we don’t have dryers for clothes. Most countries don’t. I love getting the warm towels from the dryer.
  3. Warm drinks like tea and hot chocolate. Perfect in this weather.
  4. The new-ish chaplain at church. I go to the Divine Word seminary for mass. Last summer they got a new chaplain and I love how down to earth and meaningful his homilies are. He’s able to convey Catholic teachings and rules clearly and well. It’s easy for people to dismiss the harder teachings, but there are reasons for them.
  5. The pro-life activists who are children of rape victims. I just learned about these people who advocate for pro-life by showing that their lives have value and certainly going through a trauma such as this does not mean there aren’t blessings. It takes courage and faith to make such a choice.
  6. One more: Pete Seeger, who lived a full life and gave us beautiful songs that all can sing.

You definitely got mail! What’s inside the papal postbox?

I had wondered how this was handled.

CNS Blog

UPDATE: For folks who wish to stuff those mail bags even more, here are the popes’ addresses. There is NO email because the last time they set one up for the pope, the servers crashed.

Pope Francis
Domus Sanctae Marthae
00120 Vatican City State

and

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Mater Ecclesiae monastery
00120 Vatican City State

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis gets so much mail — about 30 large mail sacks a week — that the Vatican has set up a special office to sort through and read the overflowing stacks.

Msgr. Giuliano Gallorini of the Vatican secretariat of state is in charge of the “Papal Correspondence Office” and is assisted by a nun and two laywomen.

The sacks are brought from the Vatican post office to the “Terza Loggia” in the apostolic palace where the Vatican diplomats work. There, the papal mail team sifts through everything, sorting the…

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