Saturday, September 26, 2020


FATHER FRANCIS MARY of the CROSS JORDAN, founder of the Salvatorians, will be beatified May 15, 2021, at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome


The future Blessed was named Johann Baptist Jordan after his birth in 1848 in Gurtweil, a town in the modern-day German state of Baden-Württemberg  at the edge of the Black Forest.  Due to his family’s poverty, he was not at first able to pursue his calling to be a priest, working instead as a laborer and painter-decorator.

But stirred by the anti-Catholic “Kulturkampf,” which attempted to restrict the Church’s activities, he began to study for the priesthood. 

On July 21, 1878 Johann was ordained a priest in Freiburg, Germany. Because he was known to have a gift for languages, he was sent by his bishop to Rome for advanced language studies, becoming fluent in Syrian, Aramaic, Coptic, Arabic, Hebrew and Greek. 

Still, he was sensing that something else was in store for his future. He began thinking about ways to renew spirituality and restore interest in religion. In September 1880, Father Johann met privately with Pope Leo XIII in the Vatican, where he outlined his plan to begin a society devoted to spreading the teachings of the faith. The Pope gave  his blessing to move forward with his plan

He believed that God was calling him to found a new apostolic work in the Church. Following a trip to the Middle East, he sought to establish a community of religious and lay people in Rome, dedicated to proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the only Savior.  


Working several years with Therese von Wüllenweber, now known as Blessed Mary of the Apostles since her 1968 beatification, they founded a community of women in their shared cause. On December 8, 1888, Father Jordan witnessed Therese profess her vows, which marked the beginning of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Savior.  Therese was known in her religious community as Mother Mary. Together, members of the men’s and women’s communities became known as “Salvatorians,” derived from the Latin word salvator, meaning “Savior.”

Father Francis and Mother Mary shared a vision to bring lay women and men into their work and mission as well, but at that time it didn’t fit the vision of the Church. Not until after the Second Vatican Council closed in 1965 was the dream of Father Francis and Mother Mary fully realized. In the early 1970s, the first Lay Salvatorians made their formal commitment. 

Today, more than two thousand Salvatorians around the world continue the mission of Bl. Francis and Bl. Mary: To proclaim the goodness and kindness of Jesus, the Divine Savior, by all ways and means the love of God inspire

In 1915, the First World War forced him to leave Rome for neutral Switzerland, where he died in 1918.

In 2014, two lay members of the Salvatorians in Jundiaí, Brazil, prayed for Father Jordan to intercede for their unborn child, who was believed to be suffering from an incurable bone disease known as skeletal dysplasia.

The child was born in a healthy condition on Sept. 8, 2014, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the anniversary of Jordan’s death. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2020



This week we celebrate the feast of St. Padre Pio and it is no coincidence that an Italian archbishop has opened the cause for beatification of a Capuchin friar and spiritual son of St. Padre Pio.

In 1944, the future FRA MODESTINO, born in 1917 to farmers in the area of  Pietrelcina, went to San Giovanni Rotondo and spent two weeks with Padre Pio.


He confided to him that, during his military service in Rome, he had often gone to pray in the church of St Frances of Rome, where he had developed an ancient religious vocation and had decided to enter a Benedictine community in the capital. Padre Pio replied that the Lord was not calling him to serve him in the Benedictine Order, and faced with the insistence of the young man from Pietrelcina, he said: “If you want to go to Rome, go. But a very ugly disaster has been reserved for you ”.

Three years later, in fact, that abbey was stormed by some young robbers who entered through the window and, to take possession of 15,000 lire, stabbed the abbot to death under the eyes of his lay brother and left the latter tied up and gagged. By the time the rescuers arrived, he was dead. “That fate, said Fra Modestino, was reserved for me”.

 Then Padre Pio ordered him to return home and move for some time to San Giovanni Rotondo. He stayed there for a whole year. Thus he had the opportunity to know the intimate relationship that bound the Friar to the Lord and decided to become a Capuchin too. At the moment Padre Pio welcomed the news with an exhortation: "Paesano (countryman), do not make me look bad!". 

Fra Modestino was a Capuchin who lived for 28 years alongside Padre Pio. Every day he welcomed hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims, who spoke with him, for a prayer of intercession and for a particular blessing precisely with the imposition of the crucifix of Padre Pio on the forehead.  Padre Pio gave him that crucifix making him responsible to carry in his mission. He also wore a Padre Pio glove, which  pilgrims touched. Padre Modestino was said to be the heir of Padre Pio.

Friar Modestino was also a witness in the cause for the beatification of Padre Pio.

 He died in  at the age of 94 in 2011.

Monday, September 21, 2020




Our Lady of the Rock’s Foundress and Prioress for 43 years has
retired and the new Prioress appointed by Abbess Lucia is Mother Noella Marcellino. 


What is amazing is both are “cheese nuns”.  Nov. 28, 2013, I wrote of the West Coast Cheese nun, our own Mother Therese, mentioning the “famous” cheese nun, Mother Noella. 

Mother Therese has given of herself to this foundation from its first days.  She willingly accepted the mission to leave her native Connecticut and her close family ties to travel over 3,000 miles to the unknown.  Her gentle spirit was welcomed by the islanders and old timers, who were suspicious of anything that smacked religion. 

Her love of animals is legend.  She has often been called the St. Francis of our Order.  She has raised prize Scottish Highland cattle, rare breed chickens, Jersey cows and been the general overseer of the monastery farm.  She started the dairy, which was the first raw milk dairy in the state (cows milk)  and later was helpful in  helping others get certification.

To the Community she has been Mother, counselor, infirmarian, cook, singer, and a stabilizing force.  She stands only 4'11"  but is mighty in her strength, which comes from her heritage.  She has taken this foundation from three to where it is today, graciously handing over the baton to Mother Noella.  She will remain on Shaw and we pray her remaining years be gracefilled and gentle!

  Prioress Mother Noella  with Mother Therese

Sunday, September 20, 2020


National Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from 15 September to 15 October in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.


Hispanic Americans are the largest minority group in the United States today, and generations of Hispanic Americans have consistently helped make our country strong and prosperous. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month, with roots going back to 1968, celebrates the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile, and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period. Columbus Day in Mexico (Día de la Raza) is on October 12.

Well, I am not Hispanic, nor do I think anyone in my lineage came from anywhere near south of the border.  What I do know is my favorite cuisine is Mexican* and having grown up in S. California I ate the best.  Every Thursday my  Father took us to Joe’s - not the  name of the restaurant, which fails me- but the owner/chef Joe and his family. It was the best food you could get anywhere. By my family’s standards it was a bit of a “dive” with maybe 8 tables, but could Joe cook.   Once in awhile we would go to a "fancy" place, but none compared with Joe's. I always started my meal with the albondigas- and to this day I can still taste it- and have never had another like it-  It was pure rich broth with those small meatballs.  Today so many adulterate it with vegetables and other things not necessary.

I am not sure if Joe is the most common Hispanic name, but my Father had a man working for him, also a Joe, who every year at Christmas made the traditional tamales.  And that was his gift to us.  Until recently I have not have a tamale that good.  Now there is a family near us on the mainland doing fresh ones daily- take your pick, pork or beef! 

Of course this was all before the introduction of the Tex-Mex, which maybe has adulterated good Mexican cooking.  I not only love to eat Mexican cuisine, but I love to cook it.  I have been called the best “Mexican” cook north of the border (of California that is.), which is sad, as I feel so many of the local restaurants feel “gringos”  want things out of the cans- and not homemade, take the refried beans for instance!

Some years ago, I found 1,000 Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore. It is a comprehensive guide to accessible Mexican home cooking offering recipes of traditional fare from all the regions of Mexico, as well as dishes inspired by the nueva cocina of today's top Mexican chefs.  The author shares the cultural and culinary heritage of the people and food of Mexico from her perspective as a traveler and impassioned enthusiast of the country. Mark Miller, owner of Coyote Café (New Mexico) called it the Joy of Cooking for the Mexican kitchen.

I realize that as in our own country, there are many ways to do one dish, so in Mexico. One example is the corn vs flour tortilla.  If the flour was around 50+ years ago, I never saw it.  I tell people " where my people came from we only ate corn!"   To this day, my favorite breakfast is a corn tortilla with cheese and chili and coffee. I love things spicy and a bit edgy with heat, but unfortunately live with a community of wimps, so have to tame it down.  But the bottle of hot sauce sits at my place!  Ole, Ole!

So during this month, especially when so many are still staying close to home, try some new Mexican dish, like a Mole, the dark, rich, chocolaty sauce which is one of Mexico’s most famous and celebrated sauces- no it is not a dessert. It comes from the states of Puebla, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala.  

Or maybe Pozole, a traditional Mexican stew with hominy, pork, and a spicy red chile sauce. Go online and find some recipes.  One thing, ingredients always easy to find.

While this Blog is about the great foods Hispanics enjoy, don’t forget their saints, especially the new ones!  Sometimes I wonder if it is because I was born on the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, that while I am 100% non - Hispanic, I have a bit of Mexican in my heart!

* While I here mention Mexican,  I am also addicted to Peruvian (having been there twice for extended stays) which is considered the Parisian cuisine of South America.

Image is San Pasqual (by our dear friend Arturo Olivas) patron of the kitchen

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


T. S. Eliot, in his poem ( 1925)  “The Hollow Men,” wrote, “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.”  If this is true, we are far away from the end, as our world seems to be rushing towards a cataclysmic ending. Riots breaking out all over our cities, people killed, monuments toppled, buildings burned, a killer virus, and people afraid to venture far from home -  not to mention climate change, natural disasters and wild fires ravaging mother nature.

The Great Day of His Wrath-  John Martin 1852

I have been hearing  “the end is coming" since I can remember, but the story of apocalypse is as old as time itself. Whenever we are in crises, prophets arise to interpret unprecedented or shocking events. I suppose if we go back through history, we will find that the bad times were a presage to good times- that what seems like a meltdown of society, of culture, of all that we hold dear, is really a wake-up call to faith, a sign of God’s coming judgment or both.  Jesus even told His disciples, “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time is” (Mk 13:33). 

In these most uncertain times we are finding great cracks in what we thought to be stable, unshakable. We thought we had, for the most part, overcome racial discrimination, only to find we have failed miserably.  We thought our economy could only get better, that our children  would have a better future, and on and on.

It seems our whole world, especially our own country, has been turned upside down!  Now we are looking for some sort of "new norm".
Father Rupnik
We know one thing for certain: we do not know what will come next. This uncertainty and lack of foreknowledge must not stop us from  living our lives to the fullest- of finding new ways  to be better- to be holy. The best way is to care for each other and connect in the many ways that we can and through the Eucharist.  While we may ponder the uncertain future, we have the presence of Christ with us in the Eucharist.
Why wait for His coming when He is already here?

We must be grateful for the days that come, no matter how dark or dire they seem to be. We may not be able to celebrate the Mass in church in person, but our every day and every action must become an offering on the spiritual altar of our lives.  

Saturday, September 12, 2020


I came across this at  Aleteia (a wonderful Catholic site) - A thoughtful prayer composed by the sweet actress Jennifer Garner, as parents, teachers and school officials struggle with what to do next.

Jennifer with her 3 children

Thank you for the gifts and lessons of this summer. God bless teachers, faculty and administrators as they guide us through this big question mark of a school year.

Bless the parents trying to make it all work. And the children who are learning to make the best of things in ways we couldn’t have predicted. 

Help us remember we hold each other in our hands. And please God, preserve our collective sense of humor. Amen.