Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Coming of the Magi
While perusing art for my Christmas Blogs, I found this woman whose sheep I love, and thought her work appropriate for the season.

Scottish Artist FRANCES WATT is a woman of mystery in contemporary art.  At the peak of her career in the 1960s, she achieved some measure of success as an artistic chronicler of the male-dominated world of money-making in London’s Square Mile financial district. By the early 1990s, Frances and her art were all but forgotten. The recent sale of a cache of pieces, kept in storage for 30 years in Aberdeen, has drawn well-deserved attention back to an artist.

Edith Frances Watt was born in 1923 in Falkirk, Scotland, the daughter of a Church of Scotland minister. When she was three, her father was called to the Scottish Kirk in Geneva, Switzerland, where she spent her childhood. The family returned to Scotland in 1936, and when her father died two years later, Frances and her mother moved to Highgate, London. She would live there unmarried for most of her life, devoting her time to drawing and the local choral society for which she designed programs.

She had formal art training at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting in London, honing her skills by copying the Great Masters. 

Her first public exhibition was in the 1950s. A decade later, she was commissioned by the Council of the Stock Exchange to create a visual record of business activities at The City.

Working in pencil, pen, and watercolor she made hundreds of studies of anonymous financiers at desks and on the trading floors  at the Royal Exchange, the London Discount Market, and Lloyds of London, many of them, used as illustrations in the Times newspaper. Frances's drawings on biblical themes present a very different side of this impersonal chronicler of the Square Mile.

Her love for animals also found expression in a whimsical watercolor of Jesus tenderly taking a roadkill rabbit into his arms. A dog and a sheep also figure as two more traveling companions for the Risen Christ and two disciples in a mixed media painting of the Road to Emmaus story in Luke 24:13-32.

Frances wrote on the margin of the painting: Joy of companionship...The earth is subject to Him...The animals recognize Him...The GREAT PEACE has come into the World...Atmosphere-Peace.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Lullaby of Winter (Nicholas Mynheer)

“May you be blessed

With the spirit of the season, which is Peace,

The gladness of the season, which is Hope,

And the heart of the season, which is Love.”

                                                                                             Irish Blessing

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Hawaiian Mother and Child- Charles Bartlett 1925

Come forth from the holy place,
Sweet Child,
Come from the quiet dark
Where virginal heartbeats
Tick your moments.

Come away from the red music
Of Mary's veins.
Come out from the Tower of David
From the House of Gold.

Leave your lily-cloister,
Leave your holy mansion,
Quit your covenant ark.
O Child, be born!

Be born, sweet Child,
In our unholy hearts.

Come to our trembling,
Helpless Child.
Come to our littleness,
Little Child,
Be born unto us
Who have kept the faltering vigil.
Be given, be born,
Be ours again.

Came forth from your holy haven,
Come away from your perfect shrine,
Come to our wind-racked souls
From the flawless tent,
Sweet Child.

Be born, little Child,
In our unholy hearts.

Mother M Francis (late Abbess of the Colettine Poor Clare

Monastery in Roswell, New Mexico)

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Dawn Chorus of Christmas- Stephen Whatley

This last Sunday of Advent gets us closer to the birth of our Savior.  Revealing His LOVE for the world, God sent His only Son so that we  may live through Him.  It is His LOVE that drove heaven down, and it is this same LOVE that redeems, reconciles, transforms, and makes all things new.  God is with us and He lives among us. This Christmas season, may those around you be drawn to His Love.

Thus says the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you: and I will preserve you and give you a covenant for the people... Is. 49

Christmastime is a season when love of God and of our family, and friends and even strangers we meet along the way, fills us all, but the real challenge is to continue feeling and showing that love when Christmas is over so that it fills the entire year.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Mary Furhmann

The third week of Advent is about the JOY that is ours because our Savior has entered the world. Angels heralded His birth  and kings came from the east to worship and marvel at what God has done. We too marvel as well, that the Son of God would come into our world, as a wee child taking on our humanity.
On this third Sunday, the priest wears pink at Mass, to remind us to rejoice (hence the name of the Sunday is Gaudate- or Rejoice). Just like the color pink, joy has many shades. Rejoice in the Lord always” are the words we sing this day.
This theme of joy, reminds us that the Christmas message is one of rejoicing. We should have great comfort and great joy, even as we still live in a world with sorrow and pain, knowing that our savior is near.
 “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom, they will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song,” Isaiah proclaims. This third  week of Advent provides us with the opportunity to experience the joy which only Christ can give us.

Dr. He Qi
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!.... The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your minds and hearts in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4"4-7

Monday, December 7, 2015


Today we are experiencing our 5th power outage  since Nov. 1.  Thanks to a generous benefactor we have a powerful generator which keeps the monastery warm and functioning- as well as the chapel, but our guests are not so lucky as there is nothing to keep them in the light!  There is a wood stove at one house where they can gather, but…
This wind storm brought down a massive tree which hit the main power plant here on Shaw, knocking out power for parts of Orcas Island as well as all of Shaw. Seven poles were effected so it is a major clean up for the crew.
Our OLPACO (local company) lineman crew is the best, comprised of local men, many who have been here most of their lives. They seem to be fearless, sometimes putting their lives “on the line” for us.  As in this case they have been at it all night and continuing through the day in cold and rain.
Outages here in the islands are not always due to local problems,  but can be caused by mainland accidents (where are these power plants people are always crashing into?)  or downed trees in areas that feed the underwater cables that are the power source for the islands.  Such is Island life!

 We are always grateful to our men who come to the rescue of all bringing light! 

Saturday, December 5, 2015


One of the most prayed for petitions today is for PEACE, yet it seems that daily we come further and further from any kind of world peace. The world is not at peace, because human hearts are not at peace.  We are all pulled in opposite directions by competing desires and torn apart by loyalties to different ideologies.

Jesus taught us that peace is not just making everything calm, but rather peace for the whole of life. As the Prince of Peace, Jesus came to help us love one another and accept one another, even when we are very different or even disagree with each other. He came to include the poor, the lonely the unusual and rejected. He came to bring peace between one another.

And for those of us who are in Christ, our peace is doubly sure, because we not only have the peace of God with us right now, we have the peace that comes from knowing that nothing at all, not even death, can separate us from the love of God that is our in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This Advent as we hear- or sing- “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men” let us reflect how we actively work at bringing that peace on earth… in our own families, with neighbors and friends, and even those we may consider our “enemies”. And let us pray for those who seek to kill the peace efforts of others.

Let us this week pray to our Lady Queen of Peace, who has promised us world peace, obtainable only through prayer and a change of heart- one which reflects her Son.

Our Lady Queen of Peace

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


The beatification of the Polish Franciscan martyrs Friar ZBIGNIEW SRZALKOWSKI (33) and Friar MICHAL TOMASZEK  (31) (as well as Father ALESSANDRO DORDI) will take place in Chimbote, Peru, on Saturday, December 5, 2015. The Pope's representative, Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will preside.

What caught my eye at first was this martyrdom took place not far from the mountains where I birded on 2 occasions when in Peru.  Upon reading the story I decided these men  merited mention for their charity to the poor of Peru.

The two friars were living in Pariacoto, on the western side of the Cordillera Negra, a mountain range which runs perpendicular to the Andes in an east-west direction from Mocho-Choshuencovolcano to Cerros de Quimán. Pariacoto is perched at an altitude of 3,000 feet in an idyllic natural landscape bathed by a perennial sun.

The area is inhabited by a poor, indigenous population deeply rooted in Christianity. For over forty years, the people of Pariacoto had gone without the assistance of a local priest until, in 1989, three Polish friars from the Conventual Franciscan Order arrived and established a vibrant Christian community.

Pariacoto, Peru
This, however, did not go down well with the Communist revolutionaries, who in those years, infested much of Latin America. In particular, the three friars were despised by the Communist revolutionary movement known as Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), which saw religion as the greatest enemy of humanity.

On the evening of August 9, 1991, a commando of some 20 guerrillas stormed into the mission and kidnapped two of the friars, Zbigniew and Michal. Through an extraordinary coincidence, the superior of the mission, Father Jarek Wysoczanski, was in Poland at the time for the wedding of his sister, and for the arrival of Pope John Paul to his country. The two prisoners were taken to the center of the town, subjected to a sham trial, sentenced to death, and then taken to a secret location where they were shot and killed.

Their bodies are buried in the parish church, which has become a place of pilgrimage where people also come to beseech graces

Frs. Zbigniew & Michal
According to Father Jarek Wysoczanski  (the superior) they were full of enthusiasm and love for God, and were burning with zeal for their mission of evangelizing the indigenous people of Peru.
Friar Zbigniew was a man of few words, but very active. He was fond of studying and had great love for the natural world, being a passionate ecologist. In the mission he  acted as an engineer, a worker, a medical doctor, a nurse, an architect and even as a brick-layer.  His generosity is still remembered in Pariacoto.

Michal  loved community life and attended to the day-to-day running of a community. He also educated the children and young people. He was patient, helpful, friendly and cheerful. He was liked by everyone and, as a consequence, the young attended Mass in great numbers. Shortly before his death there were over 200 young people in his group.
 Father Alessandro Dordi was an Italian priest whose work of evangelization with the poor also cost him his life at the hands of the Shining Path. Fr. Sandro, as he was known, came to Peru in 1980, the year in which the Shinning Path launched its violent campaign to bring Communism to power in the country, killing thousands.  Today, the indigenous people still suffer the effect of that dreaded group. At the time, Peru was also experiencing a severe economic crisis.

Born in 1931 and ordained in the Italian city of Bergamo at the age of 23, Fr. Sandro fell in love with the people of Santa in Peru. He worked to increase literacy, defend the dignity of women, teach catechism, and built chapels and parish buildings. His work drew the ire of the Shining Path, which relied upon hatred and discord among the people in order to recruit and maintain power.

Father Sandro
In August 1991, Fr. Sandro learned of the killing of the Polish priests in a nearby town. In a letter to a priest friend, the future blessed wrote, “We are particularly anxious and concerned these days. You have certainly learned that the Shining Path killed two priests of the Diocese of Chimbote on August 9. They were two Polish Franciscans who worked in a valley like mine.”

He was riding in a pickup with two seminarians on his way to celebrate Mass when masked men from the Shining Path surrounded the vehicle and forced the two seminarians to get out. Fr. Sandro was shot three times and died.

May these new saints intercede for the People of Peru, that here be justice, hope and a deepening love of Christ.