Saturday, September 14, 2019


Smelling flowers
In the play yard- free as the wind
Learning to sit
Learning to stay
This lead business gets me!

All photos taken by intern Cece Stevenson

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Recently I came across a poem by a Catholic  American poet who I grew up reading, but one hears little about today.  I wonder if the average school child even reads poetry today?  I know our children do on Shaw. They have even had some local well known poets come to give them  classes on how to write poetry.  Kilmer was the most known of the war poets who was an American- more on the War poets in next Blog.

JOYCE KILMER lived in the age of the great English writers  J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, and Hilaire Belloc. 

Joyce Kilmer was a soldier, essayist, prolific poet, and literary critic,  a convert to Catholicism. While he is largely remembered for his poem “Trees”, he was also known for poetry that celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith.

Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1886.
After graduating from Rutgers College and Columbia University, he served as the literary editor for the religious newspaper “The Churchman”, and later, was on staff at the New York Times. Kilmer enlisted in the New York National Guard in 1917 when the United States entered World War I. As a family man, he was not required to join the services. Instead, he requested a transfer to the infantry and was deployed to Europe. At the time of deployment, he was widely regarded as the leading Catholic American poet of his generation.

Aline Kilmer

He was married to Aline Murray* , also an accomplished poet and author, with whom he had five children. Their daughter Rose was stricken with an infantile paralysis shortly after her birth, a crisis which led Joyce and Aline to convert to Roman CatholicismKilmer wrote that he "believed in the Catholic position, the Catholic view of ethics and aesthetics, for a long time," and he "wanted something not intellectual, some conviction not mental – in fact I wanted Faith." He would stop "every morning for months" on his way "to the office and prayed for faith," claiming that when "faith did come, it came, I think, by way of my little paralyzed daughter. Her lifeless hands led me; I think her tiny feet know beautiful paths. You understand this and it gives me a selfish pleasure to write it down."

Once in Europe, Kilmer quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant and served mostly as an intelligence officer, collecting data and information from the enemy’s front line. 

He sought more hazardous duty and was transferred to the military intelligence section of his regiment, in April 1918. In a letter to his wife, Aline, he remarked: "Now I'm doing work I love – and work you may be proud of. None of the drudgery of soldiering, but a double share of glory and thrills."

Kilmer's fellow soldiers had accorded him much respect for his battlefield demeanor. "He was worshiped by the men about him. I have heard them speak with awe of his coolness and his nerve in scouting patrols in no man's land. This coolness and his habit of choosing, with typical enthusiasm, the most dangerous and difficult missions, led to his death."  On July 30, 1918, he joined in the battle of Ourcq and was killed by a sniper’s bullet.

He  was awarded by the French the prestigious Croix de Guerre (War Cross) for his bravery. 

As a Soldier
Kilmer's early works were inspired by, and were imitative of, the poetry of Algernon Charles SwinburneGerard Manley HopkinsErnest DowsonAubrey Beardsley, and William Butler Yeats (and the Celtic Revival). It was later through the influence of works by Coventry PatmoreFrancis Thompson, and those of Alice Meynell, that Kilmer seems to have become interested in Catholicism. He wrote of his influences:

I have come to regard them with intense admiration. Patmore seems to me to be a greater poet than Francis Thompson. He has not the rich vocabulary, the decorative erudition, the Shelleyan enthusiasm, which distinguish the Sister Songs and the Hound of Heaven, but he has a classical simplicity, a restraint and sincerity which make his poems satisfying.”

Critics compared Kilmer to British Catholic writers Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton - suggesting that his reputation might have risen to the level where he would have been considered their American counterpart if not for his untimely death at the age of 31.

The entire body of Kilmer's work was produced between 1909 and 1918 when Romanticism and sentimental lyric poetry fell out of favor and Modernism took root. In the years after Kilmer's death, poetry went in drastically different directions, as is seen especially in the work of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.  Kilmer's verse is conservative and traditional, and does not break the formal rules of poetics. He can be considered as one of the last poets of the Romantic era. His style has been criticized for not breaking free of traditional modes of rhyme, meter, and theme, and for being too sentimental to be taken seriously, yet he is still remembered by some.

In 1938, the federal government purchased 3,800 acres of old growth forest in North Carolina to stop extensive logging. The tract of forest was dedicated to the memory and service of Joyce Kilmer.

Prayer Of A Soldier In France

My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).

 I march with feet that burn and smart
 (Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).

Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).

 I may not lift a hand to clear
 My eyes of salty drops that sear.

 (Then shall my fickle soul forget
 Thy agony of Bloody Sweat?)

 My rifle hand is stiff and numb
 (From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).

 Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
 Than all the hosts of land and sea.

So let me render back again. Amen

Aline's poetry is described as subtle, delicate, and somewhat subdued with a tone of  ironic disillusionment -certainly far from her husband's direct, vigorous, and gay poems.

From her poem, "Sanctuary", these lines are inscribed on her gravestone:
There all bright passing beauty is held forever
Free from the sense of tears, to be loved without regret
There we shall find at their source music and love and laughter,
Colour and subtle fragrance and soft incredible textures:
Be sure we shall find what our weary hearts desire.

Sunday, September 8, 2019


Meet the new dogs of OLR!  I had done a Blog on our 2 Portuguese Water Dogs, Bella and Koko 1/27/13  and that amazing breed. Sadly, we lost both last winter, only two months apart. It has been a difficult summer with no PWDs but a friend recently said, you have got to get new dogs, name the breed and it is yours!   While the PWD again presented itself, I was willing to go for a new breed,  as I don’t think any dog could ever replace Bella. 

Koko and Bella
So, in doing a lot of research, a new breed to us, popped up on my screen.  It is the grandparent of the PWD, Standard Poodle, Golden Retriever, in fact all water dogs.  It is the very intelligent, fun loving, truffle digging dog of Italy- the LAGOTTO ROMAGNOLO.  Try saying this- rolls right off the tongue!

The Lagotto is a breed of water retriever from the lowlands of Comacchio and marshlands of Ravenna, Italy. The artist Andrea Mantegna in the 1474 work titled "The Meeting" depicts a small dog in the lower left corner that is the perfect image of today's Lagotto. This breed was a favorite among other early artists.
"The  Meeting"- detail

Van der Helst- Dutch  1643

Its traditional function was as gundog, specifically a water retriever. After the marshlands were dried up the breed became almost extinct.

Towards the mid 1970s a group of Romagna-based dog lovers decided to save the breed, which was risking extinction as a result of the incompetence, ignorance and negligence. Due to their keen "nose" and love of digging, it was found they are perfect for searching out truffles. In fact they are the only breed trained to do so in Europe.

The Lagotto is very loyal and loving, making them the perfect family companion. They also love to play seeking games and have very active and clever minds.  They are easy to train, and many get along with other animals quite easily if they are socialized as puppies.

Paolo Barbieri- 1603-49
Lagotti vary in their need for exercise, but should always be given stimulation to keep their minds occupied. The instinct to hunt, swim and retrieve is inborn and does not have to be encouraged.  No problem for us!

The Lagotti has a thick, waterproof double coat of hair rather than fur and should be groomed on a regular basis. It is recommended that the coat be cut down at least once every year. (Pretty much the care we gave the PWDs). Like the Poodle & PWD, they are hypo-allergic.

Winnie's dam  Gillenias Winnipeg- (Emma)

Emma again
There are only about 500 Lagotti in the USA.  The breed lives to about 16 years of age- which means they will outlive me!  We will get a companion for WINNIE as soon as she or he is born and ready to come to us. It took 4 ferry rides and 14 hours to get her to us.  (Not so far in distance as the eagle flies!)  The breeder will not ship (her husband was a pilot- so knows what goes on), so people buying from her must come and pick up-  two  from Winnie's litter leaving for Minn.  More photos to follow.

Thursday, September 5, 2019


I have spoken in past Blogs of the youth group that comes in summer to take on building projects, bring in the hay and winter’s fire wood, etc. The adults who bring the youth are members of the Knights of Columbas. *

Recently, in the magazine they send us, I found martyrs from the revolution in Mexico who had belonged to K of C in their areas.
The 1920s brought a revolution to Mexico, along with the widespread persecution of Catholics.  Missionaries were expelled from the country, Catholic seminaries and schools were closed, and the Church was forbidden to own property. Priests and laymen were told to denounce Jesus and their faith in public. If they refused, they faced not just punishment but torture and death.
During this time of oppression and cruelty, the Knights of Columbus did not retreat in Mexico but grew dramatically, from 400 members in 1918 to 43 councils and 6,000 members just five years later. In the United States at the time, the Knights handed out five million pamphlets that described the brutality of the Mexican government toward Catholics. As a result, the Mexican government greatly feared and eventually outlawed the Order.
Thousands of men, many of whom were Knights, would not bow to these threats or renounce their faith, and they often paid with their lives. They took a stand when that was the most difficult thing they could do.   Six priests were members of the Knights, joining the ranks of the Mexican Martyrs, among the 25 victims of religious persecution canonized in 2000 by Pope  (St.) John Paul II.

Father Pedro
Father Jose Maria
Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero was forced to study for the priesthood in El Paso, Texas, because of the political situation in Mexico. He returned home after his ordination in 1918 despite the risk. Captured on Ash Wednesday,1937, while distributing ashes to the faithful, Father Pedro was so savagely beaten that one eye was forced from its socket. He died the next day at a local hospital. His tombstone aptly described this martyr in four words: "You are a priest."

Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado was  ordained in 1913,  founding  the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Guadalajara when he was only 25. On June 25, 1927, he was arrested while preparing to celebrate Mass. Early the next morning, he was hanged from an oak tree, but not before he had forgiven his murderers and offered a prayer for his parish. He went so far as to place the rope around his own neck, so that none of his captors would hold the title of murderer.

Father Rodrigo
Father Rodrigo Aguilar Alem├ín of Union de Tula in Jalisco was issued a warrant for his arrest, so  took refuge a the Colegio de San Ignacio in Ejutla, celebrating Mass and administering the sacraments.
Rather than escape when soldiers arrived, Father Rodrigo remained at the seminary to burn the list of seminary students, and thus protect them from being known. When the soldiers demanded his identity, he told them only that he was a priest.
He was taken to the main square of Ejutla, where the seminary was located. He publicly forgave his killers, and then a soldier gave him the chance to save himself by giving the “right” answer to this question, “Who lives?”
But he replied, “Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe.” The noose that had been secured to a mango tree was tightened, then relaxed twice. Each time it was relaxed, he was asked the same question and each time he gave the same response. The third time the noose was tightened, he died.

Father Miguel
Father Mateo

Father Miguel
de la Mora de la Mora of Colima, along with several other priests, publicly signed a letter opposing the anti-religious laws imposed by the government. He was soon arrested and, with his brother Regino looking on, Father Miguel was executed  Aug.7,1927 without a trial by a single shot from a military officer as he prayed his rosary.

Father Mateo Correa Magallanes, who was a member of Council 2140, was arrested and taken to Durango. While in prison, he was ordered by the commanding officer on Feb. 5, 1927, to hear the confessions of his fellow prisoners. Then the commander demanded to know what they had told him. Of course, Father Mateo  wouldn't violate the seal of confession, and so, the next day, he was taken to a local cemetery and executed by the soldiers.

Father Luis
Father Luis Batiz Sainz was born in 1870. On Aug. 15, 1926, at Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, he and three layman  were put before a firing squad for refusing to submit to anti-religious laws. When Father Luis asked the soldiers to free one of the captives, Manuel Morales, who had sons and daughters, Morales wouldn’t hear of it.
 “I am dying for God," he declared,” and God will care for my children.” Smiling, Father Luis gave his friend absolution and said: “See you in heaven.”

*  The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 by Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, it was named in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, it developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, including war and disaster relief, actively defending Catholicism in various nations, and promoting Catholic education The Knights also support the Catholic Church's positions on public policy issues, including various political causes, and are participants in the new evangelizationPope St. John Paul II referred to the order as the "strong right arm of the Church" for their support of the church, as well as for their philanthropic and charitable efforts.

Being a native of Connecticut, our Prioress has a great devotion to Venerable McGivney. (see Blog. 

Prayer to the Knights of Columbus Priest Martyrs of Mexico Almighty and Eternal God, the martyrdom of St. Mateo Correa Magallanes and his priestly companions manifests your love for the nation of Our Lady of Guadalupe and reveals that violence and hatred are only overcome by a spirit of peace and charity. These brother Knights live on in our minds and hearts because by sacrificing their lives for the sake of the Gospel they gave witness that your love is eternal and your truth can never accept compromise. Let their faithful cry to Christ the King encourage us to be brave witnesses of faith and to remain loyal Knights of Columbus . We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.