Sunday, June 28, 2020


Mother Miriam in back, with Mother Prisca & Mother Prioress Therese

Mother Miriam Benedict, one of the  foundresses of Our Lady of the Rock died Friday in Italy.  She had been the postulant mistress (newcomers into a monastery) at our Abbey in Connecticut. She had a fun-loving spirit yet was known for her love of the Office.

She came to Shaw in 1977 for the new foundation with Mother Therese and Mother Prisca.  Mother’s great loves were her sheep and cooking, as well as meeting the many guests who came. After 30 years she is still remembered to old timers on Shaw.  As Mother left,  I came west to take over the sheep and cooking and guests. 

Monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno
In the late 80s, our Abbey was asked by the Vatican to make a foundation in Italy. The Abbey of Monte Cassino gave us one of their unused monasteries, some miles from their lands. Mother Miriam and Mother Agnes spent a year in Perugia  learning the language. Mother Philip later joined them.  The foundation attracted many guests, especially musicians and archeologists who came for the newly discovered frescoes- the oldest in that part of Europe. After  30 years, and no vocations and the death of both Mothers Agnes and Philip, Mother Miriam, now blind and in frail health, left for the Benedictine monastery, of St. Scholastica which has gently and lovingly cared or her.  She asked to be buried at Monte Cassino.

This morning at Mass, our Subprioress,  Mother Noella, offered this prayer:

For the repose of the soul of Mother Miriam Benedict for whom this Mass is offered. As her journey throughout monastic life began at Regina Laudis when she was 17, led her to the Northwest as co-foundress of Our Lady of the Rock, to San Vincenzo al Volturno in Italy and finally to the Abbey of Santa Scholastica in Montecassino - that from her new place in the Communion of Saints she may intercede for Mother Prioress Therese and Our Lady of the Rock for the future of monastic life here, and in the words of Saint John Paul II whom she so loved: “Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence.”    Let us pray to the Lord

St. Agatha's Chapel at Monte Cassino where Mother is laid to rest

Saturday, June 27, 2020


When I lived in Hawaii (Oahu)  fifty years ago, my pastor in Manoa Valley, was MSGR. CHARLES KEKUMANO. Not only was he my pastor, but we soon became friends, especially when he knew I had a religious vocation.  He was born in 1919 in Kona on the  Big Island of Hawai‘i. Educated at Saint Louis High School in Honolulu, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained for the Diocese of Honolulu. He earned a doctorate in Canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and was appointed chancellor of the Honolulu diocese, secretary to Bishop James Joseph Sweeney, and later rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace.

In 1961 he was named an honorary chaplain of the Papal household, with the title of Monsignor, by (St.) John XXIII, the first native Hawaiian to hold such an honor.

Shortly after Father Joseph Anthony Ferrario became bishop, Msgr. Kekumano left the diocese of Honolulu, to work in the diocese of Juneau. He retired in 1984 and returned to Honolulu. He was involved in many civic organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu. He also served on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, the Honolulu Police Commission, the Maui Charter Commission, and the Hawaii Commission on Children and Youth.

He was proud of his Hawaiian heritage and left a lasting impression in the islands.

In 1997 he was co-author of the essay "Broken Trust" which criticized Kamehameha Schools, the largest private landowner in Hawaii, resulting in their reorganization. He died of cancer on January 18, 1998 in St. Francis Hospice in Honolulu, at the age of 78.

The former president of Punahou School in Oahu, said: "He was a man of such marvelous integrity and willingness to step forward on the issues of the day, including, of course, the recent Bishop Estate controversy.

With Hubert Humphrey
Walter Dods Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of First Hawaiian Bank and one of three trustees of the Queen Liliuokalani Trust wrote, "His strong sense of the value of family and community, his courage, his down-to-earth and accessible nature and his ever-present humor will be forever a part of the legacy of the Queen Liliuokalani Trust.  Monsignor's deep and abiding understanding of his Hawaiian heritage sets an outstanding example for all of us and especially the beneficiaries and the staff of the trust."

"Broken Trust" co-author Randy Roth said  when  Msgr. Kekumano's cancer was announced that everyone should have a hero and Kekumano was one of his. "He's someone I admire greatly, and I hope someday I'll have one-tenth the wisdom and graciousness he has." 

Even today there are scholarships in his honor, namely The Kekumano Award & Scholarship which celebrates and perpetuates the spirit of service to others and giving back to the community. It was established in memory of Monsignor Charles A. Kekumano’s selfless contributions to the islands.

In his own words:  I was born in Kona, actually on the shores of Kealakekua Bay, and the old family home was directly across from the Captain Cook monument. I should not have been born there because the family had moved to Honolulu, but my grandfather had this notion that his grandchild should be born at the old place and those were the days of the interisland ships, the little things that went from island to island--obviously very rough in the channels. Anyway, my mother and I were carted over there so that I could be born at the old place. The only one living in the old house at the time was my great-grandmother, who was then almost ninety, and I was born there with those two ladies. My mother had been very sickly and, at that time, became much more sickly. Consequently, the word came back to Honolulu that she was not doing well, so my grandmother came over and brought me back to Honolulu. I was then two weeks old. …

The interesting aspect is that my grandfather, of course, was full-blooded Hawaiian with a tremendous respect for everything that was Hawaiian. I remember, for example, when I was five years old, my cousins and I, all of his grandchildren, were taken to Kona to visit my great-grandmother and we were schooled before we left Honolulu by him as to how to address her in Hawaiian. So we learned these expressions in Hawaiian, to speak to her very politely and how you said it to your grandmother and how you said it with respect. 

Very early in my life I picked up a deep respect for not only the Hawaiian words, but the way you used them and the differences of your speaking to someone who's of the family, someone your own age, someone who has earned or deserves respect and so forth. My grandmother, step-grandmother, was part-Hawaiian. She also had German and Spanish in her. She raised me from then on. My mother never completely recovered and I saw her only a few times. I always saw her in bed. I was only allowed to come in and I was held up in mid-air over the bed and, "Say hello' to your mother.”

With Bishop Scanlan
As I knew him, he was a gentle priest driven by his love for the Hawaiian people and had the ability to work out differences that were seemingly unsolvable. He had a love for the Church and did all he could to further the love of Christ among his people. At the time, there was talk that he could be the first Hawaiian born bishop, but he  was too controversial in his politics- something like Jesus Himself!

Thursday, June 25, 2020


I try to stay away from politics and very controversial topics in this Blog but there are certain things that infuriate me and one is the mess in our own country right now.  Things are so bad that even Europe is thinking of banning Americans from travel to their countries! And I can’t blame them.  To have a pandemic that has killed over  125,00  Americans  (490,000 world-wide) is one thing, but this relentless violence is another thing- against each other and against our history.  We are getting as bad as the Russians some years ago (and God knows how many other nations) which try to eradicate and hide their past.  No nation has been free from violence, corruption and terrible wrongs against their neighbors. It all started with Adam and Eve's sons!
Apocalypse- Viktor Vasnetsov Russian

To topple statues is trying to do away with our past.  Has it been perfect?  No.  I found out just 4 years ago that my ancestors, who were some of the founding families of Texas- and have monuments to themselves-  were slave owners, and fought on the “wrong” side of the civil war.  Does that make me a bad person here and now?  I can’t judge what happened 150 years ago, but I would hope I can learn from their past mistakes. 

My Scottish ancestors, which I can trace over 1000 years ago, were some ruthless characters- again can I judge and be guilty, when I do not know the circumstances?

Years ago when I lived in Germany, there was an exhibition of,  now St. Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, in the Cologne Carmel convent. I was of course shocked by the photos- very graphic- of the ovens at Auschwitz, of the people who survived, etc.  And I remember turning to another young German woman and saying, “how can you remember this” - it was 25 years after the war.  She replied, “the day we forget, is the day it starts again.”
Auschwitz Museum
As rioters across the United States target statues depicting historical figures, the Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday denounced that destruction, along with calls to destroy some depictions of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Should certain statues be placed in museums or storage? Perhaps. Should we let a group of vandals make those decisions for us? No,” Bishop Donald Hying of Madison said.

“If we allow the commemorative and visual history of our nation to be destroyed by random groups in the current moment of anger, how will we ever learn from that history? Does toppling and vandalizing a statue of George Washington because he owned slaves, really serve our country and our collective memory?” 

Across the country, protesters have in recent days toppled statutes of Confederate leaders and figures associated with slavery, but have also, in some places, pulled down statues of Catholic saints, abolitionists, and other figures.

Some say that the Catholic Church is a church of White tradition, forgetting that, it, especially today, encourages the art of various nations. This Blog  loves to find art from other cultures and how artists can express their own idea of Christ and the saints. 

While at some points in the Church’s history, some have mistakenly equated “the fullness of Catholicism with European culture,” Catholics should instead strive for “unity in that which is essential, and diversity in those things which are not,” Bishop Hying said.

The Bishop Hying  mentioned, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared as “mestiza,” or “mixed” race; African art depicts Jesus as black, and Mary in African cultural garb; and there are numerous Asian representations of Mary as well.  Depictions of  Christ and His Mother and our saints  are holy to Christians. They are physical manifestations of God’s love, and remind us of the “nearness of the divine.”

“The secular iconoclasm of the current moment will not bring reconciliation, peace, and healing. Such violence will only perpetuate the prejudice and hatred it ostensibly seeks to end...Only the love of Christ can heal a wounded heart, not a vandalized piece of metal,” the Bishop said.

 Protestors in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park tore down a statue of St. Junipero Serra on June 20, along with statues of Francis Scott Key and Ulysses S. Grant. In Los Angeles the same day, rioters pulled down a statue of St. Serra in the city’s downtown. While many activists today associate the saint with the abuses that the Native Americans suffered, biographies and historical records suggest that Serra actually advocated on behalf of the Natives against the Spanish military and against encroaching European settlement. Again it is ignorance and not really having an understanding of our history.

After the toppling of the saint’s statue in San Francisco, the city’s archbishop said Saturday that important protests over racial injustice have been “hijacked” by a mob bent on violence.

“What is happening to our society? A renewed national movement to heal memories and correct the injustices of racism and police brutality in our country has been hijacked by some into a movement of violence, looting and vandalism,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a statement June 20.

 Bishop Hying  has emphasized that many of the most successful protests of the Civil Rights era were predicated on Christian ideas of nonviolence, and a Scriptural understanding of the human person.
The principles of Catholic social teaching— the dignity of the human person; the value of solidarity, "we're all in this together;" a preferential option for the poor— need to be present in any Catholic's response to injustice, he said. 

"If it's not grounded in that, then it really ends up being about power— that I need to assert my power, in situations where I feel powerless," he explained.

"It becomes a struggle over power, rather than a transformational relationship into how God wants us to live as brothers and sisters."

The Bishop said it is clear to him that the violence and ill-treatment of Native Americans and the oppression of African Americans through slavery are two of the country’s greatest moral failings.

The situation requires, he wrote, better knowledge of history and respectful discussions about statues, buildings, and memorials.

“We must study and know this history in order to transcend it, to learn from it and to commit ourselves to justice, equality, and solidarity because of it.”

“At the same time, even the worst aspects of history should be remembered and kept before our eyes. Auschwitz remains open as both a memorial and a museum, so that humanity never forgets the horror of the Holocaust.”  Having visited it myself 20 years ago, I can testify that it is a life-changing experience- one you never forget.  And if all these neo- Natzis, white suprematists, etc. were to visit, they would change their attitude fast!

It is not enough that we have a dread virus to pray be eradicated fast, but now we add violence and hatred and down right ignorance to our petitions.  We all need to look into our own hearts for where we have failed, not judge others.   Lord have Mercy on us all!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


No one says it better than Bishop Robert Barron!

Recently, the bishops of California made a statement regarding the attacks on the statues of St. Junipero Serra in San Francisco, Ventura, and Los Angeles. While acknowledging that there are legitimate concerns about racism both historical and contemporary, we insisted that the characterization of Serra as the moral equivalent of Hitler and the missions he founded as tantamount to death camps is simply unconscionable.
I put a link to this statement on my own Word on Fire social media accounts and was gratified to see that many people read it and commented upon it. My purpose in this article is not to examine the specific issues surrounding Padre Serra but rather to respond to a number of remarks in the comboxes that point to what I think is a real failure to understand a key teaching of Vatican II.

Over and again, perhaps a hundred times, commentators said some version of this: “Well, bishop, making a statement is all fine and good, but what are you and the other bishops going to do about it?”

Now almost none of these questioners made a concrete suggestion as to what precisely they had in mind, but I will gladly admit that there are certain practical steps that bishops can and should take in regard to such a situation. We can indeed lobby politicians, encourage legislative changes, and call community leaders together, all of which bishops have been doing. But what struck me again and again as I read these rather taunting remarks is that these folks, primarily lay men and women, are putting way too much onus on the clergy and not nearly enough on themselves.

But what struck me again and again as I read these rather taunting remarks is that these folks, primarily lay men and women, are putting way too much onus on the clergy and not nearly enough on themselves.
According to the documents of Vatican II, the clergy are, by ordination, “priests, prophets, and kings.” As priests, they sanctify the people of God through the sacraments; as prophets, they speak the divine word and form the minds and hearts of their flocks; and as kings, they order the charisms of the community toward the realization of the Kingdom of God. Accordingly, the immediate area of concern for bishops and priests is the Church, that is to say, the community of the baptized.

Now the laity, by virtue of their baptism, are also priests, prophets, and kings (Lumen Gentium, 31)—but their sanctifying, teaching, and governing work is directed, not so much inwardly to the Church, but outwardly to the world. For the Vatican II fathers, the proper arena of the laity is the saeculum (the secular order), and their task is the Christification of that realm. They are charged to take the teaching, direction, and sanctification that they have received from the priests and bishops and then go forth, equipped to transform the world and thereby find their own path to holiness.

It’s worth quoting Vatican II directly here, from Lumen Gentium:
"What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature. It is true that those in holy orders can at times be engaged in secular activities, and even have a secular profession. But they are by reason of their particular vocation especially and professedly ordained to the sacred ministry. Similarly, by their state in life, religious give splendid and striking testimony that the world cannot be transformed and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes.

But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven.

In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer. "(Lumen Gentium, 31)

A Light to the Nations
Great Catholic lawyers, great Catholic politicians, great Catholic university professors, great Catholic physicians and nurses, great Catholic investors and financiers, great Catholic law enforcement officers, great Catholic writers and critics, great Catholic entertainers, each in his or her special area of competence, is meant to bring Christ to the society and the culture.

And when I say “Catholic” here, I don’t mean incidentally so or merely privately so, but rather vibrantly and publicly so. This Christification of the culture ought never, of course, to be done aggressively, for as John Paul II said, the Church never imposes but only proposes, but it is indeed to be done confidently, boldly, and through concrete action.

It would be instructive to apply these principles to the present situation in our culture. The crisis precipitated by the brutal killing of George Floyd is one that involves many dimensions of our society: law, the police, education, government, neighborhoods, families, etc. Priests and bishops, to be sure, ought to teach clearly and publicly. The declaration mentioned above and the American bishops’ pastoral statement against racism from a year ago, "Open Wide Our Hearts", are good examples of this.

But I would argue that the lion’s share of the work regarding this massive societal problem belongs to those whose proper arena is the society and whose expertise lies precisely in the relevant areas of concern, namely, the laity. If I may be blunt, the question ought not be, “what are the bishops doing about it?” but rather, “what can I and my Christian friends do about it?”

The last thing I would like to do is to stir up any rivalry or resentment between clergy and laity—on the contrary. Following the prompts of the Vatican II documents, I have been stressing the symbiotic relationship that ought to obtain between them. And if I might propose a concrete example of this symbiosis, I would draw your attention to the Catholic Action model that flourished in the years prior to the Council but which, sadly and surprisingly, fell into desuetude after Vatican II.

In accord with the framework proposed by Cardinal Cardijn, the founder of Catholic Action, a priest would meet with a relatively small group of parishioners who shared a common interest or vocation, say, physicians, or lawyers, or financiers, or business leaders. The spiritual leader would interpret Scripture or lay out some relevant teaching of the Church and then invite his interlocutors to “see, judge, and act.” That is to say, he would encourage them to be attentive to the area of their professional interest, then to judge the situations they typically face in light of the Gospel and Church teaching, and finally to resolve to act on the basis of those judgments. 

When it was functioning at its best, Catholic Action involved priests and laity, each operating in their proper spheres and working together for the transformation of the world.
Not a bad approach to the cultural crisis in which we currently find ourselves.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Doubting Thomas- Dr.  He Qi

We are living in a time, probably the most difficult in our modern history, since World war II.   It certainly is for me.  Life was almost too easy for most of us Americans.  We took so much for granted.  We were the “chosen people” so to speak, the ones who had it all.

Not only has much been taken away, that always was in our lives, especially for Catholics who lost the Eucharist for three months, but now we face an uncertainty that is most unsettling.  What will happen to us? And not only are we facing dreaded germs, but our country is splitting into pieces with civil unrest and many feel unprotected. Where do we go, what do we do?

We are faced with trials and tribulations that  question certain aspects of the Gospel message. But we must remember that even great saints have gone through periods of doubt in times of trouble, but they persevered in prayer.

At times, they felt that God had abandoned them, or even worse, that they couldn’t love Him. What gave them consolation was the certainty that in accepting what was being offered to them, they were taking part in the agony of Christ.

In our own lifetime the great St. Teresa of Calcutta experienced doubt most of her religious life- yet she carried on with the work she knew she was meant to do.

“If I ever become a saint, I will surely be one of "darkness." I will continually be absent from Heaven - to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”                                  
She came to understand that her life of darkness was a sharing in the sufferings of her people and in Jesus’ passion. Even Jesus on the Cross cried out : “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mt.27:46)

“In that act of enduring courage, she is a saint for all who struggle, and question, and long for some redeeming certainty: a human being who wanted to be good, and to do good.  A woman who gave herself fully to the call of her spirit, keeping the faith despite her doubt - casting a light for others, from the dark night of her own soul.” Cate Terwilliger  in her Blog “Meditatio Ephemera”

It is no different for us today.  I just had an email from a young seminarian who is soon to be ordained.  He was lamenting  that his area churches are limiting the number of people for celebrations and  asked why he would be ordained at this time, when so many would not be allowed to come for his special day.  I reminded him that for here and now he was being  specially asked to carry the cross of Christ for so many in the Church and in a way it is a great time to prepare for his future work as missionary.

Another saint and a favorite here is St. Theresa of Lisiuex (The Little Flower) who suffered from tremendous anxiety and doubt. This little Saint used the issues she struggled with as a means to connecting in a deeper and more profound way to Jesus.  For those still in social isolation, she is a good saint to turn to, for she so well understood this way of suffering.

St. Padre Pio is said to be the Patron Saint of Stress Relief, which is something we all need in these times. He is known for saying, "Pray, hope, and don't worry".

The path to holiness is a rough one, many times lacking signs to reassure us of our direction, but  we must have the faith to know our Lord is with us on our journey, helping us every step of the way. I am reminded of several people close to us who have recently done the El Camino de Santiago  (Spain- some even  non- Catholics.  Every day was a new adventure, some filled with pain, other days with welcomed joy. But each day approached with a wonder of what will happen and the uncertainty of reaching the end.

Sunday, June 21, 2020


National Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them.

Thirteen years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

Due to the current situation with covid-19, Pollinator Week 2020 will not be a typical Pollinator Week. We urge everyone to hold a socially distant, appropriate event…  we encourage everyone to go outside and spend some time with the birds and bees and butterflies that inspire hope in many.

What is pollination? Pollination is a vital stage in the life cycle of all flowering plants. When pollen is moved within a flower or carried from one flower to another of the same species it leads to fertilization. This transfer of pollen is necessary for healthy and productive native & agricultural ecosystems.  About 75% of all flowering plant species need the help of animals to move their heavy pollen grains from plant to plant for fertilization. About 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals.  Most pollinators (about 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.

Sarah Thompson- Engels

Pollinators are often keystone species, meaning that they are critical to an ecosystem. The work of pollinators ensures full harvests of crops and contributes to healthy plants everywhere.  An estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators.  In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.  For how you can help  go to  the above website.

Saturday, June 20, 2020


Our computer age, especially for youth, will have a new patron saint in October, when VENERABLE CARLOS ACUTIS (see Blogs7/10-18 & 12/7/13)  is beatified in Assisi, Italy at the Basilica of Saint Francis.  He is currently buried in Assisi’s Church of St. Mary Major, which is down the mountain from St. Francis' Church.

The date for the beatification was announced the same week as the feast of Corpus Christi, which is fitting as Ven. Carlos had a great devotion to the Eucharist and Eucharistic miracles.  Our new Archbishop of Seattle, Paul Etienne, has proclaimed this year for our Archdiocese the Year of the Eucharist, beginning on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ on June 14, and concluding with the same solemnity on Sunday, June 6, 2021. "This is to be a time for catechesis and teaching for everyone on the topic of the Eucharist. With zeal and patience, pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful, and also their active participation, both internal and external.”

The Venerable Carlos, who died of leukemia at the age of 15, offered his suffering for the pope and for the Church. He was born in London on May 3, 1991 to Italian parents who soon returned to Milan. He was a pious child, attending daily Mass, frequently praying the rosary, and making weekly confessions.
 Venerable Carlos was exceptionally gifted with computers. In Christus Vivit, the apostolic exhortation published after the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people, Pope Francis offered  Carlos Acutis as a model of holiness in a digital age. He took the initiative of Bl. James Alberione Father of New Evangelization, (See Blog  4/13/18) to use the media to evangelize seriously and made a website catalog of all the Eucharistic miracles reported throughout the world. Carlos also loved film and comic editing and has been called a “computer geek”.

The miracle that paved the way for the young man’s beatification involved the healing of a Brazilian child suffering from a rare congenital anatomic anomaly of the pancreas in 2013. The Medical Council of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes gave a positive opinion of the miracle last November, and Pope Francis approved the miracle in February

Not only was he devoted to the Eucharist, but he had a great love of the Mother of God and Eucharist. Carlos would console and support friends whose parents were going through divorces and advocated for the rights of the disabled, often defending peers with disabilities from bullies at school.
 “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”

In this day when our youth are "addicted" to everything digital, may he be an example of a true lover of Christ,
who found balance in his young life.

Friday, June 19, 2020


Stephen Whatley- England

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a liturgical feast celebrated on the Friday after Corpus Christi. The devotion to the heart of Jesus has Christ’s unconditional love at its center, exemplified in the blood and water which poured forth from Christ’s heart in His sacrifice on the cross.

From the Holy Father, Pope Francis: The month of June is dedicated in a special way to the Heart of Christ, a devotion that unites the great spiritual teachers and the simple among the people of God. Indeed, the human and divine Heart of Jesus is the wellspring where we can always draw upon God’s mercy, forgiveness and tenderness. We can do so by focusing on a passage from the Gospel, feeling that at the centre of every gesture, of every word of Jesus, at the centre there is love, the love of the Father who sent His Son, the love of the Holy Spirit that is within us.

And we can do this by adoring the Eucharist, where this love is present in the Sacrament. Then our heart too, little by little, will become more patient, more generous, more merciful, in imitation of the Heart of Jesus. There is an ancient prayer - I learned it from my grandmother - which said: “Jesus, make my heart resemble yours”. It is a beautiful prayer. “Make my heart similar to yours”. A beautiful prayer, short, to pray during this month. Shall we say it together now? “Jesus, may my heart resemble yours”. Once more: “Jesus, may my heart resemble yours”.

Thursday, June 18, 2020


I don’t usually use this BLOG  for sale items , but we have had requests online for our fab  qiviut hats. And since we are not  taking guests, nor is there our county fair in August, I thought it a good idea to offer them here.  While they may seem expensive, we have been told we under sell. Over the past few years we have probably sold over 50-60.  What is qiviut?  And why is it so expensive?

 Qiviut is the inner wool of the muskox. The muskox has a two-layered coat, and qiviut refers specifically to the soft underwool beneath the longer outer wool. The muskox sheds this layer of wool each spring. Qiviut is plucked from the coat of the muskox during the molt or gathered from objects the animals have brushed against; unlike sheep, the animals are not sheared. Much of the commercially available qiviut comes from Canada, and is obtained from the pelts of muskoxen after hunts. In Alaska, qiviut is obtained from farmed animals or gathered from the wild during the molt.

Qiviut is stronger and warmer than sheep's wool. It is one of the world’s the softest as well as warmest wools and will last a lifetime. Wild muskoxen have qiviut fibers approximately 18 micrometres in diameter. Females and young animals have slightly finer wool. Unlike sheep's wool, it does not shrink in water at any temperature, but this means that it also is not useful for felting.

Domestication of the muskox was begun with the Musk Ox Project, headed by John J. Teal, Jr with the first domestic muskox farm in Fairbanks, Alaska. The project continues at the muskox farm in Palmer, Alaska. Oomingmak, the Musk Ox Producers' Cooperative, was formed in the late 1960s by indigenous women on Nunivak Island, with the help of Dr. Teal and Mrs. L. Schell. It is a knitting cooperative that works with qiviut and is still in operation today. The cooperative has its headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska and is owned by approximately 200 native Alaskans from many remote villages in Alaska. The name of the cooperative comes from the Inuit language word for muskox, umiŋmak, "the animal with skin like a beard. 

Each of our hats are unique, and each have different combinations of other fibers, like silk, cashmere, merino wool and mohair and sometimes even our own Cotswold sheep wool.  They are $80 each + shipping.

2 hats on bottom right do not have qiviut and are $40

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


AMBROSE KANOEALI’I HUTCHISON  was a long-time Native Hawaiian resident of the leper settlement of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokaʻi,  residing there for fifty-three years from 1879 until his death in 1932. During his residence, he assumed a prominent leadership role in the patient community and served as luna or resident superintendent of Kalaupapa from 1884 to 1897.

Ambrose Hutchison was born in Honomāʻele, Hāna (one of my favorite places on earth)Maui, in 1856, the son of Ferdinand William Hutchison, originally from  Edinburgh and Maria or Malie Moa, a Native Hawaiian woman. His father was an influential politician during the reign of King Kamehameha V and served as president of the Board of Health during the early development and management of the leper settlement of Kalaupapa. His mother died when he was young and his father left Maui for Honolulu to pursue a political career, leaving Ambrose and his siblings William and Christina in the care of their mother's relatives.

When Ambrose was  one month old he was given to his mother's sister who was a kahuna known for herbal cures. He wrote, in later life, that he may have contracted leprosy from a man "with large ears and bloated face, swollen hands and feet", who his aunt had treated. Another possible source was a vaccination using the lymph fluid from the arm of another boy. 

At an early age, Ambrose was sent to boarding school in Honolulu under the auspices of the Anglican Archdeacon George Mason. At this time, the first symptoms of leprosy developed in 1868 when he was twelve years old and developed slowly until he became an adult.

In December 1878, Ambrose was arrested for being a suspected leper and detained at Honolulu's Kalihi Hospital for examination. Hawaiian law required anyone suspected of contracting leprosy to report for medical examination or face arrest. On January 5, 1879, the diagnosed young man was sent to the leper settlement of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokaʻi to be isolated with other sufferers of the disease.

He worked as chief butcher and beef dispenser and head storekeeper of the Kalawao store until 1884 when he was appointed as resident superintendent. He was the first government appointed superintendent of Native Hawaiian descent. Although Hawaiians had held the positions as luna or resident superintendent prior to 1884, they were all subordinates and not trusted with financial affairs.

Ambrose married Mary Kaiakonui, a local resident of Kalaupapa, in 1881, in a ceremony blessed by Father Damien. According to historian John Tayman, Mary may have also contracted leprosy and they had a daughter who did not suffer the same infection as her parents. Other sources claimed they were childless. They lived at Hutchison's house, in a part of the settlement called Makanalua .  Kaiakonui cared for her husband as his mea kōkua (caregiver) until her death on May 16, 1905, at the age of forty-seven. She was buried in the Catholic section of Papaloa Cemetery and a white bronze grave monument marks her final resting place.  Members of his family were present at the 2009 canonization of Father Damien in Rome.

Ambrose was highly regarded by the Native Hawaiian patient community and the Board of Health in Honolulu. According to resident physician Arthur Albert St. Mouritz, he "displayed marked ability and highly creditable administrative powers for a man so young." In 1898, Hutchison and his wife along with more than seven hundred people at Kalaupapa signed the famous Kūʻē Petitions against the annexation of Hawaii to the United States.

During his residency on Kalaupapa, Ambrose worked with Father Damien, whom he had met on his arrival in 1879, and became one of the closest friends of the Catholic priest. Dr. Mouritz described the partnership of the two men and how they greeted new arrivals "steaming hot coffee and warm food". Their friendship lasted until the priest’s death in 1889 and Ambrose was possibly one of the eight pallbearers at his funeral.

Ambrose noted: There was nothing supernatural about Father Damien. He was a vigorous, forceful and impellent man with a big kindly heart in the prime of life and a jack of all trades, carpenter, mason, baker, farmer, medico and nurse, grave digger ... He was that type of man of action, bull headed, strong will high minded ... of determined tenacity to attain results of his aspiration, but of kindly disposition toward all who came into contact with him ... I loved to work with him in his crusade to put down evil for his quality of open heartedness. There was no hypocrisy about him.

Father Damien and girls

Around 1930, Ambrose started writing "In Memory of Reverend Father Damien J. De Veuster and Other Priests Who Have Labored in the Leper Settlement of Kalawao, Molokaʻi", his personal account of Father Damien's work on the island and a memoir of his own fifty-three year of experience living on Kalaupapa. It was discovered unpublished at the time of his death in 1932, at the age of seventy-six, from an attack of influenza pneumonia. After his death, the unfinished manuscript was sent to the Sacred Hearts Archives in LeuvenBelgium for storage. Portions of the memoirs, an unfinished will and his other writings are stored at the Hawaii State Archives. According to historian Anwei Skinsnes Law, "despite all his accomplishments and influence, Ambrose Hutchison had been largely left out of his own history."

In his incomplete will, Ambrose expressed his love for his mother, his wife and the dwindling Hawaiian race:
For the love and affection I hold for my mother, Maria Mo-a, and Maria Kaiakonui, my wife (deceased), who were of the pure Hawaiian aboriginal ancestry, from whom sprung from and hold dear and my heart longing desire to perpetuate their race from extinction which forecasting shadow of time forbode their doom, which only the power of a mercifull and all loving God can stay, from the evident fate which await them and leaving firm faith in the love and mercy of God, who alone can save and perpetuate and multiply from being effaced from the land, which, by His grace he gave to their forefathers and foremothers and their descendants as a heritage forever and to this end and purpose, I consecrate my worldly estate both real, personal or mixed. 

Monday, June 15, 2020


Our new Archbishop of Seattle, Paul Etienne, has written a magnificent pastoral letter- too long to put on this Blog- “The Work of Redemption: Eucharistic Belief and Practice in the Archdiocese of Seattle”, which I advise all to read, for it pertains to the whole Church.  Throughout the summer I will add parts to the Blog, for one can never have too much understanding of this doctrine which is central of our Catholic faith.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, including our worship. For us Catholics, the pandemic, along with the “Eucharistic fast” it imposed, has revealed in a new way how central the celebration of the Eucharist is to who we are as Church and as community. Even when we are unable to gather physically, we gather spiritually: Parishes continue to put the celebration of the Eucharist at the forefront of parish life through livestreams on social media. But we have also come to realize, perhaps as never before, that there is no substitute for gathering to celebrate the Eucharist together, and receiving the sacrament of Christ’s Body.”

“The Eucharist is an inexhaustible source of grace, the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s dying and rising daily renewed for our salvation and for the salvation of the whole world. The Eucharist is the living presence of Christ in our midst. That presence does not, must not leave us unchanged: Receiving the Body of Christ, we become the Body of Christ. The Eucharist unites us to Christ, and, in Christ, to each other. And the Eucharist commits us to the poor, sending us forth in service and love. When it comes to the Eucharist, we can always go deeper. No matter whether we have spent years exploring Eucharistic theology, or are still preparing for our first Holy Communion, there is always more to discover about the Eucharist. And no matter the resources of our parish communities, with care and attention our liturgies can always be improved, to reflect more clearly the Christ who truly presides at every celebration of the Eucharist. During the coming year, I ask every Catholic and every parish community to commit themselves to deepening our understanding and experience of the Eucharist, and strengthening our Eucharistic liturgies. In a spirit of encouragement, and with a desire for a more profound and visible unity around the altar of the Lord, I am sharing this pastoral letter on the Eucharist and declaring the coming year a special Year of the Eucharist for the Archdiocese of Seattle. I hope the following reflections will help provide a roadmap for the months ahead.”