This is his feast day!  So a quote from this profound saint who touched so many lives seems in order.  There are endless possibilities but here is just one:

“Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”!”


Old Cumberland Road by Mark Hollis


Here is a wonderful quote from St. Teresa of Avila.  I ran into this many years ago when trying to discern whether to enter the Religious Life.  It is the sort of message that puts things into perspective!

“Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and that there is only one glory which is eternal.  If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.”         ST TERESA OF AVILA

Wisdom from a great woman of prayer!


MANTIS by Mark Hollis



This is Monday – in what the Church calls “Ordinary Time.”  Is time ever ordinary?  Sometimes it feels that way, yet every day is a miracle, isn’t it?  There is no saint appointed for this day, so it is an N.I.P. day……as a priest friend of ours says.  That means “no one in particular.”  So we had green Mass vestments this morning; however the celebrant reminded us that yesterday, Sunday, was also the feast of Blessed John Henry Newman – definitely not a ‘no one in particular’ sort of person!

I have been reading an excellent small book, a paperback, titled The Rule of Our Warfare, ‘John Henry Newman and the True Christian Life‘ by John Hulsman 2003 published by Scepter of NY.  This reader consists of excerpts from Newman’s sermons – which make rich and generally inspiring reading to help one become more rooted in the Faith.

Perhaps in another blog I will quote more from Blessed Newman, but here is the main quote from which this book’s title is drawn:

“Such is the rule of our warfare.  We advance by yielding; we rise by falling;  we conquer by suffering; we persuade by silence; we become rich by bountifulness; we inherit the earth through meekness; we gain comfort through mourning; we earn glory by penitence and prayer.  Heaven and earth shall sooner fall than this rule be reversed; it is the law of Christ’s kingdom, and nothing can reverse it but sin.”




Kingfisher at work

I recently heard that a synagogue started an animal blessing……The Rabbi thought the Christians couldn’t have all the fun!  God bless them.  St Francis of Assisi was – and is – a great saint, not because he loved animals, but because he was enraptured of his LORD.  He was marked by the wounds of Christ and a man of profound prayer.  In his honor, here is a thought about prayer written by Ann Lewin of the U.K. who has at least one volume of poetry in print plus other works.  (While we don’t have her volume of poems, this one poem is enough to add it to a wish list!)

Prayer is like watching for the

Kingfisher.  All you can do is

Be there where he is like to appear, and


Often nothing much happens;

There is space, silence and


No visible signs, only the

Knowledge that he’s been there

And may come again.

Seeing or not seeing cease to matter,

You have been prepared.

But when you’ve almost stopped

Expecting it, a flash of brightness

Gives encouragement.     [Ann Lewin]



Yes, we are socked in with rain.  We needed it, of course.  The frogs are happy.  The cat thinks I should sit in an armchair so he can sleep in my lap…..Well…..He sits by the door – hoping.  Cats and frogs…..little things.  What do they matter?

Being fond of small things, it was a comfort to read Papa Benedict XVI writing that: “The theology of littleness is a basic category of Christianity.  After all, the tenor of our faith is that God’s distinctive greatness is revealed precisely in powerlessness.  That i the long run, the strength of history is precisely in those who love…..a strength that….cannot be measured according to categories of power.”  [Salt of the Earth]

Today we celebrate St Therese of Lisieux,who teaches us about the ‘little way’, and tomorrow, Holy Guardian Angels.  Both could be considered “little” – easy to ignore and hardly creatures of power.  Well, yes, we think of angels as powerful and they are.  But our angel guardian is probably most ignored – yet most valuable to us!  May the power of this great Saint and of our Angel be with us always and may we be “little” enough to notice it!


An Exciting Announcement

In February of this year, our Community was awarded a grant of $4,100.00 from the Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation.  We were rather perplexed and didn’t quite know how to react since we had not applied for a grant!  But here it was; a generous gift to be used in support of our work.  After many questions and ultimately accepting the grant, we spent the next few months looking at real needs, trying to identify the best usage for the money.

I am happy to say that we have chosen to apply the grant toward the creation of a real Sacristy for our retreat house, St. Gabriel’s.  The celebration of Mass, Adoration and other liturgical ceremonies are central to the ministry of St. Gabriel’s and we hope that by having a dedicated Sacristy for our sacred vessels, vestments, books and other such items, we will be able to more easily accommodate the needs of the many groups, including Priests and Religious, who come to us for spiritual nourishment and refreshment.

We are very grateful to the Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, described as: “One of the oldest community foundations (founded in 1918), The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF) is committed to improving the quality of life in the Pennsylvania counties of Greater Philadelphia (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia).  A foundation and a public charity, TPF connects philanthropic resources to societal needs.  TPF manages assets of approximately $370 million and more than 900 charitable funds established by its fund holders.  It distributes about $25 million annually to nearly 1,000 nonprofits as grants and scholarships, and promotes greater philanthropy and stronger nonprofits in service to community needs.” 

Let the work begin!

To learn more about The Philadelphia Foundation visit:




Wasn’t there a St Bartholomew’s Fair in merry old England?  Our lives are no longer ruled by saints days and seasons….unless one lives in a monastery!  This day in August is St Bartholomew’s day, however.

St. Nathaniel (aka St Bartholomew) is mentioned in the Bible as having been brought to Jesus of Nazareth by Philip, another early disciple and Apostle.  This narrative is found in the Gospel of St.John and is the sum of what we know about him [John 1:45-51] except that legend says that he carried the Good News to Asia where he died a gruesome death while witnessing to his Risen Lord.

Have you ever wondered what he saw when he looked on Jesus that first time and heard his voice?  He gives an immediate witness, “You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel!”  He did not even know Jesus!  Then Jesus tells him, “You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (aka, Jesus)

Could it be that at the bitter end of his life as he was being carved up (I mean it was grim!) – did he look up and SEE – see the heavens open and his Lord Jesus not just standing there but as the eternal “connection” between our ugly fallen world and the heaven of angels – did he see Jesus as the ladder of mercy that eternally forms the salvation of our otherwise hopeless world?  Did he see this as a confirmation of his life and witness?  In some way, I think so.  May it be not less so for us.