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The Solitary Monk Who Touched The World

The Solitary Monk Who Touched The World

Sometimes it’s difficult for us to read scripture and superimpose a map over it—so much has changed since biblical times, the Middle East reconfiguring itself several times over—so not everybody knows that Jesus was in Lebanon when he visited Tyre and Sidon. In fact, Lebanon is mentioned in the Bible over 70 times, so it is surely holy ground.And the home of a saint.Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born in 1828, in Bekaa Kafra (North Lebanon). He had a  passion for prayer, whic...
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Where is Mount Carmel, Anyway?

Where is Mount Carmel, Anyway?

Oddly enough, it was long after I had a devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel that it even occurred to me to question where this “Mount Carmel” might be, and why it has such a special place in our lives. As we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel this year, let’s take a moment to go back in time—and far away—to discover the origins of this special devotion.Some places are holy. Speaking from the burning bush, God told Moses the ground he stoo...
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“I need a Heart...who will be my support forever.”

“I need a Heart...who will be my support forever.”

“I need a Heart...who will be my support forever” (Saint Thérèse).The Salve Regina is right when it calls this world a “vale of tears.” From Mary Magdalene to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, the saints have sought in the Sacred Heart of Jesus their solace along this painful path we call life. If you are looking for a friend who will be refuge and strength in your every need, these two great saints point you to the most Sacred Heart of the Master...
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Be the Community You're Called To!

Be the Community You're Called To!

Welcome to the second week of our summer retreat on the Holy Spirit! Today we’re looking at the gift of counsel and the fruit of goodness—and, honestly, one could spend a summer meditating on them alone!I know a number of people who are “sober”—people who used to abuse alcohol or drugs and have managed to abstain from them for weeks, months, years, and even decades. In many cases, they decided on their own that they needed help. In a few situations, people close to ...
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Lose Something? Ask St. Anthony for Help!

Lose Something? Ask St. Anthony for Help!

On June 13th, we celebrate the feast of one of the most beloved of Franciscan saints, St. Anthony of Padua. You probably know him as the saint to turn to when you’ve misplaced your keys or your wallet, and you may even have recognized that there are other things worth finding, too—lost friendships, lost faith, lost people.But how did Anthony become the guide to that which has been lost?The story has changed slightly over time with the retelling, but its essence is that a novice monk ...
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Bless and Do Not Curse: How Love Preserves Your Spirit

Bless and Do Not Curse: How Love Preserves Your Spirit

I love you. You know that. I’m sorry. You know you’re my dearest daughter. The words were soothing, forgiving, as I rested a moment in my father’s hug. It had been a long week and a lot of work as we prepared their house to go on the market and my parents to move.I love you. You know that.All my failures rushed over me. I hadn’t been able that week to plaster over my own broken humanness with a schedule of prayer and community and work. Instead I saw myself. In the raw. T...
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An Enigmatic Saint for Our Times

An Enigmatic Saint for Our Times

When I was in grade school, for some now-forgotten reason, all the girls in my class had a sort of competition going around our patron saints. We had long discussions about which one was “better” than the others. A totally silly endeavor, but one at which I excelled because, after all, who can beat Joan of Arc? (Joan is known in France as Jeanne d’Arc, but as she explained at her trial,  “in my country [the region of Lorraine], people called me Jeannette.”...
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When We Want to Say, "I Told You So"

When We Want to Say, "I Told You So"

My friend Gracie went to court again a few weeks ago.She’s not in any trouble—Gracie is one of the most law-abiding people I know—but her son is. He’s 18 and has been sporadically in trouble with the law for at least the last four years, mostly for stupidity. He’s sold marijuana. He’s passed on photographs to other kids that he shouldn’t have. That sort of thing. And every time it happens, Gracie is in despair and does what she can to get him out of the ...
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The Saint of the Impossible

The Saint of the Impossible

Rita finished baking the bread and setting the table for supper, then looked out the door to see her if her husband, Paolo, was approaching. Not yet, so she didn’t need to call her sons in from outside. Rita took a deep breath and looked up to the mountains. Despite the peaceful evening, her heart was not entirely at peace.The endless feuding that tore medieval Italy apart had recently flared up in Cascia and its neighboring villages. Paolo’s family had been involved for generations....
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The Physician’s Scalpel

The Physician’s Scalpel

I believe healing is possible. It wasn’t always that way. For years I struggled with my woundedness and I began to think that there would be no healing for me. I would seek help and then be afraid to go the whole mile, slipping back into what I knew–isolation and distrust–once again securing the barriers I had constructed to protect myself. This even after experiencing the powerful love of Jesus crucified!In my last article of this series on the Spirituality of Healing I told t...
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