Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rose Marie we love you. All the girls I've loved before.

The pregnancy had started as a source of hope for Patricia and Joe after years of many losses, and they were hopeful that this time they would have the child they long for.

Last year, Patricia's mother, Marian, had told me that Patricia and her husband, Joe, had lost four babies without one surviving child. Patricia and Joe's last baby had anacephaly, a condition where the baby has a brain stem, but no brain. Like most babies with the same condition, the baby had died soon after leaving her mother's womb. Then Marian died last October from cancer, and Patricia conceived again the same month.

I had been happy to run into Patricia at Our Lady of Peace Church one day at noon Mass when she was about three months pregnant. Patricia believed that this pregnancy was her mother Marian's sending her a rose from heaven, as St. Therese is said to do.

And then one sad day about three weeks later, I ran into Patricia again, this time with her brother Jim Fahey outside of church. Jim reached down from his 6 ft 4 in height and hugged me, and after a pause, I put my hand on Patricia's shoulder and asked how she was. When Jim shot a look at Patricia, I knew something was up. Patricia told me slowly that she had just found out that this child she was carrying too had the same diagnosis as the last baby. She had called Jim right away and they had gone together to see Fr. Paul, priest of the IVE order that runs the parish, and they had just came out from talking to him when I saw them.

I told her I would put her on my prayer list. Jim quipped, "She's putting you on her list." I looked at him in a friendly jibing way, "You're already on it." Patricia said, "How are you?" I said, "My company just got acquired by a company from Alabama." Jim said, "That means you can afford to take us to lunch." "It means I might not have a job. I would love to take you to lunch. But I have to get back to work."

As infirmarian, I let everyone in my group of secular Carmelites know about the family's needs. I hoped for a miracle or a misdiagnosis. But neither came true.

On June 15, Rose Marie Brower was born and died within perhaps a half hour.

On Saturday, June 24, Rose Marie's funeral was followed by a reception at the house that Jim and Patricia's parents owned and where Jim still frequently stays, at the top of a Fremont hill, in a gated community called Ponderosa Estates.

The funeral Mass started at 10:30 and the reception after the burial went on (for the die-hards at least) until about 12 hours later, largely because Jim started bringing out some of his best wines. (Marian told me that Jim studied wines enough so he could be a sommelier. He lived in France for some time, but I don't know where he got his training.)

Jim told us guests that one variety he had, a 1971 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Cruz, won a blind taste test as the best wine in the world. I later found corraboration of this award at Wikipedia. A 1976 tasting in Paris had surprised everyone by giving top honors to CA wines. (It is referred to as the Judgement of Paris, evoking the famous myth of the mortal Paris's choice of the most beautiful goddess that led to the start of the Trojan War.) Then in a recap in 2006 of the blind wine tasting event, "Judges on both continents gave top honours to a 1971 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet." Jim said he paid $100 for the large bottle he had, but after the contest, who knows what it was worth?

"The original tasting gave Californian producers a huge boost of confidence, and America is now the fourth-largest wine producer in the world.

“Not only did that tasting change people’s perception of New World wines for ever, it sparked an exchange of ideas that heralded a new golden age of wine drinking...” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2196445,00.html

Father Christopher, OCD, had said the funeral Mass and had stayed around long enough to sip a glass of the winner of the "Judgement of Paris" wine tasting. He sat with me and Anita, another OCDS, a pretty blond woman about 30, to whom he gives spiritual direction. Fr, Christopher told us that Thurs. at 5 a.m., he'd be leaving San Jose to take a new position at the new Carmelite House of Studies in Angel, Oregon. He was a great teacher for our lay Carmelite group. I told him he is the Charlie Parker of homilies and spiritual talks. He lays down a theme and improvises on it. He liked the comparison.

After the Ridge Cabernet was gone, and Father Christopher and Anita and others in a first wave of departing guests said goodbye, Jim announced he had some Chateauneuf du Pape wines, and I said I wanted to taste them. So it came about that Jim started a wine tasting comparison between two varieties of Chateauneuf Du Pape and a California Syrah. (Just for the record, when the bottles were empty, everyone but Jim preferred the Syrah.)

At one point Jim broke into singing "Of all the girls I loved before." Then he caught himself. "That's not a good song . . . '' he said as he went off to get another bottle of wine.

After the wine comparison was over, the group of people including the mother and daughter at my table left.

I sat by myself at the empty table for a few minutes, then Jim came back from saying goodbyes and told me that if I didn't feel up to driving I could take a nap or sleeep at the house. He said I'll be right back, and then came back with a plate of food and sat with me. We talked for a while by ourselves in the growing dusk at the table at the edge of the lawn, while everyone else who was still at the house was clustered at a table on the patio next to the house.

He told me he held the baby before it died. He'd heard, as I have also heard, that the top of the head doesn't close over so it's an open wound. But he didn't see it. By the time he came in the room, she was wearing a little hat.

A nurse had baptized the baby as it was coming out of the womb.

Jim went on to say he'd had some trouble getting a priest to do the baptism. Fr. Paul had told Jim to ask the priest chaplain at the the hospital, but when the priest arrived, he was not in clerical garb, he seemed awfully full of himself, and like many liberal priests, this one was eager to tell the family how the old beliefs no longer apply. This priest told Jim "You don't need baptism, you know." Jim retorted, "God can do anything, you are right. But why not use the sacrament that He gave?" At that point the baby wasn't born yet. Either because the priest didn't think it was worth staying around to baptize the baby or for some other reason, the priest left after saying a prayer.

Jim then had called an IVE priest from another local Church, and the newcomer came, dressed in clerical garb, baptized the baby without drawing an undue amount of attention to himself, and quietly left.

We talked about other things. Jim told me some of his thoughts about marriage. He had recently turned 36, two months before my son reached the same age. He said he used to think he had to get married. But, he said, he is fulfilled the way things are. He loves to travel, goes to Italy every year and other places (like the Israel pilgrimage.) I said that I think the way people used to do things was better. At a certain age, you would pick someone out of the available choices, marrry, then work things out together. He shook his head, apparently not agreeing. .

I asked him how he enjoyed his last week's vacation in WIsconsin at an uncle's place with his sister Kathleen's big family of small children. Do you have the patience for kids? He said, Yes. But I'm not going to be Mr. Mom. I said some women want that. From my point of view, I told him that I don't like the way that so many women in second marriages end up supporting the new husband, who wants her to stay in her good corporate job so he can fulfull himself.

Patricia came by twice offering plates of leftovers the caterer had left behind from the funeral lunch. First time, I said, Patricia, we were just talking about whether marriage is worth it. (Even though I really don't have any doubts.) Oh yes, she said emphatically. "It is worth it."

The next time Patrician came by with a plate of brownies, I said, "I'm just trying to get sobered up enough to drive home. Not that your brother isn't a charming conversationalist . . .."

Mostly Joe's family was left. I went inside to sit in one of Marian's recliners while Joe's mother in law talked to me. Jim came downstairs fresh from a shower dressed in sweat shirt and jeans and told me again I could nap or stay the night, so I followed him upstairs to a spare bedroom. After I lay down, I dozed and tossed and got up and got Advil and fought a headache. After I felt able to drive, after the sounds of people leaving had ceased, and the lights in the house were out around midnight. I could hear Jim breathing in his sleep through his bedroom door as I tiptoed out of my room.

Monday, June 26, 2006

My interview article with Raymond Arroyo is now online

FYI: The article I wrote about an interview I did with Raymond Arroyo in March was just published in San Francisco Faith newspaper. Check it out!

National Catholic Register asked for the article when I pitched it to them, but then NCR they held on to the article so long I withdrew it and sent it to SF Faith. SF Faith changed wording on me in some places (for example, I would never use the word tragedy about someone's personal misfortune, or even, as was true in this case, the loss of a city; it's prejudging the seriousness of the thing you are describing. It's better to show than to tell . ..

Here's the link: http://www.sffaith.com/ed/articles/2006/0607rs.htm

If you cannot get to the link, let me know and I'll send you the text in an email.

Dives and Lazarus: Illegal Immigrants and the Golden Rule

A few weeks ago I sat in an ETWN studio watching while Raymond Arroyo interviewed Bishop Wenski remotely from Orlando. The bishop spoke about the National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) position on illegal immigrants. What they said got me thinking.

Arroyo showed a clip from an interview he did with Pat Buchanan about the topic in which Buchanan said "these people are illegal and they are taking over our country."

Arroyo proposed to the bishop that there are legal ways for people to come and make a better life, witness his father who had come over from Spain, legally, and who learned the language and made a better life for his family. Wenski said the same thing was true for his father, who came from Poland.

But, the bishop said, the immigrants referred to by Buchanan as "these people" should not be negatively labeled by being called "illegals." "These people," he said, "are Christ."

This of course is a reminder of what Jesus said, that whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Him.

I've been thinking hard about that. A current debate on my Northside San Jose neighborhood news group about the topic helped crystallize my thoughts.

Those who are saying they aren't against immigrants, but are only against illegal immigrants have a good point. It is wrong to break the law. And I think people who talk about a nation's right to defend its borders have another good point.

But something has been nagging me about the morality of how we are treating people who are willing to risk their lives to come here and make a better life for themselves and their families. Maybe the law should be changed, drastically, as one of my neighbors threw out: Open wide the borders. Why are we keeping our neighbors out? she wrote.

I propose that us Christians should think about the rightness of this idea. Let's help our neighbors in need. We shouldn't risk ending up like Dives, who wouldn't help the beggar Lazarus outside his door.

Situations must be horribly hard for people to be willing to risk their lives, cross deserts, ford rivers, sneak into unventilated vans risking suffocation, and pay coyotes to bring them here, where they then have to bike to work to work serving people who are often prejudiced against them and to work for employers who often exploit their fear of deportation.

Taxes are deducted from their salaries, but they cannot get tax refunds or earned income credits because they are here illegally. Access to health care is often denied. Most social services are not given to people who aren't here legally.

How desparate a situation most of them must be in the countries they come from to make them think this is preferable?

This time I think the bishops have got it right. They are for amnesty and guest worker programs and help for the newcomers.

So now I have to invoke the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We are supposed to love our neighbors. These desparate people fleeing terrible poverty are our neighbors. Let us love them and welcome them and pay them a living wage when they do work for us. Let them sit at the table with us instead of risking getting kicked while they are trying to eat the crumbs that fall on the floor.

So to me there are two conflicting world views here: the right of a nation to defend its borders against the requirement that the Christian live in radical obedience to Christ's teaching to love our neighbors. In doing so, we love Him.

I remember one evangelical woman lecturer kept talking about how Christians live in "Opposite World." Whatever the world thinks is wrong if it contradicts the Gospel--which it usually does.

What do you think?

Nice talking with you, neighbors.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

More about Father Joe's Bad Teachings to Tony Hendra

(See an earlier postting called "Tony Hendra's Past Scandals" that is this piece is good background for)

From October 30, 2004

I have noticed a trend in the literary world in the past decades: in the rare cases when a Catholic is portrayed sympathetically, that person is someone who diverges from Catholic teachings on sexual morality in either opinion or practice.

In Fr. Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul, Fr. Joe is portrayed as a hugely sympathetic character who befriended Tony Hendra, and as Tony found out after the priest's death, befriended many other people also, including--how did that first meeting ever happen?--Princess Diana.

Fr. Joe is shown as a hero because he always gave Hendra a huge dose of what the writer perceives as the benevolent love of God. In face of rave reviews on the book's cover from prominent "Catholics" who are mostly estranged and who mostly don't give a fig about authentic Church doctrine, such as former Catholic Frank McCourt (author of Angela's Ashes), and Andrew Sullivan who is a homosexual who is touted as "Catholic" commentator for the New York Times Review of Books, I decided I would like to write a review that addressed Fr. Joe's and Hendra's decidedly unorthodox views on what it means to save a person's soul.

And then I was temporarily derailed. I went to the Internet and found what almost everyone but me knew already, that in August 2004, Hendra was accused by his daughter, Jessica, of having molested her sexually. Subsequently I found that an old piece of Hendra's writing has surfaced from September 1971 issue of the _National Lampoon_ called "How to Cook Your Daughter." Matt Haber in an article in the Village Voice (http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0428/haber2.php) called Hendra's piece a satire that could best be described as Jonathan Swift meets Humbert Humbert.

I read it and I have to say that Jessica's accusations gained much credibility in light of how "How to Cook Your Daughter" nails Hendra in his own words as someone unabashedly with incest on his mind.

How could this be?

Hendra met Fr. Joe when as a 14 year old he was brought to Fr. Joe's monastery by a man who had been teaching Tony Catholic doctrine and who had caught Tony in a compromising situation with his own wife. As many other reviewers have repeated as if it was to Fr. Joe's eternal credit, Fr. Joe told Tony that he had not sinned, except for being selfish. And in fact, according to Fr. Joe, "the only sin was selfishness."

That phrase identifies my real objection to the book: even though Fr. Joe's opinions contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church about sexuality, he is portrayed as practically a saint.

Contrary to how most people in the Western world seem to view things these day, I and others who share my beliefs see the Church's teachings on the purpose of sexuality and its rules as liberating. We understand the need for rules.

Parents know vastly more than their young children are able to grasp because of their youth and inexperience. Loving parents protect their children and help them flourish by teaching and enforcing rules to live by, God, we know, is a perfectly loving parent who gave His people during the time of the Old Testament a set of commandments as a gift to guide them and help them live fully human lives.

We also believe as the New Testament teaches (Colossians 1:18) Christ is the head of the Church, which is His Body on earth, and made up of all of its members. We believe that Christ's Holy Spirit lives in His Church, and guides its teachings. Believing also that God designed human sex for both union and procreation, we understand that we can be truly fulfilled and made whole only when we live within God's design. We know that the Church teachings about these things don't mean that the Church hates sex. We just know that sex out of its proper place harms individuals, families, the community, and the world. And if we hate anything we hate the harm it causes when people use sex outside of the divine plan, and we hate when people are taught incorrectly and led to their harm.

Controlling sexual expression takes discipline, which is painful, but it leads to people living healthier lives. Our former Pope, John Paul II, had written and spoken extensively to explain the Church's teachings on these matters, while Fr. Joe and others like him within the Church have been trying to explain them away. (See _The Theology of the Body According to John Paul II: Human Love in the Divine Plan_ and _Theology of the Body Explained_ by Christopher West. Both books are available at amazon.com. )

Following are some quotes from Fr. Joe in Hendra's book with some comments interspersed: "Sex is a wonderful gift, a physical way to express the most powerful force in all existence -- love. Sex is a brilliant idea of God's, I think. Almost like a sacrament." "Sex is a sacrament?" "D-d-don't tell the Abbot!"

Actually, that notion of Fr. Joe's is completely far off from what the Church teaches. Marital sex is a gift. A sacrament is a sign. As a sacrament, marriage symbolizes the union of Christ and the Church (see Eph 5:31-32).

Unlike what Fr. Joe told Tony Hendra, Pope John Paul II affirmed that sex is only psychologically, spiritually, and physically fulfilling when it is practiced between a faithful and committed man and woman within marriage and only when it is open to life.

As an aside, I want to tell you something I observed when I was a young woman in the 60s when the "sexual revolution" was moving into full gear. Every woman I asked who had a "relationship" in which there was no commitment told me she had never had an orgasm. Hmm, I thought, so much for the joys of liberated sex.

People like Playboy's Hugh Hefner promoted the philosophy of sex without commitment because by "freeing" women from the biological connection between sex and reproduction and from the societal connection between sex and marriage, that philosophy made women available for men to use them and to otherwise behave in a totally selfish manner.

Married sexual expression without contraception is a gift between the partners. Pope John Paul II taught that it mirrors the free, total, faithful, fruitful love between the three Persons of the Trinity. And at the same time it is a mystery that expresses on this earth the total gift of Jesus' gift of His Body to us. Jesus gives Himself to His bride the Church, which is a mystical body. The Bible says in several places that marriage between man and woman is a mystery that proclaims the self-giving love of Christ for His Bride the Church.

Here is some more of the conversation between Fr. Joe and Hendra. Hendra replied: "There's no sin in having sex?" "Yes yes yes. There can be. But sex is a sin less often than we're led to believe. It's all a question of context. If you have sex to hurt or exploit another, or to take pleasure only for me, me, me, and not return as much or more to your lover . . . then it becomes sinful. . . . They've made sexual sins the worst sins of the lot, haven't they? Because sex is so powerful, people are fearful of it! We must take the fear out of sex as well."

Fr. Joe, while speaking as a representative of the Catholic Church, a spiritual director and a Benedictine monk, obviously had not bought into the Church's teachings, and even in 1955 when the first conversation occurred, had a 1960s attitude of paranoia and mistrust about the sources of the Church's teachings about sex. "They've" created these prohibitions because they are "fearful" posits Fr. Joe. Phooey, says I.

Audience of One for the World Over Live Show and Other Adventures in Alabama

Friday night June 2, 2006, I drove to Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) in Birmingham from 70 miles north in Huntsville, through heavy rain and thunderstorms part of the way.

Huntsville is where NASA builds space shuttles and then flies them to their launch locations piggy backed on a big jet.

Alabama starts getting prettier with rolling hills once you get south of Huntsville, which is comparatively nondescript. I was in Huntsville for training by the company that bought the Fremont CA company I worked for, so I stayed the weekend to visit EWTN and the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.

The ordinariness of the EWTN grounds -- where the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word live and where the cloistered Poor Clare nuns of Perpetual Adoration that started the station under Mother Angelica used to live -- is an interesting contrast to the immense reach the station has.

It's also amazing that a cloistered nun could launch a world wide television network, as the story goes, with no broadcasting experience and $200 in the bank. Mother Angelica was originally inspired by how little it took to communicate to a huge audience when she went to a TV studio in Texas to tape one of her talks, which used to be aired on the same channel as the 700 Club.

As the EWTN news director, Raymond Arroyo, tells the story in his NY Times best selling bio of Mother Angelica, Mother Angelica said, "Lord, I've got to get me one of those." And so she did.

Located on a little campus in Irondale, north of the city of Birmingham, EWTN sees its mission is to show the beauties of the Catholic Church to the whole world and beams its programming in many languages from satellite dishes behind the station. The station covers all the major events in Rome, so that Catholics everywhere can feel more truly than ever before that they are "Roman Catholics." EWTN also has a mobile unit called Gabriel, after the archangel. Shortwave radio beams to where the TV satellite signals cannot reach.

The studios were locked up tight when I tried to get in after Evening Prayer in the chapel. Before leaving on my trip, I had tried over the Internet to sign up to see The World Over Live, but that show doesn't have a live audience.

I rang the bell, but nobody answered. Then I walked around to the back of the building chatting with one of several couples and individuals I met on the trip who said they moved to the area simply to be close to either EWTN or to the shrine. A blond middle-aged woman got out of her car in the back to go to work on the show. I greeted her and told her I had interviewed Raymond Arroyo and said I had been trying to get a hold of him to find out if I could come in and watch the show. I sent my card in with her, and she gave it to Arroyo, and then to my delight, he sent someone to bring me in.

And so it happened that I was an audience of one sitting in a chair about 6 feet away facing the set. When Arroyo came in, a slightly built man, kind of a handsomer, more intelligent version of Pee Wee Herman in a very good suit, he shook my hand and said, "We finally meet." And "You broke in, eh?"

I attribute my getting in to a few well-timed Hail Marys.

The first part of the show was taped, so Arroyo sat there watching himself do a series of quick reports on the Catholic news happening around the world, including a short about a women "priest" illicitly saying Mass in San Jose. He referred to the woman as "Father, or is it Mother? " so and so.

After that bit was over he told me he was bilocating (since he was sitting there watching himself). I said, "That's evidence of the high state of holiness you have achieved, Raymond." One cameraman laughed, and Arroyo went "Uh huh, Uh huh!" (All tongue in cheek of course.)

The rest of the show consisted of Arroyo interviewing the good bishop of Orlando about immigration, contrasting the National Council of Catholic Bishops' position about illegal aliens with a snippet from an earlier interview with Pat Buchanan who said these people are illegally taking over our country. The bishops are saying "these people" are Christ. If you ask me I'll tell you which side I'm on.

That night I stayed at Casa Maria, a large peaceful retreat center run by an order of sisters that was founded by Mother Angelica but broke away. (The story of the split between the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word and Mother Angelica is in the Arroyo book, but one of the sisters, friendly Puerto Rican Sister Ave Maria told me, "Reporters can write whatever they want, but what Arroyo wrote isn't accurate." Hmmm.)

The sisters are beautiful smiling women in full habits. I ran into them taking their large fluffy German Shepherd mix dog for a walk, pushing wheelbarrows, carrying ladders and bringing in supplies from WalMart. Sister Ave Maria posed for a photo for me wearing plastic goggles, a floppy straw hat, and an apron over her habit, armed with a bug sprayer pointed at a tree. What a cute photo that ought to be.

I met one young red headed sister, Sister Rita Marie from Boston and another young beatifically smiling sister, Sister Marie Francesca, from Mississippi, who told me she joined the order because the Holy Spirit hit her over the head with a 2 x 4.

The rooms at the center are big and modern and only cost $30 a night! What a bargain.

Saturday morning at 6 am I was in the Our Lady of the Angels chapel for Morning Prayer with the friars and then for the televised Mass at 7 a.m. As it turns out, I was in the back row on the side of the room far from the cameras, so the only time I was on TV was when I went to the front for Communion.

Later that day I went north to the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. One tourist flier for the Cullman area said the shrine is the biggest tourist attraction in Alabama these days.

Part Two

Sunday, the Pentecost Mass at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville Alabama ended with the cloistered nuns behind the gold leafed reredos (altar piece) singing in a high soprano like angels "Regina Coeli Laetare. Allelulia! Quia quem meruisti portare. Alleluia! Ressurexit sicut dixit. Alleluia!"

I cried. I love that hymn so much. But then I almost always cry in church.

Queen of Heaven rejoice.
He who you merited to bear.
Has risen as He said.

We won't be hearing it again until next Easter season.

Those of you who haven't read Raymond Arroyo's bio of Mother Angelica might not know that she built a 55 million dollar shrine to the Blessed Sacrament about 70 miles north of EWTN in the Alabama countryside. The shrine was paid for by five families, and it is gorgeous. Mother Angelica saw a vision of the child Jesus tell her to build him a temple and was puzzled because she had never heard of a Catholic temple. Then she saw an inscription at St. Peter's in Rome referring to St. Peter's basilica as a temple, so she understood better what was being asked of her. At first she tried to build it with simple materials but the donating families wanted only precious materials to honor the Blessed Sacrament, which EWTN believes is being dishonored in so many Catholic churches around the world.

You reach the shrine by driving along a winding country road lined with miles of white fences in the lush green Alabama countryside. At the end of the road is a large wrought iron gate topped by angels.

On the other side of the gate, you see what looks like a huge basilica with a vast open courtyard in front. The inside is all gold and marble, and on the altar is the second biggest monstrance in the world. (For those who don't know, a monstrance -- from the Latin "monstrare -- to show" -- is a stand made of precious materials and used to display the consecrated bread that is the Body and Blood of Christ.)

The shrine is now Alabama's biggest tourist attraction. Us orthodox Catholics see it as a powerful witness for what Pope John Paul II called the new evangelization, and it's powered by prayer.

Mother Angelica and her nuns are Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and they take turns to pray constantly in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I got to share in Morning Prayer, Office of Readings, Daytime, Evening, and Night Prayer while I was there and to attend the Mass of Pentecost and say the Divine Mercy chaplet at the shrine.

Being the shy and retiring type, I walked up and introduced myself to Deacon Bill Steltemeyer, chairman of the EWTN board when I saw him in the entryway. I told him I had gotten in to see Raymond Arroyo's show the previous night even though they don't have an audience. And I told him that I had a feeling that the next thing was that I would be able to see Mother Angelica, He said it was impossible.

He told me she only gets out of bed around 11 a.m. and eats a very little, and then has to go back to bed because that uses up her energy. She continues to pray for the network, its viewers, and all the visitors. But, she has no memory, Deacon Bill said.

The owner of the St. Therese guest house where I stayed told me that Mother Angelica was singing at her 83rd birthday party last month, wearing a sombrero over her veil, but she is nearing the end of her life.

Raymond Arroyo told me in our interview a few months ago that Mother Angelica is joyful at this time in her life when she has barely anything to do with the network. His book tells how other sufferings in her life seemed to always precede success for the network, but these sufferings are different, he said. "How are they different?" I asked. "They are for her purification."

I hung around for a while thinking I was maybe going to beat the odds again and get in to see Mother Angelica like I had gotten in to see the World Over Live. I half-expected a summons to come from the cloister, but one never came. Can't trust those feelings all the time, I have to conclude.