Saturday, August 19, 2017


  The third member of this illustrious family being considered  for canonization is VENERABLE GUADALUPE ORTIZ de LANDAZURI, who was born in Madrid in 1916, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She studied chemical sciences at the Central University in her home city, and was one of only five women in her area. During the Spanish civil war, she comforted her father, who was a military officer, in the hours leading up to his execution (see Blog on Ven. Eduardo).  She forgave those responsible for her father’s death from the first moment. After the war, she finished her university studies and taught physics and chemistry in the Irish School and the Liceo Francés, both in Madrid.

At the beginning of 1944, through a friend, she met the founder of Opus Dei, St Josemaria Escrivá, who taught her that professional work and ordinary life can be the place for encountering Christ. Later she would say: “I had the clear sensation that God was speaking to me through that priest.” That same year she joined Opus Dei.

From then on, Guadalupe committed herself unconditionally to seeking holiness and encouraging people to draw closer to God. In Madrid and later in Bilbao, she dedicated herself especially to the Christian formation of young people.

From 1950 to 1956 she was in Mexico, where she helped to begin Opus Dei’s apostolic work. It was an adventure that she undertook with generosity and great faith. Those who knew her highlight that her priority was fulfilling God’s will and putting herself at the service of others. Moved by Guadalupe’s encouragement, some of her friends helped initiate activities of human and Christian development, including a center for the training and advancement of farm workers in a rural area in the State of Morelos.

In 1956 she moved to Rome, where she assisted St Josemaria in Opus Dei’s government. After two years, due to health reasons, she returned to Spain, where she took up teaching and scientific research again. She finished a doctoral thesis in chemistry with the highest marks, and was one of the pioneers in starting the Center for Studies and Research in Domestic Sciences.

Later she received a medal from the International Committee of the Rayonne et des Fibres Synthétiques, for a research project on textile fibers. At the same time, she continued carrying out the work of Christian formation provided by Opus Dei. All her actions reflected an eagerness to grow in love for God through her work, her friendships, and her example of joy.

After a long battle with heart disease, she died in Pamplona, with a reputation for holiness, on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1975. She was 59 years old.

Ever since, private devotion to Venerable Guadalupe has continued to spread. According to the postulator, people who have prayed to her intercession have received a wide variety of favors: cures, favors relating to pregnancy and giving birth, finding work, achieving a better balance between work and family, resolving economic problems, reconciliations among family members, and friends and co-workers growing closer to God. May she and her whole family bring peace to her homeland and the rest of our world!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


More about this amazing family.  When I did some research on the people up for canonization tho related to Opus Dei, I was astounded- certainly more that in the Benedictine order!

VENERABLE LAURA BUSCA OTAEGUI was born in 1912 in Zumárraga, in the Basque region of Spain.  She was the wife of Eduardo Ortiz de Landázuri.  On December 11, 1998, she had the joy of being present, in Pamplona, at the opening of the Diocesan Process on the virtues of her husband Eduardo.

Called “Laurita” by those who knew her well, her life was marked by an extraordinary self-giving in caring for her husband and children, and for many other people, drawing strength from her deep piety and love for God. 

In 1935, she obtained a degree in pharmacology from the Central University in Madrid. That same year she met her future husband, Eduardo Ortiz de Landazuri. After they both lived through the civil war years in Spain, they were married on June 17, 1941, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu. Their marriage was a fruitful one, with seven children.

A warm-hearted and understanding person, she sought holiness in the midst of her daily work as the mother of a large family. She asked for admission to Opus Dei in 1953. Following the advice of St Josemaria Escriva, Laura and her husband Eduardo strove to make their family a “bright and cheerful home.”

From the 50’s she suffered from a painful back ailment, which she bore with fortitude and joyful acceptance of God’s will.  She died in Pamplona, with a reputation for holiness, on October 11, 2000. 

After a painful illness borne with extraordinary Christian fortitude, she died in Pamplona, with a reputation for holiness, on October 11, 2000. 

With Eduardo

The Archbishop of Pamplona opened her Cause of Canonization on June 14, 2013. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Korean Madonna & Child- Jang Woo Seong  1949

Korea’s bishops have spoken out "for peace in the Korean peninsula".

In a message sent to AsiaNews to be made public in South Korea on the occasion of the feast day of the ASSUMPTION, which is also Korea’s Independence Day, the bishops slam Pyongyang's missile tests, but also warn of all the "unreasonable provocations" that can increase the tension.

The statement is signed by Mgr Peter Lee Ki-heon, bishop of Uijeongbu and president of the Commission for the Reconciliation of the Korean People of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK), and Mgr Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon and president of the CBCK’s Justice and Peace Commission.

In their statement the bishops ask "neighboring countries" (China, Japan, Russia, United States) to avoid a military escalation, or "unrestrained action," which could only cause the "death of innumerable people, the fatal devastation of both sides, the regression of human history, and deep wounds for the whole of humanity.” Everyone is called to engage in "dialogue for peace" and work for the "coexistence of humanity, which is, in fact, the main purpose of diplomacy and politics".

The statement makes a special exhortation to the bishops’ "fellow Koreans" in the North and South to stop using economic resources in “astronomical" military budgets, and use instead at least some of those resources for the "human and cultural development" of the Korean peninsula.
The bishops call on Christians and the peoples of the world to be "peacemakers". Establishing peace in the Korean peninsula could be the "U-turn" that brings peace to the world.

"Let us walk in the light of the Lord" (Is 2,5)

Finally, we urge all brothers and sisters in the world to be attentive, to pray, to respond with good discernment, and to work together cordially to resolve the crisis of our Peninsula. The Church in Korea will never fail to get involved in the problem in question and engage, more than anything, in constant praying.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


The two times I was in Peru, I attended daily Mass (when in Piura) at the Opus Dei University.  I was always struck by the devotion of the people (most were highly educated). I knew basically nothing about Opus Dei, except their founder had just been canonized. There has always been something of a secretive nature about this world-wide organization. The members seemed to me to be very pius yet called to a life walking with Jesus, not only in their spiritual life but also in their professional life.

Chapel in Piura- Photo to right of St. Josemaria

I recently came across a couple who are being  considered for canonization and the sister of the husband is also in the works for sainthood.  Imagine three from the same clan! All were very involved in Opus Dei.

VENERABLE EDUARDO ORTIZ de LANDAZURI's Cause of Canonization was opened in 1998. He was a prestigious doctor and university teacher in Spain and helped begin the University of Navarra Hospital in Pamplona

During the Spanish Civl War (1936-1939), his father was condemned to death by the anti-Catholic  government. He and his mother and sister spent the night with his father before he faced the firing squad. Later, referring to those days, he said that they had been the most painful days of his life. The event left a deep mark on his soul and was the start of a profound spiritual crisis, the beginning of his inner conversion to God

Eduardo (1910-1985) met his future wife  (Venerable) Laura Busca (next Blog) in 1935, when both were working at the King's Hospital in Madrid. She was one of the first women to study pharmacology at the university in Spain

Due to the war years in Spain, they weren't able to get married until 1941. Eventually they had seven children, and strove to make their family a "bright and cheerful home," as St. Josemaria  (founder of Opus Dei) always urged.

On June 1, 1952, he asked for admission to Opus Dei. His contact with the Work meant the start of a serious struggle for continual improvement in his Christian life following the way opened by the holy life and teachings of  St Josemaria Escriva, a person he came to love greatly.

As he grew in the spiritual life and his relationship with Christ, his professional life grew as well. People always found him serene and cheerful, even when faced with serious difficulties or in moments of tiredness. He worked exceptionally hard, starting each day with prayer and the Mass.

In Opus Dei he learned the value of fostering a unity of life. He came to see that the care of his family, his study and work, his interaction with friends, colleagues and students should all be deeply influenced by his faith. He found in each activity, done carefully and with order, a way to draw closer to God; it was the offering of his life, turning it into true contemplative prayer.

He showed great care for his colleagues and assistants. For his students he was a teacher and guide not only in professional matters but also in personal ones. He was friendly with everyone and tried to make himself always available. But at the same time he was demanding both on himself and on others because he wanted the talents he and they had received to be used for God’s glory.

Patients found him a true friend, for he paid attention to every aspect of their life to help them attain both bodily and spiritual health.

He retired from teaching in 1983 when he was 73 years old and was soon diagnosed with a tumor on the pancreas. Surgery showed the cancer too extensive for recovery.

From the very beginning Eduardo was aware of the seriousness of his illness and he accepted it, uniting himself ever more completely with Christ’s sufferings on the Cross and offering his life for the Church. In the last two years of his life he kept up his professional contacts, eager to bring many souls to God.

On May 1, 1985, he was brought to the University Clinic at Pamplona, where  he had  had cared for so many sick people. He died there May 20, while praying the words: “Lord, increase my faith, increase my hope, increase my love, so that my heart may resemble yours!”

His reputation for sanctity quickly spread after his death, a reputation that many people had appreciated even in his lifetime, and every day more and more people ask him to intercede for them with God.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Our country fair is around the corner and even though I no longer show livestock (Cotswold sheep & llamas) or have the 4–H groups, we none the less participate in some way. Amazingly enough fairs started many years ago-  thousands in fact.

Old and New Testament references to fairs are mixed with allusions to commerce, trade, the marketplace, festivals, religious feasts and holy days.  Where and when the first fair was held is not known, however, evidence points to the existence of fairs as early as 500 BC.  

From the beginning, fairs were commercial in character, where merchants from distant countries would come together, bringing native wares to trade with one another. While it is not clearly explained in Ezekiel or in other biblical references, it is reasonable to assume that "fair" was the name given to the place at which early trading between foreign merchants was conducted.

Scripture records in the book of Ezekiel: "Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the kinds of riches with silver, iron, tin and lead, they traded in thy fairs." Ezekiel's account of the destruction of Tyre, supposedly written about 588 BC, describes Tyre as an important market and fair center.

It is clear that some sort of religious activity was companion to the commerce. The Latin world "feria" meaning holy day, is probably the root of the word "fair." Each feria was a day when large numbers of people would assemble for worship. Worship in those early days was centered around temples in great cities, including Ninevah, Athens, Rome and Mecca. These cities were also respected as the great commercial centers of the world. Fields adjacent to these temples were staked out for traders. Religious figures were placed about the fields in order to protect the traders and merchants.

During the early Christian era, the church took an active part in sponsoring fairs on feast days, and as a result, fairs came to be a source of revenue for the church. Possibly, our modern church bazaars possess some rudiments of these religious fairs.

This evolution which blended religion and commerce continued over time and moved into western Europe. Periodic gatherings brought together the producers of all types of commodities for the purpose of barter, exchange and sale. Entertainment and other forms of activity were later added to draw people, thus giving us  fairs as we know them today.

In 1765 the first American fair was presented in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Many small fairs were held during the early 1700's in French Canada while under French rule.

Later, Elkanah Watson, a New England patriot and farmer, earned the title, "Father of US agricultural fairs" by organizing the Berkshire Agricultural Society and creating an event known then as a Cattle Show in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in September 1811. It was more than just an exhibit of animals – it was a competition, with prize money ($70) paid for the best exhibits of oxen, cattle, swine and sheep.

Painting of Watson by Cople

Watson worked diligently for many years helping communities organize their own agricultural societies and their respective shows (fairs). By 1819 most counties in New England had organized their own agricultural societies and the movement was spreading into the other states. The nineteenth century closed with almost every state and province having one or more agricultural fair or exhibition.

The core elements of those agricultural exhibitions fairs of the early 1800s  are at the heart of the agricultural fair in North America today.  Today, over 3,200 fairs are held in North America each year. They provide industrial exhibits, demonstrations and competition aimed at the advancement of livestock, horticulture and agriculture with special emphasis placed on educational activities such as 4-H, Future Farmers of America and similar youth development programs. While enjoying these high-minded pursuits, fair visitors are also able to see, hear, touch, smell and taste the richness and variety of what the world has to offer.

Friday, August 4, 2017


On this feast of St John Marie Vianney, patron of priests, I think it appropriate to introduce a priest little known in our area, but not the midwest. 

After College I was associated with the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration at Clyde, MO, and heard many stories about SERVANT of GOD FATHER LUCAS ETLAN, who is now being considered for canonization.

Born Albert Etlin in Sarnen,Switzerland, the capital of Canton Obwalden in the foothills of the Swiss Alps, where I once stayed a week with the Benedictine nuns. He studied with the Benedictines at the beautiful Benedictine Abbey of Engelberg. While still a student, he met a monk from America who was asking for young men to come to the United States , so in 1886 he left for the US, where he joined the Benedictines in Conception Abbey, Missouri, and took the religious named Lukas.

A talented artist, he painted several of the abbey’s murals. From 1892 until his death he was chaplain to the Benedictine Sisters two miles away from his Abbey. He would daily make the walk, but in the severe winter of 1894 he became lost in a snowstorm. After this he resided at the nuns convent.

His great love for the Eucharist was expressed in a magazine he had the nuns start, “Tabernacle and Purgatory” (today “Spirit & Life”).  He had a great love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and promoted the devotion, which he hoped would be in every Catholic home. He was instrumental in persuading the Sisters to embrace a more monastic way of life with primacy given to the celebration of the Divine Office and to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Through the journal he collected funds for European relief during World War I and after the war started a relief service, known as Caritas. Within two months he raised almost $25,000 ( a lot of money in those days) and between 1920 & 1927 over two million dollars were sent to monasteries and convents, seminaries & orphanages, ravaged by the war.

He also raised money for scholarships for 2,800 seminarians among whom 3 became cardinals, five archbishops, 20, bishops and 14 abbots.  

On December 16, 1927, Father Lukas offered Mass at the convent in Clyde, and at 8:30 a.m. taught a religion class to the girls of St. Joseph's Academy.  He told the girls (in the spirit of St. Benedict):  We must at all times be ready to die. We should not wish to live even a single day longer than God wills. Should death overtake us in an automobile, also then we should accept it with resignation to the will of God.

Eight hours later, Father Lukas lay dead at the side of the highway in Stanberry, Missouri, the victim of an automobile accident. At the moment of the crash, he was heard to cry out, "O Jesus, Jesus!" When help came, Father Lukas was already dead, with a piece of his rosary held fast in his hand.

Since his death, Father Lukas has obtained numerous graces and favors for those who have recourse to his intercession.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Any one who has followed this Blog, knows that I love to promote new Catholic art, from all cultures and all countries. Interestingly enough the intention of prayer for the month of August from the Holy Father is Artists: That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.

St. George - Nikola Saric (Serbia- Germany)

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19: 1). As creation reveals God’s beauty, so humans, made in God’s image and likeness, create works that give glory to God. The great Russian novelist Dostoevsky wrote that “beauty will save the world.” How? At the end of the Second Vatican Council the bishops told artists: “This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the wear and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration.” 

Moses- Dr. He Qi- USA
Beauty lifts the heart and brings people together. Pope Francis spoke of “the important and necessary task of artists: to create works of art that bear through the language of beauty a sign, a spark of hope and trust where people seem to give in to indifference and ugliness.” He went on to say: “Architects and painters, sculptors and musicians, filmmakers and writers, photographers and poets, artists of every discipline, are called to make beauty shine, especially where darkness and greyness dominate everyday life; they are custodians of beauty, heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity, as my predecessors have repeated many times. 

I invite them, therefore, to care for beauty, and beauty will heal the many wounds that mark the heart and soul of the men and women of our times.” However, artists can be tempted to create what is fashionable or shocking in order to make money or a name for themselves. They can create works that degrade humanity and foster conflict. We pray that artists use their gifts to heal and to give glory to God.

Mother of God- Olga Kovtun- Ukraine

Sunday, July 30, 2017


SERVANT of GOD MOTHER MARY TERESA TALLON is another American born woman, we hope soon to be added to the roster of  saints. One of the things I love about her is her emphasis on bringing lapsed Catholics back to the Church. - a passion of mine!  In a monastery we each have our gifts. For Mother Catarina is  it is evangelization- for me it is taking care of the Catholics!

Julia Teresa Tallon was born on a farm in the Mohawk Valley near the city of UticaNew York in 1867 as the seventh of eight children to the Irish immigrants Peter Tallon and Bridget Duffy.

From 1879 she felt a strong call to enter the religious life despite the protests of her mother and siblings who did not approve of her decision. Her mother in particular, despite her deep faith, did not approve of her daughter's decision though was powerless to prevent her from following her call.

Regardless of their opinion she joined the Holy Cross Sisters int South Bend, Indiana in 1887 and resided with the order at their convent until 1920 after the conclusion of World War I. For thirty-three years she remained with the Sisters teaching a variety of subjects in Catholic schools. Little did she know that God was preparing her for another aspect of religious life - the founding of a contemplative-missionary Congregation for the streets and homes, to teach the faith and counsel, and especially to reclaim lapsed and uninstructed Catholics.

On the feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1920, when she arrived in New York City to begin this work, the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate were born. She had left the Holy Cross Sisters after obtaining approval from the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities.

Though quiet and retiring by nature, she was strong-willed and courageous (necessary qualities for any foundress), as well as intelligent and reflective. Even as a young girl she was seen to be magnetic, compelling and persuasive. People were drawn to her and held by her fervor and enthusiasm, especially for the things of God. 

Her books, personal letters, and numerous printed articles show a deeply loving religious  who was unflinchingly staunch and loyal to the Church’s teaching, to the Holy Father, and to the mission God had given her.

In spite of suffering from disabling illnesses in the final two decades of her life Mother Mary Teresa  carried on the administration of the Congregation, hiding from most who knew her the severity of her illness.

On 10 February 1954 she was critically ill after suffering a fall in her room and spent the next month in pain. She died on the evening of 10 March 1954 just as her community concluded the recitation of the rosary at her bedside.

Before she died she said, “I leave everything in God’s hands, who gave the wonderful vocation. He can give it to someone else as He gave it to me—and more effective than in me … As for me, I’ll be glad to go to God and under Him care for you all. He loves you more than I do.”

The beatification process opened in the Archdiocese of New York on 20 February 2013 under Pope Benedict XVI.   

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


I am always interested in learning more about modern day mystics- we all know of Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, but what about these modern saints and  yet to be named saints, who I think keep the world going.  Remember Abraham asking God not to  destroy the  world if there were ten just men?

 EDVIGE CARBON was recently named Venerable by the Holy Father. Born in Sardinia in 1880,   she became well-known among the faithful and religious alike for her ecstasies and angelic visions. She kept an extensive spiritual journal in which she recorded appearances from Jesus well as many saints.

Her mother recalled Edvige's birth and told her that on that occasion she had seen a luminous host in the monstrance and said because of this : "If I die, you must receive Holy Communion every day and you should be very good, because Jesus, a few moments after you were born, showed me a host, as I have told you".

Another odd phenomenon that took place after her birth was a supernatural branding of the Cross on her breast formed from her own flesh.

With her Family

Her mother taught her embroidery as a child and she later worked with her father in the embroidery business. She also spent time in the convent of the Sisters of Saint Vincent in Alghero where the nuns led a course in embroidery. Her mother's frail health saw her tend to the education and care of her younger siblings as well as other domestic duties.

Edvige wanted to become a nun in 1895 but her mother disapproved of it and she took this disapproval as a sign of the will of God.  From 1896 her visions of Jesus and Mary became ever more frequent. She became a professed member of the Third Order of Saint Francis in 1906 and belonged to an association known as the Friends of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus. She began recording her thoughts in a spiritual journal. Her mother died in 1910 and her responsibilities tripled.

Her spiritual gifts included  the reading of hearts as well as the discernment of spirits. She received the stigmata – for she wanted to suffer for the glory of God.

She had visions of St. Gemma Galgani,  whom she admired, having  attended her canonization in 1940. She also had visits from St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, despite the fact that the priest was in fact alive. Padre Pio knew of  her and referred to her as a "saint".

In 1934  she settled in Rome in 1938 where she taught catechism and ministered to the poor and sick.  She  died of angina pectoris in 1952.

Edvige Carboni was an extraordinary mystic. She spent her life between the natural and the supernatural; between the human and the divine.  Jesus, Mary and the saints appeared to her almost daily. 

In our own lifetime there are many very holy people -  a wonderful sign of hope in the Church and the world- some we will never know!

Monday, July 24, 2017


While they terrify me, I am always fascinated by mystics, especially in our modern times. When one delves deep into their lives, it can be said that basically “there is nothing new under the sun”!
Read St. Faustina’s journal and then go back  800+ years and read the writings of St. Gertrude- it is all there. It is as though Jesus or His Mother sends the same message over and over to each generation, especially when the world is in some state of turmoil – when is it not?

And that message is love God and love one another.

A woman so little known in our day, that there is only one translation into English about her (thanks to the monks of Silverspring in Ireland).

MARIA SIELER  led a retired life yet all who knew her, whether in her youth or in her last years of life in Rome, testify that she was a woman of  great piety. Only her diary gives us insight into her inner life.

She was born on 3 February 1899 in Winterdorf in the parish of St. Ruprecht an der Raab (Styria / Austria). Here she lived as a simple peasant girl. At an early age, her religious life developed, which manifested itself in a great love for Christ and a willingness to sacrifice.

At the age of 20, the Lord  asked her to offer sacrifice for the renewal of the priesthood and  for the salvation of the Church. It was intended to remind the faithful, especially the priests, that there could be no fruitful apostolate without personal devotion to Christ and without constant struggle for selflessness. 

Maria wanted to enter religious life but was rejected again and again, because of ill health. She not only knew physical suffering but also inner darkness and desolation. 
Maria wanted to enter religious life but was rejected again and again, because of ill health. She not only knew physical suffering but also inner darkness and desolation.

Maria  did not experience the sufferings of Christ in visions, nor did she have the stigmatized wounds of the Lord. Rather she suffered the inner sufferings of  Jesus.  

  She died on 29 July 1952 in Rome at the age of 53.

Thanks to the efforts of Father Franz Kober the priest of St. Ruprecht, who died on 23 March 2003, the mortal remains of this great woman were brought back to her home from Rome. Many there now see her as  an advocate for us and certainly for priests.

Friday, July 21, 2017


While the rest of our country swelters, summer has been lagging in our islands- not that we complain- we all enjoy the cool weather, even if it means the garden's produce will be later in harvesting.  Our feathered friends have not seemed to notice, as they delight in the many colored flowers and berries.

Brilliant purple finch with berry- Our neighbor Ned Griffin photo

As I  am recovering from back surgery, one of my joys is sitting on the deck watching the many birds who come to drink and eat.  Feast indeed!

Rufous hummingbird- James Benedict Sane photo

It is hard to say, as I sit here, who are my favorites, but at this time of year it may have to be the two pair of black-headed grosbeak who come daily for the seed.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017


 My friends the ravens and crows  have been back in the news of late-  new research, new people interested in their antics, new books, etc.  Just this past week  The Week       had a two  page article  ("What a Crow Knows") about the on-going  research at UW (Univ. of Washington in Seattle) and always, Dr. John Marzluff (see Blogs Jan. 2013,  May & Aug. 2012), who once helped my 4H kids with their crow project, is featured.

Seems scientists in other parts of the world have taken an interest in the intelligence of these creatures, further demonstrating that they (not the scientists) are known for their
exceptional intelligence and ability to co-operate.

In 2015 scientists from the University of Vienna discovered that the birds will punish those who don't play fair. It is the first time this type of behavior, akin to social policing, has been observed outside humans and other primates.

John Marzluff & friend

In the experiment, captive ravens paired up to simultaneously pull the two ends of one rope to slide a platform with two pieces of cheese into reach.
If, however, only one individual would pull, the rope would slip through the loops on the platform and the birds were left with the rope and without cheese.
Without any training the ravens spontaneously solved the task and co-operated successfully.

However, it turned out that the birds didn't all get on very well, and that they chose to work together with friends rather than with enemies. When one of the birds cheated and took not only its own reward, but also the reward of its companion, an interesting scenario arose. These cheats were far more likely to steal a reward again, and their victims were only too aware of this.

Once the raven who had missed out completed the task, they became reluctant to take part in the experiment, at least with the same individual.
This in turn deprived the cheat of the treat, providing a form of punishment. 

How ravens achieve their high levels of intelligence is still somewhat of a mystery. It is generally believed that larger brains make animals smarter, but these birds do not read the books!. 

In a series of cognitive tests carried out at Lund University in Sweden last year, ravens performed just as well as chimps, despite having significantly smaller brains. 

The team tested the intelligence of the birds using what's known as a 'cylinder task' which measures the animals' level of self-control, said to be a key indicator of intelligence levels.

A total of five adult ravens, 10 adult New Caledonian crows and 10 adult jackdaws took part in the study.

The results of the tests were then compared the results of a similar experiment carried out with chimps, and animal brain sizes were taken and listed. Overall, ravens were the most successful and deemed the most intelligent with a score of 100 per cent - the same result as chimps. 

We  all know the expression “bird-brain” taken to mean an annoyingly stupid and shallow person.  Well, that is certainly a misnomer, and maybe its not so bad to have one!

Saturday, July 15, 2017


If you are afraid of love, don’t ever become a priest, and don’t ever celebrate Mass.  The Mass will cause a torrent of interior suffering to pour down upon your soul, with one purpose only– to break you in half, so that all the people of the world can enter into your heart.”  - Thomas Merton

Having our two new young priests who minister to us, makes me see the need to do more for our them and other priests. In recent Blogs we introduced the new priests of our Archdiocese. One, will come next week to say Mass for us and give us his blessing.

There was recently an article in Mother Dilecta’s Catholic paper regarding the increase of priestly vocations. I think I have said in the past that where there is Eucharistic adoration, there is an increase in vocations to the priesthood. But as one can see by the following statistics, it takes a lot to propel one into the priesthood.

The typical member of the priestly ordinations in 2017 is a 34-year-old cradle Catholic.  This was from a recently released survey of 444 of the 590 men slated to be ordained to the priesthood in the United States. The survey was conducted for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

The typical ordinand also prayed the Rosary and regularly took part in Eucharistic adoration before entering seminary. 77% of the men were preparing for the diocesan priesthood. Among religious ordinations, the Jesuits (27 men), Dominicans (12), and Capuchin Franciscans (8) have the largest ordination classes. (Where are the Benedictines?)

25% of the ordinands are foreign born, with the most typical foreign countries of birth being Mexico (4%), Vietnam (3%), the Philippines (2%), and Colombia (2%). On average, these foreign-born seminarians have lived in the United States for 12 years and arrived in the US at age 25.

50% attended Catholic elementary school,  41% a Catholic high school or Catholic college (40%).  70% of ordinands are white, 14% are Latino, 10% are Asian, and 4% are black. 7% are converts, with the average age of reception into the Church being 21. 35% have a relative who was a priest or religious and in 80% of cases, both parents were Catholic.

69% prayed the Rosary, and 77% regularly participated in Eucharistic adoration before entering the seminary.

Ordinands typically first began to consider the priesthood at 16. 70% were encouraged by a parish priest to consider a vocation; 45% were encouraged by a friend, 44% by a parishioner, 40% by their mother, and 32% by their father.

43% had earned their undergraduate degree before entering seminary, and 16% had earned a graduate degree. 57% worked full time before entering seminary. 48% took part in a parish youth group, 31% took part in Boy Scouts, and 23% took part in the Knights of Columbus or Knights of St. Peter Claver.

15% took part in a World Youth Day.  75% had served as altar servers, 52% as readers, and 43% as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion before entering seminary.

A lot of statistics, but it is obvious that a vocation must be nourished if it is to flourish.
Eucharistic devotions such as adoration and visits to the Blessed Sacrament
are forms of prayer that increase our interior union with Christ. They help us gain
more benefits from the Mass and deepen our desire to serve others. and open our heart to the Heart of Christ.