Cloistered Conversations

Jessica Hoelzer

“Inner silence, Mother. I struggle with inner silence.” I shudder as I always do when confessing my weaknesses. My Mother Superior responds with a grave nod of her head.

“A common admission, most often from novices and young postulants. But you have been here almost eleven years. Has your heart always struggled like this, or is it one of those regresses we often encounter on this long walk with our Savior?” She speaks, as she always does, with a sincere desire to be of service, but the solemnity in her tone betrays the gravity of her question. My eyes stray to the familiar furnishing of Mother Olivia’s office. Wooden bookcases line the walls, but they are not packed and overflowing like those of a library. Instead, each shelf is filled only halfway with books or file folders. The other half lies in wait, expectant. Her desk is made of the same color wood and is empty except for my file, a Bible, and a small glass dove, a reminder of her patron saint, whose spirit returned to heaven in the form of a dove. An icon of peace.

I know the answer to her question, but I don’t know how to express it. There isn’t a one or two word response to describe my feelings, and I cannot find my voice. After living by the rule of silence for so long, my vocal responses are limited to the Liturgy of the Hours, Mass, and Confession. I finger the wooden beads of my Rosary inside the folds of my cream colored habit, searching for words.

[Read more…]

Lent/Easter 2006

Feature
Joseph Pearce,
Home Thoughts from Abroad

Fiction
Joy Wambeke,
A Call to Prayer
Jessica Hoelzer,
Cloistered Conversations
Noel Bava, SJ,
Emilia’s Playhouse
Clay Reherman,
The Red Door Society

Poetry
Joseph Prever,
The Agony
J.B. Toner,
An Answer
Matthew Alderman,
Chapel of Relics
J.B. Toner,
Daylight
Matthew Alderman,
The Dove Looked In
Matthew Crane,
The Egg
Ben LaVergne,
Fragments, for Mary
Terence Siren,
I Am
Mela Kirkpatrick,
Kingdom for a Horse
Robert J. O’Brien III,
Mingled with Silver
J.F. Lovell,
Phrases I’m Going Through
Michael Baruzzini,
A Reading from the Gospel according to Higher Education
Brandon Zimmerman,
A Song for Simeon
Mikaela D’Eigh,
Song of Weihnai
Mela Kirkpatrick,
Wine Making to Marion Williams Singing
King Alfred,
Who Lights and Guards Macbeth

Essays
John Di Camillo,
Aborting Metaphysics
Tonita M. Helton,
In the Darkest Hours, Joy
Frank-Paul Sampino,
The Moral and Legal Obligations of Catholic Judges

Art and Photography
Daniel Mitsui,
St. Agnes of Prague
Taryn Kutish,
Canal
Anita Wong,
Thoughts of an Artist
Daniel Mitsui,
Chi-Rho monogram
King Alfred,
Christmas Mist
Elizabeth Buckley,
In the Stillness
Daniel Mitsui,
St. Jerome
Robert Brajkovich, Jr.,
St. John Vianney
Jason Kotecki,
Kim & Jason
Sara Perla,
The March for Life
Robert Brajkovich, Jr.,
Powell, WY
Shelley Mauss,
Upstairs at Sacred Heart

 

A Reading from the Gospel According to Higher Education

Michael Baruzzini

You have heard it said:
	“Do not let schooling interfere with your education.”
But I say unto you, 
that it is not what is within a man that makes him good,
		but rather what he displays without.
	You are like antique books: inside, full of wisdom,
		but outside having nothing to make us look at you.
	For what does it profit a man if he hath wisdom and knowledge,
		but hath not credentials?
Therefore, I say unto you:
	Seek to earn credit, and do not pursue unlucrative learning.
	For as the résumé says, so surely the heart of a man is also.

Phrases I’m Going Through

J.F. Lovell

As I see it
it recedes into the distance,
as dreams projected on the backs of eyelids
disappear into the dense fog of memory.
Forever elusive, forever mysterious,
forever sought after once it’s lost.
Son, even now I sense in your wide-eyed gaze
an instinctive awareness of its passing.
[Read more…]

Inthe Darkest Hours, Joy

Tonita M. Helton

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church.

Colossians 1:24

During a Mass I recently attended, Archbishop Chaput preached in his Homily of those stricken by painful disease and illness and said of them, that those who suffer so, and suffer well, “do more good for the kingdom than any words a Bishop like myself could ever offer.” [Read more…]