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You can’t take the sky from me

I am not an expert pray-er. In fact, I’m a lousy pray-er. I’m certainly the worst oblate in the world.

I just wanted to get that out there from the start.

Some time ago, I went to visit some sisters in another part of Italy. We had a long and interesting discussion about the various merits of the modern English language “Liturgy of the Hours,” which she and her community used, vs. the traditional Latin Divine Office, which I and mine use. (I’m certainly not any kind of expert on the Office but one of the things that pushed me to Trad – yes, that’s a verb now – was using the LotH and suffering through its manifest and manifold deficiencies.)

At one point in the discussion my young nun-friend asked me, “What’s stopping you from praying the full Divine Office every day?”

And there’s only one possible answer to that: me.

I’m stopping me from praying the full Divine Office every day.

(Bloody nuns! How do they get so danged perspicacious? And she was under thirty!)

And nothing else.

Nothing can stop us from praying up a storm. Nothing but ourselves. This is the fundamental reality of our Faith. It is, ultimately, yours to act on.

You don’t need to know Latin. (In fact, there’s a perfectly acceptable translation right next to the Latin in my Breeve.) You don’t need to carry a book around with you. You don’t even need to carry a Rosary in your pocket. God gave you ten fingers for a reason.

And this is my solution. No one can stop us. It’s ours.

The other day I did a piece for Steve Skojec (and the useless blighter went on holiday instead of posting it… ) that I am hoping will provide an answer to the question we remaining Catholics have: what do we do now? We’re in a state, aren’t we? We’re more or less helpless to do anything to stop the catastrophe that we see coming straight at us. We can do nothing about this pope or his plans.

But, though it does affect us, and could continue to affect us more and more, it can’t stop us. It can’t stop us being Catholic; praying, sacrificing, practicing the virtues, rooting out our faults, reading holy books, petitioning the saints, praying the Rosary, even if we have to use our fingers.

Frankly, with all the canonical revisions in the world, it can’t even stop us living the religious life, banding together – whether virtually on the internet or even in person, sharing housing and praying together. The pope and the Vatican don’t make the religious life. God makes it. God calls us to it, and we respond. It is an integral part of the Faith and can’t be killed, even by the worst pope in history.

Why? Because Christians are free.

In my thing for Steve (which I’M SURE WILL BE PUBLISHED ANY SECOND NOW!) I said:

The simple fact is that lay people can do pretty much whatever they want, and no bishop anywhere can do anything about it. And no secular government would care either. We perhaps forget sometimes that the Christian is radically free in a way that transcends the limitations of politics, even Church politics. We know from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that we are free to make choices about our lives, about the direction we will take either towards or away from God.

Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.”

No pope, no bishop, no conclave or band of vicious heretics, no matter how powerful, no government or oligarchy can do anything to stop us making the choice for Christ, to live a life of holiness and peace.

I’m going to share something with y’all now. I’ve been returning more and more lately to the thought of religious life, the consecrated state. What with everything, between this pope and his revolution against Christ, the earthquake and its consequences for the religious life of this town, I have been turning more and more back to the idea not only that I would “like” to be in religious life, but that I must give myself to God in this radical way.

But, as we have seen, there’s a bit of a problem with that. Formal religious life is under severe attack right now. It was all but destroyed following the Vatican II Asteroid, and those of us who were of the right age at that time were faced with a horrifyingly empty, scorched landscape. There was nowhere to go. Twenty or thirty years later, there are just now starting to appear little sprouts, small and mostly isolated communities starting up who are consciously pushing back against the revolutionaries. But now, of course, our cohort – born in the 60s – is too old for such ventures, even when we can find them.

And now we have Francis, and a new wave of the scorching has started, and we have no idea who is going to survive this time. A conversation I once had with a high-ranking Curial Cardinal – a man who had been prominent in the Curia of Pope Benedict and was an acknowledged “Ratzingerian,” and who was immediately exiled by the new regime for it – told me straight up that this regime is aggressively moving to return the Church to 1976 and is making plans to ensure it stays there permanently.

 

fig-6aSo one would think that this is the worst possible time to be starting something tradition-minded, something that consciously revolts against the disco-era trends we are seeing being revived throughout the Church. The natural response is to get one’s head down and keep it down until the storms have passed. But I’m starting to see that this is “thinking the thoughts of time,” that is, it is prudence only of a natural kind. God generally has a sense of timing that tends to surprise us, and His ideas of an ideal circumstance are quite different from ours.

A few weeks ago I was very moved by the piece by Fr. David Nix in which he described the agonies he is experiencing as a priest under this current regime of chaos. He related that, though he does not “hear” things in prayer, he had quite a distinct response from God on a day when he was complaining bitterly about it all: “My Church is being crucified; will you leave her?”

I will never forget these words. They not only brought courage to my heart; they brought clarity to my mind: The Church must go where her Bridegroom has first gone, and this would come — as with Judas — as the fruit of a betrayal from within. Our Lady of Good Success promised a “complete restoration” after a prophecied crisis that was described very much like what we are witnessing today. I had seen that the Church was enduring a crucifixion, but how had I missed that after this would come a resurrection? If Paul VI could say that “the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God,” then I am surely not disobedient or schismatic for pointing out that we now have a full conflagration.

A conflagration. That’s what this is. The Church is suffering an unprecedented crisis, a martyrdom that has been white but seems to be turning crimson.

With this in mind, I think the question must be not, “Where do we hide. How do we survive this with our homes and way of life intact?” The impulse to protect our comforts is deadly to the virtue of fortitude, courage, in plain terms. A soldier cannot have his own comforts or even his own survival as his primary concern.

For this reason alone, perhaps, giving up everything, releasing all claims to the natural goods of this life, is simply the most prudent strategy. They can take nothing from us that we can’t afford to lose if we have already detached ourselves and renounced the world. All else is ours in a way that can’t be taken.

Take my love; take my land;
take me where I cannot stand.

I don’t care; I’m still free.
You can’t take the sky from me…

Burn the land; boil the sea;
you can’t take the sky from me.

Or, as it was put somewhat more to the point:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Some weeks ago, a major earthquake shook our town, as you know, and the result for various complex reasons has been the near total cessation of the Catholic devotional and sacramental life in Norcia.

The monks are slowly coming back, but people are worried. Aapart from the daily monastic Conventual Mass, and Laudes and Vespers, there is no Catholic life here save for one cold, wet, muddy novus ordo Mass offered on Sundays in a tent in a soccer field outside the walls. This shocking situation did indeed shock me into thinking about some things that I had been putting off thinking about.

I came here nearly two years ago with the vague and rather ill-formed idea that I could be an oblate and pray here with the monks, and sort of ride along easily on their monkish coat-tails. Let the boys do the work. Part of the deal of being an oblate is that you get a share in the graces God gives to the monastery. You’re part of the club.

This, I thought, would be a good “consolation prize” for having lost the game of nunnish musical chairs. But was I being offered the consolation, or was I really just choosing the easy but second-best thing?

Worse than either of these, was I offering God only what I felt I could spare? Was I trying to negotiate with Him? “You can have this much of me, this much of my time and attention, and the rest is for me…”?

Was it any wonder that, despite the great riches I had acquired in this wonderful place – daily Mass and the full Divine Office in the traditional rites, a community of monks who seemed happy to adopt me, a town of the kindliest and friendliest people in the world, a lovely little home and garden, a glorious natural setting – it was all falling flat on my heart.

The other day a friend, who was a carmelite nun for three years, said, “Without self-gift it’s all empty, basically?”

“I used to wonder if food was happy or sad being taken off the stalk, cooked and eaten. Now I know for sure they are happy, and the ones who stay on their comfortable vine are sad.”

Yes. That.

I said more or less exactly the same thing once, a long time ago, to a Benedictine monk I knew in Quebec; that I’ve got a nice life, good friends, a good job, a good parish and a decent Catholic life. I’m happy. My friend said, “But it’s the wrong kind of happiness.” I nodded, almost crying. He smiled and said, “That’s the call.”

But what can be done about it now?

I’m fifty. Fif-TEE!

And even I weren’t, I’m a Trad. The more things develop along the Vaticantwoist path, the more of a Trad I become. I knew when I went to almost go into a Benedictine monastery in Vermont: I can’t do this. I can’t devote myself to the novus ordo thing. It’s not my religion. And this reality means I’m more or less automatically shut out of nearly every recognised canonical religious order, convent and community in the Catholic world.

And I’m not a sede, and never will be, so there’s no answer there. I know too much for the novusordo places; the Traditionalist places are barely hanging on and with how vocal an opponent of the regime I’ve been it would be impossible for them to accept me if they are just part of the novus ordo, diocesan scene and aren’t attached to the SSPX. It’s obvious that there is simply no place in the world I can go.

But there’s the call. It’s unmistakable, persistent, specific and un-ignorable.

But here’s where my logical mind starts working: if there is a call, it is impossible that it is impossible. God doesn’t play with us. There has to be some way.

If Steve ever posts that thing, you’ll learn what I’ve come up with.

 

~

36 thoughts on “You can’t take the sky from me”

  1. Ron Kusnic says:

    Learn your destiny right now Find Here

  2. Mark says:

    I was going to suggest the Visitation Sisters, but it’s too bad there aren’t any traditionalist ones.

  3. BJ says:

    ” I’ve found a treasure but it’s no fun to just keep it for myself alone.”
    Maybe Ann Barnhardt would join you.

  4. Hilary White says:

    Nancy, thanks. Comments like this help me a great deal.

  5. Hilary White says:

    Yes, please do. I don’t normally allow my blog to be used for advertising purposes, but I’ll make an exception this time.

  6. Veronica of the Holy Face says:

    Dear Hilary,
    I have read your piece in One Peter Five – as well as this blog site – with great joy and even amazement! I encourage you to continue to let the Lord lead you with the vision you have. He has been giving me this same vision for years. I was blessed to actually visit the site of a former “beguinage” in Amsterdam a number of years ago. This concrete manifestation of the “dream” the Lord had been giving me has spurred me on through the tough times.

    As one who is already “living the dream” on the American side of the pond – and allowing the Lord and Our Lady to unfold its deeper ramifications ~~~~day by day~~~~, I just want to say, dear sister, such dreams demand our constant and ever-deeper walk of Faith & total surrender to Divine Providence~~~~because it is not our dream, it is the Lord’s!

    So, as you are led, allow yourself to keep taking the “leap of faith” — and follow where They lead — careful not to get ahead of Them, but not dragging your feet due to fear~~~AND, if you would be the “seed” that the Lord uses to spur others on into such dreams, allow your own life to become totally consecrated to the Lord Jesus through His Immaculate Mother, by means of private vows — and the daily living of such. This is how this dream begins – and spreads – one person at a time, beginning with one’s self. Such it was for the early Church & early monastic life, and such it must be for us.

    Your sister in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
    Veronica of the Holy Face

  7. NE Korup says:

    Dear Hilary — Sending along my very best wishes to you in Norcia! It is wonderful that you can be with the monks at this time, when they need all of us the most, to assist them (and the people of Norcia) with their repair and rebuilding efforts. I only wish I could join you in Italy! Instead, I will do my best here in the U.S to raise awareness (and dollars) to help the monks achieve their new Fundraising Goal of $7.5 Million Dollars. Looking forward to seeing additional photos of the “work in progress” as the pictures become available!

    LEARN more about the Earthquake damage:
    https://en.nursia.org/earthquake

    READ about the Fundraising efforts (8-page .pdf):
    https://en.nursia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/DEEP-ROOTS-APPEAL-vs.-8.pdf

    DONATE to the Monks of Norcia online!
    https://en.nursia.org/donations

    PURCHASE their beautiful “Benedicta” CD!
    https://en.nursia.org/benedicta

    BUY the monks’ delicious Birra Nursia!
    https://birranursia.com

    YOUTUBE videos are available here:
    https://youtu.be/IOkgnpi6KO0
    https://youtu.be/rqQi1BWRcWI

    (Friends of Norcia: Please copy and share the above links, as you perhaps have already done during these difficult weeks since the August 24, 2016 earthquake.)

  8. Nancy Brockhoff says:

    You are a giver of courage and renewed vigor. I thank God for you.

  9. Michael Dowd says:

    Hilary, you are an apostle to all of us are trying to walk the Way, find the Truth and live the Life. I don’t think it matters so much where you do what you do. God’s ways are not our ways. Being a ‘homeless spiritual person’ may be exactly what God wants you to be. It is your Cross.

  10. anyman says:

    Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89). Poems. 1918. 36. The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo (Maidens’ song from St. Winefred’s Well) THE LEADEN ECHOHOW to kéep—is there ány any, is there none such, nowhere known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, láce, latch or catch or key to keep Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, … from vanishing away? Ó is there no frowning of these wrinkles, rankéd wrinkles deep, Dówn? no waving off of these most mournful messengers, still messengers, sad and stealing messengers of grey? No there ’s none, there ’s none, O no there ’s none, 5Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair, Do what you may do, what, do what you may, And wisdom is early to despair: Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done To keep at bay 10Age and age’s evils, hoar hair, Ruck and wrinkle, drooping, dying, death’s worst, winding sheets, tombs and worms and tumbling to decay; So be beginning, be beginning to despair. O there ’s none; no no no there ’s none: Be beginning to despair, to despair, 15Despair, despair, despair, despair. THE GOLDEN ECHO Spare! There ís one, yes I have one (Hush there!); Only not within seeing of the sun, Not within the singeing of the strong sun, 20Tall sun’s tingeing, or treacherous the tainting of the earth’s air, Somewhere elsewhere there is ah well where! one, Oné. Yes I can tell such a key, I do know such a place, Where whatever’s prized and passes of us, everything that ’s fresh and fast flying of us, seems to us sweet of us and swiftly away with, done away with, undone, Undone, done with, soon done with, and yet dearly and dangerously sweet 25Of us, the wimpled-water-dimpled, not-by-morning-matchèd face, The flower of beauty, fleece of beauty, too too apt to, ah! to fleet, Never fleets móre, fastened with the tenderest truth To its own best being and its loveliness of youth: it is an everlastingness of, O it is an all youth! Come then, your ways and airs and looks, locks, maiden gear, gallantry and gaiety and grace, 30Winning ways, airs innocent, maiden manners, sweet looks, loose locks, long locks, lovelocks, gaygear, going gallant, girlgrace— Resign them, sign them, seal them, send them, motion them with breath, And with sighs soaring, soaring síghs deliver Them; beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before death Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty’s self and beauty’s giver. 35See; not a hair is, not an eyelash, not the least lash lost; every hair Is, hair of the head, numbered. Nay, what we had lighthanded left in surly the mere mould Will have waked and have waxed and have walked with the wind what while we slept, This side, that side hurling a heavyheaded hundredfold 40What while we, while we slumbered. O then, weary then why When the thing we freely fórfeit is kept with fonder a care, Fonder a care kept than we could have kept it, kept Far with fonder a care (and we, we should have lost it) finer, fonder 45A care kept.—Where kept? Do but tell us where kept, where.— Yonder.—What high as that! We follow, now we follow.—Yonder, yes yonder, yonder, Yonder.

  11. louiseyvette says:

    “I am not an expert pray-er. In fact, I’m a lousy pray-er.”

    Join the club. I suspect it’s quite large.

    If you want a “distinctive habit” let us all know. I’d like to buy one for you.

    God bless.
    Your long time reader, Louise L

    PS, if you wear a habit, a trad looking one, I suspect you’ll recognise yourself for the first time.

  12. Hilary White says:

    The Mission Poor Clares are the very first monastery I ever visited, waaaaay back when I was a young thing of 23. I liked them very much, and they are good and kind and devout, but they are far from traditional. As for the Mission Benedictines, the less said the better.

  13. Hilary White says:

    You are reciting precisely the line of thought that is running through my own mind, John. It is obvious to me that God brought me here for the salvation of my soul. Now I just believe that I could share the benefits with someone else. I’ve found a treasure but it’s no fun to just keep it for myself alone.

  14. Vixpervenit says:

    Seeing the word “radical” always gives me the dry heaves.

  15. Barbara Jensen says:

    Hilary,
    Jesus told us true worshipers worship in spirit and in truth. Being a religious means an interior surrender to God that is authentic on the inside, no matter what the status on the outside. Do not delay. The structure of saying the ‘full Divine Office’ each day could be the external prayer structure that gives you a grounding for a full religious life right within your secular circumstances. Certainly experience has taught many that the externals will not give you that for which you are searching or to what God is calling you to do. He hungers for your heart; He wants to reign within you. The external means of doing that He will give you if you silence your heart and mind–your very full self– before Him on a regular basis. I will pray for your blessed journeying into Him.

  16. Fuquay Steve says:

    Read your article at Steve’s….I found it heartfelt and inspirational. I know there are many challenges but with Our Mother showering it with untold graces, it will become a spiritual reality. It already is. You must feel highly energized by doing something so needed in these discouraging days. God bless you and your most worthy cause.

  17. RodH says:

    LOL.

    I meant “AREN’T”.

    LOL

  18. RodH says:

    Hi and…Wow.

    In that piece by Father Nix, I’m RTHEVR. If you read my posts there you will get a sense of my position on things. Check out the “Best” comments.

    I think we need to talk about your issues here. They are good ones.

    Mountains? Religious life? New starts? EVEN IN THIS AGE? Our incredible prophet-priests have instigated, and believe-it-or-not, our Bishop has approved, of something I think you need to be aware of and I mean it.

    We need prophet nuns, too. And I mean it.

    Somehow we need to communicate.

    Do you have an email address?

    Thanks,

    Rod

    OH, and I’m 53 and my wife is 52. And we are fresh to the faith {since we were 49. So shut yo’ mouf about being long in the tooth! We are ready to cash it in. I don’t think you are, either! LOL 😉

  19. mike hurcum says:

    POOR CLAIRES MISSION BC and the severely orthodox Abbot at the Benedictine Monastery above them on the hill,

  20. John Lamont says:

    These ideas look good. SSPX-affiliated religious congregations are good things but not necessarily available to everyone. The laity can manage poverty, chastity and prayer on their own. Praying the Divine Office, lectio divina of the Scriptures and fasting are all the Desert Fathers did as an organised spiritual routine. The thing that would be harder to bring about is obedience. Some connection to good and experienced spiritual father is needed for that, so complete independence for the laity in their spiritual endeavours does not seem possible. But you have to have access to the traditional liturgy for the spiritual life in any case. Your situation in Norcia seems a suitable one – there are monks there who can provide spiritual direction as well as the liturgy. Your sort of project sounds like something to be undertaken by a constellation of consecrated souls in contact with some traditional monastic enterprise.

  21. Wretched Sinner says:

    I really wish we could chat. GAH!

  22. fxr2 says:

    The Sisters of Saint Benedict Center, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a canonically recognized religious congregation in the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.
    We wear a traditional black habit and veil as a sign of our consecration to Christ and a testimony to our commitment to visibly preserving traditional Catholic values in the twenty-first century. We have adapted the rule of Saint Benedict to suit the demands of our apostolate, maintaining a blend of contemplation in our monastic surroundings with apostolic labors.
    We have been the indult center for the Latin Tridentine Mass in the Diocese of Worcester.
    The Community was specifically founded for the teaching and preservation of the Holy Catholic Faith. Any young lady who has any questions about religious life or feels she may have a calling to our life please feel free to contact either Sister Cecilia or Sister Margaret Mary anytime.

  23. fxr2 says:

    Eligibility Requirements
    Sisters in ChapelAny Catholic woman between the ages of 18 and 50 is eligible. She must be of good mental and physical health and be free from any canonical impediment.
    Evidence of having received the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, as well as certificates attesting to a candidate’s physical and dental health.
    Two or three letters of testimony from a priest, employer, or similar individual.
    At least a high school education.
    In most cases, two or three years of “real world” work experience. More mature women are welcome regardless of work experience.
    Formation
    The postulancy period is between six months and one year in length.
    The novitiate period is two years in length, and includes intensive study of the religious life and preparation for simple vows.
    The juniorate period – during which annual vows are taken – is three years in length.
    Final vows are taken after five or six years.
    By email: info@sistersofstbenedictcenter.org
    By mail:
    Sisters of Saint Benedict Center
    Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
    254 Still River Road
    Still River, MA 01467-0022

    Run Hillary, Run!

  24. Evangeline says:

    Hillary you are now the Rhett Butler of the Traddie World. Better late than never. It sounds like you are still discerning, but, I look forward to reading your article (nudge, nudge) on 1P5.
    Your intention is admirable. Is it really true there are no traditional communities to join? Is 50 so darn old that no community would want you (me)? If that is the case, and I felt I had a vocation, I would get determined to be the best darn oblate in the world and try to be happy with it.
    But I have a feeling you have another thought.
    God bless. May God lead you to find the answers.

  25. Remnant clergy says:

    Actually new traditional religious orders will be established in the coming years while the known ones will fade away or become pagan in the reign of the antichrist. That should be soon given the latest lightning strike on the Vatican.

  26. Drew says:

    Thank you for this post. God Bless you dear Hillary!

  27. Hilary White says:

    The IHM catastrophe was deliberate. Quite a famous case in which a group of people used the community in an experiment to see if certain brainwashing techniques could work under controlled conditions to make a group of dedicated Catholics abandon their faith. There’s quite a literature about it available on line.

  28. JohnK says:

    I saw the silk screen print ‘wonderbread’ by the notorious ‘Corita’ in person for the first time not that long ago, and it made me angry, then profoundly sorrowful.

    Apropos of your post, below is what I wrote, somewhat afterwards. “Corita”‘s fame is mostly contextual; that is, it was due almost entirely to the way her work abased and attacked her vows and her faith, in favor of the ‘faith’ of her times.

    She destroyed herself (at least by what we can tell on earth); and very possibly, she destroyed many others, too; as did so many other sisters in her order of the (in retrospect, incredibly ironically named) Immaculate Heart. And Our Lord, accordingly, must weep from the Cross, for her soul, and for the souls of so many others like her.

    So I decided to ‘re-contextualize’ her work, which was, from first, so dependent on its context. My first ‘re-contextualization’ was to change the title if the image, from her (semi-blasphemous) “wonderbread” to the following:
    Drops of Our Lord’s Blood: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” // wonderbread

    Click on the link to view the image to which I am referring:
    https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/show_picture.pl?l=english&rais=1&oiu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.trbimg.com%2Fimg-558b34bd%2Fturbine%2Fla-et-cm-corita-kent-review-20150625&sp=cc35650ce3af27be5b19a62e888a98d8

    Here’s what I wrote:

    Re-Contextualizing Corita Kent
    Drops of Our Lord’s Blood: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” // wonderbread

    On or about the Year of Our Lord 1936, Frances Elizabeth Kent got down on her belly before the altar and the Blessed Sacrament in a Roman Catholic church and swore publicly to Our Lord and to all assembled – priests, her Superiors, family – that she belonged to Our Lord completely, and that her life from that day forward would be spent in perpetual service as a consecrated virgin to Him; and not in an abstract way, but concretely, specifically, incarnationally, by her every breath lived, for the rest of her life, under the authority of the Holy Catholic Church and the religious order of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and to signify all of this, she took her professed name, Mary Corita Kent. By 1968, she had abandoned her vows – but not her professed name, Corita, which she kept, as if it no longer signified her (abandoned) promise, but ‘belonged’ to her, un-contextually.

    Yet the soon-to-be “Corita’s” seminal 1962 print, wonderbread, derives its power almost exclusively from contextualization. Without its title, the work reads as derivative, vapid, imitative merely, perhaps of a dot-fixated Ellsworth Kelly; though we note the immaculate craftsmanship of the screen print itself. But the real context of the work is not merely the iconic packaging of a (now defunct) bakery company; it is Corita Kent’s location: within the Catholic Church, *as a professed sister*, wearing *a most traditional habit*. And here, the work’s ironic detachment from the source and summit of the Catholic Church, the Holy Eucharist, was certainly not missed from the start. For the painstakingly-impeccable spotless white Hosts (customarily made by nuns, by the way) now are seen as wonderbread.

    “Corita” became famous *because* she worked to undermine her Lord’s Church, her religious order, and her solemn promises to Him. And at all these things, she was most ‘successful.’ She was a success at helping to make herself, and her order, disintegrate. Looking at her work today, we see nothing more than what a bright teenager, a third-rate illustrator (if with precise craftsmanship), could produce. But she was famous because she colorized infidelity. She was a cheerleader for all those who ‘felt’ that the Catholic Church was played out; and she was not holy enough, nor tough enough on herself, nor humble enough, even to keep her own promises to herself. She was just bright enough, just talented enough, to ride the wave crafted by the Sensitive and Clever of her time; but not smart enough, nor talented enough, to immerse herself in Him who will never die – to play herself ‘in’ to His garden, as it were, which is both of Eden and Gethsemane.

    And so, “Corita,” and wonderbread, demands a re-contextualization: Our Lord, from the Cross, weeping tears of blood, dropping on her print, for Frances Elizabeth Kent: sinner, failure; and so humble is He that His real tears appear as clown tears to her, for that is all she could see. And so we too should mourn, for her and all her ilk, and pray that His prayer from the Cross may not be in vain: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

  29. susan says:

    SSPX.

  30. Hilary White says:

    Lynne, I know.

  31. Andrew Dunn says:

    There was an article in this Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer about a former Sister of St. Joseph who, like many of them, became feminist after Vatican II. This one took it further, she relinquished her vows and left the Church. And then she took it even further… She came to the conclusion that “all religions are the same” so today, despite being a proud feminist, she’s now a proud muslim. Yes, you heard right, a feminist has voluntarily chosen islam as her religion. I too am not a sedevacantist but as a result of surrealist stories like this, I have come to reject the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. There simply were no good fruits that came from Vatican II. Vatican II was basically a poison that was sprayed on the flowers instead of the weeds. Hilary, I’ll look forward to reading your article on Steve’s site (no pressure Steve) but I hope this sad news from the Philadelphia Inquirer will inspire you to successfully find a way to re-plant God’s garden of women religious. God Bless.

  32. Lynne says:

    Well, the SSPX isn’t sede… 🙂

  33. mark docherty says:

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Spill it!

  34. sta says:

    Wow, please hurry Steve. We need this ASAP.
    Personally, I’ve started collecting old prayer books and devotionals. Because as you state, “they can’t take them away”.
    Unless someone saves them, they will be gone.

  35. Martha says:

    Aaaaaaaaaggghhhh!!! Steve! Bust a move!!!

    What a great cliffhanger; seriously, you should be a writer. 😉

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