Saturday, January 30, 2010

AmeriCares Receives Donations from Wisdom House Donors

Friends of Wisdom House contributed close to $5,000 for the relief efforts in Haiti. Here, Daughter of Wisdom Sister Catherine Sheehan presents the check from Wisdom House to Curt Welling, CEO of AmeriCares. Sister Catherine works with AmeriCares giving medical care. For further information on the work of AmeriCares, visit
To date, more than $11 million in medical aid has been sent by AmeriCares to Haiti.

Wisdom House continues to accept donations forthe relief efforts in Haiti. Checks may be sent to Wisdom House-Haiti, 229 E. Litchfield Rd, Litchfield, CT 06759. Thank you.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rev. Richard Watson discusses the Earth Charter January 31

Sr. Rosemarie Greco, DW interviews Rev. Richard Watson about the Earth Charter for the Wisdom segment of the program "Rich Answers," which airs every Sunday morning on WRCH 100.5 FM at 6 am. This interview will be aired on Sunday, January 31.

Sr. Rosemarie and Sr. Jo-Ann Iannotti, OP are the Wisdom Correspondents for this program which is presented through The Conference of Churches in Hartford.

The Conference of Churches' mission is to "achieve social justice for all people through faith-based leadership, education,advocacy, and partnerships."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Daughter of Wisdom Perishes in Haiti

(AMERICAS NEWS - JANUARY 23, 2010, 4:12 P.M. ET, CARREFOUR, Haiti) —In the minutes before the world collapsed around her, Sister Marie Claude busied herself with one of the ordinary chores she loved: Making the Daughters of Wisdom convent a welcoming sanctuary for guests.

The other nuns believe that Sister Marie Claude had just finished making up a guest bedroom—she usually put in a vase of roses, bougainvillea or other flowers from the garden—when the ground shifted and buckled, bringing the main convent building down on top of her.

"If you came into a bedroom she arranged, you'd be happy to lie down," said Sister Immaculée, another member of the Catholic order.

Marie Claude Jean, 31 years old, grew up in Jacmel, a town of 50,000 some 25 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. Jacmel, an up-and-coming tourist destination until last week, is known for its artists, and Marie Claude taught art before taking her vows three years ago.

Net covering her face, she tended the convent's bee hives and harvested the honey. Determined and hard-working, she organized events at the convent, including a pastoral retreat four days before the earthquake. She welcomed nearly 100 priests to the gathering, including the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Joseph Serge Miot, another of last week's casualties, who died at his residence next to the cathedral.

But Sister Marie Claude also had a whimsical side, according to her fellow nuns, who uniformly describe her as "dynamic," summoning images of Maria in "The Sound of Music." She was locally famous for the handmade Christmas, birthday, and New Year's cards she made of paper, leaves and other simple materials. She sold them to raise money for the Church. She taught impoverished local girls to draw and to make paper flowers they could sell to earn a little money.

"She makes beautiful things from nothing," said Sister Immaculée. "Everybody wants her cards."

The other nuns say they believe she was near the staircase when the quake hit, leaving the main convent building compressed like layers of a crooked cake, six floors crushed by gravity into one. The concrete crucifix listed, but remained upright on the remains of the roof.

Sixteen nuns managed to escape the wreckage, along with some convent employees. A male worker and six other nuns, including Sister Marie Claude, remained inside. One sister, a physician, could be heard yelling for help from the wreckage the day after the earthquake.

The sisters managed to free two bodies for burial.

On Monday, six days after the earthquake, a rescue team came up the hill to the convent, located in the Port-au-Prince suburbs. The searchers spotted but didn't recover four more bodies. They thought they heard "signs of life" when they tapped on the rubble, the nuns say.

The sisters let themselves believe those were signals from Sister Marie Claude.

On Wednesday, the Carrefour mayor enlisted the international coalition's help, and the U.S. dispatched a search and rescue squad from Fairfax County, Va.

When the team arrived, it found Haitian police officers arresting three suspected looters, as the nuns stood anxiously by. The officers fired a warning shot and briskly flattened the three men on the driveway. Apparently equipped with only one pair of handcuffs, the officers braceleted two of the men together, and tied the third man's shirt to his neighbor's. One security agent beat the back of one suspect's leg with the handle of a hammer.

The sisters watched as the Americans sent their dogs sniffing into gaps in the rubble. The rescuers used listening gear, trying to pick up a suggestion of life. "Hello," they yelled over and again. "Rescue! Tap three times."

A filter mask shielding her mouth and nose from the wafting scent of corpses, Sister Immaculée murmured a prayer to Jesus and a plea to Marie Claude. "Are you alive?" she asked.

As dark descended, the rescue crew climbed back into their vehicles. Sister Marie Chantal wiped away tears. "The dogs didn't smell anything," she said.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Photography of John Talbert

John Talbert - Photography Exhibit

Show runs through April 17
Gallery Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

John Talbert, who grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, had his love of photography sparked by a gift of Ansel Adams’ portfolios. These, plus his own memories of the southwest, fueled the fire for his future passion. He had his first exhibit in 1988 and eventually taught himself, “moving”, as he says, “ from using a 35 mm and medium format cameras to the 4x5 view camera.” He notes that his creativity “evolved from the grand Western Landscapes to the smaller and simpler parts of the views to be found everywhere and sometimes right under foot.” Upon returning from serving in the Army in Vietnam, he began working in the drywall construction industry in Phoenix, but never lost his passion for photography.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Grammy Nomination for Cellist David Darling

David Darling of Goshen, Connecticut, has been nominated for a Grammy for his recent album, Prayer for Compassion. This CD, according to the Litchfield County Times, reflects David's "social and environmental views as well as the trauma of recent events."

David Darling, long-time friend of Wisdom House, performed here at the dedication of the chapel windows, "In Sophia's Garden."

You can listen to excerpts on the album, Prayer for Compassion, by linking here. David Darling's website is here.

We send our best wishes to David. The Grammy celebration takes place on January 31 in the Staples Center, Los Angeles.

Copies of the CD are available from Wisdom House at

In the Gallery: John Talbert, Photographer, Jan. 23 to April 17

John Talbert, Photographer

Saturday, January 23 until April 17, 2010

Gallery Hours: Monday through Saturday,
10a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Friendship Like no Other

William Barry, SJ, led a retreat at Wisdom House from Jan. 8 to 10 that gave participants an opportunity to explore in prayer God's desire for our friendship and our response. In this brief video, Father Barry discusses the meaning of that friendship with God. (Click here for more from Fr. Barry about friendship with God.)