Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autumn and the Practice of Tonglen

The season of Autumn is full of signs of transitions in nature and in all of life. Is it also a time to give thanks for all that has been part of the past spring and summer and also to ask forgiveness for all that gives pain and suffering.

The American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron explains to participants in a retreat, the practice of "Tonglen" which means "taking and sending". Tonglen practice is an aid in transforming difficulties into the path of awakening and compassion for self and others. In "Tonglen" we breathe in suffering and pain and breathe out peace and compassion.

For more information on Tonglen, read "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron or view the video .

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 24: First Annul Global Awareness Day

We hope you will visit the site of The First Annual Global Oneness Day here to watch a video and read  about this interfaith and intercultural movement.

From the Web site:

This is a day – the first one in history – dedicated to celebrating and demonstrating our inner oneness and our outer diversity, a day when the greatness of the whole is reflected in the greatness of its parts.

We invite you to join untold thousands of people in cities and villages around the world showing what it means and how great it feels to live in unity, diversity, harmony and compassion.

And if we can do it on this shared day, then there is hope that we can do it every day! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spirit Book Workshop at Wisdom House on Saturday, November 13

Image created from photos of rose hips and hydrangea and hand lettering 

 Spirit Book Update:  

The Spirit Book Series is on exhibit at Wisdom House in Litchfield, Connecticut, until January 8, 2011. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I will be giving a Spirit Book workshop on Saturday, November 13 from 9:30 to noon  at Wisdom House.  For those with bookmaking experience, it offers a chance to let go and take part in a simple project which requires only an engagement with the materials and the moment. For those without prior bookmaking or art experience, it is an excellent entry into creative exercise.

Several of the Spirit Books will be in a group show at Harbor Gallery at UMass Boston from Nov.15-Dec. 14.

Wishing you a wondrous autumn filled with the gentle light of the season.

In good spirit,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Homily reflections for the Scripture readings for the Roman Catholic Mass will occasionally be posted. These are unedited versions submitted to the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, for their publication. (Printed here with their permission).
 Homily based on these scripture readings:

1. Joel 1,13-15; 2,1-2 
2. Luke 11,15-16

Focus:  Time for Choice; Time for Conversion

 These weeks of October are marked by discussions and debates leading to our governmental elections .  Uppermost in many of our minds are the humanitarian concerns that affect us personally and as a community.  Basic needs such as employment, health care, education and peace are necessary if we are to pursue happiness and find human dignity. These are the goals our nation was founded to provide and they are also the gospel values that Jesus  calls us to experience.  We hear these concerns raised in campaign speeches of candidates for governmental offices.  We know, too, that these have been the same concerns proclaimed by many candidates for leadership over the past decades.  These concerns provoke our consciences to search for God’s will as we make decisions for future leadership.  We hope that God can save us from devastation and demise and make us a wholesome people and nation.

Today’s reading from the prophet Joel speaks to a society riddled with concerns about the well-being and survival of the human family. In Joel’s time, about the year 400 BCE, many thought that history was coming to an end because the times were so bad and so troubled.  For many years the people lived with struggles and devastation in their midst.  This moved Joel to call for a national time of mourning and fasting, hoping that this could turn the tide to move positive days.  He directs the call for a fast to the priests of the people, the leaders, and urges them to cry out to the Lord for salvation from their terrible plight.  Darkness and gloom are spreading over the land.  Conversion is necessary to change the course of events.  Truly, Joel’s words are prophetic for our time just as they were for his time.

Then, in the Gospel, Jesus casts out a demon and says. “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste”.  Jesus casts out demons not because he is associated with demons but because he is  Son of God.  Empowered by God’s Spirit, and the “finger of God”, Jesus identifies and  drives out evil.  He does this in the Gospel story and he does this when we call upon him to cast out evils in our lives and in our society in order to bring God’s presence to people, places and things.  Jesus drives out paralyzing  demons in order to bring God’s life and healing into being.  Jesus always offers life and salvation.  A time of fast and prayer is sometimes necessary  for this kind of change to take place.

Joel called for reform among the leaders.  Jesus calls for exorcism of evil in our communities.  Both of these prophetic voices anguish over the suffering of the people.  Jesus, above all, knows  the suffering of today’s people in their struggle for life, liberty and happiness.  The campaign speeches of our governmental candidates point out to us the dark side of our nation’s culture because they name our weaknesses and point to our hopes for a better day.  We still have time to ask for guidance from the “finger of God” to direct our minds to those actions that will alleviate devastation for people and hold the promise of God’s life in our  local and national communities.

Joel and Jesus, prophets of God, acted with the conviction that God’s promises of peace and fullness of life are possible for all people.  We are moving toward a days of  decision.  Let us be sure to bring God’s values to our decisions so that God’s reign may be seen on earth.

--Rosemarie Greco, DW

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thomaston Savings Bank Awards a Grant to Wisdom House

Sister Rosemarie Greco, administrator of Wisdom House, accepts a grant award of $1000 from Roger Perreault, Director of Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation, and Diane Roveto, its Bethlehem Branch Manager. The grant was given to assist in funding the restoration of the historic stone wall(c.1785) at Wisdom House.

An accompanying letter from bank president, Stephen L. Lewis, states, "I believe we have witnessed today the kindness and charity of the individuals that make a distinct difference in our local townships."

The celebration of the bank's grant night was held at The Thomaston Opera House in Thomaston, CT. For further information, visit

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rich Answers: The Catholic Worker House, Hartford

Sr. Jo-Ann Iannott, OP, Wisdom Correspondent for The Conference of Churches, interviewed Jacqueline Allen-Doucot, co-founder of The Catholic Worker House in Hartford.

The St. Martin de Porres Catholic Worker community is a lay community of Catholics and like minded friends, living in the north end of Hartford, working and praying for an end to violence and poverty. To find out more about the outreach of this community visit

Her interview will be aired on the program, "RICH ANSWERS" on WRCH 100.5 FM on Sunday, October 10 at 5:45 am. The program is sponsored by The Conference of Churches.

Wednesday evening, September 29, Wisdom House hosted its 12th Annual Wisdom Award Celebration.

This year's honorees were Marie Wallace of Litchfield and Dr. Matthew Pagano of Winsted. Marie was honored as a Promoter of Democracy and Matthew was honored as a Courier of Compassion.

Family, friends, and colleagues joined in the evening's celebration.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Antoinette Bosco Discusses 'Radical Forgiveness'

On September 11, Antoinette Bosco, author and award-winning journalist, presented a program titled, "Radical Forgiveness." She shared with participants what she had experienced and learned about forgiveness from the events in her life. Through small group interaction, there was an opportunity for participants to share their stories and experiences of iving and receiving forgiveness.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homily: Table Talk

This homily was originally written for use in the Celebration of the Eucharist.  Thus, the reference to the table of the Eucharist in the closing paragraph. 
Scripture Readings:
1. Acts 25:13b-21
2. John 21:15-19

 Table Talk

Tables are meant for sharing.  We know of all kinds of tables: kitchen and dining room tables, computer tables, pool tables, snack tables, laboratory tables, just to name a few.  Each table evokes its unique type of sharing.  At some tables we share information; at others, skills at games; at still others, we share the quest and challenge for new discoveries.  All of these add to the quality of our lives and draw us into unique relationships with those who share the table with us.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is at a breakfast table with his disciples.  The sharing that takes place is revealing as well as painful.  The Gospel says that Jesus revealed himself to the disciples, but we are not told the substance of Jesus’ revelation.  On the other hand, the questions that Jesus raises after this breakfast cause Peter to reveal something intimate and painful.  In Jesus’ question to Peter, “Do you love me?” Peter is taken off guard.  Peter is distressed at being asked the same question three times.  He relies, “Yes, Lord, I love you.”

One would think, in this breakfast conversation, that this talk about love would lead to further talk about their relationship, their good times together, their hopes for the community and the like.  The “table talk,” however, takes a seemingly strange turn.  Jesus tells Peter to serve the community and immediately follows this with talk about aging and dying.  These topics are typically avoided at table because they touch us at a most vulnerable point.  Yet Jesus does not avoid difficult topics.  He encourages us to speak about things that weigh heavy on our hearts.  He supports us in our fears and anxieties.  He knows what we are experiencing.

The conversation doesn’t end with this.  Jesus does not expect Peter to wallow in self pity over the thoughts of debilitation as he ages or dying in a way he doesn’t plan.  No, Jesus implies that we need to let go of control in our lives, be open to the subtle action of the Spirit of God in our thoughts and attitudes and, in the midst of this, get on with life and follow Jesus.

We all bring our concerns to the table.  Jesus and Peter brought their concerns about commitment, service, aging and death.  Tables are meant for sharing at whatever level we are able to share.

Today, now, we find ourselves at a Holy Table.  This table of the Eucharist is where we find Jesus in a unique way.  It is a table where we can expose our deep concerns, anxieties and fears about ourselves, the world and our loved ones.   It is a table where Jesus waits for us to unburden whatever weighs heavy on our hearts.  It is a table where we are nourished with the life of Jesus and the Spirit of God to go forth, follow Jesus and find the sheep.

What shall we say, today, as we approach this table?

--Rosemarie Greco, DW

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thinking About the Animals that Provide Food for Humanity

October 4 is the feast of St Francis of Assisi, a man noted for his love of creation and care of animals.  This is a good time to think about the treatment of the animals that provide food for humanity.  Click here to view the documentary video of the Humane Society, “Eating Mercifully.”