Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

As God sees the world tottering to ruin because of fear,

    God acts unceasingly to bring it back by love,

           To invite it by grace,

                      To hold it by charity,

                           And clasp it firmly with affection.


                                            St. Peter Chrysologus (380-450)

                                            Bishop of Ravenna, Italy


May the Love, Who is Jesus, clasp us with affection this Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Advent

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?  For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
                                                                    Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Third Sunday of Advent


John the Baptist lived in the desert and led an ascetical life.

Crowds followed him wherever he went.


The Gospel of Luke reminds us:

"Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah.

 John answered them all, saying,

 "I am baptizing you with water,

 but one mightier than I is coming.

 I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.

 He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

                                                                         (Luke 3: 15-16)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thomas Moore on Care of the Soul and Spirit

Internationally-known author and Jungian psychotherapist, Thomas Moore, gave a weekend retreat at Wisdom House in November. Moore explored with participants the sources of soul and spirit that urge us to dig deep to find where we are at home with our soul and where our spirit urges us to reach out and create a future full of hope. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller, "Care of the Soul" and its companion book, "Soul Mates."

Thomas Moore YouTube Video

Friday, December 7, 2012

Second Sunday of Advent 2012

Hinges make it possible for doors to function -

     The quality and strength of the hinges

           Increase the function of the door.

Advent is the door through which we pass each year to prepare to remember the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

And like all trustworthy doors, Advent rests on sturdy hinges. This door hinges on scriptural reminders of God's promise to Israel to send them a savior.

          God's promise to free them from oppression

              God's promise to be their God

                        And Guide through the ups and downs of life.

Let us hinge our preparation for Christmas on a strong Advent of prayer, generosity, and works of charity and compassion.

Let us also remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who once wrote, "It is the beautiful task of Advent to evoke in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."

                                                           ~ Jo-Ann Iannotti, OP

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Band of Sisters at Bantam Cinema

On Saturday, November 17, over 40 people from the tri-state area came to Bantam Cinema in Bantam, CT, to view the new documentary, "Band of Sisters."

Director and  producer Mary Fishman, from Chicago, was present to answer questions from the audience and Sisters Rosemarie Greco and Jo-Ann Iannotti led a Q&A session after the film.

The film dealt with how sisters in the Catholic Church responded to the call for renewal which came from the Second Vatican Council.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Hope

The Advent mystery focuses on the light of faith, upon the very meaning of life, history, humanity, the world, of our very being.

In Advent we celebrate the coming of the presence of Christ in our world.

The fact that the world is other than it might be does not alter the truth that Christ is still present in it...

Our Advent is a celebration of this hope.

                                                               -   Thomas Merton

Monday, November 26, 2012

Red Biretta

       On November 23, Pope Benedict XVI created six new Cardinals.  As he placed the red biretta on them, he reminded them that the red biretta was a symbol of a “life entrusted with the service of love:  love of God, church, and an unconditional love for your brothers and sisters, even to shedding of blood in martyrdom."
        The cardinals are asked to “serve with the transparency and wisdom of teachers, the energy and strength of shepherds, and the fidelity and courage of martyrs.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Thanksgiving Day reminds us to celebrate

             the bounty of the earth,

                    the gift of family and community,

                                     the presence of our


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Remembering Sr. Mary Antoinette, DW

On November 19, 1964, Daughter of Wisdom Sister Mary Antoinette became a martyr in the Congo.  Her life was honored in a prayer service in the Chapel of Wisdom House during the Casagrande Interfaith Institute on the theme of Martyrdom on October 27. Reflections by Sister Barbara O’Dea were given.  Those reflections are available here.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coro Comes to Wisdom House

Participants in the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs met at Wisdom House for their seminar in experiential learning, interactions with private, public and non-profit decision-makers, and development in analytical, group governance and communications skills. 

This is a graduate-level leadership program that prepares diverse, talented and committed individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public arena.

For more information visit: www.coronewyork.org.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More and More

"Exodus is the permanent condition of the universe. It is always leaving itself behind to become more." 

Miriam Therese Mac Gillis, OP

Friday, November 9, 2012

Between Seasons Then Athena Arrived!

The Weather Channel announced that it would now name significant winter storms.

The first arrived on Nov. 8. She was named Athena.

In Greek mythology, Athena was the Goddess of Wisdom.

Appropriate for her to stop by here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In the Company of Martyrs

An honoring of several contemporary women martyrs took place in the chapel of Wisdom House during the Casagrande Interfaith Institute on Saturday, October 27, 2012.  These were Maryknoll sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clark, lay missionary Jean Donovan and Ursuline sister Dorothy Kazel, murdered in El Salvador, 1980;  Notre Dame de Namur Sister Dorothy Stang, murdered in Brazil, 2006; and Daughter of Wisdom Sister Mary Antoinette, murdered in the Congo, 1964. This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Sister Mary Antoinette's birth.

An interpretive dance was done by Judith Ehrman Shapiro, the song "The Rose" was sung by Helen Falcone, and a poetic tribute to Sister Mary Antoinette, written by author Edwina Gateley, was  read by Davyne Verstandig, Ann Gray, DW, and  Jo-Ann Iannotti, OP. The prayer service was titled, "In The Company of Martyrs."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Casagrande Interfaith Institute 2012

The 13th annual Casagrande Interfaith Institute, held October 26-28, 2012, focused on "Martyrdom: Why Some Die."  In the group photo are presenters Sister Judith Clemens, SND de Namur, Mahmoud Ayoub, PhD, and Prof. Yehezkel Landau with Sister Rosemarie Greco, DW.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bramble and Bramble : Remnants, Glyphs, and Palimpsests

In late September, we opened a new exhibit in the Marie Louise Trichet Gallery of the works of Pamela and Frank Bramble. Here are some photos of the exhibit, artists' talk, and reception. 

Excerpts from the video of the artists' talk can be accessed at http://www.bzmedia.bz/wisdom_house.htm and also the Arts page http://www.litchfield.bz/arts/.  Our gratitude to Doug Parker, editor of Litchfield.bz, for filming the video.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Exploring Catholic Culture: Vatican II - An Unexpected Revolution

This year's Exploring Catholic Culture program zeroed in on the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II.  Input concerning the history of the Council, the new role the laity was to play in the life of the Church, and the pastoral implications for Church leadership at that juncture in our history were some of the themes addressed by presenters, Maureen Sullivan OP, Paul Lakeland, and Bishop Peter Rosazza. The engaging conversation engendered between presenters and attendees at the conference was stimulating and encouraging.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wisdom Award 2012

This year Wisdom House honored Robert and Jeanne Fitzgerald of Litchfield as Community Visionaries and Brian Mattiello of Torrington as a Servant of the Common Good.

View some photos of the preparation and celebration of this year's Wisdom Award evening.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

50th Anniversary of Vatican Council II

Fifty years ago on October 11, 1962, the then-Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council, an ecumenical gathering of Catholic bishops, observers from a cross section of other Christian religions, and laity from around the globe. It was to be a gathering asking input on the lives and faith of Catholic Christians in order to update the Church.

It was a landmark experience for the Catholic Church in the 20th Century whose vibrations we are still feeling today! The following is an excerpt from the Opening Message to all gathered: 

"Coming together in unity from every nation under the sun, we carry in our hearts the hardships, the bodily and mental distress, the sorrows, the longings, and hopes of all the peoples entrusted to us... Let our concern focus on those who are poor and weak - weighed down with hunger, misery, and lack of knowledge. We want to fix a steady gaze on those who still lack the opportune help to achieve a way of life worthy of human beings."


Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Peanut Pumpkin

This light colored winter squash is covered with warts that look like peanuts. These were first grown in 1883 in the Bordeaux region of France and were known as "embroidered warts."  The squash tastes like pumpkin mixed with sweet potato.

This and other pumpkins and gourds displayed at Wisdom House are from Hogan's Cider Mill, Rt 4, Burlington, CT.  Owner Theresa Dunlop can give you great explanations!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

John Dominic Crossan on "The Greatest Prayer"

"Give us this day our daily bread."

During his lectures on  the Lord's Prayer, Crossan noted that this prayer, coming out of a patriarchal society, naturally has Father as the head of the household.  This "Father" is not a "judge" but is the one who cares for the Household.  As such, "Father" is responsible to make sure everyone in the household gets enough and has what is needed to survive.   Basically, the Head of the Household takes care of the good running and good organization of the house so that everyone in it (family household and house of the cosmos) has enough to live.  For more about John Dominic Crossan, visit  www.johndominiccrossan.com.

Monday, October 1, 2012

John Dominic Crossan at Wisdom House

Sisters Rosemarie Greco and Jo-Ann Iannotti are pictured with John Dominic Crossan, one of the foremost historical Jesus scholars of our time, who spoke at Wisdom House on his recent book "The Greatest Prayer: The Lord's Prayer." This seminar, co-sponsored with St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Litchfield, took place on September 21-22, 2012.

Hear Crossan in this video interview: http://youtu.be/JxuR4MemXUI.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Seeing Within

"A pile of rocks ceases to be a pile of rocks when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind."

                                     ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Novices of the Daughters of Wisdom at the International Novitiate in Paris, France

Novices from Haiti, Madagascar, Congo, France and the United States  are encouraged by each other as they study the way of life and spirituality of the Daughters of Wisdom.  For more information, visit www.daughtersofwisdom.org and www.fdlsagesse.org.


This  is a photo of the novices at Clamart, Paris. Our novice, Marie Josee, is in the center-back row, and Fabiola is in front far right (blue sweater).  Fabiola will be returning to the US September 11th.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Listening to the Ages

Ruins of Jerpoint Cistercian Abbey, Ireland ( 12 century)

If these stones could speak!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Listening and the Labyrinth

The prophet Isaiah said, "When you turn to the right and to the left, you shall hear a voice behind you saying: 'This is the way: Walk it.'"

The Book of Wisdom says, "There is for all of us one entrance into life and one way out." 

When we walk the labyrinth in the presence of God, even amid life's twists and turns, we will find our way back home.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Earth Lesson

"Water continually dripping will wear hard rocks hollow."

                                                                  ~  Plutarch

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Walking the Labyrinth

In the Middle Ages, labyrinths were placed in some cathedrals so that Christians could walk them in a sacred environment.

Walking the labyrinth was symbolic of their life's journey to God or to the Holy City, Jerusalem.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wisdom House Conference Coordinator

Carol Gould of Litchfield joins the staff of Wisdom House as Conference Coordinator.

Carol's years of experience in the hotel industry and her recent work at The Gunnery and Rumsey Hall schools will serve her well in her conference services at Wisdom House.
Carol can be reached at conference@wisdomhouse.org.

Wisdom House is an interfaith retreat and conference center presenting programs in spirituality, education and the arts and offering hospitality to the not-for-profit community.  www.wisdomhouse.org.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Symbol of the Journey

One symbol of our life's journey is the labyrinth. This is a walking path that takes us through twists and turns as we move toward its center.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Make a Wish

A person is not old
til regrets take the place of dreams.

                - John Barrymore

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Twists and Turns

Life is full of twists and turns. Life's journey is rarely a straight path to our goal. Unexpected events can take us in directions that may surprise us and even stress us.

Our faith can steady us in the midst of these many twists and turns.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Look to the Star

If you perceive yourself as drifting in treacherous waters, turn to the guiding star...  Look to the star, call upon Mary.

With her for your guide, you will not go astray.

(From a homily by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux whose feast is August 20.  Bernard lived from 1091-1153.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Wise

See clearly

Hear distinctly

Speak sincerely

Live graciously

Behave courteously

Work for respect

In doubt, seek information

When angry, think of consequences

When engaged in profit, reflect on ethics and integrity.

                                                        Confucius ( Adapted)

                                                        Sculpture: Frederick Franck

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dominic de Guzman, Founder of the Order of Preachers

On August 8, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, often referred to as the Dominicans.

Dominic de Guzman (1170 - 1221) was a man who was steeped in the Word of God and received Papal permission to found an Order dedicated specifically to preaching.  Up to that point in history, the only ones permitted to preach were the bishops.

He and his followers, both women and men, were on fire with the love of the Word of God and the desire to share the fruits of their contemplation with a world in flux.

Unlike their predecessors who gave witness to the Gospel through the monastic life, Dominic and his band of followers made the world their cell.

The city was their cathedral and the streets were their pulpit. The joys and sufferings of all peoples were the living Scriptures which would inspire their prayer and their preaching. Preaching and healing went hand in hand. 

There are thousands of Dominican sisters, brothers, priests, and nuns serving worldwide. You might be interested in finding out about my congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Hope. Visit www.ophope.org.

-    Jo-Ann Iannotti, OP

Monday, August 6, 2012

Riding the Ox, A Spiritual Journey #10

Sculpture and poems by Linda Shinji Hoffman
On exhibit in the Marie Louise Trichet Gallery through August 25, 2012.

Ordinary being            

         Doing ordinary things

                   Effortlessly and joyfully

Completely awake, you return to daily life with no trace of the journey.

(For complete poem, visit www.lindahoffman.com and click "new works")

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New General Council

Sr. Isabelle Retailleau (France), Sr. Natalia del Redentore (Italia),
Sr. Louise Madore (Canada) – Superior General,
Sr. Carmen Belèn Vergara, (Colombia), and Sré Rani Muthukattil, (India)

The international congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom held its general council in Rome, Italy this summer.  The purpose was to set directions for the coming years and to elect a governing council.   The elected council members are shown here.  The international website is www.fdlsagesse.org.  Wisdom House is a ministry of the Daughters of Wisdom.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Riding the Ox, A Spiritual Journey #9

Sculpture and poems by Linda Shinji Hoffman
On exhibit in the Marie Louise Trichet Gallery through August 25, 2012.

                 Buds to blossom

                              Blossoms to fruit

                                          Compassion everywhere

There is only the endless source, no attainment, no spiritual path.

For complete poem, visit www.lindahoffman.com and click "new works."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Zen Proverb

       and the way    

              will open.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine is drunk.

         M. F. K. Fisher

Monday, July 23, 2012

Riding the Ox, A Spiritual Journey #8

Sculpture and poems by Linda Shinji Hoffman
On exhibit in the Marie Louise Trichet Gallery through August 25, 2012.

No moon, No ox, No I

               Empty sky

                       Endless sky.

Surrender is complete, both you and the ox have disappeared.

 For complete poem, visit www.lindahoffman.com and click "new works."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saint Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the apostles and beloved friend of Jesus, sees her Risen Lord in a garden. (John 22, 11-18)

Today – spend some time, with open eyes, among the flowers.

The feast day of Mary Magdalene is celebrated on July 22.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Riding the Ox, A Spiritual Journey #7

Sculpture and poems by Linda Shinji Hoffman
On exhibit in the Marie Louise Trichet Gallery through August 25, 2012.

   Perfect freedom

              Perfect joy

                      Just sitting.

Having returned home, you realize that there never was an ox outside yourself.

For complete poem, visit www.lindahoffman.com  and click "new works."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Potter #2

We hold this treasure, the spirit of God, in earthen vessels...

(2 Corinthians 4,7)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Riding the Ox, A Spiritual Journey #6

Sculpture and poems by Linda Shinji Hoffman.
On exhibit in the Marie Louise Trichet Gallery through August 25, 2012.

                      Buddha nature

                               Pervading everywhere

                                               Clip clop - Clip clop

         Now at ease, you and the ox travel home together.

For complete poem, visit www.lindahoffman.com and click "new works."