Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Women's suffrage

Thursday, August 25, was the 91st anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote. Here is the story of my meager brush with that moment in history.

It was election day in Chicago, 1995, and I was living in Lincoln Park. Daley's opponent was a clown. Literally That was actually his profession. Anyway, I hadn't voted that day. My choice was between Daley and a clown, so I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the polls that day (and I always vote, so that would have been a pretty big deal).

On my way home from work that day, shuffling down the street toward me was this woman, old enough to be the  little sister of Methusaleh. I had never seen her before, but she stopped me, a perfect stranger, and asked, "Have you voted yet?" I hemmed and hawed but basically said no.
Then she told me, "The first time I voted was the first election in which women had the right to vote." That would have been the presidential election in 1920 that put Warren Harding in the White House. She said she'd voted for Calvin Coolidge, even though he was only the VP candidate. Who knows? Maybe she voted for Harding because she liked Coolidge. Back then you had to be 21 to vote, right? So she had to have been born in at least 1899, and it was 1995. That meant she was at least 96.

In parting, she told me, "You make sure you vote," and I did.

Anyway, it was an amazing moment that, to have met someone who was amongst the first American women to vote and certainly one of the last alive. I was very lucky, and that night, I couldn't get it out of my mind what an incredible moment that had been.

A great way to start your Sunday ... or any day

Do yourself a favor: Listen to this. It's a great way to start off your Sunday. Oh, and ignore the first 30 seconds where Giovanni is speaking his native tongue, Italian. Indeed, check out Giovanni's channel. He's a master and a gift to both the Church and the world.

What you will never regret

In the days of college and early adulthood, I was promiscuous. My numbers -- my bedpost notches, if we're going to be even more crass -- are above those of the average heterosexual male (but a pale, barely distinguishable shadow of those experienced by upwards of 30-plus percent). I am only in vague contact with two of those women, both of whom I dated seriously, one of which to the point of engagement. She turned 44 yesterday, the other sometime earlier in the month. Happy birthday, sweeties. Seems all my significant girlfriends were born in August. Wonder what that means. Hmmm.

Anyway, I've a relative who's just graduated from college. She has committed several sins against chastity of late, and it makes me sad. She had such an excellent formation from her mother, and her siblings were good roll models in this respect, too. And yet there's this man who she knows is just using her for cheap thrills, and she doesn't care. That's what sin does to you. At first you're horrified by what you've done. Then it becomes habitual and you think, "What's the big deal."

She wrote recently to say loves me, and I responded thusly:
I love you, too, sweetheart. More than you can know, and that's why I have been praying and sacrificing for you per our last conversation. Please trust me. Don't repeat my mistakes, honey. Please be that rare young person who simply trusts the counsel of those older and more experienced, we who look back on our past with weeping sadness and regret at the tricks of ol' hairy hooves into which helped us all too eagerly fall. Remember, always remember, keep in mind constantly, the sacrifices your mom offered for you from the moment you were born, and especially those she made as she drew to that door. Don't let them be in vain, Ang. If you do, it will only be the spiritual equivalent of defecating on her grave as a piece of performance art with a large crowd in attendance.
As I have constantly told my teenage CCD students, "You will never regret your chastity, but you will always regret your giving in to your lust."

If you don't understand the philosophy behind chastity or the Church's teachings on this subject, then let me suggest you look into the Theology of the Body. Chastity is not some white knuckle thing where you have to squirm, grin, and bear it until that day -- which may or may not come -- when you get married. It is a gift, a beautiful gift, and it even exists in marriage, although in a different form. But to violate it, to fritter it away, it leads to so much else that is just poisonous in your life and your soul.

Please, take it from someone who knows.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Beatification and saints news from July

The saints and beati news over the last month has been pretty thin, but here is what we have:

On June 28, Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree of heroic virtue for Mother Laura Meozzi, who is now known as Ven. Laura Meozzi. She was from a noble Florentine family and went to Rome around 1895 to complete her medical studies, but while in school, she discerned a call to join the Salesian Sisters, and from 1898 through 1921, she worked in Sicily, before moving to Poland. When she arrived she had nothing, but trusting totally in God's providence, she made it known she would give help to whoever needed it: homeless, sick, persecuted, prostitutes, wayward children, orphaned and abandoned children, etc. When WWII broke out, she could have gone home to Italy, but she stayed behind. Some of her sisters were shipped off to concentration camps. After the war, she had to move further west in Pogrzebien, Poland, and she reestablished the novitiate in a castle the Germans had used to exterminate women and children. This is interesting because the Church has always gone to great lengths to establish itself in, say, former pagan temples or has built over these to physically demonstrate the triumph of Christ. So here, Ven. Laura established the novitiate of an order that helped mothers and children in a place where the occultic Nazis had murdered them.
It was announced in early July that at long last, the beatification cause of Queen Catherine of Aragon looks like it's getting off the ground. Here is where you can find more:
On July 1, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities of Syracuse, NY, announced the Vatican medical board that rules on miracles says there is no medical explanation for the reversal of a woman's allegedly fatal medical condition. Bl. Mariane's cause still must pass two more Vatican examinations before it is presented to the pope for final approval for canonization. The first is by a board of theologians who will determine if the healing was the result of prayer for Mother Marianne's intercession, and then by a committee of cardinals and bishops who will examine the entire case and give a final verdict.

On July 4, it was announced that the beatification cause of Ven. Pius XII, the Pope during WWII, may have its miracle. An Italian woman named Maria Esposito had contracted Stage IV Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare and particularly aggressive form of cancer. She suffered setback after setback, and after her family and she prayed for his intercession, she not only survived but was totally cured after a single, six-week cycle of chemotherapy. Her own oncologist says this is inexplicable.