Reflections

Happy New Year!

By Sister Vicki Bergkamp, ASC

The New Year holiday has become a celebration of transition in our lives, transitions we make each new day, each new week, each new month, and sometimes much more often.

It’s so easy to talk about transitions and how we look forward to a new year, assuming it will be better. I think it does demand some soul searching and honesty, though. What is it in our lives that we would like to be different? What can we do about it? Are we open to changes that will make our lives “better”

Collecting Children’s Christmas Books

By Sister Mary Catherine Clark, ASC

Sitting down with a cup of hot tea and enjoying some of my children’s Christmas books is one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas Season. It always brings me “tidings of comfort and joy.”

Some collect angels or bells or nativity sets. I collect Christmas books.

It started when I was a director of religious education and responsible for the Parish School of Religion Christmas program.

What began for a practical reason soon became a deeper and broader pursuit of great children’s books.

Gifts of the Heart

By Juanita Mason-Fegley, an ASC Sojourner

According to legend, there was a young man roaming the desert who came across a spring of delicious, crystal-clear water. The water was so sweet, he filled his leather canteen so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher. After a four-day journey, he presented the water to the old man who took a deep drink, smiled warmly, and thanked his student lavishly for the sweet water. The young man returned to his village with a happy heart.

Later, the teacher let another student taste the water,

Ending Violence Starts with Us

By Sister Sara Dwyer, ASC

Our country has been shocked, perhaps even numbed, by the continued horrific violence inspired by a white supremacist/white nationalist ideology.

In just the last week:

  • Suspect Cesar Sayoc allegedly attempted to kill prominent Democrats, Trump critics and staff at CNN with targeted pipe bombs in the mail.
  • Two black Americans were gunned down in a grocery store in Kentucky after the alleged shooter initially tried to enter a black church minutes earlier.
  • A grisly shooting left 11 people dead at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

My Inspiration: What I Remember about Sister Bertha Fischer

By Monica Morrey Bayer

Recently I was saddened to receive the news of the death of Sister Bertha Fischer, known to her students at St. Pius X in Festus, Missouri, as Sister Mary Austin.

Though she figured in my life for only two years, her inspiration has lasted a lifetime. When she attended our St. Pius X High School Class of 1966 50th reunion, I hope we grads conveyed that we loved and respected her tremendously.

She was sweet and dear, and never had a discipline problem. She modeled for students like me a grace and dignity that we could emulate.

A Letter to My Father, Jim Funk

Sister Krystal with her father

By Sister Krystal Funk, ASC

We met when I was only 3, and I lost you this past July when I was only 35.

You were just 68 years old, a Baby Boomer and retired bank auditor, gone to all of us including your mother, who, at 96, remains the foundation of our family.

Though you were my stepdad, you were the only father I have known. Shortly after you married my mother, you adopted me without hesitation.

You loved me.

Seeds Far and Near  

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

My upstairs neighbor, a horticulturist at Missouri Botanical Garden, recently returned from a research trip to Kyrgyzstan where his team helped local scientists collect fruit and nut tree seeds for national seed banks including one in Kyrgyzstan.

He said some of the trees are among some of the oldest on the planet. Kyrgyzstan, located on part of the iconic Silk Road, is bordered by China to the east and Uzbekistan to the west, a location I can barely imagine.  How exotic the trip, the research, the land, the terrain,

Farewell, Rudy

By Sister Barbara Jean Franklin, ASC

We learned last week that the talented St. Louis-area sculptor Rudolph “Rudy” Torrini died Wednesday, Sept. 5. He was 95 and died from complications of dementia.

Mr. Torrini, the son of an Italian immigrant mold maker and a silent movie pianist, was renowned for his public sculptures that grace the St. Louis area. His works include the likeness of a soccer player, a police officer, a boy and his dog, Italian immigrants, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, and a 9-year-old child who was slain in the crossfire of a gunfight.

Stepping Away

By Sister Barbara Hudock, ASC

We are called at times in our lives to step into certain positions or roles, perhaps for a short time or maybe for a longer period.

This could be a job, a relationship, a living situation.

I often think of being called to something and that call is filled with newness and anticipation. I don’t often think about being called to step away.

Sometimes we receive a call to let go, without knowing what lies ahead. At times, we are called to let go of friends who have been a part of our lives for years.

Looking for Sure Footing

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

The biggest news stories of recent days expose the human failings in our government and the Catholic Church, really, about the scandal bubbling up in both institutions.

“Scandal,” a word borrowed from Latin and Greek words, means a “cause of moral stumbling.”

Who’s stumbling?

Are the guilty stumbling because of their moral failings? Or are ordinary Catholics and U.S. citizens slipping in the mud and muck caused by clericalism and political power mongering?

Where is our sure footing?

It’s probably not mere coincidence that the moral failings of both the Church in the U.S.