Sunday, September 6, 2009

WOMEN OF THE CHURCH: Casa Gianna; Sr. Veronica Mary, OP; Mary Healy

On Friday evening, I dropped in for a visit at Casa Gianna, a household for women wishing to to take part in a "Living Catholic Fellowship".

Sharon Godsell (pictured below with some of those attending the launch), who works in the Public Service sector and three associates who are on the staff of Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) (Emily Arsenault, Janine Boulange and Meaghan Darwent) have rented a house not far from the Diocesan Centre, which makes it an easy walf for the CCOers.

Akin to the Frassati men's households across Canada (one started in Halifax in 2004; there are houses now also here in Ottawa, in Calgary, Saskatoon and Vancouver) devoted to the spirituality and vigorous (manly) Catholicism that finds in Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati a model, these young women find in St. Gianna Beretta Molla an inspiration in choosing life according to God's path.

They describe their mission as follows, "to be an example of Christ's love for us" and their vision as one of growing in holiness and love for one another through prayer, sacrifice, generosity and accountability". They want their home to be a place "where woman and men can come to deepen their faith and find fellowship".

There was lots of good fun in the air following a Mass celebrated in the house by Msgr. Len Lunney, they gave me a cordial welcome.

May the Lord Jesus, His Blessed Mother Mary and St. Gianna inspire the residents and those who visit to live their Christan fellowship to the fullest.

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Discovering a Vocation to the Contemplative Life

Donna Marie Edwards, who grew up in Ottawa, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, searched out several options for the proper way to live her devotion to the Lord fully. She has recently found it in the Dominican Sisterhood, in the monastery in Buffalo, NY.

Recently having made her first profession with the Dominicans as Sister Veronica Mary of the Transfiguration, she was in town over the weekend for a brief home visit. She dropped by to greet the new archbishop in her home diocese and shared with me her vocational journey and her happiness in it.

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Mary Healy's Commentary on Mark's Gospel

Before presiding at Father Richard Siok's installation as Rector of St. Patrick's Basilica at midday today, I was able to spend a bit of time exploring commentaries on today's gospel passage of Jesus' cure of the deaf and mute man in the Decapolis (Mark 7:31-37).

After purusing several scholarly writings, I turned to the new Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series, on whose editorial board I serve, to see how Mary Healy handled the passage in her commentary The Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008). In addition to the scholarly background, Dr. Healy touches on the implications for our faith today, cites the Catechism of the Catholic Church and offers in the sidebar called "Living Tradition" a quotation from Tertullian's The Resurrection of the Flesh, called the "Flesh as the Hinge of Salvation" (p. 147):

The importance of the flesh in God's plan for salvation was a continual source of wonder to early pagan converts to Christianity, especially those steeped in Greek philosophy, which had often disparaged the body.

Tertullian, a third-century Father, wrote eloquently about how it is through our flesh that Christ mediates his grace in each of the sacraments:

"The flesh is the hinge of salvation... The flesh is washed so that the soul may be made clean. The flesh is anointed so that the soul may be consecrated. The flesh is signed so that the soul may be protected. The flesh is overshadowed by the laying on of hands so that the soul may be illumined by the Spirit. The flesh feeds on the body and blood of Christ so that the soul too may be filled with God. (Flesh and spirit) cannot, then, be separated in their reward, when they are united in their works."

This text graphically lets us reflect on the sacramental gestures Jesus performed in leading the deaf man so that his ears and heart and spirit could "BE OPENED".

During last fall's Synod on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, I was pleased to present a copy of Mary Healy's commentary to Pope Benedict XVI


  1. Excellent book by M.Healy. I also have a copy in my library. Your grace, I also find today's Mark version of the healing of the man born deaf and dumb so glorious in every sweaty little detail. I love the earthiness of the passage and especially how Jesus heals, saves and also how he does so by getting very close, very personal and very intimate with his people: touching, spitting, groaning, whispering soft endearments...Truly amazing gospel and excellent for reflection.

  2. Hi,
    very nice article, I have enjoyed reading it. I have to agree, Healy´s book is just great.