Free passes to see "Hairspray." (Who am I to turn down such a gift?) Music lover that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even if I really didn't appreciate the fact that the only "religious" character in the whole movie was so stereotypically anti-all-things-fun. (Why is that one stereotype allowed to remain unchallenged in pop culture?) Oh, well. The movie was still delightful, even if I cringed for that one character. (Mom, you're going to enjoy it, too, when you and Miss Betty go to see it this week.)
Read an interesting book. Actually "read" is a bit strong: "perused an interesting book and read all the stories in it" is more like it. The book is "A New Kind of Normal" by Carol Kent. I do not know if we have it in our Pauline centers, because it is written from a strongly evangelical Protestant point of view and written for that audience, but there is much that a Catholic can appreciate in it. The author is writing for people whose lives, especially familiy lives, have been turned upside down in some way: abuse, infidelity, a husband or child in jail. Kent's life turned upside down when her son was sentenced to life in prison without parole and without appeal (and evidently without a good lawyer from the start). (The young man, a Navy officer who was convinced that his tiny stepdaughters were in danger and desperate to protect them, had flipped and killed their father in front of multiple witnesses.) That will wreak havoc on an extended family and on their faith. Hence, the book. What is most remarkable about this is not that Kent and her husband find biblical ways to renew their shattered lives: it is that their primary model is Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Almost every chapter develops a different moment in the life of Our Lady as the "Sign of Contradiction" her Son was and is turned her life upside down. As my friends in the "Mary, Mother of Captives" support group know, Mary, too, had a son in jail. At any rate: a good read, and some worthwhile inspiration.
And the Feast of St. Bernard is an especially significant date for us Paulines: it is the anniversary of our founding! This year, the Daughters of St. Paul international "Chapter" meeting also opens on the Feast of St. Bernard. The Chapter is held every six years, for the purpose of electing our interntational governing team (mother general and council), and for looking over the situation of the community in terms of spirituality, vowed life and mission, setting goals and so on for the next six years. The Chapter lasts one month, and your prayers throughout are mightily appreciated.