Mother Mary, take my hand and lead me to Jesus.

Mother Mary, take my hand and lead me to Jesus.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Saint Joseph of Cupertino, levitating during prayer
Feast day: September 18
Patron saint of aviators, flying, students and 
those with mental disabilities

Here we have another saint with a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  He was a simple man, treated harshly by his parents, and suffered some mental problems as a result of it.  I can relate to this saint, as I had a brutal childhood. It occurs to me that most saints had difficult lives, so I find myself in good company, thanks be to God.

Evidently, Joseph was socially impaired to the extent that he just wandered around town with his mouth hanging open like a poor demented thing.  He was saddled with a bad temper, on top of everything else.  I wouldn't be surprised if Saint Joseph of Cupertino had post traumatic stress disorder!

Joseph tried to learn how to make shoes as a trade, but was unable to do it.  I don't know why.  It just didn't work out for him.  He attempted to join the Franciscans, but they would not have him.  The Capuchins took a chance on him, but booted him out less than a year later because he couldn't seem to do anything right.  He had broken things through gracelessness, such as the kitchen crockery, which the monastery could ill afford, and he wasn't good at following direction.

He was only 18 years old at this time, but his mother did not want him in her home, so she somehow convinced the Franciscans to take him in, and he was put in charge of the horses.  As anyone who has had horses can tell you, they are capable of being great healers through simple solid presence and ordinary companionship.  Joseph's intellect would never rise to great heights, but he began to be more careful and patient.  His anger lessened.  I think the horses had gentled him.  That is my guess, anyway.

Eventually, the Franciscans noted the change in St. Joseph and tutored him toward the priesthood. Study was not one of his strengths, and he struggled through his lessons as best he could.  From everything I have read about him, it sounds as if the monks were kind to him in a way he'd never experienced before, and it helped him greatly.  First, he became a deacon and, eventually, a priest.

Jesus loves the meek, the downtrodden, the least among us, and for this reason, I suppose, He gave Saint Joseph many spiritual consolations, granting him an ease in his prayer life that he did not possess in any other area.  Astonishing miracles began to occur through this simple soul.  More than 70 times, it was reported that he was seen to levitate or fly while saying mass or praying.

So close was he to the Lord, so fixed in his love, that the mere mention of God would be enough to send Joseph into a rapture that sometimes caused one of these episodes of levitation.  During one Christmas mass, he soared into the air and knelt in rapturous prayer before the high altar.

I am not a terribly gullible person, and not of the type to go running after so-called "seers" like the Medjugorje people or "Maria Divine Mercy."  I try to stay grounded and authentic and not become distracted by the fantastical, but there is something about St. Joseph of Cupertino that rings True for me.  I am very fond of him and have decided to install him in my "committee," the rather large group of saints and sainted ancestors to whom I turn when life gets ugly and I really need some intercession.

Life has been a bit ugly the last week or so, and I feel happy to be able to ask for the prayers and intercession of a Saint with whom I feel such empathy and simpatico! I would like to be like Saint Joseph of Cupertino, with my mind so occupied with the Lord that i cannot even HEAR the mocking of Satan's minions.  I pray for God to accomplish this in me today, because I am as damaged and broken as Saint Joseph of Cupertino was before the Lord began to work in him.

Today I pray for the intercession of Saint Joseph of Cupertino.  I ask him to pray for me to the Lord, as a fellow sufferer.  I pray that the Lord gift me with the consolation of being able to let my whole being reside Him, just as he did with Saint Joseph of Cupertino.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015 All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


"The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening,
all creativity.  This Word manifests itself in every creature."
~ Saint Hildegard of Bingen ~

I idolize Saint Hildegard of Bingen and wish I could be more like her.  Thanks be to God, we have preserved her history and some of her work down through time.  Pope Francis recently named her as a doctor of the church.

Hildegard was gifted with multiple talents.  Musician, theologian, poet, preacher, scientist, nun.  Her contributions to the mystical heart of the Catholic Church are incalculable.  I first read about her in the Vedanta styled Hindu convent in which I was a nun for a few years before discovering Christianity.  She was largely responsible for changing my perception of the Catholic Church and its hidden heart.  I say "hidden" because our modern world is obsessed with politics and nationalism and has lost sight of the beauty and joy at the heart of the faith.  Hildegard did not have such problems. She was at the center.

Today is her feast day and, in commemoration of her, i will do something earthy and creative.  I don't know what it will be, there are so many areas in which she had her fingers.  There is even a cookbook dedicated to her, which I assume contains some of her recipes.  I will have to get it one day.  Perhaps I will cook something simple and organic and nourishing in her honor this evening.

As a side note, I ask for Saint Hildegard's prayers and intercession for a suffering soul today, an alcoholic woman who is lashing out at people who have only tried to help her.  So gripped is she by the disease that she has blackouts and doesn't remember what she does or says while under the influence of alcohol.

In olden days, they used to call it "demon rum," and the prohibitionists inveighed against it, promising that its removal from the public square would solve the problems of the afflicted, but it didn't work, because alcoholism is just a symptom of a far deeper problem of the soul.

Saint Hildegard of Bingen, you who were a healer in life, be now a healer in heaven and pray for all the suffering souls who are in thrall to alcohol.  Pray for all people who suffer from addictions, Saint Hildegard, that Christ's light will shine through the darkness of their addictions so that they may become healed.

Lord, save us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015, All rights reserved

Monday, September 14, 2015


"The splendor of the rose and the whiteness
of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent
nor the daisy of its simple charm.  If every tiny
flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose
its loveliness." ~ Therese de Lisieux

I have known many people in my life who dream about big accomplishments in their Christian mission.  We love God so much that we want to do big things for Him, doing many good works for the poor people "out there" somewhere, and ignoring the little old lady sitting in the pew next to us who perhaps has neither husband nor family to care for her and who is lonely and in need.

Saint Therese, during her final illness.

Therese of Lisieux was ill and enclosed in a convent and, while she certainly prayed for the masses of people outside her convent who needed prayer, she found a way to holiness through the "little way" for which she had the means and ability.  She turned to her most immediate neighbors, her fellow sisters. and served them with love.  She practiced a multitude of little kindnesses to the sisters, especially those who had been cruel to her.

I used to know an elderly disabled woman who many times would plaintively complain, "I just wish I knew what Ministry Jesus wants me to do!  I keep asking him and He doesn't tell me."  She looked beyond her neighbors, many of whom were needy and/or lonely.  She had big dreams.  She wanted to be a big deal and do big things for the faith by bringing lots of people to Jesus, yet she barely understood the faith herself and did not have the health to do much of anything except take care of herself.

I used to have a dream of starting a religious order for retired and disabled women - women who were not wanted by convents because they are not able to withstand the rigors of convent life.  Nuns do not float around, six inches from the ground, hands clasped, and singing to the Lord all day. Being a nun in a typical contemplative convent is extremely taxing, both physically and mentally. All of the physical work of the maintenance of the premises is done by the nuns, as well as care of elderly sisters, cooking for the community, suffering lack of sleep and comforts, etc. The schedule can be relentless. It is not like a job, it is a 24/7 proposition

I still think that to create a contemplative order for disabled nuns is a good idea, and I think there is need for it, but I do not have the wherewithal to do it. Obviously, if the Lord intended me to be the person to bring this dream to fruition, He would have ensured that I had the requisite health and resources to accomplish a goal of this magnitude. Obviously, He had other ideas in mind.

Saint Therese, in the courtyard, getting some
fresh air during her final illness

Clearly, I need to avail myself of a good dose of humility and be content with the tiny little contributions that I can make for Jesus.

It is my impression that, if we wish to follow Jesus and we wonder what ministry He would have us do, we should look at the person sitting next to us in church, the lady in front of us in line at the supermarket, the widow living in the house down the street. The poor, the needy, the marginalized, the lonely, the abandoned are all sitting next to us. They are right in front of our faces, but we don't see them.

You could invite a lonely person out to lunch; smile at all the customer service people who take your money at the dry cleaners or the drug store or the supermarket; have a few single ladies over for tea; or have a conversation with someone who is odd, a little strange or repellent.  Make friends with the friendless. Take care of His sheep.

"I applied myself above all to practice quite hidden, 
little acts of virtue; thus I liked to fold the mantles
forgotten by the Sisters, and sought a thousand
opportunities of rendering them service."
~ Saint Therese of Lisieus ~

I have learned that Jesus wants us to follow Him, but we don't have to do it with a marching band, an army of converts, or a convent full of disabled sisters.  I am learning that a handful of kind gestures and a bucket full of smiles may be his most treasured gift.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
Copyright (c) 2015
All rights reserved.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Saint Cloud, cutting off his hair

Saint Cloud (originally Clodoald), is my 1st cousin, 42 times removed!  We share an ancestor.  His grandfather, Clovis I, King of the Franks and the originator of the Merovingian Dynasty, was the first to unite all the tribes of the Frankish empire under one king.  Clovis I was my 42nd great grandfather.

Clovis I, King of the Francs
Saint Cloud's Grandfather
My 42nd Great Grandfather

Many people alive today are descended from Clovis and related to Saint Cloud, but most are unaware of it.  Their genealogical links are lost in history.  I love knowing a little history and where I fit into the mix, mostly because it expands my notion of family and my feeling of relationship to mankind, which is physical as well as spiritual.

Statue of young Saint Cloud
Who took up religious life at
age 15

Knowing that the saints reside in heaven amongst the angels gives me great joy, since I know that I may speak to them and ask them for their prayers.  I look to them also for guidance by example in how to live the Christian life in this world, something which is becoming increasingly difficult to do.

Modern day painting of Saint Cloud

Saint Cloud narrowly escaped death by the murderous machinations of his uncle.  It is your typical story of assassination of one's rivals for control of territory or kingship.  Cloud's two younger brothers did not escape and were murdered.

Statue of Saint Cloud

Since his father had died when Cloud was only three years old, he had been raised in Paris with his two younger brothers by his grandmother, Saint Clotilde, my 42nd great grandmother, who I suspect is at least partially responsible for his tendency toward the religious life.

Statue of Saint Clotilde at Notre Dame
Wife of Clovis I, Grandmother of
Saint Cloud, who raised him and 
his two younger brothers.

Like a great number of our saints, Cloud eschewed kingdoms, power and money for the sake of his soul and to live as a monastic.  In his case, he distributed what little inheritance was available to him at the time and put himself under the tutelage of the holy recluse Severinus, who clothed him in a monk's habit.

Saint Cloud, submitting himself to Saint Severinus

When Saint Cloud's fame grew to an intolerable point, after a miracle connected with some act of charity, he withdrew to Provence.  Even in Provence, however, he could not hide from petitioners seeking him out and from the many men who wished to follow in his footsteps.  Eventually, he returned to Paris, to the joy of many.

In this photo taken from Le Parc in St. Cloud, you can see
the Eiffel Tower clearly in the distance

In 551, the Bishop Eusebius ordained him as a priest, and he served in that capacity for some time, until the honor heaped upon him became too much and he retired, once again, this time to Nogent, where he built a monastery and where he died in the year 560.   Nogent has since been renamed "St. Cloud."

Bridge of St. Cloud
Old Watercolor

Saint-Cloud, France, is actually a suburb of Paris at this time and has a gorgeous park and a fair amount of quaint old streets and ruins of old buildings.

Beautiful cascade fountain in Le Parc de Saint-Cloud

I have tried to find out if there are any extant buildings associated with the monastery established by Saint Cloud but have been unable to locate them.  After 1500 years, it is no surprise.

Being disabled and mostly home-bound, I can only travel to these places of my ancestors in the pages of books or on the internet, but I am glad to have access to these, at least, and to be able to celebrate the feast day of my holy relatives in heaven.  Today, September 7th, is the feast day of cousin Saint Cloud.

Anyone interested in learning more about Saint Cloud, will find more at these links:






God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015
All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 30, 2015



Yesterday I sat, horrified, through a supposed homily that was, instead, a comment on modern politics, in particular REPUBLICAN politics, and a complaint by this priest that the moderator for the recent Republican debates overstepped her role by leading the questions in a direction that the priest thought should not have been done.

Although he did not specifically reference Megyn Kelly's pointed questions to Donald Trump about his frequent and many instances in which he called women disgusting names, I got the point, loud and clear.  He is a Republican, thinks that our God is a Republican, thinks that Catholics are automatically Republican, and probably approves of Donald Trump's misogynistic attitudes, or at least feels that they aren't important enough to call him on his actions during the debates, which is even worse when I think about it.

There is an insidious disease in the Catholic Church in America.  A great number of Catholics have become obsessed with politics, including our priests, which makes me very sad.  Instead of looking at the world through the eyes of Christ, they are looking at the world through Republican eyes and, in doing so, are perverting the faith.  Over and over again, I see "Catholics" posting in social media and all over the internet and being interviewed on television programs whose faith is being twisted to accommodate those aspects of the Republican platform that are the antithesis of the Catholic faith.  Hardly anyone talks about the words of Jesus any more, even when, as in the case of priests, they really ought to be focusing on Him.  It is unquestionably an aspect of their function to do so.

Catholic values have to be applied to our entire lives, of course.  This includes how we vote, no doubt, but a political party should not define us.  For some people, however, it does.  I call these people "Republicatholics."  They are all over social media and in our churches, peddling a philosophy that is not Catholicism.  Hell, it isn't even Christian.  It is a political orientation.  Look at some of the Facebook pages of priests and laity and you will find nothing but political memes, cartoons, blog links and articles.  Some of these offerings are broadly vulgar and offensive.  Many of them are obviously intended to start rumors.  Some are just nasty comments about Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama.  Many cite "facts" that are not facts at all.  It is, for the most part, low brow stuff.

It isn't just that we are nearing an election year.  This situation has been building for at least 6 years.  It has gotten worse and worse over time.

Jesus was not accepted by most Jews as the promised Messiah because he did not come as an earthly King.  Jews were expecting him to come and conquer their overlords.  They'd been under the tyrannical rule of so many despotic regimes in their history that they'd had just about enough of that, and their idea of a King was someone who would change the government.  He disappointed them by coming into our world as a poor person with no political clout whatsoever.  He didn't advocate the overthrow of the Roman government.  He mostly talked about love and taking care of the poor.

The Republican political platform, with the exception of their supposed "pro-life" plank, is in direct opposition to the Christian faith.  The Democratic platform is likewise in direct opposition to the Christian faith in the matters of morality and abortion.  This is the classic "no win" situation for the Christian.  We just have to do the best we can in that arena and then move on.

Political action is not going to save us and should not define us.  It didn't define Jesus, and we need to follow Him and be faithful to Him.  Jesus did not identify with any earthly power structure.  He was a man of the people...the poor...the sick...the needy.  He didn't stand on a box in the town square and advocate a change in government.

Before the steam starts coming out of your ears and you pounce on the keyboard to write me an hysterical note to the effect of "WHAT ABOUT ABORTION?" I will simply say that, had we done what Jesus told us to do, no one would be wanting an abortion.  Abortion is legal because a great number of people want it, and, although I favor making it illegal, I have the suspicion that it will never be illegal until the hearts of Americans are changed.  Jesus left us with instructions on how to do that.

When we have helped to transform the hearts of Americans into loving, generous, grace-filled Christian hearts, the government will naturally follow.  How this has escaped the notice of so many is a mystery to me, except that it is a heck of a lot easier to campaign against something with righteous indignation than it is to follow the commands of Jesus.

As for me, I will no longer have to endure civics and politics classes masquerading as homilies.  My physical condition has become so severe that I am no longer able to sit through mass and, unless something changes, I will not be able to attend.  Fortunately, no matter how far off the beam the priest becomes, his ability to confect the Eucharist is not affected.  A friend will bring me the body of Christ, and I am very grateful for that.  In the meantime, I pray for our priests and for all Christians who have become enamored of the political circus instead of their faith.  I pray they return to a Christian focus instead of a political one.

God bless us all.
Copyright (c) 2015, Silver Rose Parnell
All rights reserved

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


The Parable of the Tares
17th Century Master

When I was a brand new Catholic, I used to be shocked by the number of people who call themselves "Christian" or "Catholic Christian" yet live and think in an unChristian manner.  Not only do they cling to their own sin, but they celebrate the sins of others and try to get Catholics to support things that are strictly forbidden by the Bible, Tradition, and the deposit of the faith.  If you don't agree that their sin is O.K., they can really slap you around.  The parable of the tares and the wheat give me insight into why these weeds are allowed to grow up in our church.

"Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.  But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.  The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field?  How then does it have tares?  And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?  But he said, 'no; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "first gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."  Matthew 13:24-30

In the next versus, Jesus explains that He is the one that sows the good seed that produces the children of the kingdom.  The tares are the children of Satan.  He sends the angels to reap at the time of harvest, which is the end of the world.  At that time, when the wheat is strong and mature, it is harvested.  The angels bind up the children of Satan and throw them into the fire.  All things that offend God, everyone who does iniquity, will be cast into the furnace of fire where they will wail and gnash their teeth.  The righteous, however, will "shine forth" in the kingdom of their Father.

The promises of Jesus bear no resemblance to the unicorns, candy and rainbows faith that so many people believe in these days.  They think they can contradict the scriptures and do anything they like, willfully perform all manner of sin of which they have no intention to repent, and they will go to heaven to live with our Heavenly Father in eternity.  Not.

While it is one of the spiritual works of mercy for me to counsel my Christian brothers and sisters when they fall off the path, I sometimes also have to recognize that many have chosen to stray and will not be pulled back.  They let me know with vigorous verbal slaps, slander, threats and all manner of shenanigans that they're not going to stay on "the straight and narrow."  They've chosen another way. Just as the Father has given us all free will, I have to respect the free will of the Catholic who decides that he knows better than 2,000 years of Catholic tradition, the Bible, the fathers and mothers of the church, the saints, the Popes and all the Bishops down through the ages.

Once I have given my counsel and it is met with violent protest, I have to stand back. I can't go in after them and drag them back from the hole they've dug for themselves.  But I do wait on the path and pray for them, ready to welcome them back with open arms, should they come to their senses. The parable of the prodigal son tells me that Jesus will be merciful to any repentant sinner, even until the last minute. There is hope for everyone, and I find great joy in that.

The parable of the tares among the wheat is a cautionary tale that puts the fear of God in me.  I sometimes say to myself, "what if I only think that I am one of the wheat stalks, when I'm really just another tare?"  I don't want to end up in that bonfire on judgment day.  It keeps me on my toes.

I'll pray for you, as I hope you'll pray for me.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


"Hermitage" garden feature on 
an English Country Estate

I just learned that, in the 18th century, wealthy European landowners would frequently build a model "hermitage" as a garden feature on their extensive land holdings.  They would then hire a man to play the part of a hermit, but they had to give him his pay at the end of the year, and it was often a goodly sum, because it was so hard to keep a good hermit on one's land!

Evidently, the hermit was expected to refrain from cleaning himself or cutting his hair or nails during the entire time he lived in the hermitage.  His clothing was the imagined outfit of a druid, complete with a tall pointy hat.  Evidently, this is the origin of those weird garden gnomes with which people sometimes decorate their gardens!  I have always wondered why on earth anyone would want to have such a thing in their garden, and now I know where they came from!

Wikipedia suggests that Saint Francis of Paola may have been the first such "ornamental hermit" when he chose to live in a secluded cave on his father's property in the 15th century.  His parents were extremely pious people, however, and Saint Francis of Paola (named after St. Francis of Assisi) had shown sincere religious inclinations prior to the time he spent as a hermit in that cave.  Perhaps his sojourn there sparked the imagination of some nobleman who was charmed at the idea of a hermit on one's land and who didn't happen to have a religious son, so he hired someone to act the part!

Gordon Campbell, however, in his book The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to the Garden Gnome suggests that the live-in hermit as a fashion statement harkens back to the Roman Emperor Hadrian.  His villa at Tivoli contained a small lake with a small retreat house.  After it was unearthed in the 1500's, Pope Pius IV built one for himself at Casina Pio IV.  How it morphed from an opportunity for a isolated spiritual reflection into a paid profession in the 18th century is unknown.

Man made lake at Hadrian's Villa
in Tivoli

Land owners spent quite a lot of money to accomplish this charade, and I can't help feeling a bit wistful that, instead of supporting a real hermit or two, these people were spending a huge amount of money on a Disneyland sort of re-creation.  If THAT doesn't say something profound about human nature, and how we value an entertaining fantasy over a substantial reality, I don't know what would.

"Hermit in a Garden"
Hubert Robert (1733-1808)

For more information about this phenomena, check out Charlotte Brentwood's Blog, from whence I obtained the awesome picture of the hermitage at the top of this blog.  Sources at the bottom of this post will also lead you to some fascinating bits of history.

There are varying degrees and types of hermits, from the fake hermits of the 1700's in England, who looked and behaved genuinely the part but were, from all accounts, spiritually bankrupt, to the modern day hermit living in a city apartment who appears to be quite normal and ordinary to the casual eye, but whose daily life centers around a profound prayer life in the company of the Lord.

As they say, "looks can be deceiving," and one never knows what someone is about until you dig a bit and see.

Many of us modern women wish to follow in the footsteps of the hermits of old insofar as our lives are meant to center around God, we live a retired solitary life to the best degree possible, and we eschew most entertainments. This is another reason why the fake "hermit" of the 1700's is so ironic, because his life is completely about entertainment, though not for himself.  His sole function is to charm and entertain the guests of the lord of the manor and to act the part of a religious.

Carmelite nun in her hermitage cell

I am fascinated with other independent hermits and how they manage to maintain their tranquility in a life that is not supported by any structure or organization.  How do they remain other-worldly while staying very much in the world?  Any hermits out there who would like to respond, please do.  I would love to hear from you.

Carmelite nuns of the Byzantine Catholic Rite

While I would have loved to have become part of a contemplative order like the Carthusians, I came to the faith much too late to adjust my life path in that direction. Clearly, God intends that I travel alone with Him, otherwise He would have seen to it that I was introduced to Christianity much earlier, and my health would have been good enough to withstand the rigors of The Rule of Life that each order maintains.

Carthusian nun

The form that my "schedule" takes is still under construction, so to speak.  My numerous disabilities have presented many challenges to keeping a schedule anywhere near that of a vowed religious in a community of fellow hermits, and it is difficult to adhere to the spirit of the thing and not get lost in the flow of the logistics of daily life.  Vigilance is required.  With regard to the lack of support that a community would customarily provide, I rely upon the saints, and I lean heavily on reminders that I have placed here and there in my home.  My walls are full of reminders of God, our Blessed Mother, the saints and the angels. I have two prayer corners, one in the living room and one in the sleeping room.

Living Room prayer corner

Bedroom prayer corner

There is no television in my house.  It wasn't a deliberate omission.  I did have one for a while, but the it broke a few years ago and I just decided not to replace it.  I have a radio, and I keep it on a Catholic Channel.  I do have a computer and internet (obviously), and I admit to spending a lot of time on it, but most of that time is spent on research and writing that sometimes carries me away, it becomes so interesting.

Like most monastics, I have a number of service projects to which I devote some time.  One of them is this blog, where I am currently concentrating most of my space to stories of little-known saints that I have researched especially.  I usually provide links to additional web pages that go into more depth about each saint in question. Some of the saints are my ancestors.  I stray off the path now and then, as the days naturally bring things to my attention.

Freeform baby blanket, loosely styled
after a Navajo blanket

Warm knitted hats for the homeless in winter, as well as baby blankets for poor mothers that are crocheted in a beautiful pattern with a sturdy stitch, are two other endeavors at which I toil on a somewhat regular basis.  Kind benefactors donate yarn for the purpose.

Hand-made lace has become a passion of mine as of late, and I will make baptismal blankets for this purpose and for church veils.  I hope to turn this into a money-making venture at some point, but my carpal tunnel and my arthritis will prevent me from make more than an occasional item for sale.

A Wish list for yarn and crochet thread appears among my Amazon wish lists on the right side of this blog.

Over the years, I have sold many paintings and, though it has been quite some time since I marketed any of my work, I do have a painting project waiting for me; the painting of miniature icon-style paintings.  I say "icon style" because a true icon is painted on wood with egg tempera paints that have been made by the artist themselves.  This is not a format that interests me at the moment, preferring acrylic paints and gessoed canvas.  Still, the brushes wait for me on my work table, their bristles pristine, if not a little dusty, as they have never touched paint.

Sunflower I grew in a large pot outside my apartment

Another project that awaits funding is the meditation garden.  While I do live in the heart of the city, and I am fortunate that I can spy a bit of greenery and wildlife on the other side of the fence from the apartment complex, the apartment grounds have been covered over with artificially died crushed cement ("crusher fines') and nearly all of the plant life that used to live here has been allowed to die of thirst.

There is a ditch that runs the back of the property, and the many-treed golf course beyond.  They're all cottonwoods, however, and I am wildly allergic.  Anyway, they look pretty, especially with the Sandia Mountains behind them.

Plenty of pots - no plants

In the ditch, we have hawks, beavers, skunks, racoons, ground squirrels, herons, egrets, sandhill cranes, Canadian geese, wood ducks, mallards, owls, diamond back water snakes, bats, hummingbirds and a wretched infestation of June bugs that, for some reason, come to my front door to die every year.  Sweeping them from the door is a daily chore that makes me sad for them.  If they are still alive, they cling to my broom and make a type of hissing sound, poor things.  Anyway, it makes me feel as if I am living in a hermit's cottage.  I just need to do some planting and improvements in the little yard in back of my place in order to complete the requisite atmosphere and give myself more usable space and a buffer between me and the large number of people that travel back and forth by my apartment each day.  When I get organized, I will create a GARDEN wish list on Amazon.

Hawk on my back fence

While I am unsuited to the rigors of any established convent, I do my best to create my own convent atmosphere and habits, to the degree I am able.  It is a work in progress.  I practice the presence of God and pray throughout the day, but I do want to join the the Body of Christ in chanting at least a small version of the Liturgy of the Hours, so I am currently learning the Little Office of The Blessed Virgin Mary, which many orders still use, rather than the much more lengthy (and complicated!) Liturgy of the Hours.  I've gotten my hands on a small book that contains both English and Latin, as well as the actual music notations for the Gregorian chant.

Although I read music well enough to pick out the notes on a piano, I do not sight read enough to sing the proper note without having an instrument to guide me.  I have found a simple 61 key piano keyboard online at Amazon, which will be ideal for my purposes, since I have no one to help train me and I must do it myself.  I would also like to learn some of the traditional hymns that most everyone else at church seems to know.  Being a late convert to the Christian faith, I missed out on learning the songs that come so readily to the lips of my cradle-Catholic friends.  The keyboard that will work for me is very simple, without a lot of extra buttons for other instruments and drums and that sort of thing.  The keyboard is on my birthday wish list in the links to the right.

If anyone knows of a CD that contains all of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, please contact me and let me know.

I did not finish college and missed learning Latin, which is another project I would like to undertake. Language is an interest of mine anyway, and Latin is the key to the romance languages on which I would like to improve.  Spanish is a MUST in New Mexico.  Many people here do not speak English at all.  The native New Mexicans have English as their first language, most of them, whereas the immigrant population which originates from many different countries of South America, speak various dialects of Spanish.  These people are typically the ones with whom I have to communicate at the checkout counter in the stores, etc.  A Rosetta Stone language learning CD for Spanish would be helpful.  That is on my wish life.

I also have the idea in mind to see if there is ANYONE in this apartment complex who is Catholic and who may like to recite at least one hour of the office with me on days we are both available.  I know we have one nun on the property who has a very busy ministry with the homeless, but she has made it obvious that she is not interested in forming friendships or religious associations in this apartment complex.  No doubt, her ministry is an exhausting one and, like me, she is no spring chicken.  She's probably at the end of her rope as it is.

Me - sitting with the swami (in the back ground)
 when I was in the Hindu convent

When I was in the Hindu convent, prior to my conversion, I had far fewer possessions that belonged to me personally, but much more comfort and security than I have now.  Buying the furniture and other accoutrements that contribute to a spiritually inspiring and tranquil atmosphere used to be someone else's job, and now it falls to me, along with everything else.  Gone are the days when I could live and sleep on the floor like a real acetic or hermit.  My aging body has rebelled against my former austerities.  These days, when I get down on the floor, I cannot get up by myself.  A sturdy bed and a recliner have become mandatory.  Thus, my apartment is probably less believable as a hermit's cottage from outside appearances, but is somewhat more authentic in nature than the perfect looking hermit in the garden cottage on that big estate in England.

In any case, I am doing the best I can, between God's grace, my own efforts, and the kind and loving assistance of my devoted Catholic friends.  I wouldn't mind if someone were to pay me to be a hermit, though, like that 18th century garden hermit.  In my case, I would actually be praying and devoting all my actions to God.  So far, there are no takers on that idea!

God bless us all

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015
All rights reserved


Ornamental Hermits of Eccentric Modern England

Before the Garden Gnome, the Ornamental Hermit: a Real Person Paid to Dress Like a Druid

The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to the Garden Gnome - by Gordon Campbell - AMAZON Link for purchase