BAPTISM OF SAINT OLGA

BAPTISM OF SAINT OLGA
Baptism of Saint Olga, my 33rd great grandmother, patron of converts

Monday, September 19, 2016

THE HERMIT'S DIET

This morning's breakfast: Small organic
apple, 1 piece organic whole wheat seeded
bread, 1 piece cheddar cheese


My doctor wants me on an organic Mediterranean diet, due to multiple illnesses that would benefit and because I am allergic to a wide range of chemicals, pesticides and additives commonly found in the American diet these days.

When I told a friend that I was going on a "fishatarian" diet, meaning an organic vegetarian diet supplemented with fish (when I can get it), she nearly shrieked when she said, "That's so EXPENSIVE!"

The expense of organic food depends upon the degree of refined and/or premade food one eats. If one relies upon canned soups, frozen dinners, boxed dinners, etc., then the expense really IS huge, but, if you eat like a monk and eat very low on the food chain, with measured portions of protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds, you can eat an entirely organic diet that is LESS expensive than the customary American diet.

Take a look at my breakfast, pictured above. It cost less than $2 and was delicious! The apple and bread were organic, but the cheese was not.

Cheese is a manufactured item, and is thus, by nature, an expensive item even when not produced in an organic fashion. I will not eat the fake "cheese" - the so-called "American cheese" that was the staple of many lunches of our childhoods, however. We all remember the gelatinous thin slabs of congealed fat and artificial coloring called American cheese.

Neither do I eat non-fat cheese. There is no such thing as a cow that gives non-fat milk. Nature produces food that has a perfect balance of nutrients, fats and proteins. If we disturb that brilliant balance, the manufactured item that results is not food, per se. It resembles food. It won't kill you if you consume it. Whatever calories are present may be absorbed and used by the body, but at what cost? Just because one can consume an item without actually dying from it does not qualify it as food. Think about a penny, for instance. Unless it gets stuck somewhere in your system, it passes right through. It's not food, though.

As for me, I do not eat "non-fact" concoctions, otherwise I become terribly ill. I might as well have taken poison. I spend a lot of time in the bathroom for 24 to 48 hours. Non-fat dairy products contain a much higher percentage of lactose than natural milk, and if one has any sensitivity to lactose at all, non-fat milk will send your guts into overdrive. I do not, however, have any reaction to hard cheeses or cultured products like yogurt. My gastrointerologist told me that this is quite common.

So, going back to my original point, the less a food is fiddled with, the less expensive it is and the better it is for one's health.

I find it interesting that the way I eat is very close to the traditional monastic diet that one could find in many convents and monasteries prior to the industrial revolution and the invention of these frankenfoods to which we have become so accustomed.

Simple, wholesome and natural are the requirements, while I also am watching my serving sizes. Consequently, I have lost more than 40 pounds since bearing down on the diet.

I do not cook very much any more. If you were to look into my refrigerator, you would find very few prepared sauces and dressings. I make my own, when necessary, with the exception of mustard and mayonnaise. The onset of serious illnesses and my inability to stand for long periods of time have contributed to my move away from cooked food and towards salads and sandwiches. Once again, my disabilities have proven to be a blessing in disguise.

(When I go to a restaurant to eat, all bets are off, so to say, and I will eat whatever appeals to me at the moment. A restaurant meal is so rare, it is usually an occasion of celebration and a natural reason to let go of the monastic diet.)

Fasting is a well-known and recommended spiritual practice in many religious traditions. Simplicity and restraint with regard to food, in general, is common to many religious traditions. One of the nuns in the Hindu convent used to become enraged when I got too creative with the meals and would leave me nasty notes on the prep counter. She was right, of course, but her method of communication left something to be desired.

I have often thought about writing a book about convent cooking, but if I wait long enough, it will be unnecessary, since my cooking is becoming more and more elementary over time.

If any of my sisters in hermit life would like some ideas about recipes for the simple life, outlined above, please contact me and I will blog about it.

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell
Copyright (c) 2016


Friday, September 16, 2016

REJOICING IN THE WILL OF THE LORD



After spending more than two years trying to find an appropriate hermitage that was both safe and close to doctors, shopping and my Catholic community, I have finally given up and resolved to stay where I am, make it as safe as possible, and return to writing books, with the intention of evangelizing, educating AND making some extra money to fund the PURCHASE of a small hermitage that can be outfitted to accommodate my numerous physical disabilities as well as my eventual blindness.

If the Lord had wanted me to move into another rental, we would have found something. I realized that it was God's will that I remain where I am for the time being. Many times, the will of the Lord is revealed to me by some FAILURE. Failure can serve as a beautiful message of the Lord's intentions, since nothing happens without his will or his permission.

Instead of feeling defeated by failure, I feel uplifted and joyful. The Lord has revealed at least PART of his will for me, and I feel so happy because I want nothing more fervently than to know and obey His will.

Faced with living in somewhat dangerous circumstances that do not meet my needs with regard to my disabilities, I resolved to just dig in and make the best of things. I will live with whatever I am able to endure, and I will do my best to improve the other conditions by begging for help from my Catholic friends.

The first thing I did was to have internet installed. Comcast had a special two year deal that included phone, television and internet. In order to get my writing "career" revved up again, I need access to good, fast internet. Also, I am an expert genealogist and will be open to taking genealogy research jobs, here and there, which also requires fast internet. The television gives me access to Catholic networks, the history channel, and news; while the home telephone is an added safety feature that I have been needing for some time. The cell phone service will be reduced to an emergency phone to take in the car with me on the rare occasions when I drive, which will radically reduce my usage and the cost for the cell phone.

My doctor wants me on a Mediterranean diet to address my numerous ailments, and I have resolved to follow his instruction more strictly as well as to reduce my portions, both to save money and to improve my health. The cost of the internet, cable and telephone will eat up the remainder of my food budget, so meals must be simple, albeit organic (because of asthma and allergies), and I'll have to beg for donations and/or supplies. Two of my Catholic friends have been subsidizing my diet for some time, but I will need to find some additional help. (Please don't write me and suggest the food bank. I am allergic to most of what they offer and I have had terrible luck with rancid and moldy food from them.)

Mostly, I will eat fresh organic fruits and frozen organic vegetables, brown rice, yogurt, bread and fish. My diet will closely resemble what I ate at the Hindu convent, though perhaps a bit more simple and strictly organic. I have made an Amazon wish list for food and household items that I need in this process of hunkering down and preparing for the next battle. Amazon knows my address and will mail to me directly. Otherwise, you could donate via Paypal (button on the right side of the screen.) Amazon links are at the bottom of this blog, and to the right.

Saint Jane and her husband, Dave, have already bought me a new computer, and it should arrive sometime this month. The one I am currently using is at least 8 years old. It was given to me by a neighbor who moved out of state. The screen is hanging on by a thread and is almost completely disconnected from the keyboard. It's a mess, and the software is ancient, so the time has come for a new one. (Personally, I don't like having to learn more computer programs, but it is a necessary trial.)

How do I know that writing a book is God's intention for me? I have the strong feeling that this is what He wants, but I really won't know until I finish the book and begin trying to SELL it. That is where the rubber hits the road. For myself, personally, I feel that, to the degree that I am able to support myself, I should do so. My abilities are very limited, but I should be able to get a book finished eventually. It is the last leaf on the tree I have been shaking for the last dozen years.

I won't give up my monastic routine, such as it is. Instead, I will write the book between prayer and meditation times. My heart and mind yearn to be united with Christ at all times, and I strive, in my limited ability to "pray always." Of great help is THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD by brother Lawrence of old, who said that he was equally present with the Lord amidst the pots and pans in the kitchen as he would be in the choir. He was an ordinary man with ordinary talents and a great inspiration to the rest of us ordinary people who strive to unite ourselves with the Lord.

If the sale of the book fails, then I suppose I will stop trying to do anything but PRAY and beg for my survival....like the mendicants of old.

In the meantime, I ask for your help and your prayers.

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell

AMAZON WISH LISTS TO HELP ME HOBBLE THROUGH THIS PHASE:

FOOD, MEDICAL AND HOUSEHOLD NEEDS

RESEARCH BOOKS


Thursday, September 15, 2016

DONALD TRUMP AND AGEISM

In the sunset of our lives, many of us wonder about
the nature of the blessing of long life.


Now that I have cable television once again, I have been exposed to much more of the latest "news." Mostly, I keep the TV on EWTN, the wonderful Catholic station that Mother Angelica manifested during her fascinating time on earth. God bless the old gal, I feel that surely she must be having a wonderful time in heaven, gazing on the beauty of the Lord, and probably saying to herself, "I knew it would be good, but this is sumthin' else! WOW!"

Mother Angelica in 1999


I am not always prepared to pray the rosary or some chaplet or other, so, when EWTN pickings are slim, I generally slide over to a news station. Likewise, when I wake in the middle of the night and cannot sleep. Now, it has been quite a few years since I had the full smorgasbord of news nosh. I knew it would be dreadful, but this is sumthin' else! WOW.

Donald Trump is appearing on the Dr. Oz show, of all venues, and providing letters from a doctor about his health, and Hilary Clinton has provided reports to the media about her "fitness" for duty as president. I am flabbergasted. What does this have to do with running the country? We have had quite a number of noteworthy presidents who were also suffering from grave illnesses. They ran the country from a wheelchair when they had to do it.

What IS this obsession with physical health all about? As one news pundit remarked last night, "That's not the part of a candidate we care about." Obviously, we don't want the new president to drop dead three days after being sworn in. It would be inconvenient, but we DO have remedies set in place for such a thing.

If Donald Trump were to become elected, he would be the oldest person ever to be made president. THAT'S the issue, of course.

When I was much younger, I remember my father continually complaining about how the movie industry doesn't want anything to do with you if you are over 40. He was experiencing a downturn in popularity and a lot of difficulty finding work. He'd been the golden boy in his youth and had a legion of sycophants populating his life, mostly of the gold-digger variety, except for one very nice woman who broke up with him when he refused to marry her because she had children and he wasn't interested in family life.  In his declining years, he was furious that the world no longer treated him like a God.

I see a little of this in Donald Trump. He is trying to use the currency of youth during his dotage, relying upon brash hyperbole that probably looked cute on him when he was young and stylish. Half the population isn't having it. They see an old guy with a comb over, whose operating principle seems to be, "vote for me, I'm special, only I can get the job done...because I'm special." So, they humiliate him and the opposition by making AGE an issue, covertly. As we age, the body breaks down. It's natural. Thus, the issue of "health." It is a tactic meant to highlight the age question.

Here in America, and probably elsewhere in the world, youth reigns supreme. The older you get, the less respect you garner from the world at large. We don't like old people. My apartment manager doesn't like us because we are "too much trouble." Employers don't like us because we can't physically handle the plethora of sometimes useless physical exertions for problems that could be solved better by a good mind sitting behind a desk.

Complex negotiations could easily be done by phone whilst reclining in bed, and I have no doubt that this has gone on during other presidencies.

In other cultures, the wisdom of age is respected. We could learn from these cultures, except that, in many cases, we have handed the reins over to young people who don't have the wisdom to seek counsel from those who've spent more time engaging the world than the young.

Being the oddball that I am, I have always liked old people, and was always thrilled to accept invitations from my Grammy who lived in San Francisco for the last 40 years of her life or so. I loved her stories and I loved doing things with her, and I just loved her in general. My sibling avoided having to spend time with her, having an aversion to the elderly.

I will not be voting for Donald Trump, not because of his health or his age, but because of what comes out of his mouth. Likewise, I will not be voting for Hilary, because of what comes out of HER mouth. The American Solidarity Party, the only party that has a platform based entirely on Catholic social teaching, has my vote. I don't agree with all of their interpretations of that teaching, but I won't be embarrassed to have voted for their candidate, Mike Maturen.

Some people tell me that if I vote for someone other than a Republican or a Democrat, I am "handing" the election over to some odious person. I can't speak for the rest of the Christian world, but I am no longer satisfied with voting for the lesser of two evils. I don't want to vote for any kind of evil at all. My choice has nothing to do with a candidate's health or age, or the odds of who will win or any poll that is taken. I plan to vote for the man whose beliefs jive closest with the Catholic Church's social teachings.

UPDATE: After writing this blog post, I had an experience while grocery shopping that perfectly illustrates at least part of the problem with ageism in our country.

Due to asthma and wide ranging allergies, I have to be careful what I eat, and I must avoid pesticides. Even the wonderful lemonaide at Golden Pride (a locally-owned New Mexican restaurant) is now off limits because the last time I drank it, I broke out in hives, itched furiously all day, and had an asthma attack.

At any rate, this requires that I purchase many items at health food stores. I generally try to avoid LA MONTANITA CO-OP, which is very close to me, because their prices are too high and their refrigeration is sometimes iffy. Also, they leave items on the shelf too long and I have had some bad experiences with moldy cheeses and stale bread. Sometimes I find myself shopping at LA MONTANITA CO-OP, however, if there is no food in the house and I feel I can't make the long drive to SPROUTS, which has excellent fruits and vegetables and fairly decent prices.

Today, when I was checking out, the checker, a tall young man, was exceedingly rude to me. He gave me a hard time about packing the bags lightly, with a disrespectful, snotty attitude. I asked to speak to his manager. He continued to speak to me as if I was beneath pond scum, while at the same time pushing his face into mine from above and smirking at me.  When I finally told him he was being rude, he said, "I'm sorry if you think I'm being rude," with another smarmy smile on his face.

Saying that you are sorry if someone THINKS you are being rude is an obvious verbal slap. He couldn't care less what I thought. He appeared to be enjoying baiting me, and continued to make snotty comments.

The whole circus devolved from that point. The manager finally appeared. Half her head was shaved. The other half was sticking out of her scalp as if she'd just been hit by lightning. A very large "earring" plug that looked like a black lightning bolt was sticking out of each side of her ear lobe.

The manager said she'd never had a complaint about that clerk before. CLEARLY she didn't care that a customer was visibly upset and HAD a legitimate complaint. A young customer came from another line to insert herself into something that was not her business and said that he'd never been rude to HER either. I told her to mind her own businesses, then the manager told me not to speak to one of her customers like that and, I looked at her and shrieked, "I'M one of your customers!"

Maybe, in the mind of the lightning-zapped manager, I was NOT actually one of her customers because she relates to the young and hip. That's her demographic, and she probably doesn't realize that all these annoying old people that disturb her world view are a sizable portion of shoppers these days. Many of us were raised during the move back toward natural foods.

I looked around the room. Here I was, surrounded by the young and hip (or those simply TRYING to look young and hip.) Weird makeup, body modifications, various stages of undress...you get the picture.

Melt-down was halted and I exited. I simply realized that I was in the wrong place. Here I was, dressed modestly head to toe in a DRESS, with a long jacket over it. As usual, I was wearing my St. Olga's Cross and a few religious medals. I am old and I use a cane.

I had no reason to expect to be treated with good customer service. In fact, this is the same store I wrote about a long time ago in which a young vigorous employee had parked her car in one of two handicapped spots for the day. I called the police and she was ticketed. The store's response? They removed one of the two handicapped spots in front of their store. I had forgotten about that until today.

I won't be shopping at that store again, and I will be advising all of my elderly and disabled friends to STAY AWAY. They don't want our business anyway.

On the way home, it occurred to me that venturing out of the hermitage by myself has become more and more dangerous over time. I am not worried about Donald Trump's health or age. The rich have servants to do their shopping and errands. I am worried about the elderly and disabled who routinely get treated with contempt by store clerks and other people whose job is supposed to entail SERVICE but who treat us as if we work for them.

Customarily, in days gone by, hermits and other contemplative monastics have raised their own food, for the most part. It is a wonderful practice. I can't do that, however, being too old and too disabled.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) copyright 2016, all rights reserved

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

THE STINGINESS OF ADVICE



Yesterday I met with the priest of my ersatz parish. I was called into the office to have a meeting in response to a pleading email sent to numerous people on my behalf by Saint Jane. It outlined the harsh and dangerous conditions of my current living situation, my disabilities, the low income that does not meet my needs; and my worthiness, based on good character traits. (Thank you, Jane. The email was awesome.)

The priest, his “church manager,” Jane and I met in the conference room, at which point the priest revealed, basically, that he didn’t intend to help me. They have an empty house on the property, but it has furniture in it and the priest is “tired” of moving it in and out of the house (though I doubt seriously he himself lifts anything) and he wants $1200.00 a month in rent for the industrial looking building that sits like a beige toad on one side of the parking lot of the church. He WON’T move out the furniture, and he wants the full rent. Period.

The building was constructed as a rectory, but the current priest owns one or two pieces of property in Albuquerque and the mountains of Jemes, so he lives in one of those. Typically, there would be NO rent generated from the rectory, when it is used for its customary purpose. He just WANTS money for it if someone other than the parish priest is living in it. It is completely arbitrary. The dire need of a poor parish member is, apparently, of no concern to him.

The last residents who JUST moved out of that building, were paying $950.00 a month, and the priest, though he was informed I could pay no more than $440.00 a month before the meeting, raised the price of the rent by $250.00 a month, which, at $1200.00 a month comes close to being my entire monthly income. Clearly, he wished to discourage me.

Once he had made it plain that he would do nothing for me, he spent the rest of the meeting lecturing me on what I should do to find a place to live. He didn’t bother to ask me what I had already done. He just sailed into a useless bunch of suggestions. His assumption that I have done nothing in the way of research on this topic would have really insulted me, had I not seen this behavior over and over again over the last few years.  People aren’t willing to even spend the mental energy needed to think through the issue enough to reach the obvious conclusion that I have probably thought to research my housing dilemma before resorting to begging others for help. At the very least, they could ASK me what I had done so far, but no one does. This flurry of useless advice is just a smokescreen to hide the stinginess at the heart of the matter.

With all the talk that Jesus devoted to helping the poor, even one’s own parish priest can’t be bothered. Money RULES.

My country club aunt used to “tsk tsk” at my worsening health and financial situation, asserting first that my multi-millionaire father should help me and then, when he got Alzheimer’s and I was written out of his will shortly before he died, she switched to complaining about how my SISTER should do it. My aunt blathered on about how worried she was about me, but her worry only extended to giving me useless advice, like telling me to ask my sister to help, even though the Aunt was wealthy! (While waiting for my Social Security benefits to begin coming in, I asked this aunt for $30.00 for food. She flat out refused. Years later, when I told her about my diagnosis of impending blindness, her daughters sent me a fruit basket! Yep, that’ll fix it.)



When I did ask my sister for help, she claimed she could not afford more than $25.00 a month for internet fees to research housing in her area, then she purchased a brand new luxury car and big recreational vehicle.  She could have singlehandedly funded the move but chose not to. She chose, instead, to buy luxury vehicles to replace the 4 year-old luxury vehicle she already owned.

Typically, most Americans do not want to help you unless it benefits the giver. I am lucky enough to know a few people for whom this is not true. Unfortunately, none of them are wealthy! Isn’t that odd?

There was no point in contributing to the conversation with the priest yesterday. I tried to explain to him that his idea about mobile homes wouldn’t work because they were too expensive and the ramps were way too steep for me, but when I started out by mentioning that they aren’t usually rented, he got mad at me and said he knew of one that someone was renting just last month. Of course, he had no clue about the amount of the rent or the availability of other rentals. He was just talking out of his hat. Later in his monologue, he came back to the subject of mobile homes, as he was obviously peeved I had dared to contradict him and he repeated, “I know for a fact that there is one mobile home that is rented.” He had an angry glint in his eye.

Trying to fill in the blanks for him was useless, and I spent the rest of the meeting being pleasant and waiting for it to be over. At one point, I did try to appeal to his spiritual side by mentioning the crucial need for a quiet place, since I live a contemplative life, with hours of prayers in addition to reciting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He told me not to tell anyone about my monastic routine because everyone would just think I was a kook. So much for his spiritual side!

At the end, I thanked him, although I do not know for what. Perhaps I was just being characteristically polite.

I woke up this morning wondering why on earth the man had summoned me to his office at all. I suspect that the heart of the church manager had been touched by Saint Jane’s email and that she had arranged it, dragging the priest into it without any enthusiasm on his part.

Now he can claim he “helped” me by giving me a stream of useless advice. It is just as well. When this priest retires, the next one is not likely to own his own home, as this one does. Usually, priests are rather poor, especially here in New Mexico, so the next good father will probably HAVE to live in the rectory, which would mean that I would get kicked out. I would have to spend my entire residency looking for another place to live in anticipation of that unavoidable resolution.

Meanwhile, my situation is the same – living on the edge of the barrio, in a noisy, crowded, unsafe apartment complex where the apartment manager snaps at me and treats me like dirt whenever I need something done, where criminals shoot up drugs in our back yard, and where my next door neighbor appears to be a paranoid schizophrenic who claims that I have been yelling at her and that she is afraid for her life because of me, when, in fact, I haven’t spoken to her since she moved in, basically. Evidently she is hearing voices.

Insanity gradually began to ensue after that woman moved in. First, she accused me of “reporting” her to the office, which was nutty and wrong. Then she tried to cover my windows with cardboard, for who knows what reason?

NOW she has started toting around large weapons that she drags from her car every time she sees me in the parking lot. The first weapon was a shiny new axe, with a handle about 3 feet long. Lately, she’s taken to drawing out a large rusty metal pipe of the same length, holding it in a menacing way when she sees me pass.

The apartment itself is just fine. If I could just transport it to another neighborhood, turn it into a cottage and have a small yard constructed in the back, it would be wonderful. It is getting harder and harder to walk my service dog, due to my severe arthritis, scoliosis, sciatica, and damaged knees, though, and one day in the not too distant future, I will have to stop. Then, of course, I don’t know how long it will be before I lose the rest of my eyesight. My understanding is that macular degeneration begins by slowly eroding the center of my vision until nothing is left but a little peripheral vision.

I shouldn’t complain.  Most saints had horrible lives and were treated very badly. Many died grisly, horrific deaths after years of persecution. Some, like Saint Theresa of Calcutta, endured many years of depression, with no consolations to help make the life more bearable. I will continue to be grateful for their example, and perhaps just give up trying to get my needs met. When I MOST want to pursue God, I am forced to pursue earthly remedies and, considering the many humiliations I have to endure as a result, it would seem better to lose myself in the Lord and forget everything else. Trying to get my needs met has been unsuccessful, so far, and my health is suffering from the added stress involved.

Perhaps Saint Jane will continue the search, though I wouldn’t blame her if she just threw up her hands in frustration and walked away from the whole mess.

One blessed, incredible favor bestowed upon me by the Lord recently is the additional friendship of a woman who brings me the Eucharist on Sundays. She is from a different parish that has pews that cripple me, BUT she has a very similar background to mine, having previously taken sannyas, as I did, in a Hindu-based group similar to the one in which I discovered Jesus and His Church. Her deep spirituality and generosity of spirit have been a balm to my soul, and I know the Lord has sent her to me to encourage me in this difficult path. Gratitude washes over me, and I know I can endure because of the love the Lord has shown me in the friendship of good Christian women.

I just hope the neighbor doesn’t have a full-on psychotic break and come after me with that huge axe. I am too decrepit to defend myself, and I am no longer able to run. Please pray to the Lord that, if it is not his wish that I find suitable housing for myself, could he at least find somewhere else for that crazy woman to live? That would be an improvement.

God bless us all,

Silver Rose Parnell

© Copyright 2016

All rights reserved.

Friday, August 26, 2016

INTERNET HIATUS (AGAIN!)

LIVINE ROOM SHRINE
 

While most of my furniture is composed of either folding tables bought at Walmart or special items given to me by friends in my Catholic community, my shrines get extra special attention. I have one in the living room (above) and one in the bedroom (below) and I spend a lot of time in front of both of them. Those corners get very special treatment, as they help set the mood and concentrate my mind on the beauty of the Lord. I burn the same type of incense that is burnt in the Byzantine Catholic Church, and I always try to have candles available to light. They are a priority for me.




Internet service has also been a priority, but as time goes on, and Social Security lags further and further behind the actual cost of living, internet service has become outside my reach. I go through sporadic bouts of available internet at home, and I am now on the cusp of losing my internet again.

Clearly, the Lord wishes me to pray the day away and do not mourn the internet at all. This also means that He is not so keen that I do any writing, since I use the internet for research and cannot work without it. If and when internet is made available to me again, I may take up the writing once more.

In the meantime, I pray for all of you, as I hope you pray for me.

God's blessings upon you!

Silver Rose Parnell

Thursday, August 25, 2016

HELP BUILD THE HERMITAGE

THE FANTASY HERMITAGE IN THE WOODS


Last night I had to call the police because the street on which I live had been turned into a drag racing arena, once again. Usually, they race on Sunday nights but, due to the limited number of police on the streets, they have become more bold and are racing 2 or 3 nights a week. The sound of the engines and the altered mufflers is deafening, especially when right outside my bedroom window. From trucks to motorcycles, it is a metal circus.

Construction has already begun on a new metro-rail transportation system, wherein one of the major hubs and ticket purchasing areas will be less than a block from my apartment, bringing with it further inner-city congestion, crowds and noise. The beautiful trees that were planted a few years ago in the medians will be ripped out and replaced by screeching metal, machinery, and 2 lanes of traffic, instead of 4. The buses that already serve this area are sparsely used, mostly by the homeless, many of whom ride them for many hours a day. The bus system is losing money, as is the commuter train.



Like all the other low income housing in this town, my apartment complex is in a high-crime area. Drugs, prostitution, transients, and a huge area of homeless encampments under the trees growing in a wide swath on either side of the Rio Grande River. Criminals and transients wander through our apartment complex and steal cars, patio furniture and whatever isn't nailed down. I suppose they use some of the small items in the homeless camps. There have been 6 attempts to forcibly access my apartment in the first 6 years I lived here. I had to buy steel security doors, and the attempts subsided.

There is a great deal of anti-Catholic sentiment among the residents and the management. Alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves and n'er do wells have caused me considerable distress, targeting me with hostile behavior and nasty rumors amongst the residents.

Police, my doctors and my friends have all advised me to move, and I agree that I need to find a residence that is safe, lends itself to the peace and quiet of a hermit lifestyle, and which has a small fenced yard for my service dog. This week, my doctor told me that he considers this a medical emergency for me.

I will be blind sometime in the not too distant future, and I need to get settled before all of my vision disappears.

Ideally, I will live near my friends who are caring for me, the stores in which I shop for the special diet the doctor has prescribed, and one of the churches in town which is faithful to the magisterium. The barrier is financial. My monthly income is not enough to meet my needs, and the HUD regulations ensure that ALL of the federally funded housing remains in high-crime areas, which makes no sense at all, when you consider that a high percentage of low-income people are elderly and disabled who need the protection of the state.

Even though I have been ill my entire life, I managed to support myself for 33 years and paid a lot into the Social Security system. Eventually, my illnesses became so bad that I became disabled and could not work. My retirement income is "too high" to qualify for any helpful programs such as dental care or eyeglasses. Only the bottom third of the poor population are provided for, contrary to the beliefs of those who would like to reduce the Social Security benefits of all the grannies and grandpas.

While some religious sisters deliberately choose to live in poor areas, they are responding to an ACTIVE charism rather than a contemplative one. A contemplative vocation calls for an inner and outer SILENCE that cannot be found in neighborhoods such as mine.

Technically, I have 2 "close" living relatives in relationship, neither one of whom are interested in helping. They're not Catholic and do not understand the monastic lifestyle. They prefer to pour their resources into luxury cars, recreational vehicles, vacations, etc.

I had one child, but he died at age 40, two years ago.

My parents are dead. I was supposed to inherit a sizable amount from my father, but he contracted Alzheimer's at the end of his life and his will was mysteriously changed afterwards, cutting me out completely.

If you would like to help establish the hermitage where I may live and pray for the rest of my life, please contact me at MY EMAIL ADDRESS.

OR, you can donate funds toward the expenses of moving and furnishing the holy residence. Just push the paypal button to the right. It says 'DONATE.'

I hope to get established before I lose the rest of my vision.  In the meantime, I bless you all and pray for you, and I ask that you pray for me.

Silver Rose Parnell

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ADOPT A GRANNY



This year I lost more than 40 pounds; I cut 37 points off my “bad” cholesterol without reducing the “good” cholesterol; I cut my triglycerides in HALF; my blood sugar was cut in half, and I have managed to maintain an excellent blood pressure in the range of 115 over 70 without the use of any medications.

Don’t congratulate me, though. I owe it entirely to my Catholic community, and especially my friends Jane and Kathy who have been supplementing my diet with wholesome, mostly organic, fruits, veggies and proteins, without which my dramatic improvement in health indicators would not have been possible.

There are a lot of single, disabled and/or frail elderly women who, at the end of their lives, find themselves living on nothing but their Social Security insurance, the average of which is $1,000 a month. Those with little or no family that are interested in helping them are especially vulnerable, and there are a surprising number of us. Families are smaller these days, and the bonds between relatives are often very tenuous. Husbands die or leave. Some women never marry.

When the subject of the poor comes up, most people think about people who stand on the street corners with cardboard signs, or the illegal aliens who gave birth to children after sneaking into the country, thereby anchoring themselves here and using the resources that Americans pay for. The U.S. does have many programs to help the “poorest of the poor,” but the upper two thirds of those living poor are almost entirely ignored, especially in a state like New Mexico.

In my case, I had been ill with several inherited conditions from the time I was a child, as well as being saddled with PTSD, due to certain traumatic events. Despite these multiple handicaps, I worked for more than 33 years and paid taxes throughout that time, but became completely unable to work by the time I was 50, and had to retire on Social Security Disability. After all those years of paying into the system, I was shocked when I learned that my pitiful income was “too much” to qualify me for any programs. No dental care. No eyeglasses (despite being nearly blind.) Nothing.

Whereas most people think the poor have “made bad life decisions” and that most are drug addicts or alcoholics, nothing could be further from the truth. I have recently read that only 1% of the poor have these issues. I have lived an entirely chaste life for many years and do not smoke, drink, or take drugs. I am not perfect, of course. I AM human. I just do not have the habits typically associated with the poor. Of course, one would expect this of a woman dedicated to the religious life, but my tame lifestyle is not unusual among the grannies who are struggling to put healthy food on their table, pay for over-the-counter and prescription medications, and purchase eyeglasses for failing vision.

Next time you wonder about where your contributions might help the most, please consider filling in the gaps in the unmet needs of the grannies in your parish or in your neighborhood. Find a lonely, myopic granny and adopt her. Ask her what she needs and, to the best of your ability, provide what you can. Make her a part of your family and treat her the same way you would treat your Mom.

A needy granny may be sitting next to you during mass. She could live next door to you. She won’t be dressed in rags and standing on a street corner.  She hasn’t always been poor, so she may look like any other nice, middle-class church lady, but her cupboards at home are nearly empty, and she hasn’t seen a dentist in 10 or 15 years. She may desperately need some new eyeglasses. Finding your “granny” may involve getting to know all the old people at your parish, which should be an eye-opening experience in many ways.

Try to resist turning this into an impersonal, generic Catholic ministry that is organized to help groups of people. The very best part of being adopted by my Catholic friends has been the love I have received from them, the friendship, and the caring. Food, vitamins and other needed items are only the SIGN of the most important gift.

One of the primary Biblical quotes that lead to my conversion was, “They shall know you by how you love one another.” I have received Christian love in this process and have been able to give it, in turn. I highly recommend it.

God bless you all.

Silver “Rose” Parnell