Saturday, September 26, 2015


Pope Francis and the poor, victims of a typhoon,
in the Phillipines

Americans tend to live in their own bubble and not venture too far out of it. Our concept of "family" is typically very narrow, consisting mostly of what is termed "the nuclear family" of mom, pop, kids, and maybe grandparents or grandchildren.  Everyone else is a distant relative, living in their own bubble and, while we may be interested in receiving a card from them at Christmas, their lives are irrelevant to us, especially if they are in a different socio-economic bubble.

Pope Francis challenges us to pop that bubble and embrace the human race of which we are a part but the majority of which we keep at a distance, based largely on the artificial pretext that they are not "one of us," not related to us, "foreigners" and, in the extreme cases, an "enemy."  When fellow Americans are thought of in this way, it is no wonder there is such animosity against the refugees who come to this country trying to escape death and torture in their own country, or the simple migrant seeking food and housing for a hungry family.

If we stay in our bubbles, ignorant of the actual condition of the needy, we can invent whatever fanciful opinion we would like to have about them without letting the facts get in the way. There is a strong tendency to blame the poor for their own condition and to demonize millions of people, based upon the unethical actions of a few, when, in fact, most of the poor are grandma, grandpa, the disabled, and "the working poor." Less than 1% of the poor population are criminals 'working the system,' yet the rest of us are tarred with that same old, tired, brush. The worst lie of all is that "the government" supplies all our needs.

I used to know a wealthy woman who had inherited her money and never had to work to survive. She was under the impression that "the government" had to pay my moving costs when I was stranded in an apartment at the top of stairs I could no longer climb. The smaller the bubble, the more outlandish the ideas.

As a senior, disabled person in America, I receive Social Security and a small discount on my rent from the City of Albuquerque, and that is IT.  I am expected to pay for medical and prescription insurance, dental appointments, eyeglasses, orthopedic shoes, service dog training, adaptations to my apartment to address physical needs, a scooter to address mobility issues, the mechanism that fits on the back of the car for the scooter, a car that can handle the weight of that extra equipment, and special modifications to the steering column so that I can drive with my hands, rather than my feet.  Being disabled is extremely expensive. Out of all those needs, I can only manage to pay the medical insurance and prescriptions. This leaves me stranded, except for very short drives to local stores for a quick pick-up of essential needs.

As it happens, I have grown into the monastic vocation of a hermit, and I have become used to the poverty to which one would voluntarily commit. In my case, it is a concomitant condition with my disabilities. As such, however, I become the perfect witness to the typical lot of the American senior struggling to live on Social Security alone, and I can speak with authority born of experience in addition to the research that I do on the topic of American economics and the poor. My poverty is a blessing from God and an aid to my vocation, and I am grateful for it.

Many people around the world have it much worse than I do.  At least I have food and shelter and clothing.  I am not among "the poorest of the poor," but I was getting close to having to go barefoot. Let me explain:

I was born with oddly shaped feet, which have only grown more odd with time. There isn't a single manufacturer of women's shoes that make any shoe in my width. There are a few men's shoes that are made in my width but do not fit my narrow heels and are, therefore, dangerous to wear, since the heels flop around like crazy and trip me up, what to speak of being downright ugly, especially on a woman who wears only dresses and skirts.  I might as well wear clown shoes.

I am told by every specialty shoe store that shoes must be custom made for me and that these will cost between $500 and $1,000 for each pair.  Even the plastic shoes made by Crocs will no longer fit me, since that manufacturer has narrowed their footbed and hardened the material they use to produce their shoes. My old Crocs have worn through so that there is but a fraction of an inch of rubber between me and the road. I can feel the gravel poking into my skin when I walk the dog. Already I have slipped and fallen on the wet cement in the garage because of the slick, worn soles.

Like many senior American women, I have are no immediate relatives in my life, or at least in the same town.  My only son died a couple years ago.  I have an aunt and numerous cousins, but they are all in another bubble. A wealthy relative tells me how much she loves me and that she hopes I get my needs met. This relative speaks disparagingly about other poor relations.  I know where I stand.

I have a wonderful, faith-filled and faithful Catholic friend who has taken me under her wing and has been helping me get some of my needs me.  Lately, she has been tirelessly pursuing a solution for the shoes, hoping that my research, to date, had missed something.

"Seeking the face of God in everything,
everyone, all the time, and His hand in
every happening; This is what it means
to be contemplative in the heart of the
world.  Seeing and adoring the presence
of Jesus, especially in the lowly appear-
ance of bread, and in the distressing
disguise of the poor."
~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta ~

Getting up to speed on the resources (or, rather, the lack thereof) has been frustrating for her, I imagine, and I thank God for every day she hangs in there with me, enduring the disappointments with me. She lives her faith, no matter how inconvenient and frustrating it is. Walking into the bubble of the poor and the disabled can be a depressing venture for anyone. It has taken me 12 years to slowly accustom myself to it, since I had been a lower middle class working woman most of my adult life and had not had to struggle to pay rent and food costs since my late teens.

Birkenstock "Boston" clogs
European size 41, wide (called "regular")

Recently, I received one of those catalogs that come with their own pay-as-you-go plan, like a credit card, but it had a Birkenstock clog featured.  It was $149.00 - including shipping and handling fees, and I ordered it.  The shoe almost fits me and, after getting them professionally stretched by a local shoe salesman, I am able to walk without as much pain. The shoes flop about on my feet a bit, but if I wear some thick socks, will be better.

I can't get any shoes that actually fit me because of the expense, but I am grateful to have shoes that don't HURT me, at the very least.

Medicare does not pay for orthopedic shoes, except for diabetics. I do not have diabetes.

Mother Teresa did not bother to get her needs met when it came to her feet. I've written about this before. She simply picked the most pathetic and run-down pair of sandals from the donation box and wore those. If her feet were not deformed before this process, they were certainly deformed after wearing this footwear for so many years. I don't understand how she endured the pain!  In any case, I can't afford to follow her example, since I am barely able to walk as it is.

Mother Teresa's feet.  They look a bit like
mine, only hers were not as wide.

Sometimes I feel like a bottomless pit. Once one issue is addressed, another pops up to take its place. If I did not have the assurances of my faith and the hope of heaven before me, I can't imagine how I would keep up my spirits.  Particularly helpful are the examples of the saints who lived among the poor, such as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. For those needs that I cannot get met, I can do as she did and turn to embrace them as a means to salvation. I have no doubt she did a lot less complaining than I do, if she complained at all. That's why she is a saint and I am not.

These experiences of mine have given me a deeper compassion for the problems of the poor in the world. The thing that tugs on my heartstrings the most is the degrading attitudes about the poor that I see all around me. It isn't enough that the poor have to struggle to get their needs met, but they also have to endure the disdain of the rest of the world.

This is why I write this blog. In addition to educating others about the saints and The mystical heart of the Church, I primarily want to bring the Truth to the forefront and combat these urban myths about the poor that have multiplied exponentially, thanks to the media. My struggles to get my needs met are common to at least three quarters of the poor population, yet I practice none of the unacceptable social vices that it is assumed I practice, based upon those myths. I am the ordinary standard that represents the poor, not the drug addled, alcoholic, thieving, dishonest characters that are pushed into the media as prime examples. This is why I bring my pedestrian life problems into public view. Showing how the grinding logistical nightmares can wear down a person, and how many blockades there are to survival, has to shatter these preconceived notions about how the poor are too lazy to work and that they just want everything handed to them. Work was never this difficult.

When I left the Hindu convent, I wanted to become a Catholic nun, but numerous blockades came before me, and then chronic health issues multiplied and worsened over the years, so much that I am now unable to be of any use to a community. I knit a few hats for the homeless in winter, crochet some baby blankets for poor mothers, pray for the world, and write this blog. The Lord has placed me in this condition, and I must practice some obedience and say "yes" to his wishes. Keeping the example of our Blessed Mother before me is crucial to my ability to do that. She said "yes" to God in all things, and especially to the most fantastical of requests of His, so I keep my eye on her and ask her to remain with me as a constant reminder of receptivity to the will of the Lord.

In my own fashion, I live as a hermitess here in my city apartment.  I have my own little "convent," of sorts, and I work toward a state in which I am praying always. I beg for your prayers, that my monastic life becomes more true, regardless of where I find myself. Mostly, however, I ask that you please pray for the poor and be kind to them. Don't support the urban myths about them. Love them instead. Pop whatever bubble in which you live and go out among the poor so beloved by Christ.

God bless you all.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I have heard from many people that they have had trouble forgiving certain people in their life.  Their emotional feelings of resentment, and sometimes righteous indignation, get in the way. A marginally Christian woman who had been the recipient of many years of abuse at the hands of an alcoholic husband told me just last night that she doesn't feel she can ever forgive him.

My bottom-line impression of forgiveness is that it does not rely upon any emotional feeling on my part. To my mind, forgiveness is a decision, a deliberate orientation toward the will of Christ, in response to his commandment that we are to forgive 70 times 7. Christ said that if we love Him we will follow his commandments, and this is one of them.

I have heard and read some Christians say that they do not believe in forgiving others and that they adhere to the "eye for an eye" principle found in the Old Testament. Jesus specifically abolished this standard, so it is hard for me to understand how someone who claims to be Christian can follow the old prescription.  I chalk it up to poor education in the faith, and perhaps some unwillingness to follow a faith, as opposed to requiring that the faith follow them.

In the "Our Father" we pray, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us." My willingness to forgive is directly tied to the measure of forgiveness that I receive from the Lord. This prayer is a reminder to me that I have many faults, and yet the Lord has forgiven me. He loves me, though I wouldn't say that I "deserve" it.  Can we ever say that we "deserve" the love of our Lord who is spotless, pure and without defects? Thinking along these lines prompts me toward a feeling of humility. It occurs to me that I must be humble if I am going to forgive those that hurt me.  Recalling my own sins and shortcomings chastens me.

I am not a theologian and I do not pretend to know and understand everything about this crucial aspect of the faith. I just thought I would write about my thoughts behind it and how I handle it. It is a topic with which I have had to wrestle quite a bit, having been the recipient of a great deal of brutality, unfairness and suffering throughout my life.

I have been physically, sexually, and mentally tortured.  I have been the object of public ridicule for nothing other than my weight.  I have experienced a great deal of rejection on superficial grounds.  I have been "kicked when I was down."  My reputation was destroyed among family members so that theft and murder could be disguised.  Friends abandoned me when I became ill.  Some abandoned me because I converted to Catholicism.  People to whom I have been generous and kind have stolen from me and lied about it. Family have turned their backs on me, living in luxury while studiously ignoring my need.

There has been a LOT to forgive!

My habit is to pray that the light of Christ becomes perceptible to those people who have hurt me, that they respond to it, become converted in their hearts, go to Him, and accept His love. As far as I can see, there can be no greater good for which I could pray.  If my prayers were to be answered, the persons for whom I pray would obviously become changed in a crucial way and would no longer be of an inclination to torment me or anyone else.  They would experience great joy and would naturally radiate that joy into the world.  We become transformed when we respond to God and begin to approach Him.  I know that I have changed. Bad habits still cling to me, no doubt, and I carry the cross of my inadequacies daily, but I also carry gratitude, peace and Divine Love. If I am to love others as much as I love myself, I assume that I must wish this great joy upon everyone.

In addition to specific prayers of forgiveness, which I repeat often, these people whom I have occasion to forgive are tacitly included in the grace I pray every time I am about to eat or drink something.  It is a standard format that I have altered to include prayers for mankind, as follows:

"Bless me, oh Lord, and these thy gifts which I am
about to receive from thy bounty.  May I always
be grateful.  In Jesus' precious name I pray that no
one go hungry today and that all souls become 
converted and go to You."
(My altered version of a standard grace before meals)

There is another thing that I do when I struggle against thoughts of retaliation.  In my book, forgiving someone means that I wish only the good for that person and that I do not entertain fanciful scenarios of that person being punished.  Deriving enjoyment from the idea of another person's suffering, even if it is deserved, is not a Christian sentiment. It can take a while before my heart is purified by the prayers of forgiveness.  

For example, I struggle with my feelings of ill will toward a person who masquerades as a religious personality in order to camouflage serious crimes and mortal sins.  This person engineered family estrangements using carefully crafted lies and manipulations, thereby isolating a vulnerable person, who died under suspicious circumstances.  Forgiving this criminal has been very difficult, but, every time I feel the twinge of resentment, I say a quick mental prayer, asking the Lord to forgive me for my lack of charity and also asking the Lord to bless this person.  "Vengeance is mine" saith the Lord. Clearly, it is not within my authority to judge a person and mete out the punishment, especially if I am supposed to love my enemies. Like everyone else, I am a work in progress.

The bottom line is that we CAN forgive even those people who have committed the most egregious sins against us because forgiveness is a decision guided by faith, not an emotion. Praying for our enemies is a matter of obedience to Christ's commandments

I pray for you all.  Please pray for me.

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

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 and one of 
my ancestors
(grandmother of St. Cloud)

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, September 6, 2015


Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the house of David.  The Virgin's name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"  But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus."  And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God for with God, nothing is impossible."  Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word."

Mary's "fiat," her saying "let it be," saying "yes" to God is the theme of my life.  I am striving to learn how to always say "yes" to God, both in word and in deed.  Each day, I ask Mary to take my hand, show me how to say "yes" to God in all things, and lead me to Jesus.

Protestants often accuse Catholics of treating Mary as if she was a little God and, while this may be true of a few individuals who go overboard with it, the official Catholic position is that Mary, an unparalleled saint, is alive in heaven with the other saints, angels, cherubim, seraphim, and God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  

We venerate Mary as a holy person, "the Queen of Heaven," and we ask her to pray for us, just as we ask the other saints to pray for us, and just as we ask our friends to pray for us, except that Mary, who was conceived without sin and who is  the mother of God, the "Theotokos", is the Saint par excellence and especially has the ear of her son, who honors her as His mother.  We honor her likewise and seek her prayers.

Mary is, for me, the perfect example of the Holy person I wish to become.  She said "yes" to God. She held the Divine Child within her and birthed Him into the world.  I too wish to carry Jesus within me and give him to the world.  I wish to be as holy, pure and spotless as I would need to be in order to accomplish that feat.  She is my example, my guide and my Heavenly Mother.

Throughout the ages, painters have rendered their vision of the visitation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary.  For me, these paintings are a source of much joy and great objects upon which to meditate on Mary's "yes."  I offer them here as a gift to my readers in the hope that they will prove to be as inspiring to them as they are to me.

Hail Mary, full of grace!
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for me, a sinner,
Now and at the hour of my death

Silver Rose Parnell