SAINT OLGA

SAINT OLGA
MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, SAINT OLGA, PATRON SAINT OF CONVERTS

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A MARVELOUS VISION OF HEAVEN



When I was a nun in the Hindu convent in Hollywood, I distinctly remember a short conversation in which the ersatz head nun waxed enthusiastic about how wonderful it would be when she died and just "merged" into God and became part of Him. Without thinking I said, "that sounds REVOLTING!"

It was then that I realized that my true inner knowing and belief was far different than the Hindu-style religion I'd entered in my late 20's. Even though I'd had almost NO exposure to Christianity while growing up, I somehow just knew that God was my creator and not my equal and that, if I was lucky enough to make it to heaven, it would not be a little Goddess on par with the great creator.

Many of these Hindu-based and "New Age" religions believe that the world is a horrible place and that the whole rationale for spiritual practice was to escape the grim and never ending cycle of birth and death. Some Christians, influenced by our pagan culture, believe that everything earthly, including our bodies, is bad and must be overcome. They believe that we are spirit beings stuck in the material world, but this is not Christian theology.

God created this world and pronounced it "good." He created us in His image, which, of course, is automatically good.

When I became disabled, and the illnesses worsened and accumulated with age, I forgot for a short time that the world is good and that our bodies are good. The horrible distraction of trying to get my needs met and my illnesses addressed pulled my mind away from the Lord to some extent. I was sad that my life had "ended up" like this, despite my joy at finding my Lord and experiencing the privilege of serving Him.

Thanks to a mini-series about heaven that I saw on EWTN, I was reminded of the truth, and I snapped out of my depression! My life has not "ended up like this" because my life has no end. My life has just barely begun, in the context of eternity. SO MUCH lays ahead!

In heaven, according to Anthony Destefano, the author of A TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN  our bodies will be transformed into our "most perfect selves-physically, emotionally, and spiritually." In addition to the deep, abiding joy that we naturally expect to experience in heaven, Anthony draws upon Biblical scripture and Catholic theology to fully develop a vibrant, soul-thrilling glimpse into the heavenly realm.

The Amazon.com page dedicated to this book says that heaven is "not only a spiritual place, but also a physical place, a fabulous "luxury resort," more sumptuous than any on Earth. The residents are real, their bodies transformed into their most perfect selves..."

The DVD based upon this book can be purchased at EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network AT THIS LINK: DVD - 3 HOURS - TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN. I found it very entertaining, sometimes charming or funny, and often inspiring. Watching it helped me form a more specific expectation of heaven.

Since 2017 marks the 100 year anniversary of the miracles of Fatima, I intend to devote part of this year to the study of the Fatima miracles, the promises, and the instructions of our Lady. With a little help from my friends, I plan to give out rosaries, books about Fatima, and books about the rosary. Having a vision of heaven under one's belt is a fabulous inspiration to fuel a renewal of spiritual zeal, and is appropriate to any ministry, I would imagine.

Once we learn about the remarkable miracles that were witnessed by 70,000 people, "on cue," so to speak, how can we doubt the words of Christ or his blessed church? How can we not believe that, if we love Christ and follow his words, we are destined for that beautiful place called Heaven, where we will spend much more time than here on earth?

I would like to suggest that you purchase and watch the DVD: "TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN", which is sold through EWTN. Commemorative 100-year rosaries with attached special medal are sold by the Blue Army, otherwise known as the WORLD APOSTOLATE OF FATIMA.

I also recommend perusing the Catholic web websites and pick up anything you can on the Miracle of Fatima. The whole story is a wonderful aid to Evangelization.

If you can spare it, please donate on my website so that I can also distribute some rosaries and books this year. As usual, I have medical needs that are not being addressed, and if you God has graced you with the ability to help with those, I am grateful.

Most monastics have to do some sort of work to support themselves, since the generosity of modern man is limited, and the value of lives devoted to prayer is not appreciated. It is difficult to do this while disabled, which is the reason that most convents and monasteries will not accept disabled people, and some will even throw you our if you become ill while living as a monastic among them. Fortunately, the Lord has graced me with some creative skills.

In future, I may be uploading new blogs for the artworks.  In the meantime, my genealogy business can be found at: SILVER COTTAGE GENEALOGY



Please remember that I have professional genealogical skills, I paint, I write, and I make home-made lace chapel veils. I will be putting up some websites for these when I can, but keep it in mind for the time being. I am disabled for most functions, but I can produce a few items for sale, and perhaps I can make something for you. Christmas is around the corner.




May you be showered with blessings!

I pray for all of you, as I hope you pray for me.

God bless us all!

Silver "Rose" Parnell

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

SAINT AELIA FLACILLA - My 48th Great Grandmother



Many people are skeptical when they hear that I am descended from various saints and royals. It sounds like wishful thinking, or perhaps some sort of bragging, but it's not. Thousands of people are descended from the same families but have not substantiated their genealogy. The thing is, history books and other mentions in contemporaneous writings are available to us, either on the internet or in numerous reference books at the libraries. The royals are especially easy to follow through the centuries. Some of them happen to be saints, and carry that special significance through time.

Most inspiring to me are the early saints who were subjected to incredible persecution and whose efforts at evangelization were the building blocks of the early church. A lot of responsibility was on the shoulders of the royals, for instance, when introducing the faith as the standard of moral and theological thought upon which their respective countries would operate.

In the case of my 48th great grandmother, Saint Aelia Flaccilla, first wife of Emperor Theodosius, she was instrumental in advancing the case for the Nicene Creed being adopted by the faith itself.  In fact, she is said to have prevented a meeting between her husband and a promoter of the Arian heresy that would deny the Nicene Creed. Christian concepts were embodied in the Nicene Creed, not created by it, but heretics fought it.

Saint Aelia also helped and served the disabled, which appeals to me immensely, of course, not just because I am disabled but because I love the disabled who are usually ALSO poor and also have fewer of their needs met than an able bodied poor person. The disabled, who are one of the most vulnerable populations, are especially loved by God. He went so far to say that anyone who served the least of these (the most vulnerable) are serving Jesus Himself. The more I come to love Jesus, the more I feel love for "the least of these," because I recognize, bit by bit, that he is specially present with them.

The fact that an Empress, who could delegate any task to someone else, would herself put her hands to the service of the disabled, makes her a wonderful example for all of us. Since I am descended from her, I feel an especially strong desire to live up to her example, and I also feel a deep feeling of connection with her.

As far as we can tell, the saints have gone directly to heaven and are advocating for us, praying for us, and watching us. On the other side, I feel heard by them and am encouraged by it. I am not suggesting that a familial relationship to the saints is somehow superior to a relationship between a Catholic and his or her chosen patron saints. Not at all. It is just that, for me personally, having a familial relationship fills a giant void in my heart that other people may not have. My earthly family experience with my immediate family was just horrible, and I am completely detached from the few that remain. Jesus, Mary, the angels, the saints, and my Catholic family have become my real family.

"For my father and mother have abandoned me,
and the Lord has taken me up."
Psalm 27:10

In general, I recommend getting to know ALL the saints you possibly can. You may be surprised at the number of them for whom you feel some special connection. They're attentive to us and are waiting for us to appeal to them. I imagine they are already praying for us.

When I speak to the saints, I don't send my words out as if traveling over a far distance. For me, the saint to whom I speaking, whether it is Aelia or Olga or Margaret of Scotland, is sitting right next to me, holding my hand, their face drawn very close to mine. The breath of my words wafts across their ears. They're listening intently, and I am understood without explanation. It bouys me up.

With regard to Saint Aelia, she is a saint in the Orthodox Church and not the Catholic, even though her lifetime was long before the split between the two. I have often wondered if my strong desire for the reunion of the Catholic and Orthodox church can be traced to some genetic memory of my sainted Orthodox and Catholic ancestors. It could be that both Catholic and Orthodox ancestors are praying for all their descendants, and I feel love for both paths of the faith. It is interesting to speculate about the origins of my peculiar prayer ministry for the reunion, but I don't suppose I will know for sure until the Lord takes me home.

In the meantime, I call upon Saint Aelia (and others) for intercession of the Lord for the purpose of the reunion of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, so that the body of Christ may breath with both lungs once more. I invite you to join me!


God bless us all,
Silver Rose Parnell

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

THE POOR DON'T OWE YOU ANYTHING




If an American makes $50,000 a year, he or she will pay about seven (7) dollars per year into the welfare system that supports the indigent on the bottom third of the poverty spectrum.

An in-depth analysis of the facts and statistics was done very nicely HERE on the blog Soapboxie. There are numerous other sources on the internet that echo this information, but I like the charts that this author provides, as well as the way he explains them. Very nice work, on his part.

In return for that seven dollars, a great number of tax payers are exceedingly interested in the activities of that person who receives that seven (7) dollars. They have a lot of opinions about what the poor, disabled and vulnerable should do in exchange for that tiny bit of assistance, and most of those opinions are damn mean.

In addition, the ratio of amount of assistance given, compared to the amount of control some people want over the recipients, would be hysterical if it weren't so sad. To be so focused on the money that drizzles into the pockets of the poor, while the corporate robber barons are emptying our bank accounts just doesn't make any sense.

Jesus would be appalled.

I do not receive any welfare, since I live on the Social Security that accumulated after working more than 33 years, but I very occasionally receive a donation on this blog. The cost of bringing internet into the home far exceeds the pittance I receive in donations, on a year by year basis. (I had hoped that the blog would at least pay for itself but unfortunately, it does not. I refuse to junk up my page with ads from marketers, however. I figure that, at the very least, I can give my readers a respite from the constant flow of sales pitches by corporations that they have to endure on every other page they access.)

Of the very few who donate, most are extremely kind. Others, in the guise of kindness, will assail me with a barrage of unsolicited "advice" that is not only unnecessary, but would also be insulting, if I was inclined toward that sort of response.

Although I have no choice as to whether or not I will be poor, the vast majority of monastics throughout time have been poor by choice and by chance. Ideally, it is a chosen thing, a sacrifice made for God. Even if poverty is thrust upon a monastic by circumstance, we are encouraged to embrace it. When poverty impinges upon the ability of the monastic to perform his or her functions, measures have to be taken to alleviate it. Poverty, in its essence, is not a "good" thing, but a tool in the hands of the spiritual aspirant.

Consequently, most monasteries rely upon a combination of donations and some type of work of the hands that they may sell. Whether it is coffee, candies, rosaries or liquor, most monastics have to produce something for sale in order to survive. In days gone by, most monasteries and convents survived by gifts alone, but modern times find us with far fewer devoted Christians who understand the value of what the monastic "produces" by his or her presence and prayers. Sadly, Westerners are capitalists first and Christians second, in most cases.

Being disabled and gradually becoming more so, I do not have the capacity to produce anything to any meaningful extent, which is why I have a donation request on my front page. Still, there are people who will insist upon gifting me with their opinion of what I must do to produce something worthy of payment. It is exhausting, especially since they fail to observe that I am already doing something worthy.

After trying, and failing, to get me to live under her rule, a recent small donor has gone off in a huff and unfollowed my blog. A relative who gave me a television similarly subjected me to an overbearingd brow-beating. Another who sent me a book a year or two ago erupted into a tirade of name-calling and public excoriation because I will not vote for her political candidate. Unfortunately, these people felt entitled to control my actions after contributing an extremely small amount to the household. People complain that the poor feel entitled, but my experience of life is the opposite. It is those who give with big strings attached who have a sense of entitlement.

The Bible tells us to invite those persons to our banquets who cannot afford to return a similar invitation. I definitely cannot afford to turn my life over to those who give me a few dollars. I have already given that life to God, and it is not for sale.

I have vacillated back and forth about whether or not to continue the blog or if I should dedicate the time spent writing it to some other endeavor. For the time being, I will keep it, because there are more than a few readers who tell me that their condition mirrors mine and that they receive encouragement and grace from my words.

Just as Jesus used parables to instruct, I offer the small circumstances of my life as an example that can be extrapolated to an understanding of the conditions of the poor, disabled and discarded in America, in order to rouse love in the hearts of those who denigrate the poor, and to support the faithful Christian in whom love already flows but who suffers from living in a hostile angry world.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell

Monday, October 17, 2016

GETTING OUT OF BED HAS BECOME AN ART

Sunset at the hermitage


In the sunset of my life, I am finding the simplest things most difficult. Getting in and out of bed, for instance, is a production, which is probably why I sleep so often in my recliner. I get a much better, much deeper and more restorative sleep, however, if I sleep in the bed, a bed, I might add, that cost me a fortune and took two years to pay for.

The problem is that, if I DO get a good night's sleep or 8 or 10 hours straight through, I wake with my lower spine and hips frozen in pain if I move. If I just lay there, I am alright. The mornings are beautiful and I can pray the time away, but at some time I have to get up, and this is when the morning comedy show begins.




All the icons appeared to be staring at me while I tried to wriggle myself out of bed one morning. The night before, I had finally put together a rolling bed cart so I could bring the computer into the bedroom on some evenings when the Pope is engaged in some special event and I want to see it on EWTN at 3:00 in the morning or whatever odd time of the early morning it had to be shown, due to time differences around the world. It is an inconvenience, but there is something wonderful about being included in an event as it happens.

The cart was blocking the side of the bed which I customarily use to crawl out in the morning, but it didn't occur to me that I might not be able to get out of bed on the other side.

Feeling very much like Kafka's cockroach, I wriggled and squirmed, trying to find a position that would allow me to exit the bed without wrenching my back and causing even more damage to it. It took a good ten minutes before my feet found the floor, finally, and I began the customary production involved in straightening my back.

It is on day's like this that I am grateful to be living alone, with no one to see my comedic stylings in my pajamas...no one except the Lord, of course.

Please pray for me, as I pray for you.

Silver Rose

Friday, October 14, 2016

WHY DIDN'T TRUMP ACCUSERS COME FORWARD EARLIER?

Me at 24
Copyright (c) 1978
Silver Parnell

In 1974, when I was 20 years old, I got a job working for an executive at E.F. Hutton. It was a frightening environment. I was the only woman in our office, the rest of them being commodity traders and one executive who ran the department. Many lunch hours, the men would retire to the conference room, draw the blinds closed against the glass partition, and watch pornographic films with the sound turned up really high. The men hooted and hollered, uttering horribly vulgar comments that STILL make me blush, 38 years later.

I was desperate for work. Unmarried, with no helpful family connections, I was alone in the big city of Los Angeles, trying to keep a roof over my head.

One of the men noticed that I was taking the bus home every night and he offered me a ride home. I was too innocent to realize that he had an ulterior motive. It did not occur to me that this elderly portly man with a wispy comb over, someone who engendered daughterly feelings in me, would attempt to force me into having sex with him. Fortunately, I escaped the car with my virtue intact, but the experience shook me, and I began to look for another job.

Shortly thereafter, the head of the department asked me to spend the weekend with him in Las Vegas. I demurred. He fired me. Later, when I tried to get work in the same industry. I found that he had blackballed me and was publicly excoriated when I showed up for an appointment at another investment firm. Before the interview even occurred, the man who was to interview me loudly proclaimed, in a room full of people, that my previous boss had told him I was lazy and stupid and other character assassinations. The eyes of about 20 people were on me, and you could have heard a pin drop. I'm sure my face was flaming red. I couldn't even defend myself, I was so shocked. I turned heel and fled, like a dog with my tail between my legs.

I was humiliated by this experience. It did serious damage to my sense of safety in the world and contributed to the development of some post traumatic stress.

Never did I even mention these experiences to anyone until recently. It has taken me this long to realize that the truth will set me free.

Donald Trump supporters complain that the numerous women who have come forward to recount experiences of being assaulted by Donald Trump have not told their stories publicly until now and that, therefore, they are either looking for fame or money. Alternately, he has accused them of being part of a great conspiracy, either by the Clinton campaign or the media, depending on which speech you hear.

One of Mr. Trump's accusers recounts her experience of being assaulted on an airplane when sat next to him. He now says that the public should take a look at her, that she would not be his "first choice" - insinuating that she isn't attractive enough to assault.  Well, her assault happened right about the time that I was being fired for refusing to spend a weekend with my married boss. Just as I did not make public my boss's outrageous behavior, she did not complain about Trump assaulting her. She knew that if she complained, she would experience retaliation. It happened A LOT in those days.

None of us want the negative attention we would get by bringing these things into the public eye, but when the predator lies in public and says he never assaulted anyone, and he's running for the most powerful job in the world, one's sense of civil duty outweighs the price the victim will have to pay for coming forward.

Silver "Rose" Parnell
(c) Copyright 2016
All rights reserved

Sunday, October 9, 2016

DONALD TRUMP'S APOLOGY

In younger, more innocent years




I have to add one more comment to my last blog post.

Many people on the internet are excusing Donald Trump's behavior and saying things to the effect that no one should judge a person and he's apologized and so we should be good Christians and forgive him and they are going to vote for him, still, after everything we have heard from this man, both recently and in the past.

Some women have been filmed and televised saying that "all men talk this way." All men do not talk this way. Some men do, and I will tell you who they are.

The four (4) adult men who drugged, gang raped me and left me to die in a river when I was 14, they talked that way while they savaged me. The head of the commodities department of a well known but now defunct investment firm who fired me for refusing to go to Las Vegas with him for the weekend when I was 20 years old talked this way. All of my male co-workers at that investment firm who spent their lunch hours locked in the conference room watching pornographic films while they hooted and hollered, they spoke like Donald Trump. The Hollywood producer who refused to hire an actress friend of mine who wouldn't sleep with him in exchange for a television role used to talk that way. The man who kidnapped, tortured and tried to murder me and then chased me across three states when I finally escaped, HE talked that way during the numerous assaults.

I am very familiar with the type of man who lewdly boasts about his assaults and attempted assaults of women.

Donald Trump's attitude and treatment of women has been consistent, from that cringe worthy tape released the other evening, to his disgusting sideways joke about a woman's menstrual period on the stage of the first debate itself. His hateful attitude toward half the population of the world, revealed in his language and actions, is shared by rapists, pornographers and murderers.

The good men I have known in my life do not speak this way.

There are many good men in our country; fine, intelligent men with heart and courage. They do not have to apologize for their treatment of women. I am of the strong opinion that it is THIS type of man that we need in the White House.

Silver Rose Parnell
Copyright (c) 2016

Some related articles:

FACT CHECKING DONALD TRUMP - 76% LIES

LOS ANGELES TIMES - DONALD TRUMPS LONG RECORD...

UTAH PAGEANT WINNER GROPED BY TRUMP

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER ARTICLE ABOUT DONALD TRUMP'S "CREEPY" BEHAVIOR WITH WOMEN

DONALD TRUMP LIES HIS WAY THROUGH THE SECOND DEBATE


Thursday, September 29, 2016

STAY INSPIRED!

The Three Archangels


Those who read my blog might think it would be difficult to keep the spiritual inspiration going, considering the illnesses and difficulty performing natural functions. The simplest logistics are maddeningly difficult, it's true, but I use both the painful moments, as well as those spent recuperating in my recliner to keep my mind uplifted so that I can approach a state of "praying always." I have written before that surrounding myself with holy pictures uplifts my soul and keeps my mind at the feet of the Lord. There seems to be no end to it, until I run out of wall space and book shelves!

My living room prayer corner


I LOVE the beauty of the icons, candles, incense, photographs, and all the accoutrements that call to mind the Lord, his saints and angels, but also speak to the heart of PRAYER. My living room prayer corner is an invitation to a very special and intimate conversation with the Lord. Whether I am praying a simple contemplative prayer or chanting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I am entering into a spiritual union with my beloved Lord. The candles are lit. The incense is burning. The conversation begins. This little prayer corner is directly across from my recliner, and I spend a lot of time just sitting and gazing at whichever icon appeals to me at that moment. I highly recommend that every household have AT LEAST ONE prayer corner. As it happens, I have two.

Modern life has one big advantage for someone like me who is disabled and nearly home bound. The internet and television bring me the world in a unique manner that all my books can't duplicate. It doesn't replace a good spiritual book, but introduces another dimension. First thing in the morning, I usually find the Bible reading for the day and read that. Afterwards, I meditate on the meaning and significance for me personally, which is known as "lectio divina."

Often, I resort to the EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) and catch some special programming or participate in the televised mass, knowing that there are likely THOUSANDS of little old ladies like me who are participating at that very same moment. That idea makes me very happy.

Then I check out the saints for the day. There are two or three websites to which I can refer that give me those. Every day, there are MANY saints for whom we have a feast day, and it is wonderful to learn about a new saint or to reacquaint myself with a favorite. This may inspire me to recite a chaplet or some special prayers in honor of that saint. Sometimes I will write a blog post, and now that I have more reliable internet, there may be more of these.

I recommend subscribing to good magazines and circulars that are faithful to the magisterium, though I can't afford them at the moment. Being a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary has been a source of great joy for me. The writings included in their modest little newsletter often give me great material for contemplation. I also am a supporter of the effort to have Blessed Margaret of Castello sainted, and their regular missives bring me holy reminders. There are other groups that send daily emails. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of heresy though, folks! There are plenty of groups that are actually created for the purpose of snatching the faithful AWAY from the church and into bizarre cults that have some problem with some arcane aspect of the Church.


Vintage rosary very similar to the one given to me
by a dear friend. Etsy is a good source for these.


My standard prayers are the rosary, but even in that case, I have several different rosaries. One is the St. Benedict rosary that a friend bought for me on pilgrimage to Rome. It gives me a sense of protection, both because of the prayers of protection against Satan that appear on each St. Benedict medal that is used to recite the "Our Father" prayers and because the friend who gave it to me is like a guardian angel for me.

Another beloved friend gave me a gorgeous moonstone rosary that is a vintage French piece of art, very delicate, with a beautiful feel to the beads. The granddaughter of a friend of mine made me a turquoise colored plastic and string rosary that I love to use on the days I honor Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a saint for whom I have a first class relic that this little girl gave me.

I have a faux pearl, lightweight rosary that I carry with me in my handbag, along with some very special medals given to me by friends who have traveled to various pilgrimage places and brought me items from those places. I've attached a small silver medal of Saint Jason, which is the name of my poor departed son who died a few years ago. I use that rosary while waiting for mass to start on the rare occasions when I am able to attend mass, and I use it while standing in front of the mausoleum where my son's ashes are interred. Always, I think about my son when I use that rosary and usually dedicate my prayers to him.




Chaplets are also a solid form of inspiration. I have a small statue of St. Michael in my living room prayer corner. Next to him, I keep a box with a small St. Michael chaplet. Another favorite is my chaplet of Divine Mercy. A beautiful picture of Divine Mercy Jesus features prominently on the wall across from my recliner and I can gaze at it while I use the chaplet.

St. Olga of Kiev, "Equal to the Apostles", is my 33rd great grandmother, and my deepest inspiration. She was JUST AWFUL before becoming Christian. If she can become a saint, we ALL have a chance! Recently, I was given a beautiful icon of her, made in the Ukraine where she lived. I also found a one-of-a-kind chaplet of her that came with instructions on how to recite a "niner" chaplet.


Baptism of St. Olga


Contemplation, lectio divina, the rosary, various chaplets, Bible study, study of the saints, big prayers, little prayers, the practice of the presence of God - All of these contribute to keeping my mind in the beauty of the Lord.

I have even developed quite a few methods of walking prayer while I am taking the dog out for his numerous constitutionals. All of the prayers are internal, so my neighbors don't think I've gone nuts and am talking to myself. Sometimes I simply recite the Jesus prayer, "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a poor sinner." Often, I recite the Ave Maria. When I am mentally sharp and there are no neighbors in the parking lot, I will recite an Ave, then a very short prayer for a neighbor or a cause...something different between each Ave.

There is no reason to imagine that these are "rote" prayers. They are only rote if you let your mind wander elsewhere. Heart, mind and spirit have to be joined, and there is nothing rote about it.

The variety of Catholic practice and prayers is amazing, and I rely upon MANY, as you can see. They are a wonderful distraction to pull the mind away from from chronic pain, suffering, and the tedium of the constant round of chores that take SO long when one is physically challenged. No matter what I am doing, whether walking the dog, doing dishes, laundry or scrubbing, it is ALL prayer, either through actual prayers said in tandem with the task OR by dedicating a more complex task to the Lord and practicing the presence of God while doing it.

Stay inspired, my friends! And pray for me once or twice during all of it, won't you?

God bless us all

Silver Rose Parnell

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:

RESEARCH AND WRITING NEEDS

WORSHIP NEEDS

FOOD, MEDICINALS AND HOUSEHOLD NEEDS

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.

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


Monday, May 30, 2016

VEILING

Long white lace chapel veil for sale on Etsy

Several weeks ago, I was sitting in church, my hands folded in my lap, my head bowed, in deep prayer after receiving the body and blood of Christ when some woman broke from the communion line, came over to me and grasping my hands, said, "your hair is SO beautiful!" I was astonished and appalled.

I hasten to add that I had done NOTHING to feature my hair. In fact, it was a mess. I hadn't even brushed it before leaving the house, as I was late getting ready for my ride. I had just put a few home-made scrunchies in it at varying spots down the length of it to keep it in line. It is a combination of gray and my natural reddish auburn color, and is on the frizzy side, so it isn't something I wear like a trophy.



To cover or not to cover?


Over the last couple of years, I had been considering the issue of veiling in church. Women originally veiled for another purpose, but having my hair become a distraction to someone else's devotions as well as my own was yet another reason to give serious consideration to the practice.

Of course, my physical condition has deteriorated to such an extent that I am currently unable to sit through mass, but I am praying for healing and I am also losing weight in the desperate hope that it will have some effect, even though I know that my joints are now "bone on bone" and my spine is becoming fused in the lower back. Hope springs eternal, especially when one is Christian and we have a long tradition of miraculous healings, going back to Christ Himself. I may or may not be able to return to regular mass attendance, so I have to get this issue of veiling settled in my mind for when and if I do return.

I know, of course, that women are no longer required to veil in church, but many Americans fail to recognize that the requirement having been dropped does not signify that it has no value. It just means that there is no longer an official proscription against women going bare headed into the church and one will not be PUNISHED in any fashion. One is no longer penalized for failing to veil in church, but it does not mean it should not be done.


Long white mantilla style veil
at



In all of the churches I have visited since I became Catholic about 9 years ago, I rarely see more than 2 or 3 women who are veiled. Many times, no one is veiled. I find no fault with that. It is just an observation about the current habit. Occasionally, I have remembered to bring a scarf or crocheted lace shawl with me to wear at church, and I noticed several women eyeing me as if I had broken some feminist code or something. Some women have told me that wearing a veil is a cooperation with the patriarchy that suppressed women for thousands of years.

1 Corinthians seems to be a problem for some women. They do not like the idea that the man is the head of the family

I was struck today by a response from a Muslim woman, ironically, with regard to the wearing of the Hijab, the large scarf that covers the hair and necks of Muslim women.


Malaysian woman wearing an hijab



Hanna Yusuf makes the point that the wearing of the head scarf is a way to opt out of the sexist culture that views all women as sex objects to be used in everything from selling cars to actually selling themselves. By dressing modestly and "covering up," a woman may reclaim her body. Obviously, she is not talking about those instances where a woman is forced, sometimes with violence, to wear obscuring clothing. She mentions that in her video. She makes her own case much better than I can, so, if you are interested, please see her video HERE.

When I was in the Hindu convent, several of us "younger ones" regularly wore simple handkerchiefs that were folded into triangles that were then tied at the nape of the neck, especially when doing dirty jobs, when the weather was breezy, or just for the heck of it. The tendency toward modesty is natural among those attracted to monasticism, in most instances. Then, there are the artists, and you never know what kind of getup they will adopt. Guilty, here, with my occasional outbreaks of pink. I still wear one of those headscarves on many occasions, especially as fall approaches.  These days, it is usually black in color, as a friend gave me 5 for my wardrobe. She is a lay Carmelite and wears a scarf to church.


Here I am, in the Hindu convent, wearing the scarf I mentioned.


In researching this article and studying the topic for myself, I found numerous fascinating articles and videos about veiling, both within the Catholic tradition and in others. Orthodox Jewish women, for instance, are required to cover their hair all the time unless in the presence of their husbands alone. Some Jewish ladies wear wigs, but a growing number of them are adopting an arrangement of a collection of scarves wrapped ingeniously around the hair that has been bound up in a scrunchy. Pretty elastic bands and sparkly brooches are sometimes added for extra flair.


This is an example of the Orthodox Jewish
"Tichel" I described, above.

While it is assumed that covering one's hair is simply a matter of some perceived modesty, in the Catholic tradition, it pertains rather more to the mass and to the Eucharist and probably has little or nothing to do with considerations of modesty or demure appearance. It is, in fact, a declaration of woman's essential holiness and special relationship with the Lord.

Everything considered holy in the Catholic mass is veiled or covered in some way. Woman is holy because she has an extremely intimate relationship with the Lord in which she helps bring God's beloved children into the world. For 9 months, a woman's body sustains two souls. Like the chalice that holds the precious blood in the mass, woman is the carrier of God's precious ones, just as Mother Mary carried Jesus within her womb.

Remember that the "holy of holies"  that was the inner sanctum of the Temple of Jerusalem in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept was separated from the rest of the temple by a veil, so the veil has great significance in the context of the mass, and it is deep and layered in meaning.

Rather than symbolizing the inferiority of women, the veil announces a woman's authority and close relationship with the Lord. It recognizes the essential holiness of the state of womanhood, in general. It is her crown and her privilege to wear.

One shouldn't extrapolate this meaning from the universal to the particular and think that if one is not of childbearing age or is infertile that the honor is not for them. No matter the condition of fecundity of the particular woman, this honor is proper to all womankind, as it is her sex that is elevated by its nature in the Lord's scheme of creation. A woman's receptive nature lends itself easily to an intimate relationship with the Lord, of a different type than that which a man may experience. It isn't just a woman's body that is honored, but the necessary emotional openness to the Lord 's love with which her sex is endowed which is a part of the great mystery of her vocation.

Ages ago, when a woman would enter a convent, it was often referred to as "taking the veil," and all nuns did wear veils, not like today, when you can hardly tell the difference between a nun and a random person walking down the street.

If a particular woman does not want the honor that the veil endows, the Catholic Church will not force it on them, but why renounce it over some false feminist doctrine that seeks to strip man and woman of their essential differences? I am not saying that this is the reason why every woman who has given up the veil has done so; I am speaking in general terms pertaining to the age in which we live and the concepts that currently inform it.

Silver "Rose" Parnell
Copyright (c) 2015


RETURNING TO THE SOURCE

Part of my living room shrine

I have written blogs for the last 4 or 5 years now, but have decided to retire the majority of my posts. It was never my idea to put myself "out there" in that way, but after several strong encouragements by a former friend, I began to write. She had anticipated this as a means of gaining some support for my solitary monastic life, since I have no community, but this did not happen. Not only did I receive almost nothing for my efforts, but the cost of internet and the upkeep of a computer proved to be extra expenses for which I do not possess the resources.

In addition, the time taken to research my posts distracted from my primary contemplative mission of prayer. I enjoyed the writing, especially my forays into educational topics, but the world can easily live without my musings on information that is available elsewhere.

For myself, I prefer reading the original saints and doctors of the church, as well as the Bible (of course!) and almost never read blogs. In that vein, I encourage the same for everyone. Blogs are a waste of our time, for the most part. Now that I have realized this, I am chastened by disappointment that I did come to this fact sooner!

There are many elderly, disabled ladies like myself who have dedicated the remainder of their lives to the Lord, however, and I wouldn't like to lose track of my fellow hermitesses, anchorites and other holy people, so I leave this page, by way of a method of contacting me, should they wish it.

If you leave a message on this blog, it will find its way to me. Forward your email address, and I will contact you.

In the meantime, may the Lord's blessings be upon you daily, and may our Blessed Mother lead you by the hand to Jesus.

In Jesus' precious name, I remain your friend,

Silver Rose Parnell