SAINT OLGA

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

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