Thursday, September 29, 2016


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


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 the mendicants of old.

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

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell





Wednesday, September 7, 2016


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

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