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SAINT OLGA

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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME - THE CAUSE OF A HUNDRED MYSTERIES

My most recent picture - age 62 1/2
January, 2017


This is one of those posts that I write, not for myself, but for the thousands of people I represent. I hope to encourage people not to judge the sufferings of others by simply looking at the person. No one has x-ray vision. No one can miraculously feel the pain that is being endured by any other person, especially in a world in which people are punished for expressing pain and suffering, and many of us put on a brave face and a smile, just to keep from being criticized harshly.

Just the other day, I  told a neighbor of a difficulty I was having, in response to her question about how I was doing. Instead of being sympathetic and understanding, she got on her soap box and started lecturing me about how I should not feel this pain, how I should pretend I have no suffering, and how I should not tell anyone the truth.

There is much advice from Christians that advocates for putting on a sunny face, but the majority of the Biblical injunctions when dealing with suffering say that we are to be sympathetic, to be loving, to be like Jesus. Jesus said to serve one another. He said to treat one another as we would wish to be treated. The Old Testament advised us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those that mourn.

No one wants to be lectured when they are in pain. No one wants or needs advice when we are depressed or hurting, but we live in a judgmental, selfish world. It is SO much easier to criticize the pain of other people than it is to do anything to help alleviate it. That is why so many people criticize THE POOR these days. They resent any help that is given to the poor vis-a-vis taxes, so the help that is given by the government is rather miserly, especially when compared with civilized countries throughout the world. Even though the help is miserly and does not come anywhere near addressing the basic needs of the poor, especially those that are disabled, there is a constant drumbeat from the conservative camp, demanding that the monies be lessened.

Denmark, on the other hand, has very high taxes and an equally high standard of living. They report that they are the happiest country in the world. Denmark cares about all their people and does not subscribe to the dog-eat-dog, sink or swim, malignant capitalism that rules America.

I write about my personal experiences so that you all my extrapolate my experiences to include those of millions of Americans who suffer and find no compassion from Catholics who ought to know better.

My whole adult life, people have been telling me that I look very young for my age. The other day, my bathing assistant reacted with great surprise when I told her my age. Many people would be thrilled with this state of affairs, but looking young for one's age CAN be the sign of a little-known syndrome called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (named after the researchers who pinned this down. I wish scientists wouldn't do this. It just makes it difficult on all those of us who have to wrap our mouths around the name. Why didn't they call this super bendy disease or circus girl syndrome.)

Many people have expressed curiosity about my disability status. I think part of the curiosity (which, in some people, is actually judgmental suspicion in nicer clothes) is that I just don't LOOK like I am disabled. I look great, apart from being fluffier than what is fashionable in this era, but you can't see pain, you can't see fatigue, you can't see the mutated genes or the multiple body parts that are composed of collagen, which is malformed, due to the mutations.

Several years ago, one of my neighbors ran into me at the mailbox and asked me, "Why aren't you working? You don't look disabled."  A distant cousin of mine called me last year to tell me that her daughter JUST learned how to get disabled people WORKING AGAIN and that there was no reason I shouldn't work! Of course, she doesn't know a single thing about my disabilities, but people are like that these days. It is popular to criticize the poor, and everyone seems to "know" someone who is "gaming the system" or cheating or whatever. The don't know the names of these people and have never been into their homes, much less their bank accounts, but these malignant anecdotal fairy tales get spread around the social media and they become the urban myth that people believe.

It is easy to imagine that the final solution for the poor is to get them all working. Every time I hear someone cheerfully opine that the cure for poverty is to get people to work, I want to vomit. Ignorant people talk about teaching the poor to fish and giving them "a hand up, not a hand out."

97% of the poor who are receiving governmental assistance are elderly, disabled, or children! The elderly spent their whole lives working. They're done with that. They and the disabled CAN'T work any more. The days when we put children to work as soon as they could walk have long since passed. Less than 1% of the poor in America are able-bodied people who choose not to work. Unless you want to put grandma and her children to work in some factory or sweat shop, that tired old cliche about teaching a man to fish needs to be RETIRED.

Here is a visual to help you understand WHERE the entitlement monies go:




I began working when I was 11, in 1965, but in my 30's, most of you will remember that I was a religious, working in a Hindu convent (which is where I learned about Jesus and became converted to Him!) While cooking one day, I fell right on my tailbone and cracked it but good, smack dab on the hard Mexican tiles. With the already existing scoliosis at the hip, previously broken tailbone, and chronic back trauma, I was in terrible shape. In fact, I had to be scooted around in a wheelchair which, evidently, the other nuns really resented because the head of the convent went to the Swami in charge and told him that I was "faking it," in her words. She knew nothing, of course, and hadn't so much as questioned me or the doctors, nor had she seen the X-rays that clearly showed the multiple issues. I suppose she thought I looked just fine and decided I was "malingering."

One of the Ehlers-Danlos websites pointed out this tendency of others to judge harshly those who are afflicted with this syndrome, as looks can be deceiving and some people really DO prefer to judge a book by its cover. Although EDS isn't curable, I feel wonderful knowing that I am vindicated, after years of people treating me unkindly as a result of this illness.

The pain of EDS, in particular, is far greater than what one would expect upon examination of the x-rays of the osteo-arthritis that shows up rather early in life. That is because only part of the pain is related to the bone-on-bone pain of the arthritis itself. Some of it stems from muscular stress and injury caused by the muscles having to do the work that ligaments and tendons are supposed to be doing. Some of it is caused by the syndrome itself, which is somewhat related to fibromyalgia. There are new studies on the pain aspect of EDS, and more news should be coming up about that aspect fairly soon, I would bet.

Depression is also one of the symptoms, though it does not appear to be situational, but rather a chemical function arising out of the mutations of the genes that cause this illness.  I read an article recently that was too far above my comprehension. Something about brain chemistry was discussed in relation to the depression. It is not the typical depression, and I think that there may be some specific anti-depressants that would be called for, under these circumstances.

During the course of my research about Ehlers-Danlos, I began to read about the lesser-known presentations in some forms of this disease, I felt like I was making check marks on a looooong list of weird physical symptoms that had hounded me my entire life, starting in early childhood.

A high palate and "crowded teeth" are another common feature of those with EDS, and I have that as well! When I was a child, they wanted to pull 4 teeth to solve the crowding issue.

My doctor and I are still comparing notes between my symptoms and the research. We have not pinned down WHICH version I have, but it appears obvious that, of the 6 different types of EDS, I seem to have the most common form of it, the hypermobility type. It is the "least severe" which probably accounts for the long time in which it has taken for me to be diagnosed. I've always known there was something, in particular, that was wrong with me....something that would explain the physical problems that have caused me such pain and inconvenience my whole life, but I don't think that the doctors have been terribly interested in diagnosing. These days, it seems that medicine has to be fixated on dealing with the symptoms, since insurance companies pressure doctors to handle many more patients than is probably good for us.

Frankly, my diagnosis was fueled entirely by my curiosity and the fact that I am an experienced researcher. I was motivated and just happened to hit upon the right websites. Once my doctor was alerted to my symptoms dating back to childhood, however, he jumped right on board. We are all happy to have an explanation of my complaints.

My experience of EDS was initially"tipped off" by extreme double-jointedness in my whole body. Even though I am in my 60's, I am still really bendy! I can bend over and touch my palms to the floor without bending my knees. Makes for a great showing in a yoga class, but can lead to lots of sprains, strains, falls and breaks, which is what I had my entire life, starting in early childhood.

Children with EDS are often accused of being "clumsy," and that is because they have not yet developed the motor skills necessary to take over where the tendons and ligaments are loose. Even today, I have to move slowly and do all my physical activities very deliberately, otherwise, I am prone to tripping, falling, dropping things, and breaking many items.

Before I was 5 years old, I remember my parents calling the doctor to come out to the house in the middle of the night because I was having terrible pain in both legs, starting from the hips on down. The doctor diagnosed them as "growing pains," but now I read on various EDS websites that many sufferers of this disease have those awful leg pains as children. The explanation is that the effort needed by the muscles to take over for what the ligaments and tendons are supposed to do causes terrible muscular pains and spasms.

(Asthma and multiple allergies are also common in people with EDS. I remember the doctor coming out to the house for THOSE issues also.)

My tendons, cartilage, ligaments and all the other things that are supposed to hold my joints together are unreliable and let me just fall where I may. I remember once when I was about 10, I was standing in the back yard, just watching other kids playing, when my left ankle gave way and I fell to the ground, breaking my right elbow.

By the time I was 11, I'd had 5 casts on my left foot, having broken numerous bones from falling as a result of my ankle just giving way. At the same time, I developed severe varicose veins before the age of 13.

I've never been able to find shoes with any ease, since I had bunions while still very young, extremely wide feet with narrow heels, and flat feet. The collagen-based structures could not hold my feet together in the way that they do in normal people.

Likewise, nothing could hold my spine in place when I was brushing my teeth too vigorously one morning when I was about 24 years old, and my back went into horrific spasms. I missed at least a week of work and was put on strong muscle relaxers.

The veins in my leg, in addition to being varicose, also have defective valves that cannot push the blood back up to the heart. Consequently, I've never been able to hold a job that involved any standing. In my early 20's, I got a job at Nordstrom's in a mall in Los Angeles. I was excited about getting a 40% discount off any clothes I would buy, but I only lasted 4 days. My job should not have been physically taxing for a young, thin, and "apparently" healthy woman, but it caused me extreme pain in my legs and hips and, by the end of those 4 days, I became bedridden and stayed there for at least a week.

One of my legs is longer than the other, not by much, but this was confirmed by more than one chiropractor. My father had the same problem. This brings up the fact that this disease is inherited from one's parent or parents.

Purchasing clothing has always been particularly difficult, especially when trying to buy pants because my extremities are too long for my torso. This is quite common. Usually, the fingers are also very long, but I did not inherit that aspect. I am really tired of my arms popping out of the sleeves of all my shirts and my pants looking like I am going to a flood. In the early 1970's, you used to be able to buy all sorts of slacks and blue jeans that were not hemmed because some women were wearing sky-high platform shoes, I suppose.

Due to a very short torso, not only are the pant legs too short, but the "waist" of all pants goes up to my bra strap...just one of the several reasons that I prefer to wear dresses, rather than pants. "Maxi dresses" are never long enough, though. If they fit in the bodice, they're at least 4 inches too short in the length. This is really inconvenient because I am keen to hide all those ugly varicose and spider veins.

When I was 10 years old, I was reading my mother's library of books. My parents never bothered to buy us children's books. I was reading Shakespeare's complete works and Somerset Maugham and O'Henry, but at school I was getting D's. It was decided that my vision was the problem, so my mother took me to the optometrist who asked me, "read the top letter on the eye chart."

I said, "What eye chart?"

It turns out that, due to the fact that the human eye is made almost entirely of collagen, people with EDS are often extremely nearsighted, with multiple astigmatisms, floaters and cataracts. Operating on the cataracts may not be recommended, however, due to poor wound healing. Also, I have macular degeneration, from which I will likely become blind. Without glasses, I am legally blind and have been since a child.

I must wear glasses constantly, changing from one version to another, to accommodate different vision issues, depending on whether I am reading, writing, watching television, going outside in the sun. It is extremely important to protect my eyes from all glare and sunshine so I never have to make a decision about whether or not to have surgery on my eyes.

My eyeglasses HAVE to have adjustable nose bridges because, like many EDS sufferers, I have an extremely narrow bridge. For some, their entire nose is quite skinny. I can't take advantage of the low-cost eyeglasses that are advertised on television all the time, as they're all plastic, and even the little eyeglass patches with adhesive on them won't keep the plastic glasses from sliding down to the tip of my nose.

Local anesthesia often doesn't work on people with EDS, something that doesn't surprise me at all, but which surprised the last dentist I saw, many years ago. By the time he finished shooting me with novacaine, the first shot had already worn off. After that experience, I had to get all my work done with a dental surgeon who would put me out.

Last year, I had surgery on one of my fingers. There was a growth that turned out to be benign. The anesthesiologist refused to believe that local anesthesia does not work for me, and dismissed my constant complaints with a paternal, condescending manner. I ended up waking up twice during surgery! The anesthesiologist's resident, not expecting me to wake and see what he was doing, was reading his email on his telephone! I told him, "Hey! I'm awake! Put me back to sleep!"  He did so, without a glance in my direction or an apology.

While the written post surgery directions told me that I wouldn't have use of my arm until many hours after surgery, my use and function on that arm was completely normal when I woke from surgery (for the last time.) At the time of this surgery, I was unaware of EDS. My negative experiences with this surgery could have been alleviated, had I known.

There are some dermatological signs in EDS, and I have very slight presentations in this regard. Soft, velvety skin is one sign. Super stretchy skin is another, which I do not seem to have...at least at this time of my life. An odd type of scar formation is present in many, and I have a bit of this, having somewhat delicate skin. I STILL have a scar from a slight injury on my tricycle when I was 5 years old. These scars tend to widen and whiten. They're called cigarette paper scars.

Scoliosis is common in EDS. I have that as well as sciatic issues, which is equally common.

A tendency to faint is another symptom, as is fatigue, especially when one adopts a position for too long of a time. Like sharks, we must keep moving.

For the last month, I have been suffering from incessant vertigo, dizziness, a feeling of faintness, fatigue and sleepiness. This is why the nurses have been coming to care for me, as well as an attendant, who helps me bathe. Some day soon, I hope to have a housekeeper who may cook, clean and take me on errands. AFFORDING it may be an issue, though I am pleading for assistance through Medicare. We shall see what they say.

A scooter is also a piece of equipment that I will be needing immediately, as is a large bendable bed for the bendy hermit. Though Medicare MAY pay for portions of these items, I will need to pay portions of it.

I also need to move to a hermitage that addresses my physical and spiritual needs.

Anyone able to help financially, please click on the DONATION button on the top, right-hand side of this blog.

All others, I beg for your prayers. Please ask for a small house with its own fenced yard for the service dog, very close to the church which our Lord wishes me to attend; a scooter able to transport me from the house to the church; a car with a lift meant for the scooter; funds for an attendant; eyeglasses; and dental work.

The three sets of eyeglasses that I need will cost half a month's income. Obviously, this is beyond my capacity.

There is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but pain and other issues may be addressed. I have faith in your prayers.

Anyone wishing to gather more information about Ehlers-Danlos, please refer to THE EHLERS-DANLOS SOCIETY

God bless us all.

Silver Rose





Saturday, January 28, 2017

THOMAS AQUINAS AND DONALD TRUMP

Saint Thomas Aquinas
Doctor of the Church
Angelic Doctor
Feast day: January 28


I have been wondering whether or not all the demonstrating and the marches and the loud outrage against the new president of the United States is a healthy thing. He won the election, and, regardless of whatever help he got from a politically motivated head of the FBI and computer hacking done by Russia, aren't we supposed to just be gracious and give him a chance?

Today is the feast day of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who said:

"To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin."

Is it our place to "forgive" Donald Trump for sexually assaulting women and bragging about it on audio tape? Are we then to forgive him (or, worse yet, believe him) when he trashes the characters and reputations of the women when they come forward to confirm that yes, indeed, he DID do these things that he bragged about? There is at least one woman brave enough to follow through with a lawsuit against him. I don't know if the other dozen or so women who came forward to confirm Trump's own words will likewise sue, or if his new, even MORE powerful position has scared them off.

Are we supposed to "give him a chance" when he lies continually, both during his campaign and after his ascension to office? What about those tax returns? While making a grab for the nomination, he promised that, if nominated, he would release his tax returns. Now, he is actually elected to office and refuses to release them. Is an unrepentant liar supposed to get wholesale forgiveness?

Is it our job to forgive him for insulting the Mexican people who have come to our country by calling them criminals and rapists? Can any of us speak on behalf of the Mexican people?

What about the hypocrisy of Donald Trump smearing President Obama because of his use of executive orders while in office and then issuing a flurry of them IN HIS FIRST WEEK himself? The insults to our previous President remain unvindicated. The Republicans had announced that their sole aim was to prevent Barack Obama from having a second term, and they refused to pass any bill he presented. He HAD to issue executive orders to get anything done while in office. Trump has a Republican House and Senate, yet bypasses the legitimate, customary procedures, a mechanism that leaves a lot of detritus behind, since Trump doesn't bother to work out the details of what will happen as a result of his sweeping declarations.

The press, called "the fourth estate", has also been vilified by Trump and his people. Trump calls the press vile names and accuses them of lying; his press secretary attempts to force "alternate facts" down their throats during his bizarre and abrupt first meeting; and Steve Bannon, alt right scion and fake fact purveyor, flatly tells them to "shut up and listen for a while." Are we to endure this horrifying suppression of the First Amendment, the diminution of a press that represents the people of America in its attempt to get questions answered by our First Servant who is acting like the master of the house? Do we just sit back and watch while representatives of the press are called names in public venues? Who decided that it was within our rights to "forgive" Donald Trump for his boorish and crude treatment of people who are trying to gather the facts for US?

Can we, in good conscience, ignore Donald Trump's insults to our American Democratic system and all of the people who have pledged to maintain the integrity of the voting system? He lies and says there are 3 to 5 MILLION people who have voted illegally and refuses to provide a shred of proof, while every reputable source of information on this topic says that it is simply not true, and not even partially true. The years of education and experience that each of these experts has dedicated to this topic have been dismissed and discounted, simply brushed aside because the new president has such a grotesque ego that he can't stand the idea that he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million people.

The ego of the man is so perverse and has such a grip on his psyche that he is more than willing to hurt anyone he has to hurt in order to spread a lie that strokes that hungry ego.

These people, organizations and institutes of higher learning are being trashed, their valuable input dismissed, their reputations and characters just SHREDDED. Should we sit idly by and let these lies continue, unabated, without comment? Shall we sit and watch while all these people are humiliated?

What about the refugees and legitimate travelers from Muslim countries that have been stuck in an American airport for hours this morning, and the others that were preparing to come here, legally, and suddenly have lost all hope?

Again, I must repeat: WHAT ABOUT THE REFUGEES? There are legitimate refugees that are in desperate circumstances, fleeing from repressive regimes and ISIS?

What about the little girls who have been stolen from their parents, raped, and forced to convert to Islam and marry old men? Shall we sit here serenely, knowing that she cannot escape that old husband and his gropings? Her hopes dashed, she must endure the daily assault. Every day that Donald Trump prohibits refugees from taking refuge here in America, is another day of violence, death, beheadings and rapes of innocent people.

How many other desperate schemes of escape from the mayhem in Syria are in process but cannot proceed because Donald Trump, in the fashion of the new dictator, has summarily prohibited anyone from coming here?

Donald Trump is an arrogant, lying hammer, and all people in his path are nails. He is destroying America's reputation and he is HURTING PEOPLE.

We SHOULD be mad. We should be FURIOUS.

I am sick, disabled, poor and isolated - par for the course for the little hermit - but YOU are not! I pray that you will rise up and make your voice heard. Do not let this evil continue unabated. PUSH BACK against the evil. SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.

Silver Rose Parnell

P.S.  I am working on transforming my Facebook page to one of inspiration. For the most part, I am publishing (1) Saint of the day; (2) Saint's quote of the day; (3) Bible readings (mass readings) for the day; (4) pictures of saints; (5) "Three Good Things of the Day"; (6) Artistic, creative and crafts posts; and (7) News items from reliable sources. Please join me there! Here is the FACEBOOK LINK TO MY PAGE

Thursday, January 26, 2017

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CONSERVATIVE CATHOLIC

Lying has always been considered horribly sinful, in Old Testament and in New. We are not supposed to give false witness against our neighbor, but fellow Catholics do this all the time, while defending this vehemently. They're very confused.

It is very disturbing that the man elected to the highest office in the land is a horrible, continual and bald-faced liar and many  Catholics defend his lies, without even bothering to try and ascertain the Truth. I find it shocking, especially since most Catholics that I know who voted for him only did so because there is a chance he will reverse Roe v. Wade with his choices for Supreme Court Justices. I doubt that will happen, but I certainly understand why some would take a chance on him, hoping that he WOULD follow through.

My problem is that I am a convert and I learned my religion at the knee of the desert fathers and mothers, the mystics and saints of the church. I read myself into the church, while the flesh-and-blood church bears little resemblance to the early church, or even to the present-day convents. The mother superior of a Carmelite convent warned me that I would have a hard time adjusting to parish life, having spent a lot of time in a Hindu convent and being accustomed to the mystical contemplative life.

Oh, how I wish I could hide in some out-of-the-way skete, but I'm physically not able. I NEED the world and its medicines, wheelchairs and scooters, but coming into contact with the sickness of our church has made me want to cry for IT much more than I would ever cry for myself.

WHERE is the Catholic faith I read about in the Hindu convent? Where is the faith for which I left my monastic life behind?

Another thing I see, almost daily, is that many Catholics are confused about politics. They imagine that there is such a thing as a "liberal" Catholic or a "conservative" Catholic when, in fact, there is no such thing. "Liberal" and "Conservative" are POLITICAL terms that have nothing whatsoever to do with Catholicism, which is not a political party. Why don't people know this? It is confusing to me.

Someone actually wrote me today and told me (on Facebook) that being a liberal is sinful! The fact of the matter is that there are aspects of each political orientation that are sinful and neither one is better than the other. It shocked me, though, that someone actually thinks such a confused thought, conflating religion with politics.

If politics was the solution to the world's ills, Jesus would have come as an earthly king, instead of a poor dirty kid, born in a stable and held in the animal's feeding trough. His whole life, he worked with his adopted father, Joseph, in hands-on physical labor.

The liberal ideology wants to allow mothers to kill their babies with abortion. Conservative ideology kills the poor, the sick and the old by removing government programs that help them. Liberals kill them fast and young. Conservatives kill them old and slow. Each is bad.  In fact, the liberals don't FORCE anyone to have an abortion, whereas the conservatives DO force economic policies that kill vulnerable populations, so perhaps it is the conservatives that are the sinful ones. What about THAT? 

Conservative economic policies benefit the rich and squash the poor, creating the perfect environment for lots of abortions because babies are expensive. Conservatives don't like to pay for other people's babies. They don't want to pay to abort them, and they don't want to pay to raise them. Conservatives do not like babies unless their parents are wealthy and never need help. This is why the conservatives don't follow through with promises to make abortion illegal again. They don't want to pay for other people's babies.

Catholics who identify primarily as Republicans and/or conservative dislike paying for other people's babies so much that they sometimes forget the church's longstanding proscription against contraception and end up "disagreeing with the church" about it. They want the poor people to have access to contraception so they don't have to pay for the babies of the poor. Artificial contraception is not pro-life and cannot be condoned in a faithful Catholic life. It is "inherently evil," according to Holy Mother Church.

According to the Catechism, a man having a vasectomy is as sinful as a woman having an abortion. Having a vasectomy is "intrinsically evil" and must never be done, "no matter how good the reason." How many people KNOW this?  How many Catholics are using vasectomies and other forms of artificial contraception, on the one hand, and loudly decrying abortion on the other?  A man cannot serve two masters. You are either pro-life or you are not. You can't cut it in half and say it is alright to frustrate God's generative power on the one hand, but not on the other. Are you open to life or not?

Every single time a program comes on the air, whether the television of the radio, and it's about "pro life," the only thing discussed is abortion. What a sad state of affairs. It seems that only the unborn are alive, in the minds of some people.

Republicans, in fact, do not want the government to help ANYONE who is vulnerable: the sick, the disabled, the poor. They do not want any social programs. They talk about "free markets" and "choices," but the poor, disabled and elderly do not HAVE any choices. They don't have enough money to have choices, especially if Social Security and Medicare are turned into voucher programs that we have to use to purchase needed services from for-profit businesses instead of not-for-profit Medicare? How is that going to work, exactly?

So - back to the man who called me sinful because he imagined that I am one of them damn lubruls. The arrogance of certain conservatives who impugn the character of people whose economic policies run more toward the liberal side, is a terrible sin in itself. Arrogance is pride, and pride goeth before a fall.

In matter of fact, I am neither liberal nor conservative. I am CATHOLIC. I am pro-life. I am against abortion. I am in favor of social programs. You cannot pin me down to any political orientation because I am not a political animal. I am CATHOLIC. Neither Democrat nor Republican will satisfy my yearning for a world in which life is honored, celebrated, supported and held up to God with a grateful HUZZAH!

I pray that all my Catholic brothers and sisters will actually study their faith and stop reading the twisted opinions of priests and others who've become obsessed with abortion and Republican trickle-down economics that has NEVER worked. There is more than one way to kill a person, and abortion is just one. It's a terrible thing. I wish it was illegal, but being pro-life requires more of me than simply being against abortion. LIFE is an enormous topic.

Being PRO-LIFE means being PRO-PLANET and environmentally savvy and caring. It means taking care of animals properly. It means caring about my neighbor to the extent that I want him to live as well as I do. Being PRO-LIFE means being PRO-CREATION, and using the creative gifts that God has showered upon me, especially in a spirit of worship of Him. PRO-LIFE is making chaplets for my friends who pray in front of the abortion clinics. PRO-LIFE is making hats for the homeless who refuse to shelter under a roof, even during the coldest nigiht. PRO-LIFE is feeding a hungry guy - even one who reeks of alcohol. PRO-LIFE is guarding our food supply from dangerous chemicals and crazy DNA experiments (like putting fish genes into tomatoes so they don't freeze). Being PRO-LIFE means protecting the water supply for all peoples and demonstrating against the fracking pipeline that risks the safety of the water of the indigenous peoples. Being PRO-LIFE means being AGAINST CAPITAL PUNISHMENT unless there is absolutely no other way to protect society against a violent predator. Being PRO-LIFE means treating domestic and wild animals with kindness AND RESPECT . 

I'd also like to see the wages increased so that families can afford to have as many children as they want, and mothers can afford to stay home and raise them. THIS is pro-life also. Wages have been kept artificially low for more than 40 years now. When I was working, I saw my income go DOWN over the years, while my responsibilities and my bills increased. Now, wage reform, in addition to being a LIBERAL economic idea is ALSO a PRO-LIFE idea. Am I sinful for being in favor of this liberal idea that I believe will result in fewer abortions and more big families? Nope. HUGE topic.  HUGE.

Poor medical care kills the poor, who die at least 10 years sooner than wealthy people. Why is no one up in arms about that?  I will answer that. Because some Catholics have conflated Catholicism with Republicanism. Republicans hate social programs and, especially these days, want to privatize everything so that everyone has to fight for every ounce of life. Survival of the fittest, is what it boils down to.

In an economic system in which only the strongest survive, the old, the sick and the disabled are naturally the losers and die off. Jesus would never approve of this.

Every time we get into a dialog about social programs, the know-nothings pipe up and equate social programs with socialism and claim that the liberals, and therefore the Democrats, are socialists. It's another LIE. Social programs have the SAME relation to socialism as Social programs has to ice cream socials. Socialism is characterized by the OWNERSHIP OF ALL BUSINESS BY THE GOVERNMENT.  Social programs are common to MANY different types of government that have nothing to do with socialism. (If you didn't learn this in High School, folks, Google is your friend. Hell...break out the dictionary,, for cryin' out loud.)

The real problem we have is that our social programs come nowhere near supplying the needs of the poor, 97% of which are not able bodied and cannot work. All of Donald Trumps blabber about jobs is not going to help the 47 million people in our country who are poverty stricken and living on entitlement programs. Notice...they are STILL poor, even though they've put money into the program their whole lives.

The reason why the social programs do not supply all our needs is that the rich do not pay their fair share. The normal wage earner pays up to 17% of their salaries into the Social Security fund, whereas the rich people pay less than a fraction of 1% because of the CAP on contributions into the fund. Social Security contributions stops for every cent a person earns over $116,000.00 a year! This robs the fund of MILLIONS of dollars of income and is THE reason why we are running a little shy of funds...in addition to the fact that both Democrats and Republicans have stolen money from the fund every year.



If the social programs were run in the same way as they are run in other countries, there would be no problem. America is the only civilized country that doesn't take care of its poor. Now isn't that revolting? The reason why is that the Republicans put up a fuss every time the democrats try to take care of the poor, every time they try to raise the minimum wage, every time they try to pass a bill that helps the sick, the disabled and the elderly.

Isn't it more Christian to take care of the population of a country, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and visit the prisoner? How can Catholics ally themselves with a party or an ideology that doesn't believe in doing what Jesus asked of us.

It is a cop-out to claim that "Jesus never said you had to force someone to help the poor."  Well, He also didn't say we should force people to pay taxes.  Oh, wait...never mind. He DID say to pay to Cesar what is Cesar's.

The Republican party is the enemy of the poor, the sick, the elderly and the disabled, but that Catholic man called me "sinful" because I have liberal economic ideas? Isn't that backwards and upside down?

The happiest countries in the world, self reported, are places like Denmark, where the taxes are high, and the social programs are adequate to care for the population. It would seem that we do not care about our people at all, in comparison to these countries. CLEARLY, having social programs WORKS for these countries, whereas trickle-down theories have never worked in any ANY countries. The money doesn't trickle down. It stays on the top, with the fat cats. Trickle-down theory is what dictators use.

So, our social programs do not work very well, due to the selfishness of the wealthy and those people who identify as conservatives, above and beyond whatever devotion they claim for Christianity, but there are some conservatives who are sincerely Catholic who recognize the defects in our current system and who step forward to fill in the gaps to the best of their abillities.

I know several of these saintly people, and it is because of them that I am alive.  They identify as conservatives, including the economic orientations, for the most part, but they step in and help the poor who have fallen through the cracks...like me.

They buy me organic food because I'm allergic to pesticides and pesticides give me asthma attacks. They've bought me computers, such as the laptop I am currently using, and even my service dog owes his life to one such earth-bound angel. These are Catholics who walk the talk and who come forward with kindness and generosity in the face of social programs that do not provide life-supporting funds. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been. 

These are the only conditions under which Republican economic ideas can begin to work, and that is if every Republican were to take on one person such as myself who has fallen through the cracks. There are 47 million of us. Can we depend upon the Republicans to come forward and take care of all of us? 97% of us are elderly, disabled, children, or the working poor.

In my mind, allowing for social programs is far more reliable when dealing with the number of poor people we currently have in this country, Trickle down economics has never worked. It is a theory that HAS FAILED but to which many are devoted. 

Does this mean I am "sinful" because I do not believe in this conservative theory? Obvious not.

I would like to ask my Christian brothers and sister to STOP identifying as liberals or conservatives, democrats or republicans, and begin to really identify as CATHOLIC people...because you cannot identify as both. You cannot serve two masters. Either you are Catholic, and you support all Catholic theology, or you are a liberal or a conservative and you only support SOME of the Catholic faith.

Secondly, you need to stop identifying OTHER people as either liberals or conservatives because it's a lie for many of us.

Silver Rose



Friday, January 20, 2017

THE ART OF CONVERSATION




Now that technology is firmly entrenched as THE method of communication in life, I find myself bemoaning the loss of real connection with people.

People call me when busy with something else, giving only a tiny portion of their attention to whatever I may say. It's an insult, really, when you're speaking on the phone and you realize your friend is typing on their computer or reading e-mails. Even when people call ME, and interrupt whatever I may be doing a the moment, they feel compelled to be doing something interesting while talking to me. I am not the only person who experiences this. This is a huge problem in our culture.

"Multi-tasking" inhibits a person's comprehension considerably. Recent scientific studies confirm this. I used to love reading classified ads when job hunting. Invariably, several would say, "must love multi-tasking," as if this was a good thing! An employer once told me, "you can't expect to do just ONE THING AT A TIME!" She was incensed. I had to tell her that I can ONLY do one thing at a time, which is true for all human beings.

We may THINK we are multi-tasking, but, in actuality we are fracturing our attention into tiny little bits had making our mind flip back and forth between each tiny little bit. Memory and cognition suffer greatly when trained into this habit.

In order to adequately absorb information and to learn absolutely anything, one MUST be able to concentrate on one thing for more than a nanosecond.

What you are communicating when you occupy yourself with something other than the conversation at hand is that you don't value the conversation. If you don't agree with that statement, ask yourself this, "if the Pope was on the other end of the phone, would you be playing "free Cell" or "solitaire?" Would you be simultaneously chatting with your husband and kids without even saying, "excuse me for a sec?"

Every human being has the same 24 hours in a day. We can delude ourselves into thinking that we are far more busy than others, but it isn't true. I do not have a typical "job," but my responsibilities and necessary activities are such that I don't have enough time in any day to accomplish all of them. I do the best I can and get as much done as possible, without making other people suffer for it.

I love people, and I want to communicate that to them when they take the time to call me.I listen to what they have to say, and I even ask questions and demonstrate interest in whatever interests them. I can assure you that some of it is downright boring, but, for the sake of the person made in the image and likeness of God, I give my time over to my caller, gifting them with my undivided attention.

Sometimes I have to cut a conversation short in order to attend to a duty, and I do so, knowing that I have given the best of myself to the other person. occasionally, however, I am not at my best and I may be irritable with the caller. Later, I return the call and apologize. It is a spiritual practice that I highly recommend.

I am not important. I am no better than anyone else and, consequently, I try not to behave as if I've got better things to do than to talk to some ordinary person. Therese of Lisieux has been very helpful to me in this regard. She was kind to people who weren't kind to her and whose conversation bored her. She made an effort.

It is not going to kill you if you sit down, put up your feet, drink a cup of tea, and have a nice conversation with a caller, even if they ARE boring. They must need this conversation with you for some reason. The relaxation that you would get from adopting this posture while talking to them may actually be good for you too!

Learning to concentrate in all arenas of your life will increase your serenity factor and help you in your conversation with the Lord. I promise.

I would pray that you give it a try. Keep the conversation short if you have to run off and do something else, but at least give your callers your undivided attention in an act of love. Jesus will love you for it.

God bless us all...

Silver Rose




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SHUFFLING TOWARD THE LORD

Traffic outside the apartment complex


Put yourself in my position. I am inside my tiny apartment, trying to lift my heart to the Lord. Right outside the window on the back side of my apartment, painters who will be here for MONTHS having been running a gasoline-powered paint sprayer for the last 3 and 1/2 hours.

In the front of the apartment, in the parking lot, the "landscapers" (and I use that term loosely because they do not seem to know much, if anything about plants and especially how to trim them) are using gasoline-powered leaf blowers to move piles of dead leaves hitter and yon. They're also sandblasting any car that has the misfortune to be parked out there. Thanks be to God, I have a garage.

Where I would LIKE to live.


On the street right outside the apartment, there are several giant road machines, working furiously at smashing the sidewalks and lifting great chunks onto a truck that will haul them away. This project will be in progress for the next 30 weeks. First, they destroy what we HAD (including lovely trees in the median that they just ripped out of the ground and stuffed them into an enormous wood chipper), then they place temporary road surfaces, then they take those out when they're ready to install new types of medians for the new buses which will operate down the middle of the street. OTHER business, with more frequent stops, will still travel on the two remaining traffic lanes. This is a very small city...almost still a town.

My understanding is that the mayor owns stock in one company that is working the project, and his wife's family owns the OTHER company that is working the project.  When residents wonder why on earth we are getting this enormous and unwieldy BIG CITY project in our little town, all we have to do is follow the money.

At the same time that the roads are being ripped up in preparation for a transit system we do not need, the property next door to the apartment complex is LIKEWISE being prepared for the installation of a BREW PUB.  A brew pub.

When I moved here, it was a quiet place to live, placed in a natural setting. My health was also twice as good as it is now.




Now, however, my environment is a nightmare of noise and choking dust during the day, and heavy rap music, motorcycle races and dance music from the country club across the golf course that is on the other side of the ditch from our apartments. I can't get away from it, no matter WHERE I am in the apartment. This is how I can expect it to be for at least another 30 weeks.

While I agree with contemplative and mystic Catherine Doherty that small deserts of silence may be found in all walks of life and that one does not HAVE to live in an actual hermitage to experience communion with the Lord in the desert, there are limits to what I am personally able to shut out of my brain. Consequently, the project of finding a small house to continue my ministries is really heating up.



Since affordable housing is limited to the dangerous fringes of town, nowhere near my church or my friends who are helping me, I have to revamp my approach and just forget trying to find something reasonable in price. Based upon the common rents in the neighborhood in which I need to live, I will have to pay more than half my rent to find a suitable, safe place to live that addresses my lifestyle and my increasingly worrisome health. Since my income is so very low, paying half of it will be a crushing burden, but I have no choice.

Thanks to a couple of friends and well-wishers, I have paid off some oppressive bills. I will also try to sell some of my paintings and my crocheted items. All this is done in preparation for relocating.


All modern ideas about hermits aside, the hermit is typically pictured close to nature. He or she has a residence of some sort, usually very simple and poor, with a good deal of natural setting available to the hermit so that the voice of the Lord may more easily be heard. Contemplatives, in general, are often drawn to more natural environments, not because it is more lovely but because it is more CONDUCIVE to the life of prayer. Unfortunately, the simple, the serene and the natural have become the EXPENSIVE.

I am disabled and becoming more so. I will need access to medical doctors, etc. Some day, I will be blind. Also, I would like to be able to attend church one day, as I have been prevented from doing so for quite some time, due to lack of suitable seating and the distance between the hermitage and the church. Being of poor health puts a big dent in the contemplative life. This is why convents and monasteries do not accept sick people.

Only the monied class can afford to have personal daily access to wide expanses of natural environments. This points back to the era in Europe in which noblemen owned all the land and serfs were essentially slaves on the master's land. Europeans originally came to America because, supposedly, the land was up for grabs. No one "owned" it, which is a debatable point, since the Native Americans have their own view on this. People for whom land ownership was previously impossible suddenly became owners of vast tracts of land.

We have now reverted to the exact same situation we were attempting to escape when we left Europe a few hundred years ago. Since there is no land that is not owned, and permission of someone else is required to live just about ANYWHERE, this has put a big dent in the hermit lifestyle!  Now, if I lived in Austria, there is a town that is advertising for a hermit, and I could live there, but even that hermitage exacts a price:


There is no running water and no electricity. The town has requirements of the hermit, for instance that he does not install any modern amenities and also that he be available to anyone who wants to visit him. It sounds like a job verging on slavery to me, and not in the spirit of the hermit at all. The hermit is independent, most of all, relying upon the voice and guidance of the Lord.

For the last 3 years or so, I have been trying to find a suitable place to live, with very little luck. Most of the rentals that are available in this town are in the grip of corporate management companies, and these sort of companies tend to treat renters as interlopers, even when they DO pay the rent. The corporate model is soulless and certainly does not comprehend or support the monastic lifestyle.

I do not have the funds to PURCHASE property, obviously.

Because this is such a difficult search, limited by very low income and other factors, I ask that you please pray for me, that I may find a house that will address my needs: spiritual, medical, and emotional; one that has a washer/dryer on the premises, since I am unable to cart my laundry to another location; and one that has, at least, a small patch of fenced land for the small service dog. Please pray hard, my friends.




God bless you all.

Silver Rose

Sunday, January 15, 2017

WHAT I AM READING NOW - "Poustinia, by Catherine Doherty"

Hermit caves in Syria

I have read it before, I am sure of it, but it has been years. I am enjoying it again. Catherine Doherty's "Poustinia" explains the solitary contemplative way that is the tradition of the Eastern Catholic churches.

One of the marvelous aspects of this tradition of thought and practice is that it is widely  open to all persons, no matter what their station in life. It is a common expression of the laity. From the busy housewife who steals some moments at her prayer corner behind a sheltering curtain, to the acetic who, donning a long shift and carrying nothing but some bread and salt with him, wanders into the forest to reside completely alone, contemplative prayer life is widely practiced.



This book has my recommendation for all my readers who are attempting to live alone with God. It is quite encouraging and soothing, in addition to its obvious educational value.

Here are its particulars:




POUSTINIA
Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer
The modern spiritual classic for those seeking the open heart and 
listening soul of silent contemplation

by Catherine Doherty

Published by
Madonna House Classics

2888 Dafoe Rd, RR 2
Combermere ON KOJ 1LO

www.madonnahouse.or/publications



A lovely introductory passage:

"It seems strange to say, but what can help modern man find the answers to his own mystery and the mystery of Him in whose image he is created, is silence and solitude -- in a word, the desert. Modern man needs these things more than the hermits of old."


National House of Prayer
by Richard Long


If you'd care to read a nice biography of Catherine Doherty, please examine this LINK


Catherine Doherty
from Baroness
to
Poustinik

Photo taken by Thomas Merton


I am not writing much on the blog these days, but I hope you continue to contact me. I remain available for prayer requests, advice and encouragement.

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

DEDICATION OF THE YEAR 2017 TO OUR LADY OF FATIMA

Our Lady of Fatima statue

This year at Silver Cottage Hermitage has been dedicated to a special emphasis on Our Lady of Fatima, and learning more about the apparitions, the promises and the secrets given to the three young children who were contacted by, saw and spoke with our Blessed Mother 100 years ago this year. Although I am not blogging this year, per se, I do want to encourage my readers to join me in this special observance, and I will continue to post resources on this page to help with that.

I just want to point out that, among all the apparitions of our Blessed Mother, I BELIEVE that the Miracle of the Sun that occurred during one of the pre-arranged meetings of Our Mother with the children is the only miracle to have been witnessed by 70,000 people at once AND photographed AND written about in the newspaper, where most of the photographs derive, as there were newspapermen waiting in the crowd at the prearranged time when the Virgin was expected to appear.

While I am not a big fan of apparitions and mysterious utterances, especially since there is so much fakery possible, THIS particular set of apparitions and circumstances, given the wealth of proof and witnesses extant to this day, is a remarkable thing, and I just can't ignore it. "The miracle of the sun," as it is called, just can't be ignored or discounted. The ability to fake these type of photographs was limited in the day, plus you just can't discount the witness of 70,000 people. So, for me, this apparition is a rock solid and reliable one, so it behooves us all to delve into it.


The three children who saw the Blessed Mother
at Fatima, Portugal

I am not terribly well educated in the whole story and the details, nor have I really dug into the promises and requests of Our Blessed Mother, but I am going to do that this year and I hope to take you with me, just by listing books I read and websites I find along the way.  I will continue to update this page with these resources, as I find them, and I will do my best to keep it credible!

It is my hope that I can encourage you to accompany me on this journey, especially those who are not able to make pilgrimage to Fatima or to see the Fatima statue as it travels the globe.

God bless us all!
Silver Rose