Plain Talk For Painful Times

Written by Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE

September 11, 2001 became our new “Day of Infamy.”

The calls started at 6:00 a.m. PST. Mother’s voice shrilled into my not-quite awake brain. “Turn on ABC.” She hung up.

The devastation andrepparttar horror began with a flick of power torepparttar 123931 television. Hatred came to life before my eyes. With it came fear, a moment of panic, and then calls to everyone I loved and cared about. Like so many of you, I alternated between listening and watching “the news” to half-hearted attempts at work.

Onrepparttar 123932 day after this evil, I am compelled to write. Everyone reading this has also experienced bothrepparttar 123933 planned cruelty of humanity as well as its generosity. People stood in line waiting to donate blood. Firefighters and police officers gave their lives. Messages of support swirled across e-mail channels. Andrepparttar 123934 “safety” we thought was ours has disappeared inrepparttar 123935 dense clouds of smoke that carriedrepparttar 123936 World Trade Tower,repparttar 123937 Pentagon, and four planes into destruction. Allrepparttar 123938 technology inrepparttar 123939 world would not have prevented this attack. The human technology of hatred overrode all systems.

The question for me is deeper then “who did this?” Instead,repparttar 123940 question is “how can we use this evil to become wiser and more humanly connected?” Howrepparttar 123941 nation responds inrepparttar 123942 aftermath of this horror will tellrepparttar 123943 world just who we really are. I pray that our wise responses will be words of compassion and reason inrepparttar 123944 midst of insanity. Whilerepparttar 123945 cold inhumanity of terrorism is horrific, it cannot lead us into generalizations about a race, religion, or nation. The actions of a few do not denoterepparttar 123946 mindset of all.

Memories, Meanings, and Lessons for Life

Written by Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE

Some places just feel like home even if you’ve never lived there. I can feel calm settle over me as I turn fromrepparttar highway and see St. Joseph Convent perched in its solid position aboverepparttar 123930 Pennsylvania Dutch countryside. Its three-story arms spread acrossrepparttar 123931 hill as if embracingrepparttar 123932 furrowed farmland below. The manure-covered fields puff pungent perfume intorepparttar 123933 April morning air. The dense pine trees planted by my grandfather are almost as tall asrepparttar 123934 bell tower. I don’t rememberrepparttar 123935 pink and white dogwoods that blush next torepparttar 123936 retreat center but then again, I have never been here in spring. An emergency calls me here now.

Could it have been 45 years ago I watched my beautiful aunt walk downrepparttar 123937 aisle and become a “Bride of Christ”, a term that kept my eight year-old Catholic mind in puzzlement? I rememberrepparttar 123938 coolness ofrepparttar 123939 chapel andrepparttar 123940 stained glass colors dancing acrossrepparttar 123941 pews. Could it have been so long ago and after successive summer visits, that my twin brother and sister and I foundrepparttar 123942 cows kept by Sister Phillip,repparttar 123943 grotto walkway,repparttar 123944 Lady of Lourdes statue and chicken coops? Could it have been so long ago that countless arms swaddled in black gauze reached to hug us against ample bosoms?

How strange it seemed that we had to meet her—Auntie Pep now-called Sister Mary Clare—in a small parlor with uncomfortable velvet chairs. Stranger too was hearing Nana and Pappaw call their daughter, “Sister Clare”.

There was mystery behind all those doors marked “private” just as surely there must have been some secret hidden behindrepparttar 123945 starched headpiece and cowl and beneathrepparttar 123946 long black skirt and veil. Yet for allrepparttar 123947 mystery, my overwhelming sense was always one of contentment when I walked uprepparttar 123948 steep marble stairs torepparttar 123949 entry hall and candlelit chapel.

The black habits are gone and I am staying in one ofrepparttar 123950 rooms behindrepparttar 123951 private doors .I wear my bathrobe and stand shoulder to shoulder with nuns of all ages at a sink to spit toothpaste and water. I carry my tray intorepparttar 123952 dining room and laugh at jokes around a table. I knowrepparttar 123953 security code to openrepparttar 123954 backdoor and whererepparttar 123955 yogurt is hidden inrepparttar 123956 big refrigerator. It is now a different kind of mystery.

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