113 years and still thankful to the Lord
The oldest person in France is reputedly a nun, Sister André, who at the age of 113 lives in a retirement home for religious in Toulon. La Croix interviewed Sister André (it was translated by Catholic News Agency), and heard her life story from her birth in 1904. Her grandfather was a Protestant pastor: “The services lasted forever and you had to follow the entire sermon without budging or falling asleep! So my parents no longer practiced their religion. But that troubled me.”
She became a Catholic, and worked in a hospital during World War II: some of those she cared for, who at the time were orphans or poor children, still come to see her in her old age.
Having retired from work at the age of 104, Sister André is now sorry that she cannot “read, write, draw, embroider and knit”. But “she said that she still enjoys seeing the blue sky when the weather is nice. ‘The good Lord has guided me well,’ she reflected.”
Charles Manson and the question of mercy
The death of Charles Manson prompted Fr Dwight Longenecker, at his Patheos blog, to a reflection on mercy. The mass murderer is not beyond God’s mercy – “but the big question is, ‘Would Charles Manson ever accept that mercy?’”
Fr Longenecker argued that “sentimentalists” who believe in universal salvation seem to avoid these difficulties: “Do the kind-hearted people who harp on endlessly about mercy ever go in to the prisons to extend God’s mercy to those who refuse his mercy?” Fr Longenecker visits prisons for serious offenders “about once a month and I can tell you that some of them have asked for mercy and received it. They tell me there are many others who have no desire for mercy or forgiveness and are hardened criminals.”
The trouble with universalists “is not that they want mercy for everyone. I want that too”. The problem is “they are too optimistic and therefore unrealistic about the depth of human depravity and the stubborn rebellion against God of the will of some people. They don’t wrestle enough with this issue.”
A saint who accepted his humble task
At Aleteia, Larry Peterson celebrated Blessed Solanus Casey, beatified on Sunday. Born in 1870 in Wisconsin, he always felt a calling to the priesthood, “He had to fight to get through his studies but he managed, though he was ordained as a ‘Sacerdos Simplex’”, a priest who neither preached nor heard confessions.” Fr Casey never complained. He got on with his main job as a doorkeeper, in which he “became known for his service to the sick and for the advice he would give to the visitors who came by.” Miracles and cures were attributed to him, which helped pave the way to his beatification.
Now we remember him as “a man who opened and closed doors for people. A man who had no ego and was happy to serve God in the simplest of ways.”
✣ An atheist summit has been cancelled, reportedly because of a lack of interest.
The third Global Atheist Convention, entitled “Reason to Hope”, was scheduled to take place in Melbourne in February. Its speakers included Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, and the novelist Salman Rushdie.
The Rev Michael Jensen, an Anglican rector, said sources had told him the cancellation was down to a “lack of interest”. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, he said he was disappointed, as atheists’ attempts to grapple with life’s meaning was good for society. “When we don’t care about ultimate questions we are really at our worst,” he said.
✣ Pope Francis is to auction a Lamborghini in aid of Iraqi Christians. The motor company presented a sleek white, special edition Lamborghini Huracán to Pope Francis last week. The car, which costs a minimum of £155,000 and can go from 0 to 62 mph in just over three seconds, will be auctioned at Sotheby’s. The profits will go to Aid to the Church in Need.
Alfredo Mantovano and Alessandro Monteduro, president and director of ACN in Italy, said: “We have thanked the Holy Father and assured him that we will use his gift well – by bringing thousands more Christians back to Nineveh.”
With our shared desire to protect humanity, we believe we have a starting point for dialogue
Scotland’s bishops appeal for talks on abortion
Open letter to the government
All right now. Calm down
How Fr Solanus Casey would persuade bees to go back into their hive, as remembered by a fellow Franciscan
Catholic News Agency
A David and Goliath struggle
Archbishop Anthony Fisher on Australia’s same-sex marriage referendum
To do no wrong is not enough
Homily for World Day of the Poor
Catholic population of Bangladesh (350,000), which Pope Francis visits this week
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