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Sister Pamela Smith

An uncle who might just be an unheralded saint

My Uncle Howie Smith often shook his head in wonderment as he baffled new acquaintances with talk about becoming a husband, a father, and a grandfather, all  within six months. Then he would laugh and explain that he had been a lifelong bachelor until he was 55 when he married a widow with a teenage […]


The writing on the wall

“Life is a struggle. Let’s be kind to one another.” This isn’t a proclamation from a homily but a spirited note from a surprising source. I saw it recently — inscribed in calligraphy on the wall of a restroom in the Subaru dealership in Hardeeville. The Holy Spirit speaks through the words of Sacred Scripture, […]


Be still and open to God

This December marks the 200th anniversary of the debut of “Silent Night.” Most people have heard the story about the church organ that was not operational for a Christmas Eve service. Mice, rust, or something other than a power failure (not a possibility in those pre-electricity days) took the blame. Father Josef Mohr, a local […]


Should we do everything we can do?

A largely unheralded event took place in Albuquerque in mid-November. It had nothing to do with the city’s famed petroglyph tours or hot air balloon fiesta. Rather, it was an international conference which gathered deans of engineering schools, engineers, industrial leaders, politicians, heads of NGO’s, stakeholders and students. The theme was Peace Engineering. It was […]


Loneliness can be cured

A recent column by George Will made public some startling figures about loneliness. According to the medical research that Will cites, “persistent loneliness” contributes to premature death at a statistically higher rate than smoking, obesity, alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s. The prevalence of on-line friending has negligible impact on relieving loneliness, it seems. We can be connected […]


A collision of culture and faith

For the past two years, Georgetown University has been in the news in the aftermath of announcements that it would make reparation to the descendants of slaves sold in 1838. It seems that Jesuit priests then operating the college had slaves and decided that the way to stave off bankruptcy was to sell them. To […]


Winds blow and waters rise

Hurricane Florence caused trees to fall on homes, business places to be ruined beyond repair, and floods to inundate parks, residential neighborhoods, and whole towns. Meanwhile, people in places other than North and South Carolina dealt with malnutrition, disease, gas explosions, and wild fires. In coming months, northern climates will deal with blizzards. Some frozen […]


And for whom shall we pray?

When we sisters gather, it can be a trifle startling to hear what individual sisters raise up in moments of spontaneous prayer. One now deceased sister at my community’s motherhouse prayed each year for “a gentle and penetrating rain,” as she called it, in planting season. Another sister has regularly offered a petition “for those […]


There is One big reason we stay

Every now and then a telecommuting day brings with it a revelation or reminder. On a recent weekday, I was working from home and enjoyed the luxury of a 12:15 Mass at our parish church. I’ve had occasion to do headcounts for various events over the years, and I am quite sure that there were […]


Retirement can bring holy repurposing

A number of parishes around our state are heavily weighted with retirees. We really cannot do without them. They often make up the work force of volunteers and leaders of devotional and service groups. Outreach centers, Catholic schools, St. Vincent de Paul Societies, the Council of Catholic Women, the Knights of Columbus, and the Ancient […]


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