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Sister Pamela Smith

All-around education helps us glimpse the mind of God

It isn’t every day that we find the likes of Fareed Zakaria and Blessed John Henry Newman in the same sentence and, in a larger sense, on the same page. The first is the familiar CNN commentator on foreign policy and a recognized contemporary expert on international relations, the son of immigrants to the U.S. […]


Practicing the under-publicized virtue of recreation

Suddenly coloring books for grown-ups are all the rage. At one time, a few craft shops here and there stocked little books of geometric designs in black and white for adults to tint and possibly frame. Now, though, coloring books for those old enough to vote (and their grandparents) are turning up in bookstores, pharmacies, […]


What we may see on our back roads reveals our true glamor

South Carolina is glamorous. There are shell-strewn sands running from North Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head. Charleston has its spires, Rainbow Row and out­lying plantations. Columbia displays high culture, USC Gamecocks and all the symbols of government. The Upstate swings into the Blue Ridge and exults in expansive growth and Clemson tiger tails. But there […]


Are we simply a secular society?

During Holy Week 2016, New York’s Cardinal Dolan posted a complaint about the fact that basketball’s March Madness includ­ed Good Friday games in which two Catholic universities would be com­peting. Apparently no one represent­ing these two institutions of higher learning had blinked. We probably should not be sur­prised. After all, we Catholics do all sorts […]


Voting your conscience across party lines and write-ins

The farther we get into this presi­dential race, the better I under­stand my father and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. My father was a World War II veteran and one of those sons of an immigrant who took his citizenship very seriously. He voted in every election: primary, local, state, and national. He considered it a […]


Sharing the cross by caring for the caregiver

Respite is one of those lovely words which sometimes evokes images of leisurely vacations or well-funded sabbaticals. These days it has also come to mean something in the two-way dynamic between those who are cared for and their caregivers. Some skilled nursing and personal care facilities offer respite care. This means they will house, feed, […]


The greatest pain relief is selflessness

Unless we’ve given up television for Lent — or for life — we’ve all seen the opioid ads and have heard the plaintive cries, “Give me my Aleve.” There are two certain things about pain: 1) We don’t like it; 2) We want to get rid of it as quickly as possible, preferably by popping […]


What possible good is there in suffering?

“Offer it up!” For more seasoned Catholics, this recommenda­tion conjures up images of a stern old nun denying children recess, candy, or a homework-free weekend. For all of us, though, the idea of offering any deprivation or suffering for the benefit of our own or others’ souls is a time-honored tradition. We give things up […]


Consider the contributions of all our immigrants, including Jesus

Bishop Gerald Kicanas, when he was still an auxiliary in Chicago, told the story of an encounter he had with a ragged woman who was pushing a shopping cart. When she hailed him, he admitted that his initial response was to wish he had been walking on the other side of the street. Moments later […]


A pro-life virtue, a family value

Docility sounds like the title of a character study of wimps. As a personal habit, docility has gotten a bad rap. Sorry to say, some believers seem to think that being docile means that they should decline making common-sensed decisions and taking responsibility for them. As students they may have been clobbered for independent thought […]


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