Empty Pages


As I’ve attempted to write lately, I’ve encountered a sad paucity of words–that familiar convent-like Silence. Groping in the dark, I reach for inspiration.

Then out of the nothingness, come words and images . . . a tribute to my ageing cat.


at my window,

on my bed,

and eternally at my door.

You are forever

in my heart.



double crossed

I just had a heated discussion over the phone with one of my former nun friends. We each left the community during the massive exodus of the 1960’s and ‘70s. Unlike me, she has remained a practicing Catholic until recently. Over the yeasr we have shared a growing disappointment and disgust toward the stuanch patriarchal attitude of the boys in Rome toward women. I left the convent the day I left the convent, but my friend has persisted until now. The fundamentalist, anti-women attitude of her new young pastor has finally pushed her away.

I told her about the book I’d recently discovered: Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church’s Betrayal of American Nuns, bKenneth Briggs. We were reminded of how much  our services had been taken for granted and how little we nun has been paid for our dedicated work in the Parochial schools.  The amount were were given did not even constitute a living wage. For years, my friend faithfully served as both principal and full time classroom teacher with a salary of $75 a month. An entire staff of nuns received an average total of $200 a month. As a result, the schools flourished and the nuns were left with paltry retirement funds for our future.

At the time, money mattered little to us. We never dealt with money. Financial matters were handled between parish priests and the Motherhouse Superior and her staff. Each mission received a budgeted amount for its basic household needs directly from the Motherhouse. Never allowed to question anything at all, we nuns were expected to put our trust in God. It wasn’t until we were rudely awakened in the aftermath of Vatican II when we were forced to deal with the world of finances again. The day would come when would see how shortchanged we would be for retirement. Whether we remained in the convent or not, we would be forced to live deal with the consequences of our current/former Vow of Poverty.


cats inside

The cats and I watch Portland’s first snowfall from our cozy space inside, but I shiver at the thought of the multitudes of homeless. What has to happen before we begin to use our collective power to rise up and begin the healing transformation?

Of ourselves and all life forms on this beautful, suffering planet.



What increasingly troubles me lately is a growing awareness of how judgmental we are of one another. Especially toward those who are nearest and dearest to us, like family and friends. Heaven help those who deliberately (or sometimes inadvertently) offend us. Why the rampant lack of forgiveness, especially among those we claim to have loved?  Why the persistent holding on to hurts and grudges? Why are loving, friendly folks (I include myself here) sometimes barely able to tolerate one another?

My own unforgiveness saddens me. I’ve sometimes cut myself off from good friends and family members because of a perceived or real hurt.  I’ve deliberately avoided, perceived myself better than, or hung on to my anger against someone I’ve cherished.

I’m slowly becoming more willing to take an honest look at this tendency in myself. I realize that I’ve  projected my own fears and inadequacies upon others and blamed them. The next step has been to learn to forgive myself and then the other. My way of working toward a more peaceful world.