housing and land tax law b.e. 2475 and Community Development Tax Law b.e. 2508 | Pollux (2023)

housing and land tax law b.e. 2475 and Community Development Tax Law b.e. 2508 | Pollux (1)

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Magazine for Religious - Number 57.4 (July/August 1998) (1998)

Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus

Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus

Issue 57.4 of the Review for Religious, July/August 1998. ; lived experience of all who find that the church's rich heritages of spirituality support their personal and apostolic Cbristian lives. The articles in the jou.rnal are meant to be ~nformative, practical, bistorical, or inspirational,°written from a tbeologi.cal o.r spiritual Or sometimes canonical point of view. Review for Religious (ISSN 0034-639X) is published bi-monthly at Saint Louis University. by the Jesuits of the Missouri Province. Editorial Office: 3601 Lindell Boulevard ¯ St. Louis, Missouri 63108-3393. Telephone: 314-977-7363 ¯ Fax: 314-977-7362 E-Mail: FOPPEMA@SLU.EDU Manuscripts, books for review, and correspondence with the editor: Review for Religious ¯ 3601 Lindell Boulevard ¯ St. Louis, MO 63108-3393. Correspondence about the Canonical Counsel department: Elizabeth McDonough OP 1150 Cedar Cove Road ¯ Henderson, NC 27536 POSTMASTER Send address changes to Review for Religious ¯ P.O. Box 6070 ¯ Duluth, MN 55806. Periodical postage paid at St. Louis, Missouri, and additional mailing offices. See inside back cover for information on subscription rates. ©1998 Review for Religious Permission is herewith granted to copy any material (articles, poems, reviews) contained in this issue of Review for Religious for personal or internal use, or for the personal or internal use of specific library, clients within the limits outlined in Sections 107 and/or 108 of the United States Copyright Law. All copies made under this permission must bear notice of the source, date, and copyright owner on the first page. This permission is NOT extended to copying for commercial distribu-tion, advertising, institutional promotion, or for the creatio.n of new collective works or anthologies. Such permission will only be considered on written application to the Editor, Review for Religious. for religious Editor Associate Editors Canonical Counsel Editor Editorial Staff Advisory Board David L. Fleming SJ Philip C. Fischer sJ Regina Siegfried ASC Elizabeth McDonough OP Mary Ann Foppe Tracy Gramm Jean Read James and Joan Felling Kathryn Richards FSP Joe~ Rippinger OSB Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla SJ David Werthmann CSSR Pa~icia Wittberg SC Christian Heritages and Contemporary Living JULY-AUGUST 1998 ¯ VOLUME 57 ¯ NUMBER 4 contents 342 looking forward Encountering Hinduism: Being Stretched by God Elizabeth Hillis OCD presents her own experience of encountering another religion as a valuable gift and a new way of deepening our faith in God, who is always greater' than our understanding. 354 Towards the Millennium Donald Macdonald SMM ponders the different a'pproaches to the millennium--through our focus on circumstance or our focus on Christ. 368 pioneers Two 17th-Century Women of Wisdom: Mary Ward and Marguerite Bourgeoys Marion Norman IBVM presents, from the changing world of three and four centuries ago, two venturesome women as models of lived wisdom for the church and world of today. 387 A Path Traced Out: Providence in Mother Theodore Guerin's Life Mary Roger Madden SP draws a picture of Mother Theodore Guerin, a pioneer for the missions of the Sisters of Providence in the United States, who will be beatified on 25 October 1998. 33-8J Review for Religious 394 consecrated life Merger Issues and Ways to Address Them Beatrice M. Eichten OSF describes core issues involved when religious congregations seek some sort of merger and offers practical reflections on how to go about it. 4O7 Refounding by Honing the Purpose Concept Nihal Abeyasingha CSSR distinguishes two pursuits, purpose and values, and shows how such careful thinking can help religious in the renewal of their lives together. 419 living together Community: Intentional or. ? Catherine Harmer MMS clarifies the meaning of Christian community, with its four elements of support, challenge, accountability, and discernment. 429 Community Living: A Question of Balance Melannie Svoboda SND, on two continuums, sketches expectations and caring within religious communities and then offers individuals and communities some reflection questions. departments 340 Prisms 435 Canonical Counsel: The Evangelical Counsel of Obedience: Background and Development 441 Book Reviews ~dy-August 1998 Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive. prisms One of the most moving moments for me during a meeting with women and men religious in Johannesburg, South Africa, had to do with forgiveness and reconciliation. One of the participants, an Augustinian novice director, observed that, just as the government had set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring a certain peaceful closure to the painful memories of the apartheid era, so it might be help-ful in the church and in our various religious congrega-tions to establish a similar kind of commission. He noted: "The differences in policies and practices among whites, coloreds, and blacks--in our memberships and in our min-istries, not just between parish congregations but even within a single province of women or men religious---have caused pain and left scars that a church or religious-life truth and reconciliation commission might go a long way to healing." A deeply reflective silence followed, and then a chorus of voices began to express a universal agreement among the white, colored, and black religious present that this agenda needed to be pursued in future meetings among the conference members. Our life experience tells us that we human beings do not easily come to forgiveness and reconciliation. We even find the gift of forgiveness by God the most difficult of God's many gifts for us to accept. Commonly we try to earn forgiveness; we attempt to "make up" for whatever we have done badly or left undone. Our behavior is just as consistent in our relations with one another as it is with God. It is often evident in the way we offer forgiveness: on Review for Religious the condition that the person--whether it is my brother or sister, my son or daughter, my friend or fellow worker--performs in a way to deserve it. And yet forgiveness is just that: a gift "given for" someone. Jesus made it clear through his parables and his example that forgiveness is first a gift from God--given for us--and then God invites us into sharing the gift by the way we live. God so much wanted us to share in the divine way of acting that in the prayer that Jesus taught, it is the only petition to which our personal actions are connected: "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." Forgiveness is so far beyond our ordinary human capacities, Jesus seems to indicate, that, we need to pray for the gift in every "Our Father" we say. On that first Easter Sunday evening, Jesus appears to his dis-ciples-- all locked up in fear--and offers first for their peace the gift of his Spirit. With the permanent gifting of the Holy Spirit comes the power for us to forgive. The church for centuries has seen in these very words the foundation of the sacrament of rec-onciliation. But, long before the sacramental system was clearly delineated, the church understood the gifting of the Spirit and the power to forgive as an essential part of our Christian living in peace. Like Jesus, we are meant to stand ready always to forgive. The old saw "to err is human, to forgive divine" is very true. Even with the baptismal and confirmation gift of the Spirit, we more often feel weighted by our human meanness than moved by divine forgiveness. At first we might be inclined to think of forgiveness as being about the past. But, just as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission may be recalling past happenings only to look towards the future of South African society, so God's forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of one another always look toward the future--the way we will relate and the way we will act. That is why, as we prepare to enter into the third millennium, we need to invoke the Spirit. For our wbrld of age-old hatreds and fresh hurts cries out for us Christians to give witness to the precious gift of forgiveness. Giving witness to forgiveness--that will be our new evangelization. David L. Fleming SJ ~ly-August 1998 ELIZABETH HILLIS Encountering Hinduism: Being Stretched by God looking forward I am a Christian, a contemplative religious, yet for sev-eral years I have been learning about my God and about my faith from Hinduism. Is this a contradiction? Is it unusual? I do not think so. Religious pluralism surrounds us and allows us to cross boundaries that once set us apart from those who believe differently. Theologians study and write about how other religions experience God and the world; East-West dialogues have been set up between Christian and Buddhist monastic communities; in secu-lar and professional life we frequently encounter Hindus and Muslims, take classes in yoga, read about kundalini awakening, practice Zen sitting. How is the Catholic to grapple with the challenge to faith presented by such encounters? There is no easy answer, but from prayer-fully reflecting on my own experience I have gained some insights into this important adventure. First, I would like to make clear my belief that encountering.another religion is a valuable gift, that it is actually a divine call to open ourselves to a new way of finding ourselves in a world that is growing smaller, a new way of deepening our faith in God., who is always greater than our understanding. This gift may noF be for everyone, and it is seldom something we choose for ourselves. It just happens. Then we have to make room for it in our lives, room which may reorganize everything else. That is how Elizabeth Hillis OCD writes from Carmel of the Holy Family; 3176 Fairmount Boulevard; Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118. Review for Religious it was for me, and this article presents some aspects of what I have learned in the process. My first direct contact with Hinduism was through a medical professional whom I met in 1989. From my first meeting with her, I was impressed with something that I felt instinctively had to do with her Indian origin and her Hindu beliefs. What drew me to her seems to have been related to the quality of her silence and serenity. Though busy with her medical practice and busy with being a wife and the mother of teenage children, she seemed to. possess a poise and centeredness, an evenness of mind and judgment, a detached yet focused compassion for her patients and colleagues that was unlike anything I had ever witnessed. She seemed to have a secret source of strength. She once gave this state of centeredness a Sanskrit name, sthita-prajna, and spoke of how she had seen this quality in her own mother the last time she saw her before she died. With her husband and children, she had returned to India to visit her parental home. Her mother had welcomed them joyously, but,. when it came time for them to leave, the mother was equally able to let them go. Her outward serenity seemed clearly to come from serenity within. It was the same quality that I had noticed in this woman. Stbita-prajna, written on a small piece of Post-it paper (that I still have!), was the beginning of my study of Hindu religious texts. My first reading was of the Bhagavad-Gita, probably the most pop-ular and widely read of all the Hindu scriptures, and that which is dearest to many Hindus. There, in the second chapter, I met stbita-prajna again, where K_rishna explains to Arjuna the qualities of an integrated person who can regard all things, persons, and experi-ences equally with detached interest. The Gita states: When a man puts from him all desires that prey upon the mind, himself contented in self alone, then is he called a man of steady wisdom. Whose mind is undismayed though beset by many a sor-row, who for pleasures has rio further.longing, from whom all passion, fear, and wrath have fled, such a man is called a man of steadied thought, a silent sage. Who l~as no love for any thing, who rejoices not at whatever good befalls him nor hates the bad that comes his way-- firm-stablished is the wisdom of such a man. And when he draws in on every side his senses from their proper objects as a tortoise might draw in its limbs--firm-stablished is the wisdom of such a man.~ ~uly-August 1998 Hillis ¯ Encountering Hinduism While this text does not represent the whole of Hindu thought, it does touch on an important element, the yoga (or practice) of renunciation. What is renounced here is not human activity or experience, but the tendency to attach oneself to human experi-ences in such a way that they destabilize the self. These are the "desires that prey upon the mind." Pleasures and sorrows, good and bad experiences, still come and go, but they no longer disturb the person who is established in the truth of the self (atman). Such a person lives in a state of equanimity, stbita-prajna, "steady wisdom" or stable consciousness. My friend had seen this in her mother, and I had seen it in her. In ~ubsequent conversations she explained her understand-ing of a related discipline, what the Gita calls karma yoga or the "yoga of detached action." All work is to be done with detach-ment because it is our duty. Attachment to the reward of our works ties us to what we do; nonattachment frees us from such bondage to deeds (karma). Therefore, detached, perform unceasingly the works that must be done, for the man detached who labors on to the highest must win through. (BG 3.19, p, 55) Furthermore, offering the work to God is a spiritual sacrifice that brings freedom. Content to take whatever chance may bring his way, sur-mounting all dualities, knowing no envy, the same in success and failure, though working still he is not bound. Attachment gone, deliverance won, his thoughts are fixed on wisdom: he works for sacrifice alone, and all the work he ever did entirely melts away. (BG 4.22-23, p. 59) The Gita goes on to teach that the person who is stabilized in self, sthita-prajna, and who engages in d~tached action, karma yoga, has yet another step to take toward complete integration and freedom: devotion or bhakti. This is to make all existence, all action, a means of loving God. The god referred to in the Gita is Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, and it is he who instructs Arjuna: "Let him sit, his self all stilled . . . his thoughts on Me, integrated, yet intent on Me" (BG 6.14, p. 66). Thus the stabi-lization of self and the yoga of detached action are not enough by themselves to bring liberation: one needs to focus the mind and heart entirely on a personal god. Bhakti (loving devotion) is nec-essary; a surrender to the divine being both completes the task of personal integration and makes it possible. Review for Religious The source of all am I; from Me all things proceed: this knowing, wise men commune with Me in love, full filled with warm affection . To these men who are ever inte-grated and commune with Me in love I give that integration of the soul by which they may draw nigh to Me. (BG 10.8,10, p. 78) Steady consciousness, detached action, and loving devotion to a personal god, such are a few basic teachings of the Gita which might be an interesting parallel to the Christian path toward union with God. But I am not sure that the study of Hindu texts alone would have held my interest if it had not been for the liv-ing example and friendship of a contemporary Indian woman who was willing to share with me her own experience of her religion. In addition to our infrequent conversations, I had the witness of her own life, which concretely modeled what I~read. She partic-ularly exemplified the path of karma yoga by making offerings to God of her everyday actions: her medical practice, her care of husband and children, driving a car, shopping. I am not speak-ing here of a woman who was externally "religious" in an obvious way. She was far from any Hindu community where she might visit a temple or gather with others in .devotional rituals. Her home, her clothing, her habits were fully American. Her children attended the local public high school. Yet she was attempting to conform her life to the wisdom of the Gita, to live an integrated life as best she could, to work with detachment, to teach her chil-dren the values and beliefs she had internalized. Did she succeed? It seems to me that she did in a way she never planned. In November 1991 she was diagnosed as having a brain tumor, which in spite of all treatment slowly took every-thing away from her: her medical practice, her power of thought and judgme.nt, and even life itself. In this situation of tragedy, she asked, not (as we all might) "Why me?" but "Why now?" She regretted more than anything that she would not see her chil-dren grow up. Yet at the same time she struggled to live in a spirit of self-surrender, one day at a time, sometimes feeling better, often feeling worse. I saw in her a growing search for a hope that could take her beyond the limitations of her physical weakness. From time to time she asked her husband to bring her to our monastery chapel, where she spent time in silent meditation, sit-ting beside him or with one of her sisters who had come from India to care for her. She brought all of her family to meet me, to Hillis ¯ Encountering Hinduism talk about meditation, or to share her questions on whether to seek further treatment. She asked for the address of a place of prayer where she could make a retreat, though she was never well enough to carry out this i~lan. . For me it is significant that this Hindu woman found in a Christian monastic setting a place where she could experience peace and gain insight again into how to live her life fully to the end. We had never spoken of religious questions with a view to converting one another, and yet, with each other's help, both of us had grown in following our own path to God. I like to think that, just as her %lues and beliefs had deepened mine, the witness of a contemplative religious had helped develop in her the "devo-tion" to a personal god that she knew from the Gita: Whoso at the hour of death, abandoning his mortal frame, bears Me in mind and passes on, acdedes to my own mode of being; there is no doubt of this . Then muse upon Me.always. for, if you fix your mind and soul on Me, you will, nothing doubting, come to Me. (BG 8.5,7, p. 72) I have no evidence that my friend found consolation in this text of the Gita as I do now when I think back to her last months. There comes a time when we cannot accompany those we love in their final journey. But knowing that these scriptures were part of the fabric of her life makes me sure that their content and mean-ing had been internalizeddn the way that we Christians have sim-ilar texts engraved in our memory and our heart: "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest" (Mr 11:28). In~ the end the truths that we live by, and die by, are very simple. I miss Shobha. I know that in some mysterious way my life was changed by our friendship. But it was also changed by the religious encounter that was the context of our relationship. Since her death I have studied Hinduism patiently and perseveringly from many different perspectives, and I know that I shall con-tinue to. do so because, just as it did in the beginning through her, this encounter with another religion still constantly reveals God to me. I have taken some time to detail what "happened" to me. Now I need to question how I have (or have not) integrated it into my life. How do I remain a Christian and deepen my Christian under-standing and commitments by learning from Hinduism? How Revlew for Religious does anyone stay balanced when crossing the boundary that nor-mally sets Christian experience apart from the non-Christian? I have formulated four guidelines for my own use, which could be applied to any situation of interreligious exploration, but which here I apply to my study of Hinduism. They are, briefly: (1) Take seriously the differences between my own tradition and that of another religion. (2) Pay attention to the details that I notice. (3) Follow the questions that naturally arise. And (4) keep looking back at my own tradition. First, I need to take seriously the differences between my Catholic beliefs, theology, and practices and those I see in a Hindu friend or read about in a Hindu text. Great injustice can be done both to my own self-understanding and to my real appreciation of the "other" if I look only for similarity of shared views or experience. We may have much in common, but there is probably a much greater area of difference. To over-look this, or to settle for a vague intuition of universal connectedness, is not helpful. It may even be harmful, and it is certainly not respectful of the other. It is usually not true that we are all saying the same things in dif-ferent words. Very often we are saying quite different things about the divine, about human life, and about the nature of human/divine interaction. I had to keep this realization in mind during my conversations with Shobha. It was necessary for me continually to ask myself what she meant by a certain explanation of her beliefs. I had to go to the texts she quoted and try to understand them as she did rather than separate out inspiring' thoughts that fit comfortably into my Catholic framework. An example is found in the texts quoted above from the Bhagavad-Gita and the Gospel of Matthew. In both places the words "come to me" are used, by Jesus and by Krishna. Yet the context shows that Matthew's Jesus is inviting his hearers to human discipleship in the present life, a discipleship which involves a specific sort of following, a willingness to learn of Christ, humility of heart, and the patient carrying of the burdens of life. On the other hand, the Krishna of the Gita calls the devo- How does anyone s tay balanced when crossing the boundary that normally sets Christian experience apart from the non-Christian? Hillis ¯ Encountering Hinduism tee to an inner concentration on his divine being, leaving behind any attachment to human life which could tie the soul to earthly existence and necessitate further cycles of rebirth. In both situa-tions divine comfort is offered to the person who approaches God in loving trust, but in one case the fulfillment given by Jesus is incarnational while, in the other case, material exis(ence must be transcended for the sake of merging with Krishna in his univer-sal form. On the surface it is natural that the words of Krishna would call to mind those of Jesus, but it must always be kept in mind that Krishna is not Christ, nor is his relationship to the devotee the same as that of Christ to the Christian disciple. It seems best to let the differences simply stand as they are. We can learn from the tension of holding these texts side by side and see-ing both what they are saying and what they are not saying. We also learn the detachment of letting others come to Krishna dif-ferently than we come to Christ. This recognition of difference leads into the second guide-line, to pay attention to the details we notice. It is in the details that we most frequently confront the differences that exist between religions. Although it may seem helpful to generalize about another religion in order to have a coherent way to grasp its tenets and the interrelationship of belief and practice, such generaliza, tion gives a false sense of mastery. It glosses over unwieldy facts which do not fit the pattern that a predetermined theology assigns to "non-Christian" experience. If we really want to take another religion seriously, it is worthwhile to read its sacred writings and hear what its followers have to say about themselves. This means attentive listening and openness to a diversity we might not expect. Unfamiliar mythology will frequently perplex us; moving rituals or insightful texts will possibly attract us; exotic practices may repel us. In one way or another, a good many unmanageable details will keep us aware that Hinduism is vast, complex, and varied in its expressions. It takes time and serious application on our part to identify and unlock the meaning of certain key con-cepts. Patient attention to the details we do not understand keeps us in a position of humility. There is much we may have to leave unexplored and unexplained. This is in itself a most respectful way of approaching the "other"--to acknowledge the mystery and to let it stand as it is. It is God we are meeting in this mys-tery of the other, God who acts in the lives .and values of real people who do not believe or think or Worship as we do, God Review for Religious whose grace is far more extensive than our theological constructs might have us realize. Details lead us to question what we are learning. It is impor-tant at this point to follow the questions that arise and to allow them to open new questions, new vistas of understanding, and new mys-teries of God that we cannot begin to penetrate. When the details make me aware that Krishna cannot really be considered a Christ-figure, that he teaches a very different sort of doctrine than Jesus, then I naturally begin to ask: Who is this Krishna? What is his origin? How is he human, how divine? What sort of deity is he? How do people relate to him, worship him, love him, serve him? Such questions are the heart of interreligious experience, but they probably cannot be asked until we have gone through the pre-liminary steps of taking seriously the other religion. As long as I do not consider Krishna to be an authentic deity for a con-siderable number of real people, there is a danger that I will consider him to be only a fable, a religious fiction that need not be reckoned with in a serious way. The situation becomes even more complex if I .begin to follow these initial questions and find that there is not only the Krishna of the Gita, but also the Krishna of north-Indian mythology and the Krishna of south-Indian devotional poetry. How are they the same deity and how different and how do the various strands of the Krishna tradition combine and intermingle? To find out who Krishna is will lead me to question what a deity is, how mythology is part of every religious figure, how story and experience and ritual play a part in the development of belief. These vast questions have opened up for me simply because I paid attention to details about a god who is foreign to my religious tradition. It soon becomes obvious that, to pursue these questions, one must study seriously. This is an important point because encoun-tering another religion has to engage more than my feelings of attraction or repulsion or my intuition of realities beyond words. I need to use my mind in a careful and persevering way in order to enter into the world of the Hindu, who may seem to have Encountering another religion has to engage more than my feelings of attraction or repulsion or my intuition of realities beyond words. ff~dy-August 1998 Hillis ¯ Encounte~ing Hinduism human feelings of devotion similar to mine, but whose way of thinking about religious truths may be unlike any systematic approach familiar to me. Unless thought is explored by thought, there can be no real understanding of the other. To set ourselves to this task is, in one sense, to pursue an unrealistic goal, because the scope of another religion is so vast and the context so for-eign. Yet the very impossibility of the endeavor to think beyond our categories is what calls us to begin, in whatever small ways we can. To try to think with a Hindu about her beliefs, even by read-ing a sacred text she treasures, to set aside prejudgments that would restructure her beliefs in a Christian framework, to thoughtfully pursue questions about the differences we see, but without ever coming to the end of those questions, is to stumble into the vastness of God with a new appreciation of how very limited is the human grasp of Divine Reality. Vv'hen it is so difficult and time consuming to learn about another religion, why would anyone bother? The reason may be that there is an Other whom we do not know and curiosity leads us to investigate beyond what is familiar and comfortable. The exploration of cosmic space is an example of the insatiable need we have to go where we have never been, to understand what we do not yet know. In the experience of going beyond our bound-aries, an incredible miracle can happen. Our astronauts experi-enced it the first time they walked on the moon. It was the miracle of looking back and seeing the planet Earth as one single unit, not a globe divided into nations and territories. It so changed their view of life that, when they returned home, they were impelled to do all they could for unity among the peoples who inhabit the planet, to share their vision of the whole with as many as could receive it. A similar paradigm shift occurs when we try to step into the world of another religion: we see the human quest for God in a different way than before. It becomes necessary to work for a more reverent view of the religious "other." It is no longer possible to criticize or to compete or even to compare; in whatever limited way we can, we must seek to understand. Boundaries between countries and differences between religions will continue to exist, and such differentiation is healthy. But the boundaries can become permeable; the differences can contribute to increased self, understanding. The last step in the process of learning from another religion seems to be that it leads us to keep looking back at our own tradi- Review for Religious tion. Whether we start our investigation because we are curious, or because it seems a good thing to pursue, or simply because it "happens" to us, we will always find it necessary to look back. We need to be firmly grounded in our own tradition and to be deepening our roots continuously as we look outward. In my case, many years of pondering the Scriptures, the Carmelite mystical tradition, and other Christian mystical writings--and some famil-iarity with theology--give me a stable position for looking into Hinduism. I am spontaneously attracted to the writings of Hindu mystics, and these, in turn, call me back to well-known Christian texts that seem almost parallel in their expression of the search for God. Let us put the above-quoted text from the Gita on detached work alongside a maxim of John of the Cross: Therefore, detached, perform unceasingly the works that must be done, for the man detached who labors on to the highest must win through. Content to take whatever chance may bring his way, surmounting all dualities, knowing no envy, the same in ~uccess and failure, though working still he is not bound. Attachment gone, deliverance won, his thoughts are fixed on wis-dom: he works for sacrifice alone, and all the work he ever did entirely melts away. (Bhagavad-Gita 3.19, 4.22-23, pp. 55 and 59) God is more pleased by one work however small, done secretly, without desire that it be known, than a thousand done with the desire that people know of them. Those who work for God with purest love not only care nothing about whether others see their works, but do not even seek that God himself know of them. Such persons would riot cease to render God the same services, with the same joy and purity of love, even if God were never to know of these. (St. John of the Cross, Sayings of Light and Love, 20)2 When texts are paired in this way, we can look back and forth between one tradition and another and gain from the light each one reflects upon the other. We see the obvious and important dif-ferences and the questions which these raise, but this need not prevent us from letting the two texts illumine one another. Francis X. Clooney SJ, to whom I am indebted for this insightful model of comparison, makes this comment about parallel texts: "As I read back and forth., each keeps showing me a way to the other, ~uly-August 1998 Hillis ¯ Encountering Hinduism and I end up with a doubled insight, a spiritual 'sense that goes beyond either text by itself. Pairing texts such as these creates a visual tension and emphasizes the enhancement of meaning occurring when we take our own tradition and another seriously and reverently, at the same time, together.''3 Such a bringing together of texts provides a way of integrat-ing our previous Christian commitment with any experiences that cross religious boundaries. Each encounter with the "Other" echoes back to something familiar even as it draws us beyond. We learn to look alternately in both directions without criticism or superiority, but in humble and careful appreciation. Actually what seems to take place when we look into another religion and then back at our own over a period of time is a weaving back and forth between the two in such a way that the ideas, texts, or expe-riences complement each other and intermingle fruitfully without distortion of their origin.al identity. We do not try to force par-allels, but merely look back and forth from one text to another where different traditions are attempting to grapple with com-mon questions about human experience of the divine. What I learned from Hinduism about sthita-prajna, about karma yoga, and about bhakti enable me to take a new look at detachment, duty, and devotion and at the freedom I have in sur-render to Christ. My frame of reference is not the same as that of the Gita; I am not a devotee of Krishna, but a disciple of Christ. Yet I believe I am a better follower of the gospel and a better reli-gious because of my contact with the Gita and with a woman whose life exemplified for me her Hindu beliefs. My questions about Krishna and what sort of deity he is lead me to look at what sort of God I worship and love and serve in Jesus. Without the vantage point of Hinduism, without (as it were) standing on the moon, I might not have had the perspective to look back and see in simpler terms the unity of my own Catholic faith and the rad-icality of my contemplative quest. I am certain that, without step-ping outside my own Catholic worldview, I would not have been grasped and changed by the vastness of God, who is very present in Hinduism in a way that will always be a mystery to me. The gift of encountering another religion is well worth the demands it makes on us in time, openness, vulnerability, or patient study. There is risk, but if we look back as well as forward, if we stay poised in the tension created by who we are as Catholic and how we are discovering God in non-Christian experiences, if we Review for Religious pay attention to differences, details, and questions, it is very pos-sible that we will be overtaken by the miracle of finding ourselves anew in a world of faith, where we learn from our non-Christian neighbor how very big God is. Notes ~ The Bhagavad-Gita 2.55-58, trans. R.C. Zaehner (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), p. 52. The Zaehner translation of the Gita is the most tex-tually accurate, but I quote with apology for the lack of inclusive lan-guage. The Sanskrit text meant "he" because it was primarily addressed to higher-caste males. 2 The Collected Vdorks of St. John of the Cross, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh OCD and Otilio Rodriguez OCD (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1991), pp. 86-87. 3 Francis X. Clooney SJ, "In Ten Thousand Places, in Every Blade of Grass: Uneventful but True Confessions about Finding God in India, and Here Too," Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 28, no. 3 (May 1996), pp. 1-42, esp. pp. 2-3. See also his "Praying through the Non-Christian," Review for Religious 49, no. 3 (May-June 1990), pp. 434-444, and his Seeing Through Texts (New York: SUNY Press, 1996). In chapter 5 of this work, Clooney gives many illuminating examples of parallel Hindu and Christian texts. Many foreign missionaries depend upon people like you who donate subscriptions for them to Review for Religious. To start a subscription for a deserving missionary, please send $24 to: Review for Religious ¯ 3601 Lindell Blvd. ¯ St. Louis, MO 63108 To pay by credit card, phone: 314-977-7363 or fax: 314-977-7362 L353.-- July-August 1998 DONALD MACDONALD Towards the Millennium Ibrecall a series of magazine articles on foreign travel written y people who had never been to the countries they described--this approach would be objective! The magazine was, of course, being humorous. But, in fast-moving times such as ours, we perhaps speak too glibly of the years ahead. Wisely, then, does Tertio millennio adveniente emphasize "preparation for." with a view to being ready for the psychological dynamism of a new beginning should it come. For it is better to examine the present moment with a view to the future than to just dream of what may or may not be. From the Christian perspective, we have the choice of cen-tering either on circumstance or on Christ. I shall sketch briefly what each of these choices means, and then examine them both at greater length. The center of gravity of mature individuals, it has been said, is always to be found where they actually are. Such people accept responsibility for and from the situation in which they now find themselves, even when it is a difficult one. While all of us grow older, not all of us grow up, and so not everyone manages to retain this center of gravity, this poise. We do not automatically mature. People try to avoid responsibility and look for the gap in the hedge. By profession, by publicly giving our word, we religious are considered to have invested ourselves in a group of people who have the intention of identifying with the will of God. Here we are Donald Macdonald S!VIM writes for us the first time eve~ from his native Scodand: Montfort House; Darnley Road; Barrhead; G78 1TA; Scotland, U.K. Review for Religious meant to strike root, and growing maturity should help us exam-ine the present and future landscape from that perspective. In practice, then, our center of gravity is either in circum-stance or in Christ. Present circumstances, like the electricity bill, seem so real as to define reality; they appear so immediate that response to them seems inescapable. Yet, if we are always latch-ing on to current circumstance, reacting to what we think is hap-pening, we should not be surprised to find ourselves with the patchwork personality of a rag doll. It is almost impossible to have a center of gravity in forever changing circumstance. To drive a particular car, the advertiser tells us, means "You know you are a success." Equally the ecology lobby may suggest an indifference to our present environment. Fashions change even in church and religious life. Wise are the religious who never iden-tify wholly with what they are doing at the expense of who they are. To have even a toehold in the present, it helps to have a foothold in the past; "real development is not leaving things behind as on a road, but drawing life from them as from a root.''~ Taking our identity and sense of worth chiefly from present cir-cumstance can never give us such a root; hence, as the millen-nium approaches, there is a sense of rootlessness among many people, people who are subject to the tyranny of the contempo-rary. On the other hand, what is our perspective on life when our center of gravity is in Christ? The ministry [of Christ] has gone on for nineteen centuries and more, and it still goes on. What is the secret of its stay-ing power? The answer of the whole New Testament is that it is the risen Christ himself who is carrying it out. It is very easy for us, who have been brought up in a scientific age, to think of Jesus bequeathing his principles and ideals to his followers and leaving it to them to take up and carry on the task he is presumed to have laid down somewhere about A.D. 30. That is not the New Testament picture at all. There can be little doubt that, if it had been left to the disciples to take up tasks, their choice would have fallen elsewhere . No: the secret of the matter is that it is Christ who picks up the threads, Christ who takes the lead, Christ whose presence and power are one constant inspiration and strength. The resurrection means above all just this, that Christians do not inherit their task from Christ, they share it with him. We are not the successors of Jesus but his com- ~dy-August 1998 MacdonaM ¯ Towards the Millennium panions. That is the measure both of our privilege and our personality.2 Insofar as this insight of faith matures and truly becomes our own, we are taken out of ourselves into a growing realization of the gift of God in Christ in the present moment. This should be an endless source of wonder. We mature as Christians precisely insofar as we realize the wonder of the companionship offered through our baptism into Christ--that we are in the church and with him in the church. Transfiguration into Christ should be seen as a real option. Generations of saints and the genuinely good prove it. There is a world of difference between "succes-sor" and "companion." If we have not matured in Christ, as the New Testament understands it, we shall never understand this, and that perspective will not be ours. We are then unable to see what is there in the present moment in Christ. We are left to look for meaning and purpose in life elsewhere, not least in response to circumstances over which we have little control. A Prey to Circumstance The first thing to be said about approaching the millennium under the tutelage of circumstance is that we may not see it. We may have died. We may, too, be ill or incapacitated. Our limited circumstances will be world enough for us then. Some of us may decide to jump ship to look for a safer berth outside of our order or congregation. This is understandable as a response to circum-stance. Circumstances change and we fear the changes. What will happen to us in the millennium? The thought of sitting among strangers all day in a home for the elderly run by the town coun-cil, with little status and less independence, can really frighten us. Seen as changing circumstances, the millennium means inse-curry. That then, for the first time since our prot~ession, we might find ourselves genuinely "poor in fact and spirit" (Perfectae cari-tatis §13) might weigh little against our fear of radically changing circumstances. We will likely feel bullied and frightened as the coming millennium takes us into an unfamiliar world that we can-not control. We may also be afraid of the changing culture, particularly in the West. The values which to some extent have formed us and to which we have tried to give our lives may increasingly be pushed to the edge. The sales person with a product nobody wants is in Review for Religious a frightening position. Contemporary movers and shakers who set the pace and seem to write the agenda for living may marginal-ize us. The millennium may see us, then, washed further up onto the shore of utter irrelevance. Who are we then? From a Christian standpoint, there is a progressive coarsen-ing of life generally. The positive values of our culture--built on our Judeo-Christian ethic, however imperfectly practiced--have hitherto managed to order relationships between individuals, neighborhoods, bureaucracy, law, and society. Shared assumptions mapped out life around us. This is now changing. The unborn, children, and the elderly are particu-larly vulnerable. The intrinsic dignity of individuals as created by God and redeemed by Christ, along with that dignity's call for respect, is under increasing pressure as the gospel light which illumined human reality is dimmed. Tabloid newspapers and media culture generally appear to be governed by "the bottom line." People are treated cruelly and privacy is invaded as the poor and immature are exploited to make a dead-line. The worldwide picture seems even worse. Power, money, and sex have always been dominant in human behavior, but the pounds, francs, and dollars purchased in that world are often at the expense of the basic currency used there--people. Inevitably, reli-gious whose identity is primarily from circumstance will be influ-enced when not overwhelmed by this. They may approach the coming millennium in a state of free-fall, with numbing fear rather than challenging expectation. Contemporary culture is not wholly negative. The concern for our global environment is a positive value without being made an ersatz religion as well. There is, too, an active social concern to better the lives of people worldwide. But even here, with icons like Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, and many a selfless Christian neighbor, the picture painted is often of the church scrambling to catch up with something contemporary and worthwhile whose impetus comes from elsewhere. Whether this is true or not is beside the poin.t to people who take their cue. mainly from the present situation. We mature as Christians precisely insofar as we realize the wonder of the companionship offered through our baptism into Christ. y~uly-dug'ust 1998 Macdonald ¯ Towards the Millennium A further positive value is a growing awareness of transcen-dence and the spiritual. The church, which religious represent and which, one might think, could offer so much here, is again dis-advantaged. A common perception is that the Christian religion emphasizes morality at the expense of spirituality whereas Buddhism, for example, gives primacy to spirituality. It is sad to see this, but in practice it is often the gospel as lived and preached even by committed believers. The Pauline way of centering first on Christ, and then from within that companionship being open to life regardless of circumstance, is far from universal in Christianity as commonly experienced. There is often no real understanding of the motivation for Christian behavior. Religious marked with that lack are handicapped in approaching the mil-lennium. We cannot bring to the millennium values we do not yet have. An increasing desire for the spiritual cannot be met by religious who do not know how to mine that seam from within the past aiad present of their church. Whoever thinks of the future must be concerned with the worrying question of vocations to religious life. In much of the world, families are becoming smaller. The two-child family is not especially suited to being the home of vocations to religious life. And, with family relationships frequently breaking up, the home is not often a likely place for the nurture and support of religious vocations. Against this background the'shortage of candidates cannot just be put down to "bad" men and women religious not living up to the evangelical life to which they are committed. Young people growing up in a sometimes decadent media/pop culture readily get used to being fed on a diet of having rather than giving. "What's in it for me? It does nothing for me! The magic's gone! I'm too young for responsibility!"--such words, all turning on the idea of self-fulfillment, do not create a seedbed for future vocations to any form of adult Christian life. Long-term, open-ended, lifelong commitment is increasingly rare in contemporary culture. Nothing lasts. You are always let down. In nominally Christian communities, many adults do not mea-sure up and do not take responsibility for where they are. The increasing spread of what is held to be politically cor-rect can suffocate an authentic gospel life. The young, especially, need vision and courage if they are not to succumb, in an endless succession, to one or another flavor of the month. Often what is politically correct may not be evangelically right. A newspaper Review for Religious" cartoon, for example, shows a schoolboy buying cigarettes and asking the shopkeeper to wrap them in a copy of Gay News--an acerbic comment on a government policy advocating sixteen as the minimum legal age for homosexual relations while holding to the age of eighteen for buying cigarettes. In webs of circumstance like this, many young people may not be able to hear a call to religious life that is otherwise clear and inviting. Another problem today is that for many young persons the test of reality is how they themselves experience life. No one, particularly no authority figure, is going to tell them how to live their life! They are free! Vv'hat counts is what is trueJbr them. Reality is what they feel it is. Drawing upon a wealth of 20th-century experience, they are chary of giving ourselves to a guru, whether secu-lar or Christian. From the infamous results of "only obeying orders" to the pain caused by religious guides with feet of clay, the path is littered with casualties, and the hurts go deep. What people do not so well defend themselves against--and it can be just as damaging--is losing, unawares, their freedom regarding some contemporary matters, matters about which they adopt unthink-ingly the politically correct answer. The fetters here can hold as firmly as any medieval mindset is alleged to have done, and the damage may be terminal. To vow ourselves to God in religious life means that, to a greater or lesser extent, we commit ourselves to an overarching tradition and to a particular superior. Few people like constraint, and today God, parents, teachers, and other authority figures are often treated with pointed disrespect. There seems to be a com-pulsion for people to assert themselves in opposition to them, whereas nonauthority figures are often worshiped and can take us where they will. If the surface aggression is paramount, there is litde place for trust, and so a genuinely gospel community can-not be built. If this immaturity is carried to the approaching mil-lennium, there will be an inbuilt fault in the foundations of whatever we attempt to create. In the church, superiors are sometimes seen as the unaccept-able face of religion. Yet someone has to be willing to take the The increasing spread of what is held to be politically correct can suffocate an authentic gospel life. J~dy-August 1998 Macdonald * Towards the Millennium responsibility, especially in our unsetded times. It may cost much. The superior, in thrall to circumstance, will suffer particularly, always presupposing his or her own integrity while in office. A for-mer provincial superior, reflecting on his time in office, said; "One loses one's innocence when one is in a position of author-ity. Would it were otherwise"--but he notes that the great major-ity are not the cause of his hurt.3 Cardinal Basil Hume OSB, archbishop of Westminster, spoke of being misunderstood, misrepresented, disliked, criticized, and written off as a disaster.4 (Of course, this kind of thing, in today's jargon, "goes with the territory," but also is not always unde-served.) Yet now he has come to see such suffering as really a blessing. The disguise may seem impenetrable, but the blessing is there. When circumstances chastened and hurt him despite his best endeavors, he found it a marvelous way to grow in the Spirit. In the situation he came to see that only the gospel lasts. Everything else falls away, and ultimately he is graced with the realization that there is only the fidelity of God in Christ to be relied on. St. Paul, writing from prison, would agree: "God. has gra-ciously granted you the privilege (charis) not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well" (Ph 1:29). When we feel hemmed in and hurt by circumstance as we approach the millen-nium, it would help immeasurably if we were at home with the small print of the gospel. It really does translate experience for us--provided that we focus in any and every situation not on cir-cumstance, no matter how immediate, but on our risen Lord. The Company of Christ and Each Other As the basic guide for religious "is a following of Christ as proposed by the gospel" (Perfectae caritatis §2), it follows that to attempt this we need to know how to approach the New Testament, where the authentic portrait of Christ is to be found. We should test the assumption that, come the millennium, we will really know how to do this. It is the claim of Pope John Paul II that, given "the prayerful and meditated reading of the word . . . a humble and loving lis-tening to him who speaks., one's own vocation can be discov-ered and understood, loved and followed, and one's own mission carried out.''s This is a major claim, but the Holy Father rein- Review for Religious forces it when he says "the person's entire existence finds its uni-fying, radical, meaning in being the terminus of God's word." That is to say, if we mature into habitually, instinctively being a terminus of the gospel, all the threads of a situation and the capac-ity of life to shock or puzzle us will be brought together; whatever lies deepest in us will be reached; and we will be given to see pur-pose in life. For many this is but a worthy platitude, notionally true but factually unreal. Yet the claim stands. If we can find our way to becoming a terminus of the word of God, we will not nec-essarily have a trouble-free life, but we will be given a security which jostling circumstance cannot unsettle. We are, as has been well said, then in touch with the Pilot. Imagine if we approached the millennium from within that perspective, knowing it to be true! A cameo, chiefly from a few verses of Philippians 3, gives us a glimpse of how this might be done and of the dividends to be gained from doing it. From prison St. Paul wrote to his people in Philippi to thank them for remembering him there and for gen-erously sending one of their number to help and encourage him. The backdrop to the letter (and, in truth, the foreground to Paul's understanding of community) is soon stated: "I thank my God . ¯. for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now" (1:3,5). Invariably it is "us" with St. Paul, never "me and you" unless he is forced to "speak like a fool" in defense of his stand-ing as a genuine apostle. This fellowship (koinonia) between Paul and his people, which stems from the realization of their oneness in Christ through baptism, is the overall context in which the interchange of the letter takes place. When, as here, it is under-stood and reciprocated, it both thrills and puts new heart into him. He writes from within the strength of that relationship to encourage it and further it. That insight of responsibility for each other in Christ is as valid today as then. If we approach the millennium determined to make our baptismal fellowship real by investing ourselves in the c.ommunity, we will communicate, at a deep level. It should be a priority and is well within the competence of most of us if, for example, it is expressed in a word of appreciation, a word of sym-pathy, a word of encouragement, a word of thanks. These are the building blocks, and the present moment is the time and place to lay them. As we know from experience, a word "in season," when genuinely meant, does really help and might encourage us and ~tly-Augttst 1998 Macdonald ¯ Towards the Millennium those around us to reach and welcome the millennium. "Friends are facts, and the good things you have done to them are facts," said G.K. Chesterton. This is time usefully and evangelically spent. Only insofar as we mature in Christian life will we do this and be able to sense how shoes pinch other people's feet. St. Paul writes of his present situation: "I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things" (3:8). The verb suggests total loss as in shipwreck or business failure. Everything has gone--family, status, career, security, good name. He writes from prison now. Initially he was compelled to leave Philippi after being given the standard flogging for a trouble-maker. His present situation follows the same pattern. Then, as now, circumstances are none of his choosing, but in the situation, as Cardinal Hume and many others found when similarly placed, he finds God in Christ: "for his sake I have suffered the loss of all things., in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him" (3:8-9). He is in fact in prison, but Paul knows that he is in Christ! There is his center of gravity. From the viewpoint of circumstance, his fidelity to the call of God's providence in Christ has wrapped him in rags and insecurity. The same situation, seen from the insight of faith, is altogether worthwhile, for it enables him to "gain Christ and be found in him." This is a superb place to be, with an enviable grasp of reality. What a center to move out from! Religious approaching the millennium would do well to try to make that perspective theirs. Whatever the circumstance, our risen Lord is there. We date the present from the moment of Christ's birth. He is our companion now. Each moment of each day as well as the millennium finds us wanting "to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his suffering by becoming like him in his death" (3:10). The verb implies close identity, and again transfiguration is offered as a real possibility. Paul discovered this not by whisding in a cemetery or in a library, but by applying the insight of faith to the circumstances of every-day life, good days and bad. Attempting in such company to become a terminus of the word of God offers us virtually unquan-tifiable dividends. Finally, for our purposes, Paul says, "I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own" (3:12). Again the situation is prison. Paul writes of racing to the finish of a race Review for Religious when in fact he is not going anywhere without his jailers' per-mission. The marathon of the Christian life which he entered at baptism is not particularly concerned with going from A to B to C, Rather, it means interpreting the present situation through a progressive deepening of understanding of what it means to be in Christ, There is never a situation or circumstance where our risen Lord is not there. Even in the isolation of crucifixion, if life is so cruel, even there we are nailed to the cross with Christ. Paul says that he has not yet fully matured in Christ. There is always more to be sounded in those unfathomable depths. The dynamic here is the wonderful realization that "Christ Jesus has made me his own." He wants to hold as he is now being held. Held within the security of his Lord who rose from a grave to make him "his own," Paul is a driven man. He is aware that his present situation may cost him his life--"I am being poured out as a libation" (2:17)--but it can never separate him from Christ. From this unchanging center, there is much more to be received and, within himself, much still to be surrendered. So, from within the security of his risen Lord whatever the circumstance, Paul is "still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me" (3:14). The imaginative appeal Of the imagery comes from an imprisoned Christian individual writing a letter of thanks and encouragement to his no doubt frightened people. So much seems to go so wrong so often. Yet he would have them think as he does: "Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind" (3:15). Just what does he see? Religious who would be more mature as they approach the millennium could usefully examine their situation from that perspective. Does that insight interpret life for us at any level? Baptism into Christ means an invitation to a present relationship with God through the Spirit, not just loose membership in a particular group. Religious life has no other purpose than to invite us to enflesh that in ourselves by attempting to live for God alone at one with his will. The experience of St. Paul in times past is not without value, but what if it could be mine now? Understood from within a Spirit-graced Christian community, it pays altogether richer div-idends. It is not just an example of what someone did then, but an There is never a situation or circumstance where our risen Lord is not there. Macdonald ¯ Towards the Millennium invitation to consider what we can do now. This is interpreting life in the light of the gospel. Unifying, radical meaning is on offer here to those who try to be habitually open to receive. In Christ ours is a present reality. We are his companions, not his succes-sors trying to make what we can of a long-dead tradition. Accordingly, "to mature" means here that we have Someone to give and someone to be. This is not the least of what we can bring to the millennium. If we stay rooted in Christ, into whom we have been bap-tized, we can come to know that immediate circumstance is not all there is in defining present reality. There is no need to approach the millennium like stunned rabbits caught in the headlights. In Christ there is a vast arc of gospel fellowship among the living and the dead, all held in the present moment. We are one in Christ with so very many; and, if we can mature in their faith, we shall be given to see meaning in life. Rather than consider the millen-nium a milestone to be reached at a future date, a milestone that is being surrounded more and more by the massed choirs of the advertising media, why not stay where we are now in Christ and let the millennium (as indeed any circumstance) come to us? Always to be in the one place in Christ!--our center of gravity, our spiritual focal point, can only become more secure as we more and more see God giving himself to us there in Christ. This is where we are. We can then try to interpret circumstance through our risen Lord, knowing that, whether life is good or ill, we are never without the power of his resurrection or the fellowship of his suffering. Travel Light This is not to ~dvocate the passivity of a cow in the field. How could it when the reality of our life comes from our risen Lord who has made us his own? This is energizing, delightful presence, compelling us to be enlivened by it. Whatever a future calendar date brings, it cannot break that firm bond. Ultimately, it is all there is. We then want to make Christ really our own as he has made us truly his. For religious this should mean a hard look at our rule or founder's insight in the light of the gospel. We may have accumulated much. A mere middle-class lifestyle-- without the potentially maturing presence of husband, wife, or child--will not attract or challenge others. Should we not travel Review for Religious light to the millennium? Circumstances may be stripping us of much that we are attached to and find hard to give up, but we can nonetheless choose to drop even more. More has to be done to make our fellowship in the gospel a practical, reality. Arguably, the word community is heard now more than ever before, although there seems to be less of it. Religious profess to find God's will among a particular group of people. But only insofar as the risen Christ is real to them do imperfect individuals, living among others also imperfect and even dys-functional, have the courage to attempt this. If anything is to come of it, then, Christian maturity is essential. Without it we have nowhere to come home to--and indeed no one to be. It is no small achievement to welcome the millennium in the company of Christ and in full awareness that this company is all we have. How best to have this awareness in changing circumstances and amid lessening numbers is a problem. It is for different people to find various solutions in view of their temperaments and God-given gifts. No one can read the future, but, as T.W. Manson pointed out earlier, we are Christ's companions and the initiative of the entire gospel enterprise lies with him. There is no future for the maverick away from Christ. Inspirational individuals will always be found among those who habitually listen to the gospel, wishing to follow wher-ever it leads. Risk, challenge, and retrenching may be factors in an apostolate for the millennium. Community, it has been said, should be more like a hive than a nest. Ultimately, if the millennium finds us in Christ as the gospel understands this, we shall reflect his presence there. The pres-ence of Christ is the one ageless gift we have to offer. Circumstances change and situations sometimes frighten and even crucify, but the underlying reality for those who see with eyes of faith is the presence and power of our risen Lord. Here is where we live and move and have our being. We let life come and find us here. But we cannot do this complacently. We must foster a growing sense of awe and of our good fortune. The more real this awareness of presence is, the keener are we to share it with others. The sacraments (not least the Blessed Sacrament) are realities of presence, and we should try to share The presence of Christ is the one ageless gift we have to offer. d~lly-Augvtst 1998 Macdonald ¯ Towards the Millennium what we find there. They feed us as our life progresses. They are glimpses of life at the heart of our community, and they reflect mystery at the heart of reality. There is much more here than we can see, even graced by the insight of faith. As companions of Jesus, one with him and each other through baptism, we need to try to bring gospel fellowship to people in ways they can understand. Circumstances had Paul in prison miles away from his anxious people. To encourage him they sent one of their number. To thank them he wrote them a letter. They did what they could in less-than-ideal circumstances. Although cir-cumstances do not allow us to do all that we would like, we should not be discouraged from trying to do what we can with what falls into our hands. Remember, the initiative is from the presence and Spirit of our risen Lord. When we are open to his presence, we find we have a community; we have Someone to share. The millennium offers a challenge, and one of the best ways to meet it is for ourselves, our individual selves, to really make Christ our own and so try to be found always in him--and then to give from that center and invite others to meet Christ there. Our Lady and a cloud of saints once lived this life of faith, and, whatever the reasons for moving their statues from our churches and communities, we should again savor their company now in Christ. In the fellowship of the gospel, they can be real and not static presences. Many a secular idol will be worshiped as we approach the millennium. The Christian community can offer more than that. It was individuals sharing with others what they themselves had been inspired to see of the gospel who thereby inspired oth-ers so that even more followed and formed our various religious orders and congregations. We present-day members, perhaps feel-ing our lack of inspiration or vision, would do well to recognize our situation for what it is. If we are afraid, let us admit it, but let us not focus on fears without bringing to them the faith vision that so helped Paul and his people. For them this was no theo-retical exercise. It. could be equally real for us. "A loving knowl-edge of the word of God and a prayerful familiarity with it are specifically important for the prophetic ministry," says Pope John Paul. This echoes the conviction of the best in the church over centuries. This insight had and has now the power both to form an elite and encourage the frail. Review for Religious i G.K. Chesterton, The I~ctorian Age in Literature (London, no date), p. 12. 2 T.W. Manson, The Servant Messiah (Cambridge University Press, 1953), p. 98. 3 R. Rolheiser OMI, "The Last Word," The Catholic Herald (London), 4 July 1997. 4 Cardinal Basil Hume OSB, "Reflections on Leadership" (keynote address at Conference of Religious, 1997), Signum, 20 February 1997, p. 10. s John Paul II, Pastores dabo vobis, 1992. This and the next two quo-tations are from §47. Spirit Prayer Spiritt. Holy! Stirring birds and buds and Buddhists, Moving mothers, monks and Muslims, Turning wheels and churning waters, Shifting rocks and shaking ridges, Sweeping fields and forests, Raising bread and bodies, Spinning dreams and dancers, Whirling clouds and clowns, Filling sails and souls, sifting, Sounding, Singing, Sighing, Spirit, oht. Do what you do, Dance where you dance, Blow when you blow, Move us to move, To break from the laze of our days At the Word we have heard, With the Breath that will lift us from death. Mary Alban Bouchard CSJ j~dy~August 1998 MARION NORMAN Two 17th-Century Women of Wisdom: Mary Ward and Marguerite Bourgeoys pioneers Wisdom, which in biblical literature is usually personi-fied as a woman, is described in Proverbs 8:12-14 as "mis-tress of the art of thought" who shares house with Discretion; hates pride and arrogance, wicked behavior, and a lying mouth; and is a source of good advice, pru-dence, and perception. The Hebrew words for wisdom and wise man (hokhmah, Ex 36:2, and hokham, Jr 9:23) are used in various ways throughout the Old Testament to connote the skills needed to carry out tasks successfully. Hokhmah implies a deeper quality than cleverness, and hokham means not a clever know-it-all but a sage, one who, having acquired knowledge of the world and human nature, can penetrate to the depths of the human situa-tion, seeing it as a whole and then sharing that vision by giving prudent advice or immortalizing it in the form of proverbs or aphorisms. The prophet Jeremiah declares, "Let not the wise man (hokham) glory in his wisdom; neither let the mighty man glory in his might." In rabbinic literature, however, the wisdom of Proverbs has come to refer to the "wisdom of the Torah,". and the wise man now becomes the scholar Marion Norman IBVM (Loretto Sisters) presented this paper, here slightly revised, at the International Mediaeval and Renaissance Conference in Banff in May 1997. Her address is Loretto College; 70 St. Mary Street; Toronto, Ontario MSS 1J3; Canada. Review for Religious well versed in the Torah. The identification of Torah with wisdom dates from Deuteronomy (4:4-6): See I have imparted to you laws and rules, as the Lord my God has commanded me, for you to abide by in the land which you are about to invade and occupy. Observe them faithfully, for that will be proof of your wisdom and dis-cernment to other people, who on hearing all these laws will say, "Surely that great nation is a wise and discerning people." Thus, from originally implying little more than technical abil-ity, wisdom took on moral and religious connotations. In time it became synonymous with reverence for the Lord, as expressed in the Book of Proverbs: "Reverence for the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" and "Let your trust be in the Lord. to show what is right and true" (Pr 24:7, 22). Hebrew wisdom was not alone in leaving its indelible mark on Western culture. Greek and Roman wisdom (usually referred to as philosophy) played a significant role as well, as did the leading Hellenistic philosophers, who claimed to teach their disciples how to live by providing moral instruction about what was right and wrong and how best to carry out their duties as individuals and in social relationships. Early Christianity perceived a certain affinity between its own aims, as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount, and those of Judaism and the best Greco-Roman philosophies. All three strains had a great influence on Western culture and, at the time of the Renaissance, came together to provide the intellectual, social, and religious context for the kinds of wisdom exemplified by the two 17th-century women of wisdom who are the subjects of this study. My selection of them has not been arbitrary. That the Bible even more than the Greco-Roman classics has' been the principal source of inspiration for both readers and writers of English lit-erature has long been recognized. Little wonder, then, that the biblical ideal of wisdom was carried over into the conduct of peo-ple's daily lives. This was particularly true of women, who, deprived of formal education in the s~ven liberal arts (reserved almost exclusively for males), relied on biblical primers and the Bible itself as their sole textbooks. We read, for instance, of female servants, shopkeepers, and housewives, especially among the Puritans, painfully acquiring a knowledge of the original biblical July-Aug'ust 1998 Norman ¯ Two 17th-Century Women of Wisdom languages for better access to the scriptural message. And, with the greater availability of biblical texts since the invention of printing and the Reformers' stress on the Bible as the "sole rule of faith," reliance on individual inspiration assumed central sig-nificance. The biblical concept of wisdom saw God as the source of wisdom for individuals seeking humbly to discover and imple-ment it as it was spelled out in the Torah. Each of these two 17th-century women received intimations of the direction in which the Lord was leading her, and, responding with docility and trust, received further clarification about God's plan for her in her own daily living. The response of Mary Ward (1585-1645) and Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700) to God's invitation had implications both negative and positive. It meant, first of all, rejecting the usual pattern of marriage and family in favor of an exclusive conse-crated discipleship, freeing them for the service of the entire Christian community. This, in turn, involved a readiness to leave home and country if God asked it of them. Mary Ward For Mary Ward, at a moment in English history when adher-ence to the traditional religion was proscribed by the state and its preservation imperiled, the immediate need, as revealed to her by God and further discerned by experience, was for a total and free commitment to God that would flow out into love for oth-ers. She felt empowered to reach out to new needs and to devise whatever might be required to meet those needs. Inevitably, how-ever, the wisdom imparted in her close union with God in prayer entailed "the rejection, in whole or in part, of older, conventional patterns and methods that were no longer meeting new needs and situations. The clash between fidelity to divine guidance and official representatives of authority, as in the case of earlier bib-lical prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, was inevitable. Mary Ward's own response, which she constantly urged on her com-panions as well, was single-minded and unequivocal: "After busi-nesses I go to find myself in God, without any will or private interest and with a will only to have his will, which I cease not till I find."1 Mary understood this open and faithful orientation to God's will--desiring solely to love God and refer all actions to Review for Religious him--as adapting to the lives of consecrated women the lifestyle the church had already approved for Jesuits in their Formula insti-tuti. Precisely what this would entail was not revealed to her at once. In the first half of the 17th century, the cultural climate cre-ated by the Puritan and Parliamentary ascendancy brought forth a highly vocal group of educational reformers such as John Milton, John Dury, Marchmount Nedham, Samuel Hartlib, and Jan Comenius. At the same time the new scientific movement-- inspired by Francis Bacon as spokesman and promoted, under royal sponsorship, by the Royal Society of London--put Britain in touch with parallel interna-tional movements in France, Italy, and elsewhere. Voices of dissent were not failing, moreover, to speak out coura-geously on behalf of neglected groups of people--especially children of the poor and girls and women. These asserted, by their writings and actions, the rights of the counterculture against the prevailing climate of opinion, including the tendency to denigrate women. It is in the light of such conflicting views on the aims, con-tent, and methods of instruction that the enlightened and coura-geous leadership of women of wisdom like Mary Ward and Marguerite Bourgeoys should be seen. Although 17th-century politicians, theologians, and educational theorists were united in seeing the inadequacy of the current educational system to meet changing needs and priorities, they could agree on little else. Neither Francis Bacon nor John Milton apparently perceived women's education as necessary or even desirable. None seemed to see the value of preparing future mothers who would be responsible for the basic training of the young as future morally responsible and loyal citizens. For English Catholics the educational situation was particularly critical. Harassed politically, sodally, and economically and denied access to such employment as their rank and abilities deserved, they were crippled by taxes for nonattendance at Anglican services and threatened with imprisonment or death for possessing Catholic The biblical concept of wisdom saw God as the source of wisdom for individuals seeking humbly to discover and implement it. July-Aug~tst 1998 Norman ¯ Two 17tb-Century Women of V~dom books or providing accommodation to priests or Catholic instruc-tors. At an early age their children were forced to seek schooling on the continent, facing for up to nine years the loneliness, the foreign customs, languages, and climate, and the other handicaps of exile. Those without the necessary means were denied even basic instruction, while the care of the needy, the sick, the dis-abled, the aged, and the prisoners was entirely dependent on what-ever could be provided by families or individuals. Little wonder that the principal responsibility for transmission of and instruc-tion in the faith heritage devolved on the womenfolk and that, in the face of growing apostasy and indifference, a sound education for women as well as males came to be of crucial importance. Mary Ward, called by a recent historian "the greatest Englishwoman of the 17th century," was born at Mulwith near Ripon, Yorkshire, on 23 January 1585 (shortly before the defeat of the Spanish Armada) and died 30 January 1645 (shortly before the beheading of Charles I at the height of the Civil War). She came from a family noted for its staunch loyalty to the old reli-gion, which had been proscribed in England for more than sixty years. Failure to swear to the Acts of Supremacy and Succession and to attend services weekly in the local Anglican parish church made heads of families liable to imprisonment or even death. Mary's own parents and grandparents and she herself experienced such imprisonment, and several relatives were executed for their faith. The year before her birth, her fellow countrywoman, Margaret Clitherow, had been martyred at York. Like most children in such devout Catholic families, Mary received her early schooling and religious instruction in her own home and in homes of relatives and family friends. During those years she first felt the call to follow Christ in a life consecrated by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Since the time of Christ and the Apostles (as can be seen in the New Testament), women as well as men had chosen such a way of loving discipleship. From the Middle Ages, too, despite the weight of authority against women's right to education or the exercise of leadership outside their own homes, a surprising quantity of writ-ings by women has survived. Exceptional women like Hildegard of Bingen and Catherine of Siena played prominent roles that changed the course of history, notwithstanding the patriarchalism of church and state. Until the early 17th century, however, women's accepted' mode of service of Christ, apart from that of "helpmeet" Review for Religiotts in marriage, was a lifetime spent in contemplation within monas-teries such as those of Poor Clares and Carmelites. After the dis-solution of religious houses in England, that meant for Englishwomen a lifetime of exile in some foreign climate. Prayerful discernment, as well as natural prudence and obser-vation, convinced Mary that the best way for her to give her life to the service of her "Friend of friends" would be, not marriage, but "some other thing., without all comparison more to the glory of God.-2 Further light came in November 1615 regarding the kind of holi-ness which that "other thing" would require. Rejecting the commonly held view that "women could not do good except to themselves," Mary envisioned a different kind of women's vocation, one engaged in education and other works "congruent to the times." Her institute would be one marked by "a singular freedom from all that could make one adhere to earthly things, with an entire application and apt disposition to all good works." Members would "refer all to God," doing "works of justice. [We would] be such as we appear and appear such as we are . Grounded in this, we should gain at God's hands true wisdom."3 Mary defined what came to be called her concept of "the Just Soul" in terms of three kinds of freedom: freedom from attach-ment to worldly values, freedom for all works of justice necessary in this world, and freedom to "refer all to God." Her words for this special kind of holiness ~'evealed to her were "freedom," "justice," and "sincerity" (or "verity"), the qualifies by which we as human beings participate in God's own life of goodness and wisdom, and which, she insisted, we have the right to ask and expect of God. What seems clear is that Mary, considering these three free-doms of "the Just Soul" to be the qualities essential for living out the ideal of Christian holiness as envisioned by Ignatius Loyola, could see nothing to prevent their application to women as well Mary defined "the Just Soul" in terms of three kinds of freedom: freedom from attachment to worldly values, freedom for all works of justice necessary in this world, and freedom to "refer all to God." ff'uly-Aug'ust 1998 Norman ¯ Two 17th-Century Women of V~sdom as men. This became even more explicit in Mary's speech to her companions (1617) describing the virtues required for their way of life, of which a cleric had disparagingly said, "When all is done, they are but women." Mary's speech, because its depth of insight and vision for the future transcend her own institute and pertain to the whole concept of women's discipleship, deserves to be quoted: I would know what you think he meant by this speech . Fervor is a will to do good, that is, a preventing [preve-nient] grace of G~)d and a gift given gratis by God, which we could not merit. It is true [that] fervor doth many times grow cold, but what is the cause? Is it because we are women? No, but because we are imperfect women. There is no such difference between men and women. Therefore, it is not because we are women, but, as I have said before, because we are imperfect women and love not verity. It is not veritas hominum, verity of men nor verity of women, but veritas Domini, and this verity women may have, as well as men.4 Such was the vision that drove Mary Ward (after her two tri-als of the strictest form of women's contemplative life then known, the Poor Clares, both Flemish and English) and her five like-minded companions to cross the English Channel again in 1609. But Mary was a woman not only of vision but of practical common sense and ingenuity as well. Because at-the time both faith and morals were daily being eroded by ignorance and lack of access to the sacraments, the most pressing need seemed to be the provision of instruction for both children and adults. So, at St. Omer in the Catholic Netherlands, where there was a large English refugee population, they began educating, in secular and religious subjects, children of English refugees and the local poor. Their freedom from enclosure and from distinctive religious costume allowed them a helpful flexibility in their min-istry. They would sometimes wear fashionable dress when calling on gentlefolk (such as the archbishop of Canterbury, who had been desirous of meeting these ladies who had done "more harm than six Jesuits"), and sometimes "mean clothing" when visiting the prisoners or the sick (Mary Ward once disguising herself as a maid to gain access to a lady and bring her back to the practice of her faith),s Because adults, too, lacked instruction and often were destitute as well, the sisters extended their ministry to these further needs of those critical times.6 Review for Religious This new concept of religious life, freed of the restrictions of cloister, of government by male superiors, and of older male-inspired Rules, was so revolutionary that it proved both incomprehensible and unacceptable to ecclesiastical authorities steeped in the patriarchal assumptions of centuries. Today, when church and society are still trying to come to terms on the role of women, Mary Ward seems indeed a prophetic woman of wisdom in the Old Testament tradition. Unlike many visionaries, however, this woman had a vigorous practicality about her. What others said, Mary Ward did. Erasmus and Ftnelon said girls should be educated and, if they were above average intelligence, even taught some Latin as the key to all learning (though under male, direction, of course). Mary Ward opened schools in St. Omer, in Rome, and (under the very noses of pursuivants) even in London to provide education for all who desired it and, as far as they could, regardless of social distinctions. Guided but not bound by the Jesuit Ratio studiorum (1599), Mary believed that, since education is for life and a woman's life is not the same as a man's, the content should differ, though a woman's intellectual powers were by no means to be underrated. "God can use only good ones," she said of both teachers and pupils. So, in addition to the liberal arts and, of course, religion, her curriculum included painting, dancing, music (both vocal and instrumental), handwriting, speech training, drama, and modern languages. Language teaching was always a specialty in her schools, and for this no mere smattering would do, but only suf-ficient mastery to read the best authors of each language and to write it well.7 Originally most pupils were English refugees, but, as the schools spread throughout Europe, though English continued to be taught as a second language, the local vernaculars--French, Flemish, German, and Italian--were added. The nuns, who, as Mary Ward's Memorial of 1629 says, included '"Italians, Spanish, French, Germans, Netherlanders, Bohemians, Hungarians, English, and Irish," usually wrote to one another in Latin, Italian, or French (to make things harder for the English government's paid interceptors of mail). Another evidence of the foundress's farsightedness was that the syllabus included, besides the usual subjects, simple mathematics or "accounts." When one recalls that Samuel Pepys, secretary of the royal navy and a university graduate, required special tutoring to master the multiplication Norman ¯ Two 17th-Century Women of VV'tsdom table, this was very avant garde indeed, as was the inclusion of "globes," a combination of geography and astronomy. As her contemporary Richard Mulcaster had urged better training for teachers, so Mary trained hers so well as to attract the favorable notice of civil authorities (according to documents in the Brussels royal archives) and to elicit a request that she set up a training school for others. As prescribed in the Jesuit Ratio stu-diorum, Mary gave high priority to the teaching and supervision of educators. Writing to their novice mistress about two of her young sisters, Catherine and Cecilia, Mary insisted that their Latin studies should have precedence over everything except prayer and, as to fears that such studies would undermine humil-ity, she sensibly added: "This must and will be so common to all that there will be no cause of complaining." As an early memo in the archives expresses it, "The design of gur school being the sanctification of the mistresses who are members of it for the children of their care, they must be. proficient in writing and reading Latin and English."s The consequences of these high standards soon became so widely recognized that, as one Bavarian ecclesiastic expressed it, "The English Ladies. instill into both aristocratic and ordinary children a noble and well-mannered mode of living., so that they are kept with a loving restraint within the limits of good manners and propriety.''9 And, while the harsh treatment of chil-dren in English boarding schools was notorious even down to the 20th century, Mary advised: "In our calling, a cheerful mind, a good understanding, and a great desire after virtue are neces-sary, but of all these a cheerful mind is the most so.''1° Whenever a foundation was made, two schools were opened simultaneously: a boarding school, mainly for English refugee girls, and a free day school, the criteria for both being tractabil-ity, good manners, and the ability to profit from study rather than wealth or social position. In fact, because of the penury of many English refugees, fees were low and often totally remitted; in any case, they seldom kept up with inflation, especially in the countries affected by the Thirty Years' War. For the poorer chil-dren, especially those in the Italian slums, she provided training in skills that would enable them to earn an honest living, so much so that complaints arose that soon there would be none left to run the houses of ill fame. In imitation of what had been done ear-lier by St. Charles Borromeo, her sisters also ran Sunday schools, Review for Religious providing young servants with religious instruction, basic lan-guage skills, and preparation for the sacraments. And in England, where the priests had a price on their heads, both children and adults were made ready to receive the sacraments and opportu-nities were provided for them to do so. For the sake of mission, one member known only to the oth-ers as Sister Dorothea, living like members of modern secular institutes such as the Grail and Focolare, served as maid-com-panion in the home of the wealthy Suffolk gentlewoman Lady Timperley. Her own description of this ministry has a singularly modern ring: "I dare not keep schools publicly, as we do beyond the seas, . . . but I teach and instruct children in the houses of par-ents . Besides teaching of children, I endeavor to instruct the simple and vul-gar sort. I teach them their. Pater, Ave, Creed, Commandments, etc . I tend and serve poor people in their sickness., make salves., endeavor to make peace among those at variance."11 For the apostolate to spread, it soon became apparent that it needed to be put on a permanent basis and also needed official approbation beyond what it had already received from the local church and civil officials. Despite the often vituperative opposi-tion already encountered (especially from certain members of the Society of Jesus and the English secular clergy, who saw in her work a challenge to their authority), Mary set out with some con-fidence to win formal approval for her institute from three suc-cessive popes: Paul v, Gregory xv, and Urban VIII. Despite ill health, poverty, dangers, and cold, she made three trips on foot over the Alps to Rome to plead her cause in person before the committee appointed to examine her Formula instituti (virtually identical with that approved for the Jesuits).~2 But, though she explained at some length her primary purpose ("striving for the defense and propagation of the faith and progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine"), the means (a new kind of women's order without walls or distinctive clothing, engaged in education and other works congruous with the times), and the instruments (women, distinguished by their well-ordered interior disposition and the virtues of freedom, justice, and verity that characterize the "estate of justice"), these were considered dangerously novel ideas Mary gave high priority to the teaching and supervision of educators. ~7~nly-Aug~st 1998 Norman ¯ Two 17tb-Century Women of Wisdom bordering on heresy with which the good but somewhat obtuse legalists of the time felt unable tO cope except by denial.~3 The foundress was imprisoned by order of the Inquisition, and the institute's way of life was declared contrary to the nature of women and a danger to morals.~4 The savagely worded bull of suppression of 1631 destroyed her first institute, and its members' vows were declared null and void. They were offered the alternatives of marriage, joining some other established order, or living as individual laywomen under private vows. When Mary pointed out the state of these young women, homeless, penniless, and in times of persecution unable to return to their own country, the pope offered them a house in Rome and, under his personal protection, allowed them to resume teaching in Rome, Naples, Munich, and even London and York.~s Mary herself, exonerated of all heresy, was allowed to return to her native country, where, in the midst of the Civil War, she spent the last six years of her life. She and her com-panions remained true to the institute and loyal in obedience to the church, and they continued to be highly commended by those for whom they worked.16 After her death at just over sixty, her tombstone in the Anglican churchyard at Osbaldwick bore this touching tribute: "To love the poore, persevere in the same, live, die, and,rise again with them, was all the aim of Mary Ward.''~7 How is the wisdom revealed by God to individuals to be rec-ognized when, as happened in the case of the Old Testament prophets and Mary Ward, it runs counter to legitimate authority by anticipating the future? Diversity, according to R.B.Y. Scott in his comprehensive study of biblical wisdom, has always attended this concept's evolution and its exemplars, the prophets, as well.~8 Inevitably, however, there is conflict when the fulfillment of the vision comes up against more limited goals and values and older ways of achieving them. Such was the case in the 17th century when it became increas-ingly apparent that the well-worn structures and familiar modes of acting were insufficient to meet the sudden and unexpected challenges in the church and in the world around it. Many were unable or unwilling to accept the fact that new kinds of service were needed to meet these new challenges. In particular, the attempt of the Council of Trent to turn the clock backward, in the case of women, by insisting on enclosure, distinctive clothing, and subjection to male authority severely hampered efforts to Review for Religious envision new forms of discipleship that would free women for more effective service of the church. Instead, they were con-demned as "pernicious growths" needing to be eradicated. Their apostolate, however, continued to grow fruitfully and to encour-age imitators. When official recognition finally came at the begin-ning of the 20th century, Mary Ward's institute had spread round the world to six continents. That Mary Ward was truly a "woman of wisdom," discerning, from her intimacy with God in prayer, the practical needs of her time and place and addressing herself to meet them with pru-dence and courage, was belatedly affirmed in Vatican II's docu-ment on the appropriate renewal of religious life, Pe~fectae caritatis, which reads in part: All those who are called by God to practice the evangelical counsels., devote themse!ves in a special way to the Lord. ¯ . . The religious life is intended above all else to lead . . . to union with God. [but] the manner of living, praying, and working should be suitably adapted to the physical and psychological conditions of today's religious and also . . . to the needs of the apostolate, the requirements of a given culture, the social and economic circumstances anywhere, but especially in missionary territories." (§§ 1-3 passim) Marguerite Bourgeoys Marguerite Bourgeoys was born at Troyes in the province of Champagne in 1620, her youth overlapping the latter years of Mary Ward. At an early age she had a similar experience of God's intervention in her life and felt God's gradual imparting of the gift of wisdom. In 1626, to meet the critical need in that war-torn province for religious instruction and care ofthe needy, a saintly priest, Peter Fourier, organized four hundred volunteer laywomen to go out in pairs among the poor. Attached as externs to the cloistered Congregation de Notre Dame de Troyes, they lived lives of prayer as far as their other duties permitted. Under the supervision of Mme. Louise de Chomedey, a sister of Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, the founder and governor of Montreal, Marguerite became one of three prefects in charge of the group. When her desire for the life of a consecrated religious seemed doomed to frustration (both the Carmelites and another cloistered congregation having rejected her application), she pru-dently sought an experienced guide, M. Gendret, chaplain of the J~dy-August 1998 Norman ¯ Two 17tb-Century Women of Wisdom Carmelites. He advised her, while awaiting further light on God's will for her, to consecrate her life by private vows of poverty and chastity.~9 In the spirit of the much-needed religious renewal initiated in the early 17th century by st. Vincent de Paul, M. Gendret had for some time envisaged a form of consecrated life for women adapted to the needs of the time, with a mobility that existing rules of enclosure did not allow. In Marguerite Bourgeoys he now recognized the spiritual and intellectual qualities that would be necessary to lead such an undertaking. A further providential intervention in her life came with her meeting Sieur de Maisonneuve in the home of his sister Mme. de Chevilly. He was visiting France to gather a hundred recruits to work in Montreal. Explaining the need for one teacher to supply the need of reli-gious instruction for his "foolish adventure," he invited Marguerite's help. Realizing partly what it might involve for her as the only woman among male recruits, Marguerite, after prayer and after consulting her spiritual director and the vicar general of the diocese (who gave the plan their blessing), perceived it to be God's will that she should go. Arriving at Quebec on 22 September 1653 and at Ville Marie (Montreal) on 16 November, she began at once a thorough assess-ment of the needs of her new mission, the (pitifully inadequate) resources to meet them, and the obstacles to be faced (such as inclement weather and threats from hostile Indians). Some notion of the risks may be gathered from the warning sent by the French-born mystic Marie of the Incarnation, of the cloistered Ursulines, who had been teaching both native and French children in Quebec since 1639. Writing to the sisters back in Troyes, she said: "If you knew what Montreal actually is like, you would be very careful about sending religious there . . . because of the harsh conditions of the country.''2° Marguerite and her compan-ions not only endured the cold, hunger, and dangers, but also shared their scanty living quarters with the poor, even giving up their own mattresses and blankets. In early-17th-century France, the notion of women religious engaging in apostolic work was only beginning to emerge. To meet the pressing needs of the spiritually illiterate general pop-ulation and the inadequately trained clergy, St. Francis de Sales and St. Vincent de Paul had enlisted generous, skilled women to serve in education, health care, and social work. At the price of Review for Reh~ious their obtaining ecclesiastical recognition, they had had to com-promise: the Visitandines accepting the restrictions of enclo-sure (and thereby qualifying as a religious order) and the Daughters of Charity becoming a society of apostolic life, a group of pious laywomen living in common under simple vows renewed annually. It was immediately evident to the prophetic insight of Marguerite Bourgeoys that neither alternative was desirable or suitable to meet the needs and living conditions of Montreal. Apart from teaching language skills and religion free of charge to both boys and girls of the French set-tlers and military people, there were native children to be edu-cated; adults to be instructed, counseled, prepared for the sacra-ments; and health needs cared for--along with the constant threat from hostile Indian raiders and rival English colonists to the south. The sisters supported themselves by doing laundry, sewing, and mending for families after the day's teaching in school.21 Declaring their readiness to undertake just about anything required to meet the social needs of frontier life, Marguerite and her companions (their number augmented by recruitment on subsequent trips back to France) determined with prudence and divine guidance to take steps to ensure the permanence of their work. The first step, dictated by Marguerite's solid bourgeois back-ground, was to obtain from the king a civil charter permanently entitling them to their place of residence, the abandoned stone stable given them by the governor to serve as their school and as the teachers' living quarters.22 Next they applied to and eventu-ally obtained from Bishop Laval ecclesiastical approval "to teach anywhere in his diocese." In both of these ventures, they received ample support from the laity, whose openhearted response to Marguerite Bourgeoys and her companions' concern for their family life and educational needs was generous and continuous. Evidence of this trust is seen in the young bride on the morn-ing after her wedding coming to weep on Marguerite's shoulder upon finding what was expected of her in marriage, and also in the The sisters supported themselves by doing laundry, sewing, and mending for families after the day's teaching in school. ~dy-Augwst 1998 Norman * Two 17th-Century Women of Wisdom adoption of a nine-month-old native baby who had been aban-doned by her mother and whom Marguerite cared for till she died at the age of six.23 In their practical attention to every aspect of the life of the church in Montreal, the tiny Congregation de Notre Dame, as they came to be called, was ready to meet needs as they presented themselves: premarriage counseling, witnessing of marriages, vocational training, adult education, home eco-nomics, visiting the sick, and preparing the dead for burial. Though they were intent upon living as religious so far as spirit, purpose, and prayer were concerned, it became increas-ingly apparent that their manner of observing common life and serving as disciples would have to be adapted to frontier condi-tions and to "the strengths and talents of each" rather than to preconceived ecclesial rules of enclosure. "If it is the will of God that I go to Montreal," Marguerite had said in response to Maisonneuve's invitation, "I shall want for nothing.''24 Marguerite's wisdom continued to be manifested in her response to divine guidance and providential care in each new enterprise. Her trust in God's will was, however, severely tested on more than one occasion as the years went on. Though provi-sionally approved by Bishop Laval in May 1669, their lifestyle received his official written approval only as "a community in the state of secular women, that is, not bound by enclosure."~s Their Rule, inspired by M. Gendret, which they had been liv-ing, had still to receive formal approval by the church, and for this Bishop Laval, because of the enclosure problem, was unwilling to apply. As Marguerite's biographer wryly ?emarks, the bishop had difficulty distinguishing between the will of God and that of Francois de Montmorency Laval.26 When, upon her return from France with six new recruits, Marguerite was greeted with the news that her community had disintegrated, she replied with calm confidence in God: "He who brings about its fall can very well raise it up again whenever he pleases.''27 When further contro-versy arose over the admission of new members (born in Canada, not France, and two of them aborigines), she felt no longer trusted and offered to resign. The result was an overwhelming reaffir-mation by the entire community of her leadership and special charism.2s Another aspect of Marguerite Bourgeoys's wisdom is reflected in her response to Laval's criticisms of her choice of new candi-dates and her recourse to experienced persons other than himself Review for Religious regarding the community's Rule. Though submitting with humil-ity, she prudently continued to consult the Sulpician directors of the Grande S~minaire, who fully endorsed her wise decision--a visionary missionary thrust far ahead of her time--not to impose a strange civilization on native converts. Her two guideposts, to imitate our Lady and live in the presence of God, fitted admirably into the concept of discipleship she bequeathed to her sisters as that of following la vie voyagOre of the Blessed Virgin. From M. Gendret's explanations long ago, she recalled the distinctions between the three states in which women could follow Christ and serve the church in these words: that of St. Mary Magdalen. observed by the Carmelites and other recluses and that of St. Martha by the cloistered religious who serve their neighbor; but that the outgoing life of the Blessed Virgin was not honored as it should be, and ¯. even without veil and wimple she could be a true reli-giousfl9 The term vie voyagOre (the equivalent of the modern English phrase "to be a pilgrim") seemed to imply, as Marguerite used it, a certain flexibility and adaptability in the service of others and going out into the world wherever there was need. If the first mark of the truly wise person is charity that reflects her close union with God, then it is especially in time of trial that it can best be judged. Such testing was Marguerite's. First came the disastrous fire of 6-7 December 1683, after which the community was reduced to literal destitution. But, when Bishop Laval seized the occasion to urge them to merge with the clois-tered Ursulines, Marguerite firmly defended the identity of her "journeying sisters," modeled on our Lady, Christ's first disci-ple. 3° When an impasse over business matters occurred, she sim-ply turned the whole matter over in prayer to her patroness with the words "Blessed Virgin, I can do no more.''3~ Again, when a visionary in her own community denounced her publicly as in "a state of damnation" and proposed founding a new institute with herself as head, Marguerite, although ready to acknowledge the possibility of having lost God's friendship, persisted in abandoning herself to his divine justice and charity. Her resignation and her replacement as chief superior by the first Montreal-born member, Marie Barbier, reflected both her humil-ity and her openness of spirit.32 At the same time, in trusting Canadian-born candidates and leadership instead of continuing to July-August 1998 Norman ¯ Two 17tb-Century Women of Wisdom depend on reinforcements from France, she was wisely investing in the permanence of her community in New France. The final ecclesiastical approval of the Rule was again to be made contingent on accepting enclosure, vowing obedience to the bishop, and requiring dowries. Though remaining obedient to the new bishop, Jean Baptiste de Saint-Vallier, Marguerite firmly and prudendy defended her original vision of the congre-gation's members as "daughters of the parish" and of the Blessed Virgin herself as their only superior.33 For the sake of survival, she had for the moment to submit to the bishop, and on 24 June 1698 the sisters finally accepted the approved Rules and next day solemnly pronounced their vows. But before her death (12 January 1700) she took care to record in her spiritual autobiography her original divinely inspired intuitions, 'with shrewd observations based on her lived experience and her hopes and fears for the continued existence of her congregation. Like the Ursulines and many other women's congregations of the Counter-Reformation peribd, this uncloistered community of Montreal agreed to modifications in their original Rule on condition that its underlying principles and, above all, their "out-going life" were not sacrificed. Their charism was summed up in the words of the foundress herself: When he ascended into heaven, our Lord left on earth a type of congregation of women which included all the states. Mary was its first superior . The Blessed Virgin, who was a teacher, included all the other things in her own per-son in an eminent degree. She was mother and teacher to the newborn church, which she formed and instructed in all kinds of good, by her words and by her example. Instruction and edification were her principal characteris-tics., particularly to teach in a way that was all the more profitable for everyone [and] within the reach of all.34 Models for Today What did these 17th-century women of wisdom have in com-mon, and of what relevance are their lives to ours on the eve of the 21st century? For answers we need to look at the very human and very universal situation underlying their lives. Each might be described (in terms applied to Joan of Arc by Joan Chittister, an eloquent defender of Christian feminism) as "a model of con-science development, a monument to the feminine relationship to Review for Religious God, and a breaker of the stereotypes that block the will of God."35 In every age, authority figures (usually male) have busied themselves with telling people what they should do, usually cloak-ing their goals in moral terms. Suddenly appears someone-- indeed, a woman!--who has a mission, someone who is bold enough to claim that God has revealed plans to her that may seem outrageous, someone who confronts them with a question greater than they are able or willing to handle and who is pre-pared to fight and even die for it if necessary so that truth may prevail and others may benefit. Mary Ward and Marguerite Bourgeoys were such women, role models for all who have heard the voice of God calling them to transcend the limitations of the present and enable freedom, justice, and sincerity (verity) to triumph everywhere and for all time. Notes a Mary Ward's Retreat Notes, 1619, unpublished collection. 2 Cited by Catherine Elizabeth Chambers, Life of Mary Ward, 2 vols. (London, 1882 and 1885), vol. 1, p. 227. 3 Letter to Roger Lee SJ, 1 November 1615, cited by Chambers, vol. 1, pp. 346-347. 4 Cited by Chambers, vol. 1, pp. 407-408. 5 Chambers, vol. 1, p. 407 and 217-224. 6 Letter of Bishop Blaise, cited by Chambers, vol. 1, pp. 319-320. 7 Chambers, vol. 2, p. 531. s Chambers, vol. 2, p. 249. 9Winkler MS, p. 20. ~°Cited by Chambers, vol. 1, p. 468. ~a Chambers vol. 2, p. 27. Chambers vol. Chambers vol. Chambers vol. Chambers vol. Chambers vol. 2, p. 387. 2, pp. 289-290. 2, p. 325. 2, p. 325. 2, p. 331. a7 Chambers vol. 2, p. 504. as R.B.Y. Scott, Relevance of the Prophets, rev. ed. (Toronto: Collier Macmillan, 1969), p. 13. 19 Patricia Simpson, Marguerite Bourgeoys and Montreal, 1640-166~ (Montreal: McGil!-Queen'~ University Press, 1997), p. 46. ~3~nly~Aug~tst 1998 Norman * Two 17tb-Century Women of l~tsdom 20 Cited by Simone Pgissant CND, Marguer~e Bourgeoys, trans. Frances Kirwan (Montreal: Les Editions Bellarmin, 1982), p. 34. 2~ Simpson, p. 160. z2 Simpson, pp. 117-118, 164-165. 23 Simpson, pp. 109, 126. 24 Poissant, pp. 23-24. 2s Poissant, p. 35. 26 Simpson, p. 175. 27 Poissant, p. 36 . 28 Poissant, p. 43. 29 Letter of Marguerite Bourgeoys to Louis Tronson, September 1693, "Ecrits de M~re Bourgeoys," p. 20, quoted by Elizabeth Rapley, The Dgvotes (McGill: Queen's Press, 1990), p. 101. 30 Poissant, p. 51. 3~ Poissant, p. 52. 32Poissant, pp. 53-55. 33 Poissant, p. 57. 34 Poissant, pp. 49-50. 3s Joan Chittister, A Passion for Life (New York: Orbis Books, 1996), pp. 127-129. Review for Religious MARY ROGER MADDEN A Path Traced Out: Providence in Mother Theodore Guerin's Life M~ther Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of rovidence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, on 22 October 1840 and left her mark not only: on an extensive reli-gious congregation, but also--through the schools she established and the philosophy of education she fostered--on tens of thou-sands of lay men and women. Born 2 October 1798 in the village of Etables-sur-Mer, in the diocese of Saint-Brieuc, Anne-Th4r~se Gu4rin was the daugh-ter of Laurent Gu~rin, a naval officer in the service of Napoleon, and Isabelle Lefevre Gu~rin. She had two younger brothers, both of whom died in early childhood, and one younger sister, Marie Jeanne. Her mother taught her to read and write and instructed her in the basics of religion. When she was nine years of age, she attended a small school run by a pious laywoman of Etables. Anne- TMr~se learned quickly and was bored by the basic nature of the instruction. She would often slip away to the seashore, hiding herself among the rocks and cliffs. There, contemplating the vast-ness of the sea, she early learned to pray. A distant relative, a young seminarian forced to postpone his education because of the religious upheaval following the Revolution, came to live with the Gu~rin family. He served as Anne-TMr~se's tutor, calling her his "little theologian." Perhaps because of this advanced religious instruction, she was able to receive her first Holy Communion at the early age of Mary Roger Madden SP writes from Christina Hall; Saint Mary-of-the- Woods, Indiana 47876. 3~:uly-August 1998 Madden ¯ A Path Traced Out ten. At that time she confided to her confessor that she wished to devote her life to God. The kindly priest told her to pray and to be a good, obedient child and wait for God to open the way for her. The even tenor of the Gu~rin family life was disrupted when Laurent Gu~rin, on his way home to rejoin his family after being demobilized, was attacked by brigands, robbed, and killed. Isabelle, who had already suffered the loss of her father and one brother at sea and of her two infant sons by fire, was traumatized by this latest tragedy. She went into a complete physical and mental decline, leaving Anne-Th~r~se, then sixteen years of age, as the main support of the family. Anne-Th~r~se cared for her younger sister and nursed her mother back to health while supporting the little family with her sewing. She never abandoned her desire to devote her life to God. In 1823, when the younger sister had reached an age when she could be expected to take Anne-Th~r~se's place, Isabelle Gu~rin gave reluctant permission for her elder daughter to enter the Sisters of Providence of Ruill~-sur-Loir. This congregation, dedicated to the education of youth and the care of the sick. poor in their homes, had been founded in 1806 by Jacques-FranFois Dujari~, founder also of the Brothers of Saint Joseph, known today as the Brothers of the Holy Cross. A small and relatively obscure congregation, the Sisters of Providence were struggling to establish themselves in a country still reeling from the aftershocks of the Revolution. Anne-Th~r~se, who was given the name Sister Saint- Theodore, soon became a valued member of the family of Providence. Her novitiate had to be prolonged because she con-tracted typhoid fever as a postulant. When she appeared to be on the verge of death, the physician, frantic to save her, adminis-tered such severe remedies as to leave her with impaired health. Never again was she able to digest solid food. Because of her illness, her reception of the habit had been postponed until 5 September 1826; three days later she was per-mitted to take her first vows. She was sent at once to administer one of the most challenging of their missions in the city of Rennes. In 1828 the sisters elected her a member of the first general coun-cil to Mother Mary Lecor, the superior general, During the years at Rennes and later at Soulaines, her exper-tise as an administrator and a teacher was recognized by the Academy of Angers (Universit~ de France), which awarded her Review for Religious an honorary medallion in recognition of her excellence as an educator. In the summer of 1839, the sisters were gathered at the moth-erhouse for their annual retreat when they received a distinguished visitor. Celestine de la Hailandi~re, bishop of Vincennes in Indiana, came requesting sisters to teach the children of the pio-neers in his diocese. The superiors asked for volunteers from among the mem-bership. Although many sisters volunteered, Mother Mary found no one among them with the qualities nec-essary for the leader of such an expedition. She favored Sister Saint-Theodore, who, fearing that her chronic poor health would hinder the work of the mission, had not volunteered. On being told that the supe-riors would accept the mission only if she would lead it, she agreed to go to Indiana. After a turbulent journey of three months by sailing vessel, river boat, canal boat, and stagecoach, the sisters arrived on 22 October 1840 in a dense forest of Indiana. Located five miles from the fron-tier river town of Terre Haute, the little settlement had been named Saint Mary-of- the-Woods by Simon Brut4~ first bishop of Vincennes. Oral tradition has it that he remarked at the time to one of his com-panions, "You will see what great things will be done here." Arriving that dark, damp October evening, Sister Saint- Theodore and her five companions proceeded at once to the small log cabin that was both the dwelling place of the missionary priest and the temporary church. A partially completed building was intended by the bishop as a convent, but no school had yet been started. Waiting for them at the farmhouse belonging to the Joseph Thralls family were four young women who had come to join them. ~.~ The Thralls family turned over to the ten women one of the two rooms which constituted their home, along with half the loft. There they spent the first winter learning English, preparing classes for the opening of the school, and instructing the new members in the principles of the religious life. In November, Mother Theodore, as she was now known, with Sister Saint-Theodore, fearing that her chronic poor health would hinder the work of the mission, had not volunteered. Madden ¯ A Path Traced Out the help of the bishop and some of the money obtained from friends in France, was able to purchase the Thralls farmhouse for a Convent. She found the building planned for them by the bishop "too grand" for a convent and decided instead to open there a boarding school and academy to be called Saint Mary's Female Institute. In July 1841 classes began with five students, three of whom were not Catholic. Indiana's. educational system was in its infancy in the 1840s. Good education, especially for girls, was at a premium. Mother Theodore set about filling this need by establishing free schools side by side. with the popular female academies which were open to Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Despite her wretched health, she visited the schools regu-larly, traveling in the uncomfortable conditions of the day, in order to encourage and support the sisters. Their educational endeavors were conducted in the primitive one- or two-room buildings that often served as both school and convent. In order to compensate for the harshness of their living conditions, she brought them every summer to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for rest, relaxation, study, and spiritual retreat. In the midst of her exhausting labors, Mother Theodore. suf-fered from constant humiliations and misunderstanding from her superiors both in France and in North America. At Ruill~ the superiors, who were never able to visit the mission in Indiana, had no concept of what the sisters suffered from the intemperate cli-mate, the bigoted populace, and the poor living conditions. Mother Theodore's frequent letters, though strictly factual, were dis-counted as "romances." It would be years before the superiors rec-ognized all that she had suffered. She, on the other hand, never faltered in her love and devotion to the French congregation and its superiors. In the United States, Hailandi~re was provoked by her resis-tance to his interference with the internal government of the con-gregation. He had told Mother Mary that he wanted the sisters in order that they might establish in his diocese the French reli-gious spirit. He praised their constitutions when he read them in France, but, when Mother Theodore attempted to put them into practice, he seemed to have forgotten his former approval. He wished to ,be the one to decide on the acceptance of postulants and the profession of novices; to move the sisters from mission to mission; to open and close missions (without consulting the sis- Review for Religious ters); and, in general, to act as the major superior of the congre-gation. Most disturbing to Mother Theodore was his desire to conduct all visitations of the missions, confining Mother Theodore to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. His efforts to remove her from office by holding elections, even in her absence, failed; for the sisters simply united in unan-imously reelecting Mother Theodore. The climax came when, frustrated by her gentle but firm resistance, he went so far as to expel her from the diocese, threatening with excommunication any sister who harbored her or attempted to follow her.- This unjust treatment she bore with remarkable patience. In 1847, at the very hour when she was being expelled, an announcement from Rome arrived, accepting Hailandi~re's resigna-tion as bishop of Vincennes and appoint-ing Bishop Jean Bazin as his replacement. Bazin exonerated her and restored her to her congregatiom Mother Theodore's greatest legacy was the example of her love of God and neighbor, a dynamic self-giving that never flagged or slackened, from her girlhood on Brittany's shores to her death in the midst of the Indiana forest. Only a year before that death, she would write to Sister Saint-Athanase, one of the French sisters who had been a companion of hers in the novi-tiate: "How fortunate we are to have given the days of our youth to that God of love who gives us so much affection, and even more when we are old, infirm, and crippled than when we were young and robust." All her other virtues flowed from this ,one deeply held con-viction-- that God's love for her was unconditional. Her humility makes sense in light of her understanding of the mystery of the incarnation, by which the Second Person of the Trinity, for love of us, came to share our lowly estate. Her confidence in the provi-dence of God was nourished by that love. For her part, she saw the cross that marked her life for over fifty years as the mystic sign by which she rejoiced to return some part of that infinite love. In her concern for the p~oor and the ignorant, in her devo-tion to all her sisters, we see the authentic expression of love of neighbor. The love of God which welled up in her spilled over All her other virtues flowed from this one deeply held conviction-- that God's love for her was unconditional. 1998 Madden ¯ A Path Traced Out into the lives of everyone she met. She quickly forgave frailties of human nature that caused her suffering and endeavored to avoid inflicting similar sufferings on others. The last nine years of her life proceeded in relative peace and prosperity. By 1854 the congregation had grown to almost one hundred sisters, who were instructing over one thousand chil-dren in parish schools, academies, and orphanages in Jasper, Vincennes, Madison, Terre Haute, Fort Wayne, Columbus, and Evansville. At the motherhouse she built a four-story brick con-vent to replace the farmhouse in which they had lived since 1840. The heritage of devotion to the education of women contin-ues to be cherished by the Sisters of Providence down to the pres-ent day, when Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women in the United States, stands on the site of that first small academy. Physically debilitated by her trials and the hardships of a pio-neer life, Mother Theodore died on 14 May 1856. Reports of her holiness of life spread both during her life and after her death. In December 1908 Francis Silas Chatard, bishop of Indianapolis, instituted proceedings for her canonization. On 11 July 1992 Pope John Paul II, in the name of the church, proclaimed the heroic virtue exhibited by the Servant of God, according her the title Venerable. On 7 July 1997 he formally accepted the first-class miracle needed for the process of beatification to go for-ward. The date of her arrival at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, 22 October, will be celebrated as the feast of Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin, who said of her own life: "This is the path traced out by the providence of God. I follow it." According to Jean-Baptiste Caussade, "The life of each saint is the life of Jesus Christ. It is a new gospel." As we study the gospel God has written in the life of this valiant woman, we are confirmed in our confidence in the mysterious ways of God, which continue to instruct and enlighten us. Bibliography Belsen, Sister Anita Cotter, SP. Soitvenir of the Fiftieth Anniversary or Golden Jubilee of Saint Mary's Academic Institute. New York: Benziger Brothers, 1891. Brown, Sister Mary Borromeo, SP. History of the Sisters of Providence, Vol. I. New York: Benziger Brothers, 1949. Burton, Katherine. Faith Is the Substance. New York: Herder, 1959. Review for Religious Gonner, Sister Laurence, SP. "A History of the First Fifty Years of the Sisters of Providence in America." Master's thesis, Loyola University, Chicago, 1933. Guerin, Mother Theodore. Journals and Letters of Mother Theodore Gudrin. ed. S. Mary Theodosi

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