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Notes from a Friar: Encountering a Stranger

Moving is disorienting, no matter how often a person has done it. Bruce and Bryant Hausfeld stopped in recently. They’ve moved so many times that they switch up the biblical phrase, “pilgrims and strangers” and describe themselves as “strange pilgrims”. Anytime a person changes residences, it does feel strange. As our Howell Street Friary moves to join Pleasant Street Friary, I’m returning to a neighborhood I knew long ago that is now quite different.
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Blessed Are the Peacemakers

“Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his people; peace is our gift to each other.” These words, from Holocaust survivor and peace activist Elie Wiesel, are my go-to on Franciscan Media’s social channels whenever a mass shooting befouls our country. Needless to say, I’ve tweeted these words far too often.
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My Interview with Padre Pio

I first met Padre Pio in 1967, the year before his death. He was old and very ill. As a journalist, I went to his home in San Giovanni Rotondo on assignment, and I had the opportunity to speak with him on two occasions. I was extremely impressed, not so much by the stories of miracles that people told about him but by the extraordinary moral strength that emanated from his whole being.
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Following Saints Francis and Clare

Franciscan Father Greg Friedman says that Saint Francis of Assisi found a way to communicate his personal experience of God with those around him and with his followers. "I think what's attractive about Francis," he says, "is that he found a way to bridge the gap between our human perceptions and divinity." Clare understood that as well.
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Compassionate Parenting

I was going to be the best mother. I would blow everyone away with my mothering skills—most of all my husband, who, amid his longing for fatherhood, carried the ominous expectation that it would be the weight to finally completely cripple him with anxiety. Luckily, I knew my motherhood would render parenting our first child a breeze. He’d be ready for six more in no time.
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Finding God in the Everyday

Ever felt lost on your spiritual journey? Many people have—even in the Bible. A very wealthy young man runs to Jesus, kneels at his feet and asks him: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17). After this eager inquirer asserts that he has faithfully kept God’s commands all his life, Jesus lovingly invites him to a deeper level of discipleship—along with a promise that he will find treasure in heaven—after selling his possessions. When the young man hears this, he walks away sad because he refuses to give up his many possessions. 
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Fear Is My Teacher

One of my favorite scenes from A Charlie Brown Christmas is the one in which our hero books some face time with Lucy, the resident psychiatrist. For a paltry nickel, she runs down a list of phobias from which Charlie might be suffering.
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A Franciscan Response to Bullying

School is in session across the country—and that means bullying will be back in full swing. Friar Roger Lopez, a religion teacher at a Franciscan  high school, has a response to those who harm others: "There's no place for bullying the kingdom of God."  Enjoy this Franciscan response to bullying!
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Does the Earth Have Cancer?

My 71-year-old mom has stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and she is currently undergoing an aggressive chemotherapy regimen. Cancer has been a painful, difficult journey, both for her and for all of us who love her. In my environmental work, I’ve come across the idea that human beings, as a species, have become something like a global-scale cancer. I never agreed with this line of thought—and still don’t—but with cancer such a real and present concern in my family’s life right now, I find myself pondering it once again.
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Holy Quotes from Mother Teresa

The call to holiness guided Mother Teresa throughout her life. She said, “Every day I pray, please let my people grow in holiness. I need holy people to offer to God, I don’t need numbers. That urgency for holiness was what she taught me, by example, by words, by silence. It is not possible for those of us who claim to be her spiritual children to ignore the heroic promise she made to God: “I will give saints to Mother Church.” — Fr. Angelo Scolozzi, M.T.
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