Habemus Papam Francis!

Welcome Pope Francis, everyone.

True story: My mom totally predicted this last night. She said the new pope would take Francis as his name. So Mom is psychic, apparently.

He’s the son of an Italian immigrant, and has four siblings. He did his degree in chemistry, but then joined the priesthood and the Jesuit order. (Cue the Jesuit jokes!)

He seems very humble, devout, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about him in the last few minutes–he fought against liberation theology and Communism in his native Argentina.

Here’s a profile of him ; he is seen as a scholar, but one who can speak to the people in the pews.

Taking Francis as a name is funny for a Jesuit, since the Franciscan order suppressed the Jesuits for about 200 years…but St. Francis was also told by God to “rebuild my church, for it is ruins.” Perhaps that is what our new Pope feels is his calling.

Viva il Papa, and let’s pray for Pope Francis!

St. Catherine and the next pope

In iconography, St. Catherine of Siena, a lay Dominican, can often be found with a ship on her shoulder, the saint holding it steady as she looks ahead. The ship is the Barque of St. Peter–the Catholic Church–and the papal insignia is often found on the ship’s flag. Why the boat? St. Catherine is intimately connected with the papacy…

Read the rest over at Suscipio!

(FYI: I write a biweekly column for this lovely Catholic website for women! Please come join us!)

(A reeeeallllly late) Seven Quick Takes! Vol. 11





So, on the blog, things were sort of busy this week! I put my old tumblr blog over here so now there’s like thousands of posts for you to read. 🙂 And also a lot more of my movie obsession, if you’re into that. I also added a search bar so you can look up things to your heart’s content!


On Friday I got to wear jeans to work. This was thrillingly exciting. Normally on Fridays we can be a bit “casual”, but no jeans, ever, unless we’re like moving offices or doing otherwise dusty/dirty things. So I felt the way I did when I was a kid and we had no uniform days at SPX. Very excited.

The reason we could wear jeans: we had a food drive competition, with the Senate divided into teams, and the teams who reached a goal of 150 donated items could wear jeans. The entire Senate met that goal–go us! However, the winning team also got a pizza party on Friday. The winning team was my team (Go Senate Clerk’s Office!). So we got to wear jeans, eat awesome pizza and COOKIE cake (which I love) and generally revel in our awesomeness.

The food is all being donated here. And we got a lot of food: my team came up with 700 cans.


I may or may not have stood in line at Walmart on Friday night to get the last Twilight movie at midnight. I’m just saying. (Yeah, OK, sometimes I need pulpy romance in my life, and battle scenes where heads get ripped off, simultaneously. I’m that sort of person.)


A great homily yesterday in which my pastor said what I’ve thought for years: that God doesn’t give us hardship to punish us, or because we sin. Score one for Fr. M. God has a plan for our lives, and they will be accomplished through, erm, various means, let’s say. But God is not the kid with the magnifying glass, as Jim Carrey said in Bruce Almighty.


This week marks the beginning of the third week of Lent, the halfway point. If you had a Lenten plan of life, how are you doing? I have to say mine has been sort of hit or miss. I have given up fast food well though, so that makes me happy. Every day has not had all the elements I want it to have, but I’m trying, which I suppose gets me brownie points. I went to confession yesterday so my “Lenten confession” has been made, but I’ll probably try to go one more time pre-Easter.


Conclave 2013: Tomorrow the cardinals meet for, well, meetings. But the conclave start date will, most likely, be announced tomorrow. Fingers crossed. I believe all the cardinals will be in Rome by this evening. The youngest cardinal is 55, from the Philippines. There is also a cardinal from Africa with the last name of Sarah, which I think is too cool. No cardinal over 80 can vote in the conclave.


Oh and if you missed this, do read it and take your own test, and then tell me what you are!

More Quick Takes at Jen’s!

sede vacante

And we’re in the interregum.


This is a strange time for Catholics, the interregum, the sede vacante: the vacant seat. We have no pope, no spiritual father here on Earth.

In the Eucharistic Prayer, the part where we pray for the pope will be omited. That’s really strange, because you have an internal dialogue going, and then…it doesn’t match up.

I hope the cardinals pick a new pope soon. It’s very strange to be without one.

I’m not as emotionally attached to B XVI, although I was very proud that he was elected (and relieved!). He was a good pope. He’s a brilliant theologian. I guess every Catholic’s “first” pope (that they’re conscious of) is important to them, and since mine was JPII, his loss rocked my world. He seemed like he would never leave. After his death, the impermanence of the papacy really came home. I knew how lucky we were to have such a man for so long. But having BXVI for eight years is something I am supremely grateful for having. He has made the church better, he has given us some amazing documents, speeches, and books, and has left his own mark on all of us.

In reading a lot of comments on today’s news stories (which I shouldn’t have done, because I KNOW BETTER), there were some things that need addressed:

  1. Papal infallibility is NOT MAGIC. It was formally pronounced in the 1870s at Vatican I, but has probably been around since the beginning of the Church, with the first actual use of it, as we know it, in the 460s. The Pope can only use it in limited circumstances, and since Vatican I it has been invoked only twice, both for Marian Doctrines: The Immaculate Conception, and the Assumption, the latter being proclaimed in 1950! If you want more on this, go here
  2. Sorry, we can’t make cardinals like 35 years old. Deal with it. In Catholic hierarchy, you’re a priest, then a bishop (or archbishop, depending on the diocese), then a cardinal. It takes a long time to be a priest, so, no, we’re not going to have like a 40 year old Pope. Mid fifties is about as young as we get (and that’s about how old JPII was when he was elected). And remember, the pope decides appointments of bishops and cardinals–so most priests don’t even get that far. There’s just not enough dioceses.
  3. No, there will never be women priests. We’ve covered this.
  4. Same on contraception being allowed. Not happening.

I’m not sure why these four issues seem to be such bugaboos for people, but…they are, so go, “educate yourself!” (assuming you need to. But since you read here, I’m assuming you don’t need to.)

As for Conclave:

  • There are more cardinals currently in Rome than are allowed to vote. Remember, you have to be under 80 to vote for the next pope. Everyone in the conclave is eligible to be Pope. Remember that, too. 
  • As much as I would like Dolan or my coz, I think it’ll be a non-USA dude. Not that this is shocking to anyone. (And yeah, I just called the cardinals “dudes”. We’re keeping it real, here. :-P)
  • Cardinals can’t talk about conclave, about the vote, about anything that happens in there. It’s discernment. It’s Holy Spirit time. It sort of amazes me that so many in the press and public immediately think shady things are happening when things are done in privacy, in secret. This is no different than most church elections. If you know people are going to blab about it, you can’t be open in your talk and discussions. Calm. Down.

Catholic Women’s Almanac No. 23

Outside my window::

It’s sunny and breezy. I want spring. Now. 🙂 Today is sort of obliging.

I am wearing::

a kelly green boatneck top and a full skirt with a lemon print on a cream background. Talbot’s makes the best full skirts. I had on brown flats earlier but they’re off now. 🙂

In the CD Player::

Adele’s 19


I read a lot last week. I finished Life of Christ, and I have to say, it was a slog. It’s long, it’s dull. There are much better books to read. Happily, Above All Things was one of them: it’s a wonderful novel about George Mallory, famous Everest fanatic, and his wife, Ruth. A great, great read. When you finish that, go read Into Thin Air. And then be glad you don’t live in the mountains. (Like, the high mountains…)


I’m working on a new piece that’s really compelling me to write it–I have no idea where it’s going to go, beyond a few set scenes. We’ll see!

Around the house::

I cleared bathroom drains this weekend. Isn’t that exciting? 🙂 I have to mop the kitchen floor and vacuum, and empty the upstairs trash.

In the kitchen::

Tonight eating out with T, but tomorrow PW mac and cheese, and then I want to try a (healthier) version of chicken-fried steak (if there is such a thing…) with mashed potatoes. I need to come up with a meal for Thursday…so I’m on the prowl. 🙂

Praying for::

Margaret and her family

The Pope

The cardinals


The getting up earlier thing IS WORKING! Yay!!!! 🙂 🙂 Fish Fry No. 2 this week on Friday.

Plans for the week::

Lunch w/ dad on Thursday and Friday; Symphony with mom and dad this weekend (my dad has never been to the Symphony. I am nice and chose a very easy program for him. We also got a steal on the tickets!)

CSO Program is:

BEETHOVEN Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 58
FRAZELLE Elegy for Strings
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, Scottish

I love Beethoven and Mendelssohn, so score for me. 🙂


And, just for today: Oscar thoughts::

Glad Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress. She’s just a great, down-to-earth seeming person. Daniel Day Lewis wins again. No surprise re: Anne. Christoph apparently wins Oscars for playing bad guys: first a Nazi, and then a slave hunter. Nice! My dad saw Argo; I haven’t yet, but it’ s in the queue now.


Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 10



Well since the last SQT installment here, the “law is inside out/the world is upside down!” For Catholics, anyway. I’ve written quite a bit about the papal abdication this week (scroll down to see it), and I’m sure I will continue doing so, as we roll into his last weeks and the conclave, which is slated to begin at the start of March. There will be a Pope by Easter; conclaves don’t take that long, at least not in the Modern Era.


I, along with some church friends, are going to Nashville for a retreat with the Dominicans of St. Cecilia, at their lovely motherhouse. I love retreats in general, but one that takes place in such a breathtaking environment, with wonderful Dominican sisters, sounds heavenly. We will pray for the success of the conclave, for sure, since it will probably start the week following the retreat.


Reading this week: The Beginner’s Goodbye, by Anne Tyler, is all I’ve finished. But it’s a long weekend so I plan on finishing Life of Christ, for sure, and starting St. Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue. We’ll see how far I get in my grandiose reading plans!


Lent is upon us: so far, my horarium is working well. I’ve tweaked it a few ways, mostly in the evening schedule. The plan for waking up early is being divided by weeks: 10 minutes earlier each week. So hopefully I’ll be at a good starting point by the time we hit Holy Week.


Since it is a long weekend, I’m planning on doing some baking–Irish Soda Bread and Caramel Brownies, both from Ina Garten, as well as playing around with Nigella Lawson’s newest cookbook.   No, I didn’t give up chocolate for Lent. A long time ago I realized that chocolate, like the Borg, is futile to resist.


I’m deep into decluttering my house (that will THRILL my mother) and preparing for spring cleaning. We never really “spring cleaned” in my house, growing up–mom kept the place very tidy at all times, no small feat when you’ve got young kids. Our rooms and the basement were another story.

So far, this has consisted of: a paring of the bookshelves, with some sacks to go to the secondhand book store and being sold; the use of bookends atop my shelves to hold Big Tomes I Want To Keep (like my college Norton Anthology of British Literature–I cannot get rid of it, ever); moving around some furniture; buying new boxes for photo and CD storage (my Christmas CDs had been sitting at the bottom of a bag, unloved–now they have a nice space; and I’m nutty about photo storage), and utilizing the second closet in the Book Room that does not hold clothes, but rather, ephemera (suitcases, wrapping paper roles, files…).


A book I definitely have to recommend hereThe Aviator’s Wife, by Melanie Benjamin. It’s an exquisite novel about Anne and Charles Lindberg, told (obviously) from Anne’s point of view. I knew very little about either of them before I read this, other than the obvious, and I read Anne’s lovely A Gift from the Sea during Christmas break. But this book is exquisitely done. Please read it.