death & dying

Sonnet 23 … John Milton Methought I saw my late espoused saint        Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,        Whom Jove’s great son to her glad husband gave,        Rescu’d from death by force, though pale and faint. Mine, as whom wash’d from spot of child-bed taint        Purification in the old […]

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… before his heart’s curtain? Rilke’s 4th Duino Elegy … O trees of life, O when are you wintering? We are not unified. We have no instincts like those of migratory birds. Useless, and late, we force ourselves, suddenly, onto the wind, and fall down to an indifferent lake. We realise flowering and fading together. […]

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The meaning of living in companionship, following our hearts’ deepest desires and receiving what is given was revealed to us through our friendship with Fr. Joe in Rochester. Upon our return from Rimini 2011, my husband Mark and I visited Father Joe in a nursing home. Father Joe was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in […]

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“ … when the body of a royal Habsburg is taken from the cathedral for burial, the solemn procession makes its way to the Habsburg tomb. An official knocks loudly on the sepulchral doors with a staff.  “Who desires entry?” says a voice from inside the doors.  “Otto of Austria; once Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary; […]

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Sometimes there are more radical, violent wounds. Death seems close. When we are hurt, we tend to close in on ourselves. It is winter. The ground becomes hard. And sometimes winter lasts a long time. Jean Vanier, Seeing Beyond DepressionSeeing Beyond Depression, p. 43

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“When I look at a patient, in this case a dying patient, I really look at the primary core spiritual need that they are presenting to me. Is it a quest for meaning to try to determine what their life meant or what their faith means? Or, are they presenting a need for affirmation, support, […]

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Gods, my gods! How sad the evening earth! How mysterious the mists over the swamps! He who has wandered in these mists, he who has suffered much before death, he who has flown over this earth bearing on himself too heavy a burden, knows it. The weary man knows it. And without regret he leaves […]

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When confronting serious medical decisions our attitude should be one of openness and wonder in front of a Mystery greater than ourselves. We set aside preconceptions and attend to the person in need as well as those who are serving him (doctors, nurses, chaplains, others). As we journey together, we weigh the burdens and benefits […]

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Chris Bacich, US responsible of Communion & Liberation, describes two experiences that underline the importance that awe in front of the mystery of reality takes precedence over our own thoughts and schemes … The first is about the sudden death of young people. The second relates a conversation with don Giussani about an episode in the […]

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Romanesque Arches Inside the huge romanesque church the tourists jostled in the half darkness. Vault gaped behind vault, no complete view. A few candle-flames flickered. An angel with no face embraced me and whispered through my whole body: “Don’t be ashamed of being human, be proud! Inside you vault opens behind vault endlessly. You will […]

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