Teresa Linda, ocds: new forms of vulnerability

Do you support Trump? Is the Pope orthodox enough?  Which child is most vulnerable and therefore needs to be defended the most – the one in the womb, the boy left to drown in the Greek Sea, or the girl forced into prostitution? Unwittingly, these questions have divided Catholics.

Driving home from this year’s Walk for Life, I realized that because of our divisions, Catholics have given up an opportune time to reclaim the rhetoric of “Pro-Life.” As a result, the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church were re-appropriated by The Women’s March, a movement that clearly has anti-Catholic positions, but one that has captured the hearts and minds of many young people in this nation, including my daughter.

In San Francisco, the Pro-Life March and the Women’s March happened on the same day, back to back, forcing my daughter, who is a senior and a social justice leader at her Catholic school, to choose between the two marches, lest she not have time to finish her homework.  This is no surprise since our family has always been attuned to these issues, having spent formative years in West Philadelphia during the height of the crack epidemic. In addition, among the goals and criteria of my daughter’s school is that students “understand the complex social problems of their day and respond to human suffering.”

But having the two marches back to back caused a bit of disruption in our otherwise united household. My husband and I wanted to attend Walk for Life, but my daughter wanted to attend the Women’s March with students, nuns, and teachers from her school. It didn’t matter to her that one of the primary sponsors of the march was Planned Parenthood and that Pro-Life sponsors had been removed from the Women’s March; she wasn’t attending the march to support abortion, she reasoned, but she was attending because she saw this as a moment in history to stand with others against injustice and outright exclusion of the most vulnerable. With that reasoning behind her, I couldn’t say no.

On Saturday morning, while my husband and I were cooking a meal for a handful of Walk for Life participants, our daughter was gathering her belongings for the Women’s March: a pink cotton, brimmed hat, a shirt that said “I love nuns,” and her rain boots.

I have been attending Walk for Life since it’s inception several years ago; abortion-rights protesters would reel at us with anger in their faces, metal hangers clutched in their hands and screaming at the top of their lungs. Over the years those types of protests have calmed down, but this year, the day after Donald Trump’s Presidential inauguration, and the same day as the Women’s March, the abortion-rights protesters seemed to be back in full force. There were other signs of a changing world. In one major intersection, a policeman was standing while holding the most powerful automatic weapon I have ever seen. Fifty yards away from him, a dump truck had been parked on the middle of the street to prevent any terrorist from driving through the crowds.

As I walked alongside a group of Carmelite Fathers and postulants from Mount Saint Josephs Monastery, I heard several taunts from the abortion-rights activists who lined the streets. Their rage seemed to rise as the Fathers, wearing their brown habits and white capes approached each group.

“Stop judging!”
“Catholics are bigots!”
“If you’re pro-life, you should be anti-war!”
“Open your eyes, Catholics!”
“My body, my choice!”

As someone who has walked with and lived with the urban poor and the most vulnerable populations; as a mother who was once told that one of my choices was to abort my son because of his misdiagnosed brain tumor; as a woman of prayer who constantly carries the pain of the homeless and those trapped by war and poverty in my heart, I inwardly bristled at these taunts.

Later that same afternoon, my daughter would be at the Women’s March leading a crowd of young people to chants:

“No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!”
“Show me what democracy looks like – this is what democracy looks like!”

Walk for Life ended calmly at the end of Market and Embarcadero, and the crush of Women’s March supporters began to appear. They filled the BART train from Oakland to the Civic Center Plaza, wall to wall, wearing their pink ‘kitty’ hats and signs with hearts that read, “Unity and Love.”

Without any obvious sign that I had just participated in Walk for Life, the women smiled at me and at one another.  Holding their oversized placards, they fell on top of each other and laughed it off each time the train suddenly stopped. Strangely, it felt like World Youth Day, when I was in Madrid with seventy young women from throughout California.

The reality that the number of Women’s March supporters far outnumbered the Walk for Life supporters became obvious when I got off at our BART stop on the Peninsula.  Serpentine lines of people heading into San Francisco curled behind the ticket dispensers throughout the station. I could barely get to the stairs that led to my car.

Exactly what did the Women’s March stand for? According to its Unity Principles , the purpose of the march was to stand in unity for:

1) Ending violence
2) Workers Rights
3) Civil Rights
4) Disability Rights
5) Immigrant Rights
6) Environmental Justice
7) Reproductive Rights
8) LGBTQIA Rights

The Church has always stood for human dignity, as opposed to rights. Replace the word, rights above with dignity (of) and you have the core of Catholic Social Justice teachings. However, because Catholics were largely silent on the dignity of all of human life, another movement was able to take the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church, and twist that language to support an agenda that supports the rights of a few, rather than the human dignity of all.

In his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis writes, “it is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability.”  The Women’s March captivated the hearts and minds of millions of people precisely because it drew near to “new forms of poverty and vulnerability.” In fact, in the United States, 1 out of every 100 people participated in one of the Women’s Marches.

The Pope continues in Evangelii Gaudium, that in these “new forms of vulnerability”… “we are called to recognize the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned, and many others. Migrants present a particular challenge for me, since I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all.”

“Stop judging!…Catholics are bigots!”– In  union and solidarity,  “it is essential,” in the words of Pope Francis, that Catholics embrace the dignity of all life, “without frontiers.” Otherwise, the Church of Mercy will continue to be accused of being the Church of Judgment and Bigotry. We might even find ourselves one day waking up from our daze wondering why so many have left the Church to defend causes that, ironically, it has stood for since Jesus called Peter, the Rock.

Copyright Teresa Linda 2017. All Rights Reserved

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

Teresa Linda, ocds: they are Christ

Editor’s note: Teresa Linda is a community college Composition and Literature professor. She has raised four children with her husband Mark, who is also her partner in all endeavors, including this site. Teresa is a Formation Instructor in the Santa Clara, CA Secular Community of Discalced Carmelites.

THEY ARE CHRIST                 (Fall 2015 Semester)

Each day, my students walk through the classroom doorway – their threshold of hope.

Girls who are mothers,
Boys who are fathers.
Or overnight, if a parent dies –
from brother to father; from daughter to mother.

Women in their teens and twenties,
Whose faces belie the pain,
Of loving men addicted to drugs,
That make them violent and forget their children.

Young people who care for dying family members,
Squeezing studies between forty-hour work weeks
And visits to the hospital.
Barely adults themselves, they are thrust forcefully into adulthood.

The virility of youth stolen,
Without warning,
By bacterial meningitis, cancer, diabetes – all kinds of disease.
A stray bullet.  Intentional gunfire. Knife wounds.

Hopes buoyed,
By an American Dream that must be delayed,
Seemingly into eternity,
For families who  have trekked thousands of miles by boat, rail, and foot

Only to become scapegoats of the failures of a society,
Bent on self-satisfaction and self-love,
In a land that  has held twisted, broken promises.

The eyes of these beautiful souls
Look up at me from their seats with undying faith,
And I am deeply humbled.

They… they are Christ crucified.
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.

Teresa Linda  2017. All Rights Reserved. 

 Try the Daily Disconnect as part of your Daily Meditation

podcast-288x162 click onto the image or the link above


Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Fulfillment of Life, Episode 4

Published by Shalom World TV

The Peace of Christ, the Wounds of Christ

Editor’s note:  Readers have recently asked about the availability of text-versions of talks on You Tube. Most of the Carmelite Fathers speak extemporaneously, often with very few notes, if any at all.

My secular community has been blessed to have had Father Robert as our Spiritual Assistant, and even more  Discalced Carmelite Fathers from the California-Arizona Province just up the hill. Because our secular community recognized the value of these teachings for anyone, regardless of location, we have begun to collect any written work made available by a Father, or to transcribe recorded talk for this online forum.  It takes at least 1 hour to transcribe 5 minutes of a talk.

If any readers are interested in transcribing a You Tube talk, and sending what you have along to this site for written publication, please let me know under the comment section.

Also, I have added a NEWS tab for updated information, mostly relevant to the California-Arizona Province of Discalced Carmelites. – TL

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’


Charles Seagren, ocds: the scandal of mercy

Editor’s note: Charles Seagren is a Formation Instructor in the Santa Clara, CA Secular Community. He is also a Deacon at St. Raymond Catholic Church, Menlo Park. The following talk has been taken from one of his homilies.

Readings – Matthew 11:2-11

It’s the scandal of mercy.
Even John the Baptist is confused.
He sends his disciples to see
if Jesus is the One
or should he look for another.

And Jesus shows them
His works of mercy
but He adds,
Blessed is the one
who takes no offense at Me.

Why would He say that?
All He’s done
is heal and preach and raise the dead.
Why would we take offense at that?

If justice is to get what you deserve
mercy is to get more than that —
and that’s the scandal.
What if you work 12 hours in a vineyard
in the heat of the day
and get a just wage.
But along comes some idler
who works one hour in the cool of the day
and gets the same pay.
How does it feel?

Sometimes mercy can look like injustice.

We have no problem with mercy
for ourselves and people we love –
but for strangers or people we hate
it’s just not fair.

Blessed is the one who takes no offense.

Look at Jesus
and the woman caught in adultery,
or the Samaritan woman with her five husbands,
or Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree.

Was Jesus killed because He was just
or because He was merciful?

SOURCE: Third Sunday of Advent Homily, December 2016.

Charles Seagren,  ocds. All Rights Reserved

Father Michael Buckley

Father Michael Buckley, OCD

Burial Service Mt. St. Joseph 12 29-2016

Note: Please also read the Provincial Obsequial Letter from Father Stephen Watson

By Father James Geoghegan, OCD: In this holy season we recall the circumstances of the birth of Jesus Christ and we are painfully aware of the tragedy of civil war in the Middle East and the sufferings of refugees. It is appropriate to think of these as we bid farewell to Father Michael. In November on the occasion of his 96th birthday he wrote to me, “I think at this time always of the rough ride my mom made, on the run, to save her little boy from the Tans [Irish Royal Special Reserve] in Tournafulla. And my birth within an hour or two as she just reached the sanctuary of her brother’s home in Castle Island.” It was during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. Fr. Michael’s father was hiding from the British Army and his mother got a horse and cart and set out for her brother’s home to avoid harassment. A couple of hours after her arrival she gave birth to Michael.

Three years later in the tragic civil war in Ireland there was disruption again. Fr. Michael’s father, Patrick Buckley was taken prisoner by the government forces and murdered, leaving behind a very young family of which Michael was the baby. In a new book, the Irish historian Tim Pat Coogan tells of this tragedy and how the government “in a mean spirited and ungenerous approach” then refused to give any compensation or help to the widow and children of Patrick Buckley. Coogan’s father, a high ranking officer in the government police force said of the family “they have no visible means of obtaining a livelihood.”

That was the beginning of Fr. Michael’s life. When he was 3 his mother sent him to school with the other children of the family. I remember Fr. Michael’s mother when she visited the seminary when Fr. Michael was our teacher. She was described by one of the priest’s as like Our Lady of Sorrows. Kitty Scholl of Napa, who grew up in Castle Island, said that her mother described Mrs Buckley as “so kind and gentle that you could go to confession to her.” I think we have enough evidence to know how difficult was Fr. Michael’s childhood. Recently, he told me that he had no bitterness in his heart and that time had healed the divisions of the country. He was a brilliant student and received an excellent education. He studied in the National University of Ireland and in the Carmelite Seminary in Dublin

After ordination, he was sent to Rome where at the Angelicum and the Biblicum, he received degrees in Theology and Sacred Scripture. He spoke fluently English, Irish, Latin, Italian, Spanish and could read Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and French. Always interested in sports, he played soccer for the university team. One of the other players was a young Polish seminarian called Carol Wojtyla later known as Pope John Paul II.

After Studies in Rome, he returned to Dublin as professor of Scripture. Some of us here had the privilege of studying under him He was so clear and a marvelous teacher. Over 60 years later, I attended one of the classes in Oakville. At 95 he was as clear as ever. He loved the Scriptures, they were the living presence of Christ. He loved to teach, he loved to share.

He went as a missionary to India where he taught in the major seminary at Alwaye. While there he was involved in ecumenical work. Eventually he came to California where he was elected Major superior. During his time, we Carmelites founded a house in Washington State. Because of his success here, he was then elected Provincial Superior of the Anglo Irish Province, which at that time embraced Ireland, England, United States, Australia, and the Philippines. At the end of that service he returned to California. When Fr. David Costello went to Africa Fr. Michael took his place as superior of our House of Prayer in Oakville.

Stationed here in San Jose he was in charge of the Carmelite Secular Order for eleven years. Wherever he was stationed he made a big impact because of his intelligence and his quiet holiness. He cooperated with the Central Office in Rome on various projects and of course was always a brilliant contributor to issues affecting us here in the Western Province. He was a free man, unafraid of anyone or any idea. In fact, he was the burr under the saddle of our Provincials always reminding them to fulfill the tasks assigned by the Provincial Chapters.

In his later years he led a quieter life, always interested in Ireland and its football teams, and always a perfect example of Christian kindness. A man of prayer and study, he was a wonderful confessor, preacher, writer and lecturer, and ever a contributing member of his religious community. Toward the end he suffered partial paralysis of his face and blind in one eye. He wrote to me, “Well praise God for his testing: because a good share of that now and it’s hard to smile with a paralyzed face. But a share of smiling goes on inside, I believe.” He kept going, still teaching class and sharing in the work of the monastery.

A man of his word and of The Word he loved the Bible and literature in general. He loved poetry, especially Newman’s

lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom
lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene – one step enough for me.


Twilight and evening bell,
and after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

And Robert Louis Stephens epitaph.
This be the verse you grave for me
Here he lies where he longed to be :
Home is the sailor , home from the sea,
and the hunter home from the hill

I think that his favorite passage from literature was a section from Uncle Tom’s Cabin that describes the death of Eva the young girl and friend of Tom. 40 years ago he wrote it out for me.” In that book (Bible) which Eva and her old friend (Tom)had read so much together, she had seen and taken to her young heart the image of one who loved the little child: and as she gazed and mused, He had ceased to be an image and a picture of the distant past, and come to be a living all- surrounding reality. His love enfolded her childish heart with more than mortal tenderness; and it was to Him, she said,she was now going, and to His home”

That too could be a description of Fr. Michael’s death. He died peacefully like a little child and went home to the one whom he had studied and loved for so long.

Michael is now at home joining his beloved mother and meeting the father he did not remember and could say in the recent words of an Irish poet Paul Durcan –

“and now I put the key for the first time into the door of my father’s house.”

Announcement: History of Christianity lecture series by Father Jose Luis Ferroni, OCD

History of Christianity Lecture Series.

What: Father Jose Luis Ferroni, OCD will be  giving a series of personal enrichment talks that will be open for all adults 18 and over.

The 7.5 hour course  will introduce a wide exposition of the History of Christian Spirituality from the first centuries after the death of Jesus Christ through the Medieval Ages, the 16th century, Enlightenment and Contemporary Spirituality. The course is geared so that the participant is able to recognize the human evolution and the development of Christian Spirituality in order to better understand and interpret Christianity within its context of Spirituality.

Where: Mount Pleasant High School, Main Building, Room 201, 1750 South White Rd., San Jose, CA 95127

When: Tuesday and Thursday 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, January 17, 2017 until January 31, 2017. Registration deadline: January 13, 2017.

How: To sign up for this course send your request to:ocd.ferroni@gmail.com by the deadline. No Tuition fee – the mini-course is free of charge

At the end of the course, a Certificate of Course Completion will be awarded by the Carmelite Institute of Spirituality of the California-Arizona Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Stanwood, Washington

What to expect:

Content: 1. First Centuries of Christianity 2. First and Second Part of the Medieval Age. 3. Spirituality of the 16th and 17th centuries. 4. Enlightenment and Contemporary Spirituality.

Method: The course is divided into two parts, instruction form and some independent reading material as reference to accompany or complement the topic or particular theme.

Instructor: Jose Luis Ferroni, O.C.D., a Carmelite priest, was a professor in Rome and in Avila, Spain and is now residing at Mt. St. Joseph Carmelite Monastery in San Jose, CA. He holds a M.A. in Theology, Baccalaureate and Licentiate in Church History from the Gregorian University in Rome and is presently completing his doctorate in the same field.