Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Good Pope John

The World within the Word

A few key words from last week’s blog that have manifested in my life this week are window, Pope John, and 50 years.

The image of Pope John the XXIII standing at the open window is etched in my memory. I remember my tenth grade religion teacher, Sr. Therese Marie, telling us that our new Pope was getting ready to open a Vatican Council that would have great impact on the world. She made us curious about it.

I remember the years of the Council when Bishop Weldon would come to Mont Marie and share with us what was going on. He talked about Brother Roger and the Taize Community. He brought Bishops from other countries to speak with us about the developing Church and how they adapted and integrated the customs of the people.  Those relationships paved the way for Sisters Vincentina and Immaculata to live with us for two years. I think they were from Korea. They gave us a window on their world.

This past week I reluctantly finished reading “The Good Pope” by Greg Tobin. The title of the Preface is “The Making of a Saint and the Remaking of a Church.” I recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning about the breadth of this man and what it was like when he was elected Pope. He died 50 years ago this June 3. 

Monday morning I turned on the TV to catch a weather report and heard: “Breaking news, the Pope has resigned.” I could not believe that I was hearing correctly. When I switched to the network channel, I heard that this was true and that there will be a new Pope by Easter. 50 years ago the Cardinals assembled and elected Pope Paul VI.

What do we see as we stand at the open window and look out?  It’s always a surprise. We are called to respond in some way. This week in the dark of the night as I looked out at the sky, I saw a fire coming out a chimney and made a phone call. I saw new fallen snow and took time to delight in it.

What are you seeing from your perspective as you look out your window on the world?  What memories are being evoked in you?  What is being stirred in your heart?  How are you responding?
Please share with us.


  1. Thanks, Natalie, for posting your thoughts on this momentous development at the Vatican. I think it took Pope Benedict a lot of courage to do what he believed he needed to do and I am grateful to him for doing so.

  2. How true this is, Mary Kate. Perhpas one of the "cardinal' (no pun intended) virtues required of all of us at this time is courage. When taken apart this is the heart of our age. What could this mean for us?

  3. Hi Sr. Natalie,

    I,too,just finished reading 'The Good Pope' and was amazed at how many fairly recent books about Pope John XXIII are on the library shelves! Perhaps it is because of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II that many authors felt inspired to write about this man from a peasant family who, in 5 short years, made such a great impact in the church and in the world.

    So the selection of a pope is fresh in my mind after reading this book, and what I see from my 'window', is an opportunity for all of us to be a part of the selection of the next pope! How so? By 'fasting and praying' for the Cardinals to become infused with wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit to select a Pope for our times as was done 50 years ago.

    Matthew Kelly, author of 'Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living With Passion & Purpose', quotes St. Augustine in his chapter on Fasting: 'Do you wish your prayer to fly toward God? Give it two wings: fasting and almsgiving.' So my prayer group, Sophia Sisters, have decided to fast and pray one day a week (we have chosen different days)and practice charity/almsgiving with a re-newed awareness, until the next Pope is chosen.

    Vatican II reminds us that we are the Church. In that light, let us encourage everyone we know to help choose the next pope by praying for everyone instrumental in that decision.

    Happy Lent!

    1. Thanks, Ada, for your sharing your response to what you are seeing from your window and the action of your group of Sophia Sisters. I find more people talking about Pope John these days. A new spirit if blowing our way maybe even getting out attention through a meteorite. May all who can be instrumental in making decisions about the Future Church be open and have the courage to offer what they are inspired to offer.