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Thought for Today: A Column from CHC President, Sister Carol Jean Vale

Thought for Today: A Column from CHC President, Sister Carol Jean Vale

As our campus community deals with the unprecedented changes that have come about due to the threat of the coronavirus, sometimes, hope and inspiration can be hard to find. But there is always light in the darkness. A spirit of resilience lies within our humanity and to help everyone experience messages of hope, love and support at this time, Sister Carol Jean Vale has been sharing daily thoughts with the community. This page will be updated daily with Sister's messages. Continue to stay #GriffinStrong, CHC!

Today's Word...

July 9th 

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        XXII, Rabindranath Tagore      

        My heart beats her waves
        at the shore of the world
and writes upon it her signature in tears
        with the words, “I love thee.”

Peace and Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

July 2020

July 9th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        XXII, Rabindranath Tagore      

        My heart beats her waves
        at the shore of the world
and writes upon it her signature in tears
        with the words, “I love thee.”

Peace and Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

July 8th 

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

AT SUNSET, Jessica Powers

Night after night these sunsets spread their thrill,
confound me in my dreaming for an hour.
I lift my mind in wonder to the power
of color glorified by light until
I know the miracle each western hill
sees when scattered clouds come into flower —
petals of shining roses and a shower
of flushed gold falls, and my wild heart is still.

Now for a time the soul is visible,
luminous wings lift out on either side
and I am faint who house this beautiful
gold bird; my clouds of thought are glorified.
Color and light possess me.  I am one
with the stars and moonlight and the dying sun.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

July 7th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE BEAUTY OF CREATION BEARS WITNESS TO GOD,

                                                                Saint Augustine

The beauty of creation bears witness to God

                because I know that God is close to me;

                                I need only to look out of my window

                                                to see God’s presence manifested.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President

July 6th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

SEEING THINGS II.  JAMES CARROLL

                God, I’m seeing things,

spots of you before my eyes,

                lots of new patterns purple

in kaleidoscopes of quick interiority.

                Where light comes from

when dark and tight with pain

my lids are lashed together closed

                I do not know or think to care.

But seeing things low under bushes

                                can be surprise

                                after eyes seal off

                supposedly sight and light.

                                Where dark

should biologically have been

these lots of new spots of You,

all the old images out of childhood,

                all the new futures out of age

                dance a morning rosy round

                and gift me gently into smiles.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President

July 5th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                                                THOMAS MORE

                “Good Lord, give us Thy grace,

not to read this Gosepl with our eyes and ears

                                in a manner of pastime —

                but that it may, with compassion,

sink into our hearts, and profit our souls.”

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President

July 4th

Dear Members of the College Community,

July 4, 2020 — Today’s word,

“We hold these truth to be self-evident that all men, (women, and children, all people of every race, culture, and religion) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, (Women, and Children of every race, culture, and religion) deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People, to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness . . . .“.

It is long past time to adapt the words of the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution to guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all men, women, and children inclusive of every race, culture, and religion.  In the eyes of God, there are no elite.  In the eyes of God, we are all God’s children, brothers and sisters, created equal, deserving of reverence, respect, and kindness.  We are, each of us, loved by God unconditionally. “It is only with the heart that one sees rightly.  What is essential is invisible to the eye.”  It is time to turn our energy to authentically establishing “a more perfect union . . .  to secure the Blessings of Liberty to (each and all of us) and our Posterity.” 

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President

July 3rd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                                THE CEDAR TREE, Jessica Powers

                                In the beginning, in the unbeginning

                                                of endlessness and of eternity,

                                                                God saw this tree.

                He saw these cedar branches bending low

                                under the full exhaustion of the snow.

                                And since He set no wind of day to rising,

                this burden of beauty and this burden of cold,

                (whether the wood breaks or the branches hold)

                                                must be of His devising.

                                There is a cedar similarly decked

                                deep in the winter of my intellect

                                                under the snow, the snow,

                                the scales of light its limitations tell.

                                I clasp this thought:  from all eternity

                God who is good looked down upon this tree

                                                white in the weighted air,

                                and of another cedar reckoned well.

He knew how much each tree, each twig could bear

                                He counted every snowflake as it fell.

Are we “not worth more than the birds of the air“ and the finely falling flakes of snow? Sometimes, in the midst of so much, it is hard to remember that “not one hair of our head falls to the ground” without God’s knowing.  While we are lost in the storm, God is preparing for the dawn “of the morning after.”

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President

July 2nd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

NAVAJO BLESSING WAY PRAYER

                In beauty may I walk.
                All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
        With dew about my feet may I walk.
                With Beauty may I walk.
        With Beauty before me may I walk.
        With Beauty behind me may I walk.
        With Beauty beneath my feet may I walk.
        In old age wandering on a trail of Beauty,
                        Lively may I walk.
                All is completed in Beauty.
                All is completed in Beauty.

Let us “walk on with hope in our hearts.”  Together, let us walk the path upon which our feet have been set “holding hope high” to light the darkness.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

July 1st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        PIED BEAUTY, Gerard Manly Hopkins

        Glory to be God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles in all stipple upon trout that swim;
        Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pierced — fold, fallow, and ploughing;
        And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
        All things counter, original, spare, strange;
        Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
                With swift, slow, sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
        He father’s-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

Read Sister's Daily Thoughts for July
June 2020

June 30th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

I LEARNED THAT HER NAME WAS PROVERB, Denise Levertov

And the secret names
of all we meet who lead us deeper
into our labyrinth
of valleys and mountains, twisting valleys
and steeper mountains —
their hidden names are always,
like Proverb, Promises:
Rune, Omen, Fable, Parable,
those we meet for only
one crucial moment, gaze to gaze,
or for years know and don’t recognize
but of whom later a word
sings back to us
as if from high among leaves,
still near but beyond sight
drawing us from tree to tree
towards the time and the unknown place
where we shall know
what it is to arrive.

Peace and blessings on this last day of June,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 29th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

LIGHTENING THE LOAD, Francis Dorff, O. Praem.

        The first thing we have to do
                is to notice
that we’ve loaded down this camel
        with so much baggage
we’ll never get through the desert alive.
                Something has to go.
        Then we can begin to dump
                the thousand things
                we’ve brought along
        until even the camel has to go
        and we’re walking barefoot
                on the desert sand.
There’s no telling what will happen then.
        But I’ve heard that someone,
                walking in this way
        has seen a burning bush.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 28th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

Dialogues, Chapter, 167, Emily Dickinson

        Eternal God, eternal Trinity, . . .
You are a mystery as deep as the sea
        the more I search, the more I find,
and the more I find, the more I search for you.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 27th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

COMPASSION, Alexander Pope

Teach me to feel another’s woe,
        To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show
        That mercy show to me.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 26th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE OTHER, R.S. Thomas

There are nights that are so still
that I can hear the small owl calling
far off and a fox barking
miles away. It is then that I lie
in the lean hours awake listening
to the swell born somewhere in the Atlantic
rising and falling, rising and falling
wave on wave on the long shore
by the village, that is without light
and companionless.  And the thought comes
of that other being who is awake, too,
letting our prayers break on him,
not Iike this for a few hours,
but for days, years, for eternity.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 25th

Dear Members of the College Community, Today’s word, FOR A LOVER OF NATURE, JESSICA POWERS Your valley trails its beauty through your poems, the kindly woods, the wide majestic river. Earth is your god — or goodness, you declare. mindful of what good time must one day give her of all you have. Water and rocks and trees hold primal words born out of Genesis. But love is older than these. You lay your hand upon the permanence of green embroidered land and miss the truth that you are trusting your immortal spirit to earth’s sad inexperience and youth. Centuries made this soil; this rock was lifted out of aeons; time could never trace a path to water’s birth or air’s inception, and so, you say, these be your godly grace. Earth was swept into being with the light — dear earth, you argue, who will soon be winning your flesh and bones by a most ancient right. But Love had no beginning. Peace and blessings Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. President

June 23rd

Dear Members of the College Community, Today’s Word I HOLD MY HEART AS A GOURD, Jessica Powers I hold my heart as a gourd filled with love, ready to pour upon humanity, Not that I see each one as my own neighbor though veiled with strangeness or with enmity, and not that it is my own self I see, my sins and virtues and my secret mind multiplied almost to infinity. Though this to love a proper cause might be, Not in these words is my true love defined. I hold my heart as a gourd ready to pour upon all those who live. Not that I see each one as come from God and to my soul His representative but that God inhabits what He loves and what His love sustains, and hence I see in each soul that may brush against my soul God who looks out at me. Peace and blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. President

June 22nd

Dear Members of the College Community, Today’s word, LV, Rabindranath Tagore Let they love play upon my voice and rest on my silence. Let it pass through my heart into all my movements. Let thy love like stars shine in the darkness of my sleep And dawn in my awakening. Let it burn in the flames of my desires And flow in all the currents of my own love. Let me carry thy love in my life as a harp does its music, And give it back to thee at last with my life. Let this be my last word, that I trust in thy love. Peace and blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. President

June 21st

Dear Members of the College Community, As I look upon the beauty and splendor of this Sunday morning, it seems a perfect day to share this favorite poem of mine and so many others. GOD’S GRANDEUR, Gerard Manley Hopkins The world is charged with the grandeur of God, It will flame out, like shining from shook foil, It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toil; And wear’s man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs — Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and ah! Bright wings. Peace and blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. President

June 20th

Dear Members of the College Community, Today’s word, GOD’S WORD WILL COME TO US, Saint Bernard . . . Something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he (she) will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously, in the heart, the prophet says: I have hidden your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you. Keep God’s word in this way. Let it enter your very being. Let it take possession of your desires and your whole may of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill you soul with richness and strength. Peace and blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. President

June 19th

Dear Members of the College Community, On this Juneteenth, I have selected excerpts from the famous 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. D.C. His words are powerfully inspiring and still, unfortunately, true in many ways. Taking time to reflect on these words today, as we commemorate Juneteenth, seems appropriate and necessary, for, tragically, we still have many changes to enact and many hearts to convert before Dr. King’s dream is a reality for all Black Americans. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves [Audience:] (Yeah) who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. (Hmm) But one hundred years later (All right), the Negro still is not free. (My Lord, Yeah) One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. (Hmm) One hundred years later (All right), the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later (My Lord) [applause], the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. (Yes, yes) And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. *********************************************************** And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” (Never) We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. (Yes) We can never be satisfied [applause] as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. [applause] We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. (Yes) We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating for whites only. [applause] (Yes, Hallelujah) We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. (Yeah, That’s right, Let’s go) [applause] No, no, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters (Yes) and righteousness like a mighty stream. [applause] (Let’s go, Tell it) ************************************************************ I have a dream (Mhm) that one day (Yes) this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed (Hah): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” ********************************************************** (Uh-huh) Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. (Yes, all right) Let freedom ring (Yes) from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. (Well) Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. (Yes) But not only that: (No) Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. [cheering] (Yeah, Oh yes, Lord) Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. (Yes) Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. (Yes) From every mountainside (Yeah) [sustained applause], let freedom ring. And when this happens [applause] (Let it ring, Let it ring), and when we allow freedom ring (Let it ring), when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city (Yes Lord), we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children (Yeah), black men (Yeah) and white men (Yeah), Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics (Yes), will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! (Yes) Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” Peace and Blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. President

June 18th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

DANCING GOD, Joyce Rapp

Dancing God
passionate leap
of creative energy
spilling among the stars
waltzing on the rivers
birthing a universe

Dancing God
tumbling from somewhere
into Jewish territory
whirling Spirit
seeding Mary’s womb
with alluring divinity

Dancing God
uncontainable grandeur
kicking and rolling
in Mary’s flesh
while untamed cousin
echoes the dance
in aunt Elizabeth

Dancing God
spark of angel’s song
shepherds hurrying
like whirling dervishes
gasping in awe
at a surprising child

Dancing God
Still passionate today
dynamic movement of love
wooing our hearts
toward oneness and peace
in a tear-stained world

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 17th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

DU SIEHST, ICH WILL VIEL, Rainer Maria Rilke

You se, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all:
the darkness of each endless fall,
the shimmering light of each ascent.

So many are alive who don’t seem to care.
Casual, easy, they move in the world
as though untouched.

But you take pleasure in the faces
of those who know they thirst.
You cherish those
who grip you for survival.

You are not dead yet, it’s not too late
to open your depths by plunging into them
and drink in the life
that reveals itself quietly there.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 16th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE DIVINE IMAGE, William Blake

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
        All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
        Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
        Is God, our Father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
        Is man, His child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
        Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
        And Peace the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
        That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
        Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form
        In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
        There God is dwelling too.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 15th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

Immersion, Denise Levertov

                There is anger abroad in the world, a numb thunder,
                        because of God’s silence.  But how naive,
to keep wanting words we could speak ourselves, . . . perfect freedom
                assured other ways of speech.  God is surely
        patiently trying to immerse us in a different language,
                events of grace, horrifying scrolls of history
        and the unearned retrieval of blessings lost forever,
        the poor grass returning after drought, timid, persistent.
God’s abstention is only from human dialects.  The holy voice
utters its woe and glory in myriad musics, in signs and portents.
Our own words are for us to speak, a way to ask and to answer.

Truly, there is “anger abroad in the world, a numb (and numbing) thunder,” but not because of God’s silence, because of ours.  Let us lift our voices to speak of things that matter.  Let us speak of justice, equality, liberty, integrity for all.  Let speak with compassion from hearts filled with love of the “dear neighbor.”  Then, let us act to give flesh to the words we speak, the concepts we put forth, the ideals for which we stand.  “One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for ALL.”

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 14th

Dear Members of the College Community,

THE SECOND GIVING, Jessica Powers

The second giving of God is the great giving
out of the portions of the seraphim,
abundances with which the soul is laden
once it has given up all things for Him.

The second growth of God is the rich growing,
with fruits no constant gathering can remove,
the flourishing of those who by God’s mercy
have cut themselves down to the roots for love.

God seeks a heart with bold and boundless hungers
that sees itself and earth as paltry stuff,
God loves a soul that cast down all He gave it
and stands and cries that it was not enough.

My novice mistress insisted, “there is no enough but the Divine enough.”  Everything else pales in comparison to the meaning and fullness God alone can give.  To receive the Divine enough, out of love, we must “cut (our)selves down to the roots,“ surrendering all we have and all we are to seek God “boldly” and “boundlessly,” leaping over every obstacle that bars the way to union with the Indwelling Deity, Who waits within, arms open, to receive us.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 13th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

SONG OF UVAVNUK (A Netsilik Eskimo Woman-Shaman)

        The great sea has
        set me in motion,
        set me adrift
        moving me
        like a weed
        in a river.

        The sky and
        the strong wind
        have moved
        the spirit inside me
                til I am
        carried away
        trembling with joy.

Peace and blessings this gorgeous June day,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 12th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE PONDS, Mary Oliver

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking
into the white fire of a great mystery.

I hope this weekend provides you with time “to float,” and “to be dazzled” by what you see.  The “white (hot) fire of a great mystery” is as close to you are you are to yourself.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 11th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                                        LIV, Rabindranath Tagore

Stand before my eyes, and let thy glance touch my songs into flames.
        Stand among thy stars and let me find kindled in their lights
                                my own fire of worship.
                The earth is waiting at the world’s wayside;
        Stand upon the green mantle she has flung upon they path;
                And let me feel in her grass and meadow flowers
                                the spread of my own salutation.
        Stand in my lonely evening where my heart watches alone;
                                fill her cup of solitude,
                and let me feel in me the infinity of thy love.

Peace and Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 10th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

IF YOU HAVE NOTHING, Jessica Powers

The gesture of a gift is inadequate.
If you have nothing: laurel leaf or bay,
no flower, no seed, no apple gathered late,
do not in desperation lay
the beauty of your tears upon the clay.

No gift is proper to a Deity;
no fruit is worth for such power to bless.
If you have nothing, gather back your sigh,
and with your hands held high, your heart held high,
lift up your emptiness!

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 9th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today's word,

"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

- Aeschylus

We remember George Floyd today as he is laid to rest beside his mother. We remember, too, all the others, sadly names too many to mention, who, like Mr. Floyd were needlessly murdered. Today is a somber one, a sobering one. May justice, equality, and inclusion become their legacy for us all. George Floyd's murder stirred something deep within the American psyche and is bringing together people of all races to protest the abuse of power, while, at the same time, demanding swift, effective, substantive change to laws and policies that have given rise to violent, life-threatening responses to black men and women perceived to have engaged in criminal behavior. Let us pray for the Floyd family today and for all those families who have lost loved ones in the same or similar way. In their pain, may they gain the 'wisdom' that comes only 'through the awful grace of God," and the societal transformation that underscores the truth that Black lives matter.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 8th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today's word,

THE COLOR PURPLE, Alice Walker

"One day when I was sitting quiet it came to me:
that feeling of being a part of everything, not separate at all.
I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed."

Peace and Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 7th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

BUT NOT WITH WINE, Jessica Powers

O God of too much giving, whence is this
        inebriation that possesses me,
that the staid road now wanders all amiss,
and that the wind walks much too giddily,
        clutching a bush for balance, or a tree?
        How then can dignity and pride endure
with such inordinate mirth upon the land,
when steps and speech are somewhat insecure
        and the light heart is wholly out of hand?

        If there be indecorum in my songs,
fasten the blame where it rightly belongs:
        on Him who offered me too may cups
of His most potent goodness — not on me,
 a peasant who, because a King was host,
                drank out of courtesy.

So God gives to us, pressed down to overflowing, of the Divine Love and Goodness. Recognizing such care and tenderness is cause for rejoicing in the splendor of a presence too incredible to fully comprehend, too wondrous to fully grasp, too exhilarating to be exhausted. Today in the blue of sky and the green of earth, may we behold the faithful care of the Creator, ever present in every scrap of matter.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 6th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

HE WISHES FOR THE CLOTHS OF HEAVEN, William Butler Yeats

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
        Of night and light and the half light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.  It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.  I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed; ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (women) are created equal.’  . . . I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of this skin but  by the content of their character. . .  I have a dream today.’”
                        Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., 28 August 1963

The time for dreaming is over.  Our black brothers and sisters, indeed brothers and sisters of every race, should not have to dream of a time when they are guaranteed their human rights, rights to which they are entitled. We, who have enjoyed these privileges, should insist, without a hint of reservation or compromise, that these inalienable rights be respected and protected. This is not a choice, but our sacred duty.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 5th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE AVOWAL, Denise Levertov

        As swimmers dare
        to lie face to the sky
        and water bears them,
        as hawks rest upon the air
        and the air sustains them,
        so would I learn to attain
                freetail, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
        knowing no effort earns
        that all-surrounding grace.

This weekend, may you know the “Creator Spirit’s deep embrace . . . and all-surrounding grace.”  These have been such hard days for our country and our world. Tense moments have enveloped us as we watched both inspiring and startling scenes play across the screens of our televisions; even as the specter of COVID-19 continued to play in the background of our minds.  Let us pause and take time to float upon the waters that faithfully bear us up, so that the Son’s rays of love may fall softly upon our faces.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 4th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

WENN ETWAS MIR VOM FENSTER FALLT, Rainer Maria Rilke

                How surely gravity’s law,
                strong as an ocean current,
        takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.
                Each thing — is held in place.
                Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
                for some empty freedom.
                        If we surrendered
                        to earth’s intelligence
        we could rise up rooted, like trees.
                Instead we entangle ourselves
                in knots of our own making
        and struggle, lonely and confused.
        So, like children, we begin again
                to learn from things,
        because they are in God’s heart;
                they have never left him.
        This is what the things can teach us:
                                to fall,
                patiently to trust our heaviness.
                Even a bird has to do that
                        before he can fly.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

June 1st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today's word is from one of our administrators, Dr. Sarah Logan. She has graciously agreed to permit to share it with you.

TODAY

It feels like my job is to
Light candles to acknowledge the pain:
All of it, everyone's.
Clean the kitchen because I don't have
what's needed to help clean the town.
Sit with anger, keep it company
until it breaks down.
Maybe I can help clean up that.

I know I can only feel this pain indirectly, a bystander,
Still horrified, but a bystander nonetheless.
It wasn't my husband, son, father who was murdered.
It isn't my story that keeps being trampled
and ground into dust.

Several miles away, I work to feel the
horror of my friend living several blocks
from last night's looting.
Where to go in the dark hours
Nowhere, no way to get somewhere safe.
Just hunker down, hope it doesn't come nearer,
Wait for light.

In that light, dawn the day after
I see two people
Trying to break into a gun store.
I call law enforcement
I also pray for them, all of them:
Police, neighbors, burglars.

That's all I have.
I hope it's enough.
Oh, I know one more thing:
At the end of the day, there is only an us.
So maybe I'm not a bystander after all.

(Sarah Logan, May 31st, 2020)

Peace and Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

 

Read Sister's Daily Thoughts for June
May 2020

May 31st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

PHOENIX, Christine Schneider, CSJ

        Paraclete,
consuming grace,
        purify
deep soul’d disgrace.
        From the ashes
        of our shame
        forge new hearts
        thine own to claim.
                Come Spirit,
                make us new,
                bring your peace
                        ‘midst
                searing pain.
        Drop down they dew,
                thy gentle reign
                        and
                come again.

We are God’s holy temple, filled with the light and breath of the Holy Spirit, whose fire of love burns in us this Pentecost day, as fully and freely as the Easter Candle at the altar.  May we share the inner light and love of the indwelling God with all we meet and, through our prayer, with those across our world most in need of Light to guide them on their way. 

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 30th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        THE TIME OF NO ROOM, Thomas Merton

        Into this world, this demented inn,
in which there is no room for God at all,
                Christ has come uninvited.
But because Christ cannot be at home in it,
        because Christ is out of place in it,
        Christ’s place is with those others
                for whom there is no room.

God’s place is with those who do not belong,
                who are rejected by power
        because they are regarded as weak,
                those who are discredited,
        who are denied the status of person,
who are tortured, bombed, and exterminated.

        With those for whom there is no room,
                Christ is present in the world.
Christ is mysteriously present in those for whom
there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst . . .
                It is in these that God is hidden
                    for whom there is no room.

Sober observations for the thoughtful and reflective.  Truly, words for us to ponder as the rage against the death of George Floyd continues to haunt our country.  It is long over due for us to make room in our inns for all.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 29th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

IN THE HOUSE OF ETERNAL BELONGING
        BIRTH AND DEATH ARE ONE

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
        The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
        And cometh through from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
        From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy.
                Wordsworth, “Ode.  Intimations of Immortality

“Each life is enfolded within a circle of time and if we imagine this circle as porous, occasionally, as we journey through our days, time suddenly deepens and all fragmentation coheres as we slip into eternal presence.  Eternal time dwells deep in ordinary time.  As we say, such moments become timeless and what is timeless does not pass away; it lives for ever.” John O’Donohue, Beauty, 218

I know many hearts are heavy, very heavy today as we have watched the events unfolding in Minneapolis and elsewhere as a result of George Floyd’s death. Let us continue to pray for Mr. Floyd, his family, his friends, the people of Minneapolis, and for all who thirst for truth and hunger for justice. 

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 28th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                THIS PALTRY LOVE, Jessica Powers

        I love you, God, with a penny match of love
that I strike when the big and bullying dark of need
        chases my startled sunset over the hills
and in the walls of my house small terrors move.
        It is the sight of this paltry love that fills
        my deepest pits with seething purgatory,
that thus I live you, God, — God — who would sow
        my heights and depths with recklessness of glory,
who hold back light-oceans straining to spill on me, on me,
        stifling here in the dungeon of my ill.
        This puny spark I scorn, I who had dreamed
of fire that would race to land’s end, shouting your worth,    
        of sun that would fall to earth with a moral wound
        and rise and run, streaming with light like blood,
                                splattering the sky,
                soaking the ocean itself, and all the earth.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 27th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                Ulrich Schaffer

All growing is changing from one state
into another: Leaving a world behind;
Entering the fear of the unaccustomed:
        of colors that don’t blend
                of holy words that jar:
        of fractures that give rise to visions.

We have left one realm but have not
                arrived at the other.
        We have given up one safety,
                But not gained another.

Above all the gazing crowd the trapeze
        artist lets go of his swing, and then,
If his timing is right, seizes the other swing
        without asking time to stop for him.

                That is flight into growth.
        That is the change-over in which we
experience our nakedness to the point of hurting.

But there is no real growth without leaping,
        without burning bridges and standing
        wide-eyed and shivering on a new shore.

        And yet, without growth there is nothing.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 26th

Dear Members of the College Community,

It is with a very heavy heart that I share today’s word. Last evening, people across the world watched in horror as George Floyd, already handcuffed, was crushed to the ground by an officer of the law, who jammed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck and the side of his head.  Although the man clearly indicated that he could not breathe, the officer refused to ease the pressure, but continued to use brute force to cruelly mash his head down into the street, until Mr. Floyd passed out — and subsequently died.  Three other officers looked on.  Passersby looked on.  A video camera looked on.  TV viewers looked on — helpless, horrified, and incredulous!  What horror must we witness before we demand reform and refuse to turn a blind eye to blatant racism, indeed, racism in any form?  Last night we watched a man die at the hands of a police officer and three others who did nothing to stop him.  Really?

                                RAINER MARIA RILKE

        Now it is time that gods came walking out of lived-in Things . . .
                Time that they came and knocked down every wall
                        Inside my house.  New page.  Only the wind
                        From such a turning could be strong enough
                                To toss the air as a shovel tosses dirt:
                        A fresh-turned field of breath. O gods, gods!
                                Who used to come so often and are still
                        Asleep in the Things around us, who serenely
                        Rise and at wells that we can only guess at
                        Splash icy water on your necks and faces,
                        And lightly add your restedness to what seems
                Already filled to bursting:  our full lives.
                Once again let it be your morning, gods.
                We keep repeating.  You alone are source.
                With you the world arises, and your dawn
                Gleams on each crack and crevice of our failure . . .
               
“Faith is the bird . . . That sings when the dawn is still dark.” (Tagore) If faith fails to take flesh in action, is it faith at all?  May George Floyd rest in the peace of God and may his family and friends be comforted by our compassion, care, and commitment to racial justice.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 25th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today, let us recall all the members of the Armed Services who fought and died to preserve our freedom.  Their sacrifices for us are numerous:  months and years away from their families fighting in strange lands; facing dangerous enemies; flying dangerous missions; hiding beneath the sea; staring into the unknown future; eating k-rations and drinking from canteens; waiting in caves and bunkers and abandoned buildings and forests; taking incoming fire; landing on fortified beaches — risking all for us with boldness and courage and determination.  We salute the men and women in uniform at home and abroad who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and made it with grace and nobility of spirit. 

We also remember today our modern day heroes in hospitals, in pharmacies, on the front line in grocery stores, on farms, in workplaces that are essential to the functioning of our economy, our police, our fire fighters, our emergency medical personnel and all those who are giving of themselves to help us through this time of pandemic.  These, too, are our heroes.  These women and men have also given their lives and are risking their lives for us.  We remember.

I thought sharing a verse from America the Beautiful would be appreciate for today, one we don’t always hear.

America the Beautiful

Oh beautiful, for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America, America, may God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine.

“Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm does bind the restless way, who bids the mighty ocean deep its own appointed time to keep; O hear us when we cry to Thee for those in period on the sea, for those in peril on the land, for those in peril in the air.”
The Navy Hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 24th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        XCVI, Rabindranath Tagore
C
When I go hence let this be my parting word,
        That what I have seen is unsurpassable.
        I have tasted of the hidden honey of this lotus
That expands on the ocean of light, and thus I am blessed —
                Let this be my parting word,
        In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had my play
        and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.
My whole body and my limbs have thrilled with his touch
                        who is beyond touch;
        And if the end comes here, let it come —
                Let this be my parting word.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 23rd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

IN THE DELLS, Jessica Powers

I have never seen trees so slim and tall
as these in the canyons; I have never seen
        such proud trees, so arrogant, so serene.
        I have never heard a singing bird call
        with such clear dignity as this flying crow
        over the water sawing the air with sounds.
Sunlight puts king’s feet on this royal ground
        feeling its pleasure where the soft ferns grow 
        I think if I stood long enough in this green
cool place that never again would I dare to be
        bowed by even a faint humility.
I think I would hold my head like a young queen.

May you drink in the wonder and beauty of the earth this Memorial Day weekend even as we remember with love and gratitude our fallen heroes cradled in earth’s sacred ground.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 22nd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                        SIGN AT SEXAGESIMA, Jessica Powers

                        I entered the Kingdom in Noah’s week
                                at the sign of the rainbow,
                        out of black waters  into the waters of life.
        I know my place; I can find my page in the ancient Scripture
                                as all can: prefigurement, a call
                                to pattern and fulfillment in the new.
                        With love I bow, with reverence bow before
                                my sacramental beginnings.

        My darkness was always rain and turbulent waters,
                a troubled world held in crowded place.
                My light was always rest on a mountaintop
                in a new christened innocence of morning
                        with all the world washed clean.
                The earth blushing with youth, dressed herself
                                in flowers and leaves,
                and over all the sign of the sacred rainbow,
                        covenant like a poem one could read
                over and over again and relish the meaning,
                itself arched doorway and a sudden entrance
                        to unexpected wisdom and delight.

Wishing you a restful, renewing weekend as we celebrate the official start of
“Summer” with Memorial Day Weekend.  Be safe.  Stay well.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 21st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today's word,

Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars of light,
are giving off the rich fragrances of cinnamon and fulfillment,
the long tapers of cattails are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders of the ponds, and every pond,
no matter what its name is, is nameless now.

Every year, everything I have ever learned in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss
whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know.

To live in this world you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

May 20th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

In the gift of this new day,
In the gift of the present moment,
In the gift of time and eternity intertwined
Let me be thankful
Let me be attentive
Let me be open to what has never happened before,
In the gift of this new day,
In the gift of the present moment,
In the gift of time and eternity intertwined.

Sounds of the Eternal, J. Philip Newell, 53

May 19th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,”

“We are indeed saved by the cross — more than we realize.  The people who hold the contradictions and resolve them in themselves are the saviors of the world.  They are the only real agents of transformation, reconciliation, and newness.
        Christians are meant to be the visible compassion of God on earth . . .  They are the leaven who agree to share the fate of God for the life of the world now, and thus keep the whole batch of dough from falling back on itself.  A Christian is invited, not required to accept and live the cruciform shape of all reality.  It is not a duty or even a requirement as much as a free vocation.  Some people feel called and agree not to hide from the dark side of things or the rejected group, but in fact draw close to the pain of the world and allow it to radically change their perspective.  They agree to embrace the imperfection and even the injustices of our world, allowing these situations to change themselves from the inside out, which is the only way things are changed anyway.”
The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr, 148

Blessings and Peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 18th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        VIA NEGATIVA, R.S. Thomas

Why no!  I never thought other than
        That God is that great absence
        In our lives, the empty silence
        Within, the place where we go
                Seeking, not in hope to
Arrive or find.  He keeps the interstices
        In our knowledge, the darkness
        Between stars.  His are the echoes
        We follow, the footprints he has just
                Left.  We put our hands in
                His side hoping to find
                It warm.  We look at people
        And places as though he had looked
        At them, too; but miss the reflection.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 17th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                LVI, Rabindranath Tagore

You hide yourself in your own glory, my King.
        The sand-grain and the dew-drop
                are more proudly apparent
                        than yourself.
The world unabashed calls all things its own that are
        Yours — yet it is never brought to shame.
You make room for us while standing aside in silence;  
        Therefore love lights her own lamp to seek you and
                Comes to your worship unbidden.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 16th

Dear Members of the College Community,

                        SPRING, Gerard Manly Hopkins

                Nothing  is so beautiful as Spring —
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
        Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
        Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
                The ear it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
                The glassy pear tree leaves and blooms, they brush
                        The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
        With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
                        What is all this juice and all this joy?
        A strain of earth’s sweet being in the beginning
                In Eden garden. — Have, get, before it cloy,
        Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
                Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, they choice and worth the winning.

Enjoy this beautiful mid-May day filled with “juice and all this joy.”  Even if you choose to walk outside alone, you are not alone.  You are surrounded everywhere by new life. If hidden in trees, sweet sounds give it away; if burrowing in the earth, scurrying betrays its presence; if still, fearful standing, it allows your still standing gaze; if buzzing by, it warns you to beware; if hopping happily past, it warms your heart.  New life awakes each day in spring, “a strain of earth’s sweet being in the beginning.”

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 15th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

ETERNITY, William Blake

He who bends to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Live’s in eternity’s sunrise.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 14th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

“When we enter into the world of vulnerability, we stand at a precarious threshold.  Anything could happen to us.  We are brought through such times by grace alone. In the inner work of personal integration, memory offers us the light by which to decipher the hand of providence secretly leading us through these forlorn and desperate landscapes.  It is the paradox of spiritual growth that through such bleak winter journeys we eventually come through a hidden door into a bright field of springtime that we could never have discovered otherwise.  This is the heart of the mystical.  It is not about building protectionist armour of prayer and religion; it is  rather, the courage for absolute divestment.  In the sheer vulnerability of Nothingness everything becomes possible in a new way, but there is an immense temptation to flee back to the shelter of old complacency.  Now could be the most important moment in life to steel our courage and enter the risk of change.  Meister Eckhart says: ‘Stand still and do not waver from your emptiness; for at this time you can turn away, never to turn back again.’”
Beauty, John O’Donohue, 173

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 13th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

“While the beauty of nature awakens and fills our senses, the Eros of the human mind always desires to make a deeper voyage and explore the forms in which beauty dwells among us.  It is one of the lovely ironies that our thinking about beauty has also revealed much about the beauty of thought itself.  Thought is an amazing thing:  it can be a mirror, a lens, a bridge, a wall, a window, a ladder or a house.  There is nothing in the world that has the cutting edge of a new thought.  It is fascinating to watch the clearance it can make and the new life it can bring.  Often, without knowing it, we are waiting for a new idea to come and cut us free from our entanglement.  When the idea is true and the space is ready for it, the idea overtakes everything.  With grace-like swiftness, it descends and claims recognition; it cannot be returned or reversed.  It becomes more forceful than any single action could be.  Indeed, it becomes the mother of a whole new sequence of new feelings, thinking and action.  Though we live mostly in the invisible world and our personalities, roles and work distinguish and identify us externally, we dwell more forcefully elsewhere.  A person can dwell inside a thought.  Sometimes a thought is the most intimate and sacred temple, a place where the silence of the earth is wed to the fire of heaven.”  Beauty, John O’Donohue, 43

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 12th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

IN WHOM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING,
                                Denise Levertov

                Birds afloat in air’s current,
        sacred breath?  No, not breath of God,
                it seems, but God
        the air enveloping the whole
                globe of being.
        It’s we who breathe, in, out, in,
        the sacred, leaves astir, our wing
        rising, ruffled — but only the saints
                take flight.  We cower
        in cliff-crevice or edge out gingerly
        on branches close to the nest.  The wind
        marks the passage of holy ones riding
        the ocean of air.  Slowly their wake
                        reaches us, rocks us.
                        But storm or still,
                numb or poised in attention
                we inhale, exhale, inhale
                encompassed, encompassed.

Do we dare to ride the wind today, trusting where it will take us and let us land?  Or will we sit safely on the branch nearest our nest certain that we can scramble to security if the wind becomes too strong? 

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 10th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                LXXXIII, Rabindranath Tagore

                I feel that all the stars shine in me.
        The world breaks into my life like a flood.
                The flowers blossom in my body.
                        All the youthfulness
                of land and water smokes
                like an incense in my heart;
                And the breath of all things
                        plays on my thoughts
                                as on a flute.

Ah! To see and feel and taste the world as does the poet.  To be overcome by beauty is truly a gift God gives to those who know how to see beyond the surface and dive into the depths of all that is to discover, at the heart of each element in the universe, the Heart of all that is.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 9th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Happy Mother’s Day to all among us who have given the gift of life and nurtured and nourished and sustained it.  Today’s word,

FIAT, Robert F. Moreau

On her bed of doubt,       
in wrinkled night garment,
she sat, glancing with fear
at a golden shaft of streaming light,
pondering perhaps, “Was this
but a sequel to a dream?”
The light too bright for disbelief,
yet its silence eased not her trembling.
Somehow she murmured a “yes”
and with that the light’s love and life
pierced her heart
And lodged in her womb.
The room remained the same
— rug still needed smoothing,
— jug and paten awaited using.
Now all was different
In a maiden’s soft but firm “fiat.”

We give thanks for every woman that, when her pregnancy was announced, said yes to the life within.  Yes, to the months of carrying a growing child and all that meant for her own quality of life.  Yes, to the pains of childbirth.  Yes, to the sleepless nights and sleep-deprived days and endless caring for a tiny, helpless life.  Yes, to the years of companioning and caring and worrying, waiting for new life to mature into independence and self-sufficiency.  Yes, to the lifetime of being a Mother in good times and bad, realizing that, no matter how old a child becomes, the sense of responsibility and concern endure.  Of course, it is also a YES to the JOY that is a newborn baby; to the DELIGHT of watching the little one learn new feats that raise wonder in a mother’s heart; the sheer ECTASY of holding flesh of one’s flesh in maternal arms; the PRIDE in each step toward adulthood, the AWE in knowing that this incredible person once was a seed of life beneath the heart. 

Thank you, Mothers, for the self-giving that gave us life and the unconditional love that energizes and enlivens every day for a lifetime.   The love we have for you is a bond strengthened by time’s passing, unbroken by the separation of death, renewed through the power of memory, and deepened through lived experience.  Have a truly blessed and happy Mother’s Day.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 8th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        “The light of a great thought is eternal.  Hundreds, sometimes thousands of years after it dawned, it can still illuminate our world.  Aquinas insisted that goodness, truth and integrity belonged essentially to beauty.  In light of this, we can see that much of the current cultural breakdown can be understood as failure of vision with regard to beauty.  Imagine:  if the mind of the politician and developer could awaken to the ancient integrity of landscape, it would become more and more difficult to damage the beauty of nature. If architects and planners could recognize how ugly surroundings damage and diminish the mind, then building might recover a sense of beauty.  If religion could put the beauty of God at its heart what refreshment and encouragement it would give and what creativity it would awaken.   If the beauty of kindness were to become attractive, it would gradually create an atmosphere of compassion which would help the weak and the wounded to transfigured their lives. . . .  Aquinas’ notion of beauty as the integrity and completion of a thing offers us both a wonderful lantern and a generous mirror to glimpse how we might bring the great ideas alive through our love of beauty.”  Beauty, John O’Donohue, 48.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 7th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

MY HEART LEAPS UP, William Wordsworth

My heart leaps up when I behold
        A rainbow in the sky;
So was it when my life began;
        So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old.
        Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

What makes your heart leap up?  What is it that, you hope, will forever cause you to be amazed and wonder filled? 

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 6th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                PRIMARY WONDER,  Denise Levertov

                Days pass when I forget the mystery.
        Problems insoluble and problems offering
                        their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
                their colored clothes; caps and bells.
                                        And then
                        once more the quiet mystery
                is present to me, the throng’s clamor
                                recedes:  the mystery
                that there is anything, anything at all
        let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
                rather than void: and that, O Lord,
                Creator, Hallowed one, You still,
                        hour by hour sustain it.

There is so much to distract us from “primary wonder,” surprisingly even in the midst of social distancing!  Martin Laird writes about the “cocktail party” that goes on in our brains channeling our attention on the chatter, the superfluous, the routine, thus, keeping us from a focus on the “one thing necessary.”  The Holy Mystery reveals itself in silence, in the quiet of our hearts.  It needs no words, only our total presence to the Presence, Who in the solitude of our hearts floods us with the gift of “primary wonder.”

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 5th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                WHY I WAKE EARLY, Mary Oliver

                Hello, sun in my face.
        Hello, you who make the morning
                and spread it over the fields
                and into the faces of tulips
        and the nodding morning glories,
        and into the windows of, even, the
                miserable and the crotchety —

Best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens
                to be where you are in the universe
                to keep us from ever-darkness,
                to ease us with warm touching,
                to hold us in the great hands of light —
        good morning, good morning, good morning.

                Watch, now, how I start the day
                        in happiness, in kindness.

May today be filled with happiness and may you know the kindness of a warm and friendly heart.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 4th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

A MYSTICAL HEART, Edwina Gately

                In a still gray moment
                in a quiet lonely place
        may God’s gentle mantle enfold you
                and encircle you with grace.
        May her sweet breath brush upon you
                and warm your body through,
                Her gracious arms encircle you
                like a flower wrapped with dew.
                        May you truly know within
                        that you are God’s delight,
                and She longs to hold and love you
                        through you deep, deep night.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.”

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 3rd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        “Some who are tediously metaphysical might worry that all this talk of union with God blurs the distinction between Creator and creation.  Far from blurring this distinction it sets it in sharper focus.  John’s Gospel says we are the branches and Christ is the true vine. (Jn 15:5). The branches are not separate from the vine but one with it.  If the branch is cut off, you won’t have a branch, for it soon shrivels away.  A branch is a branch insofar as it is one with the vine.  From the branch’s perspective it is all vine.  Speaking of this transformation of consciousness that marks the moving into awareness of our grounding upon with God, Meister Elkhart says. ‘All things become pure God to you, for in all things you see nothing but God.’  John of the Cross speaks along similar lines.  ‘It seems to (the soul) that the entire universe is a sea of love in which it is engulfed, for, conscious of the living point or center of love within itself, it is unable to catch sight of the boundaries of this love.’  When life is lived from ‘the center,’ as John of the Cross terms it, all of life seems shot through with God.
        We might liken the depths of the human to the sponge in the ocean.  The sponge looks without and sees the ocean; it looks within and sees the ocean.  The sponge is immersed in what at the same time flows through it.  The sponge would not be a sponge were this not the case.  Some call this differentiating union:  the more we realize we are one with God the more we become ourselves, just as we are, just as we were created to be.  The Creator is outpouring love, the creation, the love outpoured.”
                                Into the Silent Land, Martin Laird

As the Psalmist says so beautifully, “we are fearfully, wonderfully made,” made in the image and likeness of God.  This truth unfolds for us over time as we learn “to see” and to contemplate the universe through which we journey.  The image we reflect becomes more a likeness than an image as we grow into the singular manifestation of the Creator God we are called to be.  We “put on the mind of Christ.”  We being to think like Christ, to act like Christ, to decide like Christ and, in so doing, we become another Christ, “open and powerless,” available to our sisters and brothers in their joys and their sorrows, aware that “Christ has no body now but ours, no hands no feet on earth, but ours . . . Ours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.”  (Teresa of Avila)

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 2nd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word in remembrance of all who have died of COVID-19.

IN MEMORIAM, Karl Rahner, S.J.

I should like to remember my dead to you, O Lord, . . .
                        My heart is with them,
with my loved ones who have taken their leave of me.
                There is no substitute for them;
        there are no others who can take their place,
        for true love loved the other person in that depth
where he (she) is uniquely and irreplaceable himself (herself).
        As death has trodden roughly through my life,
                every one of the departed has taken
                        a piece of my heart with him (her).

COVID-19 is tearing from us those whom we most love.  Some have lost multiple family members.  Some have lost both parents, some one parent.  Some have lost a child or children.  Some have lost a spouse.  Some have lost a friend(s).  All are grieving with a degree of aloneness our minds can hardly fathom.  There are no arms holding them to offer comfort.  No gatherings of friends and family to hold them up and give them strength.  While food may arrive, it is left on the doorstep with, perhaps, a distant wave, a joining of hands that says “I am praying for you;” arms wrapped around one’s own body saying “I am sending a hug across the distance;” hands joined in the form of a heart communicating “I love you;” words of sorrow, encouragement and healing shouted through cupped hands.  But that human touch — the holding of hands, the warm, enfolding embrace, the eye-to-eye knowing, the hand on the arm, the lips on the cheek — none of these are possible and so, overwhelmed with grief, many of our sisters and brothers mourn, cry, anguish, in the depths of isolation, in some cold corner of their soul.  Let us pray for them, sending the energy of our care, compassion, and love that somehow will become the strength whose origin they cannot name; but a strength that is real because the love we send transforms into nothing less than the grace of God fully present in the moment of loss.  “And death shall have no dominion.  And death shall have no dominion.” 

Blessings, peace, and healing,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

May 1st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE BRIGHT FIELD, R.S. Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
        to illuminate a small field
        for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it.  But that was the pearl
        of great price, the one field that had
                the treasure in it.  I realize now
                that I must give all that I have
                to possess it.  Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
        an imagined past.  It is the turning
        aside like Moses to the miracle
                of the lit bush, to a brightness
        that seemed as transitory as your youth
        once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

“Beyond the veils of language and noise of activity, the most profound events of our lives take place in those fleeting moments where something else shines through, something that can never be fixed in language, something given as quietly as the gift of your next breath.  Days and nights unfold in the confidence and continuity of sequence. Most days take no notice of us; but then every so often there is a moment when time seems to crystallize.  A voice changes tone and a deeper music becomes audible.   A gaze holds and a hidden presence is glimpsed.”  Beauty, John O’Donohue, 16

Happy Friday!

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

Read Sister's Daily Thoughts for May
April 2020

April 30th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

SEEING THINGS, James Carroll

                                I.
                I have a hardest saying
                        to say you softly.
        Be credulous in listening if you can.
                If not, then listen at least, linger
                times out of testing bubbles
        and boulevards of your expectancy.
                        What I have to say
                        is what I saw again
                                low in the sky,
                low beneath huckleberries
                on the horizon under a bush
                                where I lay.
                I saw it, hard as any twig,
                        clear as the star
                that twitters mornings
        through embracing mists of dew.
                Pure as any bell it rang.
        Listen, I saw, heard, felt, tasted
                        cried for someone
                        to come and see.
Be there with me now under a bush lower than spider webs
        wet with night’s quick get-away.
        Hear what soft I saw, eyes closed.
                See what hard I say;
        one clear quick of eternity.

                                II.
                God, I’m seeing things
        spots of you before my eyes,
                lasts of new patterns purple
        in kaleidoscopes of quick interiority.
                Where light comes from
                when dark and tight with pain
        my lids are lashed together closed
                I do not know or think to care.
But seeing things low under bushes
                can be surprise
                after eye seal off
        supposedly sight and light.
                Where dark
        should biologically have been
        these lots of new spots of You,
all the old images out of childhood,
        all the new futures out of age
        dance a morning rosy round
        and gift me gently into smiles.

“Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch/in the allness of the universe.” (Tagore)

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 29th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

“It is impossible to be on the earth and to avoid awakening.  Everything that happens within and around you calls your heart to awaken.  As the density of night gives way to the bright song of the dawn, so your soul continually coaxes you to give way to the light and awaken. Longing is the voice of your soul, it constantly calls you to be fully present in your life:  to live to the full the one life given to you.  Rilke said to the young poet, ‘Live everything.’  You are here on earth now, yet you forget so easily.  You travelled a great distance to get here.  The dream of your life has been dreamed from eternity.  You belong within a great embrace that urges you to have the courage to honor the immensity that sleeps in your heart.  When you learn to listen to and trust the wisdom of your soul’s longing, you will awaken to the invitation oF graced belonging that inhabits the generous depths of your destiny.  You will become aware of the miracle of presence within and around you.  In the beginning was the dream, and the dream was Providence.”  Eternal Echoes, John O’Donohue, 49.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 28th

Dear Members of the College Community,,

Today’s word,

                A Blessing, John O’Donohue

May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter  
        the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers
        beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the
        courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May the warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may
        anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that
        seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
        around the heart of wonder.

“The wonder of presence is the majesty of what it so subtly conceals.  Real presence is eternity become radiant.  This is why the ‘sense of life’ in us has such power and vitality.  Our deepest longing is like a restless artist who tirelessly seeks to make our presence real in order that the mystery we harbor may become know to us.  The glory of human presence is the divine longing fully alive.”   Eternal Echoes, John O’Donohue, 96-96

April 27th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Most people don’t look . . .
The gaze that pierces — few have it —
What does the gaze pierce?
The question mark.
                Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Color is the language of light; it adorns the earth with beauty.  Through color light brings its passion, kindness and imagination to all things:  pink to granite, green to leaves, blue to ocean, yellow to dawn.  Light is not simply functional brightness that clears space for visibility.  Perhaps of all the elements, light has the most refined imagination; it is never merely a medium.  Light is the greatest unnoticed force of transfigurations in the world:  it literally alters everything it touches and through color dresses nature to delight, befriend, inspire and shelter us.  The miracle of color is a testament to the diverse, precise, and ever surprising beauty of the primal imagination. The intense passion of the first artist glows forth in the rich colors of creation.  In this sense, color is the visual Eucharist of things.  In a world without color, it would be impossible to imagine beauty; for color and beauty are sisters. As Goethe said:  the eye needs color as much as it needs light.”  Beauty, John O’Donohue, 82-83.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 26th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

MAKING, R. S. Thomas

      And having built it
      I set about finishing it
To my taste:  first moss, then grass
  Annually renewed, and animals
  to divert me: faces stared in
From the wild.  I thought up the flowers
  then birds.  I found the bacteria
      Sheltering in primordial
  Darkness and called them forth
  To the light.  Quickly the earth
      Teemed.  Yet still an absence
  Disturbed me. I slept and dreamed
      Of a likeness, fashioning it,
          When I woke to a slow
          Music; in love with it
      For itself, giving it freedom
To love me; risking the disappointment.

How profound, that we are so deeply loved, that God so fully believes in freedom, God chooses to let us decide to love in return, risking that we will walk away.  We often believe God is in control of everything, when being a God of Evolution, the opposite is true.  Though God is present in everything, The Divine One works with us, not controlling outcomes, but trusting us with total freedom to be a partner in the unfolding of creation, redemption, and salvation.  God makes us in the Divine Image and gives us a lifetime to become the Image we reflect.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 25th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE UNIVERSE IS A GREEN DRAGON, Brian Swimme

                        That star could not, by itself,
                become aware of its own beauty or sacrifice.
But the star can, through us, reflect back on itself.  In a sense,
                                YOU ARE THE STAR.

                Look at your hand, — do you claim it as your own?
Every element was forged in temperatures a million times hotter
than molten rock, each atom fashioned in the blazing heat of the star.
                Your eyes, your brain, your bones, all of you
                        is composed of the star’s creations.
                                YOU ARE THAT STAR,
        brought into a farm of life that enables life to reflect on itself.

We are the universe become conscious of itself.  What a responsibility we have to the life that preceded us and the life yet to come.  Our best thinking and our best practices, ideally, will contribute to the blessedness of all that is created and insure that creation can continue its long journey toward convergence in Christ with God. It is said that creation is the primary revelation of God, the first book of scripture, so to speak, that revealed God’s presence long before the great holy books were written.  There has never been a moment, when God is not communicating the Divine Presence.  All around us, in everything, God speaks.  Have we ears to hear?

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 24th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                Old trees -
How exquisite the white blossom
        On the gnarled branch!
Thickened trunk, erratic shape
        Battered by winter winds,
                Bent in the long cold.

                Young ones may please
                                The aesthete,
                                But old trees —
        The miracle of their flowering
                Against such odds —
                                Bring healing.

                Let us praise them,
                And sing hosannas
        As the small buds grow red
                Just before they open.

                        OLD TREES, May Sarton

“Take care to wonder at the world through which you wander, never hurry by an open door, for the world is a miracle full of places to explore.”  These are lyrics from a post-Vatican II hymn whose words  I don’t remember exactly, but they express the sentiment underlying the poem. These days, perhaps, our gaze can linger longer on the newly green leaves and the fresh buds of flowers awakening to spring, even as we continue to be aware of the magnificence of tortured branches and twisted trunks that have stood time’s test and bear fruit despite their age.  We are blessed by earth’s resurrected beauty.  Let us bless her in return.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 23rd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

“God, in all that is most living and incarnate in him, is not far away from us, altogether apart from the world we see, touch, hear, smell, and taste about us.  Rather he awaits us every instant in our action, in the work of the moment.  There is a sense in which he is at the tip of my pen, my spade, my brush, my needle — of my heart and of my thought.  By pressing the stroke, the line, or the stitch, on which I am engaged, to its ultimate natural finish, I shall lay hold of that last end towards which my innermost will tends. Like those formidable physical forces which (wo)man contrives to discipline so as to make them perform operations of prodigious delicacy, so the tremendous power of the divine attraction is focused on our frail desires and microscopic intents without breaking their point.  It sur-animates; hence it neither disturbs anything nor stifles anything.  It sur-animates; hence it introduces a higher principle of unity into our spiritual life, the specific effort of which is — depending upon the point of view one adopts — either to make a (wo)man’s endeavor holy or to give the Christian life the full flavor of humanity.”
                                The Divine Milieu, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

God is not only within us, but also in every action that we take, especially, but not solely, in the expression of the gifts with which we have been blessed.  God sowing with the farmer, writing with the author, painting with the artist, experimenting with the scientist, healing with the doctor, serving with the waiter (-rests), laboring with the laborer, singing with the singer.  God present with us whose intent is always to draw us closer into the web of Divine Life as we co-create the universe with God, who invites us to collaborate in the great work of evolution, as messy as it is, to unify in one common endeavor so to reach a common end — the convergence and divinization of all things in Christ for greater honor and glory of Abba God.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 22nd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word for Earth Day,

“Throughout my life, by means of my life, the world has little by little caught fire in my sight until, aflame all around me, it has become almost completely luminous from within . . . . Such has been my experience in contact with the earth — the diaphany of the Divine at the heart of the universe on fire . . . Christ;  his heart;  a fire: capable of penetrating everywhere and, gradually, spreading everywhere. . . .  Without mixture, without confusion, the true God, the Christian God, will, under your gaze, invade the universe, our universe of today . . . (and) penetrate it as a ray of light does a crystal; and with the help of the great layers of creation, he will become for you universally perceptible and active — very near and very distant at one and the same time.” The Divine Milieu, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, fn, p 46; 47.

For Teilhard de Chardin the most important lesson we can master is to learn how to see. How to see that “world is charged with the grandeur of God; how to see that “there lives the dearest freshness deep down things; how to see that all of creation bears the imprint of Christ; how to see that the “diaphany of the divine” shining forth from the heart of matter shines forth from us, first and foremost.  How differently we would treat dear Mother Earth, how gently we would walk thought this world, how carefully we would protect each element of the planet, if we learned to see that luminosity, that fire, flaming forth from the heart of matter and from the heart of “every kind of dear neighbor.”

Blessings and peace,

SIster Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 21st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

CREATURE OF GOD, Jessica Powers

That God stands tall, incomprehensible,
        infinite and immutable and free
I know.  Yet more I marvel that His call
trickles and thunders down through space to me;

        that from His far eternities He shouts
        to me, one small inconsequence of day.
        I kneel down in the vastness of His love,
        cover myself with creaturehood and pray.

God likes me covered with my creaturehood
        and with my limits spread across His face.
        He likes to see me lifting to His eyes
even the wretchedness that dropped His grace.

I make no guess what greatness took me in.
        I only know, and relish it as good,
that I am gathered more to God’s embrace
the more I greet Him through my creaturehood.

How incredibly heartening that the more fully human we are, with all of our faults, failures, and weaknesses, God loves us.  Despite refusing the offer of strength that grace provides, and stumbling in the process of rejection, God loves us.  The One who created us knows well the weaknesses of even the most willing and selfless among us and it does not deter the Divinity from spilling Its gracious and gratuitous love upon us. No matter our frailty, our mistakes, our egocentrism, God’s arms open to embrace us and welcome us home, time after time after time.  God just can’t help Him/Herself because He/She is madly, hopelessly in love with us.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 20th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word comes to you through one of my best friends, who shared this over the weekend.  He does not know who wrote it, so I cannot offer an attribution.  I thought this message was worth pondering.

The Latin root of the word “quarantine” is “forty.”

So what does the Bible say about 40?

The flood lasted 40 days.

40 years Moses fled Egypt.

40 days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.

Exodus lasted 40 years.

Jesus fasted for 40 days.

Lent is 40 days.

40 days for a woman to rest after giving birth.

A group of theologians thinks the umber 40 represents “change.”  It is the time of preparing a person, or people, to make a fundamental change.

Something will happen after these “40 days.”  Just believe and pray.  Remember, whenever the number 40 appears in the Bible, there is a “change.”

Please know that during the “quarantine,” rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air is becoming cleaner because of less pollution; there are fewer thefts and murders; healing is happening; and most importantly, people are turning to CHrist.  The Earth is at rest for the first time in many years and hearts are transforming.

So during this time, enjoy it with your loved ones and return to the family altar together.  Family prayer is a great blessing. Through prayer you will see the changes God can work in you and in your home.  Christ promises us that “everything works unto good for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28)

Remember, we are in the year 2020, and 20 + 20 = 40.

Also, 2020 is the year of the United States Census.  Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, was born during a census.

Lastly, 2020 is perfect vision.  May our sight focus on the Lord and living according to His perfect vision for us, knowing He holds us in the palm of His hand.

May these days of “quarantine” bring spiritual liberation to our souls, our nation, and our world.

The best is yet to come.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 19th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

CHRUCH OF ENGLAND (engraved on the doors of some of
                                                the churches of the Church of England)

        As if the floor
        Within were gold,
        And every wall
        Of jewels all
        Of wealth untold,
        As if a choir
        In robes of fire
        were singing here.
        Nor shout, nor rush,
        But hush . . .
        For God is here.

As we continue to socially distance and so are unable to gather to worship on this second Sunday of Easter, behold the spring beauty outside the windows, the precious presence of your children at play in the yard, the loved one cooking dinner, the dog lying beside your chair, the young person studying, the neighbor returning from grocery shopping, the news featuring the loving labors of health care professionals and other essential workers and see the beauty of the indwelling God speaking in a myriad of people and creatures to assure us, “I AM here as surely as I AM in your house of worship.  To bow before this mystery is to keep holy the sabbath.”

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 18th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

        Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only (s)he who sees takes of his (her) shoes
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries . . .
                Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh

Let us take off our shoes for we stand on holy ground all round. Browning, of course, is alluding, in this segment of Aurora Leigh, to Moses encounter with God at the burning bush, where God reveals the Divine Self in a new way.  God is always revealing the Divinity to us.  It is the image in which we are made.  “Our inherent likeness to God depends upon the objective connection given by God equally to all creatures, each of whom carries the divine DNA in a unique way . . . Whatever you call it, the image of God is absolute and unchanging.  There is nothing humans can do to increase or decrease it. And it is not ours to decide who has it or does not have it, which has been most of our problem up to now.  It is pure and total gift, given equally to all.” The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr, p. 60

“Creation — be it planets, plants, or pandas — was not just a warm-up for the human story of the Bible.  The natural world is its own good and sufficient story, if we can only learn to see it with humility and love. . .  Every gift of food and water, every act of simple kindness, every ray of sunshine, every mammal caring for her young, all of it emerged from this original and intrinsically good creation.   Humans were meant to know and enjoy this ever-present reality, a reality we too often fail to praise, or maybe worse, ignore and take for granted.”   The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr, p. 58.  To truly see is to recognize that fire of God in every bush, in all creation, and, especially, in every human heart.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 17th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”
        A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

This quote struck so deep a chord in me when I first read it that I still remember the page number where it is found.  For me it expresses both hope and challenge. Hope, because while failure and missteps are inescapable, they do not have to be an end but a beginning.  The challenge is to learn and change because of the lessons learned in our darker moments.  Honestly staring down our failures and weaknesses, owning them for what they are, working to grow from our new knowledge makes us “strong at the broken places.” 

April 16th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

SUDDENLY, R.S. Thomas

Suddenly after long silence
        he has become voluble.
He addresses me from a myriad
        directions with the fluency
        of water, the articulateness
of green leaves; and I the genes,
        too, the components
        of my existence.  The rock,
so long speechless, is the library
        of his poetry.  He sings to me
        in the chair-saw, writes
        with the surgeon’s hand
on the skin’s parchment messages
        of healing.  The weather
        is his mind’s turbine
driving the earth’s bulk round
and around on its remedial
        journey.  I have no need
to despair; as at some Pentecost
of a Gentile, I listen to the things
round me:  weeds, stones, instruments,
        the machine itself, all
speaking to me in the vernacular
        of the purposes of One who is.

The resurrected Christ reaches to the starry distances of the universe irradiating every element with the splendor of his Risen Presence.  The Resurrection is not an event localized to earth, but a universe shattering transformation infusing everything with a transfiguring likeness to the Christ Who is God.  “Christ is in everything and in everything Christ is all.” (Colossians 3:11) The resurrection opens our eyes to recognize the Christ who suddenly is everywhere.  There is nowhere, where Christ is not.  “He dwells, all of Him dwells, within the seed of the smallest flower and is not cramped: Deep Heaven is inside Him who is inside the seed and does not distend Him.”  Perelandra, C.S. Lewis. “Lord, that we may see.”

April 15th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word for the College’s Forgiveness Day,

“‘Forgiveness is another name for love among all of us who love imperfectly? And who of us does not love imperfectly?’ (Henri Nouwen)  Why not recommit to this work of forgiving at this time when our world is counting on each of us to do out part to help light to triumph over darkness?”

 “. . . Forgiveness is often the most powerful display of love in action. When we forgive, we acknowledge that there is, in fact, something to forgive - a mistake, an offense, an error - but instead of reverting to the survival mode, we release the offending party from any need for punishment or recrimination.  In so doing, we bear witness to the Ever Risen and Always Loving Christ . . . .   Un-forgiveness lives in a repetitive past, which it cannot let go of.  But forgiveness is a largeness of soul, without which there is no future or creative action — only the repetition of old story lines, remembered hurts, and every-increasing claims of victimhood for all concerned.

An eagerness and readiness to love is the ultimate freedom and future.  When you’ve been included in the spaciousness of divine love, there is just no room for human punishment, vengeance, rash judgment, or calls for retribution.  We certainly see none of this small-mindedness in the Risen Christ after his own rejection, betrayal, and cruel death; we don’t see it even from his inner circle, or in the whole New Testament.  I really cannot imagine a larger more spacious way to live.  Jesus’ death and resurrection event was a game changer for history. . .   Forgiveness might just be the very best description of what God’s goodness engenders in humanity.”  The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr, 71-72.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 14th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

Whatever did not fit in
with my plan did lie
within the plan of God.
I have an ever deeper
and firmer belief that
nothing is merely an
accident when seen in the
light of God, that my
whole life down to the in
smallest details has been
marked out for me in the
plan of Divine Providence
and has a completely coherent
meaning in God’s
all-seeing eyes. And so
I am beginning to rejoice
In the light of glory
wherein this meaning will
be unveiled to me.
         Edith Stein

We find ourselves in a costly moment that none of us would have chosen. Obviously, the current situation was not part of our plans for this year. The unexpected caught us off-guard and created uncertainty about the present and future. This is a very uncomfortable place to be. Every generation is tested and challenged. This is our test. “We must be still and still moving/Into another intensity/For a further Union, a deeper communion.”  T.S. Eliot  As women and men of faith, we realize we are shapers of a plan larger than any one of us or all of us together. We are co-creators with God, who are allowed only glimpses of the divine plan, which is still unfolding.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 13th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE SERVANT-GIRL AT EMMAUS, Denise Levertov

                        She listens, listens, holding
                        her breath, Surely that voice
                                is his - the one
        who had look at her, once, across the crowd,
                        as no one ever had looked?
                Had seen her?  Had spoken as if to her?

                        Surely those hands were his,
                taking the platter of bread from hers just now?
                Hands he’d laid on the dying and made them well?

                                        Surely that face - ?

                The man they’d crucified for sedition and blasphemy.
                The man whose body disappeared from the tomb.
The man it was rumored now some women had seen this morning, alive?

                Those who had brought this stranger home to their table
                        don’t recognize yet with whom they sit.
                        But she in the kitchen, absently touching
                                the wine jug she’s to take it,
                        a young Black servant intently listening,

                                        swings round and sees
                                        the light around him
                                                and is sure.

“Christ is in everything and in everything he is all.”  So Saint Paul tells us. Yet how often we miss seeing him in all those places, things, and people that daily surround us.  Amazingly, how clearly we see Christ now in doctors, nurses, hospital staff, police, firefighters, grocery workers, mail deliverers, farmers, truckers, gas station attendants, shippers at major outlets, and on goes the list; the list of those risking their lives to save others, those risking their lives so our basic needs are met, those living the Passion of Jesus each day for us.  How wonderfully real the presence of Christ is to us this Easter in the extraordinary sacrifices of our dear neighbors. 

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 12th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word, April 12, 2020, Easter Sunday,

                ONLY ONE VOICE, Jessica Powers

                        Only one voice,
                        but it was singing
And the words danced and as they danced held high —
        oh, with what grace! - their lustrous bowls of joy.
                Even in the dark we knew they danced, but we -
        none of us - touched the hem of what would happen.
                Somewhere around a whirl, swirl, a pirouette,
                        the bowls flew and spilled,
        and we were drenched, drenched to the dry bone
                        in our miserable night.
                                Only one voice,
                but morning lay awake in her bed and listened,
                        and then was out and racing over the hills
                                to hear and see.
        And water and light and air and the tall trees
                and people, young and old, began to hum
                        the catchy, catchy tune.
        And everyone danced, and everyone, everything,
                even the last roots of the doddering oak
                                believed in life.

Happy Easter!  Today we celebrate the triumph of life over death, of hope over despair, of faith over doubt, of love over hate.  Today, with Saint Augustine, we acknowledge that “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.”  This great feast sows seeds of joy in our heart, for though we are still alone in our “tombs” this Easter, we are reminded that we, too, shall arise to the sound of that “one voice” and find ourselves reunited with all of those relatives, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances for whose sake we have chosen to remain apart.  God is never outdone in generosity.  When the time comes to reunite, I believe it will be accompanied by an epiphany we shall remember for our life times.

Easter joy and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 11th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word, April 11, 2020, Holy Saturday,

“When someone we love dies, it is strange coming to terms with their disappearance.  At death it becomes clear how invisible a person’s life really is.  The body still remains somewhat visible.  But it has already become empty and is crossing the threshold into its own transformation.  The crucial event is that the life of person has now departed.  Like a candle blown out, the flame has vanished.  This was the old philosophical question:  where does the flame go, when the candle is blown out?  In one, unseen swiftness the life goes out.  We see nothing.  It seems that the essence of a person, the spirit which pervades every pore and cell and is expressed in every thought, feeling and act, can withdraw in one sweep like a wave from the shoreline.  It is strange that something which was invisible in the first place can actually vanish and cause the ultimate collapse of everything:  the memory, the breath, the body, the thoughts, the knowing, the Eros, the dreams and the eyes and the touch.  Nowhere else in creation does an ending take so much with one stroke.  Quantitatively in terms of objects there are larger endings.  Yet because the object called the human body holds a world that death stops, it is an incredible event.  Death is the end of a world; it unravels a unique geography of feeling, tenderness, creativity, sorrow, doubt and shadow; it all comes apart like a piece of knitting unraveling, stitch by stitch.”  Beauty, John O’Donohue

For the disciples, the death of Jesus was a cataclysmic event.  Not only did their friend and leader die, but also their dreams and hopes.  Moreover, they were overcome with fear of what the Jewish leaders might do to them and so they huddled and hid together for safety’s sake, much like what we are now doing.  It is sometimes difficult for us to remember that on Holy Saturday, the disciples were in deep mourning, tasting the loss of the one in whom they had placed all their hopes.  They had no idea that he would rise from the dead.  For them, the day after the crucifixion was an experience of that unparalleled emptiness and grief that overpowers us when someone we love dies. Today, we can suspend our knowledge of the incredible outcome of Jesus’ death, and sit in the upper room with Mary and the disciples and allow ourselves to experience the brokenness, the remorse, the helplessness, the horror, the anguish, and the heartbreak that thickened their silence with dread.  For them, Jesus is dead never again to be seen.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 10th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word, April 10, 2020, Good Friday:

And even in our sleep
pain that cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
and in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom to us
by the awful grace of God.
                Aeschylus

As we observe Good Friday this year, all of us, as citizens of a global community, are experiencing the pain of sacrifice for the good of others, the sadness of the loss of our daily routines, compassion for those whose dreams have been put on hold,  the loneliness of isolation from family and friends, the grief for those who have died and are dying.  In a very real sense, we share the cross with Jesus and like Jesus, we are held captive by moments of uncertainty;  uncertainty about what the future holds for us individually and as a community.  Jesus died not knowing there would be an Easter Sunday.  We have the comfort of knowing there was and, yet, we wonder what kind of resurrection will there be for us after the pandemic?  I suggest that today, Good Friday, we sit with the discomfort of uncertainty and plumb the depths of its meaning and, in so doing, join our hearts with that of Jesus on the cross who, while he did not know the outcome, trusted that, with ABBA God, there is always a “future full of hope.”

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 9th

Dear Members of the College Community,

THE KINGDOM, R.S. Thomas

        It’s a long way off but inside it
There are quite different things going on:
        Festivals at which the poor man
        is king and the consumptive is
Healed, mirrors in which the blind look
        at themselves and love looks at them
        back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured
        by life.  It’s a long way off, but to get
        there takes no time and admission
        is free.  If you will purge yourself
        of desire, and present yourself with
Your need only and the simple offering
        of your faith, green as a leaf.

The charism of the Sisters of Saint Joseph is “unioning love” as witnessed through service to and inclusion of “every kind of dear neighbor without distinction.”  On this Holy Thursday, when we commemorate the greatest feast of love ever given to us, let us focus on the power and energy of love to transform everyone it touches.  Think of our broken world yearning for unity and healing.  Perhaps, if you have one, take a globe gently in your hands, or tenderly picture in your imagination the view of earth from space, and send to the world’s people the energy of your love.  Who knows what that love will change?  Who knows who might be healed? Who knows what might be transformed?  Perhaps, even we will be different because we showered the gift of our love upon the global community. “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, (wo)man will have discovered fire.”  Teilhard de Chardin

Peace and blessings.  Stay well.

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 8th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

                It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
                the taint in our own selves, that awe
        cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
                not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
                        to no innocent form
                but to this creature vainly sure
                it and no other is god-like, God
                (out of compassion for our ugly
                        failure to evolve) entrusts,
                as guest, as brother, the Word.

                        On the Mystery of Incarnation, Denise Levertov

Let us continue to pray for one another as Christians journey through his Holy Week and the Jewish Community celebrates Passover.  While we are not in Churches and Synagogues this year, God is with us, dwelling in our hearts, abiding in our innermost spirits, in that place where we are most God-like.  It is there, in that sacred space, where we still can meet in the union prayer creates, in the heart of God where we are one.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 7th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE TIME OF NO ROOM, Thomas Merton

        Into this world, this demented inn,
In which there is no room for God at all,
                Christ has come uninvited.
But because Christ cannot be at home in it,
        because Christ is out of place in it,
        Christ’s place is with these others
                for whom there is no room.

God’s place is with those who do not belong,
                who are rejected by power
        because they are regarded as weak,
                those who are discredited,
        who are denied the status of person,
who are tortured, bombed, and exterminated.

With those for whom there is no room,
        Christ is present in the world.
Christ is mysteriously present in those for whom
there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst . . .
                It is in those that God is hidden
                        for whom there is no room.

This Holy Week let us be in solidarity with those “for whom there is no room,” especially those refugees who are unwelcome in the lands to which they flee, those suffering from the Coronavirus for whom there are no hospital beds, the health care workers for whom there are no PPEs, the hungry for whom there is no food, the dying separated from their families, and all those who bear a cross not of their own making.  May there be room in our hearts for each and all of these “dear neighbors.”

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 6th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

“In the practical order of life, if we have never loved deeply or suffered deeply, we are unable to understand spiritual things at any depth.  Any healthy and ‘true’ religion is teaching us how to deal with suffering and how to deal with love.  And if we allow this process with sincerity, we will soon recognize that it is actually love and suffering that are dealing with us.  Like nothing else can!  Even God has to use love and suffering to teach us all the lessons that really matter.  They are God’s primary tools for human transformation.”  The Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr, 207.

There is nothing so powerful as the energy of love.  Let us use that energy this week to send gentle thoughts and sincere compassion to our sisters and brothers around the world who are keeping vigil for family and friends suffering with the Coronavirus.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 5th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

TRACK OF THE MYSTIC, Jessica Powers

There was a man went forth into the night
                with a proud step.
        I saw his garments blowing;
        I saw him reach the great cloud of
                unknowing.
        He went in search of love,
                whose sign is light.
From the dark night of sense I saw him turn
        into the deeper dark nights of the soul
        where no least star marks a divine patrol.
Great was his torment who could not discern
        this night was God’s light generously given,
        blinding the tainted spirit utterly
till from himself at last he struggled free.
        I saw him on the higher road to heaven:
his veins ran gold; light was his good and breath.
        Flaming he melted through the wall of death!

The Surgeon General said this week is going to be the “hardest and saddest” for “most Americans‘ lives.”  We will face in the coming days a “Peal Harbor Moment” and a “9/11 moment.”  This will be a Christian Holy Week like no other we have ever experienced In our life time.  Let us join in prayer for one another and invite our sisters and brothers of other faith traditions to pray with us as together we courageously rise to meet what will perhaps be the greatest challenge of our times.  “Faith is the bird . . . That sings when the dawn is still dark.” (Rabindranath Tagore) As we lower our flags to half-staff, let us raise our hearts and voices in support of one another as lights to enflame the darkness.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 4th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

THE AVOWAL, Denise Levertov
       
                As swimmers dare
              to live face to the sky
            and water bears them,
         as hawks rest upon the air
           and air sustains them,
        so would I learn to attain
                freetail, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
        knowing no effort earns
      that all-surrounding grace.

May we have a sense of that “all-surrounding grace” as it permeates these days to hold us up as we wander the halls of our homes and wonder what’s next, knowing in our heart’s depths that “there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ.”  With God, all things are possible.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 3rd

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word,

No Man (Woman) is an Island, John Donne

No man (woman) is an island entire of itself; every man (woman)
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, a well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s (woman’s) death diminishes me,
because I am involved in (hu)mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

On this Lenten Friday before Holy Week, we remember and hold in our hearts and minds our sisters and brothers who have lost loved ones in these past weeks and have not been able to have the physical comfort of friends and family to help them grieve.  Let us think gentle thoughts and send comforting prayers to those who need them most.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

April 1st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word:

THE HOUSE OF BELONGING, David Whyte

This is the bright home
        In which I live,
        this is where I ask
        my friends to come,
        this is where I want   
        to love all things
it has taken me so long
        to learn to love.
        This is the temple
Of my adult aloneness
as I belong to my life,
        There is no house
Like the house of belonging.

       
        Though we must stand apart, we are united in a common cause, to serve and save each other from harm.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

Read Sister's Daily Thoughts for April
March 2020

March 31st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word: MY HEART RAN FORTH, Jessica Powers My heart ran forth on little feet of music to keep the new commandment. (O feast and frolic of awakening spring!) It would beguile the world to be a garden with seeds of one refrain: My little children love one another; so my heart would sing. But wisdom halted it, out far afield, asked: did you sow this seed around your house, or in the neighbor’s garden or in the nearby acreage of need? No? Then it will not grow in outer places. Love has its proper soil, its native land; its first roots fasten on the near-at-hand. Back toward the house from I deftly fled down neighbors’ lanes, across my father’s barley my heart brought home its charity. It said: love is a simple plant like a Creeping Charlie; once it takes root its talent is to spread. Wishing you peace and joy as we bid farewell to an all too harsh March, not weather-wise but otherwise.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President

March 30th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word:

                The evening was lonely for me,
        and I was reading a book til my heart became dry,
And it seemed to be that beauty was a thing fashioned
                by the traders in words.
        Tired I shut the book and snuffed the candle.
In a moment the room was flooded with moonlight.

Spirit of Beauty, how could you, whose radiance overbrims the sky,
                stand hidden behind a candle’s tin flame?
        How could a few vain words from a book rise like a mist,
                and veil her whose voice has hushed
                the heart of earth into ineffable calm?
                                LVI, Rabindranath Tagore

Thinking of you and praying for us all.  Stay safe and be well.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

March 29th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word:

The Flower of Love, Jessica Powers

“Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”
                Saint John of the Cross

Whoever first plants the seed in my soil
                hitherto fallow,
And cultivates the shoot with humble toil
                near steep or shallow —

They will be first to come upon the flower
                whose instant glory
        can recreate, in even this trivial hour,
                the Eden story.

Blessed are they who stand upon their vow
                and are insistent
that love in this bleak here, this barren now
                become existent.

Blessed are they who battle jest and scorn
                to keep love growing
        from embryo immaculately born
                to blossom showing.

Primarily for them will petals part
                to draw and win them.
It, when the pollen finds their opened hearts,
                will bloom within them.

May God’s blessing on this Sunday fill your hearts and hearths with peace and love.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.,
President

March 28th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word:

“Scientists have discovered that what looks like darkness to the human eye
is actually filled with tiny particles called ‘neutrinos,’ slivers of light that
pass through the entire universe.  Apparently, there is no such thing as total darkness anywhere, even though the human eye thinks there is. . . . Knowing that the inner light of things cannot be eliminated or destroyed is deeply hopeful.”
The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr, p. 14

May the weekend hold some good surprises for each of you.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

March 27th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word:

Help us to be the always
  hopeful
Gardeners of the Spirit
Who know that without
  darkness
Nothing comes to birth
  As without light
  Nothing flowers.

  Invocation to Kali, 5, May Sarton

On this Friday, may each of you be blessed in whatever way you most need.

Blessings and peace,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

March 26th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word:

. . . Make ready for the Face
That speaks like lightening,
Uttering the new name of your exaltation
Deep in the vitals of your soul.
Make ready for the Christ
whose smile, like lightening ,
Sets free the song of everlasting glory
That now sleeps, in your paper flesh, like dynamite.

The Victory, from A Man In the Divided Sea, Thomas Merton

Let us pray for one another and remember specially the medical personnel and staff who are putting themselves in harm's way to help and heal.

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

March 25th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word:

‘Little by Little,’ an acorn said
As it slowly sank in its mossy bed
‘I am improving every day,
Hidden deep in the earth away.’

Little by little each day it grew
Little by little it sipped the dew,
Downward it sent a thread-like root,
Up in the air sprang a tiny shoot.

Day after day, and year after year,
Little by little the leaves appear;
And the slender branches spread far and wide,
Till the mighty oak in the forest’s pride.

‘Little by little,’ said a thoughtful boy,
‘Each precious moment I will employ,
And always this rule in my mind shall dwell:
Whatever I do, I’ll do it well.

‘Little by little, I’ll learn to know
The treasured wisdom of long ago;
And sometime, perhaps, the world will be
Happier and better because of me.’

Little by Little, Anonymous

Have a blessed and peaceful day.

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President

March 24th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s word:

Broadway may be dark during these days, but the light never goes out. This is an old song, but it is a good reminder to us all that we stand together as one world in this moment of global crisis.

https://youtu.be/BdnteHS9bnY
 
Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale

March 23rd

Dear Members of the College Community,

A word for today:

Teach us to care and not to care
Teach to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
. . . even among these rocks

Ash Wednesday, T.S. Eliot

Blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ
President

March 22nd

Dear Members of the College Community,

A word for today: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

On this Sunday in an extraordinary time, please remember that, though you are scattered about the globe, you are held closely in thought and care by a bond that knows no geographic barriers. The resilient spirit of the Chestnut Hill College Community unites us in our common care for one another and the global community. Let us pray for strength and courage in these days of uncertainty.

Blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ

President

March 21st

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today's word:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

— Kitty O'Meara, And The People Stayed Home

March 20th

Dear Members of the College Community,

A word for today:

All shall be well All manner of thing shall be well By the purification of the motive In the ground of our beseeching Julian of Norwich 14th century English Anchorite

Blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ

President

March 19th

Dear Members of the College Community,

A word for today:

Hope is the thing with feathers - That perches in the soul - And sings the tune without words - And never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson

Happy Saint Joseph Day!

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ

President

March 18th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Today’s thought:

It is a difficult lesson to learn today, To leave one’s friends and family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week. For me the break is most difficult . . . And yet, once it is done, I find there a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea

Blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ

President

March 17th

Dear Members of the College Community,

Thought for the day:

“For I, Yahweh, your God, I am holding you by the right hand; I tell you, do not be afraid, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

Peace and blessings, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ

President

Read Sister's Daily Thoughts for March