Archive for March, 2007

Eight Day Silent Retreat – Beginning March 23, 2007

March 24, 2007

Hi Everyone:

This evening we began an “Eight Day Silent Retreat.” I have never been silent for 24 hour straight so this will be very interesting!

Fr. Frank Doyle, OSA, who is assisting in conducting our retreat, reflected with us that we have never been more prepared to enter into a retreat. He is right! In the last several weeks we have been exploring our experience of grief and loss, sexuality and affect, life changes and transitions, and learning to honor our feelings and dreams. Besides these topics we have been given three wonderful tools: journaling, the “enneagram” and weekly spiritual direction.

Please pray for me and my friends here at Sangre that the Lord will bless these next eight days of intense spiritual reflection and discovery. Please pray for our spiritual directors that the Lord will give them the grace to lead us through this wonderful opportunity to grow in our awareness of God’s great love and mercy.


I couldn’t leave you without sharing my third water color painting which is a study in the art of painting flowers.

My third “Water Color” Painting: “Dogwood” Flowers

My next blog will be published the evening of Palm Sunday!


Fourth Sunday in Lent – March 18, 2007

March 19, 2007

I thought this week I would publish another series of photos to highlight some of the wonderful experiences I had during the past week.

We had the opportunity to paint our second water colors this week. We were studying “silhouettes” in art. The painting of the silhouettes incorporated all the previous lessions we had in water color with the addition of understanding how to create the silhouette in water colors.

Second Water Color: Silhouette of a Man Walking His Dog

I was the main celebrant at the Mass that concluded our “desert day.”

Proclaiming the Gospel

At the end of the week two Christian Brothers taught us how to make “Ojos de Dios” or “Eye of God.” This art form goes back many years. The “Ojos” always symbolized good and prayer to an all-seeing God for good health, good furtune, and good crops or prosperity. As to its meaning and history, the symbol for the all-seeing eye of God goes back to the Egytians. Most primitive people recognized God’s all seeing power in some form.

Here I am posing with the “ojo de Dios” I created

On Saturday we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a wonderful party.

Our Grand Marshals all hailing from the Emerald Isle: Fr. Jim Nolan, Br. James Needham, Sr. Bernadette Healy and Fr. Chris McAneny

Everyone’s on their feet dancing up a storm

Br. Joe Schmidt points out the only green he had to wear

Br. Jim Scher borrows a “green” paper clip so he has something green to wear to our party

Member of my small prayer group: Sr. Cheryl Marie Wagner, Sr. Guia Jambalos, Fr. Richard Nalepa, Br. Jim Scher, Sr. Diana Hayes and myself

Here I pose with St. Patrick himself

Third Sunday in Lent – March 11, 2007

March 12, 2007

Well, this past Monday we had our second class in Water Coloring. We learned the difference between a “hue” and a “tint,” weepy brushes and happy brushes, subtracting, the use and combination of the primary colors (red, yellow and blue), cool and warm colors, hard and soft edges and the proper way to set up your “studio.” But after all the technical stuff we went to work on our first “painting.” But first we went outsde on a little class trip to view the sky and the mountains. We observed that the sky was a lighter color, the furthest mountains were darker than the sky and a set of mountains that were closer to us were a darker color then both the sky and the furthest mountain. Br. Joe Schmidt, our instructor, told us that in water coloring you need to first determine what you were going to put in the painting and where each object will be placed. Unlike painting with oils, where you can paint over and cover something, in water coloring you can not do this. I know that you can’t wait to see my first water color painting. So, here it is!

My first “water color” painting.

This past week we took a nine session course on “Sexuality and Affect.” We examined what the church has taught about human sexuality over time, what the Scriptures teach us about the dignity of the human person and how sexuality is a gift from God, we explored the difference between an “Addictive and Healthy Sexuality,” and other aspects of human love. It was our presenters’ hope that we would deepen our apprecation that our lives as celibates are not to be measured by what we have given up but, more importantly, by the call to deep personal relationships and the generative service we provide to the church and the world. One fun part of the course was the “triple dance” we all participated in. One person was the dancer, another mirrored the dance of the dancer and the third served as a “container” to make sure that the dancer and the mirror dancer were safe in their dance. Believe it or not, I was once the dancer, once the mirror dancer and once the “container.” Thank God no cameras nor video recorders were allowed in the room at the time. Thank God for “small” favors! Sorry folks, no photos!

Each week we have a “desert day” which is spent in quiet prayer and solitutude. This gives us a larger block of time for some rest, private prayer, reading, taking a small walk or hike on one of the moutain trails or some other relaxing activity. The day ends with the celebration of the Eucharist at 5:15 PM followed by the evening meal. The evening is open for some community time or additional time alone.

On Friday, we visited Albuquerque which is about an hour and a half south of Santa Fe. When we arrived in Albuquerque we immediately stopped at the visitors center that housed a museum that had a moving exhibit on the “Code Talkers” (made famous in the recent movie, “The Wind Talkers”). These were the native Americans who were used to communicate during World War II using codes based on their native language which the Japanese could not decipher. Most of these soldiers grew up in places where they were discouraged, or forbidden, to use their native language, and many of whom were not treated as full citizens when they returned from serving our country at the end of the war.

In another part of the museum there was a very interesting exhibit showing the different “pueblos” of Indians that occuppied what is present day New Mexico, the positive and negative influence of the settlers (conquistadors) and the positive and negative impact that Christianity had on the lives of these native peoples.

Later that day I had lunch at a Mexican Restaurant, visited the Museum of Natural History and did some window shopping.

Well, enough with words. Enjoy some of the pictures printed below.

Stained Glass Window in Sangre Chapel

The “Kiva” Room at Sangre (Named for the type of fireplace/stove used)

Part of the Rio Grande in Santa Fe after almost six years of drought

Stained glass window above main door of St. Francis Basilica Cathedral in Santa Fe (Jesus among the teachers)

Holy Spirit Window in St. Francis Basilica Cathedral in Santa Fe

Front Door of St. Francis Basilica Cathedral in Santa Fe

Second Sunday in Lent – March 4, 2007

March 5, 2007

This past week I had the opportunity to begin a “Water Coloring” class being held at the Center. It is a ten session course. Watch out Georgia O’Keefe! Anyone who is familiar with the works of Georgia O’Keefe knows that I offer her no competition, for now! The course runs each Monday afternoon for the next 9 weeks. We are learning the basics of water coloring. Now that we can distinguish between a paint brush and paint we can proceed with creating our own master pieces. (By the way I visited the Georgia O’Keefe Art Gallery in Santa Fe last week. Quite impressive!

I’d like to share with you a beautiful prayer that was used earlier this week at one of our community prayer services. It is called, “Heart of Mercy” and was composed by Joyce Rupp and can be found in her book “Prayers to Sophia.”

“My mistakes and failings keep me humble.
They chide me with their blaming voices and pester me with their mocking comments.
They badger me with their poking fingers of disgrace and condemnation.
They hound me with the blame and guilt and a thousand other recriminations.

Walk with me through my mistakes and failings.
Let me hear your understanding and merciful voice.
We both know that I am not a perfect person.
Assure me that I am not a bad person either.
Keep teaching me about myself, about life, about you through these characteristics I would rather not have.
Remind me that they are my friends, not my enemies, that they are my teachers, not my wardens.

May I befriend the unwanted parts of myself and continually learn wisdom from them.
Thank you for lovingly embracing me as I am, while the murky layers
of my shortcomings are slowly transformed into Love.”

This past week we have been exploring “Losses and Grief.” We were blessed with the presence of Joan Guntzelman, a practicing psychologist and popular speaker and author, who leads seminars about the experience of grief and learning to mourn our losses. During the seminar we learned how to reverence our losses and how to express grief and mourning. Joan invited us to put together a “Loss History” (deaths, failed relationships, changes in assignments, etc.) so that we could review our own experience of loss and how we dealt with them in the past. These sessions were concluded with a very powerful prayer service put together by the Sangre Staff.

On Friday of this week we had the opportunity to visit a very popular shrine in Chimayo, New Mexico called “El Sanctuario.” The trip to Chimayo took about 45 minutes. “El Sanctuario” is called the Lourdes of America. The highlight of the year occurs each Good Friday when apprximately 25,000 – 30,000 pilgrims “walk” to this shrine from all over New Mexico some traveling throughout the night to reach “El Sanctuario.”

Below are some photos I shot of “El Sanctuario” during my visit to the shrine.

“El Sanctuario” of Chimayo

Rear Shrine in “El Sanctuario”

Sanctuary Area

Close-up of “Mayan Style” Cross

After we visited the shrine we traveled a short distance to visit “Ortegas” famous for their beautiful woven pieces. You can enjoy several of the highlights of that store by viewing the photos below.

Weaving Demonstration

Colorful Weavings

Weaved Pillows

Weaver’s Tool