A Question

Earlier this week a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation asked me a simple question on the phone:   “Why haven’t you taken a stand?”   Pause.  “Why don’t you come here and tell us about this?”

I almost laughed.

I know I did that before and no one listened.

And I take stands.

 

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Being Blessed

Not sure what I want the college lawyer and his colleagues to know — they are a constant presence on this road, my everyday readers.  (Hi Vin!)

In the quiet time on the blog, I have been super busy other ways.  About every other day, concerned that my life cannot only be about me, I see what I can do to help someone else. Examples?  There was a persistent racial incident at a local store, and a store manager (Puerto Rican) who I knew could listen.   I talked to him.   I have a dear friend who had something go wrong and it was a mistake causing his problems, so I suggested how to get at the root.    Next door to me, a neighbor was in foreclosure, and her house is being cleared out and she was hospitalized through almost all this time.   So I went next door and found all the phone numbers on the windows that contractors and Fannie Mae leave on windows and I called.   They stopped.  They will wait for this lady to get her things.  (She does not want the house, just a few things in the house.)   Whenever I feel my life is too much about me, I do a check and make sure I do something that helps someone else.   It grounds me.  It changes my focus…

And me?  Among all the details about selling property and buying a house in Worcester (my plans)….., I stopped into places nearby to check in, visited and remembered.   So, there I am in a cemetery in Watervliet, NY at the graves of my Irish people in the anniversary week Grandma Kate died and Aunt Spunky died.  Grandpa is there too, and a whole bunch of people related to me for centuries.

And I could not find them!  I remembered you always see other graves that sound like ours, and you see them more prominently.   But we are plaques on the ground, the kind you can walk over and get completely buried in snow and probably have grass over them.   I couldn’t find them, and I stopped trying after calling my sister for better directions.   They’ll be here next time, I said.

So I’m there, with my dogs in the car in the shade after a long walk, and I sit on a grassy hill by myself and I call my friend Maureen, a Holy Cross alum two years ahead of me.  I called Maureen from St. Agnes cemetery….   I had not talked to her in years.    It was like all was present and just continuing on….  Maureen!!!  I  told her all about the past and current Jesuit crap and the retaliation from Philip Boroughs, SJ, the only Holy Cross Jesuit who retaliates.  I told her about the cemetery….  And she shared her experiences, a brother with a sudden diagnosis of a certain death from an incurable illness, and her best friend, a Jesuit priest, being screwed over at Boston College by the rector of the Jesuit community.

Without having to say it, being with Maureen on the grassy hill at the cemetery, I knew I had many gifts from Holy Cross.    I know those blessings are wide and deep and interconnected with many people I know and people I didn’t meet yet….   It will be good to be in Worcester and start my life there after three years of traveling…..

After I talked to Maureen, I drove home and located a cd I knew I had:   Missa Gaia (Earth Mass) recorded at the Cathedral of St. John Divine in NYC.   There’s a song on the cd that I loved when Maureen first told me about it, and I knew it again when I heard it a couple days ago.

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I didn’t yet find the right video on youtube, but this is a video with the original music recording from 1982 which is the same on my cd.  Skip the video, just listen:

If anyone else noticed, yes — this is the wordiest post since my introduction and I don’t care.    It fits this time.

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Harassment

I’ve experienced many forms of harassment at the Vigil at Holy Cross — from a low percentage of students and a much higher percentage of college staff — but I had not experienced it at this blog before today.  I am surprised it took so long.   Maybe it took awhile because most reasonably smart people know they can be identified on the ‘net when they harass.   I am saving this person’s email address and i.p. address — it’s an undergraduate that I am sure public safety or the police can track down.  I’ve learned to keep excellent records.

I know I am on the right track when people become so easily agitated about hearing the truth about Holy Cross.   Boroughs and his staff have engaged in one form of retaliation after another, so the leadership of the college is setting the standard for bad behavior by students and staff.

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“I have set my face like flint, knowing I shall not be put to shame”

Here is the full section from a reading today, Palm Sunday:

“The Lord GOD is my help,

therefore I am not disgraced;

Therefore I have set my face like flint,

knowing that I shall not be put to shame.”

It does not matter how often the executive leadership of Holy Cross tries to retaliate or shun me.  I will survive.

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Back to the Vigil

I was at Holy Cross yesterday — and it was a great day.   I spoke with faculty, parents, students, grounds crew and neighbors.  Many people waved or honked or gave thumbs up.   The worst thing — to show what an unusually good day it was — was a man shaking his head as he drove by, and he could have been shaking his head about what the perps do or what the college failed to do to report crimes to federal authorities.  I feel very confident that I will be there for many years to come since I see no effort by the college to face its wrongdoings.   There is always more retaliation, more animosity, more shunning from the leadership of the college.   I can handle all of it, because I know they will eventually be held accountable.

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Mom was in the Hospital

I haven’t been active at the Vigil at Holy Cross recently because my mother was in the hospital for the first time since child birth issues decades ago.  She’s home now, but without any clear diagnosis.   She had severe trouble breathing, but specialists say it’s not cancer and it’s not pneumonia.  There is evidence of trouble — x-rays showing both lungs full of some mass, which is assumed to be fluids.  But the specialists disagree about what’s causing what, and she’s home with constant vigilance of medical people.  No one wants to do a biopsy which would likely settle what’s going on because it would be hard on her body with a lengthy recovery.   Before this ordeal, Mom was super fast, always the first one out the door.  She’s trying to get back to being herself but she gets short of breath.

While she was in the hospital, I slept in my Mom’s room because I was the one in the family with the most freedom to do that.  I’m glad I did.

I’ll be back at the Vigil at Holy Cross very soon.  I would have been back on Monday this week, but I had jury duty in New York.

All of this time away has given me valuable time to plan for the future of the Vigil for Justice.   I used to have a ten year plan.  Now it’s a twenty year plan with some ideas on a thirty year plan.  I’m staying with it for as long as it takes.  No giving up or giving in.  I’m blessed to have had so much encouragement and some wonderful teachers who shaped how I understand the call to work for justice.

 

 

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Fistula

Fistula is a problem that affects many women around the world.  Usually due to difficult, prolonged labor and childbirth at a very young age, women are left incontinent after damage to their bladders and rectums.  Then they are shunned by their families and villages.  A small hut is built outside the village where the woman must live.  She is not allowed back into the village because she smells and leaks.  No one visits.  She is alone.

After praying, “How can I be sure, in a world that’s constantly changing, where I stand with you?”, I turned the channel and found a Nova special on PBS about women in Ethiopia who receive surgery for fistula problems and are usually but not always cured.   Sometimes when the problem is “fixed”, woman refuse to go home, saying there is no one there for them.  The Nova special covered that too and what the hospital community does to help.

They had me from the beginning, with this story of brave and shunned women.   Holy Cross has shunned me, retaliating in many ways, and I have to stay outside the gates.  They must think I am contagious or smell or don’t belong.   It has become a sacred place.  Many other women and men know this story too.   Using your voice is costly.  Using your intelligence is dangerous.   But in my life I have not yet encountered a problem that cannot be fixed, and for some reason this problem has called my name.  I belong in this place.

And then the college started focusing on my bathroom breaks, when I leave my signs, the signs that are so dangerous and frightening.   It really is a sacred place, that place outside the gates.   When I set up the Loveable Loo,  and poop and pee outside the gate, my heart will be with women who endure much worse, who light the way for me.

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