Sunday, October 21, 2012

Native American Saint, the Lily of the Mohawks.

Those Catholics who know their history and the importance of Native Americans in America -after all, it is their country- are excited by the first canonization of a Native American woman.

Today The Native American Times proudly announced this

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Jake Finkbonner was so close to death after flesh-eating bacteria infected him through a cut on his lip that his parents had last rites performed and were discussing donating the 5-year-old's tiny organs.

Jake's 2006 cure from the infection was deemed medically inexplicable by the Vatican, the “miracle” needed to propel a 17th century Native American, Kateri Tekakwitha, on to sainthood. Kateri will be canonized on Sunday along with six other people, the first Native American from what is now the U.S. to receive the honor.

Jake is fully convinced, as is the Catholic Church, that the prayers his family and community offered to God through Kateri's intercession, including the placement of a Kateri relic on Jake's leg, were responsible for his survival.

Jake, now 12 and an avid basketball player and cross-country runner, will be present at the canonization, along with hundreds of members of his own Lummi tribe from northwest Washington state and indigenous communities across the U.S. and Canada who have converged on Rome to honor one of their own. It's a ceremony the Catholic Church hopes will encourage Native Americans to keep to their Christian faith amid continued resentment among some that Catholicism was imposed on them by colonial-era missionaries centuries ago.

“I believe everybody has a purpose on this earth,” Jake's mother Elsa Finkbonner said this week soon after the family arrived in Rome for the ceremony. “I think this Sunday Jake will define his purpose, and that's to make Kateri a saint.”

Jake, a poised, lanky kid who just got his braces off, seems perfectly at ease with his role in the whole thing, gracious and grateful to the doctors who performed 29 surgeries to save his life and reconstruct his face.

“It's a really special thing,” Jake told The Associated Press, flanked by his parents on a hotel terrace sofa. “We've never been to Rome, and especially meeting the pope? It'll be an experience of a lifetime.”

Besides Kateri, Pope Benedict XVI will declare another American a saint Sunday, Mother Marianne Cope, a 19th century Franciscan nun from Utica, New York – near where Kateri lived two centuries earlier – who cared for lepers exiled to Hawaii's Kalaupapa Peninsula. Another new saint is Pedro Calungsod, a Filipino teenager who was killed in 1672 along with his Jesuit missionary priest by natives resisting their conversion efforts.

The Catholic Church creates saints to hold up models for the faithful, convinced that their lives – even lived hundreds of years ago – are still relevant to today's Catholics. The complicated saint-making procedure requires that the Vatican certify a “miracle” was performed through the intercession of the candidate – a medically inexplicable cure that can be directly linked to the prayers offered by the faithful. One miracle is needed for beatification, a second for canonization.

In Jake's case, Kateri was already an important figure for Catholics in the Lummi tribe, of which his father Donny is a member. A carved wooden statue sits in the church on the Lummi reservation near Bellingham, Washington, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of the Canadian border, where Jake's grandparents worshipped and where Donny remembers being told of Kateri's story as a child.

Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” Kateri was born in 1656 to a pagan Iroquois father and an Algonquin Christian mother in what is today upstate New York. Her parents and only brother died when she was 4 during a smallpox epidemic that left her badly scarred and with impaired eyesight. She went to live with her uncle, a Mohawk, and was baptized Catholic by Jesuit missionaries. But she was ostracized and persecuted by other natives for her faith, and she died in what is now Canada when she was 24.

The Rev. Tim Sauer was the Finkbonner's parish priest in Ferndale, Washington – as well as the pastor on the Lummi reservation – when Jake cut his lip while playing basketball on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006. The necrotizing fasciitis bacteria that entered Jake's body through the cut immediately began spreading, and by the time Sauer arrived at Seattle Children's Hospital where Jake was airlifted two days later, Donny and Elsa Finkbonner were preparing to bury their son.

“At that point, we were desperate, and we were looking for anyone's help that would help our son,” Donny said, recalling how doctors had said there wasn't much else for them to do but pray, and that they had come to terms with the possibility that their oldest of three children might not survive the week.

“We wanted Jake back with us desperately,” he recalled. “But we were willing to give him up” to God.

Sauer, who performed the last rites ritual on Jake that Wednesday – four days after he cut his lip – said he immediately urged the Finkbonners and the congregation back on the reservation to pray to Kateri, thinking their shared Native American heritage and scarring diseases were relevant.

He said he did so first and foremost to save Jake, but also because he thought that Native Americans could use a “boost of faith” if one of their own were held up as a saint. Indigenous Catholics in the U.S. and Canada, he said, increasingly find themselves ostracized and criticized within their communities for embracing and retaining the Christian faith spread by imperial colonizers.

“There's been a growing sense of a return to Native American spirituality on reservations, which are good things, but at the same time along with that has been some criticism that native people should let go of Christianity because that was brought by the `white man' and should go back to their own native culture entirely,” he said.

He said Kateri represents a perfect model for indigenous Catholics today, someone who resisted the ostracization of fellow natives and kept the faith.

For the devoutly Catholic Finkbonners, prayer was all they had left after Jake's doctors tried unsuccessfully for two weeks to stop the bacteria's spread. Jake was in a drug-induced coma for most of that time and says he doesn't remember much, a few memories “here and there, not all of it.”

“Every day it would seem the news would get worse,” Donny recalled. “I remember the last day that we met with the whole group of doctors, Elsa didn't even want to hear. She just got behind me and was holding on.”

But rather than bad news, the doctors said the infection had stopped. “It was like a volcano that was erupting, and they opened him up and it was gone. It had stopped. It was a pretty amazing day,” Donny said.

It took the Finkbonners several years to realize that the turning point had come a day after a friend of the family – a nun named after Kateri – had visited them in the hospital, prayed with them and placed a relic of the soon-to-be saint on Jake's leg.

“It took years for us to look at the calendar and recall that this is the day she came, this is the day she put the relic on, this is the day the infection stopped,” Elsa said. “As the years of the investigation have gone on, little bits and pieces of puzzle seem to fall into place, and that's where it all makes sense now as to why Jake's story turned out so big.”

Jake, who bears the scars of his ordeal, seems all too happy to be the center of attention this weekend. But he seems keen to move on from his celebrity. He has basketball tryouts when he gets back home and his studies – he wants to be a plastic surgeon when he grows up. “Kateri was placed on this earth, and she has interceded on many people's behalf, she has defined her purpose,” Elsa said. “I think Jake has bigger, larger plans in store for him.”


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Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Mission: Hounding the Legion of Christ

Maybe it is an obsession, a bad habit, or a sin; but I will stand with my convictions.

I posted it on my more 'followed' blog page

And I am using my Facebook account, irishmexican43, for the most part, to update my "followers" on my daily life, experiences, and thoughts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notre Dame de Paris

Yes, we were there. Couldn't miss it. We enjoyed the beautiful building which has meant so much for so many, where great events have been celebrated, which is such an essential part of Paris and the Parisians. And we went inside to celebrate and to pray.
See the album

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Paul Lennon and Aura at La Madeleine, a true Parisian landmark


Another stage of this former Legionary of Christ in his full recovery from living in this cult for 23 years. Once again, thanks to friends and the kindness of strangers, to those who love us and the Father of all blessings. Small album

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

At a Wedding in Cerfroid, France, Aug 4, 2012

A collection of photos from our participation in friends' wedding at Cerfroid, France

Monday, August 27, 2012

Xavier and Virginie at Civil Wedding, 4 August, Luzancy, Seine et Marne, France

This whole day was a joyous event
with this loving couple
their families and friends
and many young folks from the couple's "past life" as Boy Scout and youth leaders

Saturday, August 11, 2012

At Versailles, Squinting with the Newly Weds

it's been a hectic week; after being in La Ferte sous Jouarre for Xavier's wedding we returned to Paris to continue our visit....we visited Notre Dame, braving the long lines to go inside -and pray- for all our intentions, especially for our sick friends...
We were not far from the Sacre Couer and that was another highlight for Aura....

On Tuesday 7th we made a day trip to Versailles to the New Weds, Xavier & Virginie

On Thursday we left for Lyon. a city we enjoyed immensely because it was less overwhelming than Paris and the area between the two rivers, Rhone and Saone, was very elegant -I love rivers
We took a short cruise up the Saone on Thursday evening...wonderful
Friday we took the bus tour and l'Open Tour as they say in French....stunning was the ride to the top of the Fourviere[?] Hill where stands the stunning Notre Dame...the old part of Lyon, founded by the Romans...Later with Xavier I remembered that St Irenaeus was one of the first bishops of Lyon....a wonderful preacher and teacher, a holy man....who pronounced the wonderful phrase -taken up again by Fr John Power in his books- "The Glory of God is man fully alive" [Gloria Dei homo vivens]

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Someone like you

The melody I can't forget and want to sing

Monday, July 16, 2012

 "Cardinal DePaolis, will you wake up and smell the coffee!"

Sorry for not updating this; but I have also been writing on Facebook, as irishmexican43.
Back at work after the trip to Montreal, CAN, where Aura and I touristed and worked at the International Cultic Studies Association annual conference.

All is well in Annandale right now; work goes on, doctors' visits take their normal course for a 68 year old white Caucasian, and I try to stay abreast of my various 'hobbies', including outreach to former members of the Legion of Christ, -this mission, begun back in 1985, continues to be my 'second vocation' with all the pains and happiness it entails. It gives me great satisfaction to learn that I have helped others 'break the bonds' of slavery to cult like groups within the Catholic Church.
Recently, the happiness has been heightened as more and more people come out of the woodwork to freely express themselves about their experiences with the repressive Legion of Christ and its Regnum Christi Movement. Much is happening now as Cardinal DePaolis, the Apostolic Delegate, tries to reform both institutions but seems to have begun on the wrong foot and continues to make a hash of things. So that is why we 'dissidents' just don't shut up. He is tip toeing around a real elephant in the kitchen and making half assed efforts instead of getting to the root of the problem -a very poisoned leadership and operational system.
"Cardinal DePaolis, will you for Christ's sake wake up and smell the coffee!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Off to Montreal, Canada, on Sat 30 June

Aura and I are taking part in the International Cultic Studies Association Annual Conference -Damage and Manipulation

Meeting with friends there also; we hope to tourist Montreal and environs and take a trip to Quebec; maybe pick up a bit of French or venture into speaking "quelques mots" -a few words, just in case you get me wrong with the mots piece.

Your humble servant will be presenting a paper together with Canadian, Peter Kingsland, on the Fruits of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement, the fruits being the Good, the Bad, and the plain Ugly.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

With Marita and Lalo's baby, May 2012

                                          Aura moved and her nose got squashed! Americans say "squished"!
Otherwise we had a great time playing with this wonderful baby, Lalin... "Little Eddie".

Visited my sister, Mary, in recovery, with her grandchildren

Dublin, Ireland, March 19th, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"The witty man and his joke..."

I love language and phrases
that stay in the mind,
and magically come back.
Yeats is great;
I read his Lake
Isle of Innisfree frequently.
And I remembered that little phrase
above today,
and sough out the poem,
a masterpiece
that made
me whole.

The Fisherman

Although I can see him still—
The freckled man who goes
To a gray place on a hill
In gray Connemara clothes
At dawn to cast his flies—
It's long since I began
To call up to the eyes
This wise and simple man.   
All day I'd looked in the face   
What I had hoped it would be   
To write for my own race   
And the reality:   
The living men that I hate,   
The dead man that I loved,   
The craven man in his seat,   
The insolent unreproved—
And no knave brought to book   
Who has won a drunken cheer—
The witty man and his joke   
Aimed at the commonest ear,   
The clever man who cries   
The catch cries of the clown,   
The beating down of the wise   
And great Art beaten down.

Maybe a twelve-month since
Suddenly I began,
In scorn of this audience,
Imagining a man,
And his sun-freckled face
And gray Connemara cloth,
Climbing up to a place
Where stone is dark with froth,
And the down turn of his wrist
When the flies drop in the stream—
A man who does not exist,   
A man who is but a dream;   
And cried, “Before I am old   
I shall have written him one   
Poem maybe as cold   
And passionate as the dawn.”
Source: Poetry (February 1916).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On returning to the Outside World after you leave the Legion/Regnum


Livia Bardin, who wrote an handbook for Parents with Children in High Demand Groups, has now published a Manual for those  members who are just leaving and are new to the Outside World.
Though more tailored to the American audience it is worth a read

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photos Paul Lennon's Trip to Dublin and Family, March 2012

With my cousins Edmund [wiife Angela], Joan, niece and my cousing Harry Lennon, my sister Carmel and me

The complete collection is on Picasa

Enjoy as I did the trip to present a paper at Trinity, spending time with family and friends, visiting the city... and watching the marvelous St. Patrick's Day Parade

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mission in Ireland, March 12-20, 2012

The Custom House on the River Liffey is just across the river from my sister, Carmel's, place on Usher's Quay where I stayed after my sojourn at the O'Callaghan Mont Clare on fashionable Merrion Sq.

One of the highlights to my trip to Ireland was going to a [Sir] James Galway concert at the Dublin Concert Hall on March 18th, at 8pm with my sister, Carmel,  and enjoy Irish Vapours and Capers by Lorin Mazel besides the well known airs.

First things first and the day of my arrival I visited my sister, Mary, who was in Cappagh Hospital recovering from major hip surgery. With my other 3 sister, Patty Coscoran, Carmel Lambert and Christine Creevey we had our family reunion around Mary's bed. It was a happy occasion as Mary was recovering very well.

The outward motive of the trip was a presentation at Trinity College's Theological Society of a talk on the theme of How Cult Like Features can be present in Catholic and other mainstream religious groups and it went down pretty well. For me the most important part was meeting with the some of the audience afterwards, former Irish Legionaries, students, and friends. I much appreciated the support of my sisters Carmel and Christine, brother in law Christy Creevey and my good friend and colleague, Aaron Loughrey. Mike Garde from Dialogue Eire was also in support and he forfeited his chance to talk when I ran over time. A reception was held afterwards.

Since then I have been able to mix tourism with family: besides seeing my niece, Ruth Lambert, again I was able to meet Mary's daughters, Liz and Kate, the latter with her two children, Rachel and Robert. It did not rain on the St Pat's parade in Dublin and Carmel and I had a good view of the wonderful groups. That evening we had a great visit with cousin Harry Lennon and Joan at their home in Rathfarnam where we were joined by Edmund and his wife, Angela.

Yesterday, Sunday the 18th, we had the visit to Mary and the James Galway concert. Today I hope to visit my 90 year old cousin, Evelyn and her husband Peter Corrigan, together with their daughter, Collette. And may even more relatives.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Latin American Immigrants and others Parallel Irish Famine

With Aura in Geneva 2009 for the enactment of Jean Calvin's Anniversary...folks dressed as Calvinists

Couldn't help but be struct by the parallels between this description of Irish professor O Muchadha   of Famine immigrants to the  what I know of Salvadoran and other Central and South American immigrants to the Washington DC area:

However, surviving the voyage was not the end of the hardship for Famine emigrants. In fact, for most, it was just the beginning of a new chapter of desolation.

“A great number of these emigrants had never previously ventured outside their own local areas,” says Dr Ó Murchadha. “Suddenly, they found themselves transported thousands of miles away: from a rural to an urban landscape, to a very alien social environment where the inhabitants didn’t speak the same language and, frequently, showed a deep loathing for their Irishness and their Catholicism. This was bewildering and devastating to them.”

Read more:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Biderman's Stages of Coercion with High Demand Groups & Gurus [from ReFOCUS, recovery page by Carol Giambalvo

Paul, Aura, Carmen y Jose in Geneva -free from coercion- 
at the International Cultic Studies Association 
Annual Conference

Biderman’s Stages of Coercion

Biderman's stages of coercion
Abuser's actions
Victim's response
Befriends the newcomer. Introduces to others with high praise. Monopolizes until other staff begin to reject. Warns of the perils of associating with other members of staff.
Deprived of developing social support with colleagues. Initiates total dependence on abuser. Acquires a false feeling of security. Confuses reality.
Monopolization of perception
Informs victim through stories about power alliances. Outlines superior knowledge and skills. Intimates that victim does not possess necessary knowledge and skill but may be able to acquire it through association with abuser.
Loses self-esteem. Doubts ability to perform. Self-blames for accepting a position because unworthy. Consumed completely by introspective thoughts.
Induced physical and mental exhaustion
Overburdens victim with time consuming and/or physically demanding tasks. Places unrealistic standards of acceptance on these tasks.
Becomes physically and emotionally too weak to resist or challenge. Loses ability to reason rationally.
Reminds of power over victim's workload, promotional opportunities, and acceptance in the hierarchy of the company. Warns with stories of the demise of predecessors who did not reach the acceptable standard.
Complies with demands to escape retribution. Displays anxiety about every action performed. Despairs of any change in the situation. Shows symptoms of depression.
Occasional indulgences
Praises victim's work in a public forum.
Believes they have finally reached the accepted standard and pattern of abuse will stop. Doubts that the abuse really happened because everything seems all right for the moment. Becomes reliant on the abuser for further praise.
Demonstrating 'omnipotence'
Demonstrates: Complete control over the victim who is taken for granted. 'Read my mind' expectations. Martyrdom for the company. Affects of being indispensable to the company. Claims victimization by those who challenge any behavior.
Accepts powerlessness. Accepts the pattern of behavior as normal.
Perpetrates derogatory stories about the victim on work and personal topics.
Feels disgraced and humiliated. Loses all will to resist.
Enforcing trivial demands
Continues to remind victim through innuendo, suggestion, and stories that demands will be complied with.
Accepts habit of compliance.
Developed from Biderman's Chart of Coercion in Amnesty International (1975) Report on Torture, London, Gerald Duckworth & Co.