Remembering the First Earth Day – April 22, 1970

Headlines in spring 1970.

Headlines in spring 1970.

My memory of the first Earth Day in 1970 are vague. I was consumed with the task of choosing a major, required of sophomores at my small southern Minnesota college. The world was already crammed with urgent issues. Legislation for Civil Rights (1964), Voting Rights (1965) and Fair Housing (1968) was new, with frequent battles to implement it.  Political violence was a reality in America, with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy assassinated just two years before. Demonstrations, whether about the Vietnam War, civil rights, poverty, or other issues, often prompted armed responses. Just 12 days later, Ohio National Guardsmen shot 13 students at an anti-war protest at Kent State; four died.  Environmentalism seemed less urgent; many thought Earth Day would be a one-time event.

But students rallied and learned across the country.  We saw images of the Cuyahoga River on fire as it Continue reading

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Vocation and Transition


Dr. Kathleen Cahalan

I attended The Grammar of Vocation, a Theology Day with Kathleen Cahalan at St. John’s University.  Dr. Cahalan gave us much to think (and blog) about; I expect to post more from this talk.   Probably because of my transition from being a college professor into vocation ministry, the section of the presentation on transitions resonated with me.

Kathleen Cahalan organized her ideas around a set of prepositions that we can use with vocation. Most obvious is “TO” — God calls us to do or to be something.  We rarely think of a call — a vocation — “FROM” something. Yet, at least for adults, every call to something new is inherently a call from whatever one was doing before.

Every New Call Begins With Loss

No matter how exciting, desirable or welcome the new role or place to which God calls a person, that vocation also includes the work of leaving. Relationships must be shifted, goodbyes said, projects finished or given over to someone else. In western culture, we tend to Continue reading

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Welcome Spring!

Time to wake up the blog! It’s been dormant while I’ve let myself seem too busy – first as a college professor and, since August, as vocation minister for our community.  I never stopped writing — the student newspaper at our college, The Cable, offered me the chance to write a weekly column.  For the first year, I wrote “Ask a Sister”  but switched to Visum Monachae when I took on a broader range of topics. As I wake up this blog, I’m re-christening it with the same title.

What does Visum Monachae mean?  A literal translation would be “Vision or view of a female monastic.” (See why I chose the Latin?) I’ve always written on a variety of topics, and will continue.  But I will focus more on the “monacha” aspect — the place where the Benedictine monastic tradition meets up with the issues and events of the world, with cultural and arts events, with peoples and places.

If you’ve been a reader for a long time, I’m grateful that you’re still here.  If you’ve come across the blog as it re-awakens: welcome.


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