In OSV: Living Laudato Si

osvWhen it comes to the doctrine and theology of the Catholic Church, there’s always plenty to say and to learn about from academic, theoretical point of view. But what is both most beautiful and most challenging is always the living of it. That’s where “the rubber meets the road,” where the world is made better, where lives are changed and enriched, where grace and salvation is received and experienced.

So it was a joy to take on the task of preparing a set of articles for Our Sunday Visitor on the theme of “Living Laudato Si” — Laudato Si, of course, being Pope Francis’s recently released encyclical letter on our call to care for the created world. I chose to approach the task from four important directions:

  • What might it mean to live Laudato Si in one’s family life?
  • How about in the life of a typical American Catholic parish?
  • What does the encyclical offer to the spiritual lives of Catholics?
  • And finally, what is this concept of consumerism that is so prominent in the Pope’s teaching, and what does it mean to each of us?

These are questions addressed by the four articles that make up the “In Focus” section of the brand new issue of OSV.

And I’d also point out a couple of other important Laudato Si-related articles in the same issue. Be sure to check out Brian Fraga’s article “Is Clean Power Plan Compatible with Laudato Si?” and also Matthew Bunson’s “Pill’s Pitfalls Create Contraceptive Conundrum.” (Someone had fun creating that latter headline.)

You can find all these articles here — the link is to a .pdf that contains the entire new issue.

And as a side note, it’s good to see what amounts to coverage of OSV’s coverage of the encyclical from Mark Silk at Religion News Service this morning. “If you want to know how an encyclical like Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ works its way through the Catholic Church,” Silk writes, “take a look at the latest number of Our Sunday Visitor, the venerable weekly newspaper for the church’s American rank and file.”

I gotta say, it’s a great thrill to play a little part in helping Francis’s remarkable new encyclical “work its way through the Catholic Church.”

Mother Celestine of the United States

Back in 2013, Pope Francis formally recognized the heroic virtues of the U.S.-born woman, Celestine Bottego (thus officially making her a candidate for canonization). Known as Mother Celestine, she founded the order known as the Missionaries of Mary when she was 48 years old, rejecting the advice of her confessor that she was just too old for that sort of thing. This month marks the 35th anniversary of her death.

OSV has just published an article I’ve written on her. You can find that here. Here’s a snippet:

From the beginning, the Missionaries of Mary did not wear a religious habit, for the sake of simplicity and convenience in view of the difficult mission work that lay ahead. This was a significant innovation at the time, two decades before it became common in the wake of the reforms in religious life that followed the Second Vatican Council. In a 1954 letter to Father Spagnolo, Mother Celestine wrote, “I spoke with Bishop Fulton Sheen. He encouraged me and said that he was enthusiastic about the idea of our having a lay habit. He said we are the only congregation of this kind until now. He added, it was about time to change.”

Sister Rosetta recalls an early meeting that the Missionaries of Mary attended in the United States with members of other women’s religious orders. She said their absence of a habit drew curious looks from others sisters until finally one person said, “Do you know that this is a meeting of nuns?” “Yes, we are nuns, too,” came the reply, and it made for interesting conversation among those present.

Now recognized as “Venerable” by the Vatican, that puts her one step away from beatification.