Holiday Greetings & a Happy New Year!

The Tepe Telegrams

Putting down roots

They came to the Hill
Carved into stone,
Hunting with the group –
Or praying alone.

Whose Gods were they?
Sacrificing prey,
Feasting divine.
Sharing their sign.

Reaping those fruits,
Putting down roots.
Planting einkorn.
Our Age was born.


(Text: L. Dietrich, Illustration: J. Notroff)

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someday soon

Hello, friends. I’ve been trying for months to think of a way to resurrect this blog, because although pretty much no one reads it, I miss having the chance to write in it.

In the past few months, more and more sites have become partly or completely inaccessible to me, because of my last-century internet and old equipment.

I’ve spent two and a half days trying to craft an entry here, and in the end, it didn’t take. WordPress will not wait a few minutes for me to upload photos, and it takes so much time for me to get around the site that I think my IQ is plummeting, staring at the screen and playing endless games of Free Cell.

So, for now I just have to wait. How nice it would be if all the jawing about diversity and inclusion meant including people who can’t afford all the latest toys.

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vocation conflagration

In the past few years, I’ve strolled through quite a bit of material on the web devoted to religious vocations and religious life, motivated by several kinds of curiosity. Sometimes I become a regular reader of blogs which post more than the occasional “come and see” announcement or inspirational passage, and I appreciate the ones which really attempt to share some dimension of their community’s ongoing life. A blog is an easy format, and a difficult one, and even personal bloggers know the longing to speak freely which can lead you in the end to say too much. And how quickly it all becomes TOO MUCH online, where it stays around forever, for anyone to see.

I have very mixed feelings about the whole phenomenon of mediating vocations through the internet, which offers instant and continuous access, yet perhaps amplifies certain voices in a very misleading way. I mean, I think it’s an issue not just for those “discerning” (speaking of a horrible and overused word), but for the “press” of the church in general. Luckily it is not my problem! But even the best community journals raise some questions about the “marketing” of their newer members– young people who are, at least initially, in a very tentative and vulnerable place. When it comes to sites like this one, with its endless “countdowns” and fangirl squeeing over habits and wedding dresses, well…

But I hear you asking, “What are you doing hanging around there anyway, old lady?” A valid question, and I have to admit that I read a couple of blogs mainly because the authors are so obnoxious that they give me a negative thrill of superiority. I may have fewer readers (well, ok, I have no readers) but compared to them I am so HUMBLE. And irenic, and open-minded. And because the authors do have a basic foundation of learning and intelligence, I sometimes get more insight from them than I probably deserve. But browsing those previously-mentioned forums is basically just the equivalent of watching a reality show, and I don’t really have an excuse for it.

Most recently, they’ve exceeded expectations and offered us the spectacle of knock-down drag-outs around the theme of “I’m the Bride of Christ, and YOU’RE NOT,” led off by a purported CV (although her real identity or location is not available, at least to casual readers). I’ll admit, I’m still a romantic, and a, uh, past-ophile, and I love both the beautiful imagery and counter-cultural witness of the early virgins, but reading this thread makes me glad to be Jesus’ best friend’s homely sister. And if I had the impression before that the whole “bride of Christ” thing was a little out-of-hand on the net– distorted, and even, dare I say, cheapened– this has left me without a doubt of it.

I personally think the thread reached its apex with this comment: “Who would have thought there would be bridezillas in the consecrated life?”

Touché. Oh, touché.

It’s hard to stop reading it– it’s even more fun than Hermit Wars. But if, like me, you wake up ashamed and need to clear your head, I recommend this post, which I was impelled to go back and search out.

However, this whole entry came to be in the first place, because I discovered this lovely discourse, from which the following is an excerpt:

I think that sometimes we forget that married life and the single life are just as much a vocation as priesthood and religious life. For the Christian a vocation is not just something that God calls us to do, it is also the person God calls us to be. When Jesus called his first disciples by the lake of Galilee it wasn’t just so that they could help him in his work, it was so that their lives could be transformed through his friendship and love.

The blog is Colwich Novitiate, which was always a spontaneous affair, and now has only an occasional post. But I first loved it for the charitable and unaffected honesty it still retains, as it bypasses the veiled mania for status and commodities and addresses the concept of vocation with the grounded sanity of Benedictines at their best.

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idle hands are the devil’s playground

So, ten years ago already– how can it be that long? but it was– I went through a very hard period, and I took up a bit of origami. When I feel paralyzed, and overwhelmed, I find that making something helps keep me engaged, and feeling effective, if only in a small way.

Of course, if I’d known the rest of my life was going to be a “hard period,” I would probably have just laid on the couch.

Anyway, irrelevant. This is a tiny tribute post for the feast of St. Clare, so no matter what it says in the date, that’s when I started writing it. A woman full of love and single-minded courage, who would never have laid on a couch, unless it was, you know, upholstered with nails.

ANYWAY, also irrelevant. I got most of my origami ideas off of HGTV, which at that time had one great craft show after another, instead of twenty-four hour programming about rich people buying houses. Does anyone actually watch that stuff? I find it hard to imagine anyone watching that stuff, even rich people buying houses.

Honestly, I’m having a really hard time focusing.

I never became particularly accomplished at origami, but I learned a bit, and I can make a little go a long way. Just ask the twelve chords I know on the guitar. Most of what I made is gone now, but there are quite a few items I remember fondly, including Saint-In-A-Box. These were about a half by a quarter inch, with inlaid saint pictures, and, well, I thought they were awesome.

Everything I made was stamped with the mark of my fake company, “Fragments,” because they were all made of leftover/throwaway materials. Which were gathered up so that none would be lost. Get it?

It was very symbolic.

Among the few things I have left are a number of nun cards, which were not the kind of thing I usually made, but one day I was looking through a library book of origami projects, and I found an origami nun. This was just too good to pass up. There was also an origami Christ On The Mount Of Olives, but that had like 128 steps, if I recall, and was way out of my league. The nun had eleven steps; that i could manage.

I’m very fond of them, but I don’t have a lot of opportunities to send them out. They’re not very professional-looking either, as they were made out of stray index cards, with handmade envelopes to match made out of manilla scraps. They’re bristling with evangelical poverty and mindful use. I’m the only one who gets them– go figure.

So they sit on my shelf, and I don’t think of them, until one day, ten years later THIS PICTURE comes across… my Tumblr? I can’t remember. But I recognize it instantly, because that is exactly what I was going for.


They also come in Dominican and Benedictine.


Suspend your disbelief a little. If they’re not totally accurate, it’s the best I could do with eleven steps and some pieces of typing paper. I happen to love them, and now they’re getting their day in the sun.

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…we have nothing to give God, we have only our sin to place before him. And this he receives and makes his own, while in return he gives us himself and his glory…

Benedict XVI September 25, 2011

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