The dawning of a new decade

All sunrises are awe inspiring, but this morning is like the whole horizon is on fire.

I am sitting very still, almost holding my breath, waiting for all this pink promise to focus on the ever increasing brightness where in a minute the sun will emerge above the distant heights hills.



In reflecting on today’s first Advent Sunday readings, I found myself trying to remember dark times and time spent in darkness. To my surprise what bubbled up was “womb time”.

We all spent most of our first years in complete darkness in our mothers womb and remember none of it?

Yet… that time was real and well spent.

We grow and grow and eventually grow strong and brave enough to venture beyond that original comfort zone. Nothing has ever been more rewarding than helping our mothers push us into the light.

So… why do we fear women and darkness? When do we loose the trust we had in both before birth?

Advent is mother Mary’s time.

A time of gestation, a time of waiting & wondering, patience & pondering. A time of anxiety & anticipation?

Many years later I again and again entered personal Advent times. And again, the effort was well worth it. The birth of each child opened new ways of seeing & being.

There can be no Christmas without Advent and the quality of each Christmas is in direct proportion to our willingness to take the time to breathe and wait trusting that at the end of each breathing out a new breath of fresh air comes out of nowhere.

Life is not so much about Faith or even Hope, Life like Love might simply be about learning to trust again.

How appropriate that following the feast of thanksgiving we enter the season of trust.

The Austrian Benedictine monk David Steindelrast defined gratitude as the feeling of appreciation that comes when “you recognize that something is valuable to you, even though it may have no monetary worth.”

Then… when we find reasons to be grateful each day, we will grow in health & self awareness, improve our relationships with others and eventually discover a true sense of fulfillment…

By Joy Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Advent we will see Christmas with new eye and trust that the best presents we can give is our loving presence.


Here comes the sun

Throughout today I will try to piece together the many moments of this 80th birthday.

To begin I remember the story of my birth as told to me by my mother.

In 1940 Dora Prohaska Braun gave birth to my sister Dagmar.

Dagmar I lived less than 24 hours.

A year later I was born and in memory of her was baptized Dagmar Ingrid Josephine.

The name Dagmar means a day at the ocean or a day with Mary.

In Denmark babies are given a Dagmar cross in memory of their beloved Queen Dagmar.

I don’t believe my mother knew that legend, I never heard that story until years later the wife of the Italian ambassador, visiting ohio, gifted me with a Dagmar cross. To this day I wear it together with the bridget cross given to me by my friend Lee Ann Massucci.

Yesterday the day began with a birthday text by my youngest granddaughter theresa and ended with a surprise visit by kids and grandkids including my youngest grandson Asher.

Josephine was given that name without Noelle realizing it was my own and Opa’s mother name, not to mention the name of my favorite baby doll?

So what’s in a name? Reflecting on the names I chose for my children made me remember deep connections one by one.

Eric was names in honor of Frank Celeste, Christopher to honor Arthur Braun, Gabriella to honor my Italian mom Maria Scrivanich, Noelle was named by Alicia Miller but in honor of Teresa of Avila, and Natalie born on father’s day was named after mother Mary while Stephen the youngest was named to honor the archangel Micheal and my mother, grandmother and sister Theodora, a name that lives on with Thea our first great grandchild. I could continue to reflect on the meaning of naming but will rest my case for now.


November 28th

November 28th is the first Sunday of Advent this year.

Last year I decided to keep my “advent peace tree” throughout the whole year, to remind myself that waiting and attentiveness are virtues worth cultivating all year long.

May this advent be fruitful and help you grow deep gratitude for our very lives and perhaps see the empty shelves in our stores as an invitation from the spirit to shop less and share more of ourselves this Christmas Eve.

Let’s together spend time reflecting gratefully on every breath and find more personal ways to share gifts and celebrate the birth of the Christkind this year.


Turning 80 Soon

Then what?

Simple gratitude especially for family and faithful friends.

November blessings!


Proper 26 B

In 1947 Following the end of WW2 the Red Cross transported me from Austria to Italy. To qualify i had to be the oldest in the family and badly undernourished. Since at that point the winners received most US food aid and Austria had lost the war at home food was hard to get even for the wealthy. So I deeply identify with families willing to let go of their kids to save them.

Many years later I left home again. This time to follow my spouse.

But as much as we loved each other, as a naturalized alien I never felt I fully belonged. Even after giving birth to six US citizens and welcoming 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, so far, the hunger for real home and sense of identifying as an outsider continues.

Despite gratitude for Italy saving my life and America giving me many opportunities to love and be loved, I have come to accept that I feel closer to those deserted and rejected than those who feel safe and successful.

It’s ironic that the story of Ruth and Naomi is often quoted at weddings without realizing that this story is not about spousal love but the love of daughter and mother in law.

So far not much in feminist literature has been written about that love?

Years ago my mother, whose English was less than perfect kept referring to Dick as her son in love 😉 little did she realize how prophetic she was. True love is never about the law it’s just true.

Thanks for a well done homily, Marie.