Re. Beatrice Bruteau

I have been thinking a lot about Beatrice Bruteau lately. This began while I was going through files in preparation for my move to PA next spring. Among the papers to survive the purge are several of her treasured notes to me. While I didn’t keep every note she wrote, I am so grateful that I did keep a few of them. Through them and her published writing, I grew to love her, and I keenly grieve her loss. (She died in 2014.)

Getting to Know Her

My awareness of Beatrice dates to when one of my sisters gave me Beatrice’s “The Immaculate Conception, Our Original Face” (Cross Currents, 1989). This article filled a need I had at the time, and I subsequently read as much of her prolific writing as time allowed. Because my religious congregation (Society of the Holy Child Jesus) is especially devoted to the Incarnation, I lavishly highlighted and dog-eared books like her God’s Ecstasy: The Creation of a Self-Creating World (The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997). It led to our first contact.

In 2002 I was designing note cards with sayings that I felt deserved attention. A friend gave me her address, and I wrote a formal letter asking permission to use a quote from God’s Ecstasy. I enclosed samples of cards I had created using quotes from Thomas Berry and Mary Evelyn Tucker. (I duplicated the black lettering, and hand painted or stamped the rest.) Her hand-written reply left me speechless: “Dear Terri, Your cards are very good! Here’s a little something ($25) towards production. Love, Beatrice” 

An additional note included her order for some of the cards I had sent her, an invitation to a conference she thought would interest me, an offer to arrange a ride if I decided to come, and the suggestion that I bring samples of my cards if I came. She added names and numbers of people she suggested I contact. I was overwhelmed! She later assured me that she was honored by what resulted, and she ordered many of these cards: 

The Cosmos is an externalized and manifested expression of the
indescribable reality that is GOD.
Beatrice Bruteau

May this GOD bless you always.  

Although we never met in person, our written exchanges continued for years. She told me about her husband, Jim Summerville (also a prolific writer), their move, their TV interests, her family…. Beatrice was always affirming and supportive as my endeavors expanded into a DVD (Wake to Wonderment), music, poetry, and group reflections. She wanted to know all about Sisters of Earth and the SHCJ EcoSpirituality Group and to get them better known. She invariably humbled me with her gratitude. 

I believe what Francois Mauriac wrote: “No love, no friendship can ever cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark upon it forever.” How blessed I am to have had Beatrice mark my life!

Getting to Know Her Writing

Beatrice was a luminary in the fields of theology, philosophy, contemplation, spiritual ecology, the writing of Teilhard de Chardin, Eastern faiths, developing and non-dual consciousness, feminism — and within each, exemplified her deep gift of opening up new lines of thought and praxis. Her writing demanded attentive reading and pondering.

I am currently reading a tribute to her that I highly recommend: Personal Transformation and a New Creation: The Spiritual Revolution of Beatrice Bruteau, edited by Ilia Delio, OSF (Orbis, 2017). The three sections of this book include A Dynamic Person; Philosopher and Theologian; and Teacher, Mentor, Friend. The list of Beatrice’s writings at the end of Ilia’s book exceeds 10 pages, so I won’t attempt to list them! Whether familiar with her writings or new to them, you will profit from the both warm and scholarly reflections in this book. I also encourage you to sample Beatrice’s own books and articles. For those interested in ecospirituality, Beatrice’s writings are a must!

Paths to Christmas Peace

Mid-September I met a friend in a major department store in Chicago. Although it was over a month before Hallowe’en and two months before Thanksgiving, it was already festooned with, and was selling, Christmas items!

If stores were in Christmas mode then, it is not too soon for me to post about the spiritual preparations for Christmas that the Christian tradition calls “Advent,” from the Latin ad (to) venire (come). 

Advent resource focusing on Peace

Each year I offer a resource to help individuals and groups prepare for Christmas by placing the mystery of Incarnation (made into flesh) within the universe story and current realities. This year my Advent resource is “Paths to Peace.” The blurb on my Advent Resources site lists it as follows:

Advent.2018.Paths.to.Peace – 12 sides

Explore the meaning of peace in the light of justice and whole-making; the inner journey and consciousness; obstacles to inner and outer (world-wide) peace; and a final reflection on Mary and Eucharist. An additional page focuses on the obstacles to inner and outer peace created by current weaponry. Each week includes excerpts from the Sunday liturgical readings, times of silence, awareness of divinity living and acting within us and our world, and suggestions for the week. Useful for individuals but designed for groups.

This resource is available free at Advent.2018.Paths.to.Peace.

Pertinent dates before Advent related to arms, violence, and the unity that prevents war

October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month, recognizing the need to collaborate in solving both sexual assault and domestic violence. 

Oct. 12: Indigenous Peoples’ Day, replacing Columbus Day (celebrated Oct. 8)

Oct. 24: UN Day and Global Oneness Day

Oct. 24-30: Disarmament Week 

Nov. 6: International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

Nov. 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Nov. 30: International Remembrance Day for Lost Species (cf. past grieving blogs)

Dec. 3: First Sunday of Advent 

Recommended resource

Did you know that Megan Rice, SHCJ, has been called “the biggest threat to our nuclear arms stockpile”? The following 15 min. interview with Megan shows her awareness of the threats of nuclear stockpiles, her total commitment to reducing them, and yet her ability to remain peaceful and respectful. Thanks for your actions for, and your example of, peace, Megan!

http://www.unabridgedpress.com/the-biggest-threat-to-our-nuclear-arms-stockpile-a-nun/

Suggested Action

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the sole and exclusive authority to declare war. Send a message to your senators asking them to co-sponsor S.3517, legislation that limits funding for active military operations in or against Iran. A few clicks can help to stop a war with Iran.

St. Francis Prayer Service, 2018: Who Is My Neighbor?

St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, is also famous for his concern for peace and his devotion to people suffering from poverty and injustice. Catholic Climate Covenant (CCC)’s theme for his feast day this year joins all of them: “Who Is My Neighbor in a Climate Threatened World?” It especially focuses on the interconnections among immigration, refugees, and climate change.

Many past blogs have stressed these problems, their interrelationships, and our place in the cosmos’ evolution. I feel no need to “convince” readers. Instead, I offer the outline of a brief prayer service that you can adapt in any way:

                                                                            Prayer Service

Leader: Let us join together to honor St. Francis, to remember the needs of our own times that Frances would surely care about, and ponder how his spirit and commitment can lead us to action. Laudato Si’ is permeated with St. Francis’ spirit; Pope Francis mentions it in the first paragraph of his 2015 encyclical: “St. Francis reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.” (par. 1) 

Take turns reading from Laudato Si’:

“Authentic human development … presumes full respect for the human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us and ‘take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system.’ Accordingly, our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with God’s original gift of all that is.” (par. 5)

“There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation.” (par. 25)

“There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.” (par. 26)

“…everything is interconnected, and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis….” (par. 137) 

“… we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion.” (par. 220)

“The poor and the earth are crying out.” (par. 246)

Share

How do you see climate change, immigration, and refugees as interconnected issues?

Imagine you are the head of a family forced to leave homeland due to flooding, drought, or lack of food in order to find housing and sustenance elsewhere. How would you feel? What would you miss?

Watch this 3:33 min. video

Links between migration and climate changeYouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQslOVboFfU

Decide

How might each person here, or this group together, improve the situation for immigrants, refugees, and climate change this week? We CAN make a difference!

Together: Prayer for Creation and Migrants 

May the Holy Family, who, Scripture tells us, fled to another country for safety, guide all those forced to leave their homes. 

May St. Francis’ example of giving what he had to those in need inspire us to respond generously when so many must leave everything due to climate disasters. 

May our own sense of interconnection with people and the entire planet bring us to take political action in this time of denial and rejection of climate change and migrating families.

May future generations have reason to be grateful to us for what we do, now, to stop the causes of migration, immigration, and climate change.     Amen.

Sing

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love,
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there’s doubt true faith in You.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness only light,
And where there’s sadness ever joy.

Oh, Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life