Pope schools Congress
on Day and Merton
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TWENTIETH-CENTURY American Catholic
activists Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton took
center stage along with Abraham Lincoln and
Martin Luther King Jr. during Pope Francis’
historic address to the U.S. Congress in September 2015. Francis held up these four individuals to impart Catholic
social teaching to all Americans. Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, pacifist, and writer, most famously of the
autobiographical The Seven Storey Mountain. “Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the
certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the church,” the pope said. Day (1897-1980) was
a journalist, laywoman, radical Christian, and founder of the Catholic Worker movement, whose mission is to show
hospitality to those on the margins and live out the works of mercy.
Family study finds key influences
to Catholic vocations
A MAJOR STUDY on the role of families in nurturing vocations found
that recent entrants to religious life and diocesan priesthood come
from families that go to Mass weekly, pray together often, have active
faith lives, and encourage family members to be open to vocation
options. The study was commissioned by the National Religious
Vocation Conference (NRVC) and conducted by the Center for Applied
Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. To read
more about the findings, visit tinyurl.com/NRVCFamilyStudy.
SISTER MARY HEALY, R.S.M. with her older brother Joey Healy, who was
murdered in 2000. Healy is an outspoken opponent of the death penalty.
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FOR MOST PEOPLE, the death penalty is not personal. But for Sister Mary Healy, R.S.M., it is connected to one
of the most painful chapters of her life—her brother’s
“Joey was my big brother, a gentle giant, a holy man,
my mentor, ” she writes in the Sisters of Mercy blog “Con-
nect with Mercy” about her brother, who was shot at
random in the back of the head in 2000.
Though Healy went through a period of deep struggle
and grief, she came to the realization that forgiveness was
her only option: “Forgiveness is not excusing, not forgetting, not approval. Rather, it is the meeting of mercy and
justice.” A year after her brother’s death Healy found herself testifying for the defense during the sentencing phase
of the murder trial of her brother’s killer. The offender
remains on death row.
“Victims’ families do not find closure with the death
sentence of the offender,” says Healy. “Rather it throws
them into another period of waiting for the execution. lt is
a fantasy to think the victims’ families’ healing or closure is
a direct consequence of the end of [an offender’s] life.”
Read more at tinyurl.com/MyBrotherJoe.