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acatherineofsienaI did not post anything over the last two days. While it is true that the weekend was full in a wonderful way with our long-awaited concert and workshop with the extraordinary Jan Phillips, I had every intention of attending to this morning practice. Unfortunately the internet was not cooperating. Thus I missed my chance on her feast to speak about Catherine of Siena – one of my favorites in a long line of holy women who have proved worthy of sainthood. One could begin the litany of her life with the fact that she was the 25th child born to her family! My admiration comes, however, from the chronicle of her friendship with God that gave her the courage to speak truth to power and which led her to a central role in the end of the “Avignon Captivity” – a 70-year period in the 14th century of papal exile in France.

It is perhaps an ironic connection that Catherine’s feast fell during Jan’s visit. The first of Jan’s CDs of original songs is entitled “All the Way to Heaven” which comes from a quote by Catherine who proclaimed that all the way to heaven is heaven. I wonder how many of us would agree with Jan and Catherine about this. Both of them have lived as active witnesses, shouting those words through their actions, teaching us that it is not the content but the way we face what happens that matters. Jan concluded the day on Saturday with a song in three parts, each added to the one before that kept repeating throughout. Although you probably have to hear the song to make sense out of that description, it might be enough to see the lyrics in order to see the point of how she (and I believe Catherine) have approached life and found heaven on earth.

1. Because the One I love lives inside you, I lean as close to you as I can.

2. Namaste, I bow to you. Namaste, I bow to you.

3. Shalom to you, shalom to all, shalom around the world.