A blog by Sr. Marianne Watts

Dominican Sister of Hope Marianne Watts, OP earned her BA in English from the College of New Rochelle, her MA in English Literature from Catholic University, and her MLitt in The Novel from The Bread Loaf School of Middlebury College. After teaching English for many years and serving in substance abuse prevention programs for over ten years, Sister founded Maxtrain, a substance abuse counselor training program, at The Maxwell Institute in Tuckahoe NY. Since 1994, Sister has produced publications for St. John Chrysostom School in the Bronx, New York. “Changes” is her space for monthly insights on matters of religion, spirituality, and the world at large.

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    Taming the Monsters

    Children, of course, are afraid of the dark. What about adults? What manages our monsters and how do we navigate our darkness?
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    Church: A Personal History

    This church knows that God’s name is Mercy and that every holy group, whether its nickname is Jewish, Muslim, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran, etc. has something to give to the total reality of creation, redemption, and salvation.
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    Solving Our Century

    Our new century is also a mosaic to be solved, isn’t it? What picture is emerging?
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    The Roots of Hope

    Don’t the roots of Hope live and grow strong in the shadows when nothing is clear? And isn’t Christmas not only the holy reminder of what was but the shining prophecy of what is to come?
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    Pope Francis and Mercy

    Pope Francis is about mercy. And mercy has often been poorly served in the Church.
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    Thoughts about Calendars

    But . . . if dying were the final end, if berries were not born from the death of flowers, if swimmers and surfers were not—at this very moment of packing up for home—planning for next summer at the shore . . . If spring were not the weather of Resurrection, then the sadness of summer dying would be as infectious as our emotions say it is.
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    Connections in Unexpected Places

    The ideas and intuitions of volunteer speakers at a non-profit convention might casually underscore a real connection between spirituality and science.
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    The Story of a Volunteer

    Rodney found us as a result of an 80 e-mail search for a director by our chorus manager. He responded because he wanted to do something for the community and from the initial meeting, he’s been a solid member of our community.
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    Land, Buildings, Relationships

    Hope, to me, is well-illustrated by the tough little green shoots that push through cracks in concrete sidewalks.
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    On the Road, by Sr. Marianne Watts

    The trip they had taken on the road to Emmaus had more precisely been on the road to a revelation, one that would change not only their lives but their perception of reality itself.
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    Just War?

    Lately it seems to be harder and harder to come to grips with war. Or the idea of war and what to think of it.
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    Growing into Lent

    We know that Easter will come, and I hope we know that we will eventually share in eternal happiness. But that knowing does not lessen what Lent in the present moment can mean for us, a relationship with the real.
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    Is Peace What We All Want?

    Often, we seek non-relationship, the desire to sever connections by a violent annihilation of those we call “enemy.” Can peace ever be reached this way?
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    A Thanksgiving Reflection, December 1, 2014

    I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with gratitude and that your Christmas will include happy meetings, in person or through memories, with loved ones past and present. Mostly, I hope it will be a jubilant celebration of the Cosmic Christ who, out of the present, creates with us an unimaginable future.
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    November 18, 2014

    By S. Marianne Watts, OP “CHANGES” We had our Veterans’ Day celebration recently and I was aware of my mixed feelings toward such memorials.  Or the reason for them.  There is no question that those who fought in our wars ought to be praised and thanked for their bravery and their sacrifice. But the essential […]
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    September 28, 2014

    by S. Marianne Watts, OP “CHANGES”   When I was very young, I thought I would like to be a spy when I grew up.  It would be like playing a hide-in-the-dark game with the neighborhood gang. I would find myself a place where no one could see me, but I would know where the […]
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    August 6, 2014

    By Sister Marianne Watts, OP “CHANGES” As he was researching his book, Mercy, Cardinal Walter Kasper (“the Pope’s theologian”) made a surprising discovery in the Church’s dogmatic literature: the trivialization of mercy. In a section of his book named “Mercy: Criminally Neglected,” the Cardinal speaks of his efforts to present mercy as the central topic […]
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    July 4, 2014

    By Sister Marianne Watts, OP “CHANGES”  From a recent NCR article:   “Catholic social teaching is unfortunately the church’s best-kept secret . . . Because it directly addresses the world’s most pressing social justice and peace issues, Catholic social teaching . . . needs to come out of hiding and be discovered, read, preached, proclaimed and […]
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    May 11, 2014

    By Sister Marianne watts, CHANGES        Words come in and out of fashion:  An ambiguous phrase that is quite prevalent now is “my truth.”  How does my truth rank when compared to “the truth” or is there any such thing anymore? For example, in his opening remarks at the April 30, 2014 meeting […]
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    April 4, 2014

    By Sister Marianne Watts, CHANGES Lent is a time to heal separations. It’s a time of putting things together for the sake of unity, not pitting one side against another for the sake of winning. Judaism is Christianity’s ancestral religion. It is the soil, sometimes rocky, sometimes rich, out of which Christianity grew. We accept […]
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    March 1, 2014

    By Sister Marianne Watts, CHANGES        February 15-16 was one of those weekends when not much seemed to happen until you looked back at it. First of all, we held our Dominican Sisters of Hope Chapter conversation in the community room here on Saturday, the15th.  Its flavor was distinctively Asbury Tower-ish: 28 residents […]
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    February 4, 2014

    by Sister Marianne Watts, OP “CHANGES” The last Changes article mentioned Hope as the language spoken by certain holy people to bring Gospel love and compassion to our wilderness world.  Hope also needs to be spoken in very small worlds, including those inhabited by Dominican Sisters of Hope.  Our world, of course, is Asbury Tower.  In […]
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    December 18, 2013

    by Sister Marianne Watts, OP “CHANGES” We hear often of transformation and change, yet our world seems to be mired in a state of permanent war and our legislators—many of them—trapped in a manic refusal to move away from the status quo or to listen to the voices in our wilderness. But then, there is Hope. […]
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    November 19, 2013

    by Sister Marianne Watts, OP “CHANGES” The other day someone mentioned that his blood pressure had risen unexpectedly days after hestopped eating salt. About five people gave him an explanation for it.  He hadn’t asked for explanations and none of these people had any medical expertise, but they all gave him answers. . . “maybe […]