The Associates World: September 2015

September 30, 2015
Table of Contents

Paulist Associates Retreat and Relax at Lake George The Experience of St. Mary’s on the Lake — Lake George, New York About the Associates — Boston Proposed Program for October Feast Day of St. Teresa of Avila Isaac Says Why “The Associates World” Upcoming Events Contacts

Paulist Associates Retreat and Relax at Lake George

by Mary Sullivan In August, Paulist Associates from Boston, Columbus, Hoboken (via Chicago), Los Angeles and Toronto and Paulists Frank Desiderio, Ken Maguire, Paul Robichaud and Mike Kallock gathered, prayed, shared, laughed and learned together at St. Mary’s on the Lake, the Paulist summer residence. There was a rhythm to each day—breakfast, prayer, presentations, Mass, lunch, unscheduled afternoons, prayer, and dinner. The presentations were prepared and led by Fr. Ken Maguire, former Director of St. Mary’s and a cultural anthropologist, who helped us understand some characteristics of American Spirituality, and by Fr. Paul Robichaud, Paulist Historian and Postulator of the Cause for Hecker’s sainthood, who broadened our knowledge of Catholic spirituality and appreciation of the Holy Spirit as our first spiritual director. Fr. Mike Kallock highlighted a lesson from Laudato Si— the importance of an ecological spirituality grounded in faith and mindfulness. Fr. Tom Stransky delighted us with an unscheduled brief history of St. Mary’s, his ecumenical work at Vatican II and his time in Israel (“where his heart is”). Fr. Frank Desiderio, current Director of St. Mary’s and Presidential Board liaison to the Associates, served as Master of Ceremonies, preacher and host extraordinaire. Ethan Allen and his efficient staff provided warm hospitality. We are grateful to all of them for their friendship and service. Several themes permeated – the “signs of the times”—can we read them and respond in the way the Spirit intends? Can we “live mindfully in the moment”, especially concerning Creation? How do we pray? The Associates offered thoughts and insights. More questions than answers but, in sharing, we learned more about each other. We considered the usual practical issues. How to assist and support groups from areas where Paulists no longer serve, such as Toronto, and individual Associates who have moved away from their group? Our new Board of Directors (Associates and Paulists) is developing tools to enable Associates to connect (this Newsletter!) and a Facebook page to be used only by Paulists and Associates. What about new Associates? A required and structured process for formation is being re-instituted. There was “pure entertainment” as well—a pontoon boat ride, a viewing of “The Way” starring Martin Sheen, trips to museums and Saratoga and, of course, visits to Martha’s Dandee Ice Cream. We departed relaxed, grateful to the Holy Spirit, to the Paulists and to each other.  

The Experience of St. Mary’s on the Lake — Lake George, New York

by Mary Sullivan “Rustic, it’s rustic.” This was the description provided by a Paulist when I was preparing to attend my first Paulist Associates weekend retreat at St. Mary’s in Lake George, NY. I attended a “rustic” Girl Scout day camp in the 60’s and a camping weekend in the White Mountains in the 70’s. I hoped the accommodations wouldn’t be reminiscent of either one. During the weekend, I did understand my friend’s “rustic” description— old wooden furniture within old wooden structures that seem part of the landscape, sitting quietly, waiting for company—a dock from which to launch a kayak, swim, read or just meditate—it was all lovely. It had a rich sense of the sacred that the Paulists were willing to share with their Associates. Ken Maguire, CSP, the then-director, welcomed us and offered an interesting program about the Paulist founder and his writings. We came to know each other. There is both legend and fact about why the O’Conor family of New York gave the lakefront property to the Paulists but the important point is that it was a gift, not sought or expected. Hecker himself designed the first building as a residence for the priests in 1875, using materials which he carefully selected. The common room looks pretty much the same today. Later, the Paulists added the chapel, student house, and dining/library building. All but three Paulists have spent time here. Their photographs on the walls could easily be in a documentary by Ken Burns. There are also Harbor Islands, purchased by the Paulists in December 1871 for $100 and on which they built a small chapel and a simple house (which burned down in 1983 but that’s for another newsletter). For some Paulists, St. Mary’s is a reminder of the manual labor they were required to perform as seminarians. For others, it may be too quiet; but make no mistake, there is a lot here. All who spend a few clear summer nights in this place would, I think, acknowledge the awesome beauty seen when there is little visible but a full moon and the large lit stained glass window of Mary in the highest building overlooking the Paulists and the Lake. It is “rustic” but it is also most certainly Holy Ground.  

About the Associates — Boston

by Mary P. Burke The first twelve Boston Paulist Associates (2003) were already active in some way with the Paulist Center. Their interest—learning more about Isaac Hecker and Paulist spirituality rather than tackling a new project—set the tone for the future. Over the years, some of the original group moved away and others joined the band. Still, the monthly meeting chaired by rotating leaders became and remains our core. Opening with a prayer from the Paulist Prayer Book, the meeting’s focus is a discussion of a scheduled reading, originally drawn from Hecker’s writings or biographies, now often about a Paulist patron saint. Business items and social time follow; the meeting concludes with a prayer. This matter-of-fact description fails to capture our dynamic discussions and the fun and camaraderie of our time together! One meeting is devoted to initiating new members and renewing our Promises to the Paulists, another to a summer outing. Our adventures includes a picnic and swim at Walden Pond, famous for Henry David Thoreau’s experiment there and noteworthy to us for Thoreau’s friendship with Hecker. We also went on pilgrimage to Fruitlands in Harvard, MA, where Hecker lived three weeks short, and yet very important in his faith discernment. We visited the JFK Library, the museum for the first Catholic President. Despite not being project-driven, we found ourselves drawn to some. Our readings of the Paulist patron saints prodded us to propose the first Associate-led retreat at Oak Ridge, NJ in 2006. We’re especially proud of creating a tour of places important to Hecker when he came to Massachusetts in 1841 and 1844, searching for a spiritual home and then preparing for baptism in the Catholic Church. We’ve also led prayer services to celebrate Christian Unity and Mary of Magdala, hosted the Boston premier of Fr. Tom Gibbons’ film on Hecker, and designed/distributed a Pentecost prayer card. Today there are twenty two Paulist Associates in Boston, spiritual followers of Isaac Hecker, supporters of each other and the Paulist Fathers. Our commitments and gatherings, our prayer and our work together strengthen our faith and our mission of sharing the Gospel in the world. We do this with purpose and resolve and with laughter and joy.  

Proposed Program for October

(This is a suggested format; each group may select another outline or topic.) Theme: St. Teresa of Avila, Paulist Patron Saint Opening Prayer The Paulist Prayer Book, St. Teresa of Avila, pages 371-373 Reading (in advance of the meeting) All Holy Men and Women, A Paulist Litany of Saints edited by Thomas A. Kane, CSP St. Teresa of Avila, by Catherine Mooney, pages 167-173 Conversation Catalysts 1. In The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila describes her mystical union with God in 3 stages: (1) union in the deep awareness of God’s presence; (2) ecstatic union; and (3) transforming union, sharing fully in God’s love. Describe how these stages are reflected in Isaac Hecker’s experience of God. 2. St. Teresa referred to God as her friend and that contemplative prayer “is nothing else than a close sharing between friends.” Also in a famous story about St. Teresa, after falling off a donkey, she complained to Jesus about her treatment. He replied, “that’s how I treat my friends.” She retorted, “No wonder you have so few!” a. What is one of your favorite images of God and why? b. Share a story about when you were disappointed, annoyed, or angry with God and how you came to terms with your feelings. 3. Where in the Church today do you see the need for reform? News/Announcements Closing Prayer: Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices. — St. Teresa of Avila  

Feast Day of St. Teresa of Avila

October 15th is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. In 2015, there are many events around the world commemorating the 500th birthday of St. Teresa of Avila, March 28. Isaac Hecker had a particular devotion to this saint, and they shared a great deal in faith. Also known as Teresa of Jesus, she was a mystic and a reformer of her religious community. She was a renowned spiritual writer and contemplative. She is the patron saint of headache sufferers. She and St. Catherine of Siena are the first women named “Doctor of the Church” in 1970.  

Isaac says…

“Few great undertakings in the Church have been conceived and carried on to success without the co-operation, in some shape, of women. The great majority of her saints are of their sex, and they are honored and placed on her altars equally with men. It is not an unheard-of event that women, by their scientific and literary attainments, have won from Catholic universities the title of doctor. St. Teresa is represented as an authorized teacher, with pen in hand, and with a doctor’s cap.” (1886, The Church and the Age, page 179)  

Why “The Associates World”?

by Frank Desiderio, CSP, Director of Paulist Associates Servant of God Isaac T. Hecker, CSP wanted to build bridges of understanding. His desire was to connect people with God as he felt connected to God. He wanted to connect his Protestant American brothers and sisters with the Catholic Church in America and introduce Catholics in Europe to Catholics in America. To help create these connections, he founded “The Catholic World” magazine in April of 1865, seven years after the Paulists began. Fr. Hecker and other Paulists contributed to this monthly journal alongside other American Catholic intellectuals. “The Catholic World” also published translations of European Catholic thinkers to create a dialog within the developing American Catholic Church. Building on the tradition of The Catholic World, “The Associates World”, the new e-newsletter of the Paulist Associates, seeks to build bridges of connection among the different Associates’ groups. Each issue will contain a profile of a local group of Associates to highlight who they are and what they are doing. We will also include a sample format for a monthly meeting. This format will help to make it easier for the local leaders to organize their meetings around Paulist themes. We want each Associate group to contribute to “The Associates World”, so that we can connect with one another. The newsletter is a group effort. If you want to see it continue, please offer your gifts for the common good. Our hope is to further the goal of the Associates “to support each other and live out the mission and spirit of the Paulist Fathers” as the Paulist Associates Mission Statement proclaims.  

Upcoming Events

Regional Retreat in Kalamazoo, MI: Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 1, 2016 Regional Retreat in Malibu, CA: Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5, 2016  


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Paulist Associates National Director 

Frank Desiderio, CSP
Paulist General Office
New York, NY 10023

Board Members 

Angie Barbieri
Toronto, ON, Canada

Paula Cuozzo
Boston, MA

Cathy Hoekstra
Grand Rapids, MI

Mike Kallock, CSP

Terry Modica
Tampa, FL

Paul Robichaud, CSP

Paulist Associate Promise:

I believe that I am drawn by the Holy Spirit to the spirituality and qualities of the Paulist Community. I have discerned both by prayer and study that God calls me to become associated with the Paulists. I promise that I will pray for the works of the Paulist Society, meet with others, who are also members of the Paulist Associates, for spiritual sharing and formation; and I seek to embody the apostolic qualities of the Paulists in my daily life. Attentive to the Holy Spirit and faithful to the example of St. Paul and the charism of Father Isaac Hecker, I commit myself for one year of membership in the Paulist Associates.