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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Conversion Immersion

Remember last year, after I was gone for awhile and the garden became an overgrown mess? We found Jimmy Hoffa.

I think this year I might just unearth the Holy Grail. Jimmy Hoffa has been using it somewhere under the morning glory.

This year, the morning glory became so intense that after it grew all over the back trellis which makes up our 'privacy fence', it actually became so heavy that it knocked the trellis down and cracked it in half. The whole thing must go.

Meanwhile, no sunbathing for us!

As if.

While I send Sister Nicholas out to look for a machete (she won't have to look far, this is LA), here is today's reader question:

Sister, can you recommend a novena to say for a specific person's conversion?

What do you mean by "conversion"? Do you mean convert to Catholicism? Or the conversion of sin.

There are dozens and dozens of novenas for the conversion of sin. St. Francis of Assisi is always a good pick. You don't even need to crack out a novena, the Rosary is all over the conversion of sin. Our Lady of Fatima, Medjugorje, Our Lady of LaSalette...all about the conversion of sin.

I'm guessing you mean the conversion of someone to Catholicism. You'd also don't need to crack out a novena for this intention. You can get the Green Scapluar, which is used for two things: sick people and conversion.

Here's how it works. You get your hands on a Green Scapular and you give it to the person you are trying to convert. Tell your friend to say the prayer on the Scapular and it will call bim to the Church. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

But here's the great part. If the person won't say the prayer on there, you just stick the Green Scapular in her purse or his backpack while he or she is not looking and YOU say the prayer on there and it will still call them to the Church anyhow. It's like stealth Catholicism!

Of course, a novena could be quicker, depending on how you go about it. A novena is a nine day, or nine week, or nine month prayer, depending on how you work it. You could go for nine days, or every Friday for a nine weeks, or First Fridays for nine months.

How good is your memory? You don't want to lose track. Nine days is your best bet if you are a little dotty.

Just about any saint will do for your novena. St. Cecelia has a specific conversion
novena. But you could go with, say, St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes, if your friend is pathetically hopeless, or St. Dismas if your pal is downright criminal.

You remember St. Dismas. He's the thief on the other cross at Calgary, usually only known as 'the Good Thief'. Someone made up a lovely back story for Dismas, along with his name, which is also totally made up. It seems that back when the Holy Family was fleeing Herod because of the stupid move of the 'wise' men who tipped him off that there was a new king around, robbers set upon them on the way to Egypt. One of the robbers talked the other robbers into letting the family pass unscathed. This, of course, was Dismas.

Lovely story.

Totally made up.

Still..there was a thief on the cross at Calvary, whatever his name was and whatever the rest of his life was like, who is most definitely in heaven (since Jesus actually said to him, "Today you shall be with Me in heaven.") which makes him a saint, which means you can ask him to pray for the conversion of whoever it is you want to help.

My point is that you could go with a saint that might be a good patron for your friend, as any saint would be thrilled to help out with a conversion.

I'd go with a two pronged attack, Green Scapular and novena. You might just get your friend to convert and pick up some stragglers that didn't even know they were thinking about it.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of conversion - my husband and I are beginning RCIA classes this summer. In the meantime, he has a question I am going to post for him. Why does the Church not sell off much of their riches to help the poor? Why the opulent displays of wealth when Jesus himself lived so humbly and often spoke against excess riches? The only answer I have been able to come up with is that things like the tabernacle are so beautiful in order to honor Jesus. I know the church does a great deal to help the poor, but there is still so much other wealth available. This is asked most respectfully. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

re: the St. Dismas story - according to my son's 2nd grade reader the good thief's mother offered Mary a tub to bathe Baby Jesus in, and her son (the good thief, who had leprosy at the time) bathed in Jesus' leftover bath water after he was done, and was cured of his leprosy. As long as we're making up stuff, we might as well embellish it thoroughly, right?

re: selling the churches riches - I don't know the numbers, but I suspect that they take in more money from tourism from folks wanting to see those riches than they would get selling them. Also, would you sell your great great grandmother's rosary and give the $ to the poor? Probably not. We keep some treasures because they are family treasures and they OUGHT to be kept. I can think up several more reasons, but Sister does so much better than I do, so I'll bow out.

antonina said...

Over the thousands of years that the Church has been with us, it has become a patron of the arts and music, a defender of truth and knowledge, a repository of culture and tradition. The Church is not a social assistance office...

It's role is not only that of materially helping people. We are not all just carbon atoms that need to be fed and clothed, but also beings who need to be inspired, uplifted in spirit, guided towards the Divine. That is part of the role of the beauty and grandeur of churches and cathedrals. There is a difference when you pray in a cardboard box versus Notre Dame. I do not think God and beauty are mutually exclusive, nor do I see the point in selling everything of cultural, historical and artistic value in order to patch some material issues that will of course, resurface in the blinking of an eye (then we'd be left with cardboard boxes AND poverty). This is reminiscent of the passage in the Gospel with the expensive perfume that Mary anointed Jesus' feet with. Judas was scandalized and asked why it wasnt sold for a large sum and given to the poor. Read Jesus' reply.

There is more to the Divine Mystery of God than selling everything and giving it to the poor. The Valdesians did that and it got them nowhere...

Rosebud Collection said...

Enjoyed your blog..Just love those Saints...Green Scapular also..When all else fails, I call on everyone..

Anonymous said...


I have felt the same way before - but after some reflection, I now think that if God is the source of all Good, Truth and Beauty, then things that are beautiful are important for the Church to hold and protect. It does not hold these things for itself but for all of us as it reflects the beauty of God.

Also, from "12 claims every catholic should be able to answer",

6. “If the Church truly followed Jesus, they’d sell their lavish art, property, and architecture, and give the money to the poor.”

When some people think of Vatican City, what they immediately picture is something like a wealthy kingdom, complete with palatial living accommodations for the pope and chests of gold tucked away in every corner, not to mention the fabulous collection of priceless art and artifacts. Looking at it that way, it’s easy to see how some people would become indignant at what they think is an ostentatious and wasteful show of wealth.

But the truth is something quite different. While the main buildings are called the “Vatican Palace,” it wasn’t built to be the lavish living quarters of the pope. In fact, the residential part of the Vatican is relatively small. The greater portion of the Vatican is given over to purposes of art and science, administration of the Church’s official business, and management of the Palace in general. Quite a number of Church and administrative officials live in the Vatican with the pope, making it more like the Church’s main headquarters.

As for the impressive art collection, truly one of the finest in the world, the Vatican views it as “an irreplaceable treasure,” but not in monetary terms. The pope doesn’t “own” these works of art and couldn’t sell them if he wanted to; they’re merely in the care of the Holy See. The art doesn’t even provide the Church with wealth; actually, it’s just the opposite. The Holy See invests quite a bit of its resources into the upkeep of the collection.

The truth of the matter is that the See has a fairly tight financial budget. So why keep the art? It goes back to a belief in the Church’s mission (one of many) as a civilizing force in the world. Just like the medieval monks who carefully transcribed ancient texts so they would be available to future generations — texts that otherwise would have been lost forever — the Church continues to care for the arts so they will not be forgotten over time. In today’s culture of death where the term “civilization” can only be used loosely, the Church’s civilizing mission is as important today as it ever was.

Hope this helps,


eastmoormom said...

Good Day Sister,
A friend of mine gave me a 'first class relic' to be placed under my husbands pillow who is suffering from lung cancer. the relics are from The Seven Blessedy Martyrs of Thailand. can you tell me/ us what First Class means? my friend has also told me that people in the past have recieved minor miracles using this relic and that we are to be hopeful that we can have our own miracle for my husbands recovery.
you say?

RadioPie said...

Hi Sister!
I laughed when you accidently called Calvary "Calgary" - or you did it on purpose and made a very accurate and hilarious joke!

I love your blog and I hope you're doing well!

Tienne said...

"Stealth Catholicism!" Sister, you are a treasure.

How long would the person have to keep the scapular before God calls them to the Church and they actually want it? Could I hide it in my husband's underwear drawer or does it have to be on his person?

Could I put it on at night when he's sleeping and say the prayer and then take it off in the morning? Would one night do it?

Hmmmm. I better go with the nine day novena. Even stealthier, that one.

Barb said...

Is there a patron saint for people trying to lose weight? I could use all the help I can get...
Thank you and God bless!

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Tienne with your husband. I think the scapular has to be on the person. For 50 years my grandmother kept a green scapular under the mattress and never managed to convert my Russian Orthodox grandfather.

Anonymous said...

eastmoor mom,
I think it's a body part, if it's a first class relic.

Anonymous said...

The good thief of Calgary... Dion Phaneuf? Jarome Iginla?


Go Oilers! (next year)

Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

One of the laws of Vatican City-State is that her art collection shall not be sold, rented, leased, used as collateral, insured for more than 1 euro per piece, or otherwise used for profit.

I reckon the earlier poster is correct, that she regards the artwork as far more valuable than any sum of money she could obtain from it.