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On this day: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

"Sophie was living in Paris when the Revolutionary period gave way to the rise of Napoleon and the establishment of the Empire. At this time many women all over France, in a bid to restore the primacy of religion and the place of the church, initiated small communities focused on social work, mostly in education and health."

"Sophie Barat's chosen area was the education of young women of the aristocracy and upper middle-classes and the education of the poor. To this purpose, she established boarding schools and poor schools, usually on the same property."

Morning Briefing

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Florida state panel: diocese likely discriminated against Hispanic employees

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What makes this story especially newsworthy is that parishes and dioceses around the country, like the Diocese of St. Augustine, Fla., are also downsizing whether due to a lack of priests or a lack of money and need to be cognizant of discrimination issues. The leadership in the Diocese of St. Augustine most likely did not intend to discriminate against Hispanic employees, but the impact of their decisions had the likely affect of discrimination, according to the Florida Commission on Human Rights. Of course, the diocese disputes the claim.

According to the Gainesville Sun:

The Diocese of St. Augustine likely discriminated against Hispanic employees in Gainesville who bore the brunt of last year's restructuring as a result of a budget shortfall, a state commission determined.

How you can help victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornado

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From ABC News:

Rescue efforts are under way as residents of Joplin, Mo., try to pick up the pieces of their lives after a devastating tornado hit the city of about 50,000 and severe storms ravaged the Midwest this weekend.

At least 116 people have been reported dead in Joplin. Authorities say 25 percent to 30 percent of the city has been damaged by the tornado, which was reportedly one mile wide, with winds of nearly 200 mph.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Sunday evening and activated the National Guard.

Find out how to help this city, 160 miles south of Kansas City.

Morning Briefing

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The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Monday that will force California to greatly reduce its prison populations is raising concerns here over how many of those inmates will end up in county jails or released.

Rice High School Catholic School in Harlem Is Closing Over Financial Woes

St. Louis, Mo. Donors pledge $100,000 to Trinity Catholic High School

Dutch Catholic order hit by pedophile group scandal

Catholic hospital takes direct hit from Joplin tornado

Cruel and unusual punishment in our prisons

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I could not help but recall the quotation attributed to Fyodor Dostoevsky that "the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons" when I saw the story of the Supreme Court's ruling on prison in California. Thank God for Justice Kennedy. How sad that the four least compassionate U. S. Supreme Court justices are Catholics.

Here's the Times report of the ruling:

Conditions in California’s overcrowded prisons are so bad that they violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, ordering the state to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates.

Burglar led Into temptation by Catholics, tattoos

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What reads like a page out of a William Kennedy novel is actually a true story out of Brooklyn, written by a Michael Wilson for the Crime Scene section of The New York Times:

While politics is usually the matchmaker in these things, this time it had nothing to do with the strange bedfellows found at “The Beach.” On one side is a club of middle-aged and elderly Roman Catholic men, and on the other is a tattoo parlor that uses crucifixes in lieu of the t’s in its name. The mysterious stranger who brought them together: a deft burglar.

Alzheimer's and the fear of forgetting

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In the last few years of his life, my father dove deeply into a world of crossword puzzles, jumbles, and Scrabble. These were "mind exercises," he said, built to hold off the thing he feared most: forgetting.

Just a couple of months before he passed away, he called my mother desperately from his cell-phone. He'd pulled his car off to the side of the road, didn't quite know where he was, and couldn't remember the way home. That moment plunged him into a bout of depression and despair.

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In This Issue

May 6-19, 2016

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