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Book on African women gives power back to victims

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Empowering women to be storytellers and writers is an act of peacemaking. Hilda Twongyeirwe, editor of I Dare to Say: African Women Share Their Stories of Hope and Survival, eloquently creates a mosaic of the struggle and dreams of Ugandan women. The collection of stories in I Dare to Say creates a community that gives power back to the victims. Knowing that real change is possible pivots individuals from victims to change agents. Stories of women getting connected to lawyers, doctors and nonprofit organizations offer hope. People around the world are aware and accompanying storytellers in their struggles: Legal aid for Nankunda Mbarara in "Quest for Freedom" and Nakato becoming a health advocate as an AIDS victim in "The Second Twin" give a sense of purpose and identity for the women.

Believing in light without seeing light

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At its best, modern art asks us to confront the meaning of art itself: what belongs in museums, what doesn't and whether art's power over us is well-earned. Such is the case with "Annual Light" (1966), a work by Alighiero Boetti currently on display as part of a retrospective of the artist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Boetti's light is a wooden box with a bare bulb inside it; it is said to illuminate for 11 seconds at random once a year. Reportedly, no one has ever seen the work light up.

On the brink: How Ignatius can offer you care today

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My favorite saint is St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose feast day is July 31. Born into a Spanish family in the Basque country in the northern part of Spain, Inigo had a conversion experience during his convalescence after a cannonball shattered his knee in a battle at Pamplona. His imagination, courage, valor and striving toward excellence has caught my attention and informs my spirituality. In fact, it is these same traits that offer insight and direction to the Society of Jesus and all their ministries and works throughout the world.

If we don't make a home for Latinos, they'll go elsewhere

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I sat with a mixture of awe and disgust as I read a Huffington Post article about obesity in the Latino community. The opening sentence, "Feel bad telling your gordito that he can only have one helping of flan?", was so brazenly derogatory that I could barely believe a major publication would be willing to attach its name to it.

The indelible mark and a new faith journey

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Prior to the revisions to the Roman Rite last year, English-speaking Catholics proceeded the Eucharist by praying that God might deliver us from evil, grant us peace, keep us from sin and "protect us from all anxiety." These, one might argue, are the necessary prerequisites to receiving the sacrament with singleness of heart: protection from sin and evil, peace and freedom from anxiety.

The parables of my father

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My sisters and I shared many funny times listening to the combination of words and phrases our dad would manage to put together. In fact, we thought we easily could combine all his sayings into a book that would, at least for us, be pretty hysterical. He is an eager learner, active do-er and impatient wait-er. This combined with his matter-of-fact certainty genuinely cultivated a fondness for his company and for his insights.

My father is both happy-go-lucky and masipag, a Tagalog word meaning joyfully hard-working, generous and diligent. His most common phrase when asked about whether or not he would do something or try something is, "What da heck."

This courage to try new things and to generously do everything to make things work guides my own ethic and continues to shape how I discern.

"Wow, girl, that person must be the best in their field. You get to work with the crop of the cream!"

"If you just put it in your mind, you can overcome your sickness. Just tell your body it's not sick."

Why are the Catholic bishops silent on the Wisconsin recall election?

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Wisconsin is facing a divisive recall election Tuesday. The election pits current Gov. Scott Walker against recall challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker in 2010. Barrett supporters are dissatisfied with Walker's elimination of collective bargaining from many public jobs, among other issues. Walker supporters think Barrett supporters should just suck it up and deal with a governor who was elected just two years ago. The recall election is splitting neighbors, co-workers and family members. It's the talk of my home state.

Kierkegaard Re-contextualized Part III: Love versus Death?

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This is the third in a three-part series examining the theological ideas of Søren Kierkegaard through the work of three contemporary church critics. Read the first part and the second part.

In a lecture to a group of teenagers, theologian Stanley Hauerwas retells one of Søren Kierkegaard's last parables to illustrate how most Christians think of the resurrection. In the story, a prince is one day riding through his fields when he sees a beautiful peasant girl. Being of noble birth, he is careful not to overwhelm the girl with his power and riches and decides to masquerade as a peasant in order to fairly win her love.

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April 25-May 8, 2014

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