What are you giving for Christmas?

As they celebrated their first Christmas in America 150 years ago, our Little Sisters of the Poor in Baltimore noted that the donations received included “twelve turkeys, four ducks, sixteen chickens and so many other good things that we didn’t know what to do with it all!” They concluded, “In this country Christmas is like the feast of the poor!”

An honest picture of a very human saint

Dorothy Day is alleged to have said, “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed that easily.” A new biography on her by her granddaughter, Kate Hennessy, “Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty: An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother,” will, I believe, go a long way in preventing anyone from turning Dorothy Day, likely to be officially canonized by the church, into what she feared, a plaster saint who can be piously doted upon and then not taken seriously.

Joyful house

Seattle’s St. Francis House celebrates a half-century of feeding, clothing the poor

Welcoming the stranger

In the Hebrew Scriptures, that part of the bible we call the Old Testament, we find a strong religious challenge to always welcome the stranger, the foreigner. This was emphasized for two reasons: First, because the Jewish people themselves had once been foreigners and immigrants. Their Scriptures kept reminding them not to forget that. Second, they believed that God’s revelation most often comes to us through the stranger, in what’s foreign to us. That belief was integral to their faith.

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