A war veteran, recovering from PTSD and a brain injury, approaches a Veteran Affairs Canada service agent to seek a treatment plan that would continue the progress he was making.

Sr. Burns rubber in her highway traffic act

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I come from a family of lead-foots. I think we have black-and-white checkered genes. Nunhood made no dent in my “need for speed” heritage. So here are a few of my encounters with law enforcement on the roadways of North America. (Be it known that I’m always dressed as a nun. I don’t really have any other clothes.)

The word of the Lord is to keep believing

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I teach it and I preach it, but every so often I am reminded how difficult it is to live it. I am talking about laying our expectations on others.

Bless the gifts of a beautiful mess

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Mess is a theme in my life, and therefore also in my barefoot preaching. I think I return to the theme because mess challenges me so deeply. While I grew, I found relief in order, comfort in control, rest in simplicity. And I wandered into a world with a tendency toward disorder, a resistance to control and more complexity than I could have imagined. I tried and failed to eliminate the mess, and I crawled out of rock bottom (more than once) to make peace with the reality of mess.

Getting over speed bumps to live the faith

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On my way to becoming a Catholic I kept hitting speed bumps. There were certain things the Church taught that I could not get my head around.

The ineradicable lightness of understanding

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At a recent convocation ceremony, I closed my commencement address with a reference to one of my favourite stories: that of the famed astronomer Harlow Shapley and his discovery that Argon atoms, which make up one per cent of our atmosphere, never fade. They recirculate indefinitely.

The West should be a cardinal point

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Pope Francis will lead a consistory to install new cardinals on Aug. 27. The 16 new cardinal electors, eligible to vote in the next election of a pope, come from surprising places, and many are involved with people on society’s margins. As observers note, the men this Pope has named princes of the Church often have no pretensions to royalty. They are God’s servants in the vineyard of life.

Helping youth toward gender reality

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I don’t need to tell you that gender confusion is rampant among our youth today. Only 10 years ago, when I would ask an audience of adults or youth, everyone knew someone who was same-sex attracted, but no one knew someone who was experiencing gender dysphoria or identified as “trans.” Now everyone knows some young person fairly close to them in that situation: a son, daughter, nephew, niece, grandchild. Why?

When love moves life’s story forward

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Writing, for me, is both a part of how I make my living and how I make sense of my living. My summer reading has coincidentally connected around a theme that, in the end, a life is just a collection of stories.

Full healing requires extending forgiveness

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Hopes are high Pope Francis’ visit to Canada will bring about the reconciliation that leads to healing and restoration for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike. The Pontiff’s visit follows on the heels of his meeting with an Indigenous delegation in the Vatican at the end of March.

Celebrating language as God’s miracle

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As a bilingual person I have often written about the joys and dangers of “linguistic passing.” Depending on where I found myself, I could remove or change my accent — speaking Québécois French when I needed to, Europeanizing my French on occasion and then making my French tones disappear in an English context. My goal was to disguise my origins if I sensed hostility, back when linguistic tensions were at their worse in la belle province. I confess to thinking that this was unique to Canada so was surprised to discover, as I travelled to over 50 countries, that virtually every place has a version of this, with dialects, patois, accents and more, either strictly regulated, judged or celebrated.