How the great have fallen.

A priest friend in my native place forwarded to me an email from the School Sisters of Notre Dame with their Easter greetings.   Get this:

Easter Blessing . . .

Let us thank the Earth that offers ground
for home and holes our feet firm to walk
in space open to infinite galaxies.

Let us salute the silence and certainty of
mountains; their sublime stillness, their
dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden trusting the first
warmth of spring…the humility of the
Earth that transfigures all that has fallen
of outlived growth.

The kindness of the Earth,
opening to receive our worn forms
into the final stillness.

Let us remember within us the ancient clay,
holding the memory of seasons,
the passion of the wind, the fluency of water,
the warmth of fire, the quiver-touch of the sun.

May the spirit of hope that Easter brings help you find peace.
May all the beauty and glory of this blessed season fill our hearts with praise.

School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province

Anything missing from this?

I suppose their heads were still spinning to much from walking their labyrinths to remember THE POINT of Easter.

This is just one indicator of why the CDF got involved with the LCWR.

Meanwhile, I will fill in what the Sisters couldn’t bring themselves to say:

The Lord is risen!  Alleluia!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liberals, Magisterium of Nuns, Women Religious, You must be joking! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Marc says:

    It sounds like a wiccan chant.
    We must pray for our religious that their hearts are fully consumed with love of God!

  2. yatzer says:

    He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

  3. OrthodoxChick says:

    An Easter greeting having nothing to do with Easter. Yeah, that’s inspiring! Can’t imagine why they aren’t bursting with vocations. Try serving the Risen Christ instead of mountains and clay as the pagans do. Poor misled souls. They deserve our prayers and pity.

  4. In German speaking regions we have an ancient tradition called “Risus Paschalis”. I’m looking forward to sharing with you the very good points from the sermon I heard during Easter vigil when Fr. Z opens the sermon-notes-thread. But this was not intended as a joke, was it?

  5. Eugene says:

    I don’t what your problem is Father, in the New Age New Speak age of acquarius you worship creation not the creator. Get with it man.

    Seriously a Blessed Easter to you Rev. Father and to all faithful Catholics. I am particularly blessed today because my daughter gave birth to her second child just before midnight last night. I had to have cell phone on during the Vigil (vibrate only) and as we received the final blessing I received a text from my wife that labour had officially begun and we had to hurry my son in law from the Mass as he is our parish choir director. New life precious life as we celebrated the resurrection of our Blessed Lord and Saviour. An Easter I shall never forget. May God bless you all this greatest of Feast days.

  6. avecrux says:

    I’m experiencing second-hand embarrassment.

  7. Charles E Flynn says:

    I hope the sisters will let us know if the Earth replies.

  8. Cathy says:

    ?…and they are offended that the Vatican has demanded their reform? What did Pope Francis say about those who do not pray to Jesus Christ?

  9. Ray says:

    This order of religious were my teachers back in the 50’s. They did a great job of developing well formed Catholics. One of their main mother houses is close to my home. Back in the 50’s they were inundated with novitiates and now they have one or two. Vatican II seems to be the common denominator for their undoing. We need to pray for a reformation of the religious and laity in our country. Sad story when an order of religious is allowed to get so far off the reservation by Church leaders.

  10. LeeF says:

    I wonder who wrote that. Sr. Mary Agnes of the Sun? Sr. Mary Elizabeth of the Mountain Meadow? Or maybe Sr. Mary Frances of the Babbling Brook?

  11. jhayes says:

    It’s a excerpt from a poem by John Donohue.

    The full poem is HERE

    John O’Donohue was an Irish poet and philosopher, best known as for his books and recordings on Celtic spirituality. He had degrees in philosophy and English literature and was awarded a Ph.D in philosophical theology from the University of Tubingen in 1990. His dissertation developed a new concept of Person through a re-interpretation of the philosophy of Hegel.

    He died in 2008.

    Tnere is a typo in line 2. “Holes” should be “hold.”


  12. acardnal says:

    New Age/Gnostic gobbledygook. No mention made of our Lord Jesus Christ who was resurrected on this day we commemorate and who saved us from our sins. The Lord has risen; Indeed He has risen!

  13. tonyfernandez says:

    The dream-filled hearts of mountains? Well there’s personification, and then there’s creepy and completely loony nature worship.

  14. Frank Gibbons says:

    OK, so it has its theological shortcomings, but you have to admit, as a work of literature it’s in the great tradition of Eliot, Stevens, Yeats, Frost and Pound. Did I mention Shakespeare?

  15. Mike says:

    Let us offer such trials and sufferings as we may undergo even on Easter Sunday on behalf of the souls whose faith is shaken by this sort of twaddle — and of those who perpetrate it.

  16. Jim in Seattle says:

    How ironic. From the Roman Martyrology reading for today in Prime, we hear described: “In Persia, [in the year 345,] the holy martyr Simeon, Bishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon. He was arrested by order of Sapor, King of the Persians, loaded with chains, and brought before the iniquitous judgment-seat. He refused to worship the sun, and with a free and unfaltering voice bore witness for Christ Jesus. …was himself also beheaded.” And here, we have the sisters worshiping the earth and not bearing witness to Christ Jesus.

  17. joecct77 says:

    I was educated from 1st through 6th grades by the School Sisters of Notre Dame (1961 – 1967). They were good (and some great) nuns whom I remember fondly half a century later.

    What the heck happened? Did they open their minds so much that their brains fell out?

  18. jhayes says:


    I think they are in the mindset of Isaiah 6:3 that the earth reveals the glory of God.

    And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”

    Liam Tracey, OSM, quotes David Perrin:

    […] in Christian Celtic spirituality, God, or perhaps, more accurately, the Divine presence, was recognized intensely in the workings of nature and was easily discerned in the landscapes of Ireland, Scotland, and England. For the Celts there was a sacredness to everyday place. The opposite is true in many cultures and settings today.[xviii]


    [It’s EASTER, not Earth Day.]

  19. MarkG says:

    This sounds like it’s written for a greeting card that would go in the “New Age” section.

  20. Michael says:

    I have no problem with worship of the Lord that focuses on the beauty of his creation. St. Patrick’s Breastplate is almost entirely focused on the beauty of creation, but it properly directs all adoration of that beauty to the Creator.

    This is worship of Creation (intentionally capitalized), with no care for its Creator.

    Happy Easter, Father Z and everyone else. The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!

  21. Rachel K says:

    He is risen indeed, Alleluia! A very Happy and Blessed Easter to you Fr.

  22. Long-Skirts says:


    His head pushed north.
    His feet reached south.
    His arms spread east
    To west,

    Allowing men
    To mock Him so
    And put Him
    To the test,

    So all the world,
    With eyes to see,
    Would know His life
    Was done.

    But when He rose
    They realized

    A holy & blessed Easter to all!!!!

  23. Stephen D says:

    …and every time a baby smiles, a fairy is born

  24. JohnE says:

    This reminds me of something I have neglected to do…

    Thank you Internet for placing your wisdom at wdtprs for me to find.
    Thank you Monitor for displaying your colors and words of wisdom that make wdtprs enjoyable to read..
    Thank you Earphones for speaking to me your lentcazts.
    Thank you Keyboard for letting me share my own wisdom with Internet.
    Thank you humble Mouse for truly being the greatest of us all.

  25. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Well, no, Frank Gibbons, I don’t think I have to admit that it’s in the great tradition of Eliot, Stevens, Yeats, Frost, Pound, and Shakespeare. It’s just babble, no poetic figures or forms, no insights, nothing but vacuous, repetitious, imitative twaddle. Sorry to introduce a dissenting note when we all agree that it is theologically vapid, but the arts, properly practiced, have long been protected and promoted by the Church as important liturgical supports and instructional aides. One of the principal faults of the Novus Ordo, as too often implemented, is the shear ugliness and silliness of what passes for the arts. Whether it is banal ditties, big puppets, or inane dances, it all blunts and deadens our sensitivity and receptivity to the Beautiful. This “poem” does the same. But maybe I am missing your sarcasm. If so, I apologize, although my comments still stand. Christus resurrectus est! Alleluia!

  26. atmoe says:

    I think they may have confused Earth Day and Easter. They are pretty close this year…

  27. Fr AJ says:

    Since they are no longer want to be Sisters of Our Lady so they should change their name to something like Environmental Wacko Sisters of Mother Earth.

  28. Priam1184 says:

    My answer to the school sisters of Notre Dame goes something like this:

    Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia!
    Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia!
    Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia!
    Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia!
    Gaude et laetare Virgo Maria, alleluia!
    Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia!

  29. jfk03 says:

    All that is needed to complete the metamorphosis is to strike “Easter” and insert “Earth Day.”

    Christos anesti!

  30. Bruce says:

    I wonder what ND alum Josiah Bartlet would think of this Easter message!

  31. Legisperitus says:

    Creepy. Just creepy.

  32. Mike says:

    Wow. These ladies need to read the Gospels. Maybe also Henry David Thoreau’s “Ktaadn”:

    “…I caught sight of a dark, damp crag to the right or left; the mist driving ceaselessly between it and me. It reminded me of the creations of the old epic and dramatic poets, of Atlas, Vulcan, the Cyclops, and Prometheus. Such was Caucasus and the rock where Prometheus was bound. Æschylus had no doubt visited such scenery as this. It was vast, Titanic, and such as man never inhabits. Some part of the beholder, even some vital part, seems to escape through the loose grating of his ribs as he ascends. He is more lone than you can imagine. There is less of substantial thought and fair understanding in him, than in the plains where men inhabit. His reason is dispersed and shadowy, more thin and subtile, like the air. Vast, Titanic, inhuman Nature has got him at disadvantage, caught him alone, and pilfers him of some of his divine faculty. She does not smile on him as in the plains. She seems to say sternly, why came ye here before your time? This ground is not prepared for you. Is it not enough that I smile in the valleys? I have never made this soil for thy feet, this air for thy breathing, these rocks for thy neighbors. I cannot pity nor fondle thee here, but forever relentlessly drive thee hence to where I am kind. Why seek me where I have not called thee, and then complain because you find me but a stepmother? Shouldst thou freeze or starve, or shudder thy life away, here is no shrine, nor altar, nor any access to my ear.”

  33. lh says:

    What are they smoking?

  34. bernadette says:

    I guess that the Notre Dame Sisters is one of those orders that has “moved beyond Jesus.” So sad.

  35. rodin says:

    The Notre Dame sisters who taught me in high school (North Capitol and K Sts. Washington DC) would probably not recognize the order these days.

  36. Idolaters. I think we prayed for their return from darkness on Good Friday.

  37. James Joseph says:

    Regarding John Donahue.

    He was Father John Donahue.

  38. incredulous says:

    Common theme? Disobedient women, a la Eve. Weak men who don’t correct their evil and pagan ways.

  39. This is offensive to me; I can’t imagine how offended Our Dear Risen Lord is?

  40. KylieP says:

    “Anything missing from this?”
    Uh, I don’t know, maybe the fact that JESUS IS RISEN and TODAY IS EASTER?
    And an Alleluia would be nice…

  41. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    What crud. It’s not even clever crud. It’s just cruddy crud.

  42. AnAmericanMother says:

    Obviously this John Donoghue was educated well beyond his intelligence or poetic ability.
    This is just twaddle full of the most fashionable buzzwords, for consumption by credulous crypto pagans i.e. the SSND . . .
    Priam, I agree re the “Regina Coeli” – let’s sing it –
    Regina Coeli

  43. Joe in Canada says:

    Much of that “Celtic Spirituality” is New Age in a fashionable “ancestor-nationalist” package – made up with nothing historical about it.
    The link to the poem helps with that word “holes” – “hold” is better, but I still want “holds”. But I suppose grammar is patriarchal.

  44. Joe in Canada says:

    I get it “and let us hold our feet firm” etc.

  45. Andrew D says:

    I’ve never heard of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Do they wear veils?… Just kidding.

  46. Fr_Sotelo says:

    They are trying to give St. Francis competition a la “Canticle of the Sun”. It doesn’t work.

  47. RichR says:

    Mindlessness has it’s attraction……for some.

  48. RichR says:

    Dr. Peters, you made me truly LOL

  49. “OK, so it has its theological shortcomings, ” an understatement

  50. jhayes says:

    As Fr. Sotelo pointed out, there is a connection to Francis of Assisi’s Laudes Creaturarum

    Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
    All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

    To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
    No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

    Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
    especially through my lord Brother Sun,
    who brings the day; and You give light through him.
    And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
    Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.

    Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
    in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

    Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
    and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
    through which You give Your creatures sustenance.

    Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
    she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

    Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
    through whom You brighten the night.
    He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

    Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
    who feeds us and rules us,
    and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs….


    [NB: St. Francis doesn’t exclude God.]

  51. Matthew says:

    I had the Sisters of Notre Dame (Chardon, OH, not the SSND). Luckily the good sisters are still Catholic and they celebrate Easter thusly on their webiste:

    God our Father,
    by raising Christ your Son
    you conquered the power of death
    and opened for us the way to eternal life.
    Let our celebration today raise us up
    and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us.
    Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

  52. Kerry says:

    Isn’t this ” The kindness of the Earth,
    opening to receive our worn forms
    into the final stillness.”, a mistranslation?
    And should it not be:
    The kindness of the Earth,
    opening that the worms may receive our
    final silliness.
    Christus resurrectus est!

  53. Frank Gibbons says:

    Grateful to be Catholic,

    I recently read the “Four Quartets” (which means multiple slow readings) as well as Thomas Howard’s “Dove Descending”. I am presently reading (or trying to read) Pound’s “Cantos”.

    I accept your apology.

  54. steve51b31 says:

    In the 1960’s my older brother and I used to get up every day (except Friday when there was a school mass and of course Sundays) at 5 AM and drive to the Convent Chapel to assist our parish priest at 5:30 AM mass for nearly 20 very holy SSND sisters. They changed countless lives in their holy and heroic service to disadvantaged youth. I witnessed the truth of Christ…. that they lived. My life was improved and I am a better man due to their loving witness.
    I, too LAMENT, what they have become. Some of what I have been told by people that I trust implicitly, make the exampled publication seem only silly in comparison. As others above have asked, I too ask, WHAT Happened? What caused many of the holiest sisters, I have known to leave in droves?

  55. The Astronomer says:

    Lukewarm Luciferian twaddle…..

  56. acardnal says:

    “Let us thank the earth ….”

    The sisters are confused. Unlike St Francis, they are thanking the creature/created instead of the Creator.

  57. Patrick-K says:

    Nostalgie de la boue.

  58. Stvsmith2009 says:

    I have been putting off writing a post on my own blog about “earth day” and it’s neo-paganism. That’s what the sisters “Easter Blessing” reads like. Perhaps the envirovangelists religious holiday, earth day, was too close to Easter, and they couldn’t bear to refrain from their envirovangelism.

    A Blessed Easter to all! Hallelujah! He is Risen!!

  59. dotKomo says:

    Sad. I too was taught by some outstanding SSNDs in parochial school and high school.
    Unfortunately, our diocese is now a stopping off point for SSNDs, none of whom wear habits, on their way to the retirement house.

  60. HeatherPA says:

    This is cringe inducing crap. They never mention The Lord once, so trying to justify this Ode to Gaia in any way falls flat on its face. It is so embarrassing to read these things, and even worse, realize they are being celebrated by consecrated brides of Christ. Talk about forgetting your Spouse. Wow.

  61. lsclerkin says:

    I attended and graduated from an SSND college (now university) in the ’80s. Some of the last elderly sisters still wore a habit.
    They are looooong gone to their reward. Some very sweet.
    Back then, it felt like I had a foot in a world that was passing . For them, anyway.
    How the mighty have fallen, indeed.
    They are a passing order.
    No fruit.
    How very sad.

  62. Art says:

    Celtic spirituality that does not involve hard living as a hermit on Skellig Michael or evangelizing pagan Europe is just another New Age fantasy. It’s just like those eco-theologians who misuse St. John of Damascus’ quote of the earth being a living icon of the face of God, forget that no one should ever mistaken an icon for God.

  63. Stephen McMullen says:

    I can’t say I am surprised. Years ago in my parish, we had a youngish SSND nun as our “Director of Music.” She was one of those trendy types that wore no habit at all. She had an office in the back of church and something like that was posted on her door as an ode to Spring. I wondered if she was dropping acid! Anyway, she died prematurely, and is buried out at the Ripa convent grounds. Her gravestone has her name with the name “White Feather” below it. Apparently this kind of thing is encouraged. Anyway, she was way….out there. I mean WAYYY out there.

  64. The Cobbler says:

    Who calls this Gaia-worship? Where’s the solemnity? The trembling? The blood sacrifices? Grandeur? Secrecy? Libations? Any real, ancient pagan would have kicked these “pagans'” hinders for fear of drought, plagues and famine!

    As for “Earth Day”, I want to know why Midgard gets a day and none of the other nine realms do. I’d much rather celebrate Asgard Day, myself. Anyone who’s seen Thor knows they party better than we do. Ah, well, such is this passing life.

    Christ is risen, alleluia!

  65. AnAmericanMother says:

    Dear Cobbler,
    You said it! And so did C.S. Lewis:

    Cliche Came Out of its Cage
    You said ‘The world is going back to Paganism’.
    Oh bright Vision! I saw our dynasty in the bar of the House
    Spill from their tumblers a libation to the Erinyes,
    And Leavis with Lord Russell wreathed in flowers, heralded with flutes,
    Leading white bulls to the cathedral of the solemn Muses
    To pay where due the glory of their latest theorem.
    Hestia’s fire in every flat, rekindled, burned before
    The Lardergods. Unmarried daughters with obedient hands
    Tended it. By the hearth the white-armd venerable mother
    Domum servabat, lanam faciebat. At the hour
    Of sacrifice their brothers came, silent, corrected, grave
    Before their elders; on their downy cheeks easily the blush
    Arose (it is the mark of freemen’s children) as they trooped,
    Gleaming with oil, demurely home from the palaestra or the dance.
    Walk carefully, do not wake the envy of the happy gods,
    Shun Hubris. The middle of the road, the middle sort of men,
    Are best. Aidos surpasses gold. Reverence for the aged
    Is wholesome as seasonable rain, and for a man to die
    Defending the city in battle is a harmonious thing.
    Thus with magistral hand the Puritan Sophrosune
    Cooled and schooled and tempered our uneasy motions;
    Heathendom came again, the circumspection and the holy fears …
    You said it. Did you mean it? Oh inordinate liar, stop.

    Or did you mean another kind of heathenry?
    Think, then, that under heaven-roof the little disc of the earth,
    Fortified Midgard, lies encircled by the ravening Worm.
    Over its icy bastions faces of giant and troll
    Look in, ready to invade it. The Wolf, admittedly, is bound;
    But the bond will break, the Beast run free. The weary gods,
    Scarred with old wounds the one-eyed Odin, Tyr who has lost a hand,
    Will limp to their stations for the Last defence. Make it your hope
    To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them;
    For the end of man is to partake of their defeat and die
    His second, final death in good company. The stupid, strong
    Unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last,
    And every man of decent blood is on the losing side.
    Take as your model the tall women with yellow hair in plaits
    Who walked back into burning houses to die with men,
    Or him who as the death spear entered into his vitals
    Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim.
    Are these the Pagans you spoke of? Know your betters and crouch, dogs;
    You that have Vichy water in your veins and worship the event
    Your goddess History (whom your fathers called the strumpet Fortune).

  66. mother undercover says:

    To those of you who have fond memories of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, please continue to pray for the kind Sisters you remember! There are many elderly School Sisters being cared for at the convent, and I fear greatly for their spiritual wellbeing, as well as their immortal souls. My aunt is one of these; it breaks my heart to imagine it.

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