One Faith, Many Paths: Sister Elizabeth Ann Dockery

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I’ve always wanted to interview a religious sister, and now I have my chance. Here’s my interview with Sister Elizabeth Ann Dockery.

1. What was your childhood like? I came from a broken home and lived in poverty. There were constant trials and tragedies, yet I was surrounded by love, especially my holy grandparents who raised me and encouraged me by example to have faith and trust in God. I began working at a young age so I could have nicer clothes, take music lessons, etc. I excelled in everything I did thanks to the gifts of perseverance, grace, and old-fashioned hard work, resulting in full scholarships for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. What seemed to be all odds against me ended up being a huge blessing with all of the life tools I ended up with.

2. Are you a convert to Catholicism or were you a cradle Catholic? Convert from the Church of the Nazarene.

3. What is your favorite biblical passage and why? 2 Cor 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” This is my favorite passage because the Lord has proven to me time and time again that His grace truly is sufficient and that my weaknesses are actually strengths in him.

4. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus? Elijah.

5. How did you discern that you had a calling to be a Sister? I met a Sister in a post office one day. I had never seen one before and was intrigued as a fairly new Catholic. She spoke with me and invited me to their convent. After two weeks of declining invitations I finally went. Upon arrival, I felt a peace which surpassed my understanding and like I was “home”. From that time forth I went there as often as I could as a volunteer. One day my boyfriend of 5 years said to me, “Do you realize you spend more time with the Sisters now than you do me?” It was then I realized I might have a vocation.  I broke up with him, got a spiritual director, went on several “come and see” retreats and entered religious life after the Lord confirmed my calling with several signs.

6. Which order does your convent belong to and what makes it unique? We are Fransciscan. We are unique in that we live by faith–praying for provision, living in poverty without the securities of health insurance, regular income, etc. Prayer, praise, and evangelization are at the heart of our charism and ministry.  While home, we are quite contemplative, living on an 840-acre ranch called “Prayer Town”. For ministry, we go all over the world doing short-term missions such as retreats, speaking at conferences, parish missions, youth events, and so forth. Then we return to contemplative life. It is a constant cycle of being filled then giving, just as St. Francis did. Praise is a way of life for us. We are charismatic.

7. What is the difference between a sister and a nun? A nun is fully cloistered and does not go from the convent, except with permission from a bishop. Sisters are those who are non-cloistered, which are most of us. Basically, if they are in public they are Sisters.

8. What are your duties as a nun? What service do you provide to your community outside of your convent? I am the Mission Advancement Director both inside and outside our convent. I am also head of our music department, overseeing and taking care of the instruments, books, training, and so forth. In addition, in the convent, I help keep the mission house I live in cleaned and maintained in my chore areas, help with cooking, yard work, and anything else regular people have to do when they own a house.

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Bone is coming to Netflix!

One of my favorite comic books is coming to Netflix. Self-published by Jeff Smith in the 90’s,  Bone is the story of 3 cousins who are exiled from their hometown of Boneville and eventually arrive in a medieval village called Barrelhaven. Smith has tried without success to get the series animated by both Nickelodeon and Warner Bros, and I actually thought it was never going to happen. And now it is! So, I’ve decided to pick out who I think should do the voices for each character. I’ll include previous roles so you can picture them better in your head.

bone Fone Bone: Our protagonist would be voiced by Maxey Whitehead, best known as the voice of Alphonse Elric in  Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

smileySmiley Bone: Fone’s tallest and inept cousin would be voiced by Bill Farmer, currently the voice of Goofy.

phoney Phoney Bone: The richest Bone in Boneville would be Rob Paulsen. He’s best known as the voice of Raphael in the 80’s version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Yakko Warner on  Animaniacs.

thorn Thorn: The heroine of Bone and Fone’s romantic interest would be voiced by Michelle Creber, best known as Apple Bloom on My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.

grandmabenGrandma Ben I have two choices for this one. My first pick is Betty White, but if she dies before this becomes a reality, I’d settle for Tabitha St. Germain, who played two roles on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Rarity and Granny Smith. I think her Granny Smith voice would be perfect.

luciusLucius Down: The tough-minded bartender of Barrelhaven would be voiced by John DiMaggio, aka Bender on Futurama. I’d probably want him to do his Aquaman voice he did on Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

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The Mystery of Fatima

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Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal

One of my favorite quotes is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet:  “There are more things in Heaven than dreamt of in your philosophy. I always keep it in my mind, and it is one reason I have never waivered in my faith. Another reason is the Mystery of Fatima, which celebrated its 102nd anniversary this month.

In 1915, in Fatima, Portugal, a shepherd-girl named Lucia Dos Santos and two children were praying the rosary and saw a figure who appeared to be like a statue made of snow or a person in a sheet three times. The being did nothing else, it was just there. In 1916, the being appeared again, this time to Lucia and her two cousins Francisco Marto and his sister Yacenta. At this time, Benedict XV was pope. This time the being actually interacted with them, calling himself the Angel of Peace and the Guardian of Portugal. On the last appearance, the angel gave them communion.

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One Faith, Many Paths: Vincent Deroucher

vincent

This week, I interview autistic puppeteer Vincent Deroucher!

1. How did you become a Christian?

How did I become  a Christian? That is indeed a very good question. I grew up in a household that was strongly divided by both a strong Pentecostal faith on my mother’s side and a very secular intellectual influence on my father’s. So it was sort of a tug of war on me. I stopped going to church when I was quite young, I would say probably around 9 but I don’t think it was, I didn’t believe there was a God. Sunday in my house was a very uncomfortable thing, you had to wear a suit which I always hated. It was itchy and uncomfortable, then the church I went to was a large church, so when it let out there were too many people and it was always too loud by the end of everything I was drained. So I stopped going. Then one day when I was 16 years old, I was going through a rough time socially. I was somewhat a target of a lot of abuse those days and I was quite an angry teenager, and I was tired of it all, life I mean, and I just had enough. As I was walking to school that day, I stopped and remembering every Sunday School lesson I was taught, I cried out to God for peace, I cried out to God for salvation. And at the end of that day, I went up to my room, laid on my bed and recited the salvation prayer. That Sunday, I attended church with my mom and never looked back.

2. What was your childhood like?

My childhood is something I don’t really like to dwell on too much, mainly because it wasn’t the happiest time of my life. I was usually bullied and/or pitied, with few of this, it led to a very rich fantasy life, where I would write stories and draw comics, build things that were exactly to blueprint–anything just tinkered, come to think of it. I don’t really recall any kid of happiness of sorts until I tool up puppetry. Home life was constantly pulling of one’s faith and beliefs. My parents were always arguing, and my mother always seemed upset. I just could never figure out whether it was with me or someone else.

3. How did you decide you wanted to be a puppeteer?

This is a very common question I am asked. I didn’t take up puppetry until I was in my 30’s. Up until that time my main objective was to become a professional animator, in which I severely stunk at. I was floundering to which path I should take professionally. When my aunts talked me into the puppets for Sunday School, I reluctantly agreed to do it and the following I set out to making my first puppets and writing my very first skit. I nervously performed the skit voices and at the end of the skit I got applause. I had never gotten any applause for anything really. So I went on doing it, eventually I got to do my shows in front of the congregation, and I eventually took it outside the walls of the Church. Now I just put my stuff to film, with the self-made promise that I will post them. Sometimes I do going to start something that more along with comic strips that I draw to a possible FB page.

4. What kind of puppets have you made? Are they different kinds? What are their names?

I mainly make hand puppets. As far as the number of puppets, I have made dozens. As far as the puppets I use, I use about five of them. The cast consists of Haggis McFife, Bosworth Beagle, Raba Cadabra, Gomer Groundhog, and King Wordsworth. All these designs are copywritten in my name and are my property, including my names.

5. How do you go about getting gigs?

I do a lot of e-mailing, usually libraries, churches, coffee houses, the occasional festival, a lot of searching on the web.

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It’s Our Planet Too

Greta

I’m not normally a fan of environmental activists. It’s not that I don’t agree with the issue. Actually, I do agree that the environment needs protection. It’s part of what I’m supposed to do as a Catholic: be a good steward of God’s creation. We have species that are endangered because we are terrible, selfish people.

So why am I not a fan? Because so many activists don’t practice what they preach. Al Gore, for instance, drives around in a gas-guzzling car and flies a jumbo jet. But now someone comes on the scene who changes all that: Greta Thunberg. She’s from Sweden, and she’s been going all around the world for her cause of environmental awareness. And unlike the fakers, she doesn’t use a gas-guzzling car or a jumbo jet. She travels by solar-powered sailboat and Arnold Schwarzenegger gave her a Tesla.  She has a vegetarian diet. And she’s only 16 years old, and autistic. That’s amazing.

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The Fictional Spectrum: Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Star Trek: Discovery)

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When Star Trek turned 50 years old, CBS introduced a new series in the franchise,  Star Trek: Discovery, for its new CBS All-Access streaming service. From the moment I started watching  Discovery, I realized how different it was.

The biggest difference is in the show’s main character, Commander Michael Burnham, a human woman raised by Vulcans. She is not a captain of a starship nor a space station, as previous protagonists were. Instead, Michael commits mutiny against her captain because she will not take her suggestion, and then her captain is killed when she usurps her command. She eventually finds herself onboard the experimental starship  Discovery. It is here that we are introduced to our subject, Ensign Sylvia Tilly, played by Mary Wiseman.

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My Favorite Saints: St. Augustine of Hippo

augustine

Over and over, I often hear people say “I could never be a saint. They’re so perfect.”

Really? is that what you think? Well, then let me introduce to you someone who was the furthest thing from perfect, but became a saint. St. Augustine of Hippo.

Augustine was born in what is now Souk Ahras, Algeria in 354 AD. His mother would become St. Monica, the patron saint of mothers and victims of domestic abuse. His father, on the other hand, was a pagan who did not convert until he was on his deathbed.

Augustine went to school at the age of 11, and was exposed to both Roman Catholic and Pagan beliefs. In his Confessions, he said he had come to love his fallen nature. He loved the idea of sin. “It was foul, and I loved it. I loved my own error—not that for which I erred, but the error itself.” At the age of 17, he had an affair with a young woman in Carthage, despite the objections of his mother. That affair led to a son who was born out of wedlock. He was a brilliant man, mastering several languages. The sole language he could not master, try as he might, was Greek. Yet throughout this, he reveled in debauchery and heresy, to the point where he made his mother weep in her prayers one night in church. A bishop came to her and said “A son of such tears will not be lost.”

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