Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
Oscar Wilde 1854-1900
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Francis Thompson 1859-1907
To clone a person, you would have to clone their parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, first grade teacher, next door neighbors and so on until you have included all their people.
Lewis Thomas 1913-1993
In our audacity, we witness in prayer to change hearts. We know that heart changes are difficult and painful and take a lifetime.
History gives us a glimpse of the heart of the person who wrote “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Reading it, you can’t stop thinking about Jesus holding his arms wide open on the Cross.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was baptized as an infant in the local Church of Ireland (Anglican).
Wilde’s mother was a lifelong Irish nationalist. She wrote poetry for the revolutionary “Young Irelanders” and read their poetry to Oscar.
The movement of the “Young Irelanders” may be said to date from the founding of the Nation newspaper, 1842. “Educate that you may be free” was the keynote of the new journal, which was destined to find its way within a year into nearly every household in Ireland. It preached temperance, patience, energy, and resolution. It held up the spirit of the people while it taught them tolerance and union.
Jane Wilde attended Mass with her sons in a chapel where Father Prideaux Fox, a Catholic priest, was the celebrant. Father Fox said, “I am not sure if she ever became a Catholic herself, but it was not long before she asked me to instruct two of her children, one of them being the future erratic genius, Oscar Wilde. After a few weeks I baptized these two children, Lady Wilde herself being present on the occasion.”
Wilde’s father, Sir William Wilde, was a well-known surgeon. Anti-Catholic, he bitterly opposed Oscar’s interest in the Church. “I am sure that if I had become a Catholic at that time he would have cast me off altogether.”
In his student days at Oxford, Wilde met fellow student, Sir David Hunter Blair. Blair became a Catholic, joined the Benedictines, and eventually became Abbot at Dunfermline Abbey.
In his book, Victorian Days, Blair wrote that Wilde asked him many questions which revealed “how genuine were his own sympathies with Catholicism.”
Hunter-Blair’s evangelizing efforts had no immediate effect, and the two men parted, Hunter-Blair taking Holy Orders and Wilde turning to the literary world of London. Wilde was forthright about his motives. “To go over to Rome would be to sacrifice and give up my two great Gods: Money and Ambition.”
“I suffer a great deal from my Romish leanings, in pocket and mind. And now my best friend turns out to be a Papist!” One of his first friends was Robert Ross, a Catholic. Ross was with him at the end.
In October, 1900, Wilde sent a telegram to Ross. “Terribly weak. Please come.”
Ross went and later told how, after he arrived, “he rushed to the Passionist Church in Paris and brought back Father Cuthbert Dunne to attend spiritually” to Wilde. Father Dunne recorded following.
Robert Ross knelt by the bedside, assisting me as best he could while I administered conditional Baptism, and afterwards, answering the responses while I gave Extreme Unction to the prostrate man and recited the prayers for the dying. As the man (Wilde) was in a semi-comatose condition, I did not venture to administer the Holy Viaticum; still I must add that he could be roused and was roused from this state in my presence. When roused, he gave signs of being inwardly conscious… Indeed I was fully satisfied that he understood me when told that I was about to receive him into the Catholic Church and gave him the Last sacraments… And when I repeated close to his ear the Holy Names, the Acts of Contrition , Faith, Hope and Charity, with acts of humble resignation to the Will of God, he tried all through to say the words after me.
The next day Oscar Wilde died.
After he was laid out, Father Dunne “placed a rosary in his hand and put palm branches over him.” Father Dunne said the Requiem Mass at Saint Germain-des-Prés.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat – and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet –
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
Lewis Thomas, 1913- 1993. The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher.
Francis Thompson, 1859-1907. The Hound of Heaven. YOUNG IRELAND AND THE FENIANS, Taken from A History of Ireland by Eleanor Hull
NOTES FROM THE SATURDAY SIDEWALK
Barbara 11-1, 3-5 (Saturday) Shift Manager
Holy Wisdom, Saint John XXIII and Saints John and Paul (Wexford) parishes filled the sidewalk with their beauty during these two shifts. Joining us were also people from Saint Michael Parish (Wheeling) and Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Enjoy the photos. These are just some of the people.
Jeannie, Shift Manager Injured reserve
The most important task of EMTs when they reach a head or spine injury victim is to secure the victim’s head, neck and body to prevent further injury. When this happened to me, — when my neck was braced and my cut, bruised, broken body was strapped to a hard board for transport to the trauma center, I could not believe the pain. It felt like there were nails on the board, particularly behind my head.
Just then, I had a glimpse of Jesus on the cross—his beaten, whipped, scourged body would suffer the further insult of being lashed to a hard, unyielding splintered piece of wood. During my 40 minute bumpy ride to the emergency room, every Pittsburgh pothole drew tears. Tears of pain, yes, but of grateful joy for what our Lord endured for me, his precious child. I was able to offer my suffering up because I know His Story! It changed everything.
That is what we are doing on the sidewalk—telling HIS STORY; bringing the redemptive, powerful love of Jesus to each of his beloved children, whether they are vulnerable mothers, scared friends, lonely fathers or misled abortion workers, our knowledge of the vast and enduring love of Jesus is the answer!
I pray we continue to keep telling HIS story!
NOTES FROM THE SUNDAY SIDEWALK
JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
Diane and Tom beat the sun to the sidewalk this morning, supplying and setting up all our vigil’s needs before dawn. The Bellevue Knights of Columbus were well-represented by Charlie, who also blesses the pro-life effort as a sidewalk advocate.
Devoted despite feeling under the weather, Vince arrived with his beautiful Scripture readings for each mystery of the Rosary, which we all prayed together. Jim, Charlie’s fellow Knight, joined us later and stayed on as Sue came to lead the next shift. She mentioned a woman who appeared nervous and defensive as she protested the vigil the day before. Sue astutely pointed out that the woman’s agitated demeanor may have been a sign that she was troubled by what she was doing, and that her heart may soon be ready to accept the truth. Sue graciously lead us in prayer for the woman’s conversion.
SUE 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER
Yet another beautiful day to be outside. The sidewalk was very quiet this morning, likely due to the later Steeler game today. I was joined by Jim from the Bellevue Knights of Columbus, Regina from St. Clare of Assisi, Mary Jane from St. Francis of Assisi, Kelly from St. John Capistran, and Patty from St. Bernadette.
Patty pointed out that today in the Catholic Church is the Feast of St. John Paul II. We asked his intercession and prayed the Rosary, for saved lives, changed hearts, the closing of PP and Allegheny Reproductive, and the ceasing of abortions at Magee.
At one point a man walked by and said, “You’re here on a Sunday morning? Now that’s persistence!”
YES sir, persistence is what we are all about! We will persist in our vigil until abortion comes to an end in our great city — indeed, in God’s world!!
MAGGIE 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER
Quiet. Peaceful. Prayerful.
Even though we had many travelers passing on their way to the Steelers game I felt calm. I had great people to pray with!
A man from West Africa commented to a fellow prayer that he doesn’t understand how abortion exists in our country when there are so many resources to help women.
A young man yelled to us from his car, “Thank you! Thank you! My mom chose to keep me!” And then, he started to cry.
It was beautiful!!! And, finally, Ann uttered to us “Blessings, blessings, blessings”.
Thank you Jesus for a great shift!
KEN 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
This is my first shift manager assignment, and I was a little nervous going in. I sent a group text to immediate family for prayer. God is good. It truly was a peaceful, prayerful vigil.
I arrived to a warm greeting from the previous shift manager Maggie.
Father John from Saint John Fisher (Richmond OH), and Megan, from Mother of Sorrows (Murrysville), were my first prayer partners.
JOE W. 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER
I was warmly greeted by our new SM Ken, Fr. Jack, and the women from Catholic Family Land. They were prayerfully singing. It was so
beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing.
The Starr family, from Catholic Family Land, arrived for the 5-6 hour, prayed fervently and ended in song.
The men from Catholic Family Land, arrived for the 6-7 hour ready to
serve our Holy Family. They prayed joyfully, sang joyfully and
amazingly( I’m jealous), and after my shift was over, prayed over me
joyfully. I’m grateful.
Catholic Family Land participants traveled from Brookdale, Ohio (a
long way). They came armed with the spirit ready to do battle for the
lives of our brothers and sisters. It was as authentic a witness as I’ve
experienced in my journey with 40 Days for Life.
Soooo, I would like to give yinz a Howard Dean campaign shout out,
“YaaaaaaaaaaHHaaaaaawwoooo awesomely well done.”
Thank you Jesus.
And God saw that it was good.