THE BLOG OF MY HEART

blog-colorful-text-white-background-59881483[1]In the Canadian monastery where I am staying until October 10, one of the Sisters died.
Mass was celebrated inside the chapel. Then, the funeral procession moved from there to the small cemetery where the nuns rest. There are about one hundred graves in that small graveyard. Both the graves and the gravestones are the same. Only the names of the Sisters, the dates of birth, ordination and death change.
The chapel was crowded with people coming from outside the monastery. They were relatives and workmates of the Sister. In fact, she had worked as a nurse.
The funeral Mass inside the chapel was touching and evocative. I was tempted to describe the funeral from beginning to end. But, I will not do that. Would it be respectful to the Sister to describe her private funeral in my blog? Of course not. But I have another blog which I keep in my heart. It contains everything I cannot express in words. On it, I will record the music of the organ, the singing of the nuns, the death knell and the other details of the funeral. When the right time comes, I will disclose this my second blog.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.ettoregrillocom.wordpress.com
http://www.ettoregrillo.wordpress.com
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

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KOREA, THE ONLY COUNTRY WITHOUT MISSIONARIES

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In Korea, Catholic Church sprang from people’s hearts naturally. No missionaries informed the Koreans about Catholicism.
A Korean, called Hi Sund-hun, after reading many books on the Catholic field, went to China. There, he was baptized in 1784 by a French missionary. Upon his return to Korea, Hi Sund-hun established a community of lay Catholics. Obviously, there were no priests in Korea at that time. Only ten year later a priest came from Beijing. Another Korean saint, called Paul Chong, went to China many times to ask for priests.
Catholics were heavy persecuted in Korea. During the last persecution eight thousand Catholics were killed. On May 6, 1984, Pope John Paul II canonized 103 of the Korean Martyrs.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.ettoregrillocom.wordpress.com
http://www.ettoregrillo.wordpress.com
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY VISIT TO THE CANADIAN MUSEUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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One Saturday morning I went to downtown Winnipeg to see The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. A Canadian lawyer, called Izzy Asper, founded it. He aimed at drawing attention to the fundamental rights of the human person.
Inside the edifice there were no stairs. To go from one floor to another I followed ramps bordered by walls in alabaster about one meter high.
On the ground floor there was an exhibition on Nelson Mandela and apartheid. Upstairs, there were displayed objects and videos about racism, intolerance, genocide, and the Canadian legal system.

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Moving from one wing to another of this very interesting and unique museum, I stumbled on two words I had never heard before. One was holodomor, the other prom.
Holodomor is a Ukrainian word. It means murder by hunger. It describes the genocide of the Ukrainians by mass starvation when that country was ruled by the Soviets.

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The other word, prom, is an English words. I didn’t know it because we don’t have this kind of celebration in Italy. Prom means a formal dance that is held at a high school. I read on a caption that in 2013, just five years ago, American students at Wilcox Country High School in Georgia organized their own first racially integrated prom.
Persecutions and discrimination can affect not only ethnic or religious groups, but also a class of people. The disabled have been the object of intolerance over the centuries. In the ancient Greek city of Sparta, newborns with imperfections were thrown from Mount Taygetos. As for madmen, until not so long ago, they were secluded in asylums. In Italy, some lidos even refused entry to kids with heavy physical disabilities.
“Recently, in the United States and in Italy, the device that kept the patient alive was disconnected. Consequently, they died. In my opinion, this is a case of intolerance.
When I volunteered in England at a center that provided holidays for disabled, I looked after a young man who was completely paralyzed and could only move his eyes. He lay on a stretcher. I still remember his name, Neil. I asked the nurse how to feed him.
“You have to spoon-feed him as if he were a little bird. When he wants to say yes, he raises his eyes, and when he wants to say no, he lowers his eyes. It’s easy,” the nurse answered.
“So I did. At the beginning the spoonful I gave him was too big. He couldn’t swallow the food and coughed. By and by, I found the proper mouthful, and he ate quietly. He was not able to smile, for every part of his body was paralyzed, but looking at his eyes, I noticed he was happy at that moment.
According to some, people like Neil should be eliminated as they suffer. This opinion springs from an incorrect concept of happiness. They think that only good fitness gives rise to happiness. This assumption has no evidence. It may be refuted. There are the eyes of the body, and the eyes of the soul. The latter enjoy when they see someone taking care of their body.
Every now and then in human history, there are great souls, like Izzy Asper. Thanks to them the world goes on.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.ettoregrillocom.wordpress.com
http://www.ettoregrillo.wordpress.com
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE LABYRINTH – A MAGIC SYMBOL

WP_20180911_017Walking on the lawn of a Canadian monastery, I stumbled on a labyrinth. At the entrance, there was an iron gate. While I was standing there, Sister Rose passed by.
“What is the meaning of this labyrinth?” I asked.
“Sometimes I come here. I took off my shoes and walk the labyrinth. It is like going on a pilgrimage,” she answered.
“Is a labyrinth a pilgrimage? I cannot understand.”
“I’ll tell you something about this symbol. These days, labyrinths spring up all over. There are even organizations that help build labyrinths. Sometimes, in our monastery workshops are held on this topic.”
I gaped at her. Then she went on.

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“Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress, a psychotherapist, was convinced that the power of imagination could help people in their spiritual growth. She went to France to seek out the labyrinth of Chartress Cathedral. When she returned to the Unites States, she reproduced the labyrinth of Chartress Cathedral at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. It attracted people as if it were a magnet. Walking the labyrinth was beneficial to both body and mind.”

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I said to Sister Rose, “It’s interesting. There is another labyrinth maybe you don’t know.
“A Greek myth tells that Minos, the king of Crete, appointed the architect Daedalus to build a labyrinth to hold the Minotaur, a creature half man and half bull that fed on human flesh. Daedalus and his son, Icarus made a structure full of blind alleys, rooms, and narrow streets. The building was so intricate that even Daedalus and his son were trapped there.
“Theseus, the son of King Aegeus, decided to put an end to the sacrifice of young Athenians that were sent to Crete to feed the Minotaur. The hero landed in Crete. He was determined to kill the monster. But, how to get out of the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur? Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, fell in love with Theseus. She handed him a ball of wool. While Theseus went on holding one end of the tread in his hand, Ariadne stood at the entrance of the labyrinth and reeled off the thread. At last, Theseus killed the Minotaur. By following Ariadne’s thread he found his way out.
“The labyrinth symbolizes life itself. We humans are not different from the Minotaur. Like him we are dominated by instincts and ignorance. So as it happened to that monster, we are unable to get out of the labyrinth. According to the myth, we cannot succeed without Ariadne’s thread, which is a symbol. It means we need a guide capable of setting us free from instincts, ignorance and error, to see things as they are and not as they appear to our deluded minds”.
“What is your Ariadne’s thread?” I asked Sister Rose.
My Ariadne’s thread is my faith in God. Without it, I wouldn’t be different than the Minotaur. What about you?”
My Ariadne’s thread is my open heart. If my heart were locked, now I wouldn’t be here, in Canada, in front of this magic, mystic labyrinth.”
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.ettoregrillocom.wordpress.com
http://www.ettoregrillo.wordpress.com
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE RED RIVER IN CANADA

WP_20180903_011I will stay in Canada for forty days. When I come back to my hometown some friends of mine will ask me, “What have you seen in Canada?” I will answer, “In Canada I have seen a little stretch of the Red River and a monastery. I don’t travel to see new landscapes, but to meet new people.”
Today, I took a walk to the Red River. It was not far from the monastery. The road was surrounded by meadows. On the way, there was a small cemetery. I had a look at the gravestones. Apparently, the passed away nuns had been buried there. I kept walking and arrived at the bank of the Red River. At that moment, two boats glided over the calm water. The bed was quite broad; the river so calm that it looked like a lake. But it was not a lake! Although slowly, it flowed into the ocean. Just like the river of our human life. It looks still but inexorably makes its way toward its final destination.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.ettoregrillocom.wordpress.com
http://www.ettoregrillo.wordpress.com