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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Four great resources to help you with your grammar

I love this roundup of grammar resources and I’ve bookmarked them all. Now if I could just get my coworkers to read them too…

Never Forget: We are Broken and Beloved

HOMILY: Broken and Beloved by Fr. Brian Zumbrum, OSFS, calls each of us to see ourselves in the Samaritan woman and to recognize God’s transforming love. It’s much easier to count our transgressions than our blessings, but when we open our hearts to see the flowers amidst our struggles we find God blessing us with his living, cleansing water.

Notes on Peace and Justice

In 2006, I started working for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California and launched their human trafficking awareness campaign. At the time, there were few people who had heard of modern slavery, but Sr. Jean Shafer was one of them and her newsletter was an invaluable resource to me.

CNS Blog

Newsletter broadens awareness of efforts to end human trafficking

(CNS/Victor Aleman, Vida Nueva) (CNS/Victor Aleman, Vida Nueva)

A newsletter that serves as an exchange among religious congregations and their collaborating organizations offers news and information on the growing front to end the scourge of human trafficking.

Stop Trafficking! has been published online for almost 12 years and continues to gain new readers as awareness about trafficking  grows.

Sponsored by about 70 religious congregations, the online publication promotes awareness of human trafficking, serves as an exchange for best practices in advocacy for and empowerment of survivors of human trafficking and recommends actions to counter trafficking.

Sister Jean Shafer, a member of the Sisters of the Divine Savior and newsletter editor, told Catholic News Service that she started the newsletter when she finished her term as general superior of her order. She and a friend also staff a safe house located in San Diego for women who were able…

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Patrick: A Prophet for Global Justice

Daily Theology

stpatrick St. Patrick window at St. Benin’s Church, Ireland.

In search of St. Patrick
St. Patrick is one of a handful of Christian saints, along with Mary, Valentine and Francis, that is celebrated in popular culture. His feast day is commemorated with supermarket meat sales, green rivers, green beer, and (my favorite) paradesBut who was the real St. Patrick?

Most people know that the missionary Patrick (Patricius or Pádraig) helped to bring Christianity to Ireland in the 5th Century. Some may remember how his first visit to the island was as a slave. Sadly, only a few may remember Patrick’s opposition to structural injustice and his prophetic defense of victims of violence and human trafficking. As with so many of our saints, Patrick’s radical application of the Gospel has been domesticated and stripped of its challenging message. Rather than witnessing to the prophetic and loving call of the…

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Adventures with Corned Beef and Cabbage

Roberto and I decided to celebrate my Irish heritage with that traditional American immigrant dish, Corned Beef and Cabbage (the dish was transformed when it crossed the water). I’d never made it before and started researching. The traditional recipe involves hours of boiling, which frankly just sounded boring. It was time for 21st century twist, but how would I bring this centuries old dish into the digital age?

Initially, I planned to use this great recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes for baked corned beef and sautéed cabbage but it turned out that our day was going to be busier than expected. We needed a recipe we could assemble quickly and forget about while it cooked. Fortunately, slow cooker recipes abound. Unfortunately, very few agree on any thing other than the amazing tenderness that can be achieved from cooking a brisket of corned beef for hours and hours. Both the recipes and the comments sections offered various theories about whether beer helped and if so, which brand; when the cabbage should or shouldn’t be added and how the food should be layered.

Here’s what I did:

  • 2.25 lbs. corned beef brisket
  • 10 cloves
  • 1/3 cup sweet hot honey mustard
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 lb. bag baby carrots
  • 8-10 red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cabbage, sliced in wedges or however you like it
  • 2 small onions, thickly sliced
  1. Prepare the slow cooker.
  2. Trim the fat from the corned beef.
  3. Add the cloves to the top of the corned beef.
  4. Mix the mustard & brown sugar, then slather on top of the corned beef.
  5. Place the corned beef in the slow cooker.
  6. Pour the bourbon and water into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the meat and layer the slow cooker with the carrots and then the potatoes.
  8. Return the meat to the slow cooker and add the onions and cauliflower to the top. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours until meat is tender.

The hour of cooking on high probably isn’t necessary if you’d rather prep your meal and leave it all day. According to Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker, my guide to that magic ceramic pot, one hour of cooking on high equals two hours of cooking on low. Giving the meat a head start allowed me and Roberto to pull the whole meal together within our time frame, but I’d love to try this as a full day recipe and let it simmer for seven or eight hours on low.


When the hour was up, I pulled the brisket out of the slow cooker and we layered in the potatoes and carrots, then added the meat on top of that. However, we broke a golden rule of slow cooker cuisine by packing nearly every inch of the slow cooker with food. The usual practice is to leave at least an inch and ideally more space since it’s the steam and the fully surrounded cooking element that make the slow cooker work so well. Yet in this case, it worked out perfectly. The cabbage and onion were nicely steamed, still crunchy but flavorful. The carrots were firm and the potatoes were perfect. There was just the right amount of liquid, a bit runny but tinged with a balanced mix of mustard, bourbon and that hint of clove. Plenty of mustard also stayed on the brisket, and Roberto kept the bottle at the table as a supplement.

It was delicious, the perfect meal for a mid-March evening of snow. Enjoy! Let me know how your kitchen adventures go…

A little choir humor as we prepare for Easter

A little choir humor as we prepare for Easter

My friend and former choir director Randy shared this on Facebook, underscoring why I really, really like to stick with the melody.


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