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Saturday 12 July 2014

Thanks to A Reader

The best laid plans...

I hope to get online later today. but I never know if I shall be able to get to a coffee shop. The bus schedule, which is horrible, is disastrous on Saturdays.

After next week, thank God, I shall daily be online. God is good.

I have finished the Everildis novellete and am finishing up the book on St. John Vianney's sermons. I hope to be able to share these with you.

Hello to Readers in Finland

Same flowers as in Alaska??????????????????????/

Would love to be a church mouse here

A Tale of Everildis

Emily groaned. This was the sixth time her managing editor had thrown an article back on her desk dripping with red pencil and the word “deleted” sprinkled throughout the text..

Jack still wanted “hard copies” of the articles everyone wrote for the Everingham Gazette, one the oldest and highly regarded newspapers in northern England. Jack had been brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century but changing to the computerized version of the paper, added by the publishers in 2008, to the weekly paper edition. But, his compromise involved all his staff having to print out all articles for his perusal, above their elaborate e-mail system, so that he could do what he always had done for 28 years; edited with a red pencil.

Emily, who got her job out of college, two years ago, loved journalism. However, she slowly came to the realization that her ideas and talent did not matter. The only thing that mattered was Everingham Gazette, Ltd.  If one was a company player and fell under the spell of loyalty to the company, fine. If one was at all a bit quirky, or “different”, if one wanted to be created and push the envelope just a little bit, Jack would pounce on the budding journalists like a cat on the proverbial mouse.

Now, Emily could see her days at the paper were, most likely, numbered. This sixth refusal was almost the maximum the others who had been fired told her made up the magic number of re-writes, and that was seven.

Molly had left on her own accord last year, and Emily lost her ally in distress. Molly had tried to be a creative, even daring, feature editor for five years, emphasizing interviews with the locals, old families, and doing great historical pieces, which earned her a commendation from the main office in London, but which irritated Jack. Jack was not a local, like Molly or Emily. In fact, the majority of the writing staff were from all over Great Britain. Mike was from Edinburgh, Chris grew up in Birminham,  Stacey was from Winchester, Ted was from York, Dean from London, and Colum from Dublin. Jack, a man who really no one knew about personally, was from Manchester, a fact he could not hide with his strong  Bolton accent.

Molly and Emily made up the local contingent, hired when two other women quit suddenly two years ago, for mysterious reasons, none of the other staff understood. Of course, rumors circled the office, like low fog off the sea, but rumors were just, well, rumors.

That Meredith and Cassie had just “got up and left” one Monday morning two years to this date, when Emily was staring at her rejected copy, July 5th, gave Emily goose pimples.

Her cell twittered like a bird. “Emily here, ah Molly, yes, I think I need to meet you for lunch, sure.”

Emily looked at her cell, It was ten past one. She was late leaving for lunch and because of the tight scheduling of the office, she had to be back by two. But, Molly was meeting her at La Piazza, as that was close to the newspaper office.

Emily gathered her things and rushed out. Molly was already at the restaurant. Emily and Molly kept up their friendship even though Molly was now married, pregnant and planning on being a stay-at-home mum.

Molly looked great, better than ever. “Molly, thanks so much for phoning. I really needed to talk with you today.”

Emily sat down and ordered the same thing she always ordered-the veggie wrap with a black coffee.

“Emily, I am glad to see you.” Molly could see her friend was flustered. She would wait and listen to Emily vent.

“I got number six today. Doesn’t look good for me, Molly. Jack just hates my work and more and more picks away at all my sentences. Look at this copy!”

Emily pushed an envelope towards Molly over the black faux marble table.

Molly read the text.  “This is so unfair. Your writing is brilliant, much better than mine ever was, and I only had four articles refused before I quit. Jack is being so picky.”

“I really can’t take this much longer, Molly. Not only is Jack rude as well as being stupid about my work, but the ambience in the office has become horrible. No one talks to me because I am seen now as a pariah. No one wants to go down in my sinking ship. Not even Chris talks with me now. I have been marginalized.”

“Jack does that. He creates this ethos of coldness, which others pick up and then sits back and waits until the person he is shutting out by his manipulations quits. He never fires anyone. He just isolates them until they walk.”

Molly drank her tea. Emily noticed how well she looked, but she also seemed burdened.

“Molly, I am sorry about rabbiting on. What is bothering you? Do you feel well? Is the baby fine?”

Molly smiled. She could never hide her feelings. “Emily, I have news which is good and bad. Good for Dave and me and bad for you. He is being transferred to Cambridge. His unit is moving out of this area and the army is going to close the entire base here at Everiingham. I can give you a scoop on this as it will be public knowledge in two days."

"It is not classified info. Here, I wrote a little story on it. You can use it. But, I won’t be here for you anymore. We leave in two weeks.”

Emily tried not to look disappointed. That her only and best friend was moving far away did crush her even more than the problems at work. “Molly, I understand. You know how much I shall miss you, but maybe I need to move on somewhere else as well. This job is  a dead-end.”

Molly picked at her salad. “I am so sorry, Emily. You can come stay with us, while you look for work, if you want to move near us. Dave and I talked about it. I shall need help when the baby comes.”

Emily tried not to cry. “Oh, Molly. You two are wonderful. I shall think about it. Hey, I need to get back. Thanks for the story. Maybe this news will get me out of hot water, but I doubt it. I shall phone you tonight.”

Emily got up to leave. She put her hand on Molly’s shoulder. “I need to think about all these things. I phone you about eight.”

Molly nodded. “I need to leave now, anyway. Can you believe it, three weeks from my baby’s due date and I have to pack.”

Emily blurted out. “Oh, I am so selfish. Hey, can I come over tomorrow, on my day off, and help you?”

Molly and Emily stood outside the door, They hurriedly put up their umbrellas, as rain began to fall softly over the town. “Would you? You have no idea how I dread packing.”

“I’ll phone, but I shall see you tomorrow for sure. Bye, I need to run.”

Molly waved and walked back to the short distance to the bus which would take her to the base. Emily raced across the street and down the road to the office, She was not looking, and a small, electric car came up behind her, knocking her onto the pavement. She fell and blacked out. When she came to, she could here voices, people talking, but she could not make out what they were saying,  She felt sick to her stomach. She sat up. She was groping for her handbag, cell phone and the envelope from Molly. But, when she put her hands down around her to push herself up, she realized she was feeling grass and dirt and not cement. Emily felt sick from the accident, but now, she panicked. She looked around her at the people. Who were these odd people? They were all dressed as if they were either going to a masquerade or were in a play. Four women stood around her in long gowns, two were nuns in black habits, old and strange habits. Two men bent over her, one a priest, in a strange cassock, like an old Benedictine habit. Emily looked around her, and saw that Everingham had literally vanished. She was sitting on the grassy edge of a small road, a dirt road. She felt terrified. Then, she realized the two men were speaking a dialect of old English from this area of England. Emily’s two degrees were in linguistics and journalism. She recognized a strange combination of  Anglo-Saxon, and Latin, Then, she saw blood on her skirt and felt her head. Immediately, Emily fainted.

Emily woke up in a warm room with a large fireplace and dark walls covered with heavy woolen blanket-type hangings. Two nuns fussed about the room carrying large pewter bowels of water. Emily felt sick. She thought she was hallucinating. But, when the nun came and put a cold cloth on her head, Emily knew this entire scene was not a dream. How could she be in such a strange place? Was this Everingham?”

Emily decided to speak in Latin, not the odd dialect of English she was hearing.

“Where am I? Who are you?”

A beautiful young nun with the face of an angel came and laid her hands on Emily’s shoulders. “Ah, you speak Latin? You were speaking odd words earlier. We were concerned. And your dress, so odd. But do not worrying, the abbess said we could care for you until we find out where your people are and until you are well.”

Emily looked around the strange scene. The room was large, but cozy. Everything was made out of oak or beech, she could see that. The bed she was in felt strange, and she realized it was made out of rope and a feather-bed.

The fire in the fireplace crackled in a homey way, and in one corner was a large shrine with a statue of Our Lady, a strange statue, more ancient and modest than Emily had ever seen. The statue made Emily think of the Lady of the Taper, in Wales. But, not quite.

“Dear Sister, where am I?” 

“Do not be concerned. You are in the monastery of Bishop’s Farm, and the abbess is the holy Everildis, whom you will meet later. Here, drink this, please.” The nun gave Emily a large goblet of some type of hot drink. Emily tasted it. It was an odd combination of mint, lavender and something else she could not place, plus hot wine of some sort, or a heavy alcoholic drink, almost like purple mead.

Emily drank and laid back on the feather bed. She was strangely calm. Even though she could not understand how she got to this odd place, Emily felt safe. “Bishop’s Farm, Everildis…I have gone back in time, from a car accident, not a tardis.”

Emily knew local history extremely well. Bishop’s Farm was the land given to St. Everildis by the great St. Wilfird or a Benedictine monk. Was this 680? How could a bump on the head, or a concussion cause this odd travel time warp? Emily looked at her clothes. The nuns had changed her into a soft woolen garment, like a very heavy nightgown. It was grey with white flecks. On her head was a large bandage, and on her feet, heavy stockings, again wool.

When she fell, which now seemed like an eternity, it was a rainy but warm day in Everingham. Now, it seemed cold and dry, not damp. Perhaps the fire helped.

“I know a little Latin,” offered Emily, feeling much stronger from the drink. “But, not much.”

The young nun smiled. Her blue eyes looked like stars. “I am here by your side because I know a little Latin as well. My uncle is a priest and he taught me. Few of the nuns know Latin, but my ancestors were Romans and we kept up the language in our houses.”

The little nuns turned away and went over to a large kettle over the fire in the fireplace. She then bought Emily a plate, with strange hot fried bread and some cheese. “Can you try and eat this?”

Emily said thank you and took the plate, which was on a small cloth. The plate was warm to the touch. “How long was I unconscious?” Emily had to stretch for that word in Latin.


“You were only not with us for a few minutes, but then you fell into a fever, which has lasted five days. The abbess asked us all to pray, as we thought you may die. But, here you are, still here, among the living.” The young nun smiled and her face was like the sun.

Emily slowly ate and wondered at her predicament. She realized now that by some strange will of God she had been taken from the Everingham of 2014 to the Bishop’s Hill of 670 or so. How weird, how mysterious. Emily could not even think of the word, “why” as the why word seemed lame and out of place in this setting.

Just then, a tall, noble woman of about 45 came into the room. The young nun, and the elderly one who was cooking and fussing about the room, stepped to the side and bowed.

This new lady was obviously the abbess. Around her neck was one of the most beautiful crosses Emily had ever seen. It was gold with a huge emerald in the middle and small purple mosaics on the transepts.

Emily tried to get up to bow. “No, child, you rest. You do not need to bow to me. I am Abbess Everildis, and when you are better, we shall have a long talk. I want to ask you many questions.” Everild was one of the most beautiful women Emily had ever seen. She had a long face, with dainty features, but her eyes were large and the deepest blue Emily had ever seen.

“Lady Abbess, you know I am not from this world.”

Everild smiled. “None of us are from this world. We are all from God. Now, rest. We shall have time to talk in a few days. These two sisters, Mary Bega and Mary Wuldreda, will stay with you constantly until you are well. They will say their hours here, in this room. Do you pray? I see that you are wearing two strange emblems of our faith.”

Emily felt and under the heavy gown, she could feel her Benedictine medal and her silver scapular medal. She sighed. “Yes, and I could follow some of the Latin in the Book of the Hours.” 

The Abbess turned to the two nuns. “You will let this woman pray with you, but you must make sure she rests. I would say, Morning Praise and Evening Prayer only for now. Goodbye, strange girl from the future, as I know you are. I shall visit you tomorrow.”

Abbess Everildis held out her hand and Emily kissed her huge sapphire ring, the ring of a princess abbess. How amazing that Everildis, who Emily knew to be a saint, understood that Emily was not of this time. They had her clothes, and maybe her cell phone, and her handbag with all the normal things a woman of 25 would carry in her bag.  As the Abbess left, Emily wondered also at the nuns saying some sort of the Divine Office. She has learned that this rule had only come in after Benedictines had come to England, but the Celtic monks and nuns had prayers as well, but not in Latin, of course. Emily, despite her weakness and sore head was intrigued. Of course, Everildis could have met Benedictines. This was not an impossible scenario.

She lay back on the feather bed and a strange thought came to her. “I am glad my parents are dead. They would be so worried about my disappearance. But, have I disappeared form 2014, or am I in two places at once. And, poor Molly, I missed my promised to help her. What must she think?” Then, the sleepy woman thought of something odd-"My baptismal name is Averil, Averil Emily Grant."

Then, Emily became sleepy, but before she did sleep, she could see the young nun bring a small bench over to her bedside and sit down next to her. Emily again thought a fleeting thought as she fell asleep. “Maybe, I am not out of danger. They would not stay and watch.” As she felt asleep and woke again, Emily could hear part of the prayer. 

"Fæder ure,
ðu ðe eart on heofenum,
si ðin nama gehalgod;
to-becume ðin rice;
geweorþe ðin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofenum.
Urne ge dæghwamlican hlaf syle us to-deag,
and forgyf us ure gyltas
swa swa we forgifaþ urum gyltendum,
ane ne gelæde ðu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfle.

To be continued…

In Whom Do We Trust?

I shocked someone today by stating that I would not trust .......because she is not a practicing Catholic. Now, she is  fallen away Catholic, not a born Protestant or any other non-Catholic belief system. She went to Catholic schools all the way through college and married a Catholic in the Catholic Church.

Then, she and her husband decided not to have any children. They decided not to go to Mass anymore. They decided that their careers were all important and that making and keeping lots of money were the most worthy uses of their time and attention. They have built two enormous houses, they collect antiques, and they live the lives of so many others who are godless.

What my companion could not understand was my comment in context of me entrusting this fallen-away Catholic with personal information.

Trust must be based on the fact that someone has integrity. Integrity is the "quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness."

Have we lost all objectivity? Have we lost the sense of character?

Humans must earn trust by being consistent in the life of grace. Even Christ did not entrust Himself to all people.24 But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men. John 2:24

Someone said to me, "But she is a good person?" What does it mean to be good?
Too many Catholics trust atheists, agnostics, adulterers, embezzlers, fornicators, pedophiles, teachers of heresies and corrupt government officials.
Who do you trust?