October 2010

I’d like to share a little story that happened last week.

Let’s just say that it’s been a tough week. On Thursday, my beloved son threw the tantrum of the century. I know, kids throw tantrums… But these are tantrums that make us question whether there is something very wrong with our baby boy. And it scares me to death.

A tantrum over a missing mitten. That’s all it was. But it took us a good hour to get over it. I was exhausted and emotionally worn thin. The universe had given me the small blessing of rain that day to hide the tears that I just couldn’t hold back anymore.

As I was standing at the bus stop, I felt someone get strangely close to me. I turned around to see a lovely black woman approaching me with an umbrella. “Would you like some shelter?” she said. I smiled at the wording. It meant so many things right there and then. I thanked her profusely for her kindness and said: “The truth is I have an umbrella in my bag.” I never use an umbrella. What’s a little rain but another way for God to touch us? She warned me about catching a cold and stepped back. I thanked her again and waited for the bus.

I replayed our brief conversation in my mind. Why am I ‘standing in the rain’ when I have what it takes to get out of it? I realized that I have all the tools necessary to get out of my situation. I just need to use my resources and keep going. Then it dawned on me: it was a black woman. Whenever I have been in real need, a dark skinned figure (whether real or in a dream) comes to me and gives me comfort, completely out of the blue.  Many years ago, my angel was revealed to me in my dreams. In my dreams, my angel has a dark bronze complexion. Here I was offered shelter by a black woman. Dark skinned like my guardian angel. An angel in the rain.

Angels are everywhere and they interact with us in ways that are familiar to us. I don’t know how others perceive them, but to me they have very distinct characteristics that alert me to their presence. The skin complexion is definitely the most obvious. There is also that vibration, like supersonic music, just beyond our hearing threshold. It’s hard to describe. Those who have read my book know that angels were my first access to the other realm. They were my first contact. They come in and out of my life bringing me messages and lessons.

I am better now and so is the rest of the family. The lesson is that you have to take shelter sometimes when it is offered and seek the help you need. Sometimes, you should take the easiest road because it is the simplest and most energy efficient way and because even warriors need to rest. So when my parents offered to keep the kids overnight to give us a chance to rest, I surrendered. When we picked them up, we were all refreshed. The kids needed a break from us too, I guess. Angels come in many guises, the most obvious is as grandparents!

May you walk with an angel of peace by your side!


The Church of Rome canonized 6 new saints today. Of note is the first Australian saint. Also, from a much more personal place, is a Montrealer who has touched the lives of many here. Born Alfred Bessette, we all know him humbly as Brother André.

He is the second Canadian  after Marguerite D’Youville to be exalted to sainthood. This humble, humble man held an undying devotion to Saint-Joseph, the one he called ‘the forgotten member of the Holy Family’. In 1904, he begins the construction of a small wooden chapel devoted to Saint-Joseph. The affluence to this site is so great, that the little chapel cannot contain the number of devotees. Plans are made for the construction of a basilica which was finished in 1967, 30 years after the death of Brother André.

I have many memories in St-Joseph’s Oratory, as we call it, and some may recall my mentioning it in the book. One day, when I was in 7th grade, my religion teacher casually announced that I was selected among others to go on a tour of the Oratory. I don’t know how I got selected, but that trip changed my life. I walked through those halls and felt a consuming peace. I looked at the statues and they looked so beautiful. We walked the gardens where the stations of the cross were set as great big statues. The most amazing part of the sanctuary was the hall of candles. Hundreds of candles burned, petitioning St-Joseph in his various functions: protector of families, patron of workers, protector from demons, solace of the sick… Above, hundreds of crutches testifying to the miracles attributed to St-Joseph and to Brother André. My skin was ablaze with this fire and with the knowledge that there was greatness here. The greatness of faith and surrender to something greater than ourselves. A few years later, when I started college, I would visit the Oratory whenever I had some time off and was in need of a quiet sacred place.

Another story that was told to me was that one day, my grandfather had prayed to Brother André because he had no food to feed his eleven children. That day, he found five dollars in a pair of pants that had been given to him through good will. It was enough to keep the family afloat. So, Brother André has been a presence in my life for a very long time. He gave me a place to bring my sorrows and my hopes. He gave me a protector in St-Joseph and he gave my family proof of the power of simple faith.

Saint Brother André, ora pro nobis

OK. I challenge any Zen monk, priest, hermit or yogi to look after two whiny kids and keep their harmony and inner peace!

Jokes aside, I love my kids to death. I just can’t wait for my love, my boy, to start speaking. He is three months away from his fourth birthday and he barely speaks yet. It has been the central concern in my life for most of this year. I’m just praying that everything else is OK with him and that I am worrying for nothing. He is bright and loving, is a musical genius as far as I’m concerned and is great at every single sport he has tried. Communication is just not his thing and I don’t know how to break through to him. Whining for whining is one thing. Whining and screaming as a means of communication is a totally different story and it drives me bananas! It just underlines how hard it is for him to communicate and hits me right where it counts. I’d appreciate a little prayer if you can spare a moment. Of course, my sweet little girl imitates everything her brother does, so I get two screamers for the price of one. Plus, she figured that you don’t really need to be two to get into her assertive phase. So, it’s been that kind of weekend!

I haven’t posted anything this week. I’ve consecrated most of my spare time brainstorming the new book. It feels so good to be back in study mode! I’ve been browsing my experiences once more for lessons that may be helpful to others and have picked up books that I’ve been longing to read for a long time. It’s been nice.

I’ve also started a new job. The clinic I was supposed to work at closed my position after a week of me being there. It was unsettling to say the least, but it gave me time to really settle in. You have to see the opportunities life gives you, even when it seems rotten at first. Well, a few days after getting laid off, I got an email from a friend (who didn’t know I was out of work) saying that there was a new long-term care facility looking for an occupational therapist. This facility is 10 minutes from my house! So, I decided to give it a try. Long-term care is not my specialty at all. But the way this opportunity came my way, I figured that the universe has a very important lesson for me there. Maybe it’s time for me to look into the crone aspect. I’m sure I will learn a lot about compassion and spirit working with the elderly.

Lastly, we had a a great Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Autumn is giving us beautifully crisp weather and the leaves are a symphony of colors. There is a lot to be grateful for.

Blessed Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!

I was sitting last night on the couch, perusing a book on Christian women mystics that I’m reading for background on the new book. My  twenty-month old little girl crawled up on the couch next to me and looked up at me with that mischievous look she does so well, like she has a secret she doesn’t want to share just yet. I looked at her and couldn’t help smiling. She’s already more little girl than baby, looking at me from under that mop of reddish curls, with those olive brown eyes. Her older brother and her are like the moon and the sun. My son has an even temper, speaks little, observes a lot and senses everything. Behind his stoic facade, he has an enourmous, intense internal life. I always feel the urge to go and make sure he is OK, that his big emotions are not overpowering his little 3 year-old being. My daughter, on the other hand, is all out. She is all happiness or all rage. She tells you what she wants, tells others what to do. She is my spark, born at high noon on Candlemas and we named her Chiara (meaning light in Italian) to honor this light and in honor of the great woman mystic, St-Claire of Assisi. She is so bold and independent that I sometimes feel she doesn’t need me as much as her brother does. Well, she demands different things of me and that is a learning that I have to do as a mother: how to give what each one needs without being unfair to either. I guess you parents understand what I mean.

So there she was cuddling up next to me and looking at me with that “What are you doing?” look. Usually, she would have taken the book away or jumped on me. But tonight she just cuddled as I read my book. It struck me then that we were sharing a special, sacred bond. I was reading about these great women whose teachings have been withheld from us. My daugther had every link to these women, down to her name. She was the essence of those women, bigger than life and strong in conviction. And she would not have to wait to be in her thirties to discover them. That may be my greatest gift to her. She will grow up knowing the names of Thecla, Leoba, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich and countless others. She will grow up knowing that we have a tradition of Holy Women who worshiped Lady-God and who lived a life of service and contemplation to unite themselves with Her. She will know that there were Women who spoke when they were told to be quiet and who wrote their wisdom even at the threat of dying. She will know that she is in the image of God just as much as God is an image of her.  I whispered to her, “I’ll show you everything.” and she looked up with a smug little face. That is our sacred bond.

Give your daughters a big hug today!

I finally sat down this week and started writing again. I have been juggling with ideas for a new book for months now. My working outline is a monster which is probably more than I can chew. No matter. A book is very much like a child. It has a personality of its own and will take me pretty much wherever IT wants me to go.

I’ve decided to focus a little more on the ‘how-to’ part of Christian Witchcraft in this second book. I have received many emails from readers who are, in their words, ‘just starting out’ and who don’t have too many resources on how to build their practice. The truth is that life is the best teacher and it usually gives you all the lessons you need. And YOU are the only tool you really need to experience the Divine. Nevertheless, a little instruction never hurts and I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers in my life who have given me as much knowledge as they have given me of themselves. I hope that this book can be a tribute to them.

As I was writing the other night (the kids were both asleep by 8:30, unheard of in our house!), I was just letting thoughts flow through me, brainstorming on the topics that I wanted to touch in the book. I lifted my eyes and saw a yellowish haze swaying on the couch across from me. I closed my eyes and I knew it was something good come into my life right at this moment. I asked softly if there was something it wanted to tell me. I heard it say, ‘Just keep writing’ in a way that said ‘ Don’t mind me being here. Just do whatever you were doing.’ I smiled at the attitude. But, then I repeated the words: ‘Just keep writing’ …. like you’re supposed to do, I heard myself finish. My heart was full to bursting and I breathed it all in.

I want to thank all those who contacted me over the last few months and encouraged me to continue writing. Your voices are as much a part of all this as that of my mystery visitor. So many voices whispering to keep going. If you have suggestions or special requests of things you would like to see in the book, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Love and light,