John Lewis and Thomas Merton: keep the faith … keep going


At the funeral service of Rep. John R. Lewis today, July 20, 2020, President William J. Clinton said of Lewis:

Then there was Bloody Sunday. He figured he might get arrested and this is really important not to, for all the rhapsodic things we all believe about John Lewis, he had a really good mind and he was always trying to figure out how can I make the most of every single moment?


So he’s getting ready to march from Selma to Montgomery. Wants to get across the bridge. What do we remember? He made kind of quite a strange figure. He had a trench coat and a backpack. Now, young people would probably think that’s no big deal, but there weren’t that many backpacks back then and you never saw anybody in a trench coat looking halfway dressed up with a backpack. But John put an apple, an orange, a toothbrush, toothpaste in the backpack to take care of his body because he figured he would get arrested. And two books, one a book by Richard Hofstadter on America’s political tradition to feed his mind. And one, the autobiography of Thomas Merton, a Roman Catholic Trappist monk, who was the son of itinerant artists making an astonishing personal transformation.

What’s a young guy who’s about to get his brains beat out and planning on going to prison and doing, taking that? I think he figured that if Thomas Merton could find his way and keep his faith and believe in the future, he John Lewis could too.

Prayer for earth … our common home

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe

and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love,

that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live

as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,

help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,

so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives,

that we may protect the world and not prey on it,

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts

of those who look only for gain

at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,

to be filled with awe and contemplation,

to recognize that we are profoundly united

with every creature

as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle

for justice, love and peace.

Taken from the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’


Creative Commons Photo from



We together … international migrants day December 18, 2019

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:34).

December 18 is International Migrants Day. The observance this year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), focuses on the stories of social cohesion, which are as varied and unique as each of the 272 million migrants living new lives and building new communities in every corner of the globe. We learn together, create together, work together, sing, dance and play together. We live together. That is the meaning of International Migrants Day and its message.

To paraphrase some of the wise words of His Holiness Pope Francis, may we all learn to love the other, the stranger, as ourselves.

Photo: UNHCR/Roger Arnold


Prayer for pets and all God’s creatures – Redux

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Mahatma Gandhi


Lately, I have noticed an increase in reports about animal abuse cases. I wonder how many cases go unreported?

I will continue to use my time, talent or treasure to benefit animals and the environment. A special thanks to Greta Thunberg for her environmental advocacy. I will pray, even more fervently, God bless the beasts and the children. — Tanya Goodman, October 4, 2019

On October 4, Catholics observe the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. In the Catholic Church and other denominations, it is traditional to bless animals and pets on or near that day. St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and ecology. He advocated respect for all of God’s creation, including the earth, centuries before “global warming” became a heated topic. No matter what faith beliefs you may hold, let us pray for all the animals — the ones who labor, curl up at our feet or run free in the wild — especially the ones who are sick, scared or injured. May we show respect to one another and all of God’s creation.

Prayer for Animals

God Our Heavenly Father, 

you created the world to serve humanity’s needs and

to lead them to you.

By our own fault, 

we have lost the beautiful relationship

which we once had with all your creation.

Help us to see that by restoring our relationship with you

we will also restore it with all your creation.

Give us the grace to see all animals as gifts from you and Francesco-7p

to treat them with respect for they are your creation. 

We pray for all animals who are suffering as a result of our neglect.

May the order you originally established

be once again restored to the whole world

through the intercession of the Glorious Virgin Mary,

the prayers of Saint Francis and

the merits of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ

who lives and reigns with you now and forever. Amen.

— St. Francis of Assisi, additions added later, prayer from

Pet blessing cartoon from

Image of St. Francis of Assisi by unknown artist from




Cultural Diversity Worldwide

UN Cultural Diversity



“On 21 May, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, UNESCO encourages people around the world to join us in celebrating cultural diversity, and advocating for ways to protect and promote it in their own communities. In this way, all will be included and no one will be left behind.”

— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Opening of the Fifteenth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII15)
Theme of Indigenous peoples: Conflict, Peace and Resolution. UN Photo by Rick Bajornas

According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development. Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. This is captured in the seven culture conventions, which provide a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.


National Napping Day 2019


This is one of my favorite American theme days. National Napping Day is always observed the day after the return of Daylight Saving Time. National napping day is so welcome after springing forward an hour. I miss that hour I “lost.”

Basically, the 2 o’clock hour went away Sunday morning, March 10. I am never prepared to sacrifice that hour. Are you? 

Napping is beneficial and here are a few facts to back that up. These facts are from the website

  • Naps around 20 or 30 minutes are best for improved short-term alertness.
  • Napping three times a week results in a 37 percent decrease in heart-related deaths.
  • Naps can improve performance by 34 percent.
  • In Ancient Rome, it was common to take a nap after lunch.
  • Sixty million Americans are sleep-deprived at any one time.
  • Humans are the only mammals to plan or delay naps.
  • Just thinking about a nap can lower blood pressure.
  • Most mammals nap.

The Mayo Clinic recommends taking naps in the early afternoon. For me, that is a perfect time. My early afternoons in Rome, Italy, were the best. Siesta time. What is there not to like about a siesta? I tried incorporating them into my work life in the United States. I was, however, unsuccessful. Management smiled when I mentioned it and agreed siestas are nice then handed me extra work.

cat napping at keyboarIf you do try to nap on the job in the United States and get caught, you might get fired. Not so in Japan. There, it is commonplace to sleep on the job and furthermore, it is acceptable.

In Japan, it is called “inemuri,” according to Bryant Rousseau in his article “Napping in Public? That’s a Sign of Diligence in Japan,” that appeared in “The New York Times.”

“It is often translated as ‘sleeping on duty,'” Rousseau wrote. He added that “Brigitte Steger, a senior lecturer in Japanese studies at Downing College Cambridge, England, says it would be more accurate to render it as ‘sleeping while present.'”

Some of my fellow New York City subway riders will be happy to learn it is acceptable 1024px-A_Mid_Station_Nap_(21745571)and common to sleep on commuter trains in Japan.  Rousseau added, “It helps that Japan has a very low crime rate.”

Maybe it is not good to fall asleep on public transit in the United States or other countries, but a nap, in a private place, can refresh and rejuvenate you.

All this talk about napping is making it hard to keep my eyes open. I am reaching for my blanket and fluffy pillow right now. Oops, let me hide my smartphone. Zzz.


Image, “The Hammock,” painting by Gustave Courbet, Wikimedia Commons.

Photo: “Purrfect Cat Nap,”

Photo: “A Mid Station Nap,” by Ian Spence, Wikimedia Commons.


International women’s day — innovate for change

IWD 2019_EN_InFocus 960x450 Think equal

“Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”

Statement for International Women’s Day by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2019

At a time when innovation is dominant, shaping and changing the way people live in every part of the world, we have to be intentional about its use to positively impact the lives of women and girls. That means making sure they are not only consumers of innovation, but take their place as innovators. With their engagement, both design and execution of solutions can address the unique needs of women and girls, from the creation of decent work to delivery of products, services and infrastructure for women in all walks of life. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” puts innovation at the centre of efforts to reflect the needs and viewpoints of women and girls and to resolve barriers to public services and opportunities.


Seychelles women thrive in male-dominated industry



mae jemison


Words matter week

The first week of March is “Words Matter Week” and March 4 is “National Grammar Day.” This is probably important to me and maybe 12 other writers/editors.

Here are a few bon mots in honor of the day and week —

judge on grammar

churchill on dangling participle

wit dorothy parker





Remember what hate can do … January 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day

I have long argued that the hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Antisemitism is a threat to society as a whole, not just Jews in particular. — Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, past Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.


hakan erenler pexels-photo-289756 tea candles 1-26-19

Photo by Hakan Erenler from Pexels