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October 30, 1987     The Message
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October 30, 1987
 

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Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, October 30, 1987 ' m I! /100/"Christ's call to unity which Chr!stians of different make toward unity.:.: Only by Christ as the Lord of (their)lives." |.#  renew Christian communities and word, it is a yearning for deeper of experts. But it is more than that. |\\;-2" What isyour picture of the to discover how Christianity can insights into our Christian identity The ecumenical movement is an |  ecumenical movement? become a motivating factor in or- and, consequently, for a renewal ' ongoing process. In their efforts I  ,mDesyurvmind conjure up the dinary life are ecumenical steps, of Christian communities, to mature as Christians, all the |. image of a group of theological This is what Pope John Paul II The fact is, the ecumenical members of Christian communities experts gathered around a table to was suggesting when he said dur- movement is not the endeavor of further the ecumenical move- discuss their important areas of ing an ecumenica!,meeting in Col- static, motionless groups. Instead, ment's goals. disagreement -- a group that at umbia, S.C., that it is not dif- this movement involves people What these people discover is the conclusion of its deliberations ficult to see how the internal who are alive, dynamic, that while there are real points of will publish a progress report? renewal and purification of the For Pope John Paul, what division among them, there is also That is a key activity of life of Christian communities is enlivens them is the desire,t,o a shared desire to grow in Chris- ecumenism. So are the actions in essential to any progress we .may grow in the acceptance of Jesus tian faith. I A woman of strong convictions By Janaan Manternach NC News Service S imone Well was born a sickly child in Paris in 1909. Her father, a suc- cessful doctor, and her mother did all they could for her. But suffering was a con- stant part of her life. Maybe it was because of her suf- fering that Simone felt the pain of others so strongly. She became a sensitive, shy youngster. Her Jewish parents encouraged her to learn all she could. As a teen-ager, Simone became very in- terested in politics. She wanted to find ways to help the poor and powerless. She learned all she could about why so many people are poor, why there are wars, why there is so much injustice. Simone decided to become a teacher. Clumsy and awkward, suf- fering almost continual migraine headaches, she paid little attention to her appearance. But her brilliant mind, her compassion and her con- victions made a deep impression on students. Simone believed strongly that she must live according to what she believed. She actively demonstrated for the unemployed, for workers' rights, for the poor. She ate only what those on welfare could afford. To share more closely the lives of poor working people, Simone left the classroom to work in a fac- tory. She felt like a slave and wrote articles about how powerful people become rich through the inhuman work forced on the poor. When war broke out in Spain in 1936, Simone joined the struggle for freedom. Because as a pacifist she so strongly opposed war, she served as a cook. The horrible suf- fering of the wounded shocked her. She visited Italy to relax and recover. In Rome she experienced the beauty of Catholic worship for the first time. In Assisi she felt God's presence as never before. Then, back in France, at the monastery of Solesmes, still suffer- ing from agonizing headaches, Simone experienced Christ's love so strongly that it changed her life. "I only felt in the midst of my suffering...the presence of love," she wrote afterward. She read the Gospels. But she never actually joined the church. Simone moved with herparents to New York in May 1942. She studied nursing so she could go to England to care for wounded soldiers. She spent hours in prayer and went to Mass each In November she sailed for England. Not allowed to go to the war zones, she worked hard from a London office for war victims. Her practical rule for how to 10ve those who suffer was to ask them, "What are you going through?" Finally her poor health gave out. At 34, she developed tuberculosis and died of a heart attack on Aug. 24, 1943. (Ms. Manternach is the author of catechetical works, scripture stories and original stories for children.) Hidden Words Rnd the words hid- den in the puzzle. They may be ver- tical, horizontal or diagonal. All the words are found in this week's story. R C P R F Y C T S N E B T U T O T J S N I M O I C E H C A E T F E B E T S R N S M U N A E I I I H N S N M C U C R O O P K E I T U M D L S A I N I J Y J E W I S H FRANCE, POOR, SIMONE, JEWISH, SICKLY, TEACHER What do you think? [] Simone WeU was a compassionate person. What were some signs of her compassion? What are some ways in which you have the opportunity to be compassionate toward others? From the bookshelf Believers of different faith traditions share many things in com- mon. In a book called People to Remember, by Janaan Manter- nach and Carl J. Pfeifer, the story of Pope John XXIII Is told, along with a number of other stories. It was he who helped to open up a window of understanding between members of the Catholic Church and Christians of other denominations. Pope John XXIII continues to make a difference today In the respect Catholics show for those of other religious traditions and the efforts made by Catholics to bring about greater unity among all Christians. (Paulist Press, 997 Mac, arthur Blvd., Mahwah, N.J. 07430. 1987. Paperback; $4.94.)