May 7, 2020

Dear Friends:

Happy Mother's Day! Blessings and thanks to all mothers this Sunday - birth moms, adopted moms, step-mothers, foster moms, grandmothers, spiritual mothers, earth mothers and anyone who gives life or nurtures it in others!

Perhaps one of the most touching mothering images of God in the Bible comes in Hosea 11:4, where God is depicted as saying (about Ephraim): "I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them." 

This brief passage depicts the essence of mothering, namely, a woman's relationship to the child she loves. Such imagery describes a God who has the capacity  and the desire  to bend down, to lift up and hold, to stroke, to cover, hug, feed, bathe, and to hold us.

Even in non-pandemic times, our capacity to put ourselves out in service for others may seem limited. Delight in another person, especially someone who is anxious, troubled, whining or always around, may not spark for us. However, God does not have our limitations. Like mothers at their best, God rejoices whenever we bloom into our fullest selves. May Mother God inspire us to intimacy, with all its demands!

Another maternal quality of God is mercy. Many think of the Old Testament God as vengeful and destructive; in contrast this is how God names Godself: "The Lord, the Lord, a god merciful and gracious" (Ex 34:6). Elizabeth Julian, RSM, explains:

The root word rhm (to show mercy) refers to the tender love of parents towards children and of God toward humans. Generally the noun rahamîm (mercy, compassion, love) denotes a quality of God. It is the completely gratuitous, unconditional, merciful love that we cannot explain rationally. The word rehem (womb), comes from rhm. Thus, the adjective rahûm (compassionate, merciful) describes womb love, the kind of attachment a woman has for a child. It is only ever used of God. ("Mercy the Beating Heart of the Bible") 

God has womb-compassion, Julian says, for each of us all the time.

Next Wednesday, May 13, at 6:30 p.m., Cranaleith will host a virtual panel discussion, The Pandemic and Those Most Vulnerable.  

Join our panelists as they share their experiences of bringing God's womb-compassion to people at the center of need in the Philadelphia-area whose lives have been made harder by the pandemic. 

You will have the opportunity to hear from Johanna Berrigan of Catholic Worker, Kensington; Hillary Miller, a community health nurse from Pathways to Housing, Philadelphia; Liam Murphy of Mother of Mercy Mission, Kensington; and Eileen Sizer, RSM, at Hub of Hope, Project HOME, Philadelphia.  May Mother God stir in us the tenderness of mercy for all in need!

As God brings forth the new life of spring, may it germinate and nurture in you the motherly traits of commitment, delight and mercy!
  The Cranaleith Staff

Listen From Home
Congratulations to new grandfather,  Steve Hart. Steve (who is also our board chair) composed a song dedicated to his granddaughter, Sylvie Rae Bonavitacola. Though he has not been able to hold her yet, he has seen her through windows and computer screens. As such, his new piece is called I See Sylvie Through the Glass. 

Reflect From Home
What do you want to do once the sheltering-in-place order has been lifted? Do you long to return to the life you lived before the pandemic? Have you been sneaking some activities that are technically still not allowed? It is hard not to, with all this talk of reopening the country, flattening infection rates and, perhaps most of all, gorgeous spring weather. What do we want the new normal to look like? As we look to the wide-open future from the jail of our present, Jesus wants to shape our perspective.

From Good News 4 You by Bernadette Rudolph
Retreat From Home

In this time of COVID-19 when physical distancing is the order of the day, Cranaleith is offering new programs  online via Zoom .  

Monday, May 4, 11, 18, 25, 2020, 7-8 p.m.

Tuesdays, May 5, 12, 19, 26, 2020, 1-2:30 pm. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 7-9 p.m.

Monday May 18, 1:30-3 p.m. or Thursday, May 21, 7-8:30 p.m.

Friday, May 22, 2:30-4 p.m.
Resources from Home

Spiritual Direction
We are still offering Spiritual Direction via phone and teleconferencing.  Contact Cathy Maguire, RSM at or  215-858-6239.  Psychotherapy is also available. Please contact  Leslie Porreca, RSM, LCSW. Learn more

Community Support
Rooted in a tradition of care and compassion, the mission of CORA Services is to assist children, youth and families experiencing  emotional, academic and social challenges.

Connect With Us Online 
Get daily prayers, reflections, blog posts and images from our beautiful property via our website and social media channels.

Mother's Everywhere
May the blessing of the Divine
Be an especially bright benediction
Upon mothers everywhere
On your blessed day -
On Mother's Day!
Author Unknown
Give From Home

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Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Cranaleith offers a contemplative space for all those seeking wholeness and transformation for themselves and society. We are committed to making Cranaleith accessible to all, especially to persons who are poor and those who work in solidarity with them. We invite those at the center of need and those at the center of influence to reflection, reverent dialogue and meaningful partnerships. Please help us support our work.

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