Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


to Moscow, for calling it the way they see it........

Praying for those who have no one

I was listening to Mother Angelica this morning on my way to Mass. Something she said hit me like a ton of bricks: we are to pray for those who have no one to pray for them. We all have a long list of those who we pray for regularly, and people ask us to pray for them. And I often include in my Rosary intentions, "those who have no one to pray for them". But what hit me today was that for those who are taking the fast train to Hell, and who have no religious friends; who will pray for them on a regular basis? Without a lot of prayer in their behalf, many people won't have a chance at salvation, especially those who have no religious education or influence in their lives. Oh sure, they can see the images of the Crucifix, and see folks going to church, but it's like a closed book to them. They don't know what it's all about. They have no understanding. Without our prayers, they may well go on their merry way to perdition, never knowing that there is another way of living. Then there are those who are knowingly shutting God out of their lives, who have deliberately shunned learning about their faith, those who have fallen away, and got lost in the world. They surround themselves with like-minded people; there is no one among them to pray for them.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I want to take this personally, to actually think of the condition of the unfortunate ones who have no prayerful support in their lives. I want to place them beneath the Mantle of Our Lady, and within the Sacred Heart of Our Lord. There are so many ! I think of the lonely elderly, the abandoned children, widows, prisoners, street people, drug addicts, and so many others. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers.....
If anyone can recommend any particular prayers for this purpose, I would love it if you'd leave me a comment with the prayer.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who are our Doctor's Serving?

When I read stories like the one below which I am reprinting from LifeSite News, I can't help but wonder how doctors and hospital staff can sleep at night. I wonder what they would do if it was their own children who faced these situations.

EDMONTON, Alberta, January 20, 2010 ( – While Isaac and Rebecka May, the Canadian couple who are fighting for their new-born baby’s life, are awaiting a January 27th judgment on their petition for a 90-day injunction against their hospital's order to remove their baby Isaiah's ventilator, some advocates for the disabled are saying that what the May’s are experiencing is shockingly common in Canada.

According to Sam Sansalone, father of Katya Sansalone, who was born 8 years ago with full trisomy 13, in Canada “profoundly disabled kids are routinely – and intentionally – not treated with life-saving intervention.” Sansalone serves as co-chair of the Advisory Committee of Family to Family Connections at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, a family-centered care initiative recently launched in Southern Alberta.

He said that “the dynamic that we had to fight became very quickly and firmly entrenched as soon as we had a genetic diagnosis.” “The clear mandate, at least at that time, was that you don't save these disabled children's lives,” he continued. “You allow them to die – even though the needed interventions are exactly the same as would routinely and unquestionably be given to quote-unquote normal children.”

Katya Sansalone was born with a cardiac condition that is associated with her chromosomal defect. The Sansalones fought hard with their hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, to have them perform the cardiac surgery that Katya needed.

The hospital initially refused to do the surgery, he said, but “they didn't make it look that way.” “Initially they said we had a choice, and then they proceeded with trying to influence that choice by giving us false information about the range of outcomes,” he continued.

Sansalone attributed their success in part to the fact that his wife is a doctor, which helped the family to research Katya's condition. This research allowed them to be “not so easily fooled by this kind of misinformation.”

Sansalone said the hospital “actually tried to hide medical literature from me.” He saw that on one occasion the neonatologist had a key study on a clipboard that actually dispelled myths about Katya's condition that the hospital had perpetuated, but the doctor held the study out as though it supported their position. “When I tried to read it, the neonatologist doctor actually pulled it away from my view,” he said.

Sansalone believes their experience might have some parallels to what the Mays are now going through with the Stollery Children's Hospital. “I hear that they were being denied ... regular access to the patient chart – reading it and seeing the imaging.”

“That is completely illegal, and it is entirely in the parents' right to have as much access as they need to become informed,” he said. “When you have that parental scrutiny of the chart, [the hospital staff's] behaviour, because it will be more scrutinized, will be in better form. ... Terrible things are done behind parents' backs.”

Sansalone pointed out the case of baby Annie Farlow, who also had trisomy 13, but died five years ago at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

In an September-October 2009 article for the prestigious Hastings Center Report, Annie's mother Barbara told the story of how she and her husband were misinformed and deceived by doctors who she says were not interested in giving Annie the care she needed to survive.

Annie was born especially healthy for her condition, but on her 80th day she suffered a respiratory crash. Based on the advice of their pediatrician and hospital staff, the Farlows agreed to not have Annie intubated, and she died shortly thereafter.

Barbara writes about how she was suspicious about certain irregularities in the events leading up to Annie's death. “Although I felt guilty, ashamed, and ungrateful to be so suspicious, I ordered Annie’s medical records to look at the events of her last hours,” she says.

“I was shocked by what we found.”

The intensive care specialist, she discovered, had ordered that Annie not be resuscitated hours before they had consented. Further, they had not been informed that even from the fifth day of her life, there were signs that Annie's condition was deteriorating. Additionally, a pulmonologist had ordered tests for a dangerous condition, which were cancelled.

“To this day, it is unclear to us whether our daughter’s death was preventable or inevitable,” she wrote. “In either case, Annie had suffered terribly and unnecessarily as she slowly asphyxiated to death. The lack of transparency in the treatment plan ensured that she received neither appropriate lifesaving care nor effective palliation.”

CTV Edmonton reported yesterday on another similar case to Baby Isaiah's, in which the parents were only successful in saving their baby after a fight with medical staff.

Turner Kersey was born three years ago, 14 weeks prematurely, with severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during birth. Doctors told his family that he would be vegetative for the rest of his life, and pressured them to take him off life support.

"It was a large fight on our part in order to have our voices heard," said Brandy Kersey, Turner's mother. They said "that we should take him off life support ... that we should let life take its course.”

The Kerseys were successful in obtaining the necessary surgery for Turner, and now, says Brandy, "He's doing everything they said he wouldn't. He walks, he talks, he dances, he sings, he counts to 20."

Dr. Paul Byrne, a neonatologist with nearly fifty years of experience, who has been advising Isaac and Rebecka, told LifeSiteNews yesterday how Stollery Children's Hospital has refused to give baby Isaiah appropriate and standard care.

Besides putting Isaiah on a ventilator, he said the doctors have not conducted blood tests or blood counts, and that the hospital has refused to do a tracheotomy, which would be standard in Isaiah's case, despite Isaac and Rebecka's pleading.

“I have a hard time believing how all of this is going on, but on the other hand, I don't have [a] hard time ... in the sense that these things are going on much more commonly than anybody ever realizes,” he said.

Mark Pickup, an advocate for disability issues who has been involved in the Mays' case, urged the hospital to respect the parents' desire to preserve Isaiah's life.

“We must always make decisions that default toward life,” he said. “The parents are not in favour of the hospital's actions here, and I would urge the hospital to not make that decision to remove the respirator. Allow other physicians to take a look at this case. There may be a way out that's life-affirming, not life-denying.”

See the Facebook group in support of Baby Isaiah: Prayers for Baby Isaiah James here.

See the Facebook group seeking justice for Annie Farlow: Justice for Annie here.

Contact Information:

Stollery Children's Hospital
8440 112 Street Northwest
Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7
General Phone Line: (780) 407-8822

Alberta Health Services - Complaints
Mail Slot 57
11111 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0L4
Toll-free: 1-877-753-2170
Telephone: 780-342-8080
Fax: 1-877-871-4340

Dr. Ernest Z. Phillipos, Director of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Stollery Children's Hospital
Phone: 780-407-1305
Fax: 780-407-3030

Gene Zwozdesky, Alberta Minister of Health
208 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-3665
Fax: 780 415-0961

Office of Premier Ed Stelmach
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 - 97th Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427 2251
Fax: (780) 427 1349

See related coverage:

Young Canadian Parents Fighting Hospital to Save Their Baby's Life

Annie's Story: The Tragic Death of a Girl with Trisomy 13 - PART 1

Parents Lose Malpractice Suit Against Toronto Sick Children's Hospital Over Baby Daughter's Death

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Journey, Continued

I remember something that my mom told me- God helps those who help themselves. She meant that we have to put our best effort into accomplishing our goals, and in doing so we would merit the grace we need along the way. On my journey home in the Catholic faith, I have found that the more I try to do God's will, the easier it becomes, and at the same time it requires more effort. One parish I was in had a very holy priest who inspired me with a great love of God, and whose advice and example were uplifting, inspiring, and educational. When he was transferred to another town, I felt that I was suddenly adrift on an ocean of sin (the world) in a rudderless boat. It was 5 years more until I found a priest who I could turn to - and it wasn't my parish priest, it was Fr. Corapi, who I had the good fortune to meet at a retreat in Seattle 3 years ago. (Thanks to my sister for taking me with her!) Through his books, CD's, radio and TV programs, I once again had a sort of spiritual director, albeit not a personal one. Any question I come up with, I can usually find in his material.
What do we do without a spiritual director? Prayer and spiritual reading are the two things that have helped me. The daily rosary, no excuses accepted to avoid it! Morning and evening prayers, said without fail. It took me a few years to establish my prayer habits, but now I look forward to that time spent in devotion.
There are so many books available to us to help our spiritual journey; sometimes it takes a bit to find the right one. I tried to read Shorter Summa, but it was too much for me at my current level. I love to read the lives of saints. My current reading list includes Introduction to the devout life by St. Francis De Sales, and Conversations with Christ by St. Theresa of Avila. And my companion books, The Imitation of Christ, and the Purgatorian Manual which I refer to often.
Getting back to my point about things requiring more effort as you progress, I find that my prayer load has increased as I grow more accustomed to it, I attend more Masses, and spend less time in frivolous activities.
Thank God!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Helping Haiti

LifeSite News answered a question that I'd been mulling over; where to donate to the relief effort and know that I wasn't supporting any organization that funds abortion ( I can't trust Development and Peace, the Canadian Catholic organization!)
Here is their info:

Pro-Life Organizations to Donate to for Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts

By John-Henry Westen

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI, January 13, 2010 ( - The devastating earthquake which hit Haiti last night, leaving over 100,000 dead according to the Haitian Prime Minister, has called forth aid from all corners of the globe. Pro-life individuals wishing to make donations to the relief efforts have wondered where to donate without compromising their morals by donating to agencies that do not respect the right to life of the unborn.

Certain aid agencies, while ostensibly respecting the right to life, have nevertheless funded pro-abortion groups in locales where aid is required. For instance, reported last March that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), was funding two pro-abortion groups in Haiti.

Efforts in the United States to reform the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which has been found in similar pro-abortion entanglements, have led to the compilation of lists of pro-life agencies to which pro-life individuals may donate with confidence.

The Reform CCHD coalition has noted several groups which can be safely supported. One of those groups is doing specific outreaches to Haitian disaster relief.

It is Cross International.

Another such agency, Haiti Mission, is also fully committed to the right to life in undertaking their charitable work in the now-devastated nation. spoke with Deacon Lloyd Duplantis of Haiti Mission. Haiti Mission focuses mainly on providing potable water to the poor in the Jeremie region of Haiti.

Duplantis, who spent the night in prayer after hearing about the devastation, told LSN that his contacts in the region informed him that the quake lasted some 20 seconds. In addition to the countless numbers of citizens, the quake also claimed the lives of the Archbishop of Port-Au-Prince and the UN Commander. “Bodies are piled in the streets,” he said.

The Director of Haiti Mission said that monies donated are sent through direct deposit accounts to their members in Haiti. Duplantis is awaiting airport clearance to send a team to Haiti from America.

For more information on these groups:

Haiti Mission

Cross International

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pray always

For some time now, when I say my night prayers, I have been praying to the Holy Spirit to guide me in my dreams so that even in my sleep I may be doing God's will and increasing His glory. I believe that this prayer is bearing fruit, for example, if I dream of someone drowning, like I did last night, I wake up and pray for the souls of all who will die by drowning this day and say 3 Hail Marys for the soul of that particular person of whom I was dreaming.
We are told to pray unceasingly, and so even during the night, our waking moments can be spent wisely by praying.
It is so easy for our minds to become cluttered with the debris of daily life. Prayer is my choice of clearing away all the trash that inundates us, and at the advice of my Confessor, I am currently reading Introduction to the devout Life by St. Francis De Sales. My goal is to become proficient at mental prayer, as was my patron Saint, Teresa of Avila. St. Alphonsus Ligouri writes, "It also helps us very much to obtain divine grace if we have recourse to the intersession of the saints, for they have great power with God, especially for the benefit of those who are their special clients."
And so I have confidence that St Teresa will aid me in my goals, and help me in my journey of attaining salvation.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Star and the Cross

The star that guided the wise men has become to me a symbol of the light of Christ in my life, guiding my path as I seek my goal of attaining salvation. I like this image of the star, because it contains in it the way; the Cross of Christ. Those who seek Jesus and His promise of eternal life must take up their Cross to follow Him. Every day is a struggle to avoid the easy path the world would have us follow, every day to be on guard to stay free of sin, every day, to look to Our Lord in prayer and in the Sacraments to strengthen our moral and spiritual life, to live in the world but not be of the world.
Follow the light.