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Don’t Skip Out on Saints

Driver's license of Archbishop Oscar Romero seen in museum in San Salvador

The first time I heard of Archbishop Oscar Romero was during my Grade 12 religion class.
Now, religion was the last class of the day and so there was every reason to just skip it.

Something that Mr. Whitebread (no kidding, that was his surname) was all too aware of, and took measures against.

His strategy was the promise of a movie about a revolutionary.

Hook, line, and sinker; he had me.

We were all present and accounted for, transfixed by the retelling of this ‘revolutionaries’ life.

By the end of it, we were convinced that Archbishop Oscar Romero was a saint, and it sparked meaningful discussion about discipleship and martyrdom.

The big take away for me, was that it gave me a sense of what sainthood might be like.

Man walks next to wall with graffiti bearing image of Archbishop Oscar Romero in San Salvador

Up until that point, most of the saints I knew of were so far removed from my own experiences I kind of just wrote them off. But learning about Archbishop Romero was different.  There was something tragically real about his life.

It’s been more than a decade since I was in high school, but I’ve been inspired to reconnect with his story by reading a biography about Oscar Romero published by Novalis. The book I’ve been reading is part of the People of God series, it’s called Love Must Win Out. It serves as a great intro (or refresher) on Oscar Romero and most importantly it tells the story of a modern day person who like us was challenged by the times he lived in to become a hero, a saint. I caught up Author, Kevin Clarke to learn more.

This book begins with a frank conversation between Oscar Romero and John Paul II. Why did you choose to start there?

It seemed to me, and I was writing this months before the announcement that Oscar Romero’s martyrdom was finally officially recognized by the church, that the archbishop’s cause had been part of the collateral damage of inter-church politics. I had to set the stage for that with the problems Blessed Oscar Romero had with the folks at the Curia and their inability to fully comprehend what he was trying to tell them about conditions in El Salvador.

Romero’s homilies were a touch-point of consolation for many, but they were also galvanizing  – tell me why his homilies were so stirring and how they are relevant today?

 They remain painfully relevant today because in the deeper context of these homilies can be found a lot of the messages we are hearing today from Pope Francis, being a church of and for the poor, reaching out to the peripheries, standing up to a throwaway economy that treats human beings as little more than soulless inputs. The church in El Salvador was about the closest real-world exemplar to that frontline hospital Pope Francis promotes, administering to the wounded and oppressed, his vision of what the church should be.

You’ve drawn comparisons between Pope Francis and Blessed Oscar Romero – Where you do see their greatest similarity in approach?

You see elements of that what I’ll call strategic humility in the decisions of both of these leaders. They are gestures that are largely symbolic, it’s true, but they are also practical and wise, a voluntary humility that is an example for all of us, but also that was instructive in real ways for Romero as it no doubt will be for Pope Francis.

In your book, you suggest political categories such as ‘left’ or ‘right’ fall short of understanding Romero… why is that important in the telling of Romero’s story.

Romero was trying to save the nation from civil war and the people from the horror of it and to that end he sided with the poor; but he did not side with the left, he sided with the people who were suffering from a great injustice.

Nor did he stand against the right in a sense. To the end what he called the nation’s elite to was to embrace their better selves, not to a political reform, but to a personal revolution of spiritual conversion. He was trying to save the oppressors from their sins just as much as he as trying to save the oppressed from their suffering. Those political labels can never tell a story like that.


Kevin Clarke is senior editor and chief correspondent at America magazine. You can learn more about Oscar Romero in our latest edition of the S+L Magazine. 

Follow America Magazine @americamag

Get your copy of Love Must Win Out via Novalis here.

CNS photos

CherdianS1The Producer Diaries

Cheridan Sanders, a Producer at Salt and Light Television, reflects on her experiences as she travels the world telling Catholic’s stories.



Somewhere Over the Rainbow

The_Wizard_of_Oz_Lahr_Garland_Bolger_Haley_1939 (1)

There’s this great scene early in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy unsuccessfully tries to relate to her family about an incident involving her dog Toto. After she’s brushed off with the admonishment “find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble” Dorothy muses to her dog Toto, “‘Some place where there isn’t any trouble?’ Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat, or a train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain…

Dreams of a place where there isn’t any trouble; a place where peace and universal brotherhood reigns seem like the stuff of songs and fairy tales.

Open hearts. Open minds. If you are different than me, why don’t we talk? Why do we always throw rocks at that which separates us? At that in which we are differing? Why don’t we hold hands in that which we have in common? Motivate ourselves to speak about what we have in common, and then we can talk about the differences we have.  Pope Francis, Address to Youth in Havana

And maybe it even sounds a little cheesy, but in the Tuscan hills of Italy there’s a town that suggests that perhaps it’s not.

I caught up with Donata Ling, a young woman who has visited this special place and asked her to share some her experiences. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada, Donata is continues to promote peace through her work in interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

Donata Ling (third from left) in Egypt, after studying at Hebrew U, with friends.

Ok, you’re rep for the Youth For A United World project, what’s that about?

It’s an international political project launched by young people from around the world who want to live in a more united world. The Project has gained a lot of international recognition from UNESCO in Paris, UNDESA in New York and YOUTH IN ACTION, the youth program of the European Commission. The Project works to create a new way of thinking and living in a world; as it encourages people to care for one another as they would their own sister or brother.

During your third year of university you went to Loppiano, Italy, why Loppiano?

I’ve been part of the Focolare Movement since childhood. My parents had been involved in Hong Kong, before I was born. It seemed as though my involvement in Focolare was very much their choice not mine.  So I decided to experience the community for myself, to determine whether this was the life I wanted.

Initially I imagined I’d go after I’d finished university but, I remember when one of the spiritual directors asked me to consider taking a year off to go to Loppiano, which meant that I wouldn’t graduate with the rest of my friends and interrupting my university degree midway. This choice, seemed to be insignificant compared to the opportunity of experiencing what so many people in the Focolare Movement had already experienced. I felt God was calling me to do this. And, it was undeniably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Donata (centre in back row) with a mix of youth from various countries, such as the Philippines, Italy, Brazil and India in Loppiano, Italy.

Tell me a little about how you came to commit yourself to working for unity and how your faith played a role?

I always knew that the Focolare Movement worked for a more united world, but I didn’t believe it was possible; it just seemed like a Utopian dream. But when I was living in Loppiano, Italy, I experienced a diverse community of people from different cultures and religions that really cared for one another. I was convinced that advancing greater unity in the world was the most pressing need of our time. It was in Loppiano that I made a commitment to live in unity with others. And so on April 27th, 2011 along with everyone present at the School of Formation for Young Women in Loppiano we made a commitment to remain faithful to Jesus in whatever He may call us to do. Every year, on this date we remind ourselves of that promise to God.

Donata Ling, (centre in front row) at home in Bethlehem with the Focolare Movement.

Your experience in Loppiano lead you to study in Israel, why? What made that experience significant to you?

In Loppiano, I had the chance to meet someone from Jerusalem who shared her story with me. She told me that what should be a 10 minute commute is more like 2 hours for her because her university is in Palestine and she lived in Jerusalem.’

I had met so many other people who shared challenges of poverty, civil war and injustices, however for some reason this story really impacted me. I had never met someone who had faced political barriers so completely out of one’s control.

This is called social friendship: to seek the common good. Social enmity destroys… And today we see that the world is destroying itself with war because people are incapable of sitting down and talking…We are killing social friendship. And that’s what I ask of you today: be capable of creating social friendship.

Pope Francis, Address to Youth in Havana

At the same time, someone else shared with me that Saint John Paul II had said that if the situation in Israel-Palestine could be resolved peacefully, then it would be possible for the whole world.
This really resonated with me because I was committed to building peace and unity in the world… Several months later during a retreat, I shared with another friend that I was interested in going to the Middle East to learn more because my friend’s experiences had touched me in such a profound way.  

So I took the opportunity to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the summer of 2013. I went there to try and understand more about the situation and ended up leaving even more confused. 

I have come to realize that living for unity requires a daily struggle to live out the  principle of the Golden Rule “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. The answer to building peace and unity is the same there as it is anywhere, because the Golden Rule is universal. Also, I was strengthened to know that Jesus himself prayed for unity. I am now His body, being His hands and feet, which reaches out to others, especially those who are vastly different in cultural and religious perspectives.

Donata (centre in front) with friends from around the world in Loppiano, Italy.


Donata’s commitment to unity seen in light of the Pope’s recent calls to dialogue, social friendship and to practice the Golden Rule suggests that that place somewhere beyond the rainbow may not be the stuff of fairy tales after all.

Learn more about the Focolare Movement here.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

CherdianS1The Producer Diaries

Cheridan Sanders, a Producer at Salt and Light Television, reflects on her experiences as she travels the world telling Catholic’s stories.

Hope for An End

As part of my documentary about women in the Church, this week I followed Sr. Helen Prejean as she she worked to save the life of Richard Glossip, a man on death row in Oklahoma.

Sr. Helen Prejean CSJ and Matt Gallagher, Director chat in foreground. George Hosek, Cinematographer in background

The week began on a grim note. Richard’s execution was only a few days away and there seemed to be no sign of a stay of execution based on the Governor’s recent statement. Sister Helen arrived in Oklahoma City on Sunday eve, and the next day we joined her for a major news conference set at the State Legislature.  

Media gather for press conference at State Legistlature

Media gather for press conference at State Legistlature

There Donald Knight, one of three ace lawyers working on Glossip’s case pro bono, presented new evidence that they’d hope would blow open the case. Evidence which furthered impeached the credibility of key testimony which lead to Richard’s conviction. 

Richard's supporters during press conference.

Richard’s supporters during press conference.

For those unfamiliar with this case, Richard’s conviction rode primarily on the testimony of one man, Justin Sneed, who implicated Richard as the mastermind of a crime, for which he actually committed. The press conference was an intense affair. Media frenzied around and it got heated, especially when the District Attorney called the effort to save Richard’s life “a bulls*** PR campaign”.

Media interview Oklahoma District Attorney David Prater.

Media interview Oklahoma District Attorney, David Prater.

District Attorney David Prater (left) speaks with Glossip's lawyer, Don Knight (right) after press conference.

District Attorney David Prater (left) speaks with Glossip’s lawyer, Don Knight (right) after press conference.

On Wednesday, the day of the execution, we accompanied Sister Helen on the road to McAlestar, where the execution was set to take place.

On the way there, I asked Sister Helen to share her thoughts in the face of the overwhelming odds against Richard.

Incredibly, at the 11th hour, a stay of execution was announced and Richard was given another two weeks to live. Friends and family who had gathered outside the prison were ecstatic at the news. 

On the way back, Sr. Helen continued to speak with media from around the world about the day’s remarkable events.

I’m still in awe at what I witnessed last week. One thing is for sure, I learnt something about living in hope. The fact is, Sister Helen never for a moment let Richard’s foreboding future distract her from the work that needed to be done in the present. She was resolute, focused and calm throughout. She had a contagious hope that seemed to promise a world one day without executions.

Cheridan Sanders interviews Sr. Helen Prejean for upcoming documentary featuring inspiring women of faith.

Stay tuned for more, as we continue to feature inspiring women of faith in our latest S+L documentary.


CherdianS1The Producer Diaries

Cheridan Sanders, a Producer at Salt and Light Television, reflects on her experiences as she travels the world telling Catholic’s stories.


Dead Man Walking?

Sr Helen meets with the Salt and Light crew just outside the Oklahoma State Legislature

Sr Helen Prejean, CSJ outside the Oklahoma State Legislature. Sr. Helen is asking for a stay of execution for Richard Glossip, a death row prisoner, who will be executed on September 16, 2015. Richard Glossip has maintained his innocence.


I think I may have experienced a minor miracle this week.  I was in the middle of a shoot when I got the call from our Director of Programming. It was an opportunity to cover the story of a death row inmate in Oklahoma City whose life Sister Helen Prejean (of Dead Man Walking ) was campaigning to save.

How we managed to throw together a crew and b-line down to Oklahoma to begin shooting in less than 24 hrs is beyond me, but there we were in Oklahoma City on our way to meet one of the greatest social justice campaigners of our time  

As we turned down the driveway of a quaint little suburban home, we immediately encountered the bright smile and warm words of welcome of Sr. Helen.

As I sat down and listened to how she became Richard Glossip’s (the death row inmate’s) spiritual advisor, I realized the enormity of what was taking place.

It turns out there is a good chance that the State might put an innocent man to death.

Richard throughout his 18 years of incarceration has maintained his innocence and even though he was given the opportunity to save his life by admitting guilt, he chose to affirm his innocence and risk death rather than confess to a crime he asserts he didn’t commit. In a recent statement, Richard said he didn’t want to die, but at the same time he is willing to die if his death prevents others from facing the same fate.  Surprising words from the apparent mastermind of a cold-blooded murder.


The following day we joined Sr. Helen at the Oklahoma State Legislature as she fielded questions from reporters and later on as she (on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty) submitted a petition of more than 269 000 names to Governor Fallin’s representative asking for a stay of execution. The 60 day stay would allow for new evidence to be presented in court so that they could ‘prove’ Glossip’s innocence.

Take a minute and read this article on the whole thing.

The stakes here are very high and a man’s life hangs in the balance. Please keep Richard and Sr. Helen in your prayers.  I will keep you posted as things develop.   



CherdianS1The Producer Diaries

Cheridan Sanders, a Producer at Salt and Light Television, reflects on her experiences as she travels the world telling Catholic’s stories.


When the Levee Breaks


Retired New Orleans Archbishop Philip M. Hannan is pictured during a helicopter tour of areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Archbishop Hannan was a World War II paratroop chaplain who befriended and secretly counseled John F. Kennedy during and after his historic run for the White House as the first U.S. Catholic president. CNS photo/Sean Harrison, Archdiocese of New Orleans.

One of the recurring themes during my time in New Orleans has been the impact of Hurricane Katrina, which can still be felt nearly 10 years later (August 29, 2015 marks the 10th year anniversary of the disaster). Although the city has rebounded and is getting its groove back, there are still signs of recuperation.

In the following, Dr. Barbara Fleischer explains the extent of the flooding.

In the second clip, Barbara shows me one of the 50 levees which broke and explains some of its impact.

Many religious communities, including the Sisters of the Holy Family, The Sisters of Mount Carmel and Daughters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chi-Hoa were seriously affected by the flooding. Their motherhouses and most of their facilities; schools and nursing homes all had to be rebuilt. But as is so often the case when disaster strikes, there were also many instances of heroic virtue as the Sisters chose not to abandon the people they served.

To learn more about the Sisters’ response to Hurricane Katrina, I recommend watching We Shall Not Be Moved. But have some tissues ready because the Sisters will make you proud.

New Canal Lighthouse, New Orleans

Side note: most people will know of the Zed Leppelin version of the song “When the Levee Breaks”, but the rock song is actually take off an old blues song written by husband and wife couple, Kansas Joe McCoy and guitar legend Memphis Minnie who wrote it in 1929 about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.


CherdianS1The Producer Diaries – Cheridan Sanders shares her experiences developing a new S+L television series featuring seven women religious communities located in Africa, the Philippines, Timor-Leste and the United States. The globe-trotting series invites viewers to delight in the spiritual gifts of each of community and witness the extraordinary work of: educating girls, ministering to outcasts, sheltering HIV orphans, preventing human trafficking, taking care of the elderly, and so much more. The time is now to show the world how magnificent our Sisters are. The new series is an exciting collaboration with the Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans and is made possible through a $900 000 dollar grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation.


A League of their Own

They don’t call it “Beautiful British Columbia” for nothing. And as much as the words stick in my throat as a Toronto native, I have to admit, BC truly is beautiful.

This past week, cameraman David Leross and I were in Vancouver for the CWL’s National Convention filming interviews for an upcoming episode of Catholic Focus, which will feature the League.

Here’s a little of what went on behind-the-scenes.

One of the highlights of the Convention was Dr. Josephine Lombardi’s keynotes. As many of you already know, Dr. Josephine Lombardi is the Assistant Professor of Pastoral and Systematic Theology at St. Augustine’s Seminary here in Toronto. Her very well-received keynote addresses reflected on the theme of the Convention, “One Heart, One Voice, One Mission”.

In the following, we asked Dr. Lombardi to share with us a little of what inspired her talks.

Stay tuned for more on this story featuring the Catholic Women’s League in an upcoming episode of Catholic Focus.

To read more about the Convention, here are some posts by S+L producer, Alicia Ambrosio:

Women’s Business

Getting things done as only women can

Practical prophets of wisdom


CherdianS1The Producer Diaries

Cheridan Sanders, a Producer at Salt and Light Television, reflects on her experiences as she travels the world telling Catholic’s stories.


An Artful Story

Sr. Catherine Martin O. Carm, in her art studio, Lacombe, Louisiana.

Sr. Catherine Martin O. Carm, in her art studio, Lacombe, Louisiana.


Cheridan Sanders learns how Sr. Catherine Martin, O. Carm discovers her life-long love for art through an unwitting contribution to her father’s artwork.

The best part of my job? The people. I love meeting the people who make up this beautiful reality we call the Church. There are so many stories to share and listening to these stories, always leaves me in awe at the ways that God speaks to us in the big and little moments that make up our lives.

One of the communities that we’ll feature in our new seven part series are the Sisters of Mount Carmel. Theirs is a fascinating charism which will eventually lead us to the farthest reaches of Timor-Leste. But before we get to that, I spent some time getting to know the community based in New Orleans by taking a trip to Lacombe to visit the Carmelite Spirituality Centre.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water.


And tucked away in her little Art studio, I had the privilege of meeting Sr. Catherine Martin.
Born in Lafayette and the youngest of 5 children,  Sr. Catherine has taught art and prayer for over 20 years.

In the following she shares how she discovered her love for art.


CherdianS1The Producer Diaries  – Cheridan Sanders shares her experiences developing an original television series featuring women religious communities located in Africa, Asia and the United States. The globe-trotting adventure invites readers to delight in each community’s spiritual gifts as they: educate girls, minister to outcasts, prevent human trafficking, and so much more. The production is an exciting collaboration with the Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans and is made possible through a grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation.

Soul Food, Soul Music

Cheridan Sanders visits the legendary neighbourhood of Treme, New Orleans to learn more about the life of Venerable Henriette Delille, Founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family.


As part of my research into the life of Venerable Henriette Delille, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family, I recently attended aa unique Mass at St. Augustine’s Church – the place where Henriette Delille and Juliette Gaudin pledged to live in community; thus founding the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family in 1842.

St. Augustine’s has a fascinating history as it is famous for it’s “War of the Pews” which resulted in the first fully racially integrated parish in the United States.

Moreover, the historic church is also located in Treme, New Orleans, home of legendary jazz greats.

And that brings us to an interesting intersection between local jazz culture and faith.

Once a year, St. Augustine’s Soulful Voices Choir teams up with the Treme Brass Band and Yoshio Toyama of Japan to provide the musical accompaniment for Mass at St. Augustine’s.

The Mass is so well regarded that it is featured as part of the official program of the annual Louis Armstrong “Satchmo” Summerfest, which means that the church is packed to the rafters with believers and jazz lovers alike.

Here’s a taste of the opening procession.

And later the hymn before the final blessing.

CherdianS1The Producer Diaries  – Cheridan Sanders shares her experiences developing an original television series featuring women religious communities located in Africa, Asia and the United States. The globe-trotting adventure invites readers to delight in each community’s spiritual gifts as they: educate girls, minister to outcasts, prevent human trafficking, and so much more. The production is an exciting collaboration with the Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans and is made possible through a grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation.

Faith At Sea

Cheridan Sanders learns about life on the Rig, as she chats with Alison Carey about faith, work-life balance and what it’s like living 120 miles out to sea.

When you imagine reaching out to the peripheries, setting up shop in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico isn’t exactly what comes to most of our minds.

But one thing I have found you can always count on, no matter how far or inaccessible a human community may be, Christ always finds a way to reach them.

And so here enters Alison, a Deepwater Process Control and Automation Engineer, who is no stranger to adventure as she lives and witnesses in one of the toughest working environments on the planet.

Find out what it takes to live at sea and how opportunities to witness are found even in the most unlikely of places.

How did you come to work on an oil rig? I suppose it’s not something you wake up one day and say you’re going to do? Or is it?

I am a process control engineer (my degree was chemical engineering) and I am based out of the Covington Louisiana (LA) office, but spend around 60 days offshore per year. My main workplace is the office but I am an operation support engineer which requires me to make “field visits” (to our outlying deepwater platforms- some are as far as 120 miles off the coast of LA). Before moving to LA, I worked in the gas plants and oil fields in West Texas and New Mexico. Before that, I was an operations process engineer at a refinery in Philadelphia.

What is your day to day like?

When I am in the office, I work on control systems, monitoring the oil/gas/water separation process via our automation and computers. I interface with the operators daily asking them to make adjustments and finding ways to run the process smoother. I am focused on what we can “topsides” which means that my work boundary starts once the oil arrives at the platform (I am not involved in drilling or production) and ends when our products reach their respective pipelines (to the sales point). When I am offshore, I spend my time working in the control room (the most common visual for a control room would be NASA’s Mission Control Center where one can see all the temperatures, pressures, flow rate, etc. of the fluids moving through our pumps, separators, compressors, treaters, heaters, etc.). I make adjustments to run the process smoother, so we can increase our throughput in a safe and reliable manner.

What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve encountered so far? What was the role of your faith in that experience?

Work/ life balance can be very stressful at times with my job. I think this is true with any career. Do we let our career become our God? When I first started working, especially at a union refinery in the Northeast, I dealt with a lot of hostility. I was severely outnumbered as a female there and struggled with gaining/earning respect. This is not a problem in the Gulf due to (in my opinion) the culture of the people I interact with and also due to some maturity and personal development on my behalf.

Is there anything that surprised you when you started working out in the middle of the Gulf?

I have a great respect for the people who work a 14 day on / 14 day off schedule. They sacrifice so much to provide for their families. This puts great strain on relationships and lifestyles. They do hold Bible Studies and prayer sessions offshore on Sunday nights at many locations, giving the employees a sense of community even though they cannot be with their families. There is a lot of risk with the work we do offshore. In many cases, it can become a life or death situation. People take care of one another, they look out for one another’s safety and well-being. There is a sense of brotherhood that engulfs you when you step off the helicopter and onto the platform. There are so many offshore coworkers who I know would do anything for me- this is the definition of a true Christ-like person. There is an overwhelming sense of ownership and pride that one can sense in this environment from most of the crew.

What are the people like that you work with? How would you describe the environment on the rig?

When you are in the offshore environment, there is a significant pull to get along. At the end of the day, you do not leave work. You have to live with your coworkers so this creates a different environment. Sure there are people who do not get along, but it’s less common than in the office environment. I am also one of the few if not the only female out there. Sometimes this can be awkward, as no one likes to be outnumbered, but once people get to know me, they treat me as an equal or sometimes better. Although my job is not vocational (like a doctor, teacher, etc.) I still see my purpose is to help others in any way. It can be difficult to live offshore for long periods of time because it is so isolated. I keep myself busy and try to make the best out of it. As far as what are the people like? They are normal people. They love their families. They take pride in the work they do which provides energy and a way of life to others.

Alison Carey, a process control engineer, is based out of the Covington, Louisiana office, but spends around 60 days offshore per year.


You’ve recently graduated with a Masters of Pastoral Studies from Loyola, what did you take away from that experience? Has your worldview changed at all?

I graduated with my Masters of Pastoral Studies last year from Loyola. It allowed me an opportunity to grow my faith on an intellectual basis. I was using this for working with the RCIA program at my local parish. The program definitely changed my worldview. I was introduced to a new network of people who carried the same concern about how our careers and faith intersected. Spending the time at Loyola allowed me to grow in empathy for others, especially those I work with. Not everyone is viewing life from the same vantage point, and even when talking to other Catholics about their work and faith, the viewpoints were not the same. This realization changed my worldview in that I need to have more patience with others and need to come to them at their own starting point. Jesus approached his disciples as they were out fishing, doing their jobs. This is where Jesus meets me as well.

Something I read recently that describes a little more on the Catholic perspective of the workplace:
Author Chris Lowney wrote a very engaging article about the newly canonized St. Peter Faber. The focus of the article is on the impactful life of St. Faber and the business consideration of his work and teachings

Here is a one paragraph excerpt –

But Faber implicitly challenges businesspeople that their talents are only being used well when they maintain a proper perspective on life. Business and money-making are not the highest ends: “If there were not such a harvest of souls to reaped,” Faber writes. Our destiny lies beyond this world, and we’re here for purposes beyond what we can sell, trade, build, buy, flaunt or own during this short earthly sojourn. That includes, if we are businesspeople, remaining aware that our every business decision impacts, for better or ill, the lives of employees, customers, shareholders and communities.

How do you give witness to the faith in your day to day encounters?

One of the focus areas for my studies is the fact that the faith needs to be lived out. A lot of people justify their dedication by being immersed in ministry. However, practically speaking, we spend most of our time at our jobs. I recall being in high school and our religious teacher telling us we did not have to be sisters or nuns to be holy. We can make any job holy as long as we keep our focus on God, and remember as St. Paul challenges us, that we are always serving God regardless of the task. Keeping this at the forefront of my mind is a daily challenge but one that I am called to do. In an environment as fickle as the energy business, one must be ready for constant change and for a dog-eat-dog world that any for-profit corporation can become by means of their inherent structure. In other words, we come to work to make money, not for social betterment or for a deeper cause.

There are always those among us who are poorer in something. For example, one “ministry” in my job is mentoring younger engineers. It’s a true labor of love to take the time required to prepare them for his or her career. I am mentoring one young lady right now who I took under my wing when I saw she was struggling with some of the same situations I had been through. This empathy provides me a way to mimic Christ in the work place. The poor will always be with us, Jesus prophesized. The poor can be anyone in need- someone who does not have the same amount of knowledge or confidence and needs a little help.

There is also a cliché about engineers and operators and how the two are oil and water. Historically there exists much animosity between these two. As you can imagine, a bad relationship between an engineer and operator can create a daunting work environment when trying to convince a control room operator to make a change when he has been operating that system just fine for 20 years. It takes some finesse to do this successfully- something I learned from a few good mentors and bosses by watching them interact and ask questions with respect and listen to the offshore personnel. This also becomes a way to witness my faith- you will know what I believe by how I treat others. This is my goal. Sometimes I struggle with personality conflicts and with egos and all the messiness that exists when many people are required to meet a common goal. It is how we handle and conduct our business that shows what we truly believe.

Power of authority and position can be resorted to too often in this environment. I would rather people do what I ask because they respect my knowledge and skills rather than doing it because I said so. In order to reach this level with others, significant effort is required to know and honor them as individuals and see how we can work in unity to reach a goal that is beneficial to both.


CherdianS1The Producer Diaries

Cheridan Sanders, a Producer at Salt and Light Television, reflects on her experiences as she travels the world telling Catholic’s stories.


The Strong Arm of the Church: The Knights of Columbus

A household name for many, the Knights of Columbus have grown into the world’s largest lay Catholic organization. But, surprisingly, there’s still a lot of mystery that surrounds these noble men. In light of the upcoming Supreme Convention, we thought you might want to find out why the Knights remain the ‘Strong Arm of the Church’.

Don’t forget to tune in for Salt + Light’s live coverage of this year’s 133rd Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus.