Penance: ‘An act of hope’

By Michelle Francl-Donnay A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. – Ps. 51:12 “…May God grant you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Amen. The words of forgiveness poured […]

A confession: I go to confession

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. – Joel 2:12-13a I confess. […]

A still and prayerful place – always at hand

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. I opened the note on my desk and turquoise beads spilled out into my hand. The rosary that I had given to a friend to comfort her sister, is once again made a gift, this time to me. I ran the beads […]

Does your yes really mean no?

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Let your “yes” mean “yes,” and your “no” mean “no.” Anything more is from the evil one. – Mt. 5:37a The meeting was called for Sunday – to begin at 8:45 at night. I’d agreed to serve on this group in the fall, knowing that it would entail some meetings out of […]

Finding God in the desert

By Michelle Francl-Donnay So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. – Hosea 2:16 I grew up on the Illinois prairie. Fields and dairy farms spread out as far as I could see, unbroken by the sorts of tall trees I dreamed of climbing. To my […]

Distractions are part of daily prayer

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Search me, God, and know my heart, probe me and know my mind. And see if a vexing way be in me, and lead me on the eternal way. – Ps. 139:23-24 One evening long ago, in the days before I had even one teen in the house, I was sitting on […]

Praying for snow days

By Michelle Francl-DonnayThere is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving. – Phil. 4:6If prayers left a smoke trail, my house these past couple of weeks would look like we have a fire blazing 24/7. As soon as the weather […]

Doing God’s work can make us messy

By Michelle Francl-Donnay I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel. Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? says the Lord. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. – Jer. […]

‘Have the courage to be alone’

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord? Who shall stand in his holy place? – Ps. 24:3 A few weeks ago I was multi-tasking away in the kitchen: sorting through school forms, responding to student email, organizing the week’s dinners, drilling Latin vocabulary, all while a pot of chicken stock simmered […]

Silence, like God, is all around us

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Our God comes, he does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, round about him is a mighty tempest. – Ps. 50:3 On my travels last fall I spoke to a group of university students about contemplative practices. As we were talking about ways to set aside space and time […]