About Me

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I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.

Poem: Judgment Day

Judgment Day  (from Annunciations: Poems out of Scripture  Mellen Poetry Press, 2003.

The nightmare returns:  It is 1981,
Inauguration Day, and on the television screens
The Good Guys are in. “Today the world is bright," they say.
Now we will be led by
People like us.”
In the glare of celebration, whole neighborhoods dissolve
Off the screen, invisible,
Disappeared.

Walking toward the subway, from where I have been teaching
Young adults who never learned to read in school,
With sudden clarity, I see
Boarded-up houses,
Dazed and aimless men standing on corners.
A grandmother holds a child by one hand,
Dragging a half-full grocery cart.
A broken church marquee proclaims: JOHN 3:16:
AND GOD SO LOVE. .. . .

Though I ride this subway line, under decaying streets,
And come home to this block of shabby walk-ups,
I could blend in with those bright rulers and their wives.
Our apartment here is newly renovated.
My face is white, my clothes are new.
I am a “young professional”
Desirable tenants, we are just passing through.

The housekeeper has been here.
The walls seem whiter than I remembered,
Clean without my labor.
But on the gleaming window frame
A brown cockroach, the size of my thumb
Looks at me.

In this city, such creatures inhabit all our houses.
The rich use chemicals to remove them when they come.
The poor live with them, having no choice.
Reaching for the spray can, I forget for a moment
The colonies of his fellows
Who live within these walls, and under these streets,
And in my neighbors’ houses.

Looking back at him,
I decide
Because I can decide

To let him live.

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