Servants of Mary Sr. Joyce Rupp is a retreat leader, spiritual director and one of today’s top Catholic spirituality writers. She has written 18 books, including Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self. Her Web site is

Show full bio ↓

How to take a soul picture

Several weeks ago I made a trip to Kansas to visit a friend who has lung cancer. We had little contact with one another for a number of years and I sensed our visit would be a special one. Little did I know how special. When I arrived in Topeka I learned that Ken's wife, Bibi, had taken him to the emergency room that morning because of severe chest pains. I hurriedly drove to the hospital, hoping we could have some quality time together. Indeed, we did. I found Ken to be as I remembered: gentle, optimistic, loving and faith-filled. Fortunately he had not lost his sly sense of humor either.

In praise of gazing

One misty autumn morning I was taking a walk around a pond next to a retreat center. I let my intellect take a vacation and just gazed at what was before me. The clear water, the thick woods beyond, the steep, grassy hill, each took me in and held me until I was transported to an easy peace. I felt a trace of that “thin veil” Celtic lore uses to describe situations when the visible and the invisible mesh.

Lost in the fog

Quiet Mystery,
Today the earth wears mufflers on her ears.
Heave wet clouds disguise the silent land.
The city is a giant mound of bleary white
With dense fog permeating everything.
Even the sparrow's song sounds thick.
In the concealing mist of morning,
Street lights blur with masked revelation,
And walkers are lost in a veil of obscurity.

Live each day with awareness

Eternal Dwelling Place,
I know all things are passing.
My final home is not here.
Yet I zoom mindlessly through my days
missing the passionate gift of life.