The Feast of St. Ignatius

July 31st is the day the Church throughout the world recognizes and honors St. Ignatius of Loyola. It was only about ten years ago that I  got to know Ignatius and the spirituality that developed out of his powerful conversion and his experiences he wrote down in a notebook, later to be known as the Spiritual Exercises. Now, I’ve adopted his spirituality as my own, and I share what I know with others, the goal being to recognize God’s presence all around us and to live our lives as faithful companions of Jesus. It’s a good way to live!

“There are very few who realize what God would make of them if they
abandoned themselves entirely to His hands, and let themselves be formed by His

A thick and shapeless tree trunk would never believe
that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture… and would
never consent to submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor who, as St.
Augustine says, sees by his genius what he can make of it.

Many people who, we see, now scarcely live as Christians,
do not understand that they could become saints, if they would let themselves
be formed by the grace of God, if they did not ruin His plans by resisting the
work which He wants to do.”

Ignatius of Loyola

(in a letter to Ascanio Colonna, Rome, April 25, 1543)


Healthy Kale

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for books which can help me improve my health.  And there are plenty to choose from, some good and helpful, while others are pretty bad and not worth buying.  Recently, I came across Genius Foods by Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal, and its a book which I want to recommend to you.  It is well written and researched.  The book came about because Lugavere was trying to understand the causes of  his mother’s early-onset dementia.  He’s made it is mission to find ways we can improve our brain/overall health by focusing on what foods we  should eat and what foods we should avoid.   The title of Chapter Three is “Overfed, Yet Starving,”  and the focus is on the fact that the vast majority of food most of us eat provides little/no nutritional support needed by our bodies for good health.  Because our bodies are starving for these nutrients, we eat more and more food, but for most of us, this food has been highly processed and loaded with sugar and carbs.  The research out there shows that such a diet affects not only or mental health, but, as the obesity epidemic makes visibly clear, our physical health as well.    The book focuses on a number of healthy foods which the authors call “Genius Foods,” hence the title. They recommend consuming a variety of them on a daily basis.  One of the foods they recommend are dark leafy greens.  The authors note “they are low in sugar and packed with vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients that the brain desperately needs to function properly.”  One of my favorite greens they recommend is kale.

Now, I haven’t always eaten kale, but I grew to really liking it after a Dietitian I brought in for one of my retreats gave a demonstration on how to properly prepare it.  She made a tasty salad, making the kale  tender by massaging them with her hands to break down the sometimes tough and fibrous leaves.  Delicious, and a joy to eat!  I’ll have to find that recipe….

For the last three years, I’ve been growing kale in my window box planter shown in the photo.  Granted, the kale doesn’t grow as large this way, but it’s perfect for me.  When the leaves get about 8-12 inches long, I cut them at the base with a pair of scissors.  Within a few days, the leaves are growing again, so I’m able to get several cuts over the span of a couple of months.

Genius Foods includes a simple and tasty recipe called “Cheesy” Kale Salad.  At this time of summer, kale is very easy to grow or find at a store/farmer’s market.  I hope you’ll give the recipe a try.

“Cheesy” Kale Salad  (serves 2-3)

1 bunch kale, center ribs and stems removed (reserve these for juicing or eating later)

2 tb. extra virgin olive oil

2 tb. apple cider vinegar

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or Parmesan)

1 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. salt

What to do:

1 Tear the kale leaves into small pieces and place them in a large bowl.  Add the oil and vinegar and stir or massage it into the leaves to start to soften them.  Add the green pepper, then the nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt.  Toss until everything is well combined.

Eat as is, or mix in some anchovies.  Or throw a grass-fed beef patty on top.