All the ends of the earth . . .

i Jan 5th by


Epiphany – 12th night – January 6th or 7th depending on your culture.
Manifestation of the Divine sparkling through this earthly existence.
This is what that 12 days of Christmas song is all about!
In days past, Christmas celebrations began only on the 25 and climaxed on Epiphany.

This was my mother Alice’s Nativity set which I made and sold years ago.
Mom left it behind – along with her earthly body and other possessions – September 20, 2014 at the age of 104.
I am happy to have it in my home this year.

I made the wise men who were not kings but “magi” as representing the wisdoms of the East. They brought splendid gifts, which I imagine supported Mary, Jesus and Joseph when they were refugees in Egypt. We have the gift of prayer, represented by the daily Incense of the Moslem world’s prayer. We celebrate the riches of the earth as Gold from the African, and are strengthened in the hard parts of our journey by the example of the gift of abnegation, symbolized by Myrrh, by a meditative begging Buddhist monk. The 4th wise man comes from a legend and this is the only set to have it. I was thinking about the ancient wisdom of China and its riches for the rest of us.

May we indeed all come together in the light of peace and fellowship before God, the mystery of our lives. Let each of us help it happen SOON!

Refugee Mother

i Jan 5th by

trina-poem-slider-webI made this painting decades ago,
but published it in the midst of the devastation of Iraq.
For me it expresses 2 sides to the world we are living in – the love of a mother versus heartlessness.
Even in my affluent country there is severe poverty and insecurity.
Here is the poem I wrote.

“And the Word became flesh
and dwells among us”

Our God was born human in a stable, became a refugee to escape death by a ruler,
labored with his hands, was an innocent victim of capital punishment.

Rising from death, He gave his own spirit into our hearts
to love and serve each other as He served and loved us.

May we struggle for world of peace with justice
where the lion and the lamb feed together
and a little child will lead us until
He comes in glory.
Trina Paulus – 2008

Christmas 2014 greetings

i Dec 24th by

Christmas 2014 greetings – nice and short!
May you have that peace the world cannot give today and always.
Much love and HOPE!

This was videoed on iPad in my living room by Mireya Stead and the details added by Scott Scowcroft Thank you!

ADVENT – This Present Time in History

i Dec 21st by

Advent means “coming”.  For many, this poignant time of waiting and expectation has disolved into a frantic rush.  This video, made a few years ago at Grailville, Loveland, Ohio, during its crèche exhibition, expresses a lot about how I feel about this precious season.

Alas, these days I also participate, more than I would like, in the madness of  the Christmas commercial season, while still trying to stay in touch with the magnificent readings from Isaiah and sense of quiet expectation and reasonable preparation. This is what the Advent season is meant to help us live.

Liturgically, Advent is a special season to prepare our hearts for the fuller coming of the divine into the earth, in “history, mystery and Majesty”. The Incarnation, enfleshing of God is a critical new step.  The readings in our Catholic liturgy for each day, and some fabulous meditations put out by Pax Christi USA, tying this time with the works needed for a just and peaceful world, have helped keep much of this in front of me. As I bustle around, the mystery of “not-yetness”, “pregnancy” and “expectation” of a time when “peace and justice embrace” is still there to the extent I open myself.

I also live in the northern hemisphere where the natural world also celebrates the end of our annual increase of darkness and light begins to grow again. In 2014 the winter solstice is on December 21, 6:03 P.M.  if you are in Eastern standard Time. The Christmas date was chosen in Rome as the liturgical year was developed because of the belief, that Jesus is the cosmic Christ, and light of the world. Therefore it seemed appropriate to celebrate his birth in flesh along with the ancient celebration of the new cycle of growing  light.

I had the privilege, rare for a young woman outside a convent, to have lived intensely the deep mystery of Advent darkness and longing, in quiet, song, manual work and prayer, while waiting for the natural light to begin to grow again. At Christmas we would then begin this annual celebration of the growing of the light celebrating more and more fully until Epiphany (the manifestation of divinity). That’s what those 12 Days of Christmas are all about, an increasing celebration of the wedding of God with creation and our very flesh.


Thank you David Miller and Loveland Magazine for your kind permission to use this video. You can watch the original on their link as well as here. © 2012.

Human Rights Day – 2014 Hero- Sandra Steingraber

i Dec 11th by


“I’m not giving up on you!”

Are the final words I heard from Sandra Steingraber on my favorite listener supported radio station, WBAI 99.5 FM, out of New York City.  WBAI is also online, no commercials or corporate funding, just us listeners.

She is referring to what we need to do for the future of our earth and children, not give in to helplessness, and work with all our hearts and talents toward the better world that our best nature desires and knows is possible.  Her scientific background makes her totally credible.  Like it or not, we are each asked to join this primary work of our lifetime, the timebound struggle to  heal the earth before we hit a bomb after which everything is irreversibly changed.

Sandra is likened to Rachel Carson  in her scientific knowhow and passionate commitment.

She is an environmental warrior mother who just spent a time in jail for protest against fracking in the NY Fingerlakes.

The healing of the earth is a human rights commitment essential for survival of life in a livable form.

I googled to find her website and there found a second way to access the show under Media.

Martyr Women – El Salvador – December 2,1980

i Dec 2nd by


Clockwise from bottom left: Sister Dorothy Kazel -Ursuline from Cleveland, Maura Clarke & Ita Ford -Maryknoll Sisters, Jean Donovan lay church worker.

Last night I watched the film, “Roses in Winter,” featuring the life of Jean Donovan, a lay church worker murdered with the three nuns on December 2, 1980. It reminded me of how much we have to be willing to give to fully follow Jesus in care for the poor.

Jean Donovan and Sisters Maura Clarke, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel were Americans serving the poor, particularly the refugees and children of murdered peasants. Jean explained in a letter to those who wanted her to return home, “They don’t shoot blue-eyed blonde Americans.” But they did.  Just weeks before she died she also wrote:  “The Peace Corps left today and my heart sank low. The danger is extreme and they were right to leave… Now I must assess my own position, because I am not up for suicide. Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could, except for the children, the poor, bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.” *

This tragedy has always been particularly close to me; Jean studied and worked in Cleveland, my hometown.  Dorothy Kazel was a Cleveland Ursuline, the order teaching in my high school, Beaumont.  Bill Ford, Ita’s brother, lived in Montclair and continually pushed for resolution to the case along with Ambassador Robert White who protested the cover-up here and in El Salvador.

Un earthing 4 victims

U.N. Ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick exonerated the government of El Salvador, claiming the nuns were political activists. And, while Google searches refer to the women’s generous giving of themselves, one painful reference reflects attitudes toward almost all working for peace by seeking justice and the poor. Those plainly following in the footsteps of Jesus are called “leftists”, “communists” “Marxists.”

We have since learned that the Salvadoran government was indeed responsible. Yet US military aid multiplied even after these murders, which were not prosecuted for many years. Fear of communism justified terrible violence just as fear of terrorism is justifying today’s perpetual war and violence.

This labeling is on-going. When Pope Francis spoke out against the extreme capitalism which hurts the poor, Rush Limbaugh referred to him as Marxist. I guess this means if you see the poor and the peasants brutally treated and try to change that or stand up for them you’re branded.   Trina Paulus

** The Life and Example of Jean Donovan by Rev. John Dear, 12/02/ 2005; accessed online December 9, 2006.  St. Peter Claver Church Parishioners for Peace & Justice      12/07/14 Issue 48

We create a Peace and Justice column for our parish bulletin each week. You can subscribe on my Contact page.  No copyright! Use as you wish.                                                                      

Wear Orange On The 25th!

i Nov 24th by

The Mirabal Sisters – Las Mariposas

The Secretary General of the U.N.’s Campaign UNITE to End Violence Against Women has proclaimed the 25th of each month Orange Day. Among other actions, the Orange Day invites us to wear something orange to highlight its calls for the eradication of violence against women without reservation, equivocation or delay.

[This page is taken verbatim from the UN website:]  This year, the UNITE Campaign is extending Orange Day to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, starting November 25, International Day to End Violence Against Women, through December 10, Human Rights Day.

The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the Mirabal sisters, three political activists Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961) ordered brutally assassinated in 1960.

Facts and Figures

  • Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.
  • Between 500,000 to 2 million people are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, according to estimates. Women and girls account for about 80 per cent of the detected victims
  • It is estimated that more than 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM/C, mainly in Africa and some Middle Eastern countries.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion is for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.

Why This International Day?

  • Violence against women is a human rights violation
  • Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women
  • Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security
  • Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential
  • Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic. Up to 70 per cent of women
    experience violence in their lifetime.
[The Montclair Public Library’s choice for the “Big Read” this year is a fictionalized account of the Mirabal sisters’ heroic struggle and the violence against them—In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez. The sisters were called Las Mariposas, the butterflies.]

St. Peter Claver Church Parishioners for Peace & Justice                                                                                 11/23/14 Issue 46

Trina’s note:  I read this terrific book, and above is this week’s Peace and Justice weekly page for our parish.  Anyone can subscribe just let me know from my website.  Comes every week without copyright so all can use.  Thanks!

Stripe and Yellow celebrate their eBook launch!

i Oct 27th by

Stripe and Yellow discussing ebook“Hello world,”  “It sure is big out here in cyberspace!”

“Dear Stripe, my wings tremble with the idea of being able to tell our story around the world and not be confined to words on paper. So much has happened since we were born as caterpillars 40 years ago.

“Oh Yellow! We would not have dreamed we could reach hearts with our story bouncing off satellites in seconds. Who would have dared think there would be a worldwide invisible network so everyone can be in touch with each other?

“Stripe, I so want to tell our story so people everyplace can understand how lucky we were, how blessed, to get off that Caterpillar pillar before it was too late. It was so awful but we couldn’t imagine anything else. Everybody seemed to be climbing to get to the top so we thought there must be something awfully good up there.

“How wrong we were Yellow, me particularly.  And I so wanted you to go back with me to find the secret of the top. How did you know that climbing over others would not get to a good place? You were smarter than I. You listened to your insides.

“Oh Stripe, I didn’t really know anything. I was desolate without you. But when I met a Caterpillar hanging from a branch I realized not every Caterpillar was climbing a pillar of squirming caterpillars. This one seemed in trouble, caught up in some hairy stuff.

“And Yellow, you didn’t just pass by; you asked if you could help. That simple question allowed you to get the answer that changed your life.  This wise one shared the secret that has made all the difference. And when you became your true self you flew to me who  thought to die as a Caterpillar was my destiny.  We couldn’t speak to each other, but somehow you touched inside me and gave me the courage to get off the pillar.

“Stripe, since we’ve been able to fly, we’ve been able to bring so much love and life to millions of flowers by carrying pollen. What a great and useful life we’re having.  Flying is so much better than climbing!  I hope all caterpillars will be inspired to go into their  cocoons and come out flying! There is truly room in the sky for every butterfly, but hardly any space at the top of a caterpillar pillar.

“Yellow! Being a butterfly is sure more fun than being a caterpillar.  It feels like we are touching that “more” of life as we bring Hope For the Flowers to so many.  Our book has reached millions, let’s hope our e-book will reach billions. Just imagine the better world that’s possible if 1 billion caterpillars get off their pillars and start to spread love by serving each other!  We can fly and carry the pollen of love from flower to flower!

“ In Hope always!”

Stripe and Yellow

Meeting Julia Alvarez – “In the Time of the Butterflies”

i Oct 27th by

In The Time of the Butterflies: a novel by Julia Alvarez -- click for book summary

Seeing my older blog posts shared on this site suggests I need to get busy and share some fresher ones. So let me get started tonight!

Today, October 27, our new website went live! Tomorrow eHope is launched. We celebrate this but also those who communicate ideas thru stories.  Tonight, meet Julia Alvarez.

I just returned from the exciting climax to a program called “The Big Read”, sponsored by my town of Montclair New Jersey’s public library, Julia Alvarez, the author of “In the Time of the Butterflies” made an appearance. No, she was not with us physically, but she was surely with us. It was a direct, interactive conversation with an excellent virtual presentation on a large screen for at least 100 people. What an encouragement about the power of the story she expressed, as well is the power of virtual media done well!

Several months ago, someone who saw the big sign up in front of our library with the butterfly motif told me I needed to find out what this was about. They knew I raise Monarchs and other butterflies. (Sadly, hardly any in the past 2 years arrived from their winter in Mexico to lay eggs on my milkweed.)

I found out that this Big Read was not about butterflies, but about 3 human “Mariposas”; sisters who were murdered for their efforts to rid the Dominican Republic of the dictator Trujillo. From a true story virtually no one knew about, including me, to the sisters being celebrated by an official United Nations Day on November 25 commemorating them and focusing world attention against violence to women is quite a reach. That’s the power of story!

Here is a quote from Julia’s website celebrating Dede, the sister who survived and was forever asked the question, “Why didn’t they kill you, too?” as she received guests of all kinds from all places.

” Every day we can ask ourselves a version of the question the schoolchildren would ask her: Why am I alive today in this world? How can I serve? What can I contribute to see that justice is served? To ensure that every girl and boy in the world gets the opportunity to live a decent life? Each day that we provide our answer to these questions, the Mariposas are alive.”

Julia Alvarez was raised in the Dominican Republic and now lives in the US. There’s lots more that could be said, but I resolve to do more blogs, and probably keep them shorter then my lengthy tendency. So enough for tonight.

Easter, Resurrection, My Computer

i Sep 26th by

I know this sounds like a weird combination, but each has filled my life this past week.

As I pass the single Lily on the living room table the delicious scent of Easter reminds me of this mysterious time of daring to hope. In this northern hemisphere we see signs of crocuses and other portends of spring with new new life breaking through the soil each year. I hear bird songs and wait for the bees and butterflies to bring joy and pollinate the trees, flowers and our food. The days are already growing longer. We trust that eggs will become little birds, that babies will be born, and that there’s a butterfly inside a Caterpillar.