Tag Archives: pro-life

My Seventh Sister

My little sister, actually my seventh sister, Colleen Patricia White, celebrated her 40th birthday this week.  That would not usually be remarkable, except for the fact that Colleen is remarkable.  Colleen, born within a year of the issuing of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade opinion, was born with Down Syndrome.  Besides getting the extra chromosome associated with Down Syndrome, she was born with a life-threatening intestinal problem that caused the doctors to discretely ask my parents if they really wanted her to undergo the surgery that would be necessary to save her life.  Hint.  Hint.  Thankfully, my parents insisted on the surgery, and here she is, 40 years later.

Colleen has taught me that the world’s standards of beauty, intelligence, talent and usefulness are not the basis of human dignity.

Some of you may know people with Down Syndrome, and if you do, you know that they are special and beautiful in their own way.  Colleen is beautiful too, but not by the world’s standard of beauty.  We live in a throw-away world, but Colleen has taught me that the world’s standards of beauty, intelligence, talent and usefulness are not the basis of human dignity.

Several years ago, I was dining at Rein’s Deli in Vernon, Connecticut with Colleen and several members of my family.  Colleen started to raise a bit of a ruckus and we perceived that she was starting to disturb the other diners.  I offered to wheel her – she was in a wheel chair – outside for a bit.  As I walked with her, weaving between the other tables, I first felt embarrassed.  Then a small voice, maybe my conscience, maybe God, said, “No, this is good for your soul and there are several people here who need to see the love and care you show to your sister.”  It then dawned on me that Colleen’s purpose or mission or “ministry” was her very presence, and not anything she would accomplish by her actions.  Throughout her whole life, she’s been bringing out the very best in others every day, in love and care.  I can honestly say, and I know my mother and siblings would agree, that her presence in our family has been a profound gift to us.

Happy Birthday, Colleen!

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:13-14

Take a few minutes – less than five – view this video of a child developing in the womb.

Healing the Culture: The Four Levels of Happiness

I was in my mother-in-law’s car port a few weeks ago, and I could not help hearing the radio program she had on at the time.  It was so riveting that I stopped what I was doing and I sat down to listen to the whole half hour of it.

It turns out that Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. was presenting the fourth show in a thirteen-series EWTN program entitled, “Healing the Culture.”  In it, Fr. Spitzer was presenting some tips on the four levels of happiness that he introduced in a previous show.

I cannot summarize Father’s presentation better than he can, so take a listen!


[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/htc03.mp3″] Healing the Culture, Episode 3 (27:30 min)


[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/htc04.mp3″] Healing the Culture, Episode 4 (27:30 min)


The four levels of happiness he introduces, first discussed by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics and mentioned by Augustine in The Confessions, are:

  1. Laetus.  Seeking basic needs, drives.  Need for things.
  2. Felix.  Seeking comparative advantage over others, ego gratification, achievement, winning, respect, and power.
  3. Beatitudo.  Seeking to the good in others and doing good for others.
  4. Sublime Beatitudo.  Seeking the ultimate truth, love, goodness, beauty, and being.  (That’s God to us.)

These levels have everything to do with ethics and morality.  Here are some of his points:

  • All four levels are part of true happiness.
  • But we get into great trouble when we approach the first three levels as ends in themselves.
  • Levels one and two are default drives that we often fall back to.
  • Levels three and four must be chosen.
  • One level will be dominant in our lives.

The tips he gives in Episode 4 are excellent and they include 5 questions we can ask ourselves to see at what level(s) we are operating:

  1. What is my anxiety level?
  2. How am I connecting with people?
  3. Are people mysteries or are they problems?
  4. Is life an adventure or is life a problem?
  5. Do I have peace of mind?