STEPHEN MCGINTY ( email@example.com)
A PRIVATE school is insisting pupils use fountain pens, in an attempt to save the dying art of handwriting.
Mary Erskine and Stewart’s Melville junior school in Edinburgh believes longhand is on the brink of extinction, thanks to text messaging and computers.
Bryan Lewis, the school’s headmaster, has banned the use of rollerball pens and pencils by pupils from P5 onwards. The school believes that mastering stylish handwriting with a fountain pen raises academic performance and boosts self-esteem.
Mr Lewis believes the problem to be so acute that new staff often have to be given lessons in how to write before entering the classroom to teach.
The move comes after Scottish Qualifications Agency examiners said markers were encountering problems on exam papers due to illegible handwriting.
In an attempt to preserve the beauty and clarity of a well-drawn script, Mr Lewis has insisted that all older pupils compose all written work using a fountain pen, in which the flow of ink must be controlled to avoid smudges.
Mr Lewis said: "All teachers who join our junior school are taught a handwriting style by my colleagues and they, in turn, teach all our children the same style.
"Learning to write in fountain pen not only results in beautiful presentation but also has the not-insignificant bonus of developing children’s self-esteem."
Fountain pens are regarded by many serious writers or artists to be the best tools for writing or drawing with ink on paper. However, they can be more expensive, harder to maintain and are more fragile than a ballpoint pen.
Mr Lewis believes handwriting is just one of the skills that has suffered as a result of the "progressive" teaching approach introduced in the 1970s.
He added: "Modern teaching methods overwhelmed the curriculum in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
"They proved to be no more than an excuse for the lowering of standards of basic literacy and numeracy under the guise of freedom of expression.
"From that time, generations of children were no longer taught to write properly."
Mr Lewis said his school was struggling to recruit teachers with a good command of grammar, spelling and punctuation.
He explained that most job applications he receives from young teachers are discounted because they are littered with mistakes.
He has now been forced to introduce refresher lessons in basic numeracy and literacy for new teachers before they are allowed to enter the classroom.
Mr Lewis said: "We have some fantastic young teachers now. But some of them will openly say that they need support from us for language skills because they came from the era when correct English was not a priority."
While modern standards of handwriting have dropped as a result of texting and e-mail, a similar problem occurred in the 16th and 17th century when handwriting became cramped and difficult to read as writers grew lazy on the knowledge that their finished work would be set in type, following the invention of the printing press.
The Headteachers’ Association of Scotland believes handwriting skills should be taught as a "priority" as soon as children begin primary school.
Meanwhile, the Campaign for Real Education said: "Good spelling, handwriting, grammar and punctuation make for confident use of language and smooth communication."
My source said that the beginning of the Heart Galleries occurred when a social worker from an adoption agency went out of her way, putting a great deal of her own money into having professional pictures taken of their hard to place children. After a long search, she at last found a gallery that was willing to work with her, and from that sprang the Heart Galleries. I was told that in just the first hour of the showing of these pictures, she found an adoptive placement for three siblings that had been waiting for a "forever home" for years.
On any given day in the United States, more than 100,000 foster children are waiting to be adopted by someone who can provide a permanent, loving home. While they wait, these children often live with foster parents, with relatives, or in group homes or institutions. Extensive recruitment efforts have been undertaken at the state and federal levels to identify homes for these children. Yet many children still wait a very long time for a new family.
The Heart Galleries are designed to raise awareness and educate the community concerning the urgent need for foster and adoptive families, especially boys and girls for whom finding "forever families" is more difficult: sibling groups, special needs, minority and older children. Professional photographers photograph foster children whose parental rights have terminated, and an exhibit is designed to recruit prospective adoptive families.
The following is a partial Internet list of Heart Gallery Chapters in the United States:
Orange County California Chapter:
New Jersey Heart Gallery
Heart Galleries of Texas
Heart Galleries Southeast
Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay
HEART GALLERIES IN THE NEWS:
Jefferson County News Tribune, 4/27/06
The Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay, Florida has received extensive TV news coverage. View clips about the Tampa exhibit and learn what they did to make their gallery experience different.
Parade Magazine, 4/17/05
ABC News, "Persons of the Week: Heart Gallery Photographers", 4/2/05
CameraArts "Spreading the Message"
New York Times, 3/21/05, by Tina Kelly
NPR, All Things Considered segment on the NJ Heart Gallery, 3/11/05
Parade Magazine, 1/2/05
HEART GALLERY EXHIBITS AND CONTACTS
Those who have already created or are in the process of creating Heart Galleries can provide valuable guidance and information to others wishing to start a project in their area.
Garland County CASA
600 W. Grand Ave. Ste. 103
Hot Springs, AR 71901
California – Los Angeles
For information or to volunteer:
3017 Mineral Wells Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93063
California – Sacramento
Opening: Oct. 19 – Nov. 19, 2006
University Library Gallery
Sacramento State University
California – Shasta County
Phone: (530) 225-5775
Fax: (503) 225-5884
California – San Luis Obispo County
Stacy M. Willis
Dept. of Social Services
Colorado – Denver
Foster Care, Adoption Recruitment & Retention Program Specialist
Division of Child Welfare Services
1575 Sherman Street, 2nd Fl.
Denver, CO 80203-1714
Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area
Chamber of Commerce
1 Chamber Way
Westerly, RI 02891
401-596-7761 or 1-800-732-7636
Florida – Broward and Dade County
Florida – Boca/Ft Lauderdale
Florida – Gainesville
Florida – The Gulf Coast
Florida – Miami
Florida – Orlando
Florida – Palm Beach County
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
160 JFK Drive, Suite 201
Atlantis, FL 33462
Florida – Pinellas County
Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco
Florida – Sarasota
Heart Gallery of Sarasota, Inc.
1584 Stickney Pt Rd
Sarasota, FL 34231
November 18, 2006
National Adoption Day Celebration
(Federal Building Atlanta)
Opening Nov 18, 2006 – February 25, 2007
Children’s Museum "Imagine It"
Rene Gunn /Echo Garrett/Valerie Harris
Gift for a Child, Inc.
Heart Gallery Southeast
Heart Gallery Georgia
Opening November, 2006
Marty Wiser, LMSW
KidSake Foster/Adopt Iowa
800-243-0756 ext. 195
or 515-289-4649 ext. 195
Klicks for Kids/Heart Gallery
Kansas Children’s Service League
317 Houston Street, Suite A
Manhattan, KS 6650
785-539-3193 ext. 1702
R. M. Kirk
705-020-3368 or 337-269-5755
Maryland – Baltimore
Adoptive Family Support Network
Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange
651-222-1695 or 612-396-9308
Opening November 2006
Sara Shultz/Claudia Tilman/Rene Gunn
Gift for a Child, Inc.
Heart Gallery Southeast
Heart Gallery Mississippi
Child Saving Institute
The Adoption Exchange
1516 E. Tropicana Ave. Ste 240
Las Vegas, NV 89119
The Capital Region Heart Gallery
155 Washington Ave 3rd Floor
Albany, NY 12210
New York – Long Island
516-759-6262 or 516-759-4343
New York – Rochester
Children Awaiting Parents
New York – Syracuse
Opening November 4 thru November 30, 2006
Community Folk Center
East Genesee St.
NY State Office of Children & Fam. Svcs.
North Carolina – Charlotte
Wayne & Mary St. John
North Carolina – Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point
North Carolina – Wilmington
Martha B. Brown
Childrens Services Supervisor
New Hanover County DSS
1650 Greenfield Street
Wilmington, NC 28402
Adoption & Foster Care Recruitment Supervisor
Ohio – Cleveland
Director of Development and External Relations
216-881-7511 ext. 119
Heart Gallery Coordinator
216-325-1000 ext. 126
Ohio – Columbus
P.O. Box 8
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74101
Deborah Goodman OKDHS and SwiftAdoptions (CFS)
Oregon – Portland
Pennsylvania Statewide Heart Gallery
Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network
Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh
Senior Communications Manager
Allegheny County DHS
Office of Community Relations
One Smithfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
See exhibit schedule at:
Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce
1 Chamber Way
Westerly, RI 02891
401-596-7761 or 1-800-732-7636
Jim Cash / Elaine Cash / Rene Gunn
Gift for a Child, Inc.
Heart Gallery Southeast
Heart Gallery Tennessee
Tennessee – Memphis
Porter-Heath Children’s Home
Texas Adoption Resource Exchange
Texas Dept of Family and Protective Services
P.O. Box 149030
Austin, TX 78714-9030
Texas – Austin
Texas – Dallas
Texas – Houston
Houston, TX 77054
713-877-1877 or 713-516-6941
Texas – Rio Grande Valley
Dr. Mary Curtis
Utah – Salt Lake City
The Adoption Exchange
See exhibit at:
Research and Special Projects
Aging and Disability Services Administration
P.O. Box 45600
Lacey, WA 98504-5600
Kelly M. Thompson, MSW
Mission West Virginia, Inc.
One Church, One Child
P.O. Box 1873
St. Albans, WV 25177
The lesson of the Widow’s Mite comes from the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, and was part of the Gospel Readings for this last Sunday. So, for my readers I am posting more information on the ‘Widow’s Mite’ from Wikipedia. Enjoy!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Lesson (or Parable) of the widow’s mite is a story present in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 12:38-44, Luke 20:45-47,21:1-4), in which Jesus is teaching at the Temple in Jerusalem, and condemns the Pharisees for their show of wealth, ostentation, and self importance. Witnessing the donations made by the rich men, Jesus highlights how a poor widow donates only two mites, the least valuable coins available at the time, but that this everything she had to her name, while the other people give only a small portion of their own wealth. The Gospel of Mark specifies that a mite was worth less than a quadrans, the smallest Roman coin, implying that Mark’s intended audience were more familiar with Roman culture than with Jewish.
This tale is held by most modern Christians to mean that a gift should to be judged not by its absolute value, but by how it compares relatively; that it is not the impressiveness or purchasing power which matters, but what it means. Some modern Christians, particularly those advocating theocratic styles of government, also see the passage as an admonition to give oneself entirely to God.
In earlier times, many Christians, especially the Gnostics, Ebionites, Waldensians, and Franciscans, argued that the passage is an encouragement to live in poverty, and not seek riches. Understandably, many modern Protestants, who for religious reasons advocate Capitalism, do not follow this interpretation. In the introduction to the passage, Jesus is portrayed as condemning the Pharisees who feign piety in order to gain the trust of widows, and thereby gain access to their assets; although most interpretations of this read it as criticism of the actions of certain individuals, racist groups have historically argued that the passages in question justify anti-semitism, particularly as the Gospel of Mark argues that severe punishment awaits those who follow such actions (Brown et al.).
A more systemic interpretation is that Jesus is condemning a religious system (and all systems, religious and political) that drains people of life rather than being life giving. In Mark’s version, verses 12:38-40 intitiate this criticism. In verse 41, Jesus then sits down in judgement "opposite" (over against, in opposition to) the treasury. People are impressed with the large sums that are put in; but they are not distressed that the temple has taken all the "poor widow" had to live on. The system stands condemned and the sentence is spelled out in verses 13:1-2.
- Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament Doubleday 1997 ISBN 0-385-24767-2
- Brown, Raymond E. et al. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary Prentice Hall 1990 ISBN 0-13-614934-0
- Kilgallen, John J. A Brief Commentary on the Gospel of Mark Paulist Press 1989 ISBN 0-8091-3059-9
- Miller, Robert J. Editor The Complete Gospels Polebridge Press 1994 ISBN 0-06-065587-9
This is one of those questions that arose out of my ‘e-mail grab-bag.’ The ‘ampersand’ is not improper or slang; it has basically just fallen out of favor over the years. It would never be used in the body of a letter of text. But it is used frequently for say departments i.e., "Community Development & Housing" etc.; and when addressing couples such as "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"
I found a wonderful site on Wikipedia that addresses the history of the ‘ampersand’:
The ‘ampersand’ appears to be a very ancient sign, originating in Roman culture. The ‘ampersand’ symbol has been found on ancient Roman sources dating to the first century A.D. Marcus Tullius Tiro, Cicero’s secretary of 36 years, is credited as its inventor.[As for it’s usage, here is a section from Wikepedia:
Although common in handwriting before typewriters came into widespread use, the ampersand has lost popularity in recent years, and it has become standard in most contexts to write out the word "and." It is still though, considered to be an acceptable alternative to the word "and."
The main surviving use of the ampersand is in the formal names of businesses (especially firms and partnerships, particularly law firms, architectural firms, and stockbroker firms (the names of these also nearly always omit the serial comma)). A common explanation as to why the plus sign is not used instead is that a partnership is a relationship, and therefore more than simply adding one person with another.
The ampersand is also often used when addressing an envelope to a couple: "Mr. & Mrs. Jones," or "John & Mary."
The ampersand is also used for titles, such as Harry & Tonto, as well, and in some other proper names. In these cases, & is interchangeable with the word and; the distinction between them is mostly aesthetic. However, in film credits for story, screenplay, etc., & indicates a closer collaboration than and; in screenplays, for example, two authors joined with & collaborated on the script, while two authors joined with and wrote the script at different times and may not have consulted each other at all. 
Hunter S. Thompson used the ampersand instead of writing the word "and."
In APA style the ampersand is used when citing sources in text such as (Jones & Jones, 2005).
The phrase et cetera ("and so forth"), usually written as ‘etc.’ can be abbreviated &c. This is because the ampersand originally stood for the Latin et.
Note however the Hebrew Keter (Crown) and Egyptian Ra and see the note in Sin / Shin on Egyptian royal divine solar Uraeus.
Ampersand may read in German am and French Persan[d] meaning in Persian and appears to be a secret code in certain old coded texts that the text is to be read either literally in Persian or, more commonly, reading R to L. Note that when doing so, numbers do not change as the Arabic system is as our own.
look for more information at the source URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampersand
2007 O.C.D.S. Congress
Friday, June 15th – Monday, June 18th, 2007
Hilton Bellevue (a suburb of Seattle, Washington)
The theme will be: The Rule of St. Albert: Fount of Living Waters.
OCDS Congress website: http://congress.ocds.info/
"If I am destroying the earth, I’m destroying God.
Sr. Jeannette Filthaut
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
If we respect God, we have to respect his creation, maintains Sister Jeannette Filthaut, a Catholic nun and retired educator with a passion for the environment.
But we don’t seem to get it and continue to destroy the earth and ourselves by leaps and bounds, the sister lamented in an Oct. 30 interview in her 17th floor apartment overlooking the North Saskatchewan River Valley.
"We are not creating a wonderland; we are creating a wasteland. And that’s because we’ve lost that sense of wonder and connectedness with the beauty of our earth."
What’s happening with the Alberta tar sands right now is an abuse of creation because it’s just not considering the global effect that it is going to have, the sister said. "It’s not considering all of the environment around it. It’s all economics; that’s what it is."
Wars are about control
It’s the same with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "The wars are all about control and economy and I think we have to learn to live in harmony with God, with the whole creation and with one another," Filthaut said.
"We are co-creators with God who created us in his own image and likeness. And if I am destroying the earth, I’m destroying God. If I am destroying another person, I am destroying God. If I am destroying myself, I am abusing God as well."
Filthaut is one of several speakers addressing Ecology and Spirituality: What is the Connection? presented by the Star of the North Retreat Centre in St. Albert. The series seek to raise people’s ecological awareness and sensitivity by providing the scientific as well as the spiritual side of the issue.
Filthaut’s presentation, Tending the Spirit Within: Living Non-Violently on our Earth, will be held Nov. 6 and 20.
Born in Edmonton, Filthaut was raised on the open prairies of Saskatchewan, where she fell in love with God’s creation. When she moved to Ontario as a teacher and saw the pollution, she realized she had to do something to make a difference. For a number of years she has led workshops and other activities.
Her congregation, the Sisters of Providence of Kingston, Ont., has for many years taken a stance of living non-violently and being in harmony with creation. It is even part of their charter.
The sisters have an ecology committee and at their motherhouse in Kingston they began organic gardening, built a greenhouse and have a seed sanctuary with seeds that go back to the 1600s. Every year they have a tomato-tasting day, which has become a popular tradition.
Filthaut continues the tradition and this year she planted organic tomatoes on her balcony and preserved the seeds, which she plans to give away to others.
In the interview Filthaut showed genuine concern about what is going on with the earth, especially with the tar sands developments and the current wars.
"I lived in Calgary for a year and I watched the development over there. And these are big homes. Why are we building these big homes and it is only one or two people living in them?"
"If I put pesticide on the grass out there is that going to leach into the water? Look at what happened to the lakes around us, like Pigeon Lake. People couldn’t go swimming in Pigeon Lake this year because of the toxins that come from what we are putting into the land.
"All one has to do is to open a person’s cupboards under the kitchen sink and see the types of toxins we are putting in. What’s in our soaps, what is in our cleaning agents? Industrial companies do a lot but so do we. We do the same thing."
Why do we have so much cancer in our society today? "It’s because of what we are putting into our bodies and it is because of what we are putting into our earth. What goes around comes around. What I do to the earth I do to myself."
We think we ought be in control but Filthaut disagrees. "I don’t believe we are meant to be in control of; we are meant to live in harmony with," she said. "Yes, we can use the riches of the earth but I think we abuse."
So how are we going to live non-violently? "I think if I am going to live in the community of the earth then I need to be able to respect all of creation," Filthaut said. "And I need to be able to respect the people who are different.
Filthaut said we can also make a difference by taking small steps such as protesting the wars, composting, using energy efficient light bulbs, buying organic produce, driving smaller cars or simply using public transit.
"We are very greedy. We are destroying the earth and ourselves. We have to slow everything down and I think it is in the slowing down and being more considerate that we would realize that we can make a difference," the sister said. "We can make a difference. The land heals itself if we give it time."
Express-News Staff Writer
Father John Suenram has lost track of the stories he’s heard about St. Therese, about the prayers answered and the roses sent.
"It happens all the time," says Suenram, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower on the West Side. "I couldn’t possibly write down all the stories people have told me about cures or responses to prayers."
This weekend, the basilica will honor four women – Elvira Cisneros, Patricia Diaz Dennis, Amelia Duran and Linda Hardberger – with the St. Therese Award for their contributions to the life of San Antonio.
"Elvira Cisneros is being honored with the St. Therese Award because of the multitude of small actions that she has performed out of love for others, especially for mothers and children enrolled in the Avance program," the priest says of the mother of former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros.
Diaz Dennis, senior vice president and assistant general counsel of AT&T, is being recognized for her work with Girl Scouts. Last year, she was elected chairwoman of its National Board of Directors, the highest volunteer post in the scouting organization. She "believes, as we do, that the small things we do for others, especially young people, can have a positive effect in their lives and the lives of others," Father Suenram said.
Hardberger will be honored for work on community gardens. "Planting seeds out of love and service that will grow into flowers and vegetables; all these things contribute to the life of the community," he said. Hardberger is director and curator of the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund and wife of Mayor Phil Hardberger.
Amelia Duran, president of the La Prensa Foundation, "is a firm believer of the positive effects of charitable actions. She has helped to uplift the lives of many San Antonians, especially San Antonio women."
This is the basilica’s first fundraising gala of its kind. In part, it’s marking the parish’s 75th anniversary. Constructed during the Great Depression, the distinctive structure at 1715 N. Zarzamora St. looms above San Antonio’s West Side.
The basilica also is undergoing a restoration that will require $8 million to complete, says July Moreno de Lopez, executive director of restoration and community programs. Saturday’s gala, which is sold out, is expected to bring in about $100,000.
While construction of the St. Elias Chapel was finished with help from an $800,000 gift from a private family trust, Moreno says the rest of the basement, or the basilica’s undercroft, remains undone. External work is required, and water damage needs to be repaired. A community conference center and museum library are planned.
The gala’s other goal is to spread the Little Flower’s message of hope.
As popular as St. Therese is (Pope Pius XI called her the greatest saint in modern times), Moreno de Lopez says more should know her. "I want to get St. Therese out there," she says. "She relates to all of us."
A mystic who expressed a close relationship to God, she died of tuberculosis in 1897 at age 24. Her spiritual autobiography, "Story of a Soul," continues to be widely read, and she’s credited with enormous influence among the prayerful.
"The Catholic Church believes there are certain people whose lives were so holy that we can be assured, after investigation of course, that they are in heaven with God," Father Suenram says. "We believe we can call out to them to intercede on our behalf. We don’t pray to them, but through them, and believe that their prayers will have positive effect."
St. Therese’s childlike spirituality and surrender to God continues to resonate throughout the world, he adds. "We have a tendency to think we can never be accepted by God. St. Therese teaches us a short path to heaven that can be taken by everyone. It’s a path of confidence in God’s merciful goodness."
"She didn’t want heavenly rest," adds Father Suenram, laughing. On her deathbed, she promised to spend her "life in heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses." Hence, her nickname.
St. Therese of Lisieux would have been 52 when she was canonized in 1925. Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1997, citing the impact she had on the spiritual lives of ordinary people.