A yellow buttercup grows within a crack in a paved street.
Reviewing our lives for the moments of grace that come unbidden is one way to keep hope alive. (Photo courtesy of hopegrows.net).

“Keep hope alive” was a popular slogan in the Eighties. I thought of that phrase after several friends mentioned recently how exhausted they feel from the lingering pandemic and festering divisions in the country over politics, mask-wearing and vaccine mandates.

Then I heard a wonderful talk this weekend on “The…


Multi-colored autumn leaves sit in a thin pile on wet ground.
Autumn is a season to seek out “some morsel of wonder in each passing day.” (Photo by Mary Jo Adams).

I didn’t need the Harvest Moon or Autumn Equinox to know that fall arrived. The morning nip in the air, the night chill, the earlier sunsets proclaim it. When I was a child, I embraced autumn. …


Two light beams reach into the night sky in front of New York Bay, representing the space where the World Trade Center twin towers once stood.
Two light beams mark the spot where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood.

One of my favorite gospel passages is Matthew 10:42 where Jesus says, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, truly I tell you, that person shall by no means lose his reward.” It’s a reminder that acts of compassion don’t have to…


A computer sits on a desk along with pen, eyeglasses, coffee cup and notepad.
Has the pandemic helped us see the proper role of work, or has working at home made work an even larger intruder in our personal lives? (Photo courtesy of Time).

When Labor Day comes around, I usually think of my parents, Charles and Theresa Valente. They did the kind of back-breaking work that is labor. My father drove a truck, loading and unloading 10-gallon barrels of roofers’ asphalt. …


Sculpture made of concerte, fiberglass and steel of woman’s face whose hands open her chest cavity to reveal and empty space.
South African artist Daniel Popper’s massive sculpture “Hollow” is part of the Human + Nature outdoor exhibit at the Morton Arboretum near Chicago. (Photo by Judith Valente)

Imagine the enormous sculpted face of a woman rising up from a field surrounded by woods. Imagine her chest cavity opening to reveal a cavern into which humans can walk.

Then imagine a pair of massive hands joined by intertwining roots, reaching out from the soil in an open embrace.


Soldier shares a moment of peace with young Afghani. (Photo courtesy of The Independent)

This week I spent a peaceful hour in meditation amid the cherry trees and cypresses of the Japanese Garden in Urbana, not far from the University of Illinois. …


Small twigs arranged in a square with small, round piece of wood in the middle.
A woman with special needs created this image evocative of the gospel of the Good Shepherd and the lost sheep. (Photo courtesy of Pat Pickett)

This is a column for anyone who’s ever been told by a teacher that they can’t draw or paint and shouldn’t even try. It is a confirmation that we are all, in our own way, artists. …


Woman holding pen writing on lined pages of a journal.
Author Judith Valente feels she missed a chance to record markers in her life as well as the simple pleasures of daily living by neglecting to keep a diary or journal.

A few weeks ago, I shared a few lines on Facebook from a poem I was writing called “To The Diary I Never Wrote.” …


Picture of globe of the world held in the palm of a hand.
Pope Francis has called for funds earmarked for weaponry to be redirected to humanitarian needs.

Every once in a while, something comes along that reminds me that the Catholic Church is the people and perhaps only the people can save the church.

That was the case this weekend when I attended an online conference of Pax Christi USA, a Catholic group that has been promoting…


Figure of woman in cross-legged yoga pose.
Focusng on the breath is a common yoga practice for dealing with anger and anxiety. (Photo courtesy of NPR.)

My friend the poet Lisa Breger is one of the most peaceful people I know. In our two decades of friendship, I’ve never known her to raise her voice or argue. Lately, Lisa has either witnessed or bore the brunt of four road rage incidents in her small Massachusetts town…

Judith Valente

Author of 4 spirituality books & 2 poetry collections. Award-winning reporter for Wall Street Journal, PBS-TV, Washington Post & 2 IL public radio stations.

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