I am a missionary of a young Catholic community called Verbum Dei. My pastoral work is varied, but could be summarised as helping people to discover and grow in a personal relationship with God, especially through the Word preached and through music... and as a consequence, helping them find and commit to their own personal calling and ministry. I am a musician and composer, and having completed a doctorate in theology on music in theology, I taught for a while the Gregorian University, Rome. I was the Banaan Fellow 2011-2012 at Santa Clara University, California, and teaching at JST, Berkeley. And I am now a lecturer in theology at the Banyo campus of Australian Catholic University.
Since coming to Australia, I have updated a lot of stuff, including webpage: maevelouiseheaney.com
and CD sales etc. It seems simpler to export my blogs also...but will look at how :). Not that tech savvy yet!
But you will find them here: http://maevelouiseheaney.com/blog/
There is a bar manager in Rome, il Signor Camilo, who calls me by my middle name - Louise. That is how he (always) remembers me: by my hidden name - the one few people register.
And when I sit here on this beautiful terrace overlooking rooftops of Rome...
it is that middle, hidden space inside me that finds a resting place... "peace I leave with you".
I have two windows in me: one outwards, the other inwards; one to others, the other into my own depths; one where light and pain find a way in (and out) through others, the other, darker, perhaps more secret and more vulnerable, where silent words rest me: "my peace I give to you... do not let your heart be troubled...". This is where I breathe. This is where the roots plunge and drink. This is where my music is born of...
You remember my true name... " The rules of mercy never change
Jerusalem and the islands; Rome and Australia; the centre and the edges. I wonder if, among other things, I am going to the edges to re-find the centre, if Louise will be the moving force in the years to come...
And I think this is my desire... "bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts..."
This year is a strange and rich one... as I sort of learn German in the beautiful city of Munich. The other day as I wandered to mass in pensive mood without the daffodils, I was stopped by this elderly woman at the pedestrian crossing (here they wait at the red light), and enthusiastically told in a German I just about understood that life was schön [wonderful]... as she pointed up and down LeopoldStraße...
that although she was old, she could love and enjoy life...and wasn't it wonderful? I was moved. And then last week, I found myself in various places in Madrid, the city I contend made me a missionary; the first place I ever worked in seriously and experienced the incomparable joy of seeing someone come to know Christ through you.And I stood in front of the Palacio Arzobispal of Alcalá de Henares, where I lived for my first two years of theology (philosophy really).
In truth, it felt surreal: another woman in another life ... and yet familiar. It had been so hard. And yet, it took me a while to drag myself away... and as I tried to ask Jesus what that time meant, why I was drawn. I begin to sense that in the midst of it all, those years had been the ones during which my roots sunk deep. I laid the foundations, and they are, despite myself, firm. Many other things have had to and will have to shift (to be perfect, a la Newman, often and ever-changing...), but that one is deep. The first cut is the deepest...
And I am still a beginner – I avoid hills and run, following
the alleged advice of Eamonn Coughlin “as slowly as I can, for as long as I can”.
But it feels great. There is something about ‘feeling’ life through my body as
my feet hit the ground and the cold air my face…I love it! I still need to push
myself into that first step of making time, changing clothes to face the cold…
but I love it. It is a physical –spiritual practice and place of discovery for
And it makes me think – there is a sort of ‘consolation of
and in the body’, right? A sense, somehow, ‘without previous cause’ of God’s
presence in and through stretched muscles and flesh moving to a rhythm marked
from within and without. And it makes me wonder if there could not be a “discernment (also) through the body” as well
– that when we face important decisions (or daily ones), does God not also
allow us sense in how we feel about ourselves in-our-body-in-the-world, what could
be right? And I know discernment implies a lot of other elements and aspects,
but perhaps this one has been overlooked? The joy of the flesh that God really
wanted to come to visit… Cf. Jn 1:14.