About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“Every experienced choirmaster’s work is founded on the following three axioms: (1) Few boys have a really good natural voice; (2) No boy is able to control his voice and produce good tone without training; (3) Most boys have a good ear, and considerable imitative capacity. It is on the last of these axioms that the choirmaster must begin his work.”
— Sir Richard Runciman Terry (1912)

   Send an E-mail to Dr. Ronda Chervin, Ph.D.
Back from EWTN
published 8 May 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

HAD A WONDERFUL TRIP TO EWTN to do a series for Johnnette Benkovic’s Women of Grace on the book I co-authored with Deacon Richard Ballard and Iconographer Ruth Ballard called What the Saints Said About Heaven. You can order this from Tan or from EWTN on-line catalog. I also did an interview for Book Mark on The Way of Love – the 4 booklets in 1 volume latest book of mine. 400 pages, only $10 paperback; for less money as an e-book. You can order that from Amazon.

A double insight came to me about self-esteem. Before I left I was complaining to my daughter about senior moments. She is tired of this subject. She suggested this method: Take a sheet of paper and all day long make entries in 2 columns: What I did passably and Where I forgot something or made a mistake. You will soon see that the left column far outweighs the negatives in terms of ability to reach a goal, even a tiny one. This method helped me greatly when I dropped my boarding pass into the trash with a Starbucks coffee cup. Happily I noticed the loss about 5 minutes later and the pass was right on top of the other junk in the trash bin. Still, I had succeeded in 20 others things that same day.

Another self-esteem victory. I generally think of myself as an aggressive, confrontative, awful person, but a friend took a photo of me at EWTN. I looked so loving and sweet and humble! Okay, you can say, well sure, because you were imbibing the graces of EWTN, but it happened that the moment before the photo I was grumbling about a trivial annoyance. Seeing the photo was a big healing moment. So, who wants us to think that because we still have sins, faults, and character defects we should close up shop? Satan. And who wants us to thank Him for all the love that is in our hearts in spite of those sins, faults and defects? Praise the Lord.

On a less personal note, here is something from my journal I pasted here just before I left for EWTN:

LOURDES, France, SEPT. 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- For those who suffer and are struggling, the strength to carry on can be found within the smile of the Virgin Mary, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today at the homily he gave today, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrow, during the Mass with the sick at Rosary Square at the Marian shrine in Lourdes. Some 70,000 people participated in the Mass.

The Holy Father offered a reflection on the smile of Mary, who he called the “teacher of love.”

He noted that the tears Mary “shed at the foot of the cross have been transformed into a smile which nothing can wipe away.”

“Christians have always sought the smile of Our Lady,” Benedict XVI explained, “this smile which medieval artists were able to represent with such marvelous skill and to show to advantage.”

“This smile of Mary is for all; but it is directed quite particularly to those who suffer, so that they can find comfort and solace therein,” he said. “To seek Mary’s smile is not an act of devotional or outmoded sentimentality, but rather the proper expression of the living and profoundly human relationship which binds us to her whom Christ gave us as our Mother.”

The Pope continued: “To wish to contemplate this smile of the Virgin, does not mean letting oneself be led by an uncontrolled imagination. Scripture itself discloses it to us through the lips of Mary when she sings the Magnificat: 'My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Savior.’

“When the Virgin Mary gives thanks to the Lord, she calls us to witness. Mary shares, as if by anticipation, with us, her future children, the joy that dwells in her heart, so that it can become ours. Every time we recite the Magnificat, we become witnesses of her smile.”


The Holy Father said that St. Bernadette Soubirous “contemplated this smile of Mary in a most particular way” when Our Lady appeared to her.

“It was the first response that the Beautiful Lady gave to the young visionary who wanted to know who she was,” he said. “Before introducing herself, some days later, as 'the Immaculate Conception,’ Mary first taught Bernadette to know her smile, this being the most appropriate point of entry into the revelation of her mystery.”

“In the smile of the most eminent of all creatures, looking down on us, is reflected our dignity as children of God, that dignity which never abandons the sick person,” the Pope said. “ This smile, a true reflection of God’s tenderness, is the source of an invincible hope.”

Benedict XVI continued: “The endurance of suffering can upset life’s most stable equilibrium, it can shake the firmest foundations of confidence, and sometimes even leads people to despair of the meaning and value of life.

“There are struggles that we cannot sustain alone, without the help of divine grace. When speech can no longer find the right words, the need arises for a loving presence: We seek then the closeness not only of those who share the same blood or are linked to us by friendship, but also the closeness of those who are intimately bound to us by faith.”


“I would like to say, humbly,” the Pope proposed, “to those who suffer and to those who struggle and are tempted to turn their backs on life: Turn toward Mary!

“Within the smile of the Virgin lies mysteriously hidden the strength to fight against sickness, in support of life. With her, equally, is found the grace to accept without fear or bitterness to leave this world at the hour chosen by God.

“In the very simple manifestation of tenderness that we call a smile, we grasp that our sole wealth is the love God bears us, which passes through the heart of her who became our Mother.”

“To seek this smile,” he said, “is first of all to have grasped the gratuitousness of love; it is also to be able to elicit this smile through our efforts to live according to the word of her Beloved Son, just as a child seeks to elicit its mother’s smile by doing what pleases her.”

During adoration it occurred to me that St. Joseph could have repeated the words of the Hail Mary to Mary each day. I think I read this once in a long book about St. Joseph but it came up to my mind and I think it is a lovely idea. As I gaze at the statues of Mary and Joseph and the infant at the altar I can think of this.

I witnessed the heroic virtue of my pastor dealing with a person who drives him crazy. I thought, a good part of the heroic virtue of a priest is having to be seen and judged in every act by his parishioners.