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In this flu and cold season it’s good to speak about contagious in a positive manner. Recently, in my opinion, there has been a very readable book on the bookshelves by Jonah Berger entitled, Contagious: Why Things Catch On. It’s written in the style that readers of Blink, Outliers and Tipping Point by the bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell will find familiar.

Contagious combines the findings of academic research with real case stories. As Berger says in his book, he sets out to explain why certain tales are told, why certain emails get forwarded or the reason behind which YouTube videos go viral.

Simon and Schuster Readers Guide pinpoints the storyline, “John Berger shares the secret science behind social transmissions.” Berger introduces the reader to the six masterful ways to spread the word and insure infectious content. Berger shares these research-based fundaments under the acronym STEPPS.

Visit www.jonahberger.com and click on Videos for a 50 second trailer to spike your interest further.

Nancy Wales, CSJ









A Valentine's Day Pause & Ponder

Valentine's Day is linked with romantic love: with card sharing, gift giving and flowers sent to that special person in one's life. As beautiful as this may seem there is a deeper meaning expressed in everyday life and in countless ways. Love is Creation's first impulse, its sustaining energy, and is available to all. Love is birdseed on a porch railing in winter, a listening ear for the 90th time, when compassion trumps power and control, a cup of coffee shared. Love is hidden surprisingly in the stuff of life: in sacrifice, pain and transcendence of self. Every day is Valentine's Day!

Ann Marshall, CSJ



February – the most dreaded word in a grade three spelling bee. It is the shortest month of the year, even when once in four it has one day more. For being such a short month it is jammed packed with heart growth full opportunities.

Valentine’s Day (Friday, February 14th) is also known as “Happy Heart Day.” Let’s take it beyond mushy, let’s make it real. We think with fondness on the ones we love; this year we could make a special effort to reach out to one or two of those who could benefit from a smile or surprise card. As children, we remember counting our valentines – who received the most or least – the one’s we created for our mothers and fathers.

In our world as it is today we need “Happy Hearts” more than once a year. It will take some work but “it is a small world after all!” Heart to heart – we can make it happen.

A few years ago the Canadian Government decided that there would be a holiday every month of the year. February did not have such a day. So they instituted “Family Day” (Monday, February 17th this year), a wonderful concept for those families who are able to take advantage of it. I was always under the notion that “everyday” was family day. “What a wonderful world it would be.”

As a real plus this year we have the “Winter Olympic Games” that started on Thursday, February 6th in Sochi Russia.

Please explain to me why the unity of coming together every four years (Summer and Winter Olympics) can’t be extended to a broader base. The games are an opportunity for the best athletes from most countries to compete, mingle, and celebrate the best of the best. On the other hand we have Syria, Iraq, Egypt, etc. – their games are devastating, we must not forget the “war games: where nobody wins or celebrates. “Peace on Earth, Good Will TO ALL!”

February – F-e-b-r-u-a-r-y!

Happy Heart!

Happy Family!

Happy Games!

P.S. My apologies to Wiarton Willie and all groundhogs – I forgot to mention February 2nd Groundhog Day. 

Barbara Vaughan, CSJ


I Shall Not Hate

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian medical doctor is a man of forgiveness, hope and compassion. On the 6th anniversary of his three daughters’ massacre at the hands of the Israelis who bombed his home, this noble physician addressed a large audience at King’s University College in January. Tearfully, he walked us through his journey along the path of indescribable grief and pain to a stance of forgiveness and compassion. Through the lens of today’s bitter world-wide strife and war, he offered a path to peace and presented a challenge to humankind:

  • Today’s suffering is man-made.
  • War is a genocide and the slavery of humanity. It must be prevented.
  • Words and good deeds are stronger than bullets.
  • I may have the right to hate but it is a disease of the one who carries it.
  • The biggest weapon of mass destruction is hate in people’s hearts.

What can we do to challenge hate and move forward?

  • Do not blame.
  • The antidote to hatred is success.
  • Dig deeper to discover the problem below the hate.
  • Don’t ask others to change; change my heart so others can follow me.
  • Have faith, hope and ACTION.
  • Begin with something I can do to make the world we want for our children.
  • Help to relieve poverty which is the biggest enemy of the people.
  • Education is the best way to face the mystery of life.
  • Support your brother and sister.
  • Call upon the potential of the human being.
  • All must take action to alleviate the pain.
  • Make a difference.

 Read more in Dr. Abuelaish’s recently released book, I Shall Not Hate.

 Jean Moylan, CSJ


Weekly Pause & Ponder

“The reality we name as “God,” mightier and more vast than 400 billion galaxies, permeates my existence as a human person. Certainly God is infinite and unknowable, but we look into our hearts and lives, and there is this same God bursting to life in us.  Why do we keep looking elsewhere to find God? Why do we stay locked into a spirituality that looks for God in the heavens in preference to a spirituality that focuses on the God within and among us, urging and prompting us to claim our sacred identity - and live it? Here is the arena of conversion and the heart of Jesus’ message to all of us who have ears to listen.”
Excerpted from Tomorrow’s Catholic:Understanding God and Jesus in a New Millennium by Michael Morwood.


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.