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“Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast. It cannot be otherwise, as it forms part of the great Easter cycle.

The Paschal Mystery is above all the mystery of life in which the Church, by celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ, enters into the Kingdom of Life which He has established once for all by His definitive victory over sin and death. We must remember the original meaning of Lent, as the ver sacrum, the Church’s “holy spring” in which the catechumens were prepared for their baptism, and public penitents were made ready by penance for their restoration to the sacramental life in a communion with the rest of the Church. Lent is then not a season of punishment so much as one of healing.”

Thomas Merton. Seasons of Celebration. (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1950): 113

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer is known as the woman who was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” so she decided to do something about it.

“A grass roots organic intellectual and activist, [Hamer] sought to do everything she could in Mississippi to free her people. She ressurected herself from the crevices of servitude to become one of the civil right movement’s most respected figures and symbols of Black Freedom. Her major contributions came from her dedication and constant work in creating change through voting.

Fannie Lou Hamer felt the dream of democracy. Undergoing tremendous sacrifice, Hamer lifted a proud, defiant voice and she sang of freedom. At the 2004 Democratic Convention Ruby Dee said of Hamer, ‘She guided us out of the wilderness of death threats and disenfranchisement, of lynching and literacy tests of segregation and second-class status. One woman from Mississippi did this. One voice lifted so many. All of us.’ ” (see more)

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See more about Fannie Lou Hamer and hear her theme song, “This Little light of Mine,” at A Woman a Week.

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