Terri Schiavo, Ten Years Later

Since Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman, was starved to death by the state ten years ago, we have only traveled farther down the road of the Culture of Death. Her brother, Bobby Schindler, writes this for Life News. Go there to read the rest and to see the disturbing image he mentions..

How has the right to die agenda been able to efficaciously shift our attitudes to the point that is has become everyday practice to starve and dehydrate a person to death. The issue may see complex, however it seems to me that the answer is very clear. It is because they lie.

It’s important to differentiate that Terri’s condition, and countless others like her, is quite different from a situation where it may be medically appropriate to withhold food and fluids because a person is actively dying and their bodies are shutting down, no longer able to assimilate their food and hydration.

Nonetheless, the never-ending propaganda about the peaceable nature of forced dehydration compelled me to make public this image of my sister created from my memory. This (right) is what Terri looked like just before she died. It was horrible to see.

And yet, [Terri's husband Michael] Schiavo’s attorney falsely told the public during a press conference, just days before Terri’s death, that she looked “beautiful”. This is what they want you to believe, not the harsh truth about the madness of what we permit in the rooms of hospitals, nursing homes and hospices every single day across this country.

These are the hard facts my family and I will have to live with for the rest of my life: After almost two weeks without food or water, my sister’s lips were horribly cracked, to the point where they were blistering. Her skin became jaundice with areas that turned different shades of blue. Her skin became markedly dehydrated from the lack of water. Terri’s breathing became rapid and uncontrollable, as if she was outside sprinting. Her moaning, at times, was raucous, which indicated to us the insufferable pain she was experiencing. Terri’s face became skeletal, with blood pooling in her deeply sunken eyes and her teeth protruding forward. Even as I write this, I can never properly describe the nightmare of having to watch my sister have to die this way.

What will be forever seared in my memory is the look of utter horror on my sister’s face when my family visited her just after she died.

Those pushing this agenda will certainly deny this, they have to. But there was a reason the court ordered that no cameras or video be permitted in Terri’s room while she was being killed. They claimed privacy issues. My family knows otherwise. And they do too.

So when will this heartlessness end? When will the lies end? When will the American people decide this insanity has to stop?

Has the House of the Holy Family in Nazareth been Found?

Today (March 25), the feast of the Annunciation, is the day the Church celebrates the moment when the Word was made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Today the hearts and minds of Christians all over the world are turning to Nazareth, the little town where Mary heard from the Angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of the Messiah. It was also the place where Jesus grew up, watched over by Joseph and Mary.

What were their lives there like? We may know more now than ever before. An archaeological excavation has recently revealed what may have been the house where the Holy Family lived, the house where Jesus grew up. The finds are detailed in the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

A little background. For centuries we have possessed the surviving bits of the house where Mary and her parents lived and where she was visited by the angel Gabriel, underneath the Church of the Annunciation. The original home has been covered by a church since the mid-fourth century, a church that has subsequently rebuilt through the centuries.


Grotto of the Annunciation

In 1955, before the present basilica was begun, Franciscan archaeologist Bellarmino Bagatti made a thorough investigation and was able to discover the whole history of building, including the earliest layer of construction belonging to the first century.

Today, in the lower church or Grotto, visitors can clearly see a portion of the original stone house where Mary lived, which was built into a cave in the hillside. This was a common type of building at the time. In fact, Bagatti’s excavations uncovered other caves nearby. Many have thought that the later home of Joseph and Mary was part of this complex; it has been identified with the Church of St. Joseph, which is on this site.

Nazareth house

entrance to the house under the Church of the Nutrition

But excavations across the street at the Convent of the Sisters of Nazareth have discovered another house covered by a church and venerated since ancient times. Prof. Ken Dark of Reading University in England, believes this is the home of the Holy Family, also known as the Church of the Nutrition, which is mentioned by pilgrims of the early centuries.

The very first excavations at the convent date back to 1884, when the sisters discovered an ancient cistern in their cellar. The sisters and the pupils at their school, with some workmen, dug further and discovered ancient stonework. Over the following century, professional archaeologists, including Fr. Bagatti, examined the site, but not in any depth. Prof. Dark and his team finally began excavation in 2006. They uncovered a Crusader-era church, as well as an earlier Byzantine one, all built over a first-century stone structure. This was obviously a much venerated place. The church has a rock tomb on each side, a detail mentioned in the pilgrim account of Arculf, who visited the Church of the Nutrition in the seventh century. This led Dark to believe it is the same church.

But the most important part is the stone structure. Dark describes it in detail:

What sort of building was this rectilinear structure? It had been constructed by cutting back a limestone hillside as it sloped toward the wadi (valley) below, leaving carefully smoothed freestanding rock walls, to which stone-built walls were added. The structure included a series of rooms. One, with its doorway, survived to its full height. Another had a stairway rising adjacent to one of its walls. A rock overhang had been carefully retained in one room, its upper surface worked to support part of a roof or upper story—which otherwise must have been built of another material, probably timber. Just inside the surviving doorway, earlier excavations had revealed part of its original chalk floor. Associated finds, including cooking pottery and a spindle whorl, suggested domestic occupation.
Taken together, the walls conformed to the plan of a so-called courtyard house, one of the typical architectural forms of Early Roman-period settlements in the Galilee. (“Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found? Biblical Archaeological Review, March-April 2015, p. 58)

Dark also discovered the remains of some stone jars, used in Jewish ritual purifications, which means the inhabitants were Jewish. Objects recovered by the sisters likely belonging to the house include a green glass vase, a glass bead and the spindle whorl mentioned above. Could these things have been used by Mary?

This is all I have time for now. I’ll add more tomorrow.

Part II (March 26)

Another recent find in excavations near the Church of the Annunciation gives us more information about the houses of the period:  archaeologists discovered the complete foundation of a similar house in the courtyard style.  Like the Holy Family’s house, it had its own water tank or cistern — in fact it had two. The upper half-story with its balcony likely provided a guest room as well as a place for the family to sit and enjoy the cool evening breeze. Sometimes in  hot weather they would sleep there in the open air.

courtyard house

reconstruction of the courtyard house (and two underground cisterns)

courtyard house ex

courtyard house foundation -note white stone paving of courtyard








Most of the above comes from the Biblical Archaeological Review article. You have to be subscribed to get it. But here are two earlier articles by Dark for scholarly journals.



Tau Cross Books Newsletter — February 2015

Hello, everyone,

Two important pieces of news this month. First, we are now offering our e-books in pdf format – at the same great prices. And remember, you still have until February 28 to enjoy our sale on e-books – just $4.50 each.

Second, though I didn’t get the whole of my first Franciscan ebook classic on St. Margaret of Cortona done in time for her feast day on Feb. 22, I am happy to say that you can now download a free sample here.

MargaretCoverA Tuscan Penitent: The Life and Legend of St. Margaret of Cortona, by Fr. Cuthbert, O.S.F.C.

This Franciscan classic, first published in 1907, and written by a famous Capuchin scholar, tells the story of a young woman in 13th-century Italy, who shocked everyone by openly living with a rich nobleman outside of marriage and bearing him a son. After he was murdered, she was alone and rejected by her family. Filled with remorse and guilt, she finally found peace with the Franciscans as a penitent in the Third Order.



Fr. Cuthbert tells Margaret’s story with great psychological penetration, spiritual depth and literary skill.  The book also contains his translation of a slightly abridged version of Margaret’s Legend, written by her confessor, Fra Giunta Bevignati, who details Margaret’s spiritual struggles and her revelations from God, as she herself told them to him. Together the two works provide a moving portrait of her growth in holiness.

This new edition will be provided with a new introduction, giving background on the author and his work, along with a bibliography. (These are not quite ready, so the free dowload will be of just a part of the original text).

Here is why I think these new editions of old books are valuable: they provide perspective. You can readily get a modern edition and translation of Margaret’s Legend by Thomas Renna, which is a good version of the text, but his introduction, written from a secular academic perspective, while it deals well with a number of historical questions, lacks precisely the deep Franciscan spirituality of Fr.  Cuthbert’s work. I hope that continuing to make his work available in a convenient and attractive format will benefit readers.

Thanks again for your support. The e-mails I receive are really inspiring.  Until next time,
Pax et Bonum,

Lori Pieper, OFS