The University Series presents….

People Of The Passion:


(3rd row) Dr. Mark Fischer, Dr.Lee Cerling,obl,OSB, Archbishop Emeritus, George Niederauer

Fr. Joseph Brennan,OSB, Dr. Harvey Schneir,MD

(2nd row) Mary R. Betten,obl,OSB, Jeanne Nelson,

Maggie Kildee, Sherry Reynolds

(1st row) Bridget Fischer, David Peacock, Linda Lowe

Tuesday, March 18th $8.00 includes you & one guest

Hospitality: 7:00PM   Stories & meditation: 7:30PM

St. Paschal Baylon Hall @ Moorpark & Janss Rd., Thousand Oaks.

 Music by:   Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, OSB.Cam


People Of The Passion



by: Mary Rose Betten

       Hospitality:7:00       Presentations: 7:30PM           Tuesday, March 18th

                          $8.00 entrance fee includes one friend to join you

St. Pascal Baylon Church Hall, Thousand Oaks

(Corner of Moorpark/Janss Rd.)


Meditate with live music


 STORY Presentors:  

          George H. Niederauer, Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco

Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam, Prior, New Camaldoli Hermitage, Big Sur

Fr. Joseph Brennan, Prior, St. Andrews Abbey, Valyermo

Linda Lowe     Maggie Kildee     Bridget Fischer  

Jeanne Nelson        Mary Rose Betten,obl OSB         Sherry Reynolds

Lee Cerling, obl OSB        David Peacock      

Fr. Leon Hutton, Faculty: St. John’s Seminary 

Dr. Harvey Schneir, MD

a tastebud

I’ve been holed up in the “womb cave” attempting to keep my promise to finish my novella this summer and received a divine photo of a sculpture from my Santa Barbara artist friend, David Peacock.

a tastebud

a tastebud
by David Peacock

“a tastebud” by David Peacock

Processing The Mystical Chocolate Jesus

CaptureHe saw me seeing Him in the African American Museum.  His delicious pink lips, poised to kiss the world, He Whispers I can kiss with words, let  His hands become my hand.

“Is this why you make my life impossible, so I’ll  have nothing left but words?”

He repeats, “My ways are not your ways.”

“That’s for sure, all I have is myself and words, you have the entire world.”

“You have me,” His chocolate eyes behold me. If I sense He doesn’t behold me I feel lost as Jonah, in the whale, or Daniel in the lion’s den.

He took away my husband, our only child, leaving me only words to begin anew. “In the beginning was the word.” What kind of conversation is that suppose to be? Where is my beginning with words?

“Would you like to see what I have written?” He asks.  Whatever,  it will be confusing, He’ll  justify it by: His ways are not my ways . Before I can object, He opens each finger revealing on the palm of His hand; my name!

He slips into comfortable and settles himself  between my words, like chocolate melting on the page.   Sometimes I can’t feel His beholding so I cry. You know what He does?  He beholds me via this wild-man promise: If I write the words He’ll supply the music.

 When People in the museum stop to study us He encourages them to become his eyes and ears.  Quickly they dart to the plaque giving information on the artist of “The Mystikal, Chocolate Jesus,” Carol Castano.

One afternoon emptiness overcame me. I beg Him,“Please give me something definite to go on. Anything.  Some kind of clue.”

“Okay, He replies, “Draw a tombstone with your name, then, below your name, write the year you were born.”

“1936,” I say, scribbling in the numbers,  “The year England had three kings,” Oh no, I should never have ad libbed, now He’ll carry on about Wallis Simpson, King Edward and Queen Elizabeth’s father.

Instead He said, ”Remember I am King, I permit gray in my beard, as a reminder time lines end. So, after 1936, draw a line leaving  blank the date of your death.” Those mystikal chocolate eyes claim my being, I never felt so alive. I could become His light as each of us might become each others light. I never thought of it as a proposal, I thought I had been framed. If I am in Him and He is in me there is no death, only beauty.  I am forever there, melted into Him through the mystikalness of art.

Grid Buster

Gathered at a writing session with word master, Jack Grapes, in the African American Museum, Los Angeles, we were given maybe about  twenty or thirty minutes to locate a piece of art and write about it. I came upon Lynn Aldrich’s work : “Grid Buster,”and was so taken by it I couldn’t assimilate the words in the short, assigned time.  Grid Buster set my heart on fire. I wrote to Lynn and she graciously  answered  giving me permission to share  two pictures of her creation and her words below regarding, “Grid Buster:”

D copy

             Here’s the original installation from 1989, Grid Buster. The Christ figure, 12 feet tall, is cut out of the plaid carpet and stapled to the gallery wall. The pink, fleshy carpet padding emerges from the cutout shape in the carpet. One auto rewind tape is playing Gregorian Chant which is interrupted every 1.5 minutes by the other tape of a vacuum cleaner being turned on, run for half a minute, then turned off.

       I based my image on the fantastic rising Christ in Matthias Grunewald’s Resurrection painting from 1520, which I outlined and cut out of the “modernist” grid of the plaid pattern, first used in Scottish culture to designate clan identity.


       A tiny reproduction of Grunewald’s painting, which is a wing of the Isenheim Altarpiece, shows Christ rising from the open grave. I’ve framed it in gold leaf and hung it under a picture light, plugged into many surge protectors (for protection from the electric charge!) and a long, orange extension cord.

 Lynn Aldrich

What captivated me as a believer/writer is the flesh-colored padding, the image ascending from a plaid CARPET. The every-day-ness, plus the saying we learn as children: Underneath we are all the same color. Please share with me Lynn’s words, plus the 2 photos of her glorious work: “Grid Buster.”

Writing From The Womb

What I’m about to share with you is a bit surreal. Any doubts? Check it out. Okay, ready? In 2000 my daughter, Eleanore Snow, had unresolved issues with her father, so she moved her important belongings into our garage, then minus a fare-thee-well exited our lives. Down came the sliding door on the final curtain of family life.
Years went by, each summer, my husband the theologian, went off to work as a spiritual director for the Pecos Institute. While he was away for that last summer, the Librarian at the seminary, where he was permanently employed emailed me the glorious news she had located news of our daughter on the internet. Remember this lady; later she emails me numbing news.

The article she located revealed Eleanore had graduated from Smith College in MA. as well as her Master’s, she had received an Ambassadorial Scholarship to rehabilitate child soldiers in Uganda. Of course by the time I read the article she had arrived in Africa. While taking a break from rehabilitation in Zanzibar she rescued a tiny feral puppy, dying in a trash heap. You can take the girl out of rehabilitation but you can’t take rehabilitation out of the girl. She brought this feral puppy, she named, “Zanzibar,” back to the U.S. If you find that a bit edgy you should see this feral dog ( When I first saw him on the video I thought he was a coyote.

Time goes by, I have no clue where to find her. My husband, the theologian, heads east to make a 30-day silent retreat. It’s August, and I love to write in the summer. I had
the house all to myself until the phone rang. The man I had been married to for forty- one years broke his silence to announce over the phone, he was not coming home. He was going to live on his boat. He planned to make a new life for himself. I would be receiving divorce papers.

As a retired character actress living on my Screen Actors pension let me tell you I would never put that in a script. How was I suppose to act it out in real life? Reminded me of a scene I had in a movie with Richard Pryor, just back to work with a body guard, after setting himself on fire. We had paused for reloading, he unbuttoned his collar for air and I saw beneath the black skin where he had burned, his skin was pink. “Oh, Richard,” I gasped, “I’m sorry, it must be so hard.”

“Ah,”he answered, his body guard scrutinizing every move,“That was easy, this is hard.”

Fast forward to March of that year, I receive the Librarians second email. Your husband brought a guest to the seminary’s graduation dinner. I wanted you to know he introduced this guest as his new wife. My husband of forty one years was now my ex-husband, the theologian. He had married the day after the divorce became final and even managed in the coming months to get an annulment. He was no longer welcome at the seminary.

Since we rented faculty housing I was told to evacuate. Did I mention I never cheated on my ex-husband? In a letter I received much later, he informed me he had maintained a relationship with his new wife, for the past five years. How did they meet? He was her spiritual director.

Just a few days ago I checked Google for Eleanore Snow and there was this video
you can check out. I looked again and there was also information on a film documentary
Eleanore is producing, “Becoming Snow,” with quite an accomplished group of film makers. You can see it here. I read every subject title, even watched the first interview featured. What these film makers are attempting is a gift. After you read it you might submit yourself or a friend as a subject.

You can imagine hearing my daughters voice, seeing her face for the first time in almost
thirteen years … surreal. Almost made me forget how long it took to clear out that garage.

Writing With A Brush

Santa Barbara artist, David Peacock has emotional roots in Santa Barbara.  Currently he has a mural depicting his love for the city in a face, the sun and an electric blue sky, and I challenge you to not grin when you see it. The features on the face…well, I asked David, point blank what are those objects on the face posing as eyes, ears and a mouth?  Of course being a true artist he wouldn’t give me a straight answer but instead a question,“What are they to you?”

‘Well David, starting with those teeth…those are some teeth.  I guess they are so prominent because inside our teeth is our DNA? And the eyes”-he interrupted me. I think my take on the teeth got him talking.

“Okay I will give you the artists version but only because the first time you saw him you called him “Santa Barbara boy.”

David's mural in Santa Barbara Funk Zone, on Helena Street, cross Mason Street.

David’s mural in Santa Barbara Funk Zone, on Helena Street, cross Mason Street.

I had not said a word yet how  his ear might be mistaken for a seashell.  But you have to go to  to delight in David’s other versions of the human face.  You are in for a surprise. Oh, did you notice the foliage for hair, yes, another hint of Santa Barbara’s beautiful parks and gardens.

What David said next fascinated me because I find Santa Barbara full of captivating individuals; “Out of college, I wanted to be a cartoonist and every few years I have the desire to create a new cartoon character.  I’ve tried to develop the character’s life in stories  beyond the image, and I cannot make any progress. This is why I abandoned comic strips and graphic novels.  I would rather imagine a new character with new features.  Shakespeare wrote 36 plays and most of his plays had entirely new characters.  Only a few characters repeat, like Prince Hal and Falstaff.  With each play Shakespeare started anew and introduced new characters to entertain the audience.”

“David, that makes me remember why I became an actress, I wanted to introduce

new characters too, except I never had surfboards for teeth.”

“Who said his teeth were surfboards?”

“Well, aren’t they?  And while we’re associating, isn’t his head the color of the Old Mission?”

David looked at me with raised eyebrows and I knew what was coming next,

“Whatever works for you.”

You haven’t said a word about his nose, “It’s probably something you saw on State street.”


“It is?  What?”

“Vents from a duct of a building I pass often on State Street.”

“Okay, that leaves the sun.  Your sun looks all…pointed. It’s hardly round like the sun, I’m afraid to ask the point of all those points.”

The Sun as a 5 Tetrahedral

The Sun as a 5 Tetrahedral

“I had the desire to see what the character was seeing.  I had recently painted a 5 tetrahedral.  A tetrahedral is a pyramid with a triangles on all sides.  I made a leap and realized I could use the 5 tetrahedral as a Sun.  Traditionally the Sun is a sphere or circle, I thought I would show it as an object with sharp points pushing out its energy towards the Earth.  We avoid direct vision with the Sun because we instinctively feel it can harm our eyes.  The angles show the aggressive dangerous nature of the Sun.”

“So, this guy in the mural has seen the Sun this new way?”

“Right. And he is having an epiphany.  The big teeth make him look goofy

and naive, I think that when I abandon my existing knowledge and have a

naive mindset, I am receptive to new ideas and new ways of seeing the world.”

I lifted my eyebrows like David does when he’s considering possibilities and said,

“David, whatever works for you, but I will always see his teeth as surfboards.”