Demon possession and its antidote


A condo on Bathurst Street, the former  site of St.Peter’s Catholic elementary school.

Sunday’s gospel reading was about healing.
Demons appear inside people. And right at the start of the earliest gospel, Mark. This is a great insight. And it occurs right off the bat in our Holy Story.

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.

The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Exorcism. What to make of such a strange worldview?
Certainly people living under such hardship and occupation by Rome and a corrupt temple leadership had internalized deep fear. Many were “possessed’ and in need of healing.
Yes, possession still occurs when people internalize the superficial values of a culture, the unrealistic expectations,the dreams of shallow success and excess just around the corner for you.Those values are near epidemic in our consumer culture. One needs a deeper grounding to avoid “possession.”

How does one escape these demons?
First of all, there have always been “exorcists’ in our community, beautiful people whose elan vital, compassionate care and sheer joy of living have kept demons way on the periphery.These largely heroic yet unacknowledged shamans exist in every society.Many have been in the “healing” professions, social workers, teachers. therapists, health care people,youth workers, the church etc. They are not famous.They have been taken for granted by and large.But without them, society would disintegrate still further.
So on Sunday in my boyhood parish I prayed in gratitude for the presence in my life of two people who “worked” in a ramshackle downtown Catholic school, St.Peter’s just south of the church. Their names are Mary Sheehan and Sr.Mary of the Cross. I say “are” because they are still “with” me and hundreds of others.

Where these great women wove their healing magic now stands a very pricey condo. But people should know that there were such anonymous saints among us.They turned bricks and mortar into holy ground.These humble women would be the first to deny any great hymns of praise. They were just living out their faith.
The divine presence is still with us. Sacred ambassadors still walk humbly among us as a conduit to the holy.

We either advance or retard redemption in our daily lives.



  1. 2
    mushafta Says:

    The bashed by Rome “nuns” are one of the greatest stories of the Catholic church. Let’s hope Francis redeems them from his predecessors! Some highly educated and socially informed sisters out there! Beware you prelates laid hands on by JP2 and Benedict!

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