Saint Thorlak, Patron of Autism; Missionary Thought for the Week of November 19, 2018: Moving Forward By Aimee O’Connell

Originally posted here:

We begin this week with some housekeeping items.

First: The Mission of Saint Thorlak now has a phone line receiving both voice and text messages at +1 (585) 568-7147.

With this comes some important notes:

1- This line RECEIVES MESSAGES ONLY. We maintain strict confidentiality among those who contact us, and at this time, our system does not allow for adequate privacy for us to make voice calls. We are able to reply by SMS text to mobile phones, or to respond to messages using email, but we are not able to respond by voice.

2- This line is for FEEDBACK AND QUESTIONS. We will check messages weekly and respond as we are able, and as we feel is appropriate. We may not necessarily respond to every message. If we do respond, it will be either by email or SMS text.

3- This line is NOT FOR EMERGENCIES OR CRISIS SITUATIONS. We are not able to monitor this line with enough regularity to assist with immediate needs.

As with all new features, there are bound to be glitches here and there, so we thank you for your patience as we establish this phone line as part of our regular offerings. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience created by our policies, but privacy is of great importance to us, and in our current physical location, we cannot yet guarantee the degree of privacy our standards require.


Second: We are pleased to be moving forward with our Annotated Catechism for Autism initiative, and will begin posting in that vein in upcoming weeks.


Third: We are working diligently to upload recorded audio with video slides of the presentation “Autism, Spirituality and the Way of Saint Thorlak,” designed to be a starting point between people and parishes for building better connections with God through the channels of our faith, sacraments and community. This, too, is new territory for our Mission, and with that comes both the joy of innovation and the need for feedback so that we can troubleshoot any areas missing the mark.


Fourth: For those who have asked if anyone makes icons of Saint Thorlak, the answer is –! The link may take a day or two to become active, so check back if it is not yet available… but we have it on trusted word that Thorlak is at last part of their icon catalog.

Good things are coming, and for this we thank all of our fellow travelers, and thank God for the grace to travel this journey together.

We leave you with a reflection written in recognition of the recent visit of the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux and her recently canonized parents, Louis and Zelie, to Iceland in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary Jubilee of the Diocese of Reykjavik. We keep the Diocese and all of Iceland in our daily prayers!

The secret of my success…(ful strategies), or managing adversity well


I am currently undertaking prep for a medical procedure which is unpleasant anyway but because I have done this three seperate times in the past and it hasn’t worked in any of them, the prep is twice as long and very unpleasant indeed. I have spent the past two days feeling very tired and confused and this is interspersed with drinking the prep solution which is a sensory nightmare requiring a large number of strategies to make it possible. Last time I did this which was only a couple of months ago, it impacted on the absorption of my mental health meds and, had I not made an emergency appointment with my psychiatrist who immediately increased my meds, then I would have gone into psychosis which in my experience can last for years and result in major disruption to my life and be very scary. Added to this I have…

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A Precious Gift Can Be Held On

My Joyous Feature

Our life carries a precious gift. A gift that will hold through our hearts. That perfect gift shall be given to our honest selves. Its can be more than simply a precious keepsake. Letting that truly meaningful about life taking over.

Life in our open arms can cherish these gifts. The gift that can cherish that pure mind along the direction. Balancing the things within our everyday lives. We shall hold on to these precious gifts as long as possible. Taking it whenever we go.

There’s that wonders of life that put that bonding, trust within our precious gifts. Like there’s everything throughout that joyous life. Bringing our hearts and judgments at that certain point of view. It will be seen more like that bond of faith. A trust that will cherish these gifts all the way.

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I’m Not Flying Solo


It may look as if I’m flying solo
but I’m remembering
to lean
into the wind
find comfort

in the safety of the clouds
and soar
into the shadow light of the sky


©From the Collaboration, Of Earth and Sky, by Alexis Rose, and photographer, Shelley Bauer

Thank you for reading my books:  If I Could Tell You How It Feels,  and  Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.

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Mantras Can Take On Some Common Lifestyle

My Joyous Feature

Life can be filled with mantras. Mantras can be that powerful message that will be kept to yourself. Putting that mindful feeling against all odds. Let that true passion of life shine into that mantra moment. That mantra life can let those true happiness shine through.

At a simpler life everyone has their very own mantra. Every mantra can be either the same or different. Taking the knowledge into good work. Feeling like that using mantra can be the greatest thing of all time. It’s like getting hold of so many things that’s related to mantra into a peaceful state.

There’s that time management for mantra. Leading up into that comfortable feeling of life. Mantra can cherish the soul. That soul for mantra shall live along. It’s more like balancing the human actions of using a mantra.

A genuine person shall get hold of that mantra moment straight ahead. Believing…

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A Mindful Empowerment

My Joyous Feature

A mindful empowerment can cherish something that’s a lot more meaningful.

Moments can open up that empowerment into that soothing feeling.

Incredibly a mindful moment can be tagged along with empowerment.

Noticing that pure feeling through mindfulness.

Defying that true meaning of that mindful empowerment.

Figuring out more about that mindful empowerment.

Unique and more like a caring position.

Livethrough the importance of mindfulness and empowerment.

Empowerment shall lead up with mindfulness.

Making that soothing moment rise forward.

Power will open that mindful empowerment into it’s much better trust.

Open that genuine mind forward.

Willing to carry it against all odds.

Entering the world that can be filled with an open mind.

Respect that mindful trust.

Making so many things that’s related to that mindful empowerment against a much powerful tone.

Empowerment can…

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Mission of Saint Thorlak, Patron Saint of Autism; An Ode to Our Invisible Friends by Aimee O’ Connell

Originally posted here:

A request has recently come to the Mission of Saint Thorlak for a prayer suitable for children. What a beautiful thought, and yes, certainly, something that is much needed.

We are very pleased to introduce A Child’s Prayer to Saint Thorlak, which is written in simple verse and evocative of the special relationship we Catholics feel with the holy departed. Despite the title of the prayer, Catholics do not pray TO the saints in the sense that we hold them up as idols or lowercase-gods. We do not believe saints have any more power than we do because the saints are people, just like we are. Nobody goes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). However, as we ask our tangible friends to pray for us, we too ask the departed souls – whom we believe live on intangibly after bodily death – to pray for us. Saints are those whom the Church has carefully scrutinized and determined to be examples of virtue worth looking up to, and whom we believe to be in the company of God in eternity.

“A Child’s Prayer to Saint Thorlak”

Hello Dear Friend, I know you’re there, though just beyond my sight. I feel the warmth of you in prayer, and smile with delight. You know my heart when I can’t speak, though many times I’ve tried. You wait and watch, and gently seek, till I no longer hide. Please guard my dreams by night and day, and light the way to reach them. When friends think I don’t want to play, please whisper how to teach them. I’m stronger when I know you see the best in all I do. Please help me grow, and learn to be, a holy Saint like you!

“A Child’s Prayer to Saint Thorlak” reads like a conversation with an invisible friend, and how very appropriate for those of us on the autism spectrum. Many autistic children enjoy friendships in their imaginations to much great benefit. An imaginary friendship is non-threatening and proceeds at the pace of the child’s comfort. It can be just as helpful in developing social skills as tangible friendships, so long as the child eventually seeks to apply these skills toward actual connections. And, to be perfectly frank, it’s not only children who imagine friendships. Autistic teens and adults do this too, though likely in secret because of the fear of the shaming we would receive if anyone found out we still do this at our age. In its purest form, this sort of fancy is little different than the “imagery” used by athletes to help improve performance between games, or the “envisioning exercises” cultivated by entrepreneurs to hone their business models long before seeing them through to reality. “Imagination” has been reduced in American English to meaning “make-believe,” but in its essence, this word is much more.

Contrast “Imagination”…
“faculty of the mind which forms and manipulates images” mid-14c. late 14c.

… to “Imaginary”

“not real, existing only in fantasy” late 14c,  ymanginaire, imagine+ary; or else from Late Latin imaginari “picture to oneself”. Imaginary Friend (one who does not exist) attested by 1789.  SOURCE:

What a pity, that we can have imagination powering great ideas, but reduce it in an instant with a twist of grammar to something that is not true, and will never exist beyond “fancy.” Yet, how powerfully we know those people we hold in our minds and hearts – in other words, in our imaginations!

Linguistic nuances aside, let us look at the Catholic saints again. These are the saga-heroes of the Christian faith, great women and men and children who lived ordinary lives with extraordinary virtue. Catholics profess at every Mass that we believe in “things visible and invisible,” and “life everlasting.” The saints are more than just static characters from the past; they are alive, invisible, and interceding for us before God.


invisible (adj.) mid-14c., “not perceptible to sight, incapable of being seen,” from Old French invisible (13c.), from Latin invisibilis “unseen, not visible,” from in- “not” (see in- (1))+ visibilis (see visible). SOURCE:
Perhaps that is a better term than “imaginary.” Yes. Invisible. Just out of sight.

Like so many of us: known better by minds and hearts than by eyes.

Just as real, just as needy, just as valuable. Just as hungry to be known for who we are.

Just out of sight.

Pray: Heavenly, Invisible Father: May I remember that You are there, as I am here, in mind and heart. Help me to know those I do not see… and those who do not see me.

Contemplate: “Imaginary friends,” by linguistic definition, cannot be real. “Invisible friends” can be. Who are our own invisible friends? Are we, perhaps, an invisible friend to anyone else?

Relate: How do we keep our “invisible” friends from becoming “imaginary”? How do we keep ourselves from becoming invisible?

Review: Boy Erased

According to the book Neurotribes by Steve Silberman, ABA “therapy” was historically utilized for the same nefarious purpose.

One Movie, Our Views

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name, which documented his experience of being sent to a program meant to “fix him” for being gay, Boy Erased is an emotional and at times harrowing drama about the horrors of conversion therapy that provides a powerful showcase for Lucas Hedges.

The film focuses on Jared Eamons (Hedges), a young gay man who feels forced to stay in the closet due to the religious beliefs of his family, but gets outed at college after becoming the victim of a serious sexual assault, and is sent by his Baptist preacher father Marshall (Russell Crowe) to a gay conversion camp run by the “ex-gay” councillor Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton).

The program blames being gay on problems in the family, and the participants are subjected to invasive psychological exams and different therapy methods built around a system…

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Fearless Butterfly


Across the decades
she lived fearlessly
with silent

She trusted that the dry
strong muscles
of her wings
would keep her safe
as long as
she looked over her shoulder

Until the day
she decided
that the words
Fearless Butterfly
was a title of strength

A badge to print over
her heart
A re-frame for
peace of mind, body, soul

The Willow provided
a feathered nest of safety
to breathe
A landing pad for practice flights

And on those cold and windy days
when the sky is grey
and the Willow settles
under winter’s embrace

The butterfly
quietly grows

©Alexis Rose, Photo by Luca Huter on Unsplash

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

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Why I will wear alternative symbols for Remembrance Day

image.jpegCaption and photo:  Remembrance and White Poppies.  An artificial poppy pin with a green centre that says Peace.

I love flower symbols, and I feel that they are a beautiful way to remember all the people and animals who have lost their lives in conflict.  Many of the injuries are invisible, as people aquire brain injuries and PTSD.

I fully support the people who, with good intentions, join military forces in which they believe will promote peace.  However, while I do want the people who have military type jobs to be safe and healthy, I do not support these agencies.

I will wear a red poppy in support of the deceased, and veterans who live with disabilities as a result of their dangerous former work.  I will wear a white poppy to support pacifism and and end to war.  I will wear a purple poppy or paw print in memory of the animals who were, and still are, used by military and police forces.  The purple poppy and paw also symbolizes the mutually beneficial symbiosis between retired veterans with disabilities and their support animals in peaceful times.