Beatitudes Sister appointed to interfaith post

Roxanne King

In April, Sister Magdalit Bolduc, C.B., was named the Denver Archdiocese’s liaison for Jewish-Catholic relations.

In the decree appointing her, Archbishop Samuel Aquila said she has the “necessary qualities, prudence and expertise to help carry forth this important task.”

“I am grateful,” Sister Bolduc, 50, said about her new role. “It will provide the opportunity to … encounter the Jewish community of Colorado and to share Church teaching concerning the Jewish people.”

A native of Montreal, Canada, Sister Bolduc is a 27-year member of the Community of the Beatitudes, which among its key ministries educates on the Jewish roots of Christianity.

She teaches a class on Judaism called “The Hebrew Experience” at area churches, including her home parish, St. Catherine of Siena. She served 12 years in Jerusalem as a guide and has led pilgrimages to the Holy Land for more than 20 years. She is there now with a group of 46 pilgrims.

In 2005, Sister Bolduc received the Micah Award from Denver’s Jewish community for a multi-media presentation on Jewish-Catholic relations called “A Man Had Two Sons.”

She has a bachelor’s degree in art from Ottawa University in Ontario, a diploma in spiritual theology from the Teresianum Pontifical Institute in Rome and she is a graduate of the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Montreal. The daughter of a diplomat, early on she acquired an appreciation for different cultures, languages and religions.

She lived 10 years in France, where she served as spiritual director at a retreat center and as formation director for religious sisters of her community. She speaks French, English and Hebrew.

Sister Bolduc described her new position as the answer to a “deep calling” from God, who started her love for her current ministry when her community sent her to Jerusalem.

“(There) I experienced the richness of sharing the beauty of faith with the Jews,” she said. “This prepared my heart to an interfaith ministry with the Jewish people.”

The Second Vatican Council’s call in “Nostra Aetate” to live in renewed relationship with our elder brothers in faith began a slow healing of centuries of hurt and misunderstanding between Jews and Catholics that has led today to what Sister Bolduc calls a hope-filled “springtime” in the relationship.

“Trust is growing,” she said.

Her new role has opened a door in her own relationship with Jews and Catholics.

“I have talked so much to Catholics about the Jews,” she said, “that it’s time I talk to Jews about Catholics.”






COMING UP: Why 42 had to be impeached twenty years ago

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Twenty years ago this month, I found myself seriously double-booked, so to speak.

The editing of the first volume of my John Paul II biography, Witness to Hope, was entering the ninth inning, and I was furiously engaged in exchanging edited and re-edited copy with my editors in New York. At the same time, the Clinton impeachment drama was cresting. And as I had long done speechwriting for Congressman Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I spent week after week of split time, working on John Paul II from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., then switching to impeachment for a couple of hours before returning to Witness to Hope in the evening.

It was not the optimal way to work but it had to be done, even if it seemed likely that the president would be acquitted in a Senate trial. On December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives voted two articles of impeachment and senior House members, including Mr. Hyde, solemnly walked the two articles across the Capitol and presented them to the Senate’s leaders. On toward midnight, Henry Hyde called me and, referring to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, said, “We’re not going to make it. Trent won’t fight; I saw it in his eyes.” After a long moment I replied that, if we were going to lose, we had a duty to lay down a record with which history would have to reckon.

Which is what the great Henry Hyde did during the January 1999 Senate trial, where he bent every effort to prevent the proceedings from descending into farce.

For Hyde, the impeachment of President Bill Clinton was an unavoidable piece of nasty business. It was not a matter of partisan score-settling, nor was it a matter of punishing a president for gross behavior with an intern in the White House. It was a matter of defending the rule of law. As Henry put it to me when it seemed clear that the president had perjured himself and obstructed justice, “There are over a hundred people in federal prisons for these crimes. How can the chief law enforcement officer of the United States be guilty of them and stay in office?”

Impeachment is a political process and it was clear by mid-fall of 1998 that the politics were not breaking toward removing the president from office. They had been pointed that way over the summer, though. And as the pressures built, it seemed as if the Clinton presidency might end as Richard Nixon’s had: Party elders, in this case Democrats, would go to the White House, explain that it was over, and ask the president to resign for the sake of the country. Then around Labor Day that year, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and other columnists began suggesting that, if Clinton were impeached and convicted, the sexual revolution would be over, the yahoos of reaction would have won, and we’d be back to something resembling Salem, Massachusetts, during the witchcraft insanity.

That was preposterous. It was also effective. And within days, at least in Washington, you could fill the templates shifting: This wasn’t about the rule of law, it was about sex and the yahoos couldn’t be allowed to win. (That Henry Hyde was the leader of the pro-life forces in Congress neatly fit this storyline, of course, abortion being a major plank in the platform of the sexual revolution.)

So once the game was redefined — Are you for or against the puritanical yahoos? — there was little chance to wrench the political process back to what it was really about: the rule of law. In his opening speech during the president’s trial, Henry Hyde tried valiantly to refocus the argument, insisting that high office did not absolve a man from obeying his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States and his oath swearing to tell the truth to a federal grand jury. To suggest that it did was to “break the covenant of trust” between president and people, dissolving “the mortar that binds the foundation stones of our freedom into a secure and solid edifice.”

It wasn’t a winning argument. But it was the right argument. And on this 20th anniversary, the nation should remember with gratitude those like Henry Hyde who, under fierce assault, stood for the rule of law.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore | Flickr