Gift of Peace

ISBN-10: 0385494343

ISBN-13: 9780385494342

Edition: N/A

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Joseph Cardinal Bernardin's gentle leadership throughout his life of ministerial service had made him an internationally beloved figure, but the words he left behind about his final journey would change the lives of many more people from all faiths, from all backgrounds, and from all over the world. In the last two months of his life, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin made it his ultimate mission to share his personal reflections and insights as a legacy to those he left behind.  The Gift of Peace reveals the Cardinal's spiritual growth amid a string of traumatic events: a false accusation of sexual abuse; reconciliation a year later with his accuser, who had earlier recanted the charges; a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and surgery; the return of cancer, now in his liver; his decision to discontinue chemotherapy and live his remaining days as fully as possible.  In these pages, Bernardin tells his story openly and honestly, and shares the profound peace he came to at the end of his life.  He accepted his peace as a gift from God, and he in turn now shares that gift with the world.  
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Book details

List price: $15.00
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/10/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 176
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

Joseph Bernardin was born on April 2, 1928, to Joseph and Maria Bernardin, who had immigrated to South Carolina from Italy in 1927. Four years later, while Maria was pregnant with their daughter Elaine, the elder Joseph Bernardin died. Young Joseph began his life of duty caring for his mother and his younger sister. In the early 1950s, Bernardin entered the seminary to study for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1952 and served as an Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta (1966-1968), general secretary of the U.S. Bishops' conference in Washington, D.C. (1968-1972), Archbishop of Cincinnati (1972-1982), president of the Bishops' conference (1974-1977). He was installed as seventh Archbishop of Chicago on August 25, 1982 and quietly revitalized what had become a dispirited Catholic diocese. He became a cardinal in 1983. In 1993 a young man who claimed "recovered memory" filed sexual abuse charges, which proved to be false, against Bernardin. Bernardin met these charges calmly and with dignity. The young man, who was dying of AIDS, recanted the charge and the Cardinal traveled to celebrate Mass for him and to extend his complete forgiveness. Those who witnessed the event described it as spiritually electrifying. Just days before his death from pancreatic cancer on November 14, 1996, the Cardinal completed a book, The Gift of Peace.

Personal Letter to the Reader
Letting Go
False Accusation
Meditation: Emptying Oneself
Facing False Charges
Sharing the Truth with the World
The Case Unravels
Meeting My Accuser: Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Meditation: Suffering in Communion with the Lord
New life
Diagnosis: Cancer
An Aside: My Father
Sharing the News with My "Family"
An Aside: My Mother
My Cancer Ministry Begins
A Priest First, a Patient Second
Meditation: "As Those Who Serve"
Heeding God's Call: The Priesthood
"Unofficial Chaplain" to Cancer Patients
A Special Community
Practicing What i Preach
An Aside: The Importance of Prayer
A Priest First, and a Patient Second
Further Challenges
"A Sign of Hope": My Pastoral Letter on Healthcare
Letters from Fellow Cancer Patients
Befriending Death
Meditation: "Come to Me All You Who Are Weary and Find Life Burdensome"
A Visit from an Old Friend
The Cancer Returns
Dying Publicly
My Ministry Continues
Meeting with the Holy Father
Letting Go of the Future
Praying with the Presbyterate
Letting Go of My Ministry
The Cross Comes into Clear View
The Gift of Peace
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