Reflective Moments with Angela

By Sister Michele Morek

Saint Angela is famous for founding her “Third Way” – not traditional religious, not exactly lay. I have always liked exploring “in between” places, the cracks, the Twilight Zone. I taught some fun courses at Brescia University – Marine Biology, Genetics, Embryology. But one of my favorite courses surprised me – and it surprised the students who took it.

You know what you are going to get when you sign up for Anatomy: you get something embalmed to dissect! But pre-med students were also required to take a mysterious course called Histology. “The microscopic study of tissues?” That doesn’t sound very sexy. Tissues are so “in between” – more than a cell, less than an organ. Who thinks about tissues?

But I loved it precisely for its “in between” nature. As the meeting ground between anatomy and physiology – between structure and function – it explains how things work. The meeting place between the muscle cell and the whole biceps. It was fun to see the students being charmed beyond their expectations; I heard one of them saying “this is like visiting a city where you have never been, but you recognize all the places in it!” They all said that they finally really understood both anatomy and physiology by exploring the meeting ground between the two.

There are two Spanish words for the verb “to know:” Saber is to know a fact, and conocer is the word you use when you “know” a person or a city. (It’s more like being “acquainted with” – since you can’t ever completely know a person or a city!) How you learn a city is by exploring the “cracks” – following the narrow streets, talking to the sidewalk vendors, taking city buses, stopping in little-known museums, visiting new neighborhoods.

Image by Kei Rothblack.

In my spiritual life, I have used spiritual direction and resources like the Enneagram to follow the shadowy lanes inside myself, observing the “cracks” and in between places.

For example, I was amazed at what I learned about myself and Mystery by journaling and by analyzing my dreams. In a Progoff Journaling Workshop I learned a technique that combined both – it’s called “Twilight Imagery.” It takes you into a “twilight zone” like dreaming, where you can reflect on the reality of things. It’s a way to explore the intersections – the “cracks” between mind and spirit, past and present.

Growing up in the Southwest, I loved standing on top of the highest point available, like a mesa. And part of the pleasure was finding the best way up to the top! You always look for the “cracks” – the broken places and grooves and waterways that make an easier climb.

I think Angela, the Pilgrim, would agree that a way to Mystery is becoming comfortable following those narrow trails and shadowy clefts that connect earth and heaven, the broken places that form the meeting ground between God and ourselves. And she would like what Leonard Cohen said – “the cracks are what let the light in …”




  1. Carol O'Keefe

    Thank you Sister Michele for sharing your insight. I absolutely loved this article. It helped me understand what I have been doing for so many years. I never knew how to describe or what to call those places I have so often visited throughout my life. They are simply shadows and cracks in my “twilight zone.”

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