The Indiana List

A long time ago, many of us were communicating on the Indiana List.  It was hosted by Fr. Mark Gilstrap (memory eternal) who is buried at Holy Apostles where George and I go to Church.  Imagine how surprised I was to find he was buried there.  I spent a lot of time on that list and he was more than patient with me and everybody else.     

The list had something like 1400 people who commented there over the years.  There was one woman named “Mary” who was Catholic.  I affectionately called her, “Mary, Mary quite contrary,” because we had a long standing discussion about Orthodoxy vs. Catholicism.   And I’m talking long term.  It was over the course of years and this was 20 years ago.   

When  people tell you relationships aren’t formed this way, or it’s a waste of time talking to/about Catholics, they’re wrong.  I emailed Mary not too long ago and she gave me her phone number.  The first thing she said to me was, “Gail, I became Orthodox!”  She is an Orthodox nun.  God is always at work even when we don’t know it.      

When Facebook was brand new, Fr. Mark came up with an idea on how way we could get to know each other better.  He suggested we all get on Facebook to see each other’s faces.  Many did and it was fun to see everyone in real life, so to speak. 

In that vein, I found some pictures you might like to see.   The first one is of my son, Andrew Chase.  Even though his first name was Andrew after my father, we called him Chase.  This was over the objections of my mother who said, “How can you name your child a verb?” 

 

This is my favorite picture of George.

This is my daughter, Jessica, an essential worker, in her “hazmat” outfit.  We call this picture “Pandemic Barbie.”  Could she be any more pink?  She lives in Southern CA and they had no masks, no toilet paper, no gloves (although she got some temporary ones from a popcorn vendor who took pity on her), and no disinfectant.  So George sent her a care package.  The facemask was made by a patient who visited his pharmacy.  That it matched her jacket was a bonus.  

The following are my favorites.  Because George and I got married at Saint Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas, we didn’t have a lot of friends there.  Some made the trip, but it was a 4 hour drive.  So my oldest friend growing up in Tucson (who interestingly is now a judge) gave us a lovely wedding reception at her home with all my friends.

She announced we were married just to make it “official.”  This is my daughter, Jessica, without her hazmat suit.  

I pull this one out every now and again to remind George how happy we are!

If any of you want to send me some pictures of you and your family, I’ll be happy to post them!  gail.sheppard@usa.net

Hope you all had a blessed Feast of the Nativity with family and friends.  Christ is born! 

Hope we all remain friends in the coming year.  One thing is for sure:  we’ll have a lot to talk about.

Comments

  1. I used to be on the Indiana List and remember a Mary Lanser on there who was Catholic, but converted to Orthodoxy a few years ago. She used to debate for Catholicism all the time on the list. She was actually on almost every forum that dealt with Orthodoxy or the RCC. I think she was banned from some of them. Lol I wonder if that is the same Mary as “Mary quite contrary”.

    • It is, indeed, that Mary. Our “Mary, Mary quite contrary” is now Orthodox! – Some people ask, “Why do you allow people to talk about this stuff on the blog?” Because it is my hope we’ll change their mind.

  2. Gail, I’ve been following Monomakhos for many, many years and while I don’t comment often, you and George have become like friends to me. We moved to TX 4 years ago, so now we may even be close enough to sit for a coffee one day! Thank you for sharing a more intimate side of your lives. May the peace of the Lord shine on you this new year! Merry Christmas! Christ is born!

  3. What a beautiful and heartwarming post. What a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing love.

  4. Happy and Blessed Christmas to you dear Gail, George, Jessica and all our Monomachos Family.
    Thank you for posting these photos and storyline, they are wonderful to read and view.
    Both our Andrew’s are in Heaven. May their Memories be Eternal 💙🙏

    Happy New Year 2024🍃Χρόνια Πολλά 🍃Many Years to all Monomachos Family.

  5. MomofToddler says

    Thank you for sharing, Gail!

    Interesting how many connections we now have (the Orthodox Church were I was baptized and also association with Fr. Mark Gilstrap (or his family at least), but I hardly knew you then (I was too shy and new then, not your fault!) and haven’t seen you in 11 years!

    Christ is Born!

  6. Wow, I haven’t thought about Mary Lanser in years! We had many a heated discussion on the Indiana list years ago. I am pleased beyond measure that she became Orthodox.

    • I felt that way, too. In the end she felt she had more in common with us than with Catholicism. (The following doesn’t pertain to anything you said Alexander.)

      ***

      For those who don’t know her, we (strangers) could see she was “Orthodox,” when she could not. God works in the heart of these people just like he did with Photini at the well, a Samaritan, and the Gentiles. A core mission in the Church is to evangelize and we do it one person at a time.

      What someone was before they came into the Church doesn’t matter. No where does the Church teach that Catholics aren’t worthy of our patience and our time. When they come into the Church, it’s a victory. To write anyone off would be a grave error because then you’ll have to explain to Christ why you decided they weren’t worthy of saving but you are.

      The only ones we are to “write off” are the ones who don’t receive us.

      Vigano has not turned his back on us. He embraces our values.

      In terms of being a Catholic, he may have one foot out the door. I can see where he might want to remain a Cardinal until Francis is gone and bring as many who will follow him into the Orthodox Church. He is not an apologist for the things that make us different. He is an apologist for the things that make us the same.

      His love of God and country, alone, would qualify him to be on this blog. He wrote some powerful letters to Trump.

      Francis submitted his resignation. (When it goes into effect no one knows.) They will not be burying him at the Vatican which makes it clear he is not a legitimate pope. He has selected a place by a train station of all places. I believe Bartholomew has recently visited this Church. Maybe they’ll both be buried there. Their influence over the people in their respective Churches is fading.

      The angst, fear, or hatred people have against Catholics is concerning because it’s separating them from the Orthodox Church; the gateway to salvation. Who would want to damn a population to hell? To judge someone; let alone find him unworthy, is a sin in my book.

      How are you going to explain to Christ why you are advocating we don’t waste our time trying to save people who were also created in the image of God? He might wonder it you skipped the part in the Bible about the Samaritans and Gentiles. A man who despises any group and finds them unworthy is not bringing that man closer to God. You are to be His servant; not harbor ideas outside His teaching. It takes a lot of energy to feel animosity toward a people. Thoughts can become idols, too, when they separate us from God.

      Stick with what the Church teaches. Nowhere does it say that a RC cannot come into the Church so your thinking in that regard is flawed. In practice, no bishop has denied entry to someone who was Catholic. Wrong thinking can be corrected.

      Christ came into the world for sinners. Your sins and my sins are just as repugnant to Him as the sins (errors) of the Catholics. We are no better because we are Orthodox. In the Church, we have the possibility of salvation through His grace. It would be a mistake to think that because we’re Orthodox, we are superior to others, especially to those whom we refuse to help come into the Church. Part of being Orthodox is evangelizing. We open up this blog to the non-Orthodox so we can be a witness. This is extremely important to us.

      I wasn’t the only one who talked to “Mary, Mary quite contrary” for decades. We could have no more ignore her than Christ could have ignored the Samaritan woman. He was not “putting lipstick on a pig.”

      To snub a group of people you find lacking is choosing a path you created over the path God chose for you. We are in a position to strengthen and lead those who show an interest in Orthodoxy into the Church. Becoming Orthodox was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It would have been impossible for me to make that journey if people in the Church had judged me and found me lacking.

      Getting back to “Mary,” it was a great honor that she connected me with her transition into the Church. I was by no means the only one but I was present enough to be counted among those who fought with her and for her. She is a lovely, intelligent, passionate person and is going to be an incredible asset to the Church in this life and in the next.

      • Very well said, my dear. As far as Vigano is concerned, he is a true pastor. And all those Catholics who are properly scandalized are our brothers as well. If anything, the people we should shun (forgive me, Lord) are those within the Church who are actively undermining it. To them, we should turn a cold shoulder, “dialogue” with Fordhamites and other Orthodox liberals is fruitless.

        • “And whoever shall not receive you or hear your words, shake off the dust of your feet when you depart from that house, or that city.” Matthew 10:14