Pioneer magazine

mag 250x150Now in its sixty-ninth year, Pioneer magazine is a favorite in many families. With articles on Spirituality, personalities, short stories, a crossword and games, there is something to appeal to everyone. Below find some of the recent articles and some of the highlights from the past.

Making Choices, Taking Risks

aprilcover2014And I don't need perfection to have a perfect day’. Shane Filan's lyrics end with, ‘I just want to see a smile on your face’, and, it is fair to say, that heavy demands can wipe a smile off your face. Facing life choices can be tough going and it is best to begin with a wide horizon rather than narrowing your vision to just one option.

A Spring in Your Step

march2014coverSpring is a season for change. Leaves are changing bare branches into green. Birds are awake at dawn, singing their hearts out. The brown earth is alive with waves of green. Spring is a time of change for Christians as well, who recall that Lent is an invitation to grow at the inner level of soul. Christians all over the world hear this old, familiar call: change and believe the good news! It has echoed down the years to the twenty-first century.

Don’t Go There

februarycover2014SARAH MacDONALD speaks to Martin Jim McFadden who found sobriety after many years battling alcohol addiction. With the wisdom of hindsight, he sums up his life as an alcoholic in the title of his book, Don’t Go There.

Do you believe in God?

Januarycover2014This question is, in one sense, a very dry one. It’s like asking, do you believe that there is a place called Hawaii? – when you, like me, may not have been there. It is a skeleton-like one – with little emotion in it. It is far richer, when it is put this way. Do you believe in a God, who is all loving, all good, all-powerful, and all wise? If the answer is ‘yes’, then it is made, and has to be, in humility and in a spirit of adoration. A negative answer is the shutting out of a vast amount – the whole spiritual world.

A soldier’s Kiss

december2013coverA man badly wounded in the firing-line, Sir.’ Fr Doyle opened his eyes slowly. He had been dreaming of somewhere hot. One always dreamed of lovely hot places and things on these cold winter nights in the trenches – warm blankets, roaring fires and lots of steaming, hot food.


november2013coverOne of a collection of the Stories of FR WILLIE DOYLE, SJ, the saintly Irish Jesuit and military chaplain and once a member of the Central Council of the PTAA, who was killed while ministering to the soldiers in August 1917 during World War 1.

During the Mission I heard, accidentally, of two men who had been away from the sacraments for forty and fifty-two years respectively. One was a hopeless case, the other in desperation, upon whom missioner after missioner had tried his hand in vain. Clearly, no ordinary course of action would do here; so Our Lord, having, as I said, accidentally made known these poor souls known to me, put a thought into my head. 

A Daughter of Abraham Par Excellence: EDITH STEIN

october2013coverSR THÉRÈSE MARIE FROST recounts the life of Sr Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, better known as St Edith Stein, the brilliant Jewess who perished in Auschwitz and is now one of the heavenly Patrons of Europe

Edith was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) on 12 October 1891. She was the youngest child of Auguste and Siegfried Stein. The family were Jewish and Edith was always special to her mother because she was born on the Day of Atonement, the most solemn of Jewish Holy Days. Edith’s father ran a lumber business but, sadly, he died before she was two. After his death, her mother took on the business and made a great success of it.


septcover2013There is a widespread opinion among sociologists that at least 60 per cent of the population of any country regard whatever is legal as moral. It would seem that many people think that if you will not be summonsed, fined or sent to jail for something, then it is all right. This is true even in highly educated populations. Surely, France comes into this category. The precision of its language was forged in the philosophical debates of its great medieval institutions of learning, particularly the University of Paris. There, high academic standards and concern for philosophical accuracy in the areas of law, medicine, theology, etc. have been attracting students from all over the world ever since. Presumably, that high level of education still exists in the country.

Who are the Pioneers for?

july-august2013coverThe Israelites made a mistake that we all make. They underestimated the full implications of their vocation. They were convinced, and rightly so, that they were the Chosen People of God. Most of them, however, seem to have had precious little understanding about what this entailed. Over the centuries, different prophets, especially Isaiah, tried to convince them that their divine vocation was not simply to cling tenaciously to the strip of land given them on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and to keep themselves apart from the other peoples on the face of the earth. Their calling was nothing less than to bring the message of salvation to all these nations. Only gradually did it emerge how this was to come about. Isaiah anticipated it several hundred years before the Israelites actually gave us the Messiah. ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the nations, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth’. (Isaiah 49:6.)

Snatched from the Brink

june2013coverA telegram for you, Father”, said the Sister, laying the envelope on the table. Father Doyle looked up from his writing with a smile. “Thank you, Sister,” he said. “I was expecting one.” 

Having finished the letter he was writing, Fr Doyle opened the telegram placed by his side. As he read it, a slightly puzzled look passed across his face. He thought for a moment, and picking up a railway guide, studied it. Then he crossed to the electric bell and pressed the button. 

“Sister,” he said when the she appeared, “I wonder could I see reverend Mother for a moment.”

“Certainly, Father,” I’ll get her at once.” 


may2013coverSARAH MAC DONALD attended a conference in Dublin recently where Dr Robert Enright spoke on the theme of forgiveness. Here’s what the American Professor had to say on the subject.

Dr Robert Enright is a pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness. A psychologist and professor of educational psychology at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, in 1994 he helped found the International Forgiveness Institute. This not-for-profit organisation is dedicated to disseminating information on the effectiveness of forgiveness for personal healing as well as spiritual and community renewal. An author and much sought after lecturer, his ‘process model of forgiving’ is a twenty-step intervention which has helped people all over the world learn forgiveness and cope with the wounds inflicted on them. 

The Holy Spirit Alive in the Church

april2013The Church will soon celebrate one of the most important days on the liturgical calendar, the feast of Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit. There are three great symbols classically associated with the third Person of the Trinity, namely, water, fire, and wind; and each of these has a negative connotation, for the Holy Spirit is dangerous.

SAINT KATERI : Lily of the Mohawks


Kateri Tekakwitha was known as Lily of the Mohawks and had a short life during which she experienced great resistance to her embracing Catholicism, yet she persisted in her love for Jesus. Kateri was born at Ossernenon, which was a village near present-day New York in 1656. She was the daughter of a non-Christian Mohawk chieftain. Her mother came from an Algonquin tribe and had been reared as Catholic. At that time, the various tribes were frequently at war with each other. During one of these battles, Kateri’s mother had been taken hostage and brought to where her father lived. Apparently her mother was very beautiful, so Kateri’s father chose her as his wife. 

Catholic Christian Faith

febcover2013People who have faith today know that they are frequently brushing up against others who don’t believe – this is most markedly true in cities. This can bring home to them that belief is a gift from God, and that they have been chosen by him. It may also lead them to evaluate its importance. But those who are wavering may wonder if they are carrying a burden, while others are freer! However, with calmer awareness the view can be arrived at that there is nothing in life as enriching as faith. As far as appearance goes in ordinary living there is little difference between those who believe and those who do not. Still, their behaviour at times may vary.

The Heart of the Pioneers and the Heart of Jesus

january2013coverAs the grace-filled Eucharistic Congress in the royal Dublin Society entered its final three days, on Friday 15 June – the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Professor Timothy T O’Donnell, President of Christendom College, Virginia, gave an inspiring talk on the theme, ‘Eucharist and Devotion to the Sacred Heart’ to a packed workshop at the Royal Dublin Society.

A Musing Advent

2012decembercover“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so,” declared Shakespeare through the mouth of Hamlet. Not only was he writing as a dramatist, he was speaking as a prophet, at least if some recent research is reliable. A study from Brunel University, West London, found that people are less likely to consider something dishonest if they have done it themselves. An online test of some 15,000 volunteers indicated that attitudes to honesty are so divergent that legal standards for right and wrong need revision. People’s views on what dishonest behaviour is are so varied there’s concern that – in good Shakespearean fashion – jurors’ ‘thinking’ might make something good bad, or something bad good and adversely affect the outcome of criminal trials.