Michael Dougherty

Making our way out of a maze

Goat paths laced the hillside. My son and I picked our way carefully among the scrubby thorn bushes, broken terrain and low trees a month ago. By tacking along the trails we made it into the heart of a ruin.

Climbing our own spiritual pyramid

Though topped by the tiled domes and twin towers of burnt orange coloured 16th-century church, the hill does not seem extraordinary from a distance.

Who suffers, who dies

The Ex-Convento of Santa Maria de Churubusco now sits completely surrounded by low lying residential neighbourhoods on the edge of Coyoacan, a district on the south side of Mexico City.

smoke and mirrors

The jacaranda trees with their wide canopies filled with purple flowers clearly announced the fact that spring had arrived in the Colonia San Rafael the week before last.

how do we stop the shaking

A minor earthquake hit Mexico City in the summer of 1968. I remember it quite clearly. Shaken awake I drowsily thought someone was playing a prank until I saw the whole room swaying.

bottlenecks and breakthroughs

Teotihucan clearly has to have been one of the most impressive cities of pre-Colombian America ever. You cannot walk down the broad Paseo de Los Muertos, the Promenade of the Dead, without experiencing a real sense of awe.

spring break and lent needed

St. Louis University sits on Lindell Boulevard just about a five-minute drive west of the downtown core of St. Louis, Missouri, and its iconic Gateway Arch overlooking the Mississippi River.

pretty ladies and power filled women

The oldest human artifact I have ever held dated from about 3,000 BCE. The small reddish ceramic piece fit easily in the palm of my hand. It came from an area on the southern coast of Ecuador in South America.

Countering a cold blast of wind from the devil

Blank two-storey, wood-frame row houses line the main street through Lota, Chile. The stark functionality of worker's housing in this former company town can't be escaped.

an opportune time a kairos moment

A few days ago, while walking north along Second Avenue into a frigid, northerly February gale, my mind turned to an opportunity I once had.

If you can be poor, you will always be rich.

It really doesn't take all that much to make kids happy. A lot of stories about memorable shinny hockey games have been circulating this past week as Hockey Day in Canada reaches its climax in Whitehorse this Saturday.

oranges and apples wealth and poverty

Today, like everyday, a woman will carry a box of oranges, apples or maybe bananas to a street corner in Comas, a working class suburb of Lima, Peru.

Elevate those who are humble

Hundreds of people filled the traditional colonial town square of San Andres Larrainzar in the pine-clad highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Though well after 10 p.m.

True stability doesn’t come from the barrel of a gun

The sight of Jean-Claude Duvalier returning to Haiti after a quarter century of exile in France recalled an earlier era when dictators blatantly ruled with impunity.

the story doesnt end

St. Louis, Missouri, sits just south of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Those great rivers, and the fertile bottom lands their floodwaters nurtured, have drawn people to this location for millennia.

visible language knowledge to wisdom

Developing a coherent system of symbols allowed a writer to convey ideas to a reader across space and time. Humans only came to the revolutionary invention of writing some 5,000 years ago almost simultaneously in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

that glorious song of old

We know that the early church leaders responsible for setting up the liturgical calendar in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries didn't get the day or even the year right.

all called to be human rights defenders

Colectivos, usually modified vintage vans, run routes to rural Mexican communities too small to support a 'chicken' bus, those often caricatured ancient recycled school buses where passengers ride to market towns straddling sacks of corn next to a seatmat

all barriers are permeable

The plain, brown envelope with only my name on it contained a careful selection of documents. Those papers anonymously stuffed into my mailbox held confidential information from the Prince Albert Co-op.

Quantity or quality of life, which is it?

In Ebensburg, a small town in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, a small museum holds a couple of artifacts that once belonged to my great-great grandfather.