Catholic Diocese Tucson

8 CATHOLIC OUTLOOK SEPTEMBER 2019 By MICHAEL BROWN Managing Editor If you are blind or have a visual impairment, there are many resources available through groups like the Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired (SAAVI). However, suppose you live in a place like Coolidge, population 12,698, and want to feed your Catholic faith? The Xavier Society for the Blind (XSB), a New York-based Catholic non-profit, has been providing resources to the blind and visually impaired for 119 years. Ines Chisholm, 71, moved from New York City to Phoenix in 1990, teaching at Arizona State University’s College of Education. She retired after 10 years and moved to Coolidge, working as the office manager in St. James Parish. She entered the Common Formation Program and became a lay ecclesial minister in 2012. Later, she entered the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction at the Redemptorist Renewal Center and became a spiritual director in 2017. About five years ago, she started losing her sight. She met with SAAVI leaders to determine what classes she could take to assist her as her vision deteriorated. SAAVI leaders learned about Chisholm’s teaching background, especially her Spanish-speaking and bi- cultural skills. They asked her if she could help teach a class in Spanish for students who, like her, were becoming visually impaired. She agreed. “I was both a student and an instructor,” she said. Around the same time, she learned about the Xavier Society. XSB, named after the Jesuit St. Francis Xavier, was able to send her resources, including a large print edition of the Bible. She was asked to sit on the Xavier Society’s Advisory Board and continues to receive resources. “I want other Catholics who are blind or visually impaired to know there is a resource out there for us,” Chisholm said. “We need to be able to access the spiritual books that have fed people for many centuries.” The society also offers contemporary works, especially through its Digital Talking Book Program. Among the recent titles released are “Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the Making of Irish America,” by John Loughrey, (2018) and “A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century,” by Paul Kengor (2017). Other writings, like those by Franciscan Father Richard Rohr or Jesuit Father James Martin, are available and “open up a whole world of spiritual teaching,” Chisholm said. All it takes is to register through the website at xaviersocietyfortheblind. org and all the resources are free. Although the vast majority of the resources are in English, some are also available in Spanish, a collection that Chisholm said she is hoping she can help expand by recording some materials in Spanish. “It’s just a tremendous blessing to be able to have these books,” Chisholm said, citing the large print, braille, audio recordings and downloadable formats through the website. “The society keeps finding new and creative ways to make these resources available.” Even blind or visually impaired lectors can participate in Mass using the resources provided by the XSB. “The society is the only (group) I Brothers and Sisters, I need your help. About five years ago my father died. While not a wealthy man, he and my mother were very careful with finances and he was able to leave me and my siblings a small inheritance at the time of his death. I was able to disburse much of what he gave me while keeping a portion for my retirement. I was surprised at how good it felt to be making donations to charities from the inheritance entrusted to me. I know my parents would have appreciated what I did in their names. I’mwondering if those reading this message might not join withme in considering a small tithe to the Diocese of Tucson in their own estate planning. If your children and heirs are like me and my siblings, perhaps they wouldn’t miss your final tithe of 10 percent. May God bless you abundantly. Bishop of the Diocese of Tucson To donate, contact the Catholic Foundation at (520) 838-2505. Outlook photo courtesy of Ines Chisholm Malachy Fallon, executive director of the Xavier Society for the Blind, and Ines Chisholm Even with advances in technology, most Catholics seeking resources prefer braille or large print texts over audio texts, he said. See XAVIER on page 13 Xavier Society opens classics to visually impaired/blind Catholics