"Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt..."
I am all thine, and all that I have is thine, O most loving Jesus,
through Thy Immaculate Mother and mine!
A few words of wisdom from our Spiritual Father:
"You must expect then to be shaped, cut and chiseled under the hammer of the Cross,
otherwise you would remain unpolished stone, of no value at all, to be disregarded and cast aside.
Do not cause the hammer to recoil when it strikes you. Yield to the chisel that is
carving you and the hand that is shaping you."
"I will arise and put on Christ Jesus Crucified, Whom my soul loves and in Whom my heart rejoices."
~ The first prayer a Marian Sister prays each day
Our holy habit is more than an article of clothing. When a new novice is clothed, Mother assists her to put on the habit, representing her putting on of Christ Jesus Crucified. This habit will be her constant companion throughout her religious life. It is her bridal gown and when she goes to meet her Spouse face-to-face, she will be buried in it. It allows each of Sister's "children" to recognize her as their spiritual mother - even if they have never seen her before or will not see her again in this life. It is the visible sign of her consecration that enables the stranger pumping gas to confide to Sister their terminal diagnosis and ask for prayers, knowing that Sister will carry them in her heart when she speaks to her Divine Spouse.
As Sister fastens the familiar pins each morning, she prays for her own sanctification and perseverance in grace. Her life of consecration is aimed at a more perfect living out of her baptismal promises, so she prays, "Cleanse me, O Lord, and purify my heart that being made white in the blood of the Lamb, I may have the fruition of everlasting joys." Her white habit reminds her throughout the day of her soul's baptismal innocence. The care she takes to keep her habit white reflects the care she has to avoid even the smallest of offenses against her Divine Bridegroom.
The blue scapular calls to mind her total consecration to Jesus through Mary. She slips on the medal of the Immaculate Conception that she wears around her neck as a reminder of this consecration, invoking Our Lady, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!" Mary is her model and her Mother, her help in every moment. It is from Mary that she has received her Spouse and through Mary that she will return to Him.
Her habit sets her apart, even from the family she loves with all her heart. She is set apart, not to be cut off from them, but so that she can serve and love them better. Her total gift of self to Christ enables her to love them more purely, not for what she receives from them, but for who they are as souls given by Christ to her care. She carries them, along with all her other spiritual children, before her Bridegroom each day, imploring for them His grace and protection, and asking for their eternal salvation.
"Why do you look so beautiful?" a little girl asked Sister. The little one wasn't taken by Sister's flawless external beauty (she doesn't "measure up" to society's elusive beauty standard). This child's innocence was captivated by Sister being a faithful reflection of her Spouse. 'Tis a beauty that can bear the heat of the day and the daily cross. The faithful company of these trials enhances her beauty because they increase in her the supernatural life of her Spouse. She prays daily, "O Lord, Who hast said 'My yoke is easy and My burden is light,' make me so able to bear it that I may obtain Thy favor."
As she slips on her shoes - plain, sturdy shoes that have seen many miles in the Lord's service, shoes that have hastened to the aid of a Sister in need, carried Sister in the service of her children, supported her during her hours of prayer, and been gratefully slipped off at the end of the day - the Sister prays, "O Lord, teach me to walk in Thy footprints and preserve me from stumbling; guide my steps in the way of salvation. May Thy holy angel direct and guard me. Not according to my own will, but purely in obedience, I will take every step." Kissing her simple ring as a renewal of her vows, Sister leaves her cell, her heart hastening to her Beloved waiting in the chapel, her will fixed on doing His will in each moment of the day.
"My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready!
"I come to do Thy will, O Lord!"
"Mary, my Mother, keep me faithful unto death!"
As an emerging community, the Sisters are frequently given the opportunity to participate in "firsts" - the first clothing of novices and the first Mass in our new convent being just two of the more important of the "firsts". This Holy Thursday marked another "first" for our community: the first Procession of our Lord to the conventual Altar of Repose. We have never before had enough space to make a real Altar of Repose and so delighted in our ability to offer Him this small act of loving adoration.
The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene By Alexander Ivanov
Mane nobiscum, Domine!
Stay with us, Lord! (cf. Lk 24:29)
With these words, the disciples on the road to Emmaus invited the mysterious Wayfarer to stay with them, as the sun was setting on that first day of the week when the incredible had occurred.
According to his promise, Christ had risen; but they did not yet know this. Nevertheless, the words spoken by the Wayfarer along the road made their hearts burn within them. So they said to him: "Stay with us".
Seated around the supper table, they recognized him in the "breaking of bread" - and suddenly he vanished. There remained in front of them the broken bread, There echoed in their hearts the gentle sound of his words.
Living Word of the Father, give hope and trust to all who are searching for the true meaning of their lives. Bread of eternal life, nourish those who hunger for truth, freedom, justice and peace.
Stay with us, Living Word of the Father,
and teach us words and deeds of peace: peace for our world consecrated by your blood and drenched in the blood of so many innocent victims: peace for the countries of the Middle East and Africa, where so much blood continues to be shed; peace for all of humanity, still threatened by fratricidal wars.
URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF SAINT POPE JOHN PAUL II
Easter Sunday, 27 March 2005
SAINT JOHN PAUL II, PRAY FOR US!
"I arose and am still with you..."
Benediction following the Easter Sunday Mass
Jesus descends from the Cross by Nicolas Tournier
The Convent Chapel stripped of its adornments and without the presence of our dear Lord
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee,
because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world!
Good Friday. A day of communal silence and recollection, penance and prayer, in union with Christ in His most sacred passion. Early in Passiontide, each Sister drew at least one of the Stations for her particular meditation during that sacred season. From these times of personal prayer, the Sister prepares a reflection associated with that Station to be prayed during our community Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
Following our Way of the Cross, the Sisters participate in the Cathedral parish Good Friday Liturgy
O God who, by the Passion of Thy Christ, our Lord, hast loosened the bonds of death, that heritage of the first sin to which all men of later times did succeed: make us so conformed to Him that, as we must needs have bourne the likeness of earthly nature, so we may by santification bear the likeness of heavenly grace.
Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen
During the Solemn Intercessions, the Church presents her Crucified Spouse with every single group of people and every human affliction, beseeching Him to apply the merits of His redemption to each.
Changing from black to violet, the ministers prepare for the distribution
of Holy Communion. Following the Thanksgiving after Communion, the congregation departs in silence.
Let us pray.
Upon Thy people who with devout hearts have recalled the Passion and Death of Thy Son, we beseech Thee, O Lord, may plentiful blessings descend: may gentleness be used with us, and consolation given us, may our faith increase in holiness, our redemption for ever made firm. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Entry into Jerusalem by Pedro de Orrente
The Holy Gospel for the Blessing of the Palms: Matthew 21:1-9
At that time, when they drew nigh to Jerusalem and were come to Bethphage, unto Mount Olivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them: "Go ye into the village that is over against you: and immediately you shall find an ass tied and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to me. And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye that the Lord hath need of them. And forthwith he will let them go." Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "Tell ye the daughter of Sion: 'Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek and sitting upon an ass and a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke.' "
As the donkey and her colt travel to meet Jesus, they might have wondered (had they been able to think such thoughts), “Is it worth it?” To leave behind what they knew – their work, their family, their home – to go into the unknown. But to serve Christ is always worth it; to serve Christ is to be drawn into an intimate communion with Him.
They might have thought, too, “Why me?” Why the humble, lowly donkey, and not the majestic, proud horse? Why is it I that the Lord picks, and not another person, when they might seem better qualified to serve the Lord as a religious? But the Lord has reasons which we cannot always see behind the person He calls to Himself.
And what does He give as His reason? “I have need of you.” God has no needs, strictly speaking, but He chooses to depend upon us to carry out His work.
The donkey is one “that is used to the yoke”. So often we are burdened by the yoke of the world, the heavy burden; but Christ calls us to Himself and we take up His yoke – the yoke that is sweet and light (Mt 11:28-30).
After the disciples bring the donkey and her colt to Jesus, they “laid their garments upon them”. As we are naturally, dirty with sin, we are unworthy to serve the Lord; but when we have white garments laid upon us in Baptism, then Christ can “sit thereon”, dwell within us. He gives us our mission, our vocation, on the day we are baptized, when God’s life – sanctifying grace – is given to our souls.
What dignity, then, is the donkey given! To carry Christ the King into His city of Jerusalem. The crowds do not cheer because of the donkey, but because of Whom the donkey is carrying on her back. In the same way, we as religious do not seek to glorify ourselves, but to bring glory to the King of Heaven by our humble service to Him. No greater gift, no higher dignity, can Jesus call us to, then to be close to Him – to carry Him on our backs – to serve Him in our vocation as religious."
An aspirant kisses the cross on the day of her reception
O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine,
all praise and all thanksgiving, be every moment Thine!
publicly renewing their commitment to their priestly promises. It is the custom of our community that the Sisters at the convent spend this day in individual Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament, praying for our priests, praying that they may be renewed in spirit and in the love of their priestly duties.
Litany of Reparation to the Most Blessed Sacrament
(for private use)
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, offered for the salvation of sinners, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, annihilated on the altar for us and by us, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, despised by lukewarm Christians, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, mark of contradiction, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, delivered over to Jews and heretics, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, insulted by blasphemers, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, Bread of angels, given to animals, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, flung into the mud and trampled underfoot, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, dishonored by unfaithful priests, Have mercy on us.
Sacred Host, forgotten and abandoned in Thy churches, Have mercy on us.
Be merciful unto us, Pardon us, O Lord.
Be merciful unto us, Hear us, O Lord.
For the outrageous contempt of this most wonderful Sacrament, We offer Thee our reparation.
For Thine extreme humiliation in Thine admirable Sacrament, We offer Thee our reparation.
For all unworthy Communions, We offer Thee our reparation.
For the irreverences of wicked Christians, We offer Thee our reparation.
For the profanation of Thy sanctuaries, We offer Thee our reparation.
For the holy ciboriums dishonored and carried away by force, We offer Thee our reparation.
For the continual blasphemies of impious men, We offer Thee our reparation.
For the obduracy and treachery of heretics, We offer Thee our reparation.
For the unworthy conversations carried on in Thy holy temples, We offer Thee our reparation.
For the profaners of Thy churches which they have desecrated by their sacrileges, We offer Thee our reparation.
That it may please Thee to increase in all Christians the reverence due to this adorable Mystery, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That it may please Thee to manifest the Sacrament of Thy Love to heretics, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That it may please Thee to grant us the grace to atone for their hatred by our burning love for Thee,
we beseech Thee, hear us.
That it may please Thee that the insults of those who outrage Thee may rather be directed against ourselves,
we beseech Thee, hear us.
That it may please Thee graciously to receive this our humble reparation, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That it may please Thee to make our adoration acceptable to Thee, we beseech Thee, hear us.
Pure Host, hear our prayer.
Holy Host, hear our prayer.
Immaculate Host, hear our prayer.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
V. See, O Lord, our affliction,
R. And give glory to Thy Holy Name.
Let Us Pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who dost deign to remain with us in Thy wonderful Sacrament to the end of the world, in order to give to Thy Father, by the memory of Thy Passion, eternal glory, and to give to us the Bread of life everlasting: Grant us the grace to mourn, with a heart full of sorrow, over the injuries which Thou hast received in this adorable Mystery, and over the many sacrileges which are committed by the impious, by heretics and by bad Catholics. Inflame us with an ardent zeal to repair all these insults to which, in Thine infinite mercy, Thou hast preferred to expose Thyself rather than deprive us of Thy Presence on our altars, Who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest one God, world without end. Amen.
Picture by Josh Applegate