Recently we celebrated a very special feast (and one of my personal favorites), that of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. You may be asking, "Who is Our Lady of Mount Carmel? And what makes her different from all the other apparitions of Our Blessed Mother?"
Well, Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patron of the Carmelite Order. Members of this religious family can be distinguished by the long brown wool scapular they wear as part of their habit. When Our Lady appeared to St Simon Stock on July 16, 1251. She was dressed in the habit of the Carmelite Order and holding her Infant Son. During this apparition Our Lady took the scapular in her right hand telling St Simon, "Receive, my beloved son, this scapular." Of course after this all of the members of the Carmelite order began wearing this scapular since it had been specifically requested by Our Lady herself.
There are many promises of Our Lady connected with faithfully wearing the brown scapular, most significant of which is, "Whoever dies invested with this Scapular shall be preserved from the eternal flames. It is a sign of salvation, a sure safeguard in danger, a pledge of peace and of my special protection until the end of the ages."
We do hear of Our Lady of Mount Carmel even before she appeared to St. Simon Stock. As early as the 12th Century hermits living on Mount Carmel had a chapel dedicated to her. By the 13th century these brothers became known as “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” Soon they celebrated a special Mass and Office in honor of Mary. In 1726 it became a celebration of the universal Church under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For centuries the Carmelites have seen themselves as specially related to Mary. But Our Lady does not limit her care and protection to those who enter the Carmelite order and neither does the church on earth. All the faithful have been encouraged by many Popes including John the XXII, Pius XI, and Benedict XV to wear the scapular. The Brown Scapular is a very simple devotion, all you need to do is be “invested” with it once and then continue to wear it. If one wears out you just buy another one and do not need to be reinvested. When this is done with devotion the wearer benefits from the prayers and good works of the Carmelite order.
The scapular has become one of the most popular Catholic devotions. Even in our day, a smaller form (than those that are worn as part of a religious habit) continues to be given to lay people so that they can share in the great graces associated with this wonderful expression of love for our Blessed Mother.
Our Lady, Queen & Beauty of Carmel, pray for us!
“The new member is gradually introduced to the life and charism of the Marian Sisters. During the time of postulancy, while receiving basic instruction in consecrated life and Catholic doctrine, the postulant actively participates in a program of human, spiritual, academic and apostolic formation… during this time of transition from life in the secular world, to grow in intimacy with Jesus Christ through Eucharistic prayer, the practice of recollection, generous self-sacrifice, and joyful community life.”
~Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa Constitutions
The day in the life of a postulant can be a beautiful thing. Each day is a gift from the Lord in which we learn more and more what it is to be a Sister. For a general outline of an average day for the Sisters, click here. But, there
are a few differences for the postulants. One day we may be out in an apostolate, but most days we are home in classes and with daily duties around the convent. Regardless of the possible variations, each day is held up by four
main pillars: prayer, duties, community life, and learning.
As you can see on our main schedule, prayer certainly has the pride of place in our lives. This is no different for us postulants! We start each day with a Eucharistic Holy Hour, so no matter what new, challenging, or different thing we will encounter on any day, we have the benefit of quiet time with the Lord. We are also blessed to attend Holy Mass in the mornings as well. The rest of the day until we retire is punctuated with prayer – the formal prayers as you see listed on the schedule as well as personal visits to the Blessed Sacrament and aspirations prayed throughout our duties. Although none of us postulants were unfamiliar with prayer (one does not often come to the convent without some sort of prayer life), we are gradually learning some aspects of how this community prayers. One postulant may still be learning how to chant the Divine Office. Another may struggle some mornings in meditation. But the heart is there and the learning continues!
With a Holy Hour and reception of Our Savior in Holy Communion, all of the Sisters set forth on their duties. The postulants each have a specific duty assigned in the convent itself – kitchen, gardening/maintenance, and sacristy/laundry. So, when you see “Apostolate/Daily Duties” on the main schedule, that is what we are up to! We work in a “simple silence”, meaning conversation is usually limited to what is necessary for the work. One need not
fear to ask for help! But the general atmosphere of silence is helpful to turn even the work into a prayer, an offering to the Lord for His greater glory and the salvation of souls. There is also a gentle learning curve here as well. One
is not always assigned to duties in which they have experience, but with the helpful guidance from our Superiors, humility in asking for help, and abandonment to God’s Holy Will for this task, we will hopefully grow from each
Community life is an important part of the postulant’s day. We spend a lot of time in prayer together, but we also study, work, and recreate together. We are not a group of people who just happen to live together, but this truly is a
family. But this family was called together to live and love in a particular way (see our charism) and so we postulants are continually learning even in the common areas of community life what is means to live as a Marian Sister of Santa Rosa. A small, but telling example is when the main cook advised her new postulant assistant to always think before leaving the kitchen, “Would Our Lady leave it this way?” Simple? Yes, but in it lies the heart of the Marian spirituality of the community.
Finally, learning encompasses a great portion of the average day of a postulant. While we do have formal classes (and we are blessed with very helpful and interesting ones), most of our learning is folded into the living of the
life. Our Superiors and other Sisters help guide us and remind us what this life is about. Or really, WHO it is about. Then, with that focus, we can approach our formal studies and strive to learn what we need to serve God and His people.
By looking at our schedule and getting a peek into what lies behind the schedule, I am sure that you can see a day in the life of a postulant can be quite full! But when everything is focused on the Lord, it is made sweet.
Please join us in praying for the spiritual success of the Ignite Your Torch
Northwest Youth Conference which some of our sisters will be participating in.
This wonderful conference will take place July 31st- August 3rd 2014 in
Lacey, WA. At this conference our sisters will be presenting a workshop on
"Leading Others to Jesus through the Beauty, Goodness, and Truth of the Catholic
It will be a great opportunity for young people to grow in their
faith and strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ. At this conference
there will be daily Masses, Holy Hours, and opportunities for the Sacrament of
Also there will be time to build friendships with other Catholic
young people and get to know priests, and religious sisters and brothers. And
there will be live music by "The Thirsting".
Let us pray that many hearts
will be touched and many souls encouraged to be strong wittnesses for Christ
through attending this conference.
"Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, by Thy Blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and hast made us a kingdom for our God” ~ Revelation 5:9
Traditionally, each month of the year is dedicated to a different devotion, i.e. October is the month of the Rosary, etc. The month of July is thus devoted to honoring the Most Precious Blood of Christ. By the shedding of His Blood, an efficacious offering was made to God the Father on our behalf. On the cross, Christ's heart was opened and with it the gates of heaven closed by sin were opened. As the blood of the Passover lamb saved the firstborn of the Israelites from physical death, so the Blood of Christ delivers the soul from eternal death.
Devotion to the Precious Blood has been part of the life of the Church from the very beginning. Saints Peter, Paul, and John reference the incomparable price of our salvation, the Blood of Christ. St. Clement of Rome exhorts the Corinthians to honor Christ's Blood saying, "Let us fix our gaze upon the Blood of Christ and understand how precious it is to the Father, because poured out for our salvation, it brought to the whole world the grace of conversion."
Again St. Clement cries, "In love the Master took us to Himself. Because of the love which He felt for us, Jesus Christ Our Lord gave His Blood for us by the will of God, His body for our bodies, and His soul for our souls." Christ freely chose to shed His lifeblood to redeem mankind and in doing so revealed the great and incomparable love of His Heart for souls. Each of us, in striving to faithfully imitate Christ, strive to love as He loved by daily choosing to do each act for love of Him. It is not by the success or failure of each task that Christ will judge us on the Last Day, but by whether or not each was done for love of Him. We strive, by the help of Our Mother, to do all for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
If a devotional has been preserved from antiquity, it is because of the truth, beauty, and goodness that it contains and reveals. Today, many devotions rich in beauty and grace have been neglected simply because we do not know how to mine from them the riches they contain. During the month of July, do not lose this opportunity to grow in grace - sit in prayer with the mystery of Christ's shedding of His Precious Blood for your salvation. Develop the habit of making frequent aspirations related to the devotion, such as, "Blood of Christ, save us." Pray the Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Christ or pray with a line from that litany. Reflect on the priceless gift of your redemption. "What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me?" ~ Psalm 116:9
Sangius Christi, Salva Me
The Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Christ
(For private recitation)
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father in 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.
Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, save us.
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God, save us.
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, save us.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony, save us.
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, save us.
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, save us.
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us.
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, save us.
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us.
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, save us.
Blood of Christ, river of mercy, save us.
Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us.
Blood of Christ, courage of martyrs, save us.
Blood of Christ, strength of confessors, save us.
Blood of Christ, bringing forth virgins, save us.
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, save us.
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us.
Blood of Christ, Solace in sorrow, save us.
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us.
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, save us.
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, save us.
Blood of Christ, pledge of Eternal Life, save us.
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from Purgatory, save us.
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor, save us.
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.
V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy blood,
R. And made of us a kingdom for our God.
Let Us Pray: Almighty and Eternal God, Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world, and willed to be appeased by His Blood, Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may worthily adore this Price of our salvation, and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of this present life, so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in Heaven. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.