Christmas is a day and season dearly loved by the Sisters. Beginning with the procession of children presenting Father the Christ Child before Midnight Mass at the Cathedral, the Christmas season stretches to Candlemas and is filled with beautiful liturgies and little convent customs. One of our favorite Christmas day practices is our communal veneration of the Christ Child in His little crib. After Mother reverences Him, she holds Him so that each Sister can give Him a personal Christmas greeting before we all sing favorite Christmas hymns in His honor.
"Through sin, humanity separated itself from God. But God, because of his great love for us, came from heaven to seek us.
Why? In order that we might realize how much God loves us, and in gratitude love God in return. Any time a cat or dog comes to us from across the room, we can't help but respond by petting it and speaking to it. So why do we ignore God, who comes to us all the way from heaven?"
~ St. Alphonsus on the Incarnation
Christus natus est! Alleluia!
A Convent Christmas pictures
"O Antiphon" for December 23rd
O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O Day-Spring, splendor of Eternal Light, and Sun of Justice,
Come, and shine on those seated in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
"O Antiphon" for December 21st
As sung by the Dominican student brothers in Oxford
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just:
let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior."
Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nebes pluant justum,
aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem."
~ Introit from the Advent Ember Wednesday Mass
Situated at the heart of this season of expectation, the Advent Ember days have a Marian tone. The Gospels for Ember Wednesday and Friday, the Annunciation and Visitation, highlight Our Lady's preeminent role in our salvation. Today's Mass, that of Ember Wednesday, is full of Marian references and is dearly loved by the community. It is traditionally the first time in the liturgical year that the Gospel of the Annunciation is proclaimed, pointing us to the imminent coming of our Savior. Falling the day after the feast of St. Lucy, the virgin of light who announces the coming of the Light, our Mass is illuminated by candles alone. The soft glow of the candles and the gentle beauty of the sung Mass seem to enrich and enhance the intrinsically rich texts of the Mass and aid the soul to enter into communion with its Divine Spouse. May we, like our Lady, ever offer Him a home in our hearts!
"Oh, come Divine Messiah, the world in silence waits the day when hope shall sing its triumph and sadness flee away! Sweet Savior haste! Come, come, to earth! Dispel the night and show Thy face and bid us hail the dawn of grace..."
O Mary, conceived without sin, Patroness of the United States of America,
Pray for us, intercede for our country!
Religious life is a life lived for God, a life where the God Who loved us first is loved above all else, and thus a convent is to be a place where Christ reigns, a place where He is loved above all else, a place where life is centered on Him. With the blessing of a new convent, the Sisters have been able to experience anew this reality. The Sisters ordinarily make a little visit to the Blessed Sacrament throughout the day and when coming and going from the convent, asking Him to bless the souls encountered and to receive all that is done as an act of love. During the move while the Chapel was still being prepared, our Lord was not physically present in the Sacrament of His Love and His absence was tangible. How very grateful we were when Father brought us our Eucharistic Lord! And how much more grateful we are for the gift of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, offered for the first time this morning in our new chapel! Now our new earthly dwelling is truly a convent, a place where our Lord may be loved above all else.
"Its [the religious community's] center is the Eucharist in which the members of the community participate daily as far as possible and which is honored by having an oratory where the celebration can take place and where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved."
~ Essential Elements, 20
"Lord, look upon these religious who wish to imitate Your Son more closely by professing the evangelical counsels in the presence of Your Church today. Mercifully grant that their manner of life may bring glory to Your name and further Your loving plan of redemption."
"What do you ask of God and of His holy Church?"
"May almighty God grant you His grace to fulfill your resolutions"
Please join us in praying for our newly professed Sisters! We beg Almighty God to grant them the grace of final perseverance and a crown of glory hereafter!
First Profession of Vows
First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2016
Sister Mary Vianney of Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, MSSR
Sister Caritas Marie of Mary, Mother of God, MSSR
Celebrant: The Most Reverend Robert F. Vasa, Bishop of Santa Rosa
Assisted by Father Moses Brown