Divine Infant King Jesus, come down into our hearts!
Sweet Infant Jesus, teach us to love Thee!
On entrance day, the candidate knocks on the door of the convent, asking to be admitted as an aspirant to our way of life. By this time, the littlest Sister has walked a long and sometimes challenging journey of discernment. She has been listening for the Bridegroom’s voice and has faintly heard it calling her to our community. She has seen that the life of a consecrated bride of Christ is desirable and that Our Lady will teach her the way to be Christ’s bride.
The community has seen in her signs of the communal charism to communicate the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of our beautiful Faith while living the richness of the Church’s liturgical life and has seen signs of her ability to live the communal life in imitation of Our Lady.
When she knocks, she may know very little about the religious life or she may be well-read and experienced—it matters very little. All that matters now is that she sincerely seeks admittance into Christ’s Heart, that she is docile to the Holy Spirit and that she strives each day to imitate Our Lady in all things and to live according to the way of life of a Marian Sister.
She chooses at this time to leave behind her all that is familiar and comfortable. In order to grow closer to Christ and to be able to serve Him more freely, she chooses a way of life that initially offers but limited contact with her beloved family and friends. Upon coming to live with the community, she knows that she will have to lay aside many familiar routines and adapt her manner of doing things to that of the community.
As she rises each morning, she unites with the community in praying, “I will arise and put on Christ Jesus Crucified, Whom my soul loves and in Whom my heart rejoices.” She consecrates the day to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying that the whole day (and her whole life) be a loving response to the gift of His gracious call.
O Clavis David... O Key of David, come and lead us out of darkness!
Our good Bishop presided over Solemn Vespers at the Cathedral of St. Eugene on December 20, the fourth day of the O Antiphons in preparation for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. Our Chaplain, Father Keyes directed the Men's Scola in leading the congregation in chanting Vespers. The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the Church, the very voice of the Bride speaking to the Bridegroom, and it was a honor to enter into this dialogue with such solemnity and beauty.
Bishop's Reflection on the O Antiphons
"And then we conclude, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, O Emmanuel, Come! Come be God in our midst. And then, the day after, we rejoice in the completion, a response by God on high, sending Him Whom we have called upon to come for the previous seven days. When we do that in this more formal, liturgical rite, we lend dignity, we lend a seriousness to the completion of our Advent preparation, and we lend ourselves to kindling in our hearts this eagerness for a response to our prayer "O come! Come! Come to Thy people, O come, Lord, come Emmanual!"
Our spousal consecration is rooted in, but separate and distinct from, our baptismal consecration. At baptism, we were brought into the life of The Consecrated One. All baptized persons share Christ's poor, chaste, and obedient life to a degree, but through our religious consecration, we enter into His life more fully, vowing to live and act in imitation of our Divine Bridegroom. Our life becomes a daily striving for intimate identification with Jesus Christ. Our possessions, affections, and autonomy are totally given over to Him. In confidence, we trust that He will provide for our daily needs. We rest in His intense love for us and live to reflect this love to others. We recognize that our Good God never permits anything that is not for our good, so we trustingly surrender the most treasured part of our lives, our will and autonomy, to His Will through our joyful submission to our Superiors.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that your faithful, who rejoice under the patronage of the most holy Virgin Mary, may be freed from all evils on earth and merit the attainment of eternal joys in heaven...
December 9, 2017 marked a momentous day in the life of the Diocese of Santa Rosa. In honor of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima and as a re-affirmation of the Marian dedication made in 1983, our good Bishop consecrated the Diocese of Santa Rosa to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during an hour of prayer at the Cathedral. The Sisters were privileged to attend and join in praying for our Lady's loving protection for our Diocese.
"My dear people...
Act of Consecration
O Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven and Refuge of sinners: We representing your Catholic people of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, consecrate ourselves to your Immaculate Heart. We consecrate to you our very being and our whole life; all that we have, all that we love, all that we are. To thee do we give our homes, our families, our Diocese and our country. We desire that all that is in us and around us may belong to you and that we may share in the benefits of your motherly blessing. Holy Mary, bring help to the miserable, strength to those who mourn. Plead the cause of the clergy, intercede for devout women and men. May all who pay homage to your Holy Name experience your powerful help. We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.
We See the Star
During this second week of Advent, we behold a Star arise in our hearts. It is our Mother Mary, who points the way to her Divine Son. The rays of light that issue from this bright Star are the virtues that shine forth with such resplendence from her Immaculate Heart. The golden rays of her humble obedience, the silver rays of her immaculate purity, and the azure rays of her self-effacement furnish us with abundant matter for meditation and imitation. As we go about our duties, however humble or great, we endeavor to keep our eyes faithfully fixed upon this celestial Star in order to reproduce her virtues in our daily lives; striving to think speak and act as Mary would. Finding ourselves in any difficulty, we pray that we may heed St. Bernard's advice: "If temptation storms, or you fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the Star and call upon Mary..."
Focus of the Second Week: Union with Our Lady
O Mary, do thou bring thy holy Child to me!
Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
This hymn has been arranged in many different ways through the centuries, all of which bring out different aspects of how it honors Our Lady. The Benedictine Sisters of Ephesus sing a lovely version on their CD, Echoes of Ephesus.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Laudetur Jesus Christus! Praised be Jesus and Mary!
Welcome to this issue of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, a kind of “Magnificat” for us to share with you. This season’s newsletter is full of testimonies of God’s unique blessing upon the Marian Sisters this past year – a year dedicated to the message of Fatima so cherished within our ranks. Your prayers and support have borne fruit in new vocations, the clothing of three new novices, first profession of vows for three Sisters, and a beautiful Perpetual Vow Mass for Sr. Maria Faustina of our Mother of Mercy, wherein she dedicated her life to Christ forever.
The summer of 2017 was notable for both spiritual and apostolic activities including annual retreats, educational opportunities, youth ministry in our own diocese and beyond, and the reception of two new candidates – Katie from Baton Rouge, LA and Rose Janae from Albuquerque, NM. These beautiful young women have increased the joy and inspiration we share within the community and with those we serve.
As our numbers increase, opportunities abound for the Marian Sisters to serve God and others. Fortified by worship and contemplation, the works of the Sisters expand beyond the convent walls to teaching, liturgical ministry, diocesan school visits, faith formation of youth, praying with the elderly, serving in the chancery offices and much more. The firestorm that recently descended upon our diocese presented opportunities to serve in evacuation shelters and in our diocesan schools. These ministries claimed our hearts, inspiring the maternal love which flows from our
lives of consecration. In everything we say and do, we endeavor to be Mary’s image in the world – her loving heart, her face, her hands and voice – to all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray for us as we pray for you.
Have a blessed Season of Advent and a grace-filled New Year!
Gratefully Yours in the Love of Christ,
Mother Teresa Christe, MSSR
The Meaning of Advent
During this first week, we recall the longings of the Patriarchs and Prophets, the holy souls living years before the coming of the Messiah. With what intense yearning they desired but a glimpse of that blessed Light of the World Who now gives Himself daily, in the fullness of His Love, to all who will receive Him. On each Christmas Day, He comes with a special plenitude of grace to all hearts who have prepared for Him. Our time of preparation is short! Let us warm our cold hearts in the furnace of Love issuing from the Sacred Heart of the unborn Infant reposing in His Immaculate tabernacle! His Mother will assist us in being attentive to the whisperings of His grace, His little voice asking for this or that little sacrifice or act of fidelity to our daily duties.
Focus of the First Week: Silence and Recollection
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
Divine Infant King Jesus, come down into our souls!