The Easter Octave is a time for community building - extra time together doing those things that rejuvenate us as individuals and as a "family" unit. This did not prevent us from sharing the joy of the season with those outside of the community. Two members of the community traveled to Mundelein Seminary to participate in the Institute on Religious Life's annual conference. The theme of this year's conference was "Religious Life, Ever Ancient, Ever Beautiful..." In recognition of his staunch fidelity to the faith and his acheivements in publishing and education, Fr. Joseph Fessio received this year's Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award.
The Sisters playing "zoo" with our visitors
"In all religious houses...some part should be reserved to the members alone. This form of separation from the world...is part of the public witness which religious give to Christ and to the Church. It is also needed for the silence and recollection which foster prayer." - Essential Elements 11
"O Redeemer, hear this anthem, as we sing with one accord.
O Redemptor, sume carmen, temet concinéntium."
Antiphon chanted during the Procession of the Oils
As a community steeped in the traditions of the Church, her sacred music is held especially dear by each of the Sisters. Our communal Office is lovingly chanted each day, and the sacred music of the Church is prayed at each liturgy celebrated in our Convent. Two of our Sisters were blessed to be able to attend Musica Sacra's Winter Sacred Music Workshop for Chant and Sacred Polyphony in New Orleans, LA this month.
In spite of the full conference schedule, the Sisters were able to re-connect with a dear community friend who is a Pastor of the Diocese. As the Sisters were walking one afternoon, a generous guide offered them a free bike tour, enabling them to see some unique parts of New Orleans and feel like real tourists.
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!"
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.