"The first and foremost duty of all religious is to be the contemplation
of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer." ~ Canon 663
The Catechism tells us that prayer is "both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part" (2725). It is a battle against our fallen inclinations and the temptations of the devil, a battle to remain in the presence of God, Whose countenance is ever turned toward us. Prayer is an essential element of our life - the body does better without oxygen than the soul and apostolate of a consecrated person who goes without prayer. Our desire is to know Jesus Christ Crucified with the depth and intimacy of a spousal relationship, but this type of communion is not established overnight. Rather, it is the result of years of fidelity, fidelity to individual, communal, and liturgical prayer and to living the fruit of that prayer in our apostolate.
Liturgical prayer is at the heart of our life of consecration. We sanctify our day and join with the voice of the Church in praying together Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. These hours are an extension of the Eucharistic Sacrifice in which we are privileged to participate each day. Assisted by the example of our sisters and uniting with the heart of Mary, Mother of the Church, we offer our Divine Lord adoration, intercession, praise, and thanksgiving to intercede for the salvation of the whole world (cf. Canon 1173).
Loving Christ above all else!
Mary, Queen and Model of Religious, pray for us!
O Mary, Comfortress of the afflicted, pray for us who cry out to thee!
Rose-tinted by the smoke, Our Lady watches over the convent
Sister thanking service men for delivering cots and supplies for the evacuees
In spite of the natural disaster happening in our own city and diocese, the heart of our life continues uninterrupted. The Sisters continue to gather for our regular periods of prayer throughout the day, and individually and communally have increased the fervor and amount of prayer and supplication offered to our good God on behalf of the people of our Diocese.
Please keep the people of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in your prayers! Pray for protection and for the courage and wisdom necessary to proceed with rebuilding and re-establishing our diocese, schools, and cities.
Our Lady still stands in front of burnt classrooms at Cardinal Newman High School (NCR Photo)
"Only a God Who is love could ask you to love Him with all your heart.
Only He Who has given you everything could ask you for everything."
"When you shall see a soul leave all things to adhere to the Word with all her strength, live by Him,
allow herself to be guided by Him... a soul, in short, who can say: for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,
then you can indubitably recognize her for a spouse of the Word." ~ St. Bernard
The Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus as He places a ring of St. Catherine's finger - by Hans Memling
Our consecration as religious women is most beautifully expressed and summed up by the three primary
relationships in our life: Daughter, Spouse, Mother.
"I am a daughter of the Church." ~ St. Teresa of Avila
"The nuptial dimension belongs to the whole Church, but consecrated life is a vivid
image of it, since it more clearly expresses the impulse towards the Bridegroom." ~ Verbi Sponsa
There is a need for people able to show... the motherly face of the Church, people who spend their lives
so that others can have life and hope. The Church needs consecrated persons who, even before committing themselves to the service of this or that noble cause, allow themselves to be transformed by God's grace and
conform themselves fully to the Gospel. VC 105
Daughter, Spouse, Mother ~ in each of these, the Sister holds Our Lady as her Model and Mistress. May Mary, Daughter of the Eternal Father, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and Mother of Christ and of the Church, pray for us and obtain for us the grace of final perseverance in our holy vocation as a
Daughter of the Church,
Spouse of Christ,
Mother of souls!
"Religious consecration establishes a particular communion between religious and
God and, in Him, between the members of the same institute." ~ Essential Elements, 18
The Sisters at recreation
A consecrated woman is called to give up many things for the One Thing Necessary, a renunciation that is repaid a "hundredfold in this life" as well as in the life to come in the possessing and being possessed by Him Who is beyond price. The hundredfold is expressed in many ways, big and small. For our contemplative-active community, one of these is our very communal life. Each Sister has been gifted by the Holy Spirit with the communal charism to communicate the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of our faith and has been called specifically to live her consecrated life in this community. This foundational calling and gift enables the Sisters to connect with each other in a manner that transcends differences in manner and temperament (although those are also part of the hundredfold and may be given as God's gift to help each of us smooth off our rough edges).
Latte's recreation - destroying the squeak in his newest toy!
Mother questions the candidates concerning their intention
The period of postulancy (derived from the Latin meaning "to ask") is a time for the postulant to become familiar with and to assimilate as her own the way of life and customs of our community. The young Sister is given the opportunity to learn the life and customs by sharing in the assignments and duties of the community. Under the guidance of those more experienced in the life, she is trained in the work of the sacristy and care of the chapel, the preparation and serving of community meals, the care and maintenance of the convent common spaces and grounds, and is lightly involved in the various external apostolates of the community, learning to do each for Jesus alone in the spirit of a Marian Sister.
She also joins in the studies common to the house of formation - courses in philosophy, theology, various aspects of religious life and consecration, the spiritual life, prayer, the charism of the community, and St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion, as well as courses in human formation. These studies combined with the living of the life allow the postulant to integrate the life practically as well as intellectually and to further discern God's will for her life.
We commend our postulant Sisters to the care of our Immaculate Mother, begging her to form in them a perfect image of her Divine Son and to obtain for them the grace of final perseverance in our way of life.
The Community renewing our Total Consecration
O Queen conceived without Original Sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. ~ St. Thomas Aquinas
Friendship is the basis of authentic deeper relationships, including the spousal relationship of a Sister with her Spouse. A woman called by God into spousal union with Him is first called to develop a sincere and affectionate friendship with Him. One does not simply wake up one morning and tell God that you are ready to be His bride - the espousals follows upon the maturation of affectionate, trusting friendship with the God Who Is Love.
Our Lord desires a life of friendship with each of us. He desires to give Himself and to receive us in return,
to be with us always and to have us with Him always, to share our interests and to have us share His. When this relationship has been well developed and fostered in prayer, for as St. Teresa tells us prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God, He invites some souls to deepen this friendship into a spousal love where this exchange is ratified by vow and expressed in a life of loving contemplation and service as consecrated brides of Christ.
I am all Thine - give me Thy Heart in return!
Most Holy Trinity, blessed and the source of all blessedness, bless your sons and daughters
whom you have called to praise the greatness of your love, your merciful goodness and your beauty...we pray to you for all consecrated persons. Fill their hearts with the deep certainty of having been chosen to love, to praise and to serve. Enable them to savor your friendship, fill them with your joy and consolation, help them to overcome moments of difficulty and to rise up again with trust after they have fallen; make them mirrors of the divine beauty. Give them the courage to face the challenges of our time and the grace to bring to all mankind the goodness and loving kindness of our Savior Jesus Christ." ~ Vita Consecrata, 111
"By immersing yourselves in the Paschal Mystery of the Redeemer through the consecration of the religious vows, you desire, through the love of total giving, to fill your souls and your bodies with the spirit of sacrifice..." ~ St. John Paul II
Professional Photo Gallery here.
Religious profession creates a new bond between the person and the One and Triune God,
in Jesus Christ. This bond develops on the foundation of the original bond that is contained in the Sacrament of Baptism. Religious profession "is deeply rooted in baptismal consecration and is
a fuller expression of it." In this way religious profession... becomes a new consecration: the consecration and giving of the human person to God, loved above all else. The commitment undertaken by means of the vows to practice the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience... is the expression of a total consecration to God and, at the same time, the means that leads to its achievement. This is also the source of the manner proper to consecrated persons of bearing witness and of exercising the apostolate. And yet it is necessary to seek the roots of that conscious and free consecration and of the subsequent giving of self to God as His possession in Baptism, the sacrament that leads us to the Paschal Mystery as the apex and center
of the Redemption accomplished by Christ. ~ Redemptionis Donum, 7