Journey with us...

Journey with us...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Brothers and Sisters

We had a visit from Father Joe DiMauro, OSFS this week!  It is always a joy to have our brother Oblates with us.  For those of you who may wonder why I call them our brothers I should explain.

OSFS stands for Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.  The order was founded by Blessed Louis Brisson and follows the spirit of St. Francis de Sales (our founder).  But what makes them our brothers in a very special way is that these priests were actually founded through the inspiration of a Visitation sister!  Yes, it was a holy Visitation Superior, Mother Chappuis, who received the inspiration from the Lord that this order needed to be founded.  She also felt certain that Father Brisson was the man for the job.  But, Father Brisson needed A LOT of persistent nagging and finally Our Lord appeared to him in the parlor one day with an angry expression.  When Mother returned to the parlor she found his attitude changed, but it still took a few years before the "project" was underway. And so the oblates now know that when a Visitation Nun asks them to do something... they better do it!  (Or we like to think that at least)

As a result, our dear Oblate brothers have been formed, in a sense, by our own charism.  Hence we have a very special bond and feel a certain completeness when the whole family is together!

One of the most special bonds that we share is called the Directory.  You may be thinking of a list of names and contact information.  But, this Directory was written by St. Francis de Sales for the Visitation Nuns as a way to teach them how to pray.  How to orient their day to God.  He gave very practical and concrete advise on what and how to pray when you wake, sleep, eat, work, etc.  Blessed Louis Brisson was taught this Directory by Mother Chappuis and found it essential to the life he was beginning with the oblates.  He took the little book directed towards the sisters and re-worded it to be appropriate for men in an active life.

And they really follow it well!  Our dear brothers know the directory by heart and it is quite edifying to us.  Thank you Father Brisson for listening!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What if...?

In today’s culture there are so many doubts, so much skepticism, so many questions, but what if we were to suspend them and ask instead: What if it is all true?  Would this change the way you live?  Would it change what you do today? Tomorrow?  Next week?  It’s a simple question, but if we just allow belief to be the underlying truth instead of disbelief or doubt, it could change our lives.

Likely, most of you who read our blog are already religious people and also probably deeply rooted in your faith, so why would you need to ask this question?  Well, I think it is the same reason I, a cloistered nun, need to ask it.  It is a very simple, yet deep way to examine our lives and actions.  Am I really living in a way that responds to the fullness of the Gospel?

I must admit the idea for this little article came from a book I am reading, Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly.   In the book he follows this question with a secondary one, which takes the point a step farther: Imagine you knew you only had one year to live.  What if you only had one year left? If it is all true, what would you do (or not do) to prepare for the end of the year?

While a long exhortation of possible ideas or thoughts could follow, we ask the Lord to lead you in this search, to change your heart or deepen your love.  May He guide you ever deeper and closer to His Most Sacred Heart so that you can truly live surrounded by His Love and His all-embracing care.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Honey's Bunch

Walking for a Cure

Our Group of walking Sisters
(plus Sr. Mary Ruth behind the camera)
April 16, 2016 began as a GLORIOUS DAY and we were so happy to join with Sister Bernadette Therese and as many Sisters as were able to be united with West Palm Beach Chapter in their walk for a CURE for ALS. 
Sister Bernadette Therese has a blood sister in Florida who was recently diagnosed with ALS and so we walked in support of her especially.  Her nickname is "Honey".
For the most part we walked one mile while praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy asking our dear Lord to bless all those walking down South and praying for a cure to be found for ALS! 
Wheelchairs and walkers were moving as best they could with SIGNS and ROSARIES keeping rhythm with each step! Our love and thoughts are always with HONEY and her husband, MARK. Love from the Tyringham Branch!!!
Sr. Gemma Maria had a special sign "Lord, Give Honey the grace to do Your Holy Will"
The reverse side read "Lord, inspire doctors to find a cure for ALS"


And they're off!
Walking and praying together in silent solidarity
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For reasons unknown, military veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure and only one FDA approved drug, which modestly extends survival. However, with your help, The ALS Association works tirelessly to fulfill its mission to create a world without ALS.
The banner carried with Honey and her group in Florida
Honey (front left) with some of her walking team
 For more pictures of the Tyringham Walkers visit our Honey's Bunch Album
    For more about the ALS walk to find a cure visit the ALS Association website

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Monastery Miracles

Having read a number of stories about the saints and visited other convents, each one seems to have a miraculous providence story.  A story in which God provides for a need in a miraculous way.  The Little Sisters of the Poor tell the story of a need for beer. (Yes, I did say beer)  It may sounds strange but truly the sisters needed beer for an upcoming event with the residents and you know elderly men (and women) need beer to have a good party.  They placed the only can they had left by a statue of St. Joseph.  The can had a dent in it, but it was all they had and they entrusted St. Joseph with finding and delivering enough beer for the residents.  Soon came the arrival of a truck.  The man came in and asked to see one of the sisters.  He explained that they had just received a shipment of beer but all the cans were dented and they could not sell them.. Dented exactly the same way as the can by St. Joseph! St. Joseph takes requests exactly, but the residents sure were happy!

So, what makes me tell that story?  I have one of my own today. (Well actually it happened last week, but I am only getting to sharing it with you today) I work in the kitchen and found this wonderful recipe for a cheese ball shaped like a little chick!  It is too cute to eat... well almost.  (Disclaimer: the picture is much cuter than the one made here and not from the same recipe) 
To make a cheese ball, you have to mix cream cheese and some other ingredients in the blender, then scoop it out and shape it before sending it back to fridge to harden.  And so, after mixing them, I took my handy little spatula (the better not to waste a single gram of cheese) and scooped.  
Never having made one before, I had no idea the strength of the mixture and my poor spatula did not withstand the test.  SNAP! Now I had a handle and a spatula head!  Well, I used the remaining head to finish my scooping and tried to think what we could use it for.  Bemoaning to the other sisters how easily the spatulas seem to break and how often I find myself seeking more heavy-duty spatulas, we all agreed there had to be a better way to make them.
Of course, at Night Prayer I found myself distracted thinking that next time, I would search for wooden handled spatulas.  Yes, wood would be stronger!  Woops, sorry Lord, I'm back and ready to pay attention again.  After Night Prayer, I usually go to the kitchen to double check that all is in order before I go to bed.  What's this?  Something left on the table... 5 Wooden-Handled Spatulas!  All fanned out with colored tips and a little note "Left Outside, God's perfect timing"  Wow!  Just an incredible work of God's Providence and before I even asked or placed a broken spatula by St. Joseph (Maybe God wanted to prevent a shipment of broken spatulas) Thank you Jesus!   
The note was written by Sr. Joan Bernadette who noted that a bag was left outside (monastery talk for the public area of the monastery) and she only saw after Night Prayer.  There was no name, no note, just spatulas, some Swedish Fish, and one other item I don't recall. Thank you to our mysterious benefactor and to our dear Lord who sent me to bed with a smile that could have pushed the ears off my face!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Deep Faith

In yesterday's homily, our priest shared an incredible story of faith.  His spiritual director grew up in a small village which was occupied by the Nazi Army during the war.  With this occupation, came demands from the Nazis.  One of these demands was to stop practicing the faith.  The whole town was Catholic and so they continued to go to daily Mass and to sing and praise God through the day.

With this defiance, the Nazis decided to enforce through brutality and chose 25 citizens to line up along the street.  They made all the other villagers also come to the street to witness as they shot each one.  The town, instead of becoming fearful or upset, they chose to praise God that they had been found worthy to suffer to Christ and during the execution sang hymns and prayed prayers for those being executed.

The next day, the Nazi officers decided to chose 50 villagers.  Among these were women and children.  One child only 3 years old.  As the villagers again were summoned to watch the three year old stepped out of the line and spoke loudly, "I command you Satan, be gone in the name of Jesus!"  At this the head officer fell to the ground!  Then the little boy continued, "Thank you.  Today I will go to be with Jesus in Paradise".  Yes, faith can move mountains.  The faith of this child knocked down the head of the army and brought joy in the face of death.  The execution did occur and the villagers prayed and sang as they had the day before.

Let us all have that same faith which moves mountains.  It all begins with trust and love.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

White as Snow

Have Mercy on us, Oh Lord!

Today is Mercy Sunday!  A day filled with many graces for all of us, especially sinners desirous of returning to the Lord.  It seemed Jesus wanted to make this point as we awoke of a blanket of white snow on the ground!  I thought immediately of Isaiah 1:18
Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
 Yes, truly this the the Lord's desire for us today. Father Gunter spoke of the Lord Mercy through a conversion story this morning. He chose to share the story of Claude Newman. (The whole story can be found here)

Claude Newman

 Claude was a simple black man, uneducated, who was sent to live with his grandmother at the age of 13.  His grandmother soon married and abusive man who, even after becoming separated continued to come and abuse her.  Claude decided to end the situation by killing him.  He is arrested and placed on death row.

After obtaining a metal which attracted him worn by another prisoner of a lady with outstretched arms, Mary appeared to him and asked him to call a priest.  The priest, Fr. O'Leary, came and began to teach him catechism and soon he was received into the Church, 4 days before his scheduled execution!

He was eager to be with Our Lady in Heaven but was granted a 2 week reprieve and his execution was postponed.  He offered this time of separation for a fellow prisoner whose heart was very hardened towards him and towards the Church.  After these two weeks, Claude was executed and soon the other prisoner also, but this man as he was being strapped into the electric chair had a vision of Claude (with Our Lady) who showed him his prepared place in hell if he did not repent and the man was concerted and received the Sacrament of Confession before his death.

And so, we see the Love of God and His desire to seek souls for Heaven.  As Pope Francis continues to remind us from his first Angelus message:
Let us not forget this word: God never ever tires of forgiving us! “Well, Father what is the problem?”. Well, the problem is that we ourselves tire, we do not want to ask, we grow weary of asking for forgiveness. He never tires of forgiving, but at times we get tired of asking for forgiveness.

Let us never tire, let us never tire! He is the loving Father who always pardons, who has that heart of mercy for us all. And let us too learn to be merciful to everyone. Let us invoke the intercession of Our Lady who held in her arms the Mercy of God made man. (Click for his entire Angelus message)

Have a wonderful day wrapped in His Mercy and Love!!!  
Happy Easter! (Today marks the last day of the Easter Octave) 
and Happy Mercy Sunday!!!