A Nun Blog - The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration

A Nun Blog - The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration "For God created man for incorruption, and made him in the Image of His own Eternity." Wisdom 2:23

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hidden Surprise

The greatest of gifts are often those we could never ask for, never dream of, or hardly expect. Or, if they are something we ask for, we often don’t comprehend what that something entails or really means until… it arrives! Christmas is here, and who could have planned such a celebration but God Himself?! A Messiah, a Just King, had been awaited for so long, but who could have imagined a humble, incarnate, God-made-man who had come to “[bear] our grief and [carry] our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4)? As Pope Benedict said, “God is always faithful to His promises, but He often surprises us in the way He fulfills them.” Perhaps this is one of God’s greatest ‘joys’ – giving the unexpected, or fulfilling desires beyond His creatures imaginings! And what a cause for celebration for us, to know that our God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to save us, redeem us, justify us and bring us to that place that ‘no eye has seen or ear has heard!’ He surprised Joseph, astounded Our Lady, amazed the Magi, and caused the Shepherds to wonder at the mystery of His incarnation. Let it be so for us as we see before us the works of God! Merry Christmas to you from the Nuns!

We hope you enjoy the poem on our humble God. – To follow soon: news & picture of our New Postulant – Sr. Christy who entered this Advent! Pray for our Sister who has entered on a journey beyond imagining!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Life Well Lived

Sr. Bernadette had an evangelization charism all her own. A true blooded Italian through and through, she enjoyed people immensely and unhesitatingly offered encouragement, counsel or a joke when it was needed. Initially, new sisters here often found it astounding when Sister Bernadette received hundreds of Christmas cards each year (no exaggeration!). But after witnessing her conversations with our own family members in the parlor, or a nurse in a doctor’s office, it is clear why she is so personally beloved by numerous friends. She often remarked that she “never met a person [she] didn’t like” – a testimony to her own geniality! Perhaps the underlying reason for such personable generosity was her untiring fidelity to Christ and her vocation. Even into her 80s, she would eagerly volunteer to fill in for an extra nocturnal adoration hour when needed. The adventures and challenges that filled her 60 years of religious life, as well as the 31 years before her entrance, became for her stories and lessons that she readily handed on to us. In a way, they are the inheritance that she has left us. Our only sister in her nineties, Sister spent the first several decades of her monastic life at Sancta Clara Monastery in Canton OH as an extern sister. Then she made her way south and lived here in the cloister, making garments for Infant of Prague statues and doing her best to keep up with the correspondence of the many friends she loved. She was, and still is, an incredible blessing to us and all who have come to know her over the years. Sister Bernadette passed peacefully to her eternal reward on the night of December 1st, 2010. May God grant her eternal rest.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Someone Worth Waiting For

As of Vespers today, November 27th, Advent begins! Throughout the Church the Antiphon is raised, “Proclaim the good news among the nations: Our God will come to save us.” Again and again, year after year, we sing this magnificent mercy of God – He comes to save us from sin and draw us to Himself. The conviction that He IS coming, that He HAS come, and that He dwells among us is coupled with the longing of the entire Church whose members desire to be united to their Lord as she takes up the refrain: “Come Lord, do not delay!” Come and fill our emptiness, come and wash away our sins, come and create in us a pure heart, come and stay with us, come and take us to Yourself. In this light of longing for and expectation of Christ’s coming, the monastic life has an incomparable significance. What is the purpose of the cloister but to allow those within to be with God and to “be about His work” – interceding, asking for the coming of God and His grace into the darkness of the world.

On the Solemnity of Christ the King, we received a brand new postulant into the monastery - Sister Nicole! After making three courageous knocks onto the enclosure door, she was admitted to the cloister. She followed her new Sisters to the chapel as “Adoremus in Aeternum” was sung. Kneeling before the altar, she was clothed with the postulant veil and received the medal worn by novices and postulants of our order. Our newly garbed Sister was brimming with happiness and excitement as we greeted her one by one. We are most grateful for God’s gift of this new vocation! Please pray for our newest Sister who begins a brand new life, a life full of longing and preparations for the coming of Christ. Come Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A New Name

On October 25th, our postulant Sr. Elaine became Sr. Mary Lucia of the Holy Trinity and was invested with the holy habit! It was a day of immense happiness for Sister, her parents, siblings and friends who made long journeys to witness her entrance into the novitiate. We always look forward to asking the just-hours-old-novice’s family what they think of their daughter’s new name! Whether the Sister’s patroness is a complete surprise or has been her friend for years, inevitably there is a swelling recognition: “This is it! Her name fits!” This is a testament to the special grace from above that comes with one’s new identity in Christ. This identity is coupled with a mission or task which seems a mystery at first glance. A novice’s life is imbued with prayer and she is immersed in a life of service. From these primary “works” her unique formation begins… a transformation process destined to last a lifetime! Please keep our newest novice in your prayers. She is named after St. Lucy, virgin and martyr who is often invoked for those suffering from eye disorders. We pray that God may truly give us all the grace of “having the eyes of [our] hearts enlightened, that [we] may know what is the hope to which He has called [us]” Eph 1:18.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On Air!

Have you ever turned on the radio just in time to hear someone say or sing something that impacted your mind and heart – something that broke through an endless cycle of hopeless thoughts, or gave you needed encouragement? Catholic Radio has such a mission; a mission to bring the riches of our faith and hope in Christ to all people through the airwaves. Just recently this month, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament was flooded with over 150 faithful Catholics who posses an extraordinary vision and goal. An International Radio Conference composed of people who currently run a Catholic radio station and those who are rookies in such a venture, spent a day here in discussion and prayer. It was incredibly inspiring to join these men and women in prayer at the Mass. Our own Bishop R. Baker preached a powerful homily on the necessity to “rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer” (Romans 12:12) especially when undertaking such pronounced missionary work. He spoke of the hardships that have been and would be encountered by those committed to spreading the light of the Gospel. The cost for souls is great. Please pray for these courageous men and women who are taking St. Paul’s words with absolute seriousness: “I will gladly spend and be spent for your sakes” (2 Cor 2:15) and “woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel (1 Cor 9:15)! ” As the work of Catholic Radio continues to impact our world, let us also preach the Gospel by our words and actions! Live Jesus!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Choosing All

Embarking on a missions trip, or a month long service project is a laudable and usually life changing endeavor. Yet dedicating one’s life to missionary activity and the service of those in need finds its true value and worth only in the ‘mirror of eternity.’ Saint Therese, patroness of missions, is one who understood the importance of ‘giving all.’ She lived her days so conscious of God and so attentive to Him that she strove never to miss an opportunity to offer a sacrifice for love of Him. Perhaps this is one of the roots of her unshakable confidence: the fact that she had always done God’s will and not her own. She knew He would not be outdone in generosity. This poses what would be a daunting example to us if the Saint had not called it ‘the little way.’ In a sense, Bl. Mother Teresa summed up this spirituality in her own life when she said: ‘Take whatever He gives and give whatever He takes with a big smile.’ That is a gift of self in its entirety! Do we not realize that we are immensely loved when someone readily sacrifices their own hopes and ambitions, even without our asking, just to please us? In this sense we can understand the joy God takes in His Saints. They are the ones who find all their delight in loving Him, doing His bidding, and seeking the good of His children – just because He is our Good God! When his love is reciprocated in this way, we find God where He desires to dwell… in our brothers and sisters.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Loving Life

Frequently we receive prayer requests from couples who desire children but who are unable to conceive, and few things are more thrilling than having new parents write that ‘their prayers have been answered!’ Both the suffering desire of waiting for a child and the joy of a new little one are testimonies to the sanctity and the supreme beauty of life itself. Someone who longs to bring forth life has in fact, a unique opportunity to recognize all the more the great gift of the persons that surround them. Each life is a real gift – an undeserved, unasked for, willed by God, created for and by Love – gift! And with these gifts comes great responsibilities that conscientious parents know very well! The call to support, nurture and promote the good of the lives of our neighbors is imperative for all of us. The consequences of neglecting such ‘good works’ contributes to the deterioration and even corruption of our families and society at large. As GK Chesterton said, “If we believe in the sanctity of human life, it must be really a sanctity; we must make sacrifices for it.” For Christians this is certainly not new – the Gospel is full of such admonitions. Even now, as 40 Days For Life is observed throughout our nation and around the world, it is the perfect time to renew again our wonder at the beauty of human life and our resolve to make sacrifices for the good of each of our neighbors – those born and unborn! With this mindset we steer clear of the dangerous temptation to ‘take and control’ that which is not legitimately ours. We belong to God, the all wise Creator and Master of all life and we are safe in HIS Hands.

The Pictures above were taken at Sr. Maria Maris Stella’s investiture family visit in our parlor! Little nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters of our Sisters usually ‘steal the show’ whenever we have the joy to spend time with them!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Led By Grace & Truth

The man we honor today throughout the Church, Blessed John Henry Newman, is a brilliant example for all who seek to follow Christ’s lead, His light, His truth. The tangible graces that evoked a principle conversion in Newman at the young age of 15, awakened in him the realization that God was “Closer to me than I am to myself.” Such awareness drew him to solitude where he saw all the beauties of this world as a veil through which he glimpsed the greatest reality – God. This depth of resonance with grace gave him a great capacity to recognize the divine call and accordingly follow his conscience. Led by the unerring wisdom of the Church Fathers, he embraced the Catholic faith at the expense of his former clerical career and unfortunately, many friendships. As St. Paul once wrote, he had forfeited everything for the sake of the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ. Not knowing what he was to do as he entered the Church, the conviction that he had a mission to fulfill never abated. Indeed, he was to be conformed in the pattern of Christ’s suffering. After entering the Church, setbacks, misunderstandings, failed ventures, lack of support and other difficulties relentlessly struck their blows. Nevertheless, he became and remained a faithful and courageous shepherd, laboring for others. Again and again and again he abandoned himself to the Hand and Providence of God. It was in this self surrender that he was ushered “From shadows and fantasies to truth.” He will intercede for us also, that we might never give up seeking the light of truth.

A man of conscience is one who never acquires tolerance, well-being, success, public standing, and approval on the part of prevailing opinion at the expense of truth. In this regard Newman is related to Britain’s other great witness of conscience, Thomas More, for whom conscience was not at all an expression of subjective stubbornness or obstinate heroism. He numbered himself, in fact, among those fainthearted martyrs who only after faltering and much questioning succeed in mustering up obedience to conscience, mustering up obedience to the truth, which must stand higher than any human tribunal or any type of personal taste.’

~ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger from the Book 'On Conscience'

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cause of Our Joy

For the faithful disciple of Christ, the days commemorating one’s commitment to God are second in joy only to the day when ‘it’s all been said and done!’ Today Sr. Marie Emmanuel of the Mother of God celebrates 50 years in Religious Life and it is a day of joy indeed! Her Jubilee Mass honored Mary, Cause of Our Joy whose willing ‘fiat’ gave us Christ our Redeemer. Crowned with flowers and joined by family members from various states, Sister radiates the peace and fulfillment of a life lived with and in Our Savior. Among all the needs and intentions that come our way, Sister Emmanuel has especially ‘adopted’ the EWTN family. As a true friend of God, for her it is imperative that as many persons as possible come to know the goodness of her Spouse – and to that end all ‘being and doing’ is directed. It certainly is no secret that any form of Christian life has it’s share of drama (the drama of salvation!). Living in Religious Life for so long is no exception to the above statement! In short – Sister Emmanuel has a huge stock of stories galore. But the best ones are still being lived… Congratulations Sister!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lest We Forget

Forgetting has its consequences, for better or for worse. We usually don’t mind if someone forgets that we are responsible for that spill on the floor, or the one who made the dent in the car. Indeed, is not God’s ‘casting behind [His] back all our sins,’ – His forgetting – a great part of His Mercy? It’s when we forget to do good – to assist someone we promised to relieve, or fail to remember a birthday, that we easily disappoint or even hurt those we love. Forgetting God, our ultimate good, and turning our gaze from Him is the greatest danger of this human malady. Here we run the risk of ‘innocently’ choosing something else, someone else, some idol to meet our very human needs. Remembering then, holds supreme importance in our lives. If we remember God and who we are in Him, then everything else starts to take proper order.
Of all the Marian prayers, the Memorare which begins…REMEMBER O most gracious Virgin Mary, is a compelling reminder to us that there is someone who never forgets us. Our Mother in heaven and all the Saints who have gone before us are never unmindful of our needs, our hopes, and our strivings. Although we necessarily must pass through this ‘vale of tears,’ it is not without the ever present aid of Our Father in heaven and Our Mother of Mercy. Since we are so prone to forget such reassuring truths, it is good to conscientiously take time to REMEMBER every day, God’s mercy to us, His Providence seen through those who do us good, the ways in which He has answered our prayers, the good He has brought out of our trials, and so much more! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever!
On the more humorous side of this weakness, good natured (albeit strained!) amusement often ensues here if the sisters leading the Divine Office lose their place and forget where the rest of the choir left off… Scenes like these remind us, (lest we forget!) that despite all our shortcomings we are deeply loved by God who asks of us our goodwill!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fully Awake

One of the most common hurdles to living a vibrant life is fatigue. Weariness. Lack of sleep. If you’re a student falling asleep in an endless lecture, a mom handling a thousand little problems in a day (no elaboration needed!), or doing your best to keep pace with projects in your job, exhaustion is no stranger. As perpetual adorers, the struggle to ‘stay awake and watch’ with Christ during our vigils by night and day is frequently just that: a struggle! For those of us who do not wake up with vim and vigor, a stiff cup of coffee is absolutely essential if we are to ‘awake the dawn’ with praises of God! Today, on the Feast of the Transfiguration, we join good company in this battle for consciousness. Peter, James and John joined Our Lord on the mountain for prayer. There they were “overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory” (Luke 9:32). What did it mean for them to become ‘fully awake?’ They were more than just physically awake; they were overcome to the depths of their souls. Jesus was revealing to them, not only the mystery of the cross and His sufferings, but giving them a glimpse of His resurrected glory in which we also are destined to share. Not comprehending all of this at the time, the apostles nonetheless had seen the intertwining of the cross and their future glory.

As we strain to be ‘fully awake’ to the Presence of God in our lives, and the needs of others (even with a mug of coffee or two!) we can trust that unseen grace is at work in our hearts. The Transfiguration is a promise to us that though we only ‘know in part; then [we] shall understand fully, even as [we] have been fully understood” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

To Be Alive

In a cloister world, as in the greater portion of our civilization, holidays such as Labor day, and 4th of July are gratefully relished. Although for us there is no solid basis to petition for an “afternoon off - holiday” for “National Boss Day” or the like, there are plenty of Saints and significant events on our daily liturgical calendar to flavor what looks like an ordinary day. Recently we celebrated Saint Martha, patroness of cooks, who is often a favorite among those who thrive on ‘doing.’ Martha and Mary are often presented as the icons of the active and contemplative dimensions of our Christian life. So many writers and preachers have stressed that this ‘balance’ or union between the ‘Martha & Mary’ in our own lives is a good one to have! But perhaps it is their encounter with Jesus as the Resurrection which binds these two sisters together in a spectacular and profound way. It was to Martha, distraught over her brother’s death that Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). And it was to Mary (if we consider Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene to be the same person), seeking Him in anguish at the empty tomb that He asked: “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” (John 20: 15). They both sought Jesus - the source of life. We too can come to Him each day knowing that as we do our work and take time to listen to Him, an ordinary day is filled with the Presence of God and we become truly alive!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Black and White

Less than a week before her first profession, Sr. Mary Veronica was crowned with flowers at an evening novitiate celebration which inaugurated her pre-profession retreat. Although by now the flowers of that wreath have faded and shriveled, they have been replaced by a different garment, and the time of retreat has given fresh vitality to our radiantly, committed new Junior Professed! July 22nd dawned clear and was filled with all varieties of joys. We can’t help but marvel at how all the important details fell into place by the ever mysterious hand of Divine Providence. Muffins for guests had been baked, table decorations assembled and the duet Psalm response practiced. More than one sister inquired if someone had stayed up ‘all night’ to furiously finish Sister Veronica’s vow card! (The actual scenario was less dramatic than envisioned: the glue on the card was drying by 3PM on the 21st!) Sister’s family made the trek from Wisconsin, and two of her brothers had the honor to participate in the presentation of her veil, monstrance and profession crucifix during the ceremony. As the black veil was handed to the newly professed, Father Dominic read the prayer that implores God that in wearing this garment she may be a ‘sign of the resurrection to come, and put on eternal life.’ Although there are no words to adequately relate the beauty of these sacred moments, the images give a glimpse of the effects of God’s grace. Thank you for your prayers for Sister! She will remember you before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament as she has been consecrated to Perpetual Adoration “on behalf of Holy Church.” (See the link to OLAM Homilies to hear the homily for Sr. Veronica’s Profession Mass).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Announcing... New Novices!

Our new novice foursome was completed on July 3rd as the final investment day arrived after MUCH anticipation – not to mention prayers, supplications and much ‘asking, seeking & knocking’ from these faithful sisters! One of the most climactic moments in a young nun’s life is the timeless span of seconds before receiving her new name. This agonizing time carries a special excitement as the new novice anxiously awaits to hear the name God has given her! During the investment ceremony our full-fledged postulants have their hair sheared. Then they slowly begin to resemble a PCPA as they are clothed piece by piece. These are inspiring moments for all as we recognize that this transformation is both a fulfillment and a promise of God’s abundant grace. Catching a glimpse of the young women’s parents as they see their once ‘little girl’ becoming a new person in Christ is unforgettable. She is not becoming a ‘Mrs. ___’, but Sister ____! Such ceremonies, like weddings, never get ‘old’ in monastic life. We now have sisters with new names, new patronesses, new grace, and a new leg of their journey to follow. They would tell you that despite the routines characteristic of this particular calling, theirs is no boring life. Since their big days, their new habits have been christened by plum juice stains in the canning room, a rousing water balloon fight on the 4th, and the usual rendezvous with the mop bucket or dust rag! When you are about to set out on your own travels to work, vacation, or a summer reunion, please remember these novices in your prayers – may God fulfill the great work He has begun in them! Bottom: Sr. Jeanette Marie of Divine Love & Sr. Chiara Marie of Jesus, True Light. Top: Sr. Edith Marie of Our Lady, Ark of the Covenant & Sr. Maria Maris Stella of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Small Beginnings & Great Hopes!

Hello & Welcome to the blog of the PCPA
nuns in Hanceville, AL! Image & Likeness is a new beginning for us - this is our first blog, and an opportunity to share the good things that God is doing in this little corner of the USA. So often it's easy to forget or overlook the evidence that God is with us in the events of daily life, in our friends & neighbors, and in the challenges we face. But we hope that by 'remembering' post by post, we can come to appreciate with you the great goodness and dignity God has given to each us by calling us to strive for a deep friendship with Him. He has created us in His Image, & called us to fullness of joy as we come to be more like Him! This is a wild journey isn't it ?! And it's worth it!