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

Monday, August 6, 2012

Becoming What We Love

A significant question was asked on July 26th during the first profession ceremony of Sr. Chiara Marie of Jesus, True Light. Father asked: What do you ask of God and of His Church?”And our Sister responded: I ask for God’s Love and a share in the life of this religious community.”This succinct dialogue between the priest and the novice summarizes the entire vocation of the nun.

A religious vocation is simply a life long response to God’s gratuitous Love.  And as father quoted in the profession homily, “the only real love is God’s love”.  The consecrated religious truly participates in this love through her total gift of self to Christ and His Church. 

Our Holy Mother Clare, who our sister is happily named after, eloquently confirms this reality which sister embraced more deeply at profession:

"We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God’s compassionate love for others. "

Following the profession Mass was the clothing ceremony of Genevieve Rose.  Both ceremonies marked the beginning and end of a phase in religious life.  For Sr. Chiara Marie, professing the Evangelical Counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience for the first time, pronounced publicly her resolve to radically conform herself to Christ.  For Genevieve Rose a visible transformation took place as she was invested with the PCPA habit and given a new name as signs of her desire to become a new creation in Christ in preparation for the day when she too will profess vows.  The new name conferred on Genevieve Rose, is... Sr. Marie St. Francis of the Crucified One.  The name was received with joyful tears!  To be named after our holy Father Francis can only mean great things!   

 We congratulate our two sisters for their generosity in continuing to respond to Christ’s loving invitation to ‘follow Him’ in the religious life.   

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Gift of Vows

The beauty of the new translation of the Roman Missal, opens up new glimpses into the depth and mystery of each feast day. The Preface for Religious Profession, which we recently heard chanted at Sr. Edith Marie's First Profession of Vows, captured the principle aspects of the consecrated life, which Sister embraced more fully this past June 30th.

[Christ] is the unblemished flower, 
who sprang fromt he root of the Virgin
and declared the pure heart blessed,
teaching by His way of life the surpassing worth of chastity.

He chose always to hold fast to what is pleasing to you
And, becoming obedient for our sake even until death,
He willingly offered Himself to you
As a perfect and a fragrant sacrifice.

He consecrated to a fuller service of your majesty
Those who for love of you leave all earthly things
And promised they would find treasure in heaven.

This beautiful sequence expresses Christ's pure surrender to the Father's Will in time and in eternity. Sister shares in this one offering of the Son, with her free profession of love to live in obedience, poverty and chastity. At every Mass we are pulled into this mystery of Gift that we behold at every elevation of Chalice and Host. At the heart of this profession is the desire to be made into a gift - like Christ - to our Father.

As with each profession, there was so much joy and gratitude pulsating in the monastery on that day. An extra-special gift was having Sister's parents here on their wedding anniversary - the very same day! May Our Lady, Ark of the Covenant continue to make of our Sister Edith Marie, a beautiful gift to her Son and the whole Church. Congratulations to our Sister and to her family!

Friday, June 29, 2012

God Does Not Disappoint

Today’s significant feast is a glimpse of the ‘bigger picture’ in the middle of this increasing struggle for freedom. As this fortnight continues, something written by G.K. Chesterton comes to mind where he counsels that we beg to be made worthy of the battle for truth. Sts. Peter and Paul – today’s great men – and so many of the holy men and women of the past who have this same attitude of heart are not only encouragement for us, but intercessors as well. Just to recall a few of those well known souls … Moses - who pleads that God not send him rescue the people of Israel, saying that Pharaoh would not listen to him. There is Jeremiah who protests that he is too young to speak as the Lord’s prophet. Elizabeth at the Visitation of Our Lady echoes this humility of soul: “who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me.” John the Baptist – perhaps the most real of men in that day – seeing Jesus for who He was, so poignantly asks to be baptized by his Lord. Peter’s initial response to Christ’s mercy reveals this same gaping reverence “depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” And then the “last of the apostles” insists that he is not worthy to be called an apostle, but is one because of God’s design.  For us, feeling insufficient to this task of carrying the light of truth about God, man, and salvation into the darkness of an unbelieving world is a legitimate reaction… but not a reason to compromise on the mission. Since Christ is the one who entrusts His disciples with the Gospel, and is the Truth to whom we are called to witness, He will Himself give the grace, the strength, and all that is necessary to carry out this ‘work’ in day to day practice. He does not disappoint! Let us pray for the grace to remain steadfast to the task at hand and continue to pray that the Holy Spirit comes anew to enlighten our hearts & minds and to empower us to pray, sacrifice, stand and work for the freedom to live and worship as free citizens and ultimately – children of God!

From an address of Pope Benedict XVI in England…
Newman teaches us that if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom... [Newman] saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness: those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognize what is false and, precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, veritatis splendor.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

He Goes Before Us

In preparation for the outdoor Corpus Christi procession Sunday evening at the Shrine, some of the Sisters de-petaled the roses to be strewn by flower girls before the Blessed Sacrament. St. Therese had a very apt idea of what 'strewing flowers' meant. For her, that image was one of sacrifice - giving God all the little 'good' that we have (or rather returning what He has given us).  To borrow a phrase from Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, the result is truly 'something beautiful for God.'
The same Jesus is always present ‘here and in all the Churches throughout the world’, exposed in the monstrance, reigning over our world and at the same time present to our problems, the everyday struggles, hopes and fears. And yet on Corpus Christi he ‘comes down’ and literally goes before His people in procession.  Here the faithful can do with their feet what we strive to do in the Christian life – answer the Lord’s invitation to “Follow Me.” As He is carried in procession we can come like Jairus, or the Syrophoenician woman, pleading for the healing of our loved ones or our own hurts. Here He ‘passes by’ calling the Zaccheaus’, the Levis, the Peter and Andrews of today to come to Him.  Like Saul who encountered the same Risen Lord on the road, we can respond in turn, “Lord, what would you have me do?” Corpus Christi is this and so much more. It is a chance for us to make a return of thanksgiving and adoration to the God who has loved us so much as to give us His only Son as our food and our salvation.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Christ In Our Midst

Bishop Baker with Bishop Foley, Abbot Cletus & (now)
Fr. Patrick & Fr. Leonard at the OLAM Jubilee Mass

 So it begins! A new life, a new ministry, a new grace. Congratulations to our MFVA Friars - Fr. Patrick & Fr. Leonard who were ordained to the Priesthood today, and to Br. John Paul & Br. Paschal, now deacons! The Holy Father’s words on the priesthood are most apt on this great occasion:  Ours is an indispensable mission, for the Church and for the world, which demands full fidelity to Christ and in unceasing union with him this to remain in his love means that we must constantly strive for holiness, this union, as did St. John Mary Vianney… To let oneself be totally won over by Christ! This was the purpose of the whole life of St. Paul… this was the goal of the entire ministry of the Holy Cure d’Ars,.. may it also be the principal objective for each one of us. In order to be ministers at the service of the Gospel, study and careful and continuing pastoral and theological formation is of course useful and necessary, but that “knowledge of love” which can only be learned in a “heart to heart” with Christ is even more necessary. Indeed, it is he who calls us to break the Bread of his love, to forgive sins and to guide the flock in his name. For this very reason we must never distance ourselves from the source of Love which is his Heart that was pierced on the Cross.”

             It’s the least we can do, beneficiaries of the mysteries of God given through priests, to ‘make a return’ of some prayers and offerings on their behalf to Jesus Christ, the great High Priest!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Send Forth...

Pentecost has to be one of the most astounding proofs that God works wonders when we are open and ready for whatever He so desires! A handful of questioning, weak disciples, facing their own fears and a nation opposed to their God (sounds too close to home) suddenly changed and transformed into totally free, bold men, eager to proclaim the grace of God ... Having received so much of the truth ourselves, there is every reason to be confident that God can do much more than we imagine – Pentecost is here!
            We were blessed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Our Lady of the Angels on May 19th & 20th – during the Pentecost novena. God has certainly poured out His mercy upon us and countless others who have met Him here. We can’t help but send our gratitude to all of you who have supported and prayed for us over the years. Here are some stanzas from a poem one of our Sisters in formation wrote for the occasion… and of course some photos of these festive days!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Considering the Lilies

The excitement around the monastery is building as the 50th Jubilee approaches! With preparations accelerating for the anniversary Mass and the arrival of our fellow PCPAs from across the USA (and even France!), we thought we'd take a breather and “consider the [Easter] lilies.”

Before this glorious Easter Season concludes it would be very advantageous for us to consider a few of the prominent themes so beautifully weaved throughout the daily liturgy, specifically from the Church's Easter Prefaces. Lines like: “Overcome with Paschal joy” and, “[A] universe cast down is renewed, and integrity of life is restored to us in Christ” - call us to believe with greater pitch in God's plan of salvation for each of us. What this 'new life' means, what it demands, and what it promises, the Liturgy provides us with answers – everyday. It's neat – more than neat, it's incredibly awesome to awake to God's Word & Sacrament, which summon us to a higher, greater life in Him. But this life doesn't negate our personalities or suppress our desires but fulfills us to the brim by bringing us into contact with Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Who “never ceases to offer Himself for us”. There is a reason why the Easter Season is longer than Lent, if only to remind us that eternal gladness awaits us because “the True Lamb Who has taken away the sins of the world; by dying He has destroyed our death, and by rising , restored our life.” Christ gives us new life. The Easter readings, prayers and songs, uncover God's wondrous plan, a plan that cost our Redeemer everything. In response let us sing louder a new alleluia in praise... and be aware of His words.    

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grace in Action

What do I live on? It’s a rather simple question with layers of meaning. Besides the basics of everyday life, those things that motivate us, spur us on, give meaning and impetus to our thoughts, desires, aspirations – what are they? It’s not that complex really.  The answer lies behind who or what is the object of our thoughts and what it is that we seek in interacting with others. What lies behind our motivation for the things we do? 
     It’s always beautiful to witness someone of integrity – with flaws and imperfections to be sure, but nonetheless, living with genuine purpose and for Someone higher than themselves.  Today we give thanks for a community that gives the Word to others, allowing countless souls to live on and in the grace found in the Sacraments.  May 2nd is the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. They certainly take after their foundress, Mother Angelica, in their courage and fidelity in preaching the Gospel - and in fact, living it! Thank you Fathers and Brothers for your countless sacrifices and hours of service to us and all the faithful. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And Many More!!

As Easter soars along with it’s thousands upon thousands of Alleluias, we give a great ‘Alleluia’ for the life we celebrate today, April 20th – Mother Angelica – on her 89th birthday! Her life is sound evidence that God is faithful and that with Him all things are possible (Lk 1:37).  The marvels her Spouse has done through her faith are astonishing and yet their true depth will only be known in eternity where God will be all in all!  As we celebrate with Mother and share laughs & stories, present her with cards, gifts and wishes from friends near and far, we also want to thank each of you who have supported her with your prayers, encouragement and tangible ‘thank-yous!’ Exactly one month from now, on May 19th & 20th we will be rejoicing in a magnificent work of God’s grace and goodness; the 50th anniversary of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, founded by Mother Angelica. From the start, Mother’s own life, intertwined as it is with the history of the Monastery has become an astounding testament to the wonders of God’s love! Happy Birthday to our dear Mother!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Holy Week Schedule

Holy Week Service Schedule

The Shrine will open at 7:30 AM & Divine Office will begin at 7:45 AM during the Easter Triduum  (Thursday, Friday and Saturday)

                               Holy Thursday
     9:00 AM - Confessions
     11:30 AM - Divine Office & Divine Mercy Chaplet
      3:00 PM - Confessions
      5:00 PM - Mass of the Lord’s Supper & Night Prayer   
      Transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to Altar of Repose
                                                 The Shrine will close at 7:00 PM
     Good Friday
10:15 AM - Stations of the Cross (in the Temple)
11:00 AM - Confessions
11:30 AM - Divine Office & Divine Mercy Novena/Chaplet
 3:00 PM - Celebration of the Lord’s Passion & Night Prayer
The Shrine will close immediately following Night Prayer

Holy Saturday
10:00 AM - Confessions
11:30 AM - Divine Office & Divine Mercy
3:00 PM - Confessions
            The Shrine will close at 4:00 PM and reopen at 7:00 PM
            8:00 PM - Easter Vigil Mass
      Easter Sunday
                   Shrine will open at 6:00 AM as usual
  7:00 AM - Easter Sunday Mass - in Upper Church
 10:00 AM - Easter Sunday Mass - in Lower Church
  5:00 PM - Vespers (No Benediction)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Forever Starts Now

Our time here on earth is brief and eternity is forever! The rallies for religious freedom, the vigils, the stand against the HHS mandate which destroys religious liberty, the rights of conscience and in effect – truth - all of this affects each and every person.  Taking part in the battle for “life, liberty and justice for all” is not only possible, but necessary. http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com  Although we won’t be physically present, we will be standing in prayer with all attending the March 23rd rallies across the nation! One day we will stand together before the “throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:3) – now let us stand for the sake of “truth and justice and right” (Ps 45:4). Those are things that last forever.
            “… no matter who you are or what your station in life is, or what century you happen to find yourself in, you are taking part in the only drama there is or has ever been, namely, the drama of good versus evil, or of heaven versus hell; and this drama shows itself in plain acts of courtesy and duty well done and in mighty mysteries like the Passion and Crucifixion…What I do, for example at 11:25 A.M. on this Wednesday here in the library at Forty-Second Street and Fifth Avenue is helping me on toward becoming either a monster or a saint. All of my attitudes and acts find their native air in either hell or heaven…” ~ Thomas Howard

Saturday, March 17, 2012

On Palm Sunday Long Ago...

On Palm Sunday March 18, 1212, the 18 year old Lady Clare secretly left her home by night and made her way to the little Chapel of the Portiuncula. A daring plan was necessary if she was to leave behind a life of nobility to follow Francis and thus began a life “immersed in the poor and Crucified Christ,”(Bl. John Paul II). She set out on  her journey just as the Church was beginning the commemoration of the Passion throughout the world.  This Sunday (18th) marks the 800th Anniversary of St. Clare’s consecration to Jesus Christ. Clare had her hair shorn that Palm Sunday by her spiritual father and guide and was clothed in the tunic of the Lesser Brothers.  Her unhindered generosity never wavered as she gave herself completely to “believing in the Gospel as Francis showed her”(Bl. John Paul II) thus blazing a path of sanctity that her daughters, the Poor Clares still strive to follow today. For Saint Clare and the many Poor Ladies that have preceded us, who gave themselves unreservedly to their Spouse, we give great thanks!! Living according to the Gospel never grows old! Christ never asks something that His grace does not supply … but doesn’t His asking so often surprise us?!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meeting God in Silence

One of the most beautiful aspects of Lent in the monastery is the greater silence that is sought, both exteriorly and interiorly.  Perhaps it may seem like a restrictive practice (in that it takes self control at times), but the reality is quite the opposite. Here’s an excerpt from a recent address by our Holy Father on encountering God in silence. See the link below for the entire text – it’s worth the time to read!!
“ Augustine’s observation forever holds true: Verbo crescente, verba deficient -- “When the Word of God increases, the words of men fail” (cf. Sermon 288; 5: PL 38, 1307; Sermon 120,2: PL 38,677). The Gospels often present Jesus -- especially at times of crucial decisions -- withdrawing alone to a place set apart from the crowds and from his own disciples, in order to pray in the silence and to abide in his filial relationship with God. Silence is capable of excavating an interior space in our inmost depths so that God may abide there, so that his Word may remain in us, so that love for him may be rooted in our minds and in our hearts and animate our lives. The first way, then: to learn silence, [to learn] the openness to listening that opens us to the other, to the Word of God.” Pope Benedict XVI

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winter Resurrection

Love effects resurrection.  The two realities go together.  Like a sunrise that overcomes the night, enlightening the morning sky with color and light, God’s Love pervades even the darkness of sin, encompasses us in our weakness and draws us to Himself. The God who first breathed us into existence is the same Who sacrificed His life on the cross that we might share in His eternal beatitude. We glimpse this truth in the love of spouses or friends, which brings growth and life for the other through the giving of time and self. How much more does the Self-offering of the God-Man, envisaged in His pierced and bleeding Heart, sacrificed for our rebellion against his Love, manifest His power to raise to new life those who know nothing of His Love. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our Mother

Here at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery there exists a true-to-life replica of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.  This quiet haven is a wonderful addition to the Shrine grounds; it is beautifully situated by a flowing river, and moderately hidden from the Castle/gift shop and parking area, providing a locale for prayer and healing.  The lovely trek to Our Lady’s Grotto from the expansive piazza connected to the Shrine, imparts a sense that one is on a momentary pilgrimage.  Our Lady’s words to St. Bernadette, “Would you be so kind as to come here?” draws us to experience our Lady’s tenderness here in the Deep South.  While there may be a few ascetical similarities between our little grotto and the one in France, ultimately nothing could rival the real Grotto at Lourdes.  For truly God’s gentle providence touched Massabielle through the physical appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Her message to pray the Rosary and to do penance for poor sinners should still provoke in us a generous response to her fervent plea.  We are her spiritual children that she painfully labored for at the base of her Divine Son’s Cross.  A mom will always strive to prevent any possible harm great or small in her child’s life.  Even if a tragedy should visit her little one, a mom knows exactly what to do to bring comfort and encouragement.  Often the best form of aid is simply the presence of our mothers.  If this is true in the natural order how much more in the supernatural order.  What happened at Lourdes reminds us that we have a Mother who cares immensely for our needs.  Nothing is too small or insignificant in her eyes.  Our small reproduction here in Alabama of the oval niche in rock where supports the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes presents to our pilgrims a Woman who desires to be with us, and, who ultimately brings us to her Son, Jesus.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Living Consecration

February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation was a day set aside for celebrating the gift of the consecrated life. So for us this was a day of profound gratitude for the gift of our vocations. Sr. Mary John Paul publicly renewed her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for the first time right before receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. Continue to pray for our dear sister as she continues to live out her vows!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Battle Is the Lord's

Today, EWTN  - the Global Catholic Media Network founded by Mother Angelica has responded to the HHS mandate and sued the US government over this blatant violation of the 1st Amendment.  http://www.ewtn.com/hhsmandate/. Please continue to pray, to offer your daily sacrifices and inconveniences for our congress & leaders, for EWTN and all those who are battling against what is intrinsically evil - abortion, contraception and the rejection of conscience. “The battle is the Lord’s.” Those are David’s words as he faced Goliath – the giant who challenged the freedom and existence of the Israelite nation. Today’s assault on religious liberty in the U.S. places us in a like position. As we face this major attack and possible demolition of religious freedom – the ability to live and work according to God-given consciences - we must meet the challenge in faith, taking a stand in every way we can knowing that we fight under Him who conquered sin & death. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Words Can't Say...

Before we launch deeper into the New Year we thought it fitting to look back upon all the gifts and graces of this past year...

Here are some of the many captured moments that still deserve gratitude and praise.

Visits from our foundations: Texas and Arizona