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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

This was such a fun day when I was a child. I am not sure that I realized it was important as the eve of the Feast of All Saints but we did have a holy day so we went to Mass and not to school. Now, a Holy Day of Obligation seldom is celebrated during the week and when it is, schools arrange for Mass but no holiday. However, my memories of Halloween are all good and lasted until I entered. I cannot remember doing anything for Halloween as a novice.
What are my best memories? The Halloween parties. I do remember going out to gather candy but most of the fun was in being with my friends.
Now the eve of all saints is a remembering of so many of my family and friends who are now enjoying God as saints, happy for all eternity but still interested in our well being. I celebrate all the saints, but especially those closest to me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Snow Scene in Canada

As the storm hits the northeast and continues to cause loss of power, flooding, and even snow, we pray for all those suffering from its effects. Florida had damage because of the flooding due to full moon, higher tides, and the hurricane all combining to wreck havoc on our coast, but we missed the strength of a hurricane and I think God has heard the prayer that is said at every Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle where we ask protection from storms.
Thinking about Canada, I suspect they are used to heavy snows and long winters. I am finding that I really know so little about our neighboring country and have a desire to learn more. Maybe I will write to one of my RSCJ friends in Canada to get more information to share here.
As for a more spiritual reflection for today, I can only quote from Ilia Delio's "Ten Evenings With God" as I have finished it and now will no doubt need to go through it a second time. The second evening is on Prayer. She says:

"Prayer is about God and our relationship with God....We long for God because we are created by God and this longing is both the source of our hope in God and the very thing we resist. Prayer is an awakening to the fact that the fulfillment of my life lies in God."
"God delights in creation and loves each of us with a personal love. Prayer, therefore, is God's desire to breathe in me, to be the spirit of my life, to draw me into the fullness of life. When I pray-- when I breathe with God-- I become part of the intimacy of God's life."

May we all find time for prayer and really be part of the intimacy of God's life! I suspect we are and do not know this. God is closer to the real me than I am to myself!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Canada, we love you!

Yesterday we had a lovely prayer service via PowerPoint and then a teleconference for the entire United States Province and Canada. We are definitely merging with Canada and may be one Province by next July. I am very happy about this and so glad that I did at least visit Halifax one summer. I would love to go back and really get to know their beautiful country and have had that desire for some summers. I did visit Toronto one year and also Vancouver, but have always wanted to ride the train across Canada. I am afraid it is too expensive, but at least now we will have our Canadian Sisters closer to us when we are one Province. The Canadians were novices with us so I do know some and then several have been coming to our meetings or visiting and that has been so helpful for all of us. I believe there are only about 19 left in their Province so the merger will take place with only a small ripple among us, but I am so happy about this.
I will be using some Canadian scenes in my blog this week. I should also add the link to their website. The first foundations in Canada were all made from the United States and they love Reverend Mother Hardey as we do.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jesus Cures the Blind Beggar

Jesus was passing by and the beggar heard the people say that Jesus was now going past and he immediately begins to cry out, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me." The crowd around him tries to silence him but he calls out even louder and Jesus hears him and calls out asking that the beggar be brought to him. Then Jesus says, "What do you want me to do for you?" A key question He asks each of us.
Here is the last bit of a commentary from the Online NCR that I find helpful: Jesus was always talking about the kingdom and trying to get us to see that the kingdom is here; he said that the

"kingdom is close at hand, right before our eyes. God is working effectively in our everyday lives -- something most people never seem to notice. They presume God is securely ensconced in heaven, not active here on earth. That’s why Jesus demands a repentance of those who receive this good news. They must go through a metanoia, a complete change of their value system.
Notice what Jesus says to Bartimaeus. We’d logically expect him to command, “Receive your sight!” or something similar. But instead, he simply tells him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
In a sense, Jesus is saying, “I don’t have to give you your sight; your faith has already done that. Faith in me enables you to see what I see.”
Mark provides us with a glimpse of the perfect disciple. Bartimaeus, Mark tells us, “followed him on the way.” That way leads to Jerusalem, to suffering, death and resurrection.
Whoever thought a blind beggar would actually show us what to pray for? It’s all a matter of noticing what’s before our very eyes.
[Roger Vermalen Karban is a priest of the Belleville, Ill., diocese and pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Renault, Ill.]

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kindness gives us peace and joy

I have just written a thank you note to a dear friend who went out of the way to shop for, buy, and send a gift she knew I wanted for my community. I then remembered so many acts of kindness through the years. It only takes a few minutes sometimes to do something kind; sometimes we are spontaneously kind to each other and look for ways to give joy; at other times, it requires effort and thought on our part but it is well worth the trouble. I do not forget the many kind words, deeds, and attentions that I have received. Now I am remembering so many and thanking again for them and praying for the kind person who befriended me. Sometimes it was just someone who took the time to listen to me; other times have been words of encouragement, acts of thoughtfulness, or just a hug.
We all need affection.
When I was a novice, there was a happy, holy older Religious in charge of the vestry who was there every afternoon in case a novice had a need such as extra handkerchiefs, or whatever. I used to go by to see her almost every afternoon. She would say to me in a cheerful voice, "Well, and what do you need today?" And I would answer, "Just a hug!" And she would give me a big hug (she was a big person as well as bighearted) and I would go on my way happy to have received this mark of love as I missed the affection that I had taken for granted at home. I often thought that she might have saved my vocation.
Let us find some way to show kindness to others today and feel God's peace and joy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane "Sandy"

Miami has been so fortunate for five years now and have not had serious damage from hurricanes. However, the threat is always present and the hurricane season does not end until the end of November. I feel for the poor countries who are in the path of so many hurricanes. Haiti is one of the places where not only lives are lost but people are left without shelter and so many are without food and water. We are having a rainy, windy day and many schools are closed but the fear is further north as "Sandy" seems to be an unpredictable storm.
In the meantime, I am home and save and wanting to stay here.
I was thinking again this morning how grateful I am for my many friends and wondering if I pray enough for all the people God has put into my life. I find that relationships continue to grow in importance as I grow older; I look around me and see that many of my friends have gone to God. It is a day to reflect on how prepared I am to die.
What might I want to do today if I knew death was near?
In the meantime, let us pray for all who are suffering from Hurricane Sandy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Be joyful!

This is an image of joy! I prefer children laughing or the serene contentment on the face of so many of our older Religious, but joy is everywhere. I think life is too short to miss a day of joy. Sometimes we need to have a trunk full of joyful moments and take out these memories if the day is gloomy. I always remember Christmas mornings as such joyful times. I suspect my parents created these moments for us to remember always.

I do not know what started this reflection today but St. Paul did tell us to rejoice - "Rejoice always, again I say rejoice!" God loves a cheerful giver; He made us to be happy. Let us smile and remember our joys today and say  thank you to God for making each new day a joyful one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Joy of Discovery

I found this picture in my files under the title of "Joy of Discovery" - I suspect I may have named it and then forgotten what a lesson children teach us with their wonder and joy as they discover something new! I need to cultivate that same wonder and joy as I look around me and find so many new things in my life each day. I want to be able to thank for even the small things and feel wonder each time I look at the sky, a child, the ocean.

I went to a meeting up in north Hollywood this morning and thought I would go look at the ocean as I was really quite near and knew where I could find a parking place, too. However, I stayed in the house and found God in listening to others, even though the meeting did not really take place as scheduled. I find that friends give me such joy.
This afternoon I went to the door and found a package mailed to me by one of my friends and I was so touched. We have known each other since grade school and she heard me mention that I wanted to get a set of matching stainless steel place settings for my community and she went and bought us a whole set! I just feel grateful that she was so thoughtful as I never expected this gift. Sometimes God surprises me in so many lovely ways and I am sure that he does this for each of us.
May each of you be filled with wonder and gratitude. Then we will all rejoice in this beautiful world.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gratitude is a way of life

When I first started my gratitude journal, I had to stop to think about what I wanted to thank for after the day was over. Now, I have so many things to thank for that my pen just runs down an entire page when I look back on the previous day. I find myself beginning prayer by using my gratitude journal to thank for all that I received from the Lord the day before and then thank for all that is to happen today. I try to be very concrete and seldom have thanked for the same thing twice as I have so many things that make me want to show my gratitude in all that I do. I think it is becoming a way of life for me and being grateful seems to increase my joy.
Just to look at the picture above fills me with both gratitude and joy. Now that I am in Miami I realize how often I took the beautiful colors of autumn for granted! I guess that is true about so many things in my life so now I rejoice in being able to thank for them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"the best is always hidden"

Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of Reverend Mother Stuart in 1914 and here is a quote from her posted by Margaret Wilson:

"We ourselves know the best and worst of ourselves, and others know the middle...the part that shows. It ought to increase our reverence for each other very much when we think that however much good we see in others the best is always hidden." Janet Stuart

Janet Stuart was a Religious of the Sacred Heart who lived out charism and influence many as Mistress of Novices, as Vicar of England, and as Mother General. She gave us a wonderful example by her life and her writings of what a Sacred Heart educator could be and the good that we can do even today as we follow her in fidelity to God in all things. She is a real model for us. I am always amazed at the amount of work she was able to accomplish even while traveling around the world visiting our convents. She wrote so many wonderful letters, plays, poems, and books. She managed to find time for reading and profited even if it was just five minutes. I have read "The Life and Letters of Mother Janet Erskine Stuart" countless times and always find new things to admire about her and new inspiration for my own life.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"What would you have me do for you?"

This picture is one artist's idea of Jesus on the shore with breakfast ready to serve to his apostles who have been fishing all night and caught nothing. They are tired and discouraged until Jesus calls to them and tells them to let down their nets another time; they do it and the net is suddenly filled with fish.
Now, what does this have to do with this Sunday's Gospel? I was struck with the ambition of John and James who want to ask Jesus to favor them. When they approach Jesus, He asks them, "What would you have me do for you?" I think He asks us this same question and hopes that we will want what He wants - God is love and wants us to love one another as He loves us. I think we need to find ways of expressing our desire to grow in love each day - love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self for we are the dwelling place of God.

I am loving Illia Delio's "Ten Evenings With God" and started thinking of what I would choose to write about if I had "Ten Mornings with God"? Of course, the truth is that I have every morning with God and again I am back to the gift of my retreat and realize what an amazing grace it is that Jesus chooses to sit with me every time I am in prayer!! He also chooses to sit with you, so let Him. He wants us to allow Him to love us!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mater's Feast

I have just discovered this lovely song on a blog that I am now trying to add to my blog as it is from the President of the AASH ( AASH President and has interesting information; the song is for Mater and I love it so I am sharing it with you:


What are you thinking Mater – 
Your eyes looking down in a morning prayer.
Do you still hear the sound of angel voices –
Can you hear the sound of angel wings?
God’s light shines through you, O favored one.
And you reflect all of the glory of the Lord.
Your soul rejoices in God your Savior –
In God your Savior.
What are you thinking Mater?
Your eyes looking down in an evening prayer.
Are you thinking of the child to come –
Emmanuel – the Messiah.
Do you see the sword that will pierce your heart?
And do you see the many roads that you will walk?
Do you see a cross upon a lonely hill?
And can you see Resurrection?
Oh, can you see into the Resurrection?
What are you thinking Mater –
Your eyes looking down in a morning prayer.
Do you still hear the sound of angel voices?
Can you hear the sound of angel wings?

Written by Annette (Sam) Nalle Kauffman ~ alumna of Forest Ridge
ths blog is

Friday, October 19, 2012

Saturday is the Feast of Mater

I am writing to remind all the alums of the Sacred Heart that we have a special feast to celebrate on Saturday.
Mater is dear to us as she is our very own picture of Our Lady when still a young girl. I had the joy of spending five months taking care of the chapel with the original fresco painting of Mater in the niche at the Trinite dei Monte in Rome. On her feast day, priests came from very early in the morning to say Mass at the altar in front of the miraculous picture and beg graces from her. She has always been a source of help for the children of the Sacred Heart and so we celebrate her feast with great gratitude and joy.
Here is a quote I copied from a reflection on Mater by Sister Muriel Cameron; she is urging us to listen to Mater and gives this quote from Sophie:

In 1853, twelve years before her death, St. Madeleine Sophie wrote, “But at least we must unite
solitude to the work we do, and counter this whirlwind with a deep cavern where the soul can take
refuge as often as possible. For this cavern in the rock is the Heart of Jesus.”

Mater, our mother, will teach us how to enter deep into the cavern in the rock - deep into the Heart of Jesus!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I am reading Ilia Delia's "Ten Evenings With God" and finding it a helpful book; her "The Emergent Christ" and the earlier book, "The Evolution of Christ" were deep, transforming books for me as Ilia combines her  knowledge of religion and science, but "Ten Evenings With God" is, at least so far, an easy read with my pen underlining a great many sentences as I read about prayer, desire, and the need for our relationship with God to be so deep and intimate that we know what God wants us to choose. I am liking the book, but only have read less than a third of it. She is going to speak at a Spirituality Forum we are having in California next July and I look forward to meeting her.
I was back at the gym yesterday and then to noon Mass and it felt good to be back into my normal schedule. I will be at the University for Mass and faith-sharing today.
Here are my quotes from St. Madeleine Sophie  to reflect on today:
"You will find everything in the Heart of Jesus opened for us, let us go to draw the strength and courage we need."

"You may be perfectly sure that you will find in the Heart of Jesus an inexhaustible spring of strength, grace, comfort."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Interior Spirit

I gave a class at the University last night on "The Art of Contemplative Listening" and that has led me to think of some quotes to share with you from St. Madeleine Sophie on "interior spirit"- I think the Holy Spirit made this connection for me. Sophie said many things about how necessary interior spirit was for each of us. I am going to give you a few of the quotes that are not the ones most quoted from her but they are speaking to me today:

Interior spirit - "It is the intimate union of our souls with God."

"An interior person, concentrated in Him whom she loves, makes of God her life, her good, her all."

"Interior life is the first need of our heart and only God's glory and the zeal for souls should distract us from it; even in the midst of external work, we should be attracted to union with Him. Thus, whatever we do will be sealed by his grace and we will be able to communicate to others the Spirit of God that we possess."

"Interior persons are the most joyful..."

 Let us all pray to become interior persons!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Autumn relected in my soul

As I looked at this beautiful picture, I felt that it seemed to say something to me about my own soul. I am definitely in the season of autumn; nine RSCJs who were known and loved by me, have gone to God in less than two months! That does make me stop and think that there is a time when leaves fall, trees seem to be dying as winter approaches. However, there is a time for everything and most of our trees soon are able to withstand the winter months and appear in new glory in the Spring! I am not sure how all this applies to my soul, but feel that it is good to let go even as the leaves appear to be most beautiful as they turn into scarlet and gold; let them fall, clear out the clutter that accumulates quickly in souls who are not attentive to raking up the dead leaves and throwing them into a bonfire. I guess I am trying to houseclean both my inmost dwelling as well as my closets and files. Why do I let things collect? In the meantime, I am enjoying the changing season in my soul even if Miami does not really have gold and scarlet leaves blowing around at this time of year.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Autumn has arrived!

Miami really does not have four seasons and I miss the changing color of the trees and the raking of leaves; it was cool enough before I left St. Louis to have the trees suddenly display their gorgeous colors.
I am going to share with you the thought that keeps coming back to me since my retreat and that is how really amazing it is that Jesus is with me always and wants to be with me; He is present, He is concerned about me; He loves me. And, of course, He is just as present to each one I know and He loves each of us unconditionally and wants to be with us. He waits for us to turn to Him. He desires our attention. And what can I do for Jesus? I guess it is mostly to allow Him to love me and to try to give His love to others. Let us thank Him for wanting to sit with us each day and ask Him to inflame our hearts with gratitude and love!
Happy Feast of St. Teresa!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

An Inspired Way to Thank

First, I am using this Head of Christ because it resembles one that was given to me as a reward at St. Charles and hung in my bedroom and it was one of those pictures where Christ always seemed to be looking at me. Now I know that Jesus is not only able to see me, but that we are united and so I rejoice in the fact that I am never without God, God's love, and God's help!
I woke up yesterday and felt inspired and want to pass this on to you as it is a great way to express gratitude. Someone very generously sent me a book that will be very valuable in my research and I woke up trying to think of a way to thank her for this really great gift. I had the idea of making a bookmark that is now in the book so that every time I go to the book I can begin with a little prayer asking God to bless her and her family and to "inflame us all with the love of the Heart of Jesus." I just wonder why I have not thought of something like this before as I am a compulsive reader and usually have bookmarks in several books that I am reading - I can say a short prayer each time I open the book!! I am sorry that I never had the inspiration to make bookmarks to remind me to pray but, of course, I have often used a prayer for a bookmark - anyway, I am happy with this help for prayer!!
I am trying to prepare a class for the Spiritual Direction Formation Program at St. Thomas University for this Monday night. I began the Program in 1987 and taught it for years; I am just so happy that it is able to continue with a new coordinator for the three years. I am to talk on the  Art of Contemplative Listening and so spent some time this morning deciding on an outline and some contemplative listening exercises. Now I am off to grocery shop as we will be having our Provincial and a team member visiting with us this week and I made an offer to cook a dinner for our area and guests for Tuesday night and now must plan a bit for that. I cannot imagine ever being bored or not having a thousand things to do.
Mostly I am grateful for the health to do all that I do and to continue to be useful to others.
Here are a couple of quotes from St. Madeleine Sophie for reflection today- both on humility:
"Meekness and humility must become our virtues. They must be engraved in us. They must circulate through our veins. We will never be wholly united to the Heart of Jesus, as deep as He wants, if we do not have in ours the attration to and the practice of humility. I would like it tatooed on me with a stylus of fire."

"May you all belong to God and your attitudes be built on humility which is the virtue most dear to the Heart of Jesus."

Those are strong quotes. I think a grateful heart is a humble heart and that humble people are grateful people.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Back to the Blog and full of Joy!

It has been a bit more than a two week vacation from my blog! I did arrive home on Wednesday night after a wonderful two weeks in St. Louis, but I only had time to unpack before I went to the University on Thursday. We had our reflection group that night and yesterday I tried to get through pages of e-mail and a large pile of snail mail. However, I am really glad to be back on the blog and able to chat with all of you.
The trip was a wonderful experience and I felt that God was with me every minute making all things work out so everyone said that our 60th reunion from Maryville exceeded our expectations. Having the use of the cottage behind our school in St. Louis made a big difference. Five of us who went to New Orleans together as Freshmen in 1949 were able to stay there and host all the St. Louis alums from our class at a real "hen" party on Thursday evening. (I may have to explain what a hen party is to modern readers - it means we only ask women)
On Friday we sat around and talked and caught up with each other until it was time to go to the President's Reception at Maryville University. That and the luncheon, Mass and class dinner on Saturday were better than ever and we had two large round tables at the luncheon - good for the class of 1952 as many  have gone to God. On Sunday, some of us went for a wonderful tour of St. Philippine's room, the shrine, and background history of the convent before going to lunch together. It was all just fun and we did enjoy each other so much. I guess we also realized that this may be the last time many of us will see each other and so that made our time together special.
After that, a couple of us stayed in the cottage until Wednesday and visited one who was in a nursing home and the husband of another and had more time for talking; then I said good-bye to the last and rented a car for the week so I could go work in the archives. I stayed at two different communities in St. Louis which was fun as I was able to be with more Religious of the Sacred Heart. I was able to get quite a bit of research done and hope to start writing maybe even today!!
I only touched a computer once during the two weeks!! Now, I shall begin reflections tomorrow and need to say that I have kept my gratitude journal everyday and it has been so easy!
Here is a quote for the day:
The decisive moment in each life comes when we understand that what matters is not our love for God, but rather God's unconditional love for each one of us." (Helen McLaughlin RSCJ, 1981)