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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Storms across the Country

I am praying for all those who lost homes in the violent storms yesterday. The pictures on the TV showed terrible destruction. May all who are suffering find help and shelter.
In the meantime, we have the preparations for the Super Bowl in a city that was so badly damaged by Katrina and the flooding that it seems a miracle that the city has recovered so much so quickly. However, I know that many are still struggling and perhaps some will never return.
I am off to the University so no more today.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. John Bosco

I did not have devotion to many saints when I was in grade school, but the summer after my seventh grade I went to a Catholic camp for girls that was called Camp Don Bosco. I think that must have been the beginning of my love of this saint who wanted to help children. Then, I was given a holy card with his picture and a tiny relic fixed in the card, or so I seem to remember as I kept it in my missal until I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart. I just always feel that I am with a friend from my childhood every January 31!
Here is a great quote taken from our Constitutions and sent to me today:

“Our union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus
widens our capacity to love and to let ourselves be loved.
It is from Him that we learn
to look upon the world as the work of the Creator’s love,
to love without being possessive,
to be concerned for others
and to be bearers of His life.
In a world where so often love is exploited and devalued,
and many relationships are scarred by deep wounds,
we seek to reveal the strength and tenderness of Jesus’ love for each one.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The cleft in the rock...

Saint Madeleine Sophie loved the Canticle of Canticles. She especially loved the image of the "cleft in the rock" and I do, too. The altar base in the Chapel at St. Thomas University is made of natural rock found and brought from Key West. It has two clefts in the rock that call me to prayer. Here are a couple of quotes from St. Madeleine Sophie:

"Make an empty space before the plenitude in front of the Eucharist. Renew yourself in the wounds of Jesus Christ, expecially in the one on the side; it's ours. Afterwards live a new and joyous life."

"Goodbye, my daughter, I leave you because I am in a hurry. I counted on staying in the cleft of the rock but I have work to do: talk, write, as usual."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Planning Summer

It seems strange to be planning for the summer in January! However, I was told that the plane ticket to San Francisco was not going to get cheaper and would no doubt go up before summer so I bought my ticket to San Francisco with the connection to San Diego and flying home from there. Then I registered for a retreat at my favorite place right on the Pacific ocean in Santa Cruz. Villa Maria del Mar is run by the Sisters of the Holy Names and I have been going there for retreat for over twenty years; with the rise in price, I did not go for retreat the last two summers, but this year I am making a retreat given by a Jesuit from July 17-24 and I have also registered for the Sacred Heart Spirituality Forum which is from July 10-14. I am happy to have all this settled so early. I will now work on saving my money for summer expenses.
Today is the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas and we had a good homily but now I cannot remember much of it. I do know that I love going to Mass after the hour at the gym; some things just feel "right" - I love that and wish I always had the same feeling. I do find myself sensing God's Presence in my day and that is a grace for which I am most grateful.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Rest

I am having a most leisurely Sunday. We do have an area meeting at five this afternoon but I have just been quite lazy today; I read the Sunday papers and then tried to finish a book as well as play some Scrabble and "Words with Friends" on my I-phone, but nothing was really work today. I guess this is a good way to spend Sunday. I usually seem to have something that needs to be done. Actually, I can think of several things I might have done, but just put off until tomorrow!
I liked the reading for this Sunday and feel that Jesus really announced His Mission in the Gospel when, after reading about how the poor are helped, the blind see, etc. He said that this had today been fulfilled. Because He was in his home town, no one could believe in Him. To me, this is really proof of how human Jesus was and how he had grown up seeming like other boys in the town. It must have hurt him to be rejected by those he had known all his life.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Canadian History

One of my community brought home some books about Canada. I am reading one that is "Canadian History for Dummies" and I am fascinated by the story of their beautiful and huge country. I think I will need to plan a trip to Canada next year without fail as I have been wanting to do this for so long. I have frequent flyer miles saved for it, but would love to take the train across Canada, especially after reading how the railroad was built.

For my spiritual reading, I am still with Ilia Delio's book on "Compassion" and think I will also suggest it for our next reflection group book as she has so much to reflect upon in every Chapter. I am finding that unless I really enter into the lives of others, I cannot have compassion. One needs to love as Jesus loves us.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Paul's conversion really changed his life. He met Jesus and could never again be the same person. Instead of persecuting the followers of Christ, he becomes one himself and dedicates his life to teaching others about Jesus and the way of life that Jesus wants us to live.
Paul was a courageous man and never hesitated to do what was right.
He is a good person to pray to today when we are all trying to follow Jesus in a world that is full of temptations; Jesus wanted us to be simple and just to love one another as He loves us.
That may sound simple, but it is hard and we need to work at it all the time.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Feast of St. Francis de Sales

I have always loved this gentle saint. I suppose my having gone to school through sixth grade at the Visitation convent in St. Louis is where I learned to love him. I do not remember ever praying to him until many years later. I read his life and felt that here was a really understanding man who would help anyone spiritually. Here is a good quote to share with you:

If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.”
 St. Francis de Sales quote
True humility is to see yourself in the same way that God sees you; not any more and not any less.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A late Christmas present

Yesterday I received a late Christmas present that I think gave me so much pleasure because it was so thoughtful.
I now have a new flash drive that looks like a green Christmas light that lights up when in use and it holds all of my blogs since 2007 and has still lots of room!! I was so touched by both the thought and the time it took to copy all for me! I guess that was one of the joys of yesterday. I am trying to remember to thank for all the joys of each day, but not writing them all down. It was easy to keep my gratitude journal but I seem to have more trouble now with my new journal; it often just sits on the shelf. Yet, I know it helps me to journal.

I am still reading Ilia Delia's book on Compassion and it seems that everything else I am reading has the same message of loving God by loving others. "Love one another as I have loved you" is said to me by Jesus today and it is the only proof of loving God - love my own weakness so I can accept and love the weaknesses of others.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sharing in Houston

I arrived energized by the sharing of both all the RSCJs who attended the meeting and our Associates. It was great to see so many friends from all over; it was even better to hear how God has been working in each one during the past year. It really gives me energy to hear all the good things we are doing to reveal God's love to others in so many different ways.
We spent most of Saturday sharing, but did have time to hear from two of our Provincial Team who had come  for another meeting,but had to leave on Saturday night. On Sunday we heard more about the work that is being done to further the merger of our Province with Canada. It makes me want to go back and study more Canadian history. I also heard more about the fact that the Bishops of the United States want to feature a different American Saint on their website each month. Philippine Duchesne will be the Saint for February and so I will be sure to remind you with a link before then as I love her and she has been one of the few Saints that I really have prayed to for many years. I was thirteen when I entered high school at the Academy of the Sacred Heart as a weekly border. I had the best of two worlds: home three nights and at school four nights and I loved that, but the first year we were to come in on Sunday evening and I missed my family. I started going to the Shrine in front of the school where Philippine Duchesne was buried. She died in 1852 and was declared "Blessed" by the Church in 1940. We knew her as "Mother" Duchesne and I prayed to her daily. My prayer sometimes was to tell her that since she had founded this school in 1818, now I counted on her help.

Monday, January 21, 2013


In reading Ilia Delio's "Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis", I was struck by the number of ways she defines or describes compassion. I thought you might like to reflect on a few with me:

"Compassion is the shared experience of creaturely life. It unites what is divided and binds together what is otherwise opposed."

Compassion grows out of seeds of love within the human heart. It is born from the deepest center within and unites our deepest selves.

The word compassion has a sense of empathy or sympathy; the word in Tebetqn literally means "noble heart." 

Compassion is the ability to "get inside the skin of another" in order to respond with loving concern and care. It is deep connectedness to another; one breathes in the pain of the other and breathes out compassion.

The compassionate person identifies with the suffering of others in such a way that she or he makes a space within the heart to allow the suffering of another to enter, not to heal them or remove their pain but to be with them in solidarity."

All of these quotes are to be found on p. 47 at the beginning of Chapter Five: Seeds of Compassion. I have marked many more (when I read Delio, I always need a second reading to really mark up my book and I have learned to pause between most of her sentences to think so as to be ready to grasp her next thought.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Awaken your spirit to adventure..:

In front of me there is a poem by John O'Donohue that I copied from our Province website; it is a poem for a new beginning. I am only going to quote the last stanza for your reflection:

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

That should give you something to think about while I am in Houston this week end for our Quad Area meeting.
I will not blog while away so look for me only on Monday. It is Martin Luther King week end, but I will be sharing some thoughts on compassion from Ilia Delio's book. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

National Vocation Awareness Week

Only three days left but I just received this today and it is never too late to pray!!
National Vocation Awareness Week
January 13-19, 2013
An annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promote vocations
to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.

Description: prayer-card-good-shepherd-prayer-for-vocations
Prayer for Vocations

Loving God, we thank you for calling men and women
to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, and consecrated persons.
Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call.
May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth and young adults.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I was trying to publish a comment that I received (normally I do not publish anonymous comments but thought this was one I wanted to comment on so I am trying to copy it here. It is on the Jesu-Maum Prayer which I have talked about in the past as it has helped me so much. You just take a phrase from the Litany of the Sacred Heart and stay with it - you can sit with it in prayer, use it as you walk or drive around, use it while waiting in line or at red lights, or just let it sink in - I, of course, have my favorite choices such as "Love of the Heart of Jesus, inflame my heart."
Here is the comment:

This prayer seems to be a shortcut to the union with Christ. By interiorising the verses of the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus we become more and more able to forget ourselves and the words finally will realize what they express... May many people enjoy this valuable means of union with God. on Jesu-Maum Prayer

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Feeling on top of the world!

What makes you happy? Do you wake up full of joy? Does a picture like this one inspire you? How?

I am finding so many joys in my life and they all make me feel so grateful. Today I will share a very short poem that a dear friend sent me with a gorgeous picture of a robin (I did not copy the robin so use your imagination but he was perched on snow). Wow! I guess the robin came, too, and wanted to appear in this blog!

frosty morning
By Gabriel Rosenstock
(1949 - )
frosty morning
          a robin bares his breast
                    to the whole world

-- from Where Light Begins: Haiku, by Gabriel Rosenstock

/ Photo by ahisgett /

Thought for the Day:
   by Ivan M. Granger
Don't resent the work.
It gives you the strength to stand
whole and silent
before the Mystery.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What do I consider the greatest graces of the past year"

I have been asking myself in prayer about what I consider the most significant graces of the past year; how have I seen God's action in my life? We usually reflect on questions like this to prepare for a short sharing at the Quad Area meeting each January. The four areas - Miami, Grand Coteau, New Orleans, and Houston- have been meeting on Martin Luther King's week end for years just to share what is most important in our lives. Last year we did not meet as we had Province workshops and the Provincial Assembly and so we skipped our meeting and look forward to it this year.
Now, as we are limited in time, what do I really want to share? I am thinking that I found the Psalm from the Concord Pastor's blog that was given to me by my retreat director, has been one of the greatest graces of my year. I begin my prayer thinking "What an amazing grace that Jesus chooses to sit here with me..." I guess it is even more amazing to realize that God is always with me and with everyone and everything! The most transforming book I have read last year was Ilia Delio's "The Emergent Christ" as it made me realize that whatever I do is helping or hindering the evolution of the Cosmic Christ. I have also been enjoying her other books. The third grace is perhaps harder to explain but it has made a big difference in my life. My addiction to playing Scrabble on my Kindle is what keeps me so conscious of this grace. It seems that whenever a word does not work out where I want to play it, I find another spot that is so much better and more valuable; well, that is what I see happening in my own life. Something does not work out the way I had planned or hoped and God shows me a much better way and one that is worth so much more.
Well, now I have shared with you again what is going on in my life - this sharing, which sometimes means I am putting my soul out there for all to read- has also been a grace for me during the past year. I sit down at the computer and the Holy Spirit takes over; at least I think it is the Spirit who inspires the words that seem to flow without my knowing from where they are coming.
I am more convinced than ever that blogging can be a real ministry.
I guess I also want to share about my keeping a gratitude journal for several months last year and now trying to concentrate on joy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baptism of Jesus

We know that Jesus waited in the little town of Nazareth living a normal, human life until he was about thirty years old; I think His mission was only gradually made know to Him and perhaps the scene of His Baptism was the first real manifestation of what He was called to be. It was a Trinitarian experience, but what did Jesus feel as He heard the words: "This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."  After the Baptism, Jesus is devoted to His mission but the Spirit led Him into the desert for forty days where He prayed, fasted, and was tempted. Jesus was like us in all things except sin, as St.  Paul tells us, and so we can be with Him in this Sunday when we also go back to our own Baptism, call, and mission.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What is Prayer?

I have been reading Ilia Delio's book, "Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis" and thought I would share some of her thoughts on prayer found on pp.8-9 as I seem to be drawn back to this part for reflection myself.

"Prayer changes us because it is that deep dialogue with God who is the source of our lives. To pray is to be at home with oneself in the presence of God. It is taking hold of one's life with its flaws, weaknesses, and dreams, and sharing these with God."

"Prayer is becoming conscious of our inner self as the self that belongs to God...."

"To become living prayer is to enter a new place of refuge in God, a place of union in love."

"To enter the heart of God is to enter into a new space and a new relatedness to the world. Time takes on a new dimension because life in God in infinite. As prayer gives birth to the new inner universe, the soul expands in love."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Beauty -Finding God in Creation

I find finding God in the ocean so easy and I know many of us find God in nature. God is everywhere so let us find God today in ourselves, in others, and in creation.
Sorry but that is all I am writing today as I am off to the gym.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Excerpts from Psalm 62 in Nan Merrill's Psalms for Praying:

For You alone my soul waits in silence;
From the Beloved comes my salvation.
Enfolding me with strength and steadfast love,
My faith shall remain firm….
In the Silence rests my freedom and my guidance, for
You are the Heart of my heart,
You speak to me in the Silence.

Trust in Love at all times, O people
Pour our your heart to the Beloved;
Let Silence be a refuge for you. …

Once You have spoken,
Twice have I heard;
Our potential gifts belong to You;
To You, O render to us all that we offer to You—
Fear begets fear,
Love begets love.
For You alone my soul waits in silence;
From the Beloved comes Life, Love and Light.

Psalm 62- According to Nan Merrill


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Imagine what this says to you...

Actually, this is a picture of a very calm ocean at Vero Beach, but when I look at it I immediately say, "God is in his heaven and all's right with the world." I do not know at this moment where that comes from, but I do think some pictures trigger our thoughts without our being able to explain how it happens. I guess I find joy often by just looking at some pictures. I know that pictures of bodies of water - ocean, lakes, streams, ponds, etc. really speak to me.
The Chapter this month for our reflection group is "digging God out." We need to do that and I find that even getting an e-mail from someone so often reveals God to me. Sorry this is late but I have been spending hours waiting at two different hospitals yesterday and today  and hospitals make me feel so grateful that I am able to go home. I would never be able to work full time in a hospital and admire those who do and remain cheerful!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How Do You Use Your Imagination?

Since I was quite small, I have been aware of the gift of my imagination. I can create my own fantasy without effort. I have a vivid imagination that sees images in color and can conjure up a castle or a cabin in less than a second; then I want to keep imagining the details of my colorful and very real image. I have great faith in my imagination and feel that all of us cultivate the gift of imagination more than we realize.

Now, the imagination helps me to pray. It can create a quiet, peaceful spot inside of me that not only puts me in touch with God, but lowers my blood pressure and adds to my well-being. When I go to just have a quiet time with Jesus, I often imagine a scene where I am with Him or even in His Heart. Now, I think others do the same, but sometimes we are not aware of how often we use our imaginations to help us even to pray.

Last week, when I went to the Church in the early afternoon to see their fantastic nativity setting with the complete town of Bethlehem, I was the only one there. I crept into the last bench and just sat there with the Lord, aware of the sun coming through the blinds, the quiet of the huge church with the altar so distant yet so imposing. Now, I had a good experience of prayer being there alone with Jesus and this week I keep seeing the same setting when I begin prayer and the grace of that moment seems to return as it helps me to deepen the experience by seeing the spot where I was praying. That is one way the imagination helps me to pray.

Of course, I can also picture the scenes in the Gospel but must confess that I had to work at this for quite some time; when I was a very young nun, I had a superior who was an artist and who told me to try to see the colors in all the Gospel scenes. At first I found this a bit difficult, but now I have an imagination that can easily see the color of everything.
That is enough to reflect on now and I am late in posting this blog, but at least it is getting posted by afternoon!

Monday, January 7, 2013

What am I following?

This morning, I asked myself what star I was being called to follow this year. I know I was inspired to make this a year of joy so think that the name of my star is JOY! But then I asked myself what does this mean now in my daily life? How does it influence my choices, my use of time, my efforts to keep relationships, and, above all, how is this star of joy leading me to Jesus?

Whatever your star, perhaps you want to ask the same questions or maybe you are wondering when your star will appear? Maybe you were following it and it seems to have hidden itself. Life is full of surprises because God is acting in my life now and His ways are mysterious. I can only follow and adore.


I was so glad to find this picture of stars in the shape of a Heart. I guess I am reflecting on stars because of the Feast of the Epiphany. Benedict XVI ordained four new bishops yesterday and here is a short excerpt from his homily:
The Wise Men followed the star, and thus came to Jesus, to the great Light which enlightens everyone coming into this world (cf. Jn 1:9). As pilgrims of faith, the Wise Men themselves became stars shining in the firmament of history and they show us the way. The saints are God’s true constellations, which light up the nights of this world, serving as our guides. Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Philippians, told his faithful that they must shine like stars in the world (cf. 2:15).

Let us pray to shine like stars in the world!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Feast of the Epiphany

This Feast has been big since we started celebrating Christmas and it is connected also to the Baptism of Jesus and the Marriage Feast at Cana. All are manifestations of the divinity of Christ. I guess I just love the story of the wise men; I know that we have no idea of how many wise men there were; I have read that they needed to travel with many others and that is why it took time to organize their journey and so they arrived months after the birth of Jesus. We do not really know much about them, but the story fascinates me as I think we can all identify with them on our own spiritual journey to find Christ, to adore Him, and to give ourselves to Him.
Happy Feast!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Coming of the Magi

The three wise men had followed the star with wonderful faith and courage. It was a long and difficult journey and then they had lost sight of the star and had to go and ask for help. I was thinking that their journey had to have been made at night so they could see the star. All of this has an application to our own spiritual journey. We need to keep on; I love the fact that they teach us to be alert first of all to see what God is calling us to - we are all on a journey and each is led by God. The wise men not only saw the star, they left there homes to follow it. We need not only to be attentive to God's call, but have the courage to follow it. After the uncertainty caused by losing sight of the star, their joy was greater when they again found it leading them to Jesus. They were happy to offer their gifts to the Infant and to acknowledge His kingship. Then they were warned to return by another route for no one encounters Christ and then returns by the same way. We are changed.
We had the custom of drawing "stars" - virtues really or maybe the fruits of the Spirit- on Epiphany. I shall prepare some for my community tomorrow and I am also adapting a tradition I found in a parish bulletin of going to each part of the home and saying a prayer to bless all the words and actions in that room during the year. I like the idea and so will do this with my community.
We had to take down all our Chrisstmas decorations this morning but I still have my little Infant Jesus in my room and a picture of a little child piping a song of joy to the Infant and will keep them out until February 2. We are still playing Christmas music.

Friday, January 4, 2013

First Friday

Today, I left the gym class a few minutes early saying to a friend that it was First Friday and I needed to go early to church to get a parking place. She immediately wanted to know what was different about First Friday. How to explain quickly about Our Lord appearing to St. Margaret Mary, showing her His Heart and asking that all would go to Mass and Communion on the first Friday of each month. From this, as devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus spread, came the devotion to receive Communion on the "First Friday" and the noon Mass at the church I go to is usually well attended on week days, but on the First Friday of each month, the parking lot overflows. After the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration. I am amazed at the number of people who stay and really pray. Anyway, I am quite late in writing my blog today and thought I would just say something about the First Friday devotion. It was and is a special day in all of our schools.