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Sunday, November 29, 2015

First Sunday of Advent

The word "Advent" comes from "Adventus", coming, and is about the coming of Christ. The Advent wreath began in homes and then was adopted by Churches. One candle is lit each Sunday and the third week has a rose colored candle, reminiscent of the third Sunday of Lent where we celebrate joy - here the joy is that Christ is soon to come. The purple candles have a double significance: it is the color associated with Kings and also with penance. People used to fast during Advent but that changed through the centuries. In the sixth century, a more formal season of Advent began to take shape. By sanctioning the practice of fasting and by encouraging churches to devote several Sunday sermons to the subject of Christ’s birth, Pope Gregory I (in office from 590-604 AD) has been credited with establishing the first clear form of an Advent season. However, Gregory granted “a certain latitude to the several churches as to the manner of [Advent’s] observance.” Thus, for the next several centuries, the traditions of individual churches varied widely.
In regard to the length of Advent, by the 10th century, most churches recognized the season to include the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. If Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday, it was considered the fourth Sunday. Or rather, the first Sunday since “these Sundays were then counted inversely, that is, the nearest to Christmas was called the first Sunday, and so on with the rest.”

Happy, holy Advent!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Preparing for Advent

One of the things I love and had almost forgotten about are the low stone fences throughout the Northeast countryside. I am still going over the gorgeous scenes I saw both from driving in Westchester County and from the airplane as we seem to have flown low over many towns and cities and the view was spectacular from the window of the plane. I do not fly often at night and so had forgotten how magical our cities look from the air at night. Just before we reached the Westchester airport on Sunday night, there was a deep red lighting up all the wooded area as the sun was setting. I am grateful for such beauty and plan to find a reason to visit in the Northeast again next year.

Now, I am sure we are wanting to spend the four weeks of Advent in some way that pleases the Lord and, of course, that may be very different for each one of us. My November leaflet from "Friends of Silence" has just come and begins by reminding me that Advent is a time of waiting and a time of preparing. "It is a season for contemplating who we are, how we fit into the world, and what we hope for its future."

Whatever we decide to do to prepare for Christmas, I do hope we find some time for silence. The Holy Spirit will show us how to please Jesus during this season of Advent that is so important for our own interior life. Jesus is always with us, but I am so often insensitive to his presence that I need Advent to awake from my slumber!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day After Thanksgiving

This picture conveys a sense of relaxing at home in the intimacy that comes from just sitting with Jesus. I guess it is a picture that says different things to each of us. I think it is one that creates the right mood for me to go from the feast of Thanksgiving to the First Sunday of Advent. That is a strange statement perhaps so let me try to explain what I think I mean. This entire Thanksgiving week is full of memories and gratitude and joy because I love being home and able just to be concerned about making the home a cheerful and prayerful place. Now, Advent is all about preparing a home in my heart for Jesus. He is coming again and welcomes our efforts to prepare  - we need to declutter our hearts as well as our homes. I am going to have a " give away " with some of my spirituality groups. I have many small objects that have been given to me over the years and I think they would be good stocking stuffers for some of those who have families with children. Last week I managed to give away all my stuffed animals and I had quite a collection as they accumulated over the past thirty years in Miami. I have also started a lending library for spiritual books with three of the groups as I have quite a collection. I find myself more attached to the books I have than anything else.                 
As you can see, I am preparing ahead of Sunday and trying to let the Spirit show me how I am to live this Advent and give joy to Jesus. I usually write Christmas cards before Advent, but not this year so I will try to have them done by December 8th.
Asking the Holy Spirit to come show me what I need to do is a priority as I prepare for Advent. I hope you are doing the same.
I had the thought this morning that I have lived in about 20 different houses of the Society of the Sacred Heart for at least a few months. I guess that is not many since I entered 65 years ago.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you most thankful for today? Health, home, friends, family, food, football, fun, ???
I am always grateful for my vocation to the Society of the Sacred Heart and grateful for the continual graces I receive from the Heart of Jesus. I am grateful for this wonderful world of ours with all the different kinds of weather, flowers, trees, etc. When I was in Chile. at that time, we did not see much green grass. It was not usual for the places where we lived to have grass or even any kind of lawn. Now I have been living for almost thirty years in Miami where all is green all year! And I take it for granted so often. The same for all that was listed above. The football crept in because my brother was born on Thanksgiving and he watches multiple football games at the same time! It is good to just stop and spend time in thanking for all we have received.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Are you interested?

Beyond our local community and expanded community, there is the option of forming a "Community of Choice". These communities are composed of RSCJs either within a region or across regions who choose to connect on a regular basis to reflect together for the sake of life and ministry. The ways suggested are by phone or video conferencing. These ways do not appeal to me and I think it would be much simpler for me to form a small community of choice that would meet by e-mail and always reply to all - I guess we could also set up a "list-serv" but e-mail groups are so easy to do and manage. I am going to be looking for about five RSCJs who want to share deeply on the interior life we are leading. I am  convinced that if we learn how to reflect and share what is going on in our interior lives, we build a caring, supportive community. I would not start this group until February and would hope each would want to share weekly for the first three months and then we would just check in with each other monthly. If you are interested in this type of community of choice, please let me know.
 Actually, I have six communities that I think are also communities of choice and five of these meet here monthly with me and one that meets weekly at the University - all are life-giving for me, but I would love to have a group of Religious of the Sacred Heart who are interested in reflecting and sharing on our interior life. It is a way to get in touch and deepen our Sacred Heart spirituality which expresses itself in so many ways today. It is our interior life and influences our exterior lives and ministries. Once we begin to reflect on all that happens interiorly, we see that our interior life is even more interesting than our exterior.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Of this and that

It was wonderful to have real autumn weather in New York State and the drive to the Mariandale Retreat House was lovely. I only realized on Saturday morning that I had a lovely view of the Hudson River from the window of my room. There was not much free time to enjoy walking outside, but it just felt good to be out in the crisp air. It was getting colder on Sunday! Now I am back in the sunshine of Miami and perhaps I will even manage to get in the pool this afternoon. Since we arrived after 1:00 AM because the plane had been delayed, I woke up at 6:00 and promptly went back to sleep until eight.
I wrote a long blog about the week end and then lost it because I was interrupted and had not saved it. Now I will just say that we worked very hard, had video connection with the other two regions who were also working on organization and excellent presentations were made by our Provincial and the Team. I do think that the Health and Wellness presentation could have addressed the issue of persons with disabilities as I think that is a topic that is needed both for those who are living with someone with a disability (sight, hearing, mobility) and for the persons to understand how they are accepting, coping, and what helps and hinders them so that they are assets to a community and not an obstacle.

I did not write that last sentence in the blog I lost so I will stop now; I will leave it as I hope it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow I will go back to speaking about the three kinds of community: local, expanded, and of choice. That is what I lost!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Late Plane so early morning arrival

We arrived home from a very wonderful, busy week end with over sixty RSCJs present. We spent some time in prayer, but we had to work on how we would organize ourselves as an Eastern region. Our plane was late so we really only arrived home after one o,clock this morning. There was no traffic so that was something to be grateful for as our streets are so clogged with cars all day long.
It was so good to see so many friends but I realized again that I have not lived with most of those present and so it was a joy to share our lives. We were six or seven at each table for all the discussions and I was delighted to discover so many gifts in the six at my table and in the entire group.

Think to thank for....

Monday before Thanksgiving is always busy. We arrived home safely last night and have many good memories from out week end. I will be sharing my own impressions with you tomorrow. Today let us spend in thanksgiving for the many, many graces we are given each day. We are quite aware is something hurts but what about getting up and saying, "Thank You, Lord, that I can get up, I can stand, I can walk, I can use my arms, my hands, my feet, etc. We begin to take so much for granted until something does not work. I expect the light will turn on when I push the switch; do I thank for the great gift of electricity that allows me to read after the sun goes down? For that matter, do I remember to thank for the sun, the moon, the stars? And what a gift to have eyes to see, and ears to hear, and the ability to speak and communicate and form relationships, etc. There is so much to thank for at every minute of our day.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christ, the King

Today is the Feast of Christ the King. We celebrate this Feast now on the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year. Christ came to reveal God to us and to preach about the Kingdom of God. We now talk more about furthering the reign of God. Our meek and humble Jesus is also honored under the title of "Christ, the King". 

Jesus did not claim this title for Himself. His Kingdom is not in this world. He did show a passion for the reign of God. I wonder how many of us really have that passion? Maybe we need to recall the famous meditation of St. Ignatius when we are asked to pledge ourselves to follow Christ in humble service. They will be a legion of humility, armed only with truth.

It is this king who in Ignatius's Exercises, before the great meditations on Advent and Christmas, asks of us not quivering fright, but union of hearts. He wants us to enter into his life, as he desires to enter ours. He has come to be with us so that we might be with him. Rather than obsequiousness, this king demands love, the "earnest desire and choice" to be together with him, no matter what.

The quote is from Father John Kavanaugh, S.J.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Living Water

I am tempted to leave you with just this picture to reflect upon today. Use your imagination and create a meditation or a fantasy exercise for yourself.

We all are called to be aware of the life of God dwelling in us. It is a wonderful truth and yet one that is hard to grasp. It seems too good to be true - God dwells in me!

I need to cultivate an awareness of this amazing grace. And, not only does God dwell in me, but I am in God!

Today we celebrate the 215 years since the birth of the Society of the Sacred Heart. The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple is one that we love. I am glad I will be celebrating it with many RSCJs in our Eastern region.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Inspired by the Holy Spirit?

The fruits of the Holy Spirit keep coming to mind and I think that I am really looking to see how open I am to each of these and what I can do to help these fruits flourish in my heart and the hearts of others.
The first fruit is that of love. We grow in love when we grow in knowledge. I go back to John of the Cross and think that if we "love where there is no love, we will find love." God is love and we are called to live in love.
The next fruit is joy and this is one that is very important for me as I have been called to live in joy and give joy to Jesus. When I am grateful, I am also joyful.
Then there is the fruit of peace. Jesus was one who wished peace to all. I find that when I have love and joy in my life, I also have peace.
You can go on through the entire list of the fruits of the Holy Spirit given by Paul in Galatians, 5: Patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and some translations have a few more good virtues listed as fruits of the Holy Spirit. The point is that we should all be striving to use these fruits to bring about the reign of God in ourselves and in others.
I do not know where this blog came from as it is not what I had intended to write!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Prayer and Listening

I just unpacked a box with winter clothes as we are going to a meeting in New York on Friday and it may be nice to pack a sweater. We leave a 5:00 A.M. or earlier to get the plane and we will return late Sunday night. It will be nice to be with other RSCJs and I hope the week end will have time for sharing in small groups as it was being called a "Dialogue and Connections" week end but it also seems to be an Eastern Regional Assembly.  It will be good just to see old friends. The ones I know the least are in the East so it will be nice if we do get to share with one another.

In Prayer of the Heart there is a chapter entitled, "Prayer and Listening" and I am copying here a bit that I highlighted and thought it would be good to share: "Learning to pray is learning to listen. Within the heart we learn to wait with patience for God's words, which may come even when we have not asked. Listening is a form of prayer in which our whole being is receptive."

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Happy Feast of St. Philippine today!

This is another picture from Sugar Creek where many still go to honor Philippine. Now that she is a canonized saint both this spot and the shrine at St. Charles receive pilgrims who pray and honor Philippine. She was so humble that I am sure she begins to try to disappear even in Heaven. She was also so full of zeal that she still does all she can to help us become closer to Jesus.

I have started using a little book called Reimagining the Ignatian Examen by Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J. published in 2015 by Loyola Press. The cover announces that this book gives us "fresh ways to pray from your day." There are some thirty-six suggested ways to examen your day. Some are very creative and I am going to use this book to renew my own reflection on my day. I am sure I will be sharing some of the ways with you. The book has been sitting on my bookshelf and I think Philippine inspired me to start using it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thank you, Philippine

This is a picture of Sugar Creek where St. Philippine Duchesne finally reached the Indians in 1841; because of her age and ill health, she could only be there a year. She prayed long hours as well as sat with any Indian who was ill. I am sure her prayers are what made the Indian Mission such a success for the next decades. When settlers began to push the Indians further to the west, the superior, Lucile Mathevon, lead the way to St. Mary's where the Jesuits had gone ahead to prepare for the moving of the school for boys and the one for girls.
I have been thinking of the courage of our pioneer Religious. They came from France and gladly suffered from all the lack of comfort on the frontier as they began the first free school west of the Mississippi in St. Charles in 1818. They lacked everything that first winter; the Missouri froze and so did the little water they managed to have in the pitchers in the primitive log cabin. We have much to thank our first pioneer Religious for and, of course, Philippine as Superior played a great part in the first foundations in America. She kept us united to the other houses of the Society and now we are in at least 43 countries and all united. Anyone who goes to our schools is also part of the great family of the Sacred Heart so I am just very grateful to Philippine.
I will never forget the many nights I prayed both at the Shrine where she was buried when I was a boarder at St. Charles or at the door of her little cell which was still very much as it had been when Philippine spent the last ten years of her life back at St. Charles!

I am sorry that somehow November 18 was published before November 17th! However, I am trying to schedule ahead as we go to a meeting in New York on Friday and there will not be time to think about writing a blog.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Prayers Used by Philippine

This is one of my favorite pictures of Philippine. Since her feast is Wednesday, I thought I would share a prayer used by her:

Lord, You alone are the Center in which I find rest. Give me Your arm to support me, Your shoulders to carry me, Your breast to lean upon, Your Cross to uphold me, Your Body to nourish me. In You, Lord, I sleep and rest in peace.

Here is another prayer used by St. Philippine Duchesne:

Jesus, I live for Thee, I labor for Thee, I desire only Thee. Thou in me and I in Thee; Thou with me and I with Thee; Thou all mine and I all Thine.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

We are coming to the end of the Liturgical year and the Gospel reminds us that we know not the day nor the hour - neither for the end of the world or for our own death. We need to live in the present the way we want to be when death comes. It is a sobering thought and helps to prepare us for Advent. Next Sunday is the last one of the Liturgical Year and it is that of Christ the King. So, how am I to spend these last two weeks before Advent? The Feast of St. Philippine this coming Wednesday is a call to pray and to love and live for others. The Indians called Philippine the " Woman Who Prays Always." She is one to ask for help when we find it hard to find time for prayer; she could pray all night.
Then, after the last Sunday before Advent with Christ the King we can reflect on how important the reign of God was for Jesus. He went around telling all to repent for the reign of God is here! I guess living in the present moment is the best way to prepare for the end of the world, the end of our earthly life, and to accept the reign of God as the Holy Spirit leads us deeper into the mystery of life.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Preparing for the Feast of St. Philippine

This is the tomb where St. Philippine is buried in the Shrine at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. The Feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne is next Wednesday. We always celebrated her feast on November 17th, but she was only "Blessed" then and the Church gave her the 18th when she was canonized. To me, she is just "Mother Duchesne" who brought the Society of the Sacred Heart to North America and who loved each of the children who found a place in any of our schools; her love was strong, maternal, and self-sacrificing and still is for all of us.

I think she was present to me today in her own unique way. I had been to Physical Therapy and was driving to Mass; at one of the busy corners in the Grove, Grand Avenue and 32nd St, the car let out a horrible noise as I started to turn the corner. I thought I must have scraped something and jumped out to look. I was not even near the curb. I got back in, turned on the motor and then shifted from park to drive with the same terrible noise and the car did not move. A kind Jewish man stopped,  asked a black man on a bike to help and they pushed me back from Grand Avenue. Then this man called AAA for me and asked for a tow truck. It was now close to noon and the tow truck took until 1:45 to arrive. They towed me to the garage where I found out that I had a broken axel. I do not know how this happened, but glad it was not on the way yesterday coming from the University which is twenty-five miles of highway driving. I am sorry that this happened and that I did not get to Mass and to the luncheon prepared by my Jewish friend from the gym, but I am thanking for the kind Jewish man who stopped and helped me. He pointed out two clouds in the sky before he left and said they were angels. He was the angel and I am so grateful. I think I will need to get a phone I can text on as my I-phone has not been working.
Again, this is not a very spiritual blog, but I do hope that all the alums who read it will be preparing for Philippine's Feast next week and also thanking God for all the good things that happen to us. My adventure today left me exhausted!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Next week we have a meeting in New York State and I do hope to see autumn scenes. It is the season I most miss and seldom have had as the twenty years in Chile had no real autumn and now I have been almost thirty years in Miami where all is green all year!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful feast for me. My youngest sibling, John, was born on Thanksgiving and that made it doubly special for me. Since we are only three Religious of the Sacred Heart in Miami this year for Thanksgiving, the other in my community suggested going out but I could not see doing that as we always ask anyone who would be alone to come to dinner. We may only be four this year, but I have found that Publix cooks a turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce for less than you can buy all that so I will go get the dinner the day before and just need to heat it up and add a dish or two. I just need to celebrate here.

It is not just the dinner but the fact that we give thanks together for all we have received, are receiving and will receive this coming year.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


We are just two weeks now until Thanksgiving! I think that giving thanks is so important in our spiritual lives that we should make each day a real thanksgiving. We do call the time after Holy Communion "thanksgiving" and we do give thanks but there are many opportunities to thank the Lord for His gifts all day. I hope these weeks we will make an effort to be thankful. To live in an attitude of gratefulness is to be joyful. Grateful people are happy people. I am also grateful when people thank me and hope I take time to thank others. I will add it to my practice for the Feast of St. Philippine which is next Wednesday. I am trying to see the good in each and that helps me to be grateful and make the effort to express my thanks.
A humble person is a grateful person.
St. Madeleine Sophie said, "There is room for all in that wide wound in the Heart of Jesus, but its secret depths are for the little and lowly ones."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


This is a traditional prayer to Our Lady known as the Memorare.
I only learned this prayer when I was on the basketball varsity my second year of high school. It was thought to have been written by St. Bernard and infallible so we said it often and it has become my favorite prayer. I am not much on vocal prayer but do love and say the Hail Mary and the Our Father with great devotion, but I fall back on the Memorare when I am really counting on Our Lady. I usually say it when I begin driving in Miami as there are many crazy drivers out there and Our Lady seems to be protecting me for it is now over twenty-eight years since I have had an accident and that is an excellent driving record for Miami and I attribute my lack of even a fender-bender to Our Lady. She reminds me to say the Memorare each time I drive somewhere. So, here it is as I found out in the Busy Persons' Retreat that many do not know this very beautiful and efficacious prayer:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Prayer of the Heart

Prayer of the Heart in Christian and Sufi Mysticism by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is the book I started to write about yesterday but had to stop and so now I will tell you a bit about this little book that had been on my bookshelf and I had been using before I became ill last year. My copy is a second printing, 2013. It was first published in the United States in 2012 by The Golden Sufi Center. The Foreword is by Cynthia Bourgeault and she speaks of another of Vaughan-Lee's books, The Bond with The Beloved and quotes from it. I think it made her realize how prayer is so important for the very life of our planet. I have ordered a second-hand copy of that book as I love the one I am reading now; I am really praying over parts of it rather then reading. Actually, the book spends time with the four stages of prayer of St. Theresa of Avila: recollection, quiet, union and ecstasy. I began marking passages as I read the second chapter and found myself stopping to pray. I have not read the rest of the book but find very helpful what I have read. The Chapter Headings are: 1. Prayer and Listening; 2. Stages of Prayer; 3. The Jesus Prayer and the DHIKR; 4. The Circle of Love; 5. The Heart Prays; 6. Prayer for the Earth; 7. Personal Prayer.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Prayer of the Heart - see Tuesday

I have been doing some serious reading lately. I also have found a few books on my bookshelves that have helped me to pray. One of them is "The Prayer of the Heart".

More later as I forgot to get back to this, but the picture is worth more than words.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Walk with Jesus

Imagine that you are out for a walk on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in autumn and in a northern state. The trees are so beautiful adorned in all their Fall finery- brilliant scarlet, deep orange, bright yellow leaves beckon you to follow the path into the woods. Now, let yourself imagine that, as you contemplate this beauty, Jesus comes and walks with you. You know it is Jesus even before you turn to him. He is smiling and asks to join you on your Sunday, woodsy walk. You welcome him and tell him that you are just here in your imagination. He says that he gave you that same imagination just so you good enjoy it by taking time to meander in the mellow light on this Sunday afternoon and enjoy the splendor of the season. Then Jesus tells me that he loves to walk with me. I am rather tongue-tied at first, but then he just asks me what I have been doing and I start to tell him and he is a great listener. He also affirms what I want to do and tells me not to try to do everything at once. He knows I have made a list of things to do before Advent, but reminds me that I can still be working on that list during Advent. He suggests that I ask his Mother to help me as she is good at most of the things I want to do and she will love to have me ask her to do these things with her. We talk a bit about the hopes and fears of all the world and then we just sit on a fallen log and look at each other. I know Jesus sees deep into my heart and he allows me to enter into his Heart!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Communities - Local, Expnded, and of Choice

In our regional meetings, twice we were united with the entire Province by actually seeing each group on the screen. It is so amazing to see what we can do today with technology. Actually, the pictures were too small to see much of each gathering; the Western Region and the Canadian and Central South Region were meeting on the same week end so we were all working together on both the organization of each Region and looking at some of the issues of Health and Wellness. I found the presentations very good, but think we need to look more at the way we understand and help those who have disabilities.

We talked about organizing "Communities of Choice" beyond the local community and the "expanded community" which is the way we now refer to individuals and communities who live in proximity and who gather regularly to support each other in life and mission; these expanded communities often include Associates and even our colleagues in various ways. I wonder if my six spirituality groups might be called my "expanded communities"? I just thought of this as I am writing.

What I am really thinking about is how I could form the third type of community: Communities of Choice are RSCJ , either within the region or across regions who choose to connect on a regular basis to reflect and plan together for the sake of life and mission. I would not try to do this by phone or even video conferencing ( these are the suggested ways) but would hope we could do it by e-mail (either a listserv or just set up the group and always hit "reply to all" when sharing.) I would like to have a small community of choice around our spirituality. I guess I miss the sharing I had with my community in Coquimbo, Chile, where each week we came together to share what was going on inside of us. I am convinced that our interior life is more important than our exterior and just need four or five RSCJs who would like to try sharing together. Although I think it would be helpful in the beginning to do this weekly, I would see after two or three months we would only need to do this kind of sharing monthly. Perhaps in February I will have found some who would be willing and really want to do this kind of sharing on what is most important in our lives as RSCJ.

Memories - God is so generous!

We are so blessed in Florida with the water still warm enough to swim. I remember when I entered and thought I would never be able to swim as a nun. At that time we had no possibilities. Later, when I was able to return from Chile for a visit in 1968 after nine years away, my mother brought me a swimming suit and I found out that one of our schools now had an indoor pool under the gym. I begged the Superior Vicar to allow me to go there to make my retreat before returning to Chile. She thought I could make it at the college where I was staying and wanted to know the reason I was asking to go to the school. I told her that I just wanted to be able to swim. She let me go and, after eighteen years, I still found it just as delightful and contemplative as it had always been for me. Now, we have a pool and I rejoice to be in it when I have time and it is not raining. I think it must be part of the hundredfold God gives.

You know, not having children of my own seemed a big thing to consider before I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart. God took care of that for, even as a second year novice, I had the entire high school and the 7th and 8th grades for sports everyday including longer periods on the week ends. Then I had the Primary School and taught First Grade for years before my Profession in Rome. I sometimes thought that the Lord gave me too many children! Not really, as I loved them all but I also had many little children as boarders and that meant I was really with them, took them for baths, saw that they were dressed, combed hair, etc. At Clifton, the uniform shoe was a black and white saddle oxford - when I told my superior that I did not have time at night to polish the children's shoes, she replied that they should learn to do this. The first night I tried to have - not the first and second graders in the dormitory, but a sensible fourth-grader learn to do this- she shook the white polish and it went all over my Sunday habit and veil and never came out of the veil. After that, I just polished the shoes by myself!

God does give us the hundredfold!

Friday, November 6, 2015

There are many ways I could use this blog during Advent. I guess I will just let the Holy Spirit inspire each day.
The pastor at St. Augustine's church where I often attend the weekday noon Mass that is well-attended, has been preparing for our extraordinary year of Mercy that begins December 8, by reminding us of the importance of the works of mercy. These are actions motivated by Christian love by which we help others obtain what they need spiritually and materially. The corporal works of mercy consist in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked visiting the sick, and burying the dead. The spiritual works are admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving all injuries, and praying for the living and the dead.

These works of mercy are not optional but are essential to living the Christian life of holiness and goodness. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church 2447).
The works of Mercy certainly give us much to reflect upon as we begin this holy season of Advent.

The Good Shepherd

Today is First Friday and I love to think of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who leads us to green pastures and restful waters. I have often felt as if I were the strayed sheep that Jesus goes to look for and then carries me tenderly home. He sees that we have all we need and only asks me to trust Him, follow Him, and, as a Religious of the Sacred Heart, my home is in the depths of His Heart, surrounded by His Love. We are called to draw out His Love and give it to others.

Each First Friday is an opportunity to "Behold this Heart..." Let us people the solitude of His Heart today and take time to thank Him for all the graces we have received.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fantasy Exercises


The day I gave a guided imagery prayer during the retreat last week, several asked me to continue to show them how to pray with their imagination helping them. I have been thinking how we just grew up with the Ignatian method of imagining oneself in the scene we were praying over in the Gospels; I had an artist superior one year who wanted me to be able to see all the colors even, but it was when I discovered that I could invent my own imaginary scenes that I found a way to enter deep into conversation with Jesus. I had this fantasy when going to Chile that I was being sent out in a boat and into a storm, but Jesus was with me and all would be well. I would hear Jesus say, "Do not be afraid" and then "It is I" and I would feel a deep peace.

One of my favorite fantasies is setting out in a boat. Sometimes it is a sail boat; other times I am in a row boat or a canoe. I usually have a book and a picnic with me. Then Jesus comes and He helps me to row or paddle until we stop in a shady inlet and just sit and talk.

If you are being distracted, try going out in a boat in your imagination and see what kind of dialogue you will have with Jesus while in your boat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


The general prayer intention of Pope Francis for the month of November is for dialogue – that we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.

At a meeting in Brazil, Pope Francis said: “When leaders in various fields ask me for advice, my response is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.” He said, “It is the only way for individuals, families, and societies to grow along with the culture of encounter, a culture in which all have something good to give and all can receive something good in return.” And an important ingredient for a successful encounter and dialogue, according to the Pope, is the spirit of openness and the capacity to listen to the other. However, there is no true peace without truth, he warns. There cannot be true peace if everyone sticks to his own criterion, always claims exclusively his own rights, without caring for the good of others, of everyone. Dialogue does not mean denying objective truth, but rather respecting the dignity of the other person “in a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced.” Let’s therefore join Pope Francis in praying during the month of November, so that we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Do not rush the Holy Spirit

The Busy Persons' Retreat for 36 faculty, staff, and some parents at our school, Carrollton, was time consuming as we left here about 6:45 for Mass on Tuesday and Thursday in the school Chapel and I led a guided imagery for morning prayer on Wednesday and then each of the six of the Religious of the Sacred Heart on the Retreat Team saw six people during the day. We were scheduled for an hour with each, but sometimes I saw three in the morning, beginning at 8:00 and then three in the afternoon so that I finished at 4:00; some had four in the morning and finished at 3:00 but then we met as a team or went to dinner together - we had prayer in the Chapel on Monday afternoon to open the retreat and then a lovely closing prayer on Friday afternoon with a tirage of quotes from St. Madeleine Sophie or from Reverend Mother Stuart. Here is my quote from St. Madeleine Sophie:
"Let you heart be more attentive than your head, for the Holy Spirit is love, and to take hold of her, it is more important to love than to understand. We do everything at top speed, and I am not sure the Holy Spirit can act at that pace."

Each of us read our quote aloud and mine was the only one that caused laughter, but I am really thinking about how we often try to rush the Spirit.
I will have three groups now of Spirituality connected with Carrollton, but they will meet here. I also have three other groups and several for spiritual direction so will need to really keep my track of my daily dates - something that I have not had to do much since I was in isolation last year!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Feast of All Souls

It is good of the Church to celebrate the Feast of All Souls the day after the Feast of All Saints. I hope that the many Masses offered today will certainly make those souls saints. It is such a mystery; we are made for God and God loves each of us and wants us to be with Him for all eternity. My definition of a saint is one who is with God. So, I ask myself, what happens when we die? The Church talks about a particular judgment and then the General Judgment. I just want to be ready to meet God face to face. I believe in His Love and feel that He wants each of us to be with Him when we die. Since the whole idea of time as we know it is temporal and not eternal, I just let the after death questions fade and think of being embraced by God and being united in some way with all who have gone before us.

I am including information that someone else asked for after I quoted again from a reflection in "Give Us This Day":

I love my copy of "Give Us This Day". a gift to us from the Province. You can order it for, I think, $39.95 for the year or they also say they now are available as an App for iOS and Android - you can call 1-888-259-8470 or e-mail
If you order the booklet, ask for the free plastic cover as that makes a big difference. I just asked for one lately and love having the protection of the cover. I think you will find it helpful as they have some special things each month as well as the morning prayer, evening prayer, and daily reflections and, of course, the Mass prayers and reading for each day. It arrives early the month before and the covers are also often helpful for prayer.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Saints

Heaven must be a happy place for we shall see God face to face and desire nothing except this. We will have a joyful reunion with all of our family and friends. While I was in isolation, I was so aware of the Communion of Saints. They could come visit and did.

This is a day to celebrate.
 Someone just sent me a copy of the Sacred Heart Alumnae Newsletter from Los Angeles and I found that I had forgotten that months ago I had been asked to write something for it - I will try copying it here:

Sister Helen Chats with Madeleine Sophie 




Me: Happy Feast! It is good to celebrate the 200 years of our Constitutions and the 150 anniversary of your death. I remember what a good dialogue I had with you years ago; I also remember how you came to me when I needed you in Chile. I just need to have another conversation with you now.

MS: I am here; I like having "Little Words" with you and I suppose you are still trying to understand why you are alive? You are always spoiled by God, but this time God wanted you to stay alive.

Me: Yes, I am grateful but I am asking myself why and especially what is it that I am still to do for God?

MS: Well, you were going to write the life of Lucile Mathevon; you are not only alive, but God helped you to regain your strength and gave you many graces while you were at Oakwood.

Me: I know and feel so grateful for the Presence of Jesus and Mary in my room during the time of isolation. I was also aware of my parents coming and just being there whenever the infection returned and I would have fever again. You came, and Philippine came too. Actually, the small room some-times seemed full of the Communion of Saints. Still, it was sometimes hard to be there when I wanted to get out of my room and see my friends.

MS: What would you say those months of isolation were for you?

Me I think it was like another " Probation"; it was a contemplative time and I know my relationship with Jesus deepened. I was more conscious of His Presence and we had an intimacy that gave me real joy. I learned to know myself better – both the good and the bad and I also prayed a great deal with the Constitutions, the Chapter of 2008, and our new formation booklet. As much as I longed to get rid of the infection and get out of isolation, I realized that it was a graced-time for me. Each morning, Jesus came in Holy Communion and I knew that all the community was praying for me.

MS: Yes, the prayers of others were winning graces for you. You wanted to be more contemplative and you had the time given to you. I am glad you are so grateful and kept your desire to give Jesus joy by choosing what pleases Him. That is what you are called to do and then you give joy to others.

Me: I love it when you tell me, "Be humble, be simple, and bring joy to others."

MS: Keep on doing this as it pleases Jesus.

Me: What else do you want to tell me?

MS: You have a love for the Society and this pleases me. Now you must share that love with others. I want you to continue to deepen your relationship with each Person in the Blessed Trinity. That is something you have been inspired to do but often forget . I also want you to continue to reach out to others.

Me: I will try. I sometimes feel I have nothing to give, but I have the grace of vocation and know that relationships are important as I am called to reveal God’s love. Thank you for being with me today in a real conversation!