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Friday, August 18, 2017

Jessica Powers 1905-1988

Jessica Powers is one of my favorite poets. This Carmelite poet was able to put into words things I knew about God but did not know how to say. I have shared some of her poems in the past, but want to honor her today as she died on August 18, 1988 at the age of 83.

Here is a short poem that I have not quoted before:
If You Have Nothing

The gesture of a gift, is adequate.
If you have nothing: laurel leaf or bay,
no flower, no seed, no apple gathered late,
do not in desperation lay
the beauty of your tears upon the clay.

No gift is proper to a Deity;
no fruit is worthy for such power to bless.
If you have nothing, gather back your sigh,
and with your hands held high, your heart held high,
lift up your emptiness!

This is from the book I would urge you to buy: "Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers: edited by Regina Siegfried and Robert Morneau, sheed and Ward, 1989.

Let us lift up our emptiness to God today!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mary's Queenship

This picture was the one I wanted for the Assumption and now it reminds me of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. This feast is now celebrated on August 22 (it was for several years on the my birthday, May 31).  I love knowing that Mary is so honored. I will be with my brother and sister-in-law next week, but I am trying to schedule ahead. If I miss a day, you will know that I am away as we plan to drive down to San Diego to see my sister and her husband on Coronado. I will be staying at one of our communities in San Diego from August 24 to 28. I think my brother is planning to drive back to Arizona on Saturday, but I am staying until Monday so I can see the community.
Now, I want to share the words to this Marian hymn with you to reflect on today: The title is Mary, Woman of Promise
Mary, woman of promise,
Vessel of your people's dreams,
Through your open, willing spirit
Waters of God's goodness streamed.

Mary, song of holy wisdom,
Sung before the world began,
Faithful to the Word within you
Carried out God's wondrous plan.

Mary, morning star of justice;
Mirror of the radiant light,
In the shadows of life's journey,
Be a beacon for our sight.

Mary, model of compassion;
Wounded by your offspring's pain,
When our hearts are torn by sorrow,
Teach us how to love again.

Mary, woman of the Gospel;
Humble home for treasured seed;
Help us to be true disciples
Bearing fruit in word and deed.

Test: Mary Frances Fleischaker, 1988 Music: STUTTGART, 87,87; Christian F. Witt.1660-1716.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Water and the Wave

The wave is water. We are the wave in the water.
There is a chapter in the book I am still praying over by Brian Pierce, OP, We Walk the Path Together, entitled "The Water and the Waves."  We are the waves, but we carry within us the water. In touching the wave, we touch the water, which is the true source of divine life bubbling up from within.
The wave is born from water; its truest self is water. "Its wave-ness is a temporary manifestation of the deeper reality called water. When the wave awakens and realizes that it is water, it experiences enlightenment."

This metaphor has been going around in my head for some time so now I pass it on for your reflection.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This feast of Our Lady gives me great joy. I have joy for her as she is now with her Son, Jesus; I have joy for Jesus because he now has his Mother with him in heaven; I have joy for the entire Communion of Saints. Mary is still so present to each one of us and she takes seriously her role as our Mother.

The Gospel (Luke 1:39-56) has Mary going to visit Elizabeth. When Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cries out to Mary:
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb..." - something we say with each "Hail Mary" - Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..." I love the fact that Mary, too, was filled with joy and now, she is rejoicing for all eternity and still goes about making others happy, comforting, and consoling. I am sure she is still telling Jesus what we lack and then saying to us, "Do whatsoever he tells you."

In some countries gifts are brought to Mary on this feast: the fruits of the harvest, the key to the house, and whatever they want to offer. We offer ourselves to her guidance and protection. She is truly our Mother and loves each of us with a strong maternal love. Let us show our love for her today.

Monday, August 14, 2017


One of our Associates, Kristi Laughlin, gave an inspiring homily during the Spirituality Forum held at St. Louis University. The Gospel was Mt 10:7-15 where Jesus commissions his disciples to go forth and they are to "Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons." I was present for this homily but only when I was lent a copy to read did I feel how powerful it was. Kristi began by telling us it was time for "re-commissioning". We are called to take bold, courageous, transformative action -"all born of an unfailing trust in God."
The Gospel reading "also captures the moment we are living in the life of the Society. Isn't the process of the General Chapter, the Assembly and this Forum, a process of Re-commissioning? Of drawing closer to Jesus and to our founding mothers, and fellow Sacred Heart disciples, so that we can hear again instructions of how to be apostles in this time, in this place."
Then we have Jesus' instructions: First, the disciples are to Proclaim! "As you go forth, make the proclamation the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Then Jesus commands: "Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons!" We are to act boldly. Then we are to trust (no need to take provisions) and to receive hospitality. Those are the points of the homily and it certainly made this Gospel come alive as she developed each.
I hope these few thoughts taken from a great homily will be helpful for reflection today.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"It is II; do not be afraid;"

This Sunday's Gospel is one of my favorites. Jesus made his disciples get into a boat after he had fed the crowds, but he remained to dismiss the people and then went up the mountain to pray alone. Meanwhile, the disciples in the boat were being tossed by the waves for the wind was against them. During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus comes to them walking on the sea. They are terrified but Jesus says to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter immediately says, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Peter is so impulsive! Jesus just tells him to come. So Peter gets out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But then he gets frightened and begins to sink and has to call out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" They got into the boat and the wind died down.

I am not given to locutions but when I was a young nun I actually heard Jesus say to me, "It is I; do not be afraid."
It was a tremendous grace for me and I am so grateful; it has made this a favorite Gospel.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Help for Prayer

I am trying to choose pictures that may make you feel cool if you are where there are heat waves this summer. We are even finding a few hot days in California, but have such splendid weather all year that no one can complain.
I am sure I have mentioned a song that we sing often here; it is just a little verse but I find myself repeating it whenever I wake at night, after receiving Communion, before and during all sorts of things. One of our nuns at an earlier General Chapter taught it; she is now in Indonesia but was born in India, I think.
Her little song seems to be based on something I saw quoted by Thich Nhat Hanh in We Walk the Path Together by Brian J. Pierce, OP :
"Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment."

Our little song is:
"Breathing in, breathing out,
I am calm, I am smiling,
You in me, I in You,
Present moment, wondrous moment,
Peace to the world, peace to the world."

The line added "You in me, I in You" often sends me into prayer so I am passing this on to you.

Friday, August 11, 2017

"O good Jesus, hear me!"

Today I am going to share a prayer that many must know; it was a 14th century post-Communion prayer that St. Ignatius is said to have used and I find it helpful to take time to reflect on each line. It is the Anima Christi and I seem inspired to copy it for you today.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, inebriate me,
Water from the side of Christ, wash me,
Passion of Christ, strengthen me,
O good Jesus, hear me,
Within your wounds, hide me,
Do not let me be separated from you,
From the malicious enemy defend me,
In the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you, that with your saints
I may praise you for ever and ever. Amen.

I often go back to this prayer as I love asking to be hidden in His Heart and never separated from Him.
Some of us are going to the horse show which is just across the street from the back of the school. I went last year and enjoyed the afternoon very much. It is a fancy country club and one of our alums arranges a table for us and we sit there and sip cold drinks and watch the jumping.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Bit of Everything

Today I am just musing on the past week. I am still grieving the loss of one of ours who was known mostly to us as "Tippy" and I used to push her wheel chair around and take her back to her room always after Mass and often at other times during the day and we would talk. I miss her, but spent the last few days with her asking God to take her home. She had been on hospice and they kept her comfortable for her last days. She was such an interesting person. She was a novice with me, too.
Now for more cheerful news: we have had the joy of a visit from two of our novices. Yuriko Tazuka and Cho Min-ah are here and it is so good to have them. They look so young compared to us!
I find the days go by so quickly here that it always seems that I am starting a new week. Certainly this summer has flown by and so we must make the most of what is left of August!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

More about Associates

What does it mean to be "in association"?

The concept of Association is not new and has taken various forms since the twelfth century: third orders, secular societies and oblates, for example. But the current expression of religious-lay collaboration, commonly referred to as Association, is unique in the history of the Church. It is rooted in Vatican II, which defined the laity as the “people of God,” fellow journeyers, collaborating in prayer and mission with religious and clergy. At the same time, Vatican II directed religious communities to renew themselves in the light of the charism of their founders, and this opened the possibility for new kinds of mutual relationships between religious and the laity to flower.
Association is not a program, but a journey of conversion together with a specific religious order. Association is a spiritual renewal process that helps us develop a closer relationship with Christ and with one another.
The projection for the number of vowed religious in 2022 is below 7000. The Associate movement in North America has grown from just under 11,000 in 1992 to a projection of more than 75,000 by 2022 (from NACAR and a CARA study). So association is a worldwide phenomenon that is helping to keep alive the charism of each religious order as numbers of vowed religious decline.
Since the General Chapter of 2000 there has been an international call for groups of Associates. At present there are thirteen groups in the United States-Canada Province with about 140 members. While local groups have their own ways of living the call to make God’s love known in the world, they find common ground in the Associates Identity Statement. Key points include a commitment to personal prayer, spiritual formation, regular attendance at the group’s gatherings and “attentiveness to the needs of the world.”
St. Madeleine Sophie’s message reminds us to “Let love be your life.”  Together with the RSCJ, this is our energy, our focus, our call. If you would like to know more about the Associates of the Sacred Heart, check out our blog. If you would like an associate coordinator to contact you, please contact the associates coordinator in your area.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Associates of the Society of the Sacred Heart


Sacred Heart Associates

Associates of the Sacred Heart are women and men who are attracted by and live the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart. There is a profound sense of mutuality between RSCJ and Associates because our common mission is to discover and make known the love of the heart of Jesus. We give witness to the love of God expressed in Jesus, in humanity, and in creation. This love calls us to collaborate in God’s transformation of our lives and the world around us. 

Sacred Heart Associates

Click on the link below to go directly to the Associates to read about their recent meeting, and the national organization that has developed. Associates of the Society of the Sacred Heart exist in so many places now and are living our charism.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Place Called Home

A dear friend sent me all the verses of "A Place Called Home" so I am sharing them here. I want to write about our Associates, but have been waiting for the material that was to be sent me. I think I promised to feature the Associates this week so hopefully I will do so with facts and not just my own knowledge.

A Place Called Home

Members of AUSCP have the right to reproduce the hymn text free of charge UNTIL the piece is published by GIA, Inc., as long as the copyright notice at the bottom of the page is also reproduced.

The hymn tune is from Jean Sibelius’ tone poem, Finlandia.

A place called home with comfort for the weary:
A place called home of nourishment and rest:
A place called home that welcomes in the stranger,
Where one unknown becomes an honored guest,
Where love can find a human habitation:
God grant us all this grace -- a place called home.

A place called home where tenderness can flourish,
A place called home, a haven from all harm:
A place called home where children sleep in safety:
Where hurts are healed, a shelter from the storm,
Where peace can find a human habitation:
God grant us all this grace -- a place called home.

A place called home, a promise for tomorrow:
A place called home, a vision handed down:
A place called home for all God’s sons and daughters,
Where love prevails and peace is ever found,
Where hope can find a human habitation:
God grant us all this grace -- a place called home.

A place called home for ev’ry human being:
A place called home, where arms are opened wide;
A place called home, where all extend the welcome;
Where none are lost, alone, or cast aside
But members of a single human fam’ly.
God grant us grace to build a place called home.
c. 2015 by The Jan Michael Joncas Trust. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Transfiguration of the Lord

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. It is also, according to the Entrance Antiphon, a Trinitarian feast:
"In a resplendent cloud the Holy Spirit appeared. The Father's voice was heard: This is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."

Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There, Jesus was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with Jesus. Peter wanted to stay there and offered to make three tents, but "while he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.'" The disciples fell prostrate and were afraid, but Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid."
And looking up, they saw no one but Jesus.

I think God the Father is still saying to us: "Listen to my beloved Son." Am I taking the time to reflect on my life in order to listen to what Jesus is saying to me? What is the quality of my listening? Jesus speaks through the inspirations of the Holy Spirit but also through others; am I listening to him? Is Jesus speaking to me through an event? A death?
And I know He always says to me, "Do not be afraid!"

Saturday, August 5, 2017

What does St. Madeleine Sophie think ?

The Society of the Sacred Heart has spread all over the world. We are on every continent and in 43 countries. We are one body and we are not afraid to set sail; we are responding to the needs of our world with new frontiers opening to us. We have the courage to go forth and meet today's challenges. We owe much to St. Madeleine Sophie and to St. Philippine Duchesne.

Now, here at Oakwood, surrounded by love and care, what does God want of me? What do our two canonized saints have to say to me? To all of us?
Sophie tells me that prayer and the interior life are essential and I must take the means to deepen my love of God. She wants me to create silence so I can hear the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and follow them.
Philippine counts me as her daughter since she has been watching over me ever since I was a child at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. I have always found her strong love giving me courage and I desire her gift of prayer. Now, you, too, should reflect on what Sophie and Philippine might be saying to you today!

I think we may be sure that they want to tell us something, if we ask and listen with all our hearts.

Friday, August 4, 2017

First Friday and our renewal

"Trusting in the fidelity of God and the love of my sisters, I, Helen Rosenthal (individual names) renew with all my heart the vows I have made to follow Jesus Christ until death by perpetual obedience, poverty, and chastity in the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and I commit myself anew to its mission of manifesting the love of Christ by the service of education, according to our Constitutions."

Then Father Sean said: "Religious are not alone in taking out lives and offering them to God. Each one of us is bound by vows and promises, both, to God and to one another. Let us pause in silence to ask God's grace to remain faithful to all these commitments. (Silent prayer)
Gracious God, send the gift of your Holy Spirit upon each one of us who has been consecrated by your love. May our lives reveal the face of Jesus, so that all who see us may find him present in your world. In the freedom of our hearts may we be vessels of your Spirit in the lives of others. May we look upon the world and see it ruled by your loving wisdom. May the gift we make of ourselves hasten the coming of your reign, and lead us one day into the fullness of your joy with all the saints of heaven. We ask this through Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
(This seems a good prayer for this First Friday.)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Reflection on my jubilee of 65 years

Since I made my first vows in December of 1952, I was surprised when asked to take part in the renewal of Vows at the final Liturgy during the Spirituality Forum and also to be a Eucharistic Minister. Three of us were 65 years this year since our first Vows but there were others renewing 50 and 25 years so we were ten and came forward in two rows with the priest celebrant at the head with our Mother General on one side of him and our Provincial on the other - the prayers said both before and after our renewal are so beautiful that I want to share them with you. I suspect you will only see the prayer before the renewal today and I will copy the rest tomorrow.
Fr. Sean: "Our tender and faithful God gives us grace to keep our promises, as these jubilarians so beautifully attest. Let us now pray to God for each of them, for one another, and for the family of God's Heart all over the world. (Silent prayer)
Loving God, in your providence, you have called these women to follow your Son Jesus more closely as Religious of the Sacred Heart. They have served you with generosity and joy for many years and have made your love known to countless others. Give them now the grace to persevere to the end along the way of your love. We ask this through Christ, in the power of your Spirit, living and reigning with you forever and ever. Amen.
(Sorry, but you now need to wait for tomorrow's blog as I try to keep my blogs short.) You can always pray for all of us!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ten Ways of Nourishing an Interior Life

Someone gave me a paper after I came home with ten ways of nourishing an interior life as exemplified in St. Madeleine Sophie's life and teachings. I am going to copy them for you and hope you reflect on ways of nourishing your interior life today.
1. Pondering the words and rites of the Liturgy
2. Loving and celebrating the cycle of feasts and seasons
3. Savoring the words of Scripture
4. Choosing some practices to enhance your inner world
5. Delighting in beauty, nature, animals
6. Attending to heart movements
7. Deliberately choosing solitude and silence
8. Talking about prayer with trusted others
9. Writing letters as a spiritual practice
10. Living deliberately through times of inner chaos

These seem still valid today but each one will have her own way of deepening her or his interior life. I love just to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament and let God love me!
I am pondering the one of "attending to heart movements."

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Never too late to begin!

One of our Sisters who is 98 or 99 years old now fell and broke her ankle. She is home from the hospital and has a new Kindle and wants me to show her how to use it. We are still struggling to get into her Amazon account to register it. I hope I can help her as she loves to read and this new Kindle is lightweight. I mostly read on my I-pad now but still love my old Kindle. It is so amazing that we can carry a library around with us. I use the Bible on my I-pad every day and I can highlight and save favorite passages, go quickly back and forth to consult passages that refer to other books in the Bible, etc.
I have been reading real books, too. The spiritual book that I have mentioned before and which I am still reading is  We Walk the Path Together: Learning from Thich Nhat Hanh and Meister Eckart. It is by Brian J. Pierce, OP, the priest who gave the retreat I made at the beginning of June. There is a great deal of helpful hints for living in the present and practicing mindfulness. I only read a bit at a time as there is much to think about on every page.
I do think reading Scripture daily is important and hope that my readers will find time for this. I must confess that I was told some years ago to read at least ten minutes from the New Testament and ten minutes from the Old Testament each day. I wish I had heeded that advice, but now I do have the time and still neglect this daily reading. It is never too late to begin.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Feast of St. Ignatius

Our Saturday movie was on Ignatius of Loyola. I did not go as I feel that I know Ignatius quite well. I had three Jesuit cousins and as a child I really wanted to be a Jesuit after reading all of Father Finn's books: Tom Playfair, Percy Dee, Harry...etc.

I think no one around here has read these but I found a copy of Tom Playfair in Spanish when in Chile.

To go back to Ignatius, I had the joy of making the 30-day retreat in Manresa where he actually wrote the Spiritual Exercises. We would get up at night to go pray in the cave and I spent the entire last night there. I followed his footsteps in Barcelona and Montserrat; I went back and gave the 30-day retreat to priests three years later and then, when teaching one summer in Spain, I went to Loyola to see where Ignatius was born and the room he had when he was recovering from the cannonball that had shattered his leg. That was the time of his conversion. I have taught his life, given perhaps over 100 Ignatian retreats and made many, too; I have read and studied what he wrote, his Exercises, the Constitutions, his letters and so I did not go to the movie, but do think back over some of the graces received during the complete Exercises. I have had the grace of making at least five 30-day retreats, but only three of them were based on the complete Exercises of St. Ignatius and given by Jesuits. My favorite prayer is the one that begins,
Lord, teach us to be generous, to give and not to count the cost, to labor and not to seek a reward, to toil and not to ask for rest, to fight and not to heed the wounds, (sorry but I guess I do not remember this but I used to say it.)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is any time really ordinary? I think not. The entrance antiphon for this Sunday begins: "God is in his holy place, God who unites those who dwell in his house; he himself gives might and strength to his people."

I am needing some "might and strength" - but my hope is in the Lord. Solomon received a wise and understanding heart from the Lord. I suspect we can ask for the same gift. One of the verses of the Responsorial Psalm says: "Let your kindness comfort me...let your compassion come to me that I may live...

Paul tells us in the second reading for this Sunday that: "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." We have been called and now we just need to trust God.  God is the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price, so let us give all to possess God or really to let God possess us - our whole heart and mind and will.
Here is a quote from Pope Francis that I like and do not think I have shared yet:
"Letting ourselves be encountered by God means this: letting ourselves be loved by God."
He also has said: "The Lord is knocking at the door of our hearts. Have we put a sign on the door saying: 'Do not disturb?'

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thoughts during July

July is almost over and I was thinking during my prayer this morning that the first half of the month was certainly filled with the Provincial Assembly and the Spirituality Forum that followed it. I have been sharing a bit of both of those enriching experiences, but now I come to the last half of the month. We have had a death, two funerals, and a sister near death, so it is natural that my thoughts have turned to thoughts of death and after-life. I have so many friends in heaven and I am sure there is great rejoicing among the Religious of the Sacred Heart each time they welcome another RSCJ. We are here only a short time on earth but will have an eternity in heaven. When I died two years ago in the hospital, I really only remember that I was wanting to go to God. Since God brought me back to life, I just need to keep asking Him what He wants me to do. More and more I am convinced that God just wants us to let Him love us.
May we be open and surrendered to whatever He wants of us, but do let God love you today!

Friday, July 28, 2017


Oakwood has been having many visits from other Religious of the Sacred Heart. This is a joy for all of us. It is wonderful to hear about the Society in different countries, Provinces, and regions. We are all so international and love to hear more about life in other places. I cannot count the number of RSCJs who have come to see us this month. Some came or are coming for the funerals; some are here for retreat, others for vacation. All are welcome and each one brings us joy by sharing her life with us. We are so blessed.
In Miami, my community always took "hospitality" as a goal and we worked at being available and welcoming. Here, we are full of joy to be able to welcome so many visitors and, even in the midst of the renovations, beds are found, planes are met, and we rejoice that our Sisters want to spend time at Oakwood. We are blessed.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


One day I realized that I was losing the habit of saying grace before and after meals. Maybe I never really had the habit, but I want to have these two special moments of prayer back into my life and began by asking others to remind me. A few do say grace to themselves but, since we now sit at the table and are brought our food at different times, it has been something that some of us have been neglectful about but most seemed willing to have me say grace and even to say it for my table at lunch. Now, it has spread and hopefully the Lord is pleased with our efforts to ask His blessing on our meal and our conversation and also to be thanked at the end of the meal. I am explaining all this as I want to share a Mealtime Blessing that was in Give Us This Day. I have not yet used it, but intend to do so starting today.

Praise to you, generous God, for opening your hand to us,
this day and every day, and giving us nourishing food to enjoy.
Send your blessing upon our meal, and make us a blessing for each other at this table and in your house.
Yours be the glory, today and unto the day of eternity, for ever and ever. Amen  (Fr. Michael Kwatera)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Place Called Home

The first night of the Spirituality Forum had us singing this song: A Place Called Home. I only remember the first verse but want to share it with you. I hope I have it right.

A place called home where tenderness can flourish;
A place called home, a haven from all harm;
A place called home where children sleep in safety.
A place where hurts are healed, a shelter from the storm,
A place where peace can find human habitation:
God grant us this grace: a place called home.

There were three more verses but I cannot remember them.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

St. Philippine just gave me a vacation

At Westwood, where I live, and Rosewood - both part of Oakwood, we depend on the Sacred Heart schools for our internet access. Last week I had been scheduling my blog ahead, something that was very fortunate as suddenly I found the blog had been blocked. I had no access until today when our wonderful Province technician contacted the school and restored access. Since I could not even look at the blogs I had scheduled ahead to edit them, I felt on vacation and have read three books since I also was not able to get e-mail on my I-pad.
I even went to our movie on Saturday, the second one I have gone to since I arrived last year. This was Casablanca which I have not seen at least three times and loved each time. I love Saturdays, but there always seems to be something more for me to do than just go to the movie. We can ask for the movies we want to see. Actually, we have a great many films that can be watched on our TVs and many do that, too. I just prefer a good book!
Today I want to share this prayer of St. Philippine Duchesne as I do not think I was able to do this last week:
"I am where God wills me to be, and so I have found rest and security. God's wisdom governs me, God's power defends me, God's mercy encompasses me, God's joy sustains me, and all will go well with me." 

Monday, July 24, 2017

St. Philippine Duchesne's Zeal for Souls

One of the outstanding characteristics of our Saint Philippine was her zeal for souls. She is so often pictured with a map because she desired to carry God's love to all parts of the world. Her desire was constant and her prayer took her to distant lands and, especially, to Indian territory. She longed for years to go to the Indians and when she finally arrived at Sugar Creek, she still longed to go to other tribes; her prayer was her gift and she spent long hours praying for the conversion of so many across the entire world.

We had our Tuesday afternoon summer social party last week honoring all in their eighties; I think there are about 27 of us and we were given a globe of the world. I am delighted with this gift as I had given away my Atlas when I moved out here and really like to pray for the different continents and confide each to the Lord to take care of each day. I used to have a small globe, but this one has all the countries and so I will be like Philippine and carry Jesus throughout the world.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel of Matthew for this Sunday has Jesus telling parables to the crowd. First we have the story of the man who sowed good seed in his field, but while asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The only thing to do was let them grow together until the harvest; then the weeds could be collected and burned but the wheat could be gathered and stored.
The second parable is also about the Kingdom of Heaven. It is like a mustard seed; it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when grown, it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds come to dwell in its branches.
And then there is a third parable about the kingdom of heaven as yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.

That gives us all plenty to reflect upon this Sunday. We had a beautiful funeral here yesterday and will have another next Saturday so I am thinking about the Kingdom of Heaven and how many people I love are there now!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bicentennial Prayer

Bicentennial Prayer:

Spirit of the living God,
you first breathed over the waters of creation,
and one day you breathed a passion
into the heart of Philippine Duchesne.
You called her to cross the waters to a New World,
to bring the message of your compassion and love
to a land and peoples already dear to your heart.

Not knowing the language of the land,
she spoke the language of the heart--
of love and prayer
of attention and openness,
of steadfast purpose and living faith.
As the Sacred Heart family around the world,
we are the harvest of the seeds she sowed.

Bless, now our ever-new world,
with Philippine's spirit of great-hearted courage.
Fill us with her desire to cross frontiers,
especially those furthest from the touch of hope.

Renew the whole Church in its missionary spirit
and give us Philippine's zeal
to spread your compassion and love to the ends of the earth.

We ask all this in your name, triune God,
whose love knows no borders or boundaries,
and who sends us to make known that love in the heart of the
world now and forever. Amen.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Themes to set us on fire

For those who were not at our Provincial Assembly, I would just like to mention the theme of each day. I suspect some of the prayer will be on the Province website but I do want to say that one of the best things for me during this Assembly was the "Espacio" - we just made space for silence and it is always a powerful experience to sit in silence with others and feel the Presence of God.
Here were the themes for each day:
Beginning the journey, Igniting the flame
Tending the Hearth, fanning the flame
Stoking the fire within us
Stirring the embers, kindling the inner fire
Setting the fire ablaze
Hearts transformed by fire

I hope we all keep feeding the fire that was enkindled by our prayer, reflection, and input. I certainly returned with new zeal to live the calls of the General Chapter; I still feel most drawn to the call to create silence.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Setting Sail

One of the images that emerged from the General Chapter was that of the Society of the Sacred Heart being "Like a family that decides to set sail in search of new life, a new land. The family brings what is essential from its heritage and wants to share its treasure with all who might need it." The Chapter document continues to say that "to undertake this journey, they must part with what has been essential on land and replace it with what is going to be needed during the crossing." This family is also aware that they must be ever more united to be able to face what is yet unknown and "to share the Love that is their way of life."
We have set sail and are still seeking new frontiers. We have grown as the Sacred Heart family includes Associates, colleagues, all our alums, friends, parents of our children, etc. Let us go forth to reveal God's love wherever we are.
Our most recent country is Vietnam where we have just opened a new community.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

St. Philippine Duchesne

Sister Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ has just published a short and very readable biography of Mother Duchesne: Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne: A Heart on Fire Across Frontiers. I bought a copy and have lent it out here, but hope to send it to my sister. I think it was only five dollars for RSCJ and certainly worth reading.

Here is a quote from a letter of St. Philippine to St. Madeleine Sophie Barat from Sugar Creek, July 21, 1841:
"At last we have reached the land of our desires...there are no difficulties here except when people worry too much about tomorrow."

This was written while the community was living in a very small, one room cabin without any privacy or conveniences. They had to cook outside; one corner was designated as the community dining room, another as their dormitory, another as parlor, and the last as pantry and kitchen - no water, of course, but Philippine was so happy to have at last reached her dear Indians. She could not learn their language, but she was known as "the woman who prays always" and they still keep her memory alive. We had some Indians at the Spirituality Forum and hearing them play their "tom-toms" was a gift.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Generative Listening

There are seven principles of Generative Listening; these enable a quality of connection between speaker and listener that opens up new possibilities for transformation and action.
1. Slowing down and noticing more of what is present.
2. Listening with all my senses.
3. Listening to the words or images chosen, those specifically and not others.
4. Listening to the emotions conveyed by the person who is talking.
5. Suspending judgement, not pre-empting, classifying, nor dismissing what the person is expressing; it is her reality as she is experiencing it and making sense of it.
6. Noticing what I do not understand or what triggers questions for me, rather than what I do not like about what I hear.
7. What do I feel as I listen to what is being said--and why?

There is also a framework for Generative Speaking that offers a co-creative approach to transformative learning and innovation. It allows you to play your part in the conversation by responding from the following positions:

What I heard is...
What is clearer for me now is...
What I do not understand is...
What still needs clarifying in what I have heard is...
New ideas triggered for me by what you said, though not present in what you said, are...
What to me seems crucial, but I am not hearing you mention, is...

I think we all need to study and practice these powerful helps for Generative Listening.

Back from a wonderful Assembly and Spirituality Forum

There is much to share from both out Provincial Assembly and the Spirituality Forum that followed it. I am glad I went to both and I am also glad to be home. I think the first thing I will share is this prayer of St. Philippine Duchesne.

Lord, You alone are the center in which I find rest.
Give me your arm to support me,
Your shoulder to lean upon,
Your cross to uphold me,
Your Body to nourish me.
In You, Lord, I sleep and rest in peace.

That was sung the first night of the Spirituality Forum, but I have often used the prayer and add my own - Give me your ears to hear; Your Heart to love, Your hands to help others, etc. You can use it anyway you want. I really feel as if I have spent the last ten days with St. Philippine. I have always loved her, but this time was almost like a retreat with her. I went to three talks centered on her during the Forum. I am sorry that all of us did not get to visit her tomb, but my room during the Assembly looked out on St. Charles and I thought of Philippine arriving there in 1818 with her four companions and somehow keeping union with the Society of the Sacred Heart in France. She was our first great missionary but now, almost 200 years later, we are revealing God's love in 43 countries.