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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Labor Day Week End

I think I am taking a vacation this week end and hope you are, too. I am writing so many things at once that my head seems empty when I come to write a daily blog. I guess I could share a bit of what is going on in my own prayer life as I try to keep my gratitude journal and also pray for all the people who need prayer. I am very concerned about the situation in Syria and pray that we do not use violence. I also was concerned by an article in the paper this morning about Bogota - our world needs prayer. Anyway, do have a good Labor Day and I will be back with my blog by Tuesday.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Wise Virgins

Today's Gospel tells us that the five wise virgins had a good supply of oil for their lamps; the foolish ones did not and wanted to borrow oil from the wise but were told to go buy for themselves as there might not be enough for any of the lamps if they shared. I think the Gospel is mostly about the fact that one must be prepared. I find Sunday's Gospel on the wedding feast a good lesson for all of us to be humble and seek the last place. Also, it is interesting that we are to go invite those who no one else invites: the sick, the lame, the blind, etc. -  I think it is what the Holy Father has been saying about going out to look for others.
I am late writing today but better late than never!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jesus Wants To Be the Center of Our Life

Don't keep Jesus out! He is always knocking on the door of our heart. I find that the realization that Jesus is always with me and waiting for me to turn to Him is still so new and has not really penetrated - I have prayed for union for so long and now find that I am always united to Jesus; I am just so insensitive to His Presence in my life! I am working on it though and this picture always helps me.  Here are words to a song I found among my papers. The text is by Susan Briehl. Tune: Balm in Gilead:

Only You, O God and you alone,
the broken heart console;
Only You, O God, and you alone,
 the wounded world make whole.

O God, our rock and haven,
our stronghold, safe and sure,
though earth be torn and shaken,
in you we stand secure.

You guard us, faithful father,
within your sheltering palm;
you nurse us, loving mother
with milk and healing balm.

We pray, do not abandon the ones
you call your own;
our comfort and companion,
we trust in you alone.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I spent so much time yesterday working on the project of posting a different reflection of Mater for each day of October on our Province website. I hope it will give everyone a renewed devotion to Mater who is so much a part of our life. I am grateful for all those who sent me something.
Here is a prayer I like:

God of infinite joy,
Your love exceeds our wildest expectations,
Your fondness for us baffles our small-minded faith.
Grant us the grace to experience your smile;
 still all our fears of your frown.
Your prophet Isaiah tells us that we are precious in your sight;
May we take truth deep into our hearts.
Your apostle Paul tells us nothing can separate us from your love;
May we always live in union with you.
Give us again the joy of our youth
As we recognize and acknowledge your abiding presence.
Drive all anxiety from our hearts and indwell again at our table.
Tasting your delight, nourished by your love,
We will go forth to share the Good News.
(Taken from Robert Morneau’s “A Retreat with Jessica Powers”)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Journal Writing

Some people are very faithful about keeping a journal. I try. I must say that lately I have not been very faithful about writing after prayer which is the best time for me. I took a smaller journal with me this summer and did write during retreat and some other days but I seem to be getting into a pattern of only writing a few times a week and maybe, to be truthful, more like once a week. Still, I value the discipline of keeping a journal and know that I am more attentive to grace when I use my journal to reflect on each day. Sometimes I forget what I have not written and this is for the good as well as the bad in my daily life. So, this reflection is to help me take back the habit.
I usually have my journal divided into at least three parts: one for the daily entries that may include both preparation for prayer as well as gratitude for the graces of the day and also joys and sorrows; then there is the part where I review the month and prepare for Spiritual Direction; the third part is for favorite passages or quotes or maybe dreamwork, if I remember a dream.
I am seriously thinking of returning to keep a gratitude journal as that was so helpful. May I encourage all of you to also think of journaling - even to jot thoughts from your reading. I sometimes keep a list of books I want to read at the back of my journal so I will not forget about them.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A house built on a rock

This picture fascinates me. It also has some deep spiritual meaning that I ponder when I contemplate this house built on a rock and surrounded by water. It is definitely not built on sand. It must not have been easy to get the materials out to that rock. Perhaps it was possible at low tide or was all transported over the water? It is definitely a house built on rock, but I wonder if it is built to withstand hurricanes; it does not look strong enough to me.
Then I think of the spiritual house I have been erecting for years. Is it strong enough to face the powerful winds of a hurricane? I think Jesus is my rock and I trust Him to keep me safe until we are united forever in an eternal home. In the meantime, I do find it interesting to consider my interior home that I keep for Jesus alone and decorate it with many hidden acts instead of flowers. My house is filled with comfort things: books, armchairs, rugs, lots of color, a lovely fireplace, lamps, etc. I enjoy being there with Jesus in silence. What is your house like?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Lord, open the door for us"

This Sunday's Gospel begins:
Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’

We all desire to go to heaven; we want to be saved. How are we acting on that desire each day? Am I more loving, more compassionate, and seeking only what pleases Jesus?
Each Sunday is an invitation to reflect on the way we are living our lives.

August 25 is special for me as it is my father's birthday. He was born in 1898, a man of integrity who did many kind and hidden things for others. I am sure he is in heaven with my mother and still celebrating life - now eternal life!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Seeking Peace

This picture helps me to feel peaceful. The news read in the newspaper, seen on TV or news on the computer is certainly not peaceful and I need to take all to prayer. Besides the grave decisions that are being made with regard to our actions with other countries, the domestic violence at home is alarming and not conducive to peace. In Miami people seem to be killed every day in drive-by shootings; children lose their lives by being mistreated, forgotten in parked cars, shaken by parents, etc. I find that I need to take all of this to Jesus and sit with Him. Then comes a deep peace for He is all-loving and all-powerful and can bring good out of evil. Still, I am trying to live in joy and finding each day a challenge this August with so much bad news. If you feel something of the same, I urge you just to sit in silence until surrounded by the peace of Christ.
I apologize to all who have left comments since June - I just found them and published them but if you want me to answer, please send me your e-mail. One about the archives of our school in Montreal seems to be possible to answer here. the school is still in existence and therefore kept the records so you would need to e-mail or the Head of School: Shawn O'Donnell at
I shall try to watch for comments but do answer e-mails so write to or - sorry I just have not been looking for comments.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Reviewing the Graces of the Past Months

The past two days I have had the luxury of spending some time in solitude and silence and have looked back at the past few months; this review was partly as preparation for spiritual direction, but also it is just good to go back over the graces given and also look at my response to the many graces the Lord gives. It makes me feel very grateful. I suggest that we all do this more as so often we just take God's gifts for granted.
I do hope you all remember to look at the Concord Pastor's blog linked to mine on the right side. He has some wonderful prayers to reflect on and I find them very helpful. Sorry that I am posting late this morning but I was doing my own reflecting and just extended my prayer - one of the graces of retirement. Now to get back to that Life of Lucile Mathevon... do keep praying for that!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feast of the Queenship of Mary

This picture is really Our Lady of Grace - I did not look for the one where she is depicted as Queen as I rather like this one. I still think of the 22nd of August as a very special feast of Our Lady. For years it was the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and one of our great feasts. It was also a special holiday for us as novices and one that we looked forward to each summer.
Here is the prayer for the Mass: "O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mather and our Queen, graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children."
I will be going to the noon Liturgy at the University tomorrow and having Spiritual Direction - it is good to look back over the summer and see the graces given and also my own efforts to cooperate with grace. It was a grace-filled summer! I guess I hate to see it end but schools have begun and all are back to the daily duties done, I hope, with joy and love!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Every Minute Counts

This morning I reflected on how whatever I do or do not do today is helping the evolution of the world. I think that every minute counts and every minute is an opportunity for grace if we live it in union with Jesus. It is such an amazing grace to realize that Jesus is always with us and waits for us to turn to Him.
This picture helps me to feel peaceful even though there are many things waiting to be done today and not the things I would like to be doing so I had better get started. I think one of the limitations of aging for me is to find less energy and I am getting to be a real procrastinator.
I am glad that still feel the need to give joy to others and that usually motivates me to get going and do the little things I otherwise would try to avoid. I suspect others also struggle to get some things done and I am grateful for the example of my mother who always tackled the hard things first. She liked to get all she had to do done early and then she was ready to enjoy the day. She sent countless cards to cheer others and her house was in order early every morning; she did not procrastinate! May I learn from her example!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sometimes a picture is enough for a reflection. I think I am writing about Lucile Mathevon and forget about other things that are important, too. Someone just sent me a poem that I really like and think it is helpful so I will share it with you: - it is one of John O'Donohue's:

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work
You do with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those
Who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden you.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams,
Possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of School

It seems strange to start back to school when it is August and so hot. The papers are saying how even five year-olds now are being given homework. I guess the schools are all worried about the poor education our public schools have been giving students. I know I was amazed at the lack of basic skills often found in students entering college. I guess we need to pray for teachers.
On the other hand, I do find that the girls in our school here in Miami are receiving an exceptional education and are accepted into the best colleges and universities. I admire the dedication of the faculty. May all our children and their teachers have a wonderful new academic year and a safe one.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Feast of St. Helen

This Sunday we have the Liturgy for Sunday, but it is also the Feast of St. Helen and I think I began to have devotion to her when I was in Chile. The school celebrated my feast day. However, my mother told me I was named for Helen of Troy. I knew a Sister in Chile who prayed to St. Helen whenever she had lost something. She told me that if St. Helen could find the true Cross, she could certainly find her ring or whatever she had lost at the time. She really did lose her ring and thought she must have lost it in giving some beans to a beggar. The beggar returned a week later and she acosted him. He still had the pawn ticket so she did get her ring back and was devoted to St. Helen.
We are going to a special Mass today for one of our Sisters who came to Miami in 1986 just a few weeks after I arrived. She has done great work in her parish but is retiring and they will be giving her a reception after the Liturgy. We spent yesterday helping her sort out things and then trying to find room for some of them in our house.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Solitude for prayer

Jesus would go off to find solitude and silence to pray. He would leave at daybreak and seek a place to be alone with His Father. He also prayed at night. I have always thought that this was something Jesus needed to do in order to know, to discern His Father's will for Him. I suspect that He needed to draw strength for the day. I also suspect that He sat in silent communion with His Father and then returned to us full of love and mercy.
Ruth Haley Barton says that "the purpose of solitude and silence is just to be with God, to commune with him on that beyond words level that those who are in love know so well."
Let us all try to find time just to sit in silence and solitude each day. We sit in the presence of God lost in mystery; there is no need for words but only the union of hearts - my Heart lost in His Sacred Heart!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Invitation to Solitude and Silence

There is a monthly newsletter sent to me by Friends of Silence. You can find out more by going to The latest newsletter waiting for me when I returned has several good quotes and some are one liners."The strong grows in solitude where the weak withers away." - Khalil Gibra or this Serbian proverb: "Solitude is full of God." 
Here is another quote taken from 365 Tao Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao:
"There is no effort that we can make to still ourselves. True stillness comes naturally from moments of solitude where we allow our minds to settle. Just as water seeks its own lever, the mind will gravitate toward the holy. Muddy water will become clear if allowed to stand undisturbed, and so too will the mind become clear it is is allowed to be still."
I guess I am being invited once again to create more silence and solitude in my own life. There is a book that has been sitting on my shelf but now I have begun to read. It is Ruth Haley Barton's: Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence. IVP, 2004. I think it might be helpful for anyone who wants to answer God's invitation to sink into silence. The purpose of silence is just to be with God and let Him be in control. It is not easy in our busy lives, but let us keep some time to just be!
Thanks for the prayer for the little book I started to write yesterday. I felt the prayer and hope to get a few more pages written today as I have a busy week end with my community and doubt that there will be any time for writing.

What kind of a date would you like with Jesus?

The noon Mass yesterdayday was standing room only but I knew it would be and also that the parking would be impossible unless I went early. I love the Church when it is quiet and I really felt the presence of Our Lady during the Mass. I also had the thought that she was urging me to follow up the idea of  dating God. I know I have lots of imagination, but I think it helps me to pray sometimes just to imaging sitting with Jesus and knowing what an amazing grace it is because Jesus chooses just to sit here with me and talk as one friend to another. I found in my retreat that we sat together for long periods without the need for words, but sometimes we also have a conversation.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven

In the Preface for the Liturgy for the Feast of the Assumption we read: "For today the Virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven as the beginning and image of your Church's coming to perfection and a sign of sure hope and comfort to your pilgrim people; rightly you would not allow her to see the corruption of the tomb since from her own body she marvelously brought forth your incarnate Son, the Author of all life."

One of my theology professors told us to always go to the Preface of the Feast to understand the theology of it. I just know that August 15 was a feast of Our Lady from the fifth century as it celebrated the fact that she is the Mother of God. The Magnificat Mass booklet has a selection on the Graces of the Assumption by Hans Urs von Balthaser who was a great Swiss Catholic theologian. He says that "when Mary comes to God on the day of her Assumption, she simply returns home to the place that was hers from the start, a place so familiar to her (for it is the revelation of her real being) that she instantly knows "this is where I have always been." And then he reminds us that we are children of the Father, members of Christ and have the Holy Spirit so that our home is also the place where we originated.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dating God

It has been some time since I have found a new spiritual book to talk about and so I was delighted to receive a book from one of my directees last night. It is "Dating God: Live and Love in the way of St. Francis by Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M. and was published by the Franciscan Media in 2012. Now, I have not yet read this book but love the idea of having some dates with God. The author thinks that the experience of dating helps us to develop our relationship with God. I just throw this out for your reflection but my imagination has already set up a date with Jesus and it proved very fruitful. I am still loving the book "Jesus: An Historical Approximation" by Jose Pagola and have urged many this summer to read it. Several have told me how much they love it and how it has made Jesus come closer. Maybe we just need to set up daily dates with the Lord!
Tomorrow is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a holy day. Let us try to spend it with Mary and please do pray that my intention to begin writing the life of one of our pioneer Religious starts off well tomorrow and continues every day until the book is finished! It needs prayer to get me started!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Giving light and love to others

This lighthouse is from a Google file and I do not know now where it is located but lighthouses do fascinate me. I often think of our being "the light of the world" and what that really means for me today. I hope it means bringing Jesus, the true Light, to others and manifesting His Love to all with whom I come in contact today. I think keeping up relationships is really important and I know I love to hear from friends and so I try to also contact many that do not have access to internet or who are now living alone, etc. I need to write some notes today as I have been thinking of some of my friends and wondering how they are as we approach mid-August. We have the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady this Thursday and school begins next Monday so this is the last week of summer vacation. I hope all my friends have had a joyful summer and are radiating light to all around them. Maybe the image of the lighthouse will help us today to spread God's love. I felt the love of so many during my time away and I am grateful.

An Unusual Party

My sister has thrown an unusual type of party on August 5 for the past three years. I was there for it the first year she began it and for this year. It seems that Our Lady told the children when asked by one of them that her real birthday was on August 5. The Church celebrates Our Lady's birthday on September 8 but my sister now gives her a great party on August 5. Usually there are about twenty who come from the Parish in Coronado where my sister and her husband go to daily Mass during the summer months. They begin by introducing themselves to each other and telling something about themselves; then they say the rosary together and then write down their petitions as Our Lady loves to give gifts on her birthday as my sister always tells them. (She tells about how she made four petitions once and they were all answered almost immediately and in the same order she asked them, but my sister has great faith.). Then comes the luncheon with great homemade chicken salad, croissants, cantaloupe, and a huge birthday cake that says "Happy Birthday Blessed Mother" - I often wonder what the Cosco cake-decorator thinks when he writes that!
Anyway, this year the party was just as wonderful as always and some very interesting people came. I think it is a lovely idea and a good way to build community and so I am sharing the experience with you. My brother arrived that same afternoon and enjoyed left overs as well as all the beautiful roses decorating the house when he arrived. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Yesterday was spent in the Emergency Room in South Miami Hospital where I was given many tests and all the results were given within hours! It was amazing and I did nothing except lie on a rolling bed that went from x-rays to cat-scan with a few things like blood work and EKGs thrown in - so much of this was new for me as I am healthy but seemed to have gotten an infection that has given me a hard time for the past ten days and so I am now taking three kinds of medicine to get rid of this. What I am most grateful for is that one of my community took me and stayed with me and now I will get better.
One of the highlights of my trip was the retreat at Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz, California. The Sisters of the Holy Names run this retreat house on the ocean; it used to be $25 a day for Religious, but now is more like all retreat houses in charging more but they still have wonderful meals and I love the little prayer room facing the ocean where I can listen to the surf. I used to go to the beach every afternoon, but this year it was a bit cool and I did not get down there - it was a wonderful seven days and nights of silence. The house was full but everyone kept the silence. I was making my retreat in private but the Jesuit preaching twice a day for the others has a Liturgy each day before lunch that I loved. It is a sacred place for me and I have been going there almost every summer for the past twenty years.
After the retreat, I had good visits with all my friends at Oakwood. I could not get around to see all 50 of them individually, but it is always a joy to see how holy and contented our Sisters are in the retirement home.
I stayed with one of our communities in Redwood City who are so hospitable and I love being with them. Then I was able to visit the community at the University of San Diego for a few days to see friends and then went to Coronado to visit with my sister and her husband and my brother flew in for the last three days of the week. More about that last week tomorrow. It just is a grace to see friends in the summer! One of my friends drove down from Los Angeles so we were able to have Mass, lunch and dinner together one day and that was a real joy to see her.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Home again!

There is no place like home! I arrived at midnight but one of my community was still up to greet me. I had a wonderful time but still so happy to be home!
The first days were with about 200 Religious of the Sacred Heart, associates, faculty, alums, and staff members. We had people from all over the world which really made our gathering international. the presentations were outstanding and I hope you read them on our website-
at my table of eight there were three nationalities present as the Canadian former Provincial and now on the United States-Canada Province Team and a male faculty member from New Zealand were present and we had a good mix of ages and categories with Associates and alums as well as faculty.
We had beautiful Liturgies each day and morning prayer.
those days passed quickly and when we finished on Sunday I WAS ABLE TO SPEND THE REST OF THE DAY WITH MY NEPHEW, his wife and her son and nephew.  We visited Stanford University and had dinner outside before they drove me back to Redwood City. More tomorrow.