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Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve

 We are having a quiet day of prayer this year until after the Mass which will be at 4:00 PM.

I relish time to look back over the past year with Jesus and see it from His eyes. It is a time to reflect on what we have done and not done and, more importantly, to take time to be with Jesus and ask Him what He wants for this New Year. 

Here, I believe we are going to have a time where we can share our New Year resolutions, but I think I want the day of silence and solitary prayer.

"Here is the third verse of Illia Delio's "Christmas Prayer":

As we celebrate your birth, O God, help us to know that it is our birth as well.

Help us to know that without us, You have no place to dwell, to call 'home'.

Without us, You cannot come to birth, and if You cannot be born in us, then what do we live for?"

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Praying with the Infant Jesus

 I have always loved praying with an image of the Infant Jesus. He is so little, so vulnerable, so utterly helpless and He choose to come into our world the way all of us come. We depend on others for all our needs during the first years of life. 

Now that I am 90 and living in a community with many who are older than I am, I realize that often we are called to accept a new time of vulnerability, of neediness. The Christmas season is a time to accept our limitations.

Here is the second verse of Illia Delio's "Christmas Prayer":

"Dispel our fears, O God, and awaken the hope that lies within us,

for Justice, for peace, for unity, for a sustainable earth,

Knowing that with You, all things are possible, and that living in You 

    All fear surrenders to joy."

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Jesus came so helpless

 This year the Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on Sunday, January 2, 2022! I will be beginning my Guided Imagery Retreat in the Dominican Vacation House in Santa Cruz. I will not be taking my laptop so I may be having a week's vacation from this blog. Today, and for the rest of the week, I am going to share a verse from "A Christmas Prayer" by Illia Delio, OSF. By sharing just a verse at a time, we can pray over it as it is a call for us to reflect and pray.

"O God, during this Christmas season, help us see Your light

    -radiating in the tiniest grain of sand,

In the fungi that grows eneath our fee, in the wildflowers and trees,

    - and in every living creature.

For You are love, and love is the energy that ignites and enkindles.

To live in Your love is to realize that dakness is simply differing degrees of light,

And light pervades our universe."

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Feast of the Holy Innocents

 We cannot forget that when Jesus was born, it was Herod's fear that caused the massacre of the Holy Innocents. God did send an angel to tell Joseph to take the child and Mary and flee into Egypt. I am sorry God did not stop the soldiers from obeying Herod and killing all the male infants. 

Even today, mothers are being separated from their children. What we are doing to refugees at our own borders seems cruel and heartless. We need to pray for all those who are fleeing home because of fear, lack of safety, hunger, etc. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

 This feast is the Sunday after Christmas and the Entrance Antiphon is "The shepherds went in haste, and found Mary and Joseph and the Infant lying in a manger."

I think I am going to stay right there as the Gospel has Jesus lost and found in the Temple. I need to stay with the Infant Jesus and be there with Mary and Joseph.


Saturday, December 25, 2021


 Let us rejoice for Christ, our Savior, is born.....

Why does the Christmas creche arouse such wonder and move s so deeply? Pope Francis say that it is because "it shows God's tender love: the Creator of the universe lowered himself to take up our littleness. The gift of life, in all its mstery, becomes all the more wondrous as we realize that the Son of Mary is the source and sustenance of all life. In Jesus, the Father has given us a brother who comes to seek us out whenever we are confused or lost, a loyal friend ever at our side...."

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve

 Let us spend the day full of desire for the coming of the Lord again into our hearts that we have been preparing to receive Him ...He is desiring to come to each of us and we are desiring him. Come, Lord Jesus, and do not delay. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Eve of Christmas Eve

 Since we have our "midnight Mass at 4:00 on Christmas Eve, we will have the Oakwood veilee at 2:30 and it is being prepared by our community director. Since there are nine of us who pray together each night in Westwood, we have decided to have our own veilee and each of us will bring something to share. Mine will be Pope Francis' Admirabile Signum, On the Meaning of the Nativity Scene, but only a bit of this Apostolic Letter issued in 2019.

I have something taken from Genevieve Glen's reflection a few years ago and will share it now as it is definitely before Christmas, but it may be about the first trip Mary made into the hill country. After the Angel Gabriel told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth, had conceived in her old age, Mary set out in haste to visit her. It may have been ninety miles and Mary would have been on foot or on a donkey. She has a betrothed husband, but Mary is now carrying a child that is not his. She cannot give any explanation that others would understand. What does she have to praise God for? Yet she gives us "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."

She praises God for his love for her but then praises God for all the good He will do for others through her Son...Let us spend some time with Mary, thanking her and asking her to help us to prepare for her Son's birthday. Maybe Mary will help me to know what Jesus would like me to give Him for his birthday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Advent Silence and Stillness

 "Silence and stillness are infinitely simple disciplines. They are also infinitely difficult, especially in the context of our bombarded twenty-first century minds. Habitual stillness and silence require deeper and deeper livels of surrender on our part. To let go of all agendas and settle into a deep silence is perhaps the most countercultural thing we can do. It requires trust that silence and stillness are indeed God's first language, and when we meed God on God's terms amazing things happen. What happens will not be by our design...." (Amos Smith)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Four Days to Christmas

 We have our Midnight Mass at 4:00 on Christmas Eve. That is only three days away. I actually have managed to slow down and just take time to be. I have a tiny Infant Jesus and intend to unpack this and do a bit of decorating before Christmas Eve, but I am in no hurry. We will have a "Veilee" at 2:30 on Christmas Eve. My Westwood community has decided to have our own Veilee on Thursday night and we will each bring something to share. I have not decided what to share, but I have this from Christine Rodgers, Christmas 2018:

"The world remains broken, yet in every crack, every fissure- God is there, pouring light, pouring love. Grace goes it mysterious Way. Why would three kings come if not for the Light- the Love- the beautiful Way of Grace."

"We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay homage." Matther 2:2

Monday, December 20, 2021

Better Late then Never!

 I am aware that I have missed writing the last two days. I have had trouble with my laptop. Now, I hope everything will not disappear before I get this blog published.

We are in the last week of Advent and need to slow down and breathe. It is easy for me to say this, but I am sure many of my readers are trying to buy all they need for Christmas dinner, still wrapping some presents or trying to mail last minute cards, etc. We plan ahead, but there are always the unexpected details that feel they could overwhelm us. Take a deep breath, take several, and just stop for a minute and think of what is really necessary to prepare for Christmas.

I am concerned about the lack of preparation still in many parishes in the United States for the synods that will really listen to all about the needs of the Church.

"The Synod then offers us the opportunity to become a listening Church, to break out of our routine and pause from our pastoral concerns in order to stop and listen.  To listen to the Spirit in adoration and prayer…  Finally, it offers us the opportunity to become a Church of closeness.  Let us keep going back to God’s own “style”, which is closeness, compassion and tender love.  God has always operated that way.  If we do not become this Church of closeness with attitudes of compassion and tender love, we will not be the Lord’s Church".
(Pope Francis, 9 October 2021)

Friday, December 17, 2021

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

 Today we begin the O Antiphons. The first is "O Wisdom of our God most high, guiding creatures with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge."

It is good to take time with each of the O Antiphons to try to understand what God might be trying to say to each of us. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021


 Is your heart filled with hope? Hope in Jesus come from more that just a belief that He was once a baby in a manger. This hope in Him is something deep within that secures you throught the storms of life.

We are invited to come before Him and confidently ask for help.

When we put our faith and hope in Jesus, it not only gives us help, strength, and power for where we are today, but it also give us hope for the life after death.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Keeping a Spiritual Journal

Today I made my first vows in the Society of the Sacred Heart 69 years ago! Time goes by so quickly when I look back over these 69 years as an RSCJ. I think I was too busy the first years to even keep a journal, but since my year in Rome, I have usually been faithful about keeping some sort of a Journal. I threw all away several times, but have not yet thrown away most of the ones I have written during my time here at Oakwood. I suspect I need to get rid of them soon as I really seldom go back to read them.

Since I began a new Journal on the First Sunday of Advent, I have been very faithful to write each day and in my best penmanship. I am not sure how long that will last but I also have returned to a book by Ronald Klug with the title, How to Keep a Spiritual Journal: A Guide to Journal Keeping  for Inner Growth and Personal Discovery. 

I love how he tells us at the very beginning to relax with our journal and enjoy it. It should never be a burden. 
People ask me what I write each day. It depends on the day. Sometimes I am recording what I have done, or something that struck me and I just write it down. When I seem to have nothing to say, I often just write a letter to Jesus expressing my feelings and my love for Jesus. Some days I just write about the things I am grateful for and that is always helpful. I hope you will try keeping a Journal if you have not done so in the past. You do not need to write every day, but keep it handy and you will find it helps to try to express in writing what is going on inside of us.

Feast of St. John of the Cross

 Today we celebrate the feast of St. John of the Cross. I love his poetry, but the book to read, if you really want to learn a bit about John and his teachings on prayer, is Iain Matthew's The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross.

Here is a quote that I love because it reminds me of what my mother always told me: "Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love." My mother used to say: "Love others and they will love you."

John's poetry is worth spending time with and has helped me to pray. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Advent Reflection on Joy

 Today I want to share one of my favorite quotes from Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ:

"The quality of our joy depends on the spring from which it is drawn. Where do we seek our joy? How does it come and go?.....To be a joy-bearer and a joy-giver says everything. It means that one is faithfully living for God and that nothing else counts, and if we give joy to others, we are doing God's work."

And we need to only be grateful to be able to give joy to others and be full of joy ourselves!


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday of the Third Week of Advent, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 I took the habit and officially became a novice in the Society of the Sacred Heart 71 years ago today.

It is both a feast of Our Lady, the birthday of St. Madeleine Sophie, and the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. We are to rejoice in the Lord. 

I am rejoicing because I just had a wonderful week with my friend, Patrick. We spent the first days in retreat but prayer together and shared and had our meals together but mostly kept silence as there were three or four Sisters there making their retreats. Advent is a great time to take off and have a some days of quiet prayer. I was, of course, praying much for my sister-in-law, Anita, as she was finishing the month with the trial drug and the doctors said there was no hope and suggested hospice. The very day the month trial ended, Thursday, Anita was baptized and went to God in her sleep less than three hours later. We consider that a miracle. I know she is in heaven, but we have had the Mass offered for her here. I feel for my brother, but we are all happy that Anita is with God.

There is so much to pray for and so many have died, been killed by accidents, tornadoes, etc. that it is good to be able to rejoice today for the Lord is coming and only the Lord can solve the problems of both the Church and the World. Perhaps Christmas will change the hearts of some of our members of Congress to act for the common good and not for political party interests.

Let us be joy-bearers today and always!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Desire for God increases during Advent

 I come home from Villa Maria del Mar today. I have been writing my blops ahead as I am not taking my laptop with me. I am just going to be for four days!

Advent is a time of desire and longing for God however He comes to us during this time. We can find Him more easily, I think, in silence. Try to take some time each day just to be still.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

"Fear not, I will help you."

 "Fear not, I will help you," These words are found in the reading from Isaiah today, 41: 13-20

God is telling Israel that no matter what, He will not forsake them. Let us trust the Lord and pray that He will fix all that is wrong with both our Church and our politicians. We need to act for the common good and be open to change unjust structures.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Special Feast of Our Lady

 What I wrote for this feast was published by mistake on December 4 so I am trying again. I think it is just a day to celebrate Our Lady and her purity. She is the patroness of the United States. We need her to help the Bishops to learn to listen to all the members of the Church and to go out and listen to what those who are not in our Churches. The synod is a time to listen to all and then discern what changes need to be made to serve our world today. Let us ask Our Lady to help us!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Please pray for Advent peace

 I am so fortunate to be able to have four nights in the retreat house right on the ocean and in the second week of Advent. The first week was rushed as I was doing Christmas cards. This is going to be my quiet week and I really look forward to it. I pray that all will be able to find some quiet time just to be and feel the peace of Advent as we prepare for the coming of Jesus again into our hearts and into our lives.

Monday, December 6, 2021

God is always needing to be born

 A friend sent me a beautiful Christmas card that she designed and painted herself. It is really beautiful and she does have on the back 2021 so perhaps she has more creative, gorgeous cards. She has something on the front of the card that I am going to copy here:

"What good is it to me that Mary gave birth to the child of God fourteen hunderd years ago, if I do not also give Birth to God's child in my time and my culture? We are all meant to be Mothers of God. God is always needing to be born."

Inspiration from Meister Eckhart, Mystic, 1260--1328

I am away at my favorite sacred place: the retreat house in Santa Cruz. I am staying there for four nights so I may not have a blog posted every single day this week. 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Second Sunday of Advent

I love the Entrance Antiphon for today: "O people of Sion, behold, the Lord will come to save the nations, and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard in the joy of your heart."

Collect: "Almighty and merciful God, mah no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company."

First Reading from the Prophet Baruch 5;1-9

Responsorial Psalm: "The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy."

Second Reading is from Paul's Letter to the Philippians that begins telling us that he prays always with joy in his every prayer for all of them... and he prays that their love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,...

Gospel is Luke 3: 4-6 and is on John the Baptist and how he went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Feasr of the Immaculate Conception for December 8

 This is a feast to honor Mary. I have always loved this feast. As a child, we had a holiday and my aunt and godmother would take me downtown to have lunch at a hotel and then shop for gifts for other children that her boss needed to remember. I think my aunt also told my mother what I seemed to like most among all the toys, dolls, games, and books. It was when I was at the Academy of the Sacred Heart that I really began to enter into the celebration of this feast in honor or Mary. We had a special practice every year during a novena before the feast and then we had the famous Lily Procession. If we had been faithful during the novena, we were allowed to present a lily to Our Lady. It was a very solemn procession as we were all in our white uniforms and white veils and we said, as we presented our lily to the statue of Our Lady: "O Mary, conceived without sin, I give thee the lily of my heart; be thou its guardian forever."

Friday, December 3, 2021

Feast of St. Francis Xavier and First Friday


Francis Xavier was one of the original six companions of Ignatius who took vows in the Society of Jesus and became the first "Jesuits". In 1541 Francis left to become a great missionary for Asia. He worked tirelessly and by 1549 landed in Japan. He stayed there for two years, long enough to implant a small Christian community and then set sail for China. He was taken off the ship when he became ill and died on an island at the age of forty-six. He baptized whole villages and now is the patron saint of foreign missions.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Advent, a Time of Discernment

 Today I am going to again quote from Juliet Mousseau's book as I think what she says about discernment is so important.

"It must be noted, too, that discernment is about choosing between two good things. When we talk about obedience to God and to the needs of the world, it's clear that the needs are abundant and the path of Jesus is wide and diverse. Obedience may offer us many options, all of them good, and all of them consistent with our own gifts. Discernment then comes into the equation, through which we ask God for guidance in our prayer, that the path that is most right at this moment be shown to us. Obedience, then, calls us to commit our lives wholly to that choice, to live it to its fullest until it is clear that some other need is calling us in a different direction."

When I was in the Institute for Religious Formation, Father John Futrell, S.J., stressed the fact that a good discernment may change because we have new information. 

I am glad that Juliet is one of our delegates to the Special Chapter which is ending today after spending three weeks discerning how we, the Society of the Sacred Heart, will organize ourselves and share resources.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

New Year's Day

 We begin a New Year full of hope for the world and for each of us to experience the love of God which He so desires to pour into our hearts.

Here is more of Illia Delio's Christmas Prayer to ponder:

"Help us to see that, like You, we are undergoing the pangs of new birth,

    - like You, we are not finished,

Our work together, You and I, O God, is to become whole and complete,

    -You in me and I in You.

Christmas is the feast of the whole person, the whole creation, the whole cosmos

Celebrating the wonders of new birth.

The universe is Theotokos, God-bearing, 

Everything alive is seeking You, longing for You

What is God calling you to do?

 Yesterday I published two blogs on the same date; that is what happens when I try to hurry. I am really trying to get ahead with blogs this week as I will be away next week at Villa Maria and will not be writing blogs. 

I am reading a book by one of our young Religious, Juliet Mousseau. The title is Prophetic Witnesses to Joy: A Theology of the Vowed Life. It has certainly made me realize how important discernment is in our daily life. Listening to the Holy Spirit who helps us discern and confirm the discernments has given me new light on the vow of obedience. 

Here is a quote that is for all of us: "How do we know what God calls us to? We know by listening to our hearts, by listening to the spirit work in us, by listening to those who know us, and by hearing the cries of the world around us."

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Silence and Stillness are a new language

 "Habitual stillness and silence require deeper and deeper levels of surrender on our part. To let go of all agendas and settle into a deep silence is perhaps the most countercultural thing we can do. It requires trust that silence and stillness are indeed God's first language and when we meet God on God's terms amazing things happen. What happens will not be by our design. We will not shape the experiences. This unfolding will not be according to our agenda. Silence and stillness are a new language that takes a long time to learn, and even longer to learn if we hope to become fluent." Amos Smith

Let us try this Advent to take some time each day just to be still and listen to the silence we are able to create in our own hearts and minds. Jesus was silent in the womb of Mary. 

Silence and Stillness

 Here is a quote from St. Madeleine Sophie in 1855:

"Prepare for His coming into your hearts, for that is why He came on earth: to be born, to develop in your souls, and when the beautiful day of Christmas arrives you will taste that peace the angels announced to persons of good will." Suzanne Cooke quoted this and added: "In her conference, Sophie has provided us with a simple and profound observation. Advent reminds us that the self-discipline of stopping, breathing and praying is a simple practice, but there is no better preparation for Christmas. More important, this practice is the ideal way to live fully and to be ready to leave this life for the next."

"Silence and stillness are infinitely simple disciplines. They are also infinitely difficult, especially in the context of our bombarded twenty-first-century minds." - More on silence and stillness from Amos Smith tomorrow - actually, I found this Advent prayer service in my file and thought the quotes worth copying into my blog.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Beginning Advent with great desire

 Let us begin this time of preparation for the coming of Jesus in a deeper way into our hearts by great desire and a longing that will make us aware of Him, who dwells in us but longs for us to increase our capacity to receive Him. I love the image of clearing out the clutter and housecleaning our hearts to receive Jesus again in a special way this Christmas.

Do prepare by deciding on some Advent practice that the Holy Spirit inspires. I have decided on three things and probably will fail to keep all of them. The most important is to take time for exercise; it is true that I am 90 years old and have less energy, but I know that I need to exercise and hopefully will do so during Advent. The second, is to read a page of Luke's Gospel everyday and really let it penetrate with the help of the Holy Spirit. The third is to cut back on the time I am spending on my I-pad. I play games, read many articles, get my news chiefly on my I-pad and read and answer many emails daily; I need to find a way to cut back as I am averaging three hours a day just on the I-pad. Hopefully, Advent will make a difference in my life and in yours. I also intend to write something in my new Journal each day. It is a large book with this quote from Psalm 37 written on the cover: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

We had a lovely Advent Mass Sunday morning, but no Advent wreath in the Chapel today. I hope we will be having one; I know we will have one in Westwood for our evening prayer.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

First Sunday of Advent

 Today we light the first candle on our Advent wreath. I will also be praying with the Advent Liturgy.

For this First Sunday of Advent, the Collect is:

"Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his cominig, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom."

The First Reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah 33:14-16

"The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulful the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah...."

Responsorial Psalm: "To you, O Lord, I lift my soul."

Second Reading is from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

"Brothers and Sisters: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.,,,,

The Gospel is according to Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus speaks of the signs in the sun, moon, and the stars, and on earth.... It is not a consoling Gospel, bu one to prepare us for the final coming of the Son of Man, Jeus Christ.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Last Day of the Liturgical Year

 Today we prepare the Advent wreath and prepare our own loves to close another liturgical year and begin Advent tomorrow. Let us take time to discern what God may be asking of us this Advent.

Our Special Chapter which has been held on zoom for the delegates from all over the world, ends on December 2. We are all praying for the Holy Spirit to help us make the right decisions about how we should organize ourselves and share resources as we are diminishing and have fewer Religious who are under sixty. We do have vocations in Indonesia and Africa but many provinces have few younger Reigious and so we really need to think of how we are going to organize ourselves for the future. 

Let us pray for one another during Advent. I hope we find this season of Advent a time of desire, a longing for Jesus to come into our hearts and into our world in a deeper way because of our longing.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving is not just for one day

 The turkey dinner was wonderful, but now we continue to be thankful for all the graces of this liturgical year. Try to take some time for this and to prepare ourselves for the first Sunday of Advent. I usually try to at least address Christmas cards before Advent, but I am not sure I will get this done before Sunday. 

We used this prayer and said it together at the end of our Thanksgiving meal. It was sent to us by our Provincial and was composed by John O'Donohue.

Grace After Meals

We end this meal with grace for the joy and nourishment of food,

The slowed time away from the world to come into the presence of each other

And sense the subtle lives behind faces, the different colors of our voices,

The edges of humgers we keep provate, the circle of love that unites us

To change the structures that make others hunger and that after suce grace we might now go forth

And impart dignity where we partake.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

 We are having a Mass at 10:00 and all the Religious of the Sacred Heart in the entire area are invited for both the Mass and for Thanksgiving Dinner. I suspect we will be around 70 as we have not been able to invite the other communities to come because of COVID. Now we are still being careful, but it will be good to see all the RSCJs. The cooks here do a fabulous job every year to give us a delicious dinner with all the trimmings.

I am just thankful for my family, my vocation, the many friends I have made through the years, my missionary years, my different communities, for the challenges and opportunities that have been part of my life. I could make a long list of all I want to thank for today. Some of those I am so grateful for having in my life are now in heaven,

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and let us remember those who are less fortunate, especially all the homeless, the refugees, and the sick and suffering.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Eve of Thanksgiving

 It is good to have a national holiday to give thanks, but it is something that many of us do every day!

We learn as children to say thank you for whatever is done for us and to thank God for the food we eat, the people we love and who love us, and for feeling safe for "God is in his heaven and all is right with the world." I try to remember to thank my Guardian Angel who is such a gift from God. 

As I look back over the years, Thanksgiving at my paternal grandmother's home was always the highlight of the day. The Thanksgiving I most remember was also on November 25 that year and my baby brother was born. We had all eaten a fabulous dinner when my mother said that she thought she might need to go to the hospital, but she wanted my father to take the three of us home with my grandmother; she thought that would be best as my other brother had been born on Christmas less than two years before and needed to go to bed. Two of my aunts were the ones chosen to drive my mother to the hospital and stay until my Dad would be there. For years they would remember to tell the story of that Thanksgiving; these two aunts had no children and were a bit nervous about driving my mother to the hospital. They were even more nervous when my mother told them that she wanted them to stop at the ice cream shop and get her a marshmellow sundae with chocolate ice cream! They did stop and my mother did eat that sundae and gave birth to my brother withing a few hours. 

This Thanksgiving, my brother will be spending time in the same hospital with his wife who is very ill and needs our prayers. 

Do take time to count your blessings and thank God for all He gives each of us daily!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Keeping A Journal

 Advent is coming and it is the beginning of a new Liturgical Year. It is a good time to start a new Journal. The first thing I do is find a picture to paste into the front cover, write my title page being sure to note that this is a private journal belonging to me and the date I am beginning it. Sometime it may be helpful to add your phone and email, just in case you were to lose it when away from home.

At the beginning of the Journal, I like to list my goals for the year. These really do not change, but I may want to add under some of them how I plan to be more definite about keeping them.

Since I am just finishing up my old journal this week, I am writing mostly about what I am grateful for in looking back over the past year, or just saying what I am grateful for today. The point is to write something! Soon you will get the habit of jotting down daily thoughts and feelings and maybe you will end up talking to God in your Journal. There is no one way to keep a Journal. Do whatever feels right for you, but do try to keep one during this new Liturgical Year!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Choir Memories

 I do not know much about St. Cecila, but she is patroness of music and choirs and so I think she did have an influence on me when I joined the choir. I really do not think I can carry a tune by myself, but I have enjoyed singing in several choirs. In seventh and eighth grade we sang the High Mass in our parish church, mostly in Latin at that time.  We wore black choir gowns with stiffly starched white collors and felt very proud of ourselves. We used to go early to school for choir practice and to learn how to pronounce the Latin words.

When I went to the Convent of the Sacred Heart for high school, choir was important. I loved singing in the Chapel and also preparing the operetta we gave each year. The first year I was just a member of the choir. The operetta was Hansel and Gretal and our stage was outside among the huge trees with the audience sitting on the hillside in chairs. We, the choir, all wore long formal gowns and were standing on wooder tiers; in the midst of one of the first songs, the tiers collapsed. Our training was such that we just sunk gently down without missing a note! Maybe that was a little miracle of St. Cecelia.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

 Today is the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year. We celebrate Jesus Christ as King of the Universe. Sometimes we begin to think that God is just looking after our world. The truth is that He is caring for the entire universe. This truth came to me in a very vivid way when doing a Guided Imagery Exercise. We really are still learning about the Universe as it is so vast and so ancient.

To look at the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel, 7: 13-14, we see that "the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.:

Responsorial Psalm: The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty."

Second Reading is from the Book of Revelation: 1:5-8

"Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the first born of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes, Amen.

'I am the Alpha and the Omega', says the Lord God, 'the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.'"

The Gospel is from John 18: 33-37 where Pilate asks Jesus, "Are you King of the Jews?

I think that this last Sunday of our Liturgical Year wants to remind us that Jesus is King and will come again. Next Sunday,  is the First Sunday of Advent and we will soon be contemplating Jesus as a helpless, newborn baby. I love Advent and the weeks preparing for the birth with Mary.

Today is also the birthday of the Society of the Sacred Heart founded on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, November 21, 1800.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Prayer is a free gift from God

 Today let us reflect on this quote from Henri Nouwen:

"We cannot force God into a relationship. God comes to us on his own initiative, and no discipline, effort, or ascetic practice can make him come. All mystics stress with an impressive unanimity that prayer is "grace" - that is, a free gift from God, to which we can only respond with gratitude. But they hasten to add that this precious gift indeed is within our reach. In Jesus Christ, God has entered into our lives in the most intimate way, so that we could enter into his life through the Spirit."

I know that God is in each of us in a special way; sometimes God makes us very aware of His presence, His love and care. At other times, God does seem to be hiding so that we seek Him. A normal prayer life will have ups and downs as we also experience in other relationships. The important thing is to always know that God is present and loving us no matter what!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Keeping a Journal

 I really do encourage each of my friends, students, directees, to keep a journal. It can be a gratitude journal and it is easy to take a moment each day to jot down something you want to thank God for and sometimes you have many things to thank for. You will be filling your soul with gratitude and that will give you joy. Try it now as preparation for Thanksgiving. You may find that it will make a good Advent practice and you can feel free to write whatever you want in your journal.

I kept this from a Journal wrapping from DaySpring as I thought it might be helpful for those just beginning to Journal or anyone. It has in large letters: Pray -Think-Dream-Write. Then is says:

"Just as the Bible is a written record of the activities of many faithful men and women, a journal is a   record of your journey through life. It can be a spiritual diary where you can record your interactions with God. Use a journal to reflect upon your daily walk, record God's power and creativity, keep track of prayer requests and answered prayers, and to provide a written testimony and legacy of God's goodness in your life. Journals are a wonderful way to improve your walk with the Lord."

I am starting a new Journal for Advent and looking forward to it. In the meantime, I am filling my old Journal with expressions of gratitude for so many friends and writing some "to do" lists so I can have the joy of crossing out the things as I do them. Sometimes looking at a picture will trigger a Journal entry! The above picture always helps me to reflect and then write.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Feast of St. Philippine Duchesne


I do not like this face but the picture of Philippine has a map, a pen for the many letters she wrote at night whenever there was an opportunity, and image of the Sacred Heart. I thought I would just share today the question Father Gavan Duffy asked and then answered it himself in 1940.

We have learned the value of a steadfast purpose; the sucess of failure and the unimportance of our standards of success; the power of grace released by deep, divine desires and simple duty daily done."

What have we learned from her?

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Heart to Heart for Hearts

Today I am using a reflection from the same book as yesterday but this is written by Elizabeth Kasyoka of the Province of Uganda-Kenya.

"Ever since I have come to know Saint Philippine , she has become my friend and companion on my spiritual journey. Philippine's voyage to the New World resulted from a profound conversation and call from the Heart to her heart for all hearts. God beckoned her to let go, take action and move, to trust in the winds that would pelt the sails of her Recca, and to hold onto the rudder tightly and courageously on the high seas.

Philippine faced many setbacks, though they did not alter her dream of reaching the hearts she longed to touch. She was an educator and loved children. Not able to speak the language of the people, she spoke with her heart more than her words. Indeed, she left an indelible mark in their lives. Not doubt, the Potawatomi children appreciated her compassion, and those who watched her praying silently were deeply moved by her communion with God.

Today God's voice is calling us deep in our hearts to rise up against all odds. The assurance that all depends on God, not our own effort, gives us courage and opens our eyes to see everywhere opportunities that are opening up as an invitation to move towards a new world, to walk the unfmiliar plains, rocky grounds, mountains and jungles to meet so many hearts that are waiting to be touched and loved."

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

A Prayer to Philippine


This prayer is from one of our Sisters in Brazil, Maria Cecilia Amarante, RSCJ. It was published in the book, Philippine Duchesne: A Global View, edited by Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ, 2019.

Full of courage in the face of sufferings and misunderstandings, obtain moral strength for us.

Humble, zealous, and unpossessive in friendship, teach us to love with the Heart of Jesus Christ.

'Tireless in the struggle for the Reign of Christ, communicate your eagerness to us.

Living lesson on prayer, help us to live our spirituality of incarnation and paschal mystery.

Inspirer of missionary love towards the poorest, obtain for us zeal for the Kingdom. 

Patient is awaiting the Lord's time, teach us hope.

Persevering in the engagement of causes for the indigenous, open our hearts to all our sisters and brothers.

Inimitable adorer of the Eucharistic Jesus, communicate to us your desire for a total gift of ourselves.

Our herald to the Southern Hemisphere, obtain for us the grace of a genuine option for the poor.

Example of poverty and total emptying of self, teach us forgetfulness of self.

Saint Philippine, pray for us to the Heart of Jesus, the one to whom you gave your life without reserve.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Preparing for the Feast of Philippine Duchesne

This week we will be celebrating the feast of St. Philippine Duchesne on Thursday. As she is very dear to me, I think I shall be writing a bit about her each day this week. Actually, I am going to use my memories of learning to know and love her and then share some of what others have written about her.

I went to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, the first convent of the Sacred Heart in America, founded in 1818. My grandmother and great aunts had gone there to school and I was thrilled to win a partial scholarship, half tuition and half board for my four years of high school. I had read so many books about boarding schools and was certain that I would love being a weekly boarder. I got to know Philippine my first year. I was only thirteen and fascinated with the story of how Philippine had left France to come to America and the hardships she suffered when she did arrive. The first year at St. Charles was very hard. It was only a log cabin with more doors than windows and it was very cold. That year, 1818, the Missouri river in front of the convent was frozen over and they had to pay to have someone go break the ice to bring water. Philippine loved St. Charles in spite of the poverty and hardships of the first year. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


We are nearing the end of the Liturgical year and we see some signs of urgency in the Gospel. Next Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King and then we begin the new liturgical year November 29 with the First Sunda of Advent. I think I will begin a new Journal in Advent.

The Reading for this Sunday are: Book of Daniel 12:1-3; Letter to the Hebrews 10:11-14, 18 and the Gospel is Mark 13: 24-32.

The Gospel tells us to learn from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. Then, Jesus tells us that in the same way "when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates."These things refer to the sun being darkened, the moon not giving light, stars falling from the sky, etc. But what Jesus really is saying is that no one knows the day or the hour, "neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
It is not an easy Gospel but the point Jesus is making, I think, is that we must be ready as we really do not know the day or the hour.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

God is always present

 Today I read this quote from someone I never have heard of before, but it was in the Tablet and I think it is worth sharing. It is Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh and is from the book of Living Prayer, 1988.

"We must not come to God in order to go through a range of emotions, nor to have any mystical experience. We must just come to God in order to be in his presence, and if he chooses to make us aware of it, blessed be God, but if he chooses to make us experience his real absence, blessed be God again, because as we have seen he is free to come near or not."

I think God is certainly free to allow us sometimes to experience his presence or not; however, I firmly believe that God is never absent. He is in us and we are in Him!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday freedom

I seem to have forgotten that yesterday was a holiday. There was an outing for brunch in Redwood City, but I did not sign up for it until I was asked to do so as there were still two places. It is always good to go out with a group and then I am happy to come home. 

Sister Rose Chen went to God early yesterday morning. She was professed with me in 1960. Some family arrived the afternoon before she went to God. I think the funeral will be after Thanksgiving. 

I wonder if everyone loves the feeling that comes when it is Friday. Here, the week end  is not really different as far as our schedule, but there is the sense that the next two days are special. No school, more time to catch up with correspondance, the feeling of peace that each Sunday brings, etc.