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Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day

 Today we are celebrating those who have died fighting to bring peace to our troubled world. Yet, it is a day to think of how grateful we are not to be involved in a world war, although we are fighting in different places even now. Still, we rejoice and enjoy this holiday because we are Americans and are prooud of it. I can only think of singing.

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,

for purple mountain majesties, above the fuited plain:

America, America! God shed His grace on thee,

and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

 This is a wonderful Feast and I hope you have the time to pray over the readings today.

The first reading is from the Book of Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40.

The second reading is from Paul's Letter to the Romans: 8: 14-17

The Gospel is Matther 28: 15-20.

Jesus tells us in the Gospel: "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And, behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

What a grace to have Jesus telling us that He is always with us!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Ending the month of Mary

 Tomorrow, Sunday, is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Monday is the Feast of the Visitation and it is also Memorial Day. I am writing today about the Visitation as this Feast was July 2 for years and now is on May 31. I love to think of Mary going in haste to the hill coutry to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who is expecting a child in her old age. Mary is also expecting a child and has been told that He will be the Son of God. She does not understand, but she believes the angel. Now she is the first missionary and is able to carry the newly conceived child to visit Elizabeth. What must this journey have been for Mary?

When she arrives and greets Elizabeth, her cousin feels the child in her womb leap for joy. And then we have the wonderful hymn of the Magnificat where Mary breaks out in praise of the greatness of God and says that her spirit rejoices in God.

Let us spend the day with Mary and ask her to bring Jesus to us and to our world so in need of peace. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Preparing for Memorial Day

The weather has been so beautiful here that one wants to be able to go out. Some are now going out for lunch or even just to get ice cream. It seems so long since we have had the freedom to go out. We still can only sit two at a table and have the same restrictions on visits as last month. We have two of our sisters on hospice and their families can visit. We started vigil with one last night and I was able to sign up to be with Pati who is one of the Sisters who made final profession with me.

Now, I am thinking of preparing for Memorial Day. It jujst happens to be my 90th birthday and so I want to prepare for it. Here is a prayer that may help all of us:

God of power and mercy,
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons
      and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen

—from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers


Copied from Paul Parker who sends such wonderful, timely things. He has done so much for Carrollton to 
animate the entire faculty, staff, students, and parents. 
Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

Paul Parker 
Sacred Heart Spirituality Chair

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart 
305-446-5673, ext. 1237 
3747 Main Highway 
Miami, FL 33133 

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Thursday, May 27, 2021

The gift of a spiritual director

 Today I am again meeting with my spiritual director by zoom. It is a grace. I would hope that each of my readers has found a spiritual director or, at least, a spiritual companion with whom to talk to about all and everthing, but especially about your relationship with God. Sometimes, just trying to put into words what is going on in our interior life brings clarity. It is good to reflect back on the way we are spending our time, especially our time with God. Are we safeguarding it? Do we prepare for it? Are we able to let go of exterior things to concentrate on what God may be asking of us? Are we making time to just be with God?

I need to answer all of the above and much more. How am I spending my time? How am I loving others? What do I think God wants me to do? Am I taking time to reflect each day on what I have done and have not done; am I remembering to thank God for all He gives me each day? 

If you take time to reflect on these questions, you are preparing to share with a spiritual director. How do you find one? Begin for praying for one and then look around as now meeting on zoom is a real possibility and that makes it easier to find someone. It is better to look for someone with experience. I have had excellent directors and, also, a couple who were not especially helpful, but I think it is so important to look for one. It makes a difference in your spiritual life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Be still and know that I am God....

 Be still....

Why is it so hard just to be still, let go of all our thoughts and feelings and just be. I am late posting today but I am trying to take time to just be with God. He does not need our thoughts. He just wants us to allow Him to love us. I know this is getting to be a refrain of mine, but I need to hear it also. I am busy about many things and only one thing is necessary.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie

 I think I need to let her speak for herself in this blog today. Here are some of her words:

"Our needs are many and great, but will the all-powerful God fail us if we trust Him?"

"All things require time and patience, and above all, confidence in our Lord."

"It is not easy to satisfy everybody; let us do our best, and remain at peace."

Monday, May 24, 2021

Eve of the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie

 Sophie founded the Society of the Sacred Heart and was very concerned about the need to educate young girls. Now, the Society of the Sacred Heart still continues to have schools in all parts of the world. We now also reach out to boys in many of our schools. Because of the vision of our Mother Foundress, we have are known to be strong educators of the whole person. Now we have the goals and criteria to help our students to lead lives that can make a difference in our world.

Because of her relationships and the importance Sophie gave to union, we are one of the few Religious of Women who have stayed united with a central government. It has not always been easy, but from the beginning St. Philippine Duchesne, who was sent to our country as the first missionary of the Sacred Heart with four companions, was faithful to our Constitutions and kept united to the Society. 

Let us ask Sophie tomorrow for the gift of fidelity to relationships, so necessary in our world today.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Pentecost Sunday

 I guess the words from today's Gospel are what I want to share today. Jesus comes to the locked room on that first Easter night. The disciples, minus Thomas, are full of fear, but Jesus comes and stands in their midst and tells them: "Peace be with you." 

After showing his friends his hands and his side, Jesus again says to them: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And then Jesus breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

We, and the entire Church, have great need of the Holy Spirit in our lives today. Let us ask for the gifts of the Spirit and may we learn to be docile, attentive, and faithful to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit!

Then we will have peace - peace in our hearts and peace, hopefully, in our world. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Come, Holy Spiri, come!

The Mass for Pentecost has a Sequence. I will copy some of it here as I have often used it for prayer, but that was years ago in Chile. Some of the lines still speak to me so I will share those with you:

Come, Holy Spirit, come! And from our celestial home shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor! Come, source of all our store!

You, of comforters the best; You, the soul's most welcome guest; Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet; grateful coolness in the heat; Solace in the midst of woe.

Shine within these hearts of yours and our inmost being fill!

Heal our wounds, our strength renew; on our dryness pour your dew;...

Give them joys that never end. Amen, Alleluia.


Friday, May 21, 2021

Docility to the Holy Spirit

 It is good to remember that the Holy Spirit comes to us with gifts and fruits and brings peace into our lives. St. Madeleine Sophie wanted us to be docile and attentive to the Holy Spirit. I have had contact with groups, mostly Catholic Pentecostal groups and have seen how they love and help one another and often many have the gift of healing others when they pray over them.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help our world today. We were given the Holy Spirit in Baptism and then Confirmation strenthened the indwelling of the Spirit with her gifts and fruits. Let us be grateful and spend time preparing for this feast by being docile and attentive to the Spirit.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Testing and thinking about Pentecost

 We continued to be tested ever other week or more if we have been out to the doctor or dentist. We are still eating two at a table, but I think June will bring us some relaxation since all of us have been vaccinated. I will have two visitors tomorrow afternoon. I think they now need to bring proof of their vaccinations. I am looking forward to seeing them in one of our new parlors that were just finished when we began the quarantine. It will be from 2:00 until 3:00; the morning hour is not available as we are having another funeral tomorrow. As you can see, we are still leading very quiet lives, but do have a thirty minute reunion on Mondays which is good for announcements, too.

This Sunday is Pentecost and I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit whenever I sit down to write this blog. Today I am prompted to share with you the two Entrance Antiphons for the Mass:

"The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world and that which contains all things understands what it said. Alleluia."

or "The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit of God dwelling within us, Alleluia."

Both could be used to help us prepare for this great feast!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Being in a Cloud with Jesus

 Today we share again on the Guided Imagery we had last Wednesday. I have continued to be in the cloud with Jesus and sitting on a cloud bench in the midst of the cloud. It is sort of like sitting in fog only the cloud is whiter than fog and is not moving. I am just sitting on the cloud bench with Jesus and Jesus is holding me and we are just being there together and being still. I am quite content to just sit there with Jesus. I do not need to do a thing. I am still; I am content and feel deep peace.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Prayer for the Earth

 I have been wanting to share Pope Francis's Prayer for the Earth - I think it is from Laudato Si and we certainly need to pray for our common home.

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.        You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour our upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. 

Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. 

O God of the poor, help us to rescue that abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it; that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.                   Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Amen.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Preparing now for the Feast of Pentecost

 We are now in the novena to prepare for the Feast of Pentecost next Sunday. We need to pray for the descent of the Spirit upon us and upon each person in our world today, especially those who are in responsible positions. Our planet needs help. Our country needs help. Our Churches need help. Let us pray then to receive the Holy Spirit anew into our world. It is a troubled world, but the Holy Spirit is a gift to each of us to bring peace and joy and enlightenment to us. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Feast of the Ascension

 The Entrance Antiiphon: "Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven will return as you saw him go, Alleluia."

Collect: Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ, your Son is our exaltation, and where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope."

Reponsorial Psalm: "God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord."

"All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness. For the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.

God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the Lord, amid trumets blasts. Sing praise to our king, sing praise.

The king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise, God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne.

I hope you will read the readings for yourself. Mark tells us to go out into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature....

We need to pray to understand better the mystery of the Ascension of Jesus. What is Jesus saying to each of us today?

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Eve of the Ascension

 I was thinking about how the Apostles felt when they saw Jesus ascending into the sky; I guess they felt very much as we do when we realize the loss of a friend, mentor, loved one, etc. They had seen Jesus come back to life and appear to them on several occasions. I know that they rejoiced when He was with them, but now Jesus leaves them again. What is different for them? I guess the fact that Jesus again tells them that they have a mission. They are to go out to the whole world and preach the good news, baptizing in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I am praying for the Holy Father, for the Church, and especially the Church in the United States. Our Bishops seem to be divided and that is not coming from the Holy Spirit. We are all the Church and need to pray for our Bishops, our pastors, and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten them and unite them in love.

Friday, May 14, 2021

One bread, One body

 One of my favorite memories is visiting the community in a very rural area in Chile. They lived in a house next to the Church and, as the village was very small, they baked the bread for the entire village.

We would all knead the dough the night before and put it to bed. One of the Sisters rose very early in the morning to finish the preparation to be able to bake the bread. What has caused me to be thinking of bread is the image from the Chapter of 2016 as the Society of the Sacred Heart being like bread. "Yeast is mixed with the other ingredients and transforms the whole dough through a hidden process of fermentation. Then it is necessary to knead the dough and to let it rest until it is ready to pass through the fire. Only after this time in the fire will the bread be ready to be offered."

Where are we in the process of becoming bread? Am I the yeast? Or the dough that needs to be kneaded? Then, am I resting to be able to rise and be baked? Am I baking now? Or perhaps I am now ready to be given and eaten up by others? And, what kind of bread am I? What kind of bread do I want to be? 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Ascension Thursday, unless it is being celebrated next Sunday

 I do not think the Ascension took place as depicted above, but the I am glad we celebrate this event as a special feast. It used to be Ascension Thursday, forty days after Easter. Now, it is celebrated on Sunday but I have fond memories of being at school and all of us going to the Chapel to pray just before noon. We sang "Beau Ciel" and I could imagine Jesus saying farewell as He slowly rose and vanished from the sight of the all who were there to hear His last words. Then a cloud hid Jesus. But Luke tells us in the Acts of the Apostles that Jesus had promised them the Holy Spirit, a wonderful parting gift.!

The truth is that Jesus is still present to us in so many ways. We are hosting the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God in us and we are in God. But Jesus also thought of a way that He could be  present under the appearance of bread and wine. The consecration in the Mass makes Jesus really present and He waits for us in the Blessed Sacrament. We may not have been able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion during this Pandemic, but we can be sure that He is with us if we turn to Him with love and desire.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

God does not come uninvited

 I was preparing to discuss the fourth Chapter in Richard Rohr's The Universal Christ on a zoom with my reflection group in Miami when this phrase jumped out at me: "God does not come uninvited."  How am I inviting God into my life each day?

Rohr goes on to say that God does not want robots, but lovers who freely choose to love in return for love. Since I am convinced that God made me to love me, how do I let this love expand in my daily life so that I am conscious of His Love in every part of me and my life? May today be one lived so that God may love me with His infinite Love and may His love overflow to all I meet today! I pray that this will happen for all of us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

 In the Gospel for the 6th Sunday after Easter Jesus tells us to remain in His Love. How? By keeping the commandments. Then Jesus says: I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete."

Jesus wants us to live in His Joy! When we love one another, we are joyful. Let us go out today singing for joy - we are alive! We are loved!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Shout with Joy

 Every evening in Westwood we are not beginning our prayer together with this copied for us by one who loves it:

"Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Come, Let us sing to the Lord. And shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.

Let us approach Him with praise and thanksgiving, and sing joyful songs to the Lord."

I think I need to shout with joy and really concentrate on praise and thanksgiving. We read so much bad news that it is important to stress the good things and to communicate our joy to others.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sixth Sunday of Easter

 The Liturgy today is full of Joy! The Entrance Antiphon is "Proclaim a joyful sound and let it be heard; proclaim to the ends of the earth: The Lord has freed his people. alleluia.

This is also Mother's Day so we can celebrate all mothers.

The collect: "Grant, almighty God, that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy, which we keep in honor of our risen Lord, and that what we relive in remembrance we may always hold to in what we do."

The Responsorial Psalm it also joyful - Ps 98: 1-4 "The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has wond victory for him, his holy arm.....

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song, sing praise."

Of course, because of the restrictions still in place, we are not singing very much, but we can be singing interiorly!

The first reading is from the first Letter of John 4:7-10

"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God....."

The Gospel is also about love. John 15:9-17

"Jesus said to his disciples: 'As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love....

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another."

How do we remain in His love? We need to be conscious of His Love in us always!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

First Saturday of May

 Pope Francis has asked for the end of this pandemic by saying the rosary in honor of Mary this month. My sister has great devotion to the rosary. She just moved with her husband into a retirement place in Scottsdale less than six months ago, but has started two rosary groups on her screened-in porch. She and her husband always say the rosary together before going to bed.

For years, I said the rosary every single day! I must confess that I do not say it that often now. I should return to it this month and maybe it is a call to all of us to spend some time with Mary. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

First Friday of May

 Sometimes it helps me to pray to think that I am meeting Jesus who is just waiting for me. I do not imagine the well, but do invite Jesus to have tea with me. It is easy to talk to Jesus and He is a great listener. I think the gift of imagination is important for prayer, especially when we are not able to just be quiet. I can also imagine Jesus sitting with me in my room and talking with me about all that happens here at Oakwood. 

Jesus is interested in every detail of our lives. He may know it, but He still likes us to tell Him how we feel, what is going on in us, what we may fear or feel uncomfortable about and He listens and gives us His peace. Try talking to Jesus about everything today - I began with frustration as I could not get past my screensaver on my computer this morning. I guess the Holy Spirit prompted me to reboot and lo and behold, all worked perfectly. 

Many are preparing to celebrate Mother's Day and I am spending a bit of time with both Mary and my mother who is in heaven watching over her children. How grateful I am for my mother who was always there for me. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

New Beatitudes


Pope Francis, on the Feast of All Saints in 1916, spoke about the need for a new set of beatitudes.
His six beatitudes were:

1. Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
2. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness.
3. Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
4. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
5. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
6. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

Are we living these? Maybe the first two are not what we are called to do each day, but the other four are and we will be happy trying to live these. Blessed and happy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Cinco de Mayo

 Today is the Cinco de Mayo and, as many of our Certified Nursing Assistants are from Mexico, it is a day we celebrate. The food is Mexican and I am sure some will arrive in colorful costumes to help us all celebrate. 

I have a vivid memory of visiting Mexico when I was just sixteen years old. I went with my best friend and still wonder how I managed to convince my mother to let me go to visit the student that I had brought home for the Easter holidays. We were three days and three nights on the train and made friends with everyone in our car. We played cards with all men and we were so innocent that I am sure our Guardian Angels protected us all that summer. I did get to go on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and we so struck by the faith of all the people going up the steps on their knees. The doctor, an uncle of the girl I was staying with, had come to Mexico City after the birth of twin sons. He had promised to go to the shrine barefoot. I wanted to go with him. He said he would come by for me in the morning. He did, but we went in a taxi and he only walked into the Church barefoot. However, it was an experience that has stayed with me and I saw such faith in the many pilgrims. Lourdes is impressive, too, but the faith I saw as a teenager in Mexico impressed me.

My spiritual thought for the day: God takes delight in his creation. God delights in me and you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Remembering May Crownings

 One of our Religious who still teaches here in the lower grades told me that they would be having a May crowning this year for each group of 15 children; the oldest in the class will be crowning Our Lady; the youngest will carry the crown. The school used to borrow the statue of Our Lady that we have (and that was given by my cousin), but this year each class will process to the grotto in front of Oakwood. That means that I can watch from the Chapel. 

I am still using the prayer of memories and recalling the month of Mary when I was a boarder at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. The Chapel is now the library, but I recall it vividly and loved the statue of Our Lady. I wonder what happened to it as I do not think it is in the new Shrine where St. Philippine Duchesne is now buried. The statue of Mater is now in the corridor leading to the Shrine and is as beautiful as ever. 

I want each of us to make this a special month honoring our own mothers and Mary. She watches over each of us with tender love. Perhaps we will make a imaginative crown of good deeds as Mary would like that. I am suppoed to be living this year is docility to the Holy Spirit, but find myself forgetting to discern my day. Things get done when I take time to discern how to organize my day. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Celebrating all Mothers

 May is the month when we celebrate mothers; our own mothers, grandmothers, others who have "mothered" us. I am copying here a Prayer for Mothers taken from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers and found in this month's Give Us This Day, page 8. We forget that history tells us that as Catholics, we think of the Church as Mother. I wonder how many do that today? It is hard to honor and cherish "Mother Church" when we know that scandals and corruption is part of her history, but we can certainly honor God who shows us the qualities of a true mother. Julian of Norwich spoke of the motherhood of God. 

Loving God,

as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children, so you watch over your Church. Bless our mother. Let the example of her faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, her family, may honor her always with a spirit of profound respect. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

May we spend this month honoring our own mothers, godmothers, grandmothers, other maternal figures in our lives. Let us show our gratitude even if they are now watching over us from heaven.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Easter

 The Gospel today is one of my favorites: John 15: 1-8

"Jesus says to his disciples: :I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you....." 

The second reading is from the First Letter of John 3: 18-24

"Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassur our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everythig. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commnadments and do what pleases him...."

Both of these readings merit praying with today and pondering in our hearts. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

May is the Month of Mary and begins with the Feast of Joseph, the Worker


In the United States, May is the month of Mary. It is a beautiful month and always ends with a feast of Our Lady on the last day. This year, May 31 is also Memorial Day and so is a holiday. Perhaps we will be able to have an outdoor picnic by then since we are all vaccinated and the weather is usually good for outdoor noonday picnics. 

What shall we do to honor Mary especially during May? I am going to try to say a Hail Mary just before I close my eyes at night. And, since we say evening prayer together in Westwood every evening, I will concentrate on saying the Magnificat with greater devotion.

I love beginning the month of Mary honoring St. Joseph. I guess I am getting more work done today because I am aware of this Feast. This is helpful advice that is from the Little White Book for May 1:

"Between me and every decision, the should be a space in which I determine what Jesus is calling me to do rahter than what I think I should do."