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Thursday, March 31, 2022

A Quote that gives me peace

 Today I am again sharing one of my favorite sayings of St. Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ:

"I am where God wills me to be, and so I have found rest and security.

God's wisdom governs me,

God's power defends me,

God's mercy encompasses me,

God's joy sustains me,

And all will go well with me."

I keep this on my desk and find it helps me to feel deep peace and joy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

May Christ embrace us all

Someone sent me this card with an Irish Blessing that I am copying here:

"Christ's is the seed and Christ's is the harvest;

May he gather us all in his barn.

Christ's is the sea and Christ's the fish;

May his net embrace us all."

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Wonder at the vastness of creation

 This is a picture of our world. I read the other day that there are more than 5,000 worlds out there in the universe that can be seen! That is so amazing and makes our world seem so small and yet, it is out world and therefore very important. Unfortunately, we are not taking good care of it. Besides our own neglect, pollution, destruction, we now can add the war that Russia is waging in order to take over the Ukraine. We need to pray and continue to push for peace. It is not easy to be President in this time. I am most distressed by the millions of refugees that need our help. 

Let us pray and offer all we do today for peace!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Janet Stuart speaks to me

 When we had the closing prayer for the Busy Persons' Retreat, each of us received a card or bookmark with a quote. I felt that God had picked my quote from Reverend Mother Stuart as it gave me such joy. I am happy to share it with you as I think it is very important to remember and believe this at every moment of our lives.

"Above all remember that you are the most cherished object of God's most tender love. May God convince you of that."

I put a large "Amen!" under it and wrote on the back my gratitude. Giving a Busy Person's Retreat is always a grace.

I also had a zoom with the group that I spent last Saturday morning with on zoom doing a Guided Imagery. This Saturday, the entire group on zoom shared the fruit of our guided imagery and I was so impressed with the sharing of each. I also was reminded today of what my director told me in the wonderful 30-day retreat I had in Spain years ago. He told me that God only wants me to be effective, not efficient. I think that has helped me over the years to do many things that have been effective, if not always efficient.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Fourth Sunday of Lent

 This Sunday we have the Gospel of the Prodigal Son, but it really is the story of the Father of two sons.

It is always helpful to pray over this parable. Jesus was aware that the Pharisees and scribes were complaining because Jesus both welcomed sinners and ate with them. So, Jesus tells them about the father who has two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance and then leaves. He spends all he has and is reduced to feeding pigs and wishing he could eat the husks he gives them. Finally, he realizes that his father's hired workers have more than enough to eat, and he needs to go back and beg to be treated as one of the hired workers. Before he can arrive, his father caught sight of him and is filled with compassion. "He ran to his son and kissed him." Then he gives a feast to celebrate his son's return. The other brother is angry and refuses to go in to rejoice at his brother's return. The father comes out and tells him: "My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found."

I love this Gospel for I am sure the God is always waiting for us and wants to love us, if we just let Him.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

A prayer for you today

 I am taking a few of the verses from the adapted version of Psalm 132 from Nan Merrill. We used this as a reading in the opening prayer of the Busy Person's Retreat and I am just copying part:

"Enter into silence, into the Heart of Truth

for herein lies the Great Mystery

where life is ever unfolding....

May the peace of the Spirit bless you and lead you on life's journey.

Be not afraid of the Silence for Wisdom's voice is heard there!

Enter into the Holy Temple of your soul,

converse with the Beloved in sweet communion.

Blessings of the Great Silence be with you

as you help to rebuild the heart of the World with love!"

Friday, March 25, 2022

Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

 What a wonderful feast day, often called the feast of the impossible! And today Pope Francis is consecrating the entire world, but especially Russia and the Ukraine to Our Lady. We pray that she will make the fighting stop before more are killed and a country is destroyed. I pray especially for the refugees who have had to flee and who do not know if husbands, fathers, and other relatives have survived. I cannot imagine what they are suffering, and it is even worse for those who have stayed behind. Let us pray today that our prayers will stop this fighting.

I did not write yesterday as I have been caught up in the Busy Person's Retreat and having zooms and visits with my three retreatants. It has been a joy to be with each and we finish with a final prayer this afternoon. Here at Oakwood, we will also be having Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament all afternoon to pray for peace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Guided Imagery Sharing

 Last Saturday I had a Guided Imagery. It is a short one, but we are able to share with one other and then with the group and we will be together again next Saturday to share again after a week of praying with our images. My GIM was very simple and left me valuing silence. I found the music loud and it reminded me of a cold and windy day, and I looked for shelter. I found the same cabin I had been in during a powerful experience during the GIM retreat in January. It seemed to beckon me to come in and when I reached the door, my Wisdom Figure opened it and says, "Come in; I have been expecting you." There is a lovely fire in the fireplace and I sit on the couch in front of it and feel God's love. The flames speak to me of the love of the Heart of Jesus. But, I am loving the silence. My wisdom figure is now sitting next to me on the couch but not speaking. I feel that I am just to let the silence invade me. That is all I am supposed to do. I find I love the silence; it delights me; it gives me joy! Then I see the silent Joseph standing near but just to the left of the fireplace. It is his feast day. He looks on me with love, but says nothing. His presence deepens my sense of peace.

That is all I had time to write before we were called back to share, but I have many images to think about during this week and even dialogue with some of them, but the silence was impressive!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Busy Person's Retreat

 Yesterday I thought I had scheduled ahead for my blog, but I had not. I just did not look as it was a busy day with three long zooms. We also began the Busy Person's Retreat and it is all by zoom this year. I love being able to help others with their prayer during these days of retreat. In fact, I love being able to do this by zoom. 

If any of my readers want to know more about the Busy Person's Retreat, please just ask. We begin with prayer on Monday, individual visits the next three days and then a closing prayer session on Friday. The individual visits are what are most helpful as many have not had a spiritual companion or director. My role is just to listen to my retreatant and also to the Holy Spirit. 

Tomorrow I will share my guided imagery experience from last Saturday's zoom, or at least I hope to do this. It is a busy week full of many zooms.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Third Sunday of Lent

 The Gospel tells us about the fig tree used in a parable the did not bear fruit for three years. The owner was telling the gardener to cut it down, but he said, "Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down." 

Now, I have a really good story about a fig tree. I went to Coquimbo in the poorest region of Chile with a desert climate. The only tree in the community backyard was a fig tree. It had not yielded any fruit in previous years so the community thought it was miraculous that it suddenly bore fruit abundantly the first year I arrived. Since we were really poor and the five of us were living on the salary of what one workman would earn when I arrived, those figs were a gift from heaven. 

To just tell you the readings for this Sunday as some might want to look at them at home, the first reading is from the Book of Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15 and is about the burning bush and God speaking to Moses and telling him that he had come down to rescue the people from the Egyptians. Then God tells Moses that "I am who am."

Responsorial Psalm: "The Lord is kind and merciful."

The second reading is from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 10: 1-6, 10-12

Gospel is from Luke: 13: 1-9

Sometimes the Gospel is that of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well.  John 4: 5-42

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Feast of St. Joseph

 Please pray for my guided imagery experience today and I will share it next week, 

 Prayer of Pope Francis to St. Joseph

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became a man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

Show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

The mystery of the stars


I am having some good thoughts about the stars ever since I found myself floating around them in a guided imagery. This Saturday, I will be having another guided imagery experience by zoom. It is also the Feast of St. Joseph. I admire Joseph so much and feel that he is very present to us. He is the silent one. I think of my Dad. He was always there for us and worked hard to provide for all of us. He never complained. He would get up early on Sundays to go to Mass and then come home to fix wonderful Sunday breakfasts for the rest of the family. Until my brothers were born, we always went to Mass together, but this was during the war and we were now living a short walk from the Church. 

Besides praying for peace and for the plight of the thousands of refugees in all parts of our world, I am praying for the process of the synod. Everyone of us needs to participate and make our voices heard. 

Besides preparing for the Synod of Bishops in 2023, we are all caught up in "synodality".  Pope Francis said that a synodal Church is a listening Church "know that listening is more than feeling. It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn." Synodality provides opportunities to listen to the Holy Spirit and the People of God in order to discern together how to live our spiritual journey to follow Jesus Christ. I do hope everyone is involved and that the Bishops are listening to the people. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 Enjoy the day! Our Provincial is here and we have a new Community Director so we are celebrating with a party this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Posting Late This Wednesday


I just found this picture and love it. The lighthouse overlooks Lake Superior and is not active now, but I love lighthouses and my imagination usually invents a story about the keeper of the light, etc. 

Now, I know we are all praying for peace. Offering my Lenten resolutions for peace is helping me to keep them. I also found a great bargain watch that not only gives you the time, date, tracks your steps, tell you how many calories you have burned, gives you your temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen, and is able to do other things, but I really only wanted it to help me exercise. I found it on Amazon for $18.99 with free shipping and so I got it with a Valentine Day gift certificate and love it. One cannot buy lunch out here for that amount of money, so I am happy with my purchase. It is the cheapest fitness tracker but seems to be working perfectly so far. I did take it off last night and had to get out of bed twice and it started flashing and there does not seem to be a way to turn it off or put it to sleep so I just put it in a drawer, and it was fine this morning. I think I need to charge it about once a week.

Sorry I am late posting today. We are decorating for St. Patrick's and will have corn beef, potatoes, and cabbage with carrots for dinner tomorrow. That is very Irish, but we are also having German potato salad! Our chefs are wonderful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Part of our History

 I have been reading Grave on the Prairie: Seven Religious of the Sacred Heart and Saint Mary's Mission to the Potawatomi by Maureen J. Chicoine, RSCJ. Maureen is now one of the community here at Oakwood and is really good at doing research. I am enjoying the book, but trying to read it quickly as many others want to read it here.

I am praying with the Gospel of last Sunday where Jesus took his three friends up the mountain to pray. I think Jesus is still inviting each of us to go apart and pray with Him. You can just be there with Him in silence or you can also talk to Him about all your concerns. I just like the idea of thinking that Jesus invites me to go up the mountain with Him. We get a brief glimpse of Jesus transfigured and then hear God telling us that this is His chosen Son and telling us to listen to Him. Try praying with this Gospel. Or just go anywhere with Jesus and sit at His feet in silence.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Monday of the Second Week of Lent

 To me it seems that I have been in Lent longer than a week. However, I am just beginning to keep my three resolutions. What I have discovered is that I want to welcome each moment but find that I am thinking about other things. I need to practice mindfulness.

The Gospel for today's liturgy is from Luke: 6:36-38. It is very short, but powerful and so I am copying it for reflection today.

"Jesus said to his disciples: "Be merciful, just as your father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."

I suspect each of us will find one phrase to ponder and try to make fruitful in our own lives. I find that I am sometimes judging others and will watch that as I do not want to be judged!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Second Sunday in Lent

 Today's Gospel is the Transfiguration and in the Collect we pray to be nourished with God's word, so that we may rejoice to behold His glory.

The first reading is from the Book of Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18

"The Lord God took Abram outside and said, 'Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so, he added, shall your descendants be."

Responsorial Psalm: "The Lord is my light and my salvation" 

Second Reading is from Paul's Letter to the Philippians 3:17-4:1.

The Gospel is from Luke 9: 28-36

Luke tells us how Jesus took Peter, John and James and went up the mountain to pray. He was transfigured while praying. Then, Moses and Elijah appeared in glory and conversed with Jesus. Then, from a cloud came a voice that said, "This is my chosen Son, listen to Him"

I love this Gospel and often find that Jesus is inviting me to go up the mountain with Him. God the Father also tells me to listen to His chosen Son.

Now, we are all praying for peace and so those prayers are being carried to heaven, but maybe God is waiting for us to show that we are really ready to sacrifice in order to stop this fighting. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Let us pray for peace and offer all we do today for peace in our world.

 I find this picture gives me peace. I have nothing to write today, but I urge everyone to storm heaven to stop the fighting and the killing of innocent people. I pray for peace and for the thousands of refugees who are suffering/.

Friday, March 11, 2022

A Quiet Day

 I am late posting today, but I have been having a quiet, contemplative morning and hope to continue with this peace and quiet all weekend. I will be writing some St. Patrick's Day cards to a few family and friends.  I do have a zoom with my senior student this afternoon, but I am going to try to slow down and have a contemplative weekend for peace.

I finally have Maureen Chicoine's book to read. She lives here and we did share research when she began writing Grave on the Prairie: Seven Religious of the Sacred Heart and Saint Mary's Mission to the Potawatomi. I know I will love reading it and remembering the work we did in Kansas. I love reading Society history and need to make more time for that, too.

I hope you are still all keeping your Lenten resolutions or at least keep trying to do so. Since I am offering my resolutions for peace in our world, it seems a bit easier to keep them. 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

What am I doing for Peace?

 I have been praying for peace and offering my efforts to keep my Lenten resolutions and also to keep a deep peace in my heart to stop the war that is going on and bring peace. I cannot imagine the suffering of those still not able to leave nor the plight of so many refugees in countries that need to receive them, but really are not prepared for the thousands of now homeless people needing refuge.

We now have a picture of Pope Francis crying in our Chapel to help us unite to his plea for peace. We also have his prayer for peace; we said it together after Mass and will continue to do this some days.

We have a funeral this morning. This is the last one, we hope, for a few months at least. We do come here to prepare for death, but I think we have had 22 deaths in the last three years, none from Covid, but one misses one's friends. I guess they are watching over us from heaven.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Feast of St. Frances of Rome

 Today is the Feast of St. Frances of Rome.

What was St Frances of Rome known for?
Saint Frances of Rome, Italian Santa Francesca Romana, (born 1384, Rome [Italy]—died March 9, 1440, Rome; canonized 1608; feast day March 9), founder of the Oblate Congregation of Tor de' Specchi (Oblates of St. Frances of Rome), a community that, with the Olivetan Benedictines, works for the sick and the poor.

I am still trying to keep my Lenten resolutions. I find it really helpful to welcome each moment and I am saying often the words to the little song which I will share again here as I find it helpful.

Breathing in, breathing out.
I am calm, I am smiling,
You in me, I in You.
Present moment, wondrous moment.
Peace to the world, peace to the world.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Reading the Bible is a Grace

The one Lenten Resolution I seem to be keeping is that of spending some time each day reading the Bible. I was told long ago that one should spend time reading both the Old and the New Testament each day. I love John's Gospel and so have been slowly doing a prayerful reading of it. Some days I go beck over what I have read the day before, but that deepens my experience of trying to enter into what the author is saying and to live it. Now, on Sunday, I heard in the homily that there is a tradition or maybe just a school of thought that speaks of the devil as helping God by tempting us. I really had not heard this before and so asked the Jesuit who gave the homily about it and he said read Job. I do know that the devil is allowed to tempt Job, and I guess that I am still mulling over this and what it might mean for our lives now. I guess I need to read Job again.

I hope you all are persevering with whatever you decided to do for Lent. Do not give up. Remember that if it is the resolution you need, you probably have broken it by now! That proves that it is a good resolution for you to take so keep trying. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Lenten Reflection


Ash Wednesday reflection

Lenten Resolutions

By TJ Mullaney, educator at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha, Nebraska

O God, it’s here. I have to say
I’m not that good at this.
‘Gainst every Lent my will is bent.
I just want Easter’s bliss
Without the cross, without the ash,
Like fire without the heat.
But Christ you’ve said, unless I’m dead,
I stay a grain of wheat.
So this Lent I’ll be drinking less
From my cup—more from yours.
No Youtube too, in hopes I’ll do
Your will I’ve long ignored:
The daily, real, heart lifted up
In prayer, engaged with you.
And offer alms, with open palms,
To give your poor their due.
I trust in giving you these things,
Your grace enough to please us,
That by the Pasch, I’ll only ask
For the Heart of Jesus.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

First Sunday of Lent

"Grant, almighty God, through the observance of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects."

The first reading is from the Book of Deuteronomy 26:4-10

The Responsorial Psalm: "Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble."  Verses from Psalm 9

The second reading is from the Letter of Paul to the Romans" 10: 8-13

The Gospel is from Luke 4: 1-10 and is the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert.

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He must have told his disciples about this experience. He spent forty days there and that is why we have forty days of Lent. I do remember a Jesuit telling us when I was only 13 during my first retreat at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, that forty days was just long enough to really change. He asked us to say the prayer of St. Ignatius that begins, "Lord, teach me to be generous ..." for the forty days after the retreat. I began to think a bit about vocation in that retreat. Since we were boarders, we entered into retreat on Monday night and came out only on Friday morning. We kept perfect silence. That was quite an experience! 

Maybe we need to think what the Spirit is asking of us for these forty days. If the Holy Spirit is leading us into this "desert" of Lent, we will have the grace to keep trying to keep whatever resolution we are inspired to take.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

First Saturday

 This has been such a crazy week. I keep thinking that I must have made good Lenten resolutions as I have not kept two out of the three.  Today I am going to share something from Pope Francis that I think someone gave me. It begins with the question: Do you want to fast this Lent?

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.

Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.

Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

Friday, March 4, 2022

First Friday

 I love First Friday and I wanted this day to be a quiet one of prayer, but so far it has not been. I seem to be late with this blog, too! It has been a week of one crisis after another.  More tomorrow!

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Lenten Resolution and Peace

 This picture makes me pray and offer each day's joys and sorrows for peace. We need to change our world so that we are not facing conflict. Peace is something that we all need. We need peace from war, peace from the conflict that rages among us, in us, and around us. We cannot even elect officials from our two parties to work together for the common good.

I am trying to keep my Lenten resolutions and doing it for peace.

Let us be constant in striving to keep our resolutions and that effort can be pleasing to God and move the world to desire and take the means to peace. I do not want war, but I fear that we cannot sit back and accept another country to take over territory that does not belong to them. 

Perhaps our prayer may reach the hearts of the Russian people who may refuse to send their men and boys into conflict. Let us pray.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Mardi Gras

 Today we are not only celebrating Mardi Gras, but also the 104th birthday of Sister Be Mardel! She is still active and a model for all. I have a very short list of those I have known and considered to be the "ideal" Religious of the Sacred Heart. B is on that list!

We will have a special "Mardi Gras" social at 2:30 in the Gathering Room. It is good to celebrate before Lent and we are very much aware that March 2 is Ash Wednesday this year. It is time to think, pray, and discern what God might be asking of each of us this Lent.