This is our first attempt at a web-cam! We hope our Christmas message comes to you loud and clear. We'll keep working at trying to 'perfect' it! A complete 'blog entry' will be coming soon!
Monday, December 24, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Dear Friends, Praised be Jesus and Mary!
Being few in number has its perks... especially around our birthday's. Being smaller we're able to 'personalize' our birthday's more than we can in a larger community. As you can see from the photos, it has been birthday central around Our Lady of Solitude lately! To the right, we have Sr Marie St Paul (Pirate Paul) whose birthday was Nov 19th. And flanking the left we have Princess Augustine(long story) whose birthday was Nov 25th. Pirate Paul is pictured with her birthday ship(named 'The Pearl of Great Price'), a delicious ship-cake made special by our cake diva Sr Mary Fidelis. We laugh because all our birthdays are together...Sept., Nov., Sr Fidelis' is Dec. 23rd and Sr M Andre's Jan. 16th. Thank you Jesus for the gift of life and for the beautiful reflection of You we see in each other!!!
Speaking of Birthdays...Come little Lord Jesus, come and make no delay!!! Holy Church puts those words on her children's lips and in their hearts this Sunday as we begin the Advent journey; going forward with contrite and loving hearts to greet the All-Powerful Babe in Bethlehem. Let us go together, accompanying one another with our prayer and devotion, that at the end of this 4- week preparation we can be more and more like Our Holy Mother and the virgin-father St Joseph, they welcomed Jesus and His Kingdom with their whole lives and being. We must welcome Christ not only in our sentiments on Christmas night when it is so easy to be caught up in the beauty of the moment, but ALWAYS; in the nitty-gritty of our daily lives. Christ came to share, sanctify and redeem EVERY aspect of our lives, even the messy parts. So let us go to meet Him, carrying with us all our love, our hopes, disappointments, our pain-but most especially our GRATITUDE, that we can gaze upon the lovely face of God, and that we can KNOW His faithfulness in Jesus, the tiny Redeemer of the World.
The Christmas edition of the Stella Clarae Newsletter has just been sent to the printers...I'm not going to spoil the surprise and tell you what it is about. All I can say is that we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together...we'll just say it was a family affair! Be looking for it in the next couple weeks.
Although Thanksgiving has passed, we thought we could share with you this 'Kitchen Clip' of Sr Marie Andre with our prize turkey. She is all afright because for the first time in her monastery kitchen career(and she's had a long one) she was going to grill the bird to free up the oven. But due to complications (not the grill, it was us) it went from being swathed in honey, then to the grill, back in the house, then to the oven for it's final roasting. Though its beginnings were shaky, it ended up being absolutely delicious! We hope everyone's Thanksgiving was equally as peaceful and delicious!!!
The title of this blog is taken from a old chant for Advent called 'Rorate Caeli Desuper'. It is based on the book of Isaiah and is an exceptionally poignant hymn. It asks God to 'rain down the Just One, the Lamb, the Ruler of the Earth'. This season for some is a lonely and isolating time, for those who have lost loved ones or who experiencing great trials- pain is felt more keenly during this time of year. I so much want to remind everyone that you are a part of a heavenly family, that you are eternally loved and awaited by Jesus...never lose hope and do not fear-the Lord is coming. For all who are unaware, Pope Benedict just released on Nov. 30th a new encyclical called 'Spe Salvi', which means 'in hope we were saved'. I encourage everyone to read it, it is written to you from a Father who loves you and wants to share with you the grace and wisdom of God. You can download the letter from http://www.ewtn.com/
Time to wrap it up! Our love to you and your families! We remain united in anticipation of the Birth of the Lord
Sr Mary Blogger
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Hello all! We have lots of news to share with you. Just in case you haven't checked out the website as of late, make sure you do. We had our Groundbreaking ceremony on October 30th...and what a blessed day it was! Bishop Olmsted, our faithful shepherd led us in asking Our Lord to bless the beginning of this holy endeavor. That He in His Power might see it to completion, and that all who work in its construction might be guided by His wisdom and protected from all moral and physical harm. Then with the Bishop and our architect, Terry Worcester to lead us, we walked the outline of the monastery and chapel while our friar, Br Bernadine chanted the Litany of the Saints. How happy we were to share with so many of our faithful friends this new beginning, and how encouraged we felt by Bishop Olmsted's exhortation as he spoke so beautifully about the contemplative life and it's necessity to the Diocese here in Phoenix, and the world over.
(as you see above, the new cloister tabernacle and public side tabernacle have arrived from Spain! We are re-packaging them back up in their crates, until the new Monastery is completed)
Okay everyone, here is your word for the week...niggle. It means to criticize, constantly or repeatedly in a peevish or petty way.  [my personal favorite] to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details. The reason I am sharing with you this word is we have formed a book club amongst the five of us...'The Nigglings'. We dubbed our selves so, first for our tendancy to niggle(something we all excel at!!) and secondly in happy memory of 'The Inklings'. (informal literary club started in Oxford of which Tolkien and Lewis were members) We have many things in common among us, one thing being our universal love of books and literature. So, Srs. St Paul and Augustine were inspired to start our niggle club. The first work we have chosen to read together and discuss is Dante's Divine Comedy. We are working our way through the Inferno, we'll keep you posted on how things progress on our journey to Paradiso!! This is a wonderful way to grow in knowledge and 'get through' somewhat lengthy works that are hard to persevere with on one's own. What a great way to share amongst friends and loved ones, and keep alive these PHENOMENAL works. Our other future reads include Thomas More's 'Utopia', Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' and Walker Percy's original and imaginative 'Lost in the Cosmos'. We're open to suggestions from any of you bookworms out there.
Lastly, we appreciate everyone's concern with our former novice, Sr Jeanette Marie. After a period of prayer and reflection Mary has returned home to her family for further discernment.
Thank you for your continued prayers. Your faithfulness is inspiring and a real shot in the arm!!! Please know we remember you and your intentions before Our Eucharistic Lord.!!
Always united in the Heart of Jesus and Mary- Sr Mary Blogger
Monday, October 8, 2007
There is an ancient proverb that goes something like this...'A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer'. How true it is that we, in all our worldly wisdom can be utterly stupefied by the brilliant simplicity of a young child. As you've probably seen on our website, we had our good friends, the Domincan Sisters of Mary visit for the Transitus of St Francis this past Oct 3rd. And one of the sisters had her third grade class submit some questions to us. I thought I would take this time to answer a couple of their questions, and some others that you have asked.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Regardless of why they are coming in, we are so grateful to our dutiful friar brothers, Fr. Dominic and Br. Pio, who worked diligently to seal off any openings or pathways the critters could be using to get access to our little abode. Fr. Dominic and Br. Pio came out for a week from Alabama to visit us and they were happy to help out wherever needed. We appreciated their help, but even more we enjoyed their fellowship. They brought an extra dose of Franciscan joy to us. Thank you Fr. Dominic and Br. Pio for everything! Can't wait till your next trip West.
Speaking of Franciscan joy, on the 25th we began the novena to Our Holy Father Francis in preparation for his feastday on the 4th. Actually we will begin, in Franciscan fashion, by celebrating on the eve of the 3rd with the Transitus, which is the commemoration of the death of St. Francis. We are remembering in a special way the intentions of those who submitted prayers to us for the novena.
I just remembered something. This is totally off the subject and really a random "factoid" but our garden is still producing. A couple ears of corn were finally ready for picking the other day. They were (literally) about 4 inches long, but we boiled them up and they were tender and yummy. These little fruits of the earth continue to show us God's providence toward His children. I think St. Francis would be pleased.
It was so fun being with you! But I have to get going. Being about the "Father's business" is always eventful and exciting. :-) Sr. Mary Blogger will be back again next week. I am sure she will have lots to share.
As always, you remain in our prayers before Jesus. Thanks for all your love and support. May Our Holy Father St. Francis intercede for you and your intentions. -Sr. Blogger Marie
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
'Lady thou art so great and powerful, that whoever desires grace yet does not turn to thee; would have his desire fly without wings.' Those beautiful words come from the pen of Dante, and are a beautiful lead-in to the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is August 15th, but officially starts with First vespers, Tuesday evening August 14th(it is such a FANTASTIC feast it can't all be contained in one day!!!). This feast has been celebrated in the Eastern church since the 6th century, and in the Roman church since the 7th century. In the year 1950, Pope Pius XII (of happy memory) declared the Assumption a Dogma and defined it as the belief whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the end of her earthly pilgrimage was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven. The Lord, Who preserved Mary from all sin and created her Immaculate at her conception would not let her body know the slightest bit of corruption. This feast instills in all of us, her children by faith, the great hope we have in her powerful and loving intercession as we seek our sanctification and that of others in the midst of our daily duties. It fills us with courage to keep on the path of virtue and holiness as we face life's daily trials; for we have an everlasting home in Heaven.
Shhhh. This is a 'sneak-peak' of the upcoming, updated Dreams to Reality
page,which should be up and running sometime this month. The crucifix you see is one of the items that has been commissioned and hand-carved for our new monastery by our Italian wood-carver friend, Alexander. Our precious Lord will be hung in the main sanctuary on the public side. The corpus is life-sized, and VERY beautiful. The first time we gazed upon Him, it was through tear-filled eyes, for He is SO lovely. We know that it will be a source of grace and meditation for all who gaze upon Him.
We received a great question this past week, it was concerning why none of the sisters here at Our Lady of Solitude are addressed as Mother.
The reason being as we are still in what is officially called a period of foundation. Being still under the auspices of Our Lady of the Angels in Hanceville, Al., Rev Mother M Angelica is still considered our Abbess. Before we left on this foundation Mother Angelica appointed Sr Marie Andre to be the acting superior (house superior). So she fulfills, with tremendous love and wisdom I must add, all the practical duties an acting superior would perform...from keeping us in line to accepting new vocations, as well as the practical and daily needs that arise.Once we have established our new monastery, and are papally enclosed Sr Marie Andre(see her photo above with our new novice Sr Jeanette Marie)will be installed by the Bishop as Abbess and will assume the title of Mother, or Rev. Mother.
Thanks for tuning in again. Sr M Blogger apologizes for being so tardy this week. All the sisters send their love and prayers to those who have left such loving and heartfelt comments; and to those who are tuning in for the first time a hearty Franciscan WELCOME! Pax et Bonum!
In Jesus, mary and Joseph- Sr Mary Blogger
Sunday, August 5, 2007
In the name of the Lord who loves us, peace.
That beautiful greeting is taken from a Letter attributed to St Barnabas from this morning's Office of Readings. Indeed He loves us, and that love is the source of our peace. Not peace without struggle and warfare, but PEACE always and in all circumstances because of His Love. We pray this has been a blessed week for all of you and we are so grateful for the hundreds of people who have visited the blog, and given us their support and comments. We have received a lot of great questions and we will try to address one or two of them at the end of each blog. So make sure you persevere to the end!!!
The Solemnity of Our Holy Mother St Clare is almost upon us (August 11th), and we are now in the midst of her Novena. I hope you are all joining us for these 9-days of prayer asking for her intercession in the Church, our world and in our daily lives. (see our website http://www.desertnuns.com/ )
On to NUN NEWS : We have officially entered into the Monsoon season here in Arizona having a storm almost every night this week. Yes, it really does rain in the desert. For those who have never experienced one, you're missing out. It's similar to watching a thunderstorm over the ocean, except we watch them come over the mountains. The sky becomes very dark, and everything is still.Then come the winds, and boy do they blow. Sometimes you have all the fanfare, but no rain. However, that has not been the case this week. Our leaky roof can attest. (no worries, it's the leak that won't be fixed; we have successfully confounded many roofers.)
This past Monday, we had our first slithery visitor of the year. Besides being the largest snake we have ever seen on our property, it is also the first of the summer (although Sr. Fidelis thinks she may have heard another one when she was in the garden picking cantaloupes). We performed our usual routine, which we have down to an art. Someone is posted to stand guard and watch the reptile, while another sister calls our heroes at the Black Canyon Fire Dept. to come and relocate the critter. Everyone else not engaged in any of the duties listed above stands around saying 'Ick" or 'EWWWWW" until the snake is taken away, and we all breathe a sigh of relief. However, this week our sigh of relief did not last to long as Fatty, one of our big cats (he's actually the skinniest) was bit by a rattlesnake sometime Monday night, or Tuesday day. He is in the clear, but is being quarantined with our two kittens (which might end up throwing him over the edge) and can't go outside until he is finished with his medicine. We're very grateful and happy he is on the mend. You can see his photo above.
Finally, on to some of your questions. *Someone asked if when a girl joins our community here in Arizona, will she spend some of her formation time in Hanceville, AL? The answer is no. The girls that join here, will stay here. Each community of the PCPA'S are what is called autonomous. Which means simply that although all our houses follow the same Rule, each house is independent of the others and has it's own major superior and internal governance. We do not go from house to house. A nun will usually remain in the house she joins unless, like in our circumstance, a new foundation is started.
*We were asked what exactly happens when people email their prayer requests. We have a sister who handles all the prayer emails, and she reads them as she prints them out. After entrusting them to the sisters prayers, they are placed in a special drawer in the altar and are remembered at the sisters' adoration hours and communal prayer times. They remain in the altar for at least six months. Because the heart of a contemplative is open to all the needs of the world, each intention is dear to us.
All the sisters are well. We're still going full steam ahead on the building project. So much of building is waiting, which none of us really excel at, but with God's grace we're growing in patience. Everything has it's time, and patience obtaineth ALL things.
I think it's time to wrap it up for this week. As you keep up with us through these weekly blogs, please be assured of our accompanying each one of you through your week by our prayers and union in and with Christ's Mystical Body.
In the Heart of Jesus and Mary,
Sr Mary Blogger
Our first week of blogging was a great success with over 1000 visitors to the blog. These visitors provided some great comments that led us to set up this current blogspot. So many thanks for your great suggestions! "Sister Mary Blogger" hopes to get an update posted either today or tomorrow. So check back soon.
In JMJ, The PCPA WebMistress
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Welcome Ladies and Gents, to the first of many blogs concerning the happenings of the Poor Clares here in fair Arizona.
Being the spiritual daughters of our Rev Mother Angelica, we want to use all that our modern media makes available for the glory of God, and the furthering of His Eucharistic Kingdom.Through these weekly blogs, sometimes bi-weekly, we'll be able to communicate to you in a more informal and personal way all the news on the building project and special feast days or events in our lives that we want to share with all our friends and supporters. So let's get down to business.
As you all know, we have been working on the plans for the new monastery. It has gone through many changes in thought and on paper, and what has evolved is a beautiful, medieval monastery. The drafters are working on the blue-prints as we speak and we look forward to showing them to you. But before that, Sr Fidelis hopes to have the 'Dreams to Reality' page all updated by mid-August with beautiful new pictures of some the new renderings of the chapel and (this is what we are most excited to share with you all) the BEAUTIFUL hand-carved altar and life-sized sanctuary crucifix that has been recently finished by Alexander our good friend, who also happens to be a phenomenal Italian wood carver.
OK, I don't want to make this to long, (too late, right?) but I can't sign off with out reminding you of the big Franciscan feast day that is coming up. August 2nd is the feast of Our Lady of the Angels or Portiuncula ('little portion') as some call it. This chapel was the dearest place to our Holy Father Francis, it was the birth place of all three orders, and it is also the place that Francis breathed forth his soul to God. It still continues to be a place of pilgrimage today, being literally inside the larger church of Our Lady of the Angels which was built on top of it.
This feast has a gift for everyone, whether you're Franciscan or not. It is called the Portiuncula Indulgence, and St. Francis, in the year 1216 obtained this privilege directly from the Pope himself. On August 2nd, all who piously visit any Catholic church (in the past it had to be a Franciscan church, but was made more accessible in recent times. It can be your parish church, or one that is close to you) and fulfill the requirements listed below can receive a plenary indulgence. A blessed and happy feast day to all.
Make a pious visit to a Catholic Church on August 2nd
Sacramental Confession (during the eight days before or after);
Participation in the Holy Mass and Holy Communion;
Say one OUR FATHER.
A prayer for the Pope's intention, (usually an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be are said) in order to reaffirm one's membership in the Church, of which the Roman Pontiff is the foundation and sign of visible unity.
Last but not least...the feast of Our Lady of the Angels on August 2nd also begins the 9-day novena to Our Holy Mother St Clare whose Feast day is August 11th. Please see the home page for details on the novena and how to email us your prayer intentions to be remembered during the novena. The prayer is listed, so feel free to print it out and join us in thanking God for this great saint.
Thank you all for your prayers in the past, please know how grateful we are for your enthusiastic support and love. We return that love through the Heart of Our Eucharistic Lord. May He bless your through Our Lady's hands.
Talk to you soon...Sr. Mary Blogger