"Young Religious ought to enter blogs and correct the opinions of the youth, showing them the true Jesus" - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar for Rome

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our First Tonopah Christmas

Merry Christmas from all of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration!
Our Monastery Christmas: Fr. Fred Adamson celebrating Midnight Mass, Carols in the Chapel, and Veneration of the relic of the Crib of Jesus.

There are moments in life when just for a moment time seems to stop, all of creation seems to hold its breath, and the silence sings praises to our God!  That sums up our first Christmas here in Tonopah!  

We were blessed to have Fr. Fred Adamson celebrate both Midnight Mass as well as Christmas morning Mass for our Community.  He has been a beloved friend and father to our Community, from the very beginning and faithfully on from there! 

Christmas Eve festivities began in the Main Chapel as Sr. John-Mark played Christmas carols on the organ - and we sang along!  Sister is teaching herself to play the organ (thank You Lord for musically gifted Novices!)  And she is doing a wonderful job!  This was the first time we sang together in the Chapel - the acoustics are phenomenal!  As Sr. Esther Marie pointed out, our voices were swept up to the top of the dome then delivered to the rest of the Church!  As we are not using the main Chapel for any liturgical services until its consecration in May, we headed back to our in-house Chapel for the veneration of the relic of the Crib of Jesus and the chanting of Divine Office, which is then followed by the celebration of Mass.  I must say, after 15 Christmases in the Monastery, I still feel like a little child - giddy with Christmas joy - as we begin to sing the processional song for Mass!  The hope-filled Advent cry of "Come Lord Jesus" is fulfilled on that Holy Night as we hear in the beautiful Christmas Hymn, Hodie Christus Est:
Today Christ is born. Today the Savior appeared.
Today on earth the angels sing, archangels rejoice:
Today the righteous rejoice, saying:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people
of good will. Alleluia.

We received an outpouring of love from so many friends and family - to make our first Tonopah Christmas quite unforgettable!  Sweets and treats appeared in our P.O. Box, as well as on our doorstep.  Steve Talbot, our dear friend and construction superintendent, made us a crowning jewel for the in-house Chapel.  You will see it featured in the photos above.  It is a beautiful Throne to hold the Monstrance for Eucharistic Adoration!  We are confident that St. Joseph had a hand in all of it - the craftsmanship is wonderful.  Surely our Infant King will shower blessings on him and all those who prayed for us and sent gifts and cards. 

Our beloved friend Donna from Chicago surprised us by sending deep dish Chicago pizzas for Sr. Mary Fidelis' birthday just a few days before Christmas!  Much to Sr. John-Mark's chagrin (who was trying to keep the deep dish delivery a surprise), Sr. Fidelis was there when the UPS truck delivered the goods!  Sr. Esther Marie crowned the birthday goodies off with a homemade Yulelog birthday cake.  

We continue to celebrate Christmas each day of the Octave!  Please know that as we visit the manger, we carry your needs and intentions with us and present them to the Babe of Bethlehem - asking Him to bless you and your families with an outpouring of His Love.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Promise is a Promise

On Saturday, December 4th, Fr. Matt Lowry arrived in Tonopah AZ with a few car loads of college students from Northern Arizona University.  They accepted the invitation to COME AND SEE the marvels of the Lord in this far away place of solitude and prayer.  After three hours in the car and a jostling ride on about 5 miles of dirt roads, they came at long last to Our Lady of Solitude.  

This was our first full-fledged group retreat day - complete with Mass, a tour of the Chapel, lunch, confessions, personal prayer time, and concluding with Benediction.  The students had a chance to chat with some of the Sisters - and we had a chance to get to know these faith-filled young people.  It was a wonderful day from start to finish.  It made me think of Pope Benedict's words to youth:  
Make space for prayer in your lives! To pray alone is good, although it is even more beautiful and fruitful to pray together, because the Lord assured us he would be present wherever two or three are gathered in his name (cf. Mt 18:20).

A great big SHOUT OUT OF GRATITUDE to the awesome NAU students for spending their Saturday in prayer together with us!  Come back soon!!!

If you know a group of young people that would be interested in making a COME AND SEE Vocation Discernment retreat, email us at desertnuns@msn.com

Fr. Matt Lowry, Sr. John-Mark Maria and some NAU students!

Adoration and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament in our in-house Chapel

This past week was splendid!  We were blessed to have Fr. Mariusz, CFR and Br. Francis, CFR with us as they took some time for retreat.  What a great Advent grace to have such good friends and role models in our midst.
During their stay, on the Second Sunday of Advent, we had the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in our new home.  What a beautiful ceremony!  Have you had an image of the Sacred Heart enthroned in your home?  If not, click here to read more about the ceremony!  There are many graces attached to such a devotion.  One of the 12 promises of the Sacred Heart, as recorded by St. Margaret Mary is:  
"I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated."
 The Lord is faithful to His promises.  There was such an outpouring of grace and peace that came upon our new home as Jesus was enthroned anew as King of our home and King of our hearts.
Fr. Mariusz reading from the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart ceremonial
As part of the ceremony of the Enthronement, the priest blesses the house.  Here the Sister process behind Father and Brother
And this leads me to this one final thought: Advent is a time of hope that God's promises will be fulfilled!  I pray that your Advent leads you to a greater realization of His Love.  Trust Him...for He is a promise-keeper! 
"He has promised to men that they will be like God; to mortals he has promised immortality; to sinners, righteousness; to the lowly, glory."  - St. Augustine