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

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Bit of This and a Bit of That

This is a little bit of a potpourri post.  Just wanted to fill you in on a bit of this and a bit of that!  Things here in Tonopah are good, but BUSY!  Why?  Because we are gearing up for the 2nd Annual Nun Run 2011.  Sr. John-Mark Maria and Sr. Esther Marie have been putting lots of time, effort and heart into making Nun Run 2011 a great success.

I hope you have registered for the Run!!!  The Nun Run will be held at Kiwanis Park in Tempe.  (Photo to the left)  This is a pretty central location for all you native Phoenicians!  So no excuses!!! :)  Come out and join in the fun.

If you are not here in town, then consider registering as a shadow participant (a race shirt will be mailed to you) and run wherever you are.  There are so many ways to get involved.

Sr. Esther Marie is now doing the Nun Run Blog.  And it is lots of fun. Be sure to check it out!

The latest and greatest about the Nun Run are the incentive prizes for Fundraisers!  Everyone who becomes a Nun Run Fundraiser and raises $150 or more, will receive an Fleece Blanket with embroidered nun run logo.  It's pretty awesome!  So become a Nun Run Fundraiser today!

Also, we are still looking for sponsors for the Nun Run.  If you company is interested in supporting this cause and receiving some great publicity, contact Sr. John-Mark Maria!

In other news, we were blessed to have Fr. Kevin Hanlon here with us.  Father is a real live missionary - a Maryknoller who served many years in Japan.  He is back in the States now, continuing his work in the mission at home.  Each year Father makes his annual retreat with us.  With his wonderful homilies and presence, we feel as if we are all on retreat.  Truly the Lord has blessed us with wonderful friends to accompany us along the way of His Love.

February 2nd is World Day for Consecrated Life.  Pope John Paul II (soon to be BLESSED John Paul II) inaugurated this special day in 1997.  There are 3 primary reasons for its establishment.  Below they are laid out for you - taken directly from the message from JPII for the first World Day in '97:
  1. In the first place, it answers the intimate need to praise the Lord more solemnly and to thank him for the great gift of consecrated life, which enriches and gladdens the Christian community by the multiplicity of its charisms and by the edifying fruits of so many lives totally given to the cause of the Kingdom.
  2.  In the second place, this day is intended to promote a knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God.
  3. The third reason regards consecrated persons directly. They are invited to celebrate together solemnly the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them, to discover by a more illumined faith the rays of divine beauty spread by the Spirit in their way of life, and to acquire a more vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission in the Church and in the world.

    Here at Our Lady of Solitude, all of us are gearing up for this day with special devotion!  Communally we will renew our commitment to Christ and His Church - "celebrating together solemnly the marvels which the Lord has accomplished."  In your own way, according to your own state in life, be sure to celebrate this World Day for Consecrated Life - by giving thanks to the Father for the gift of Religious Life.  Let us join in praying for vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Though miles apart...

As mentioned in the previous blog, Sr. Marie Andre and I recently traveled to Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville AL for a formation conference.  Traveling in the middle of January is always a little dangerous with winter weather.  However, when you are traveling from Arizona to Alabama, you just don't give it much thought.  Little did we know that we would arrive in AL amidst record breaking winter conditions! 

Through rain, sleet, ice and snow, we arrived safely at the monastery for the formation conference...albeit a bit late!  In addition to the wonderful meetings that filled our four day visit, we were able to meet the new Sisters who have joined since our coming to Phoenix.  This was a great blessing indeed!  Sharing 'Foundation stories', sharing fond memories of years past, and just catching up on all the Lord is accomplishing in our monasteries, this time provided wonderful moments of fellowship and encouragement. 

To read a bit about the actual conferences, check out Our Lady of the Angels blog!
front row: Sr. Marie St. John (AL), Sr. Isabella (AL), Sr. Mary Fidelis (AZ), Sr. Grace Marie (TX).  back row: Sr. Maris Stella (AL), Sr. Veronica (AL), Sr. Marie Andre (AZ)
As we were saying our final farewells, we posed for one last photo!  from left to right: Sr. Fidelis, Sr. Jacinta, Sr. Chiara, Sr. Maris Stella, Sr. Imelda, Sr. Paschal, Sr. St. John, Sr. Edith, Sr. Andre, and Sr. Veronica

Before heading home, we were able to spend the evening with Sr. Mary Fidelis' parents (Charles and Peg Beach) and Sr. Esther's mom (Adele Gilbert), and Fr. Anthony Mary, MFVA.  It was a family reunion from start to finish!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Birdday!

A great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sr. Marie Andre who celebrated her birthday on January 16th!  

To the right, you see Sr. Esther Marie being attacked by the Westies as the birthday song begins!  Oddly enough, they have done this since they were puppies.  They get so absolutely rambunctious whenever that song is sung!  We don't do so well correcting the behavior as we all get a kick out of their wild westie behavior! Barking and running around like little terrors...we figure it's their unique way of saying: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  :)

Sr. Marie Andre and Sr. Mary Fidelis just arrived home from a visit to Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, AL.  It was wonderful to see Reverend Mother Angelica and the nuns!  I hope to post photos from the visit soon.  So be sure to check back.

The last few weeks have brought many visitors to see the marvels of the Lord in Tonopah Arizona.  People from near and far have been emailing to request a tour of the new chapel.  It's awesome to witness the enthusiasm and excitement and genuine interest of so many!  If you would like to stop by for a tour, just email us to arrange a time: desertnuns@msn.com

We have also had some winged visitors!  For Sr. Mary Fidelis, this provides hours of entertainment and excitement, as she loves to bird watch!  Enjoy these photos of the smallest and the largest of them!  At Christmas (thanks to the kindness of Sr. Mary Fidelis' grandmother), we put up a hummingbird feeder.  Within a few days, we had our first nibbler.  And he hasn't left the feeder ever since!  The only time he is more than a few feet away is when he is chasing other hummingbirds away.  We've named him Harry!  He is a ruby-throated hummingbird - beautiful to behold.  He dive-bombs us as we refill the feeder!

On Sr. Andre's birthday, we went outside in the morning after Divine Office to behold this majestic hawk perched on the top of Chapel, on the tip of the Cross.  He remained there for quite some time.  He's been spotted there before, just hanging out and getting a good view of things from his 75 ft. perch.  We still haven't settled on a name for the him yet!  We hope he becomes a regular visitor.  

Seeing the majesty of the hawk and the audacity of the hummingbird, brings to mind St. Francis' sermon to the birds.  I'll conclude with an excerpt:  
My little sisters, the birds, much bounden are ye unto God, your Creator, and always in every place ought ye to praise Him, for that He hath given you liberty to fly about everywhere, and hath also given you double and triple raiment; moreover He preserved your seed in the ark of Noah, that your race might not perish out of the world; still more are ye beholden to Him for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you; beyond all this, ye sow not, neither do you reap; and God feedeth you, and giveth you the streams and fountains for your drink; the mountains and valleys for your refuge and the high trees whereon to make your nests; and because ye know not how to spin or sow, God clotheth you, you and your children; wherefore your Creator loveth you much, seeing that He hath bestowed on you so many benefits; and therefore, my little sisters, beware of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praises unto God.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Epiphany 2011 with Fr. Anselm

Then entered in those Wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee
And offered there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

The Feast of Epiphany is among my favorite days of the liturgical year.  On the EWTN website, I read a wonderful article by Fr. Alban Butler.  Here is an excerpt I hope you enjoy:
 The holy men, with an unshaken and steady faith, and in transports of spiritual joy, entered the poor cottage, rendered more glorious by this birth than the most sumptuous stately palace in the universe, and finding the Child with His mother, they prostrate themselves, they adore him, they pour forth their souls in his presence in the deepest sentiments of praise, thanksgiving, and a total sacrifice of themselves. So far from being shocked at the poverty of the place, and at his unkingly appearance, their faith rises and gathers strength on the sight of obstacles which, humanly speaking, should extinguish it. It captivates their understanding; it penetrates these curtains of poverty, infancy, weakness, and abjection; it casts them on their faces, as unworthy to look up to this star, this God of Jacob; they confess him under this disguise to be the only and eternal God: they own the excess of his goodness in becoming man, and the excess of human misery which requires for its relief so great a humiliation of the Lord of glory. St. Leo thus extols their faith and devotion: "When a star had conducted them to adore Jesus they did not find him commanding devils, or raising the dead, or restoring sight to the blind, or speech to the dumb, or employed in any divine actions; but a silent babe, under the care of a solicitous mother, giving no sign of power, but exhibiting a miracle of humility."

Each year on the Feast of the Epiphany, following our monastic tradition, the house is blessed.  We were excited to have Fr. Anselm with us this year for the blessing.  He is a Dominican priest and scholastic - so the Latin prayers of blessing were beautifully chanted and enunciated!  Thank You, Fr. Anselm.  Each room has its own prayer of blessing - from the choir to the enclosure door, from the corridors to the cells, from the kitchen to refectory.  As Father sprinkles the house with holy water, the Sisters scurry about placing the Epiphany blessing on the lintel of each doorway: 20+C+M+B+11.  The blessing concludes in the Chapel, with the recitation of the following prayer.  It is a good meditation on the courage and generosity of the Magi and a petition for a share in the same:

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous,
teach me to serve you as I should,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and ask not for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your most holy will.

For more information about the Epiphany blessing for your home, check out this link.