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

Saturday, August 27, 2011


"I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect."

Rom 12:1-2

World Youth Day has come and gone.  All the pilgrims have returned to their homes.  For us here in the monastery, our days have returned to normal - the TV is off and it's back to business!  Yet, I am surprised (and grateful) that the thrill of those days of pilgrimage (or virtual pilgrimage) remain.  So many images that we saw flash on EWTN (Our Holy Father's delight as he drove in the Pope-mobile through the crowds, the young people cheering, chanting, dancing, and celebrating life!, and those same young people kneeling on the wet and muddy ground in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament) are embedded in my memory, as are the words of our Holy Father.  The underlining current of his words can be summed up by quoting St. Paul - in his letter to the Romans: DO NOT CONFORM YOURSELVES TO THIS AGE, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWAL OF YOUR MIND!
Keep that thought in mind as your read Pope Benedict's words to French pilgrims: 
You have brought with you profound questions, and you are seeking answers.  It is always a good thing to keep seeking. Above all, seek the Truth, which is not an idea or an ideology or a slogan, but a person: Christ, God himself, who has come into our midst! You rightly wish to plant your faith in him, to ground your life in Christ. He has always loved you and he knows you better than anyone else. May these days so rich in prayer, teaching and encounters help you to rediscover this, so that you may love him all the more.
Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/wyd2011/speeches/welcomeCibelesYouth0818.asp#ixzz1WGlDOae1
And again at the Prayer Vigil, Our Holy Father reiterates:
If you abide in the love of Christ, rooted in the faith, you will encounter, even amid setbacks and suffering, the source of true happiness and joy. Faith does not run counter to your highest ideals; on the contrary, it elevates and perfects those ideals. Dear young people, do not be satisfied with anything less than Truth and Love, do not be content with anything less than Christ.
Nowadays, although the dominant culture of relativism all around us has given up on the search for truth, even if it is the highest aspiration of the human spirit, we need to speak with courage and humility of the universal significance of Christ as the Saviour of humanity and the source of hope for our lives. He who took upon himself our afflictions, is well acquainted with the mystery of human suffering and manifests his loving presence in those who suffer. They in their turn, united to the passion of Christ, share closely in his work of redemption. Furthermore, our disinterested attention towards the sick and the forgotten will always be a humble and warm testimony of God's compassionate regard.

Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/wyd2011/speeches/prayerVigil0820.asp#ixzz1WGnSEQOi
Through the graces of this past World Youth Day, and the graces of each moment we spend united to Christ in prayer, may He continue to transform us by the renewal of our mind...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI, We Love You!

The relic of Our Holy Mother Clare which was venerated at the Transitus Celebration on Aug. 10th.
"Gospel radicalism finds expression in the mission God has chosen to entrust to us: from the contemplative life, which welcomes into its cloisters the Word of God in eloquent silence and adores His beauty in the solitude which he alone fills, to the different paths of the apostolic life, in whose furrows the seed of the Gospel bears fruit in the education of children and young people, the care of the sick and elderly, the pastoral care of families, commitment to respect for life, witness to the truth and the proclamation of peace and charity, mission work and the new evangelization, and so many other sectors of the Church’s apostolate." - From Pope Benedict's address to Women Religious, Aug 19, 2011

Sr. John-Mark Maria reading the account of the death of Our Holy Mother Clare
I don't know about you but the Sisters and I are enjoying TO THE FULL the festivities of World Youth Day - living it in union with Our Holy Father and all the young pilgrims from across the globe.  In a particular way, we are praying for the young people from the Diocese of Phoenix who are there in Madrid...and supporting their journey with our prayers and sacrifices. 

The Holy Father is not mincing any words! He is speaking directly to the heart of the youth...directly to all of our hearts.  From the strength of his words, I'd venture to say that he sees a nobility in the heart of the young pilgrims and is engaging them in the pursuit of holiness.  These are his words from the welcome address:  
"Indeed, there are many who, creating their own gods, believe they need no roots or foundations other than themselves. They take it upon themselves to decide what is true or not, what is good and evil, what is just and unjust; who should live and who can be sacrificed in the interests of other preferences; leaving each step to chance, with no clear path, letting themselves be led by the whim of each moment. These temptations are always lying in wait. It is important not to give in to them because, in reality, they lead to something so evanescent, like an existence with no horizons, a liberty without God. We, on the other hand, know well that we have been created free, in the image of God, precisely so that we might be in the forefront of the search for truth and goodness, responsible for our actions, not mere blind executives, but creative co-workers in the task of cultivating and beautifying the work of creation. God is looking for a responsible interlocutor, someone who can dialogue with him and love him. Through Christ we can truly succeed and, established in him, we give wings to our freedom. Is this not the great reason for our joy? Isn’t this the firm ground upon which to build the civilization of love and life, capable of humanizing all of us?"
Our Holy Mother Clare is often referred to as a Shining Light...her light was shining upon us as we celebrated her Feast Day!
Pope Benedict's words to the Women Religious carried particular import for us here at Our Lady of Solitude...being the young religious that we are (getting older by the minute...but still young at heart! Smile, Smile).  The one phrase he spoke sums up our life here in Tonopah, Arizona: adores His beauty in the solitude which He alone fills... 

Sr. Esther Marie with our two new friends: Addison and David
To conclude, the Sisters and I thank you for your prayers for our communal retreat earlier this month.  It was a truly blessed 8 days of joy, peace, prayer, and spiritual nourishment.  Our special gratitude to Fr. Marco Testa who came all the way from Toronto Canada to lead the retreat.  Having known Father for many years now, our friendship with him was deepened as we now received anew the benefits of his teaching and wisdom about the spiritual life...all with such joy!  His anecdotes kept us smiling (and sometimes downright laughing)...and his devotion was a great witness to the 'hundred-fold' of fidelity and love.

Our farewell to our retreat master, Fr. Marco, as he heads back to Canada...very early in the morning!  Thank you, Father, for a glorious retreat!!
As World Youth Day continues, let us keep our prayers coming for all those in attendance - for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit!  The B-16 Generation is ALIVE and WELL!!! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our Holy Mother Clare, Pray for Us

"What a great and worthy exchange - To leave the things of time for those of eternity, To choose the things of heaven for the goods of earth, To receive the hundred-fold in place of the one. And to possess a blessed and eternal life."
The Novena to St. Clare begins today (Providentially, the novena begins on the very day when the Franciscan world celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels and the Portiuncula Indulgence). 

You can download the Novena here: Novena Prayer to St. Clare .  Also, please email your prayer intentions for the Novena, so that we can join your intentions to ours as we ask for the intercession of Our Holy Mother Clare!

This is the perfect opportunity to announce that by Papal Degree honoring the 800th Anniversary of the Founding of the Poor Clare Nuns, a plenary Jubilee Indulgence may be gained (until August 11th, 2012)
  1. by all the faithful: once in a Poor Clare church (which includes Our Lady of Solitude Chapel, in Tonopah, AZ) on any day freely chosen; on every occasion they take part in devout pilgrimages as a group to the aforesaid holy places
  2. if they devoutly assist at jubilee celebrations: on the Feast of St Clare (11th August 2011 and 2012) as well as on the Feast of the Seraphic Father St Francis (4th October 2011), during the tridua immediately preceding these feasts, and on other days to be properly determined (to be announced in the future).

Additional requirements to gain the indulgence include spending some time in quiet meditation concluding with the Creed, the Our Father, and invocations to Our Lady, St. Francis and St. Clare.  The usual conditions to gain an indulgence must also be met within 8 days: Sacramental Confession, Eucharstic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Pope.  In the next year, events will be planned to celebrate the 800th Anniversary and to encourage as many faithful as possible to gain the indulgence.  To read the full degree, click here.  We are profoundly grateful for this outpouring of love from Pope Benedict XVI, in offering this indulgence!

Finally, our Communal retreat begins on Aug. 3rd and concludes the evening of the 10th - in preparation for the celebration of St. Clare's Solemnity.  The Sisters and I appreciate your prayers for a fruitful and blessed retreat.  Our retreat director came to us all the way from Toronto, Canada: Fr. Marco Testa. Our retreat will conclude with the celebration of the Transitus of St. Clare - a celebration that is open to the public...so please join us at Our Lady of Solitude Chapel on Wednesday evening, August 10th, at 6:30 p.m.  The transitus celebration includes 1st Vespers of the Solemnity of Our Holy Mother Clare, the reading of the account of her death, a brief reflection by Fr. Marco, a litany in her honor, and the veneration of her relic. 

The Mass of the Solemnity of St. Clare will be celebrated on August 11th at 8 a.m.

Also, be sure to check out the Construction Blog - some beautiful new stained glass was installed and the blog is chock-full of photos!