Conception Abbey Welcomed!

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.

osbConception Benedictine Abbey is welcomed as a new IRL Affiliate. They are perhaps one of the best-known abbeys in the US for a variety of reasons. First, they have a printing house that supplies beautiful Christmas cards, icons, note cards and other Christian gifts. Secondly, they have a thriving seminary college, one of the largest of the 40 college seminaries in the US. Thirdly, they have a bustling retreat house. And finally, they are a large community of monks – almost 60 in number!

The abbey was founded in 1873 when Abbot Frowin Conrad and seven novices arrived from Engelberg, Switzerland, to establish a monastic community in Missouri. I like what the abbot wrote in his diary after the founding, in 1883, of a fledgling high school at the monastery: “Omme initium durum,” – All beginnings are hard!! The seminary college was founded in 1887. Currently, 25 dioceses in the U.S. send students to Conception, and student enrollment has increased nearly 75 percent since the mid-’90s to over 100 students.

03_Presentation_of_MaryThe magnificent basilica houses the famous Beuronese murals that were painted by the monks between 1893 and 1897. They depict scenes from the life of Mary, Jesus and Sts. Benedict and Scholastica (See Presentation of Mary at right). Some of the murals are replicas of ones done in Europe that were destroyed during World War II and as such are precious mementos of lost treasures. Many of these images are reproduced on the note cards.

St. Benedict said that “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for He himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” The retreat house welcomes guests for private and group retreats. You can also become a Benedictine oblate, that is, a Christian who shapes his or her life in the wisdom of Christ as interpreted by the great St. Benedict.

Young men between the ages of 18-35 who are discerning their vocation may be interested in their Monastic Experience weekend retreat. The next one scheduled is October 31-November 2, 2014.

 

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Benedictine Brother Bede

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.
Abbot Charles

Abbot Charles

Abbot Charles of Oceanside Abbey in California, recently celebrated 50 years of his Profession of Vows. That is, the vows of Stability, Fidelity to the Monastic way of life (Conversatio Morum), and Obedience.

He also gave a beautiful homily on the occasion of the final profession of Br. Bede, who at age 39, begins a new chapter in his Benedictine of life. The homily was a fresh look at the vows, which he described as Stability of Feet, Stability under Obedience, Stability under the Rule and Stability in and to the Community. As the Abbot reminds us, the vow of stability is unique to monastic orders. It can all be summarized as stability of heart in which the monk binds himself to God. “The more one remains rooted in God, the more he progresses in virtue.”

Stability of Feet: “As the tree which is often transplanted brings no fruit, so the monk who wanders can bring no fruit.” This also means perseverance in ones’ obligations, as a contrast to acedia (listlessness, torpor, diversion from the task at hand).

Stability under Obedience: When obedience is seen as a negative, one will always hold something back. When you do someone else’s will (as long as it is not sinful), you are free of your own self-will. “That is following Christ who came to do not His own will but the Will of Him who sent Him.”

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Brother Bede, OSB

Stability under the Rule: “From this day, he is no longer free to leave the monastery, nor shake from his neck the yoke of the Rule” which after a long “period of reflection, he was free to reject or accept.”

Stability in and to the Community: The bond is not so much to a place as to a community. “The one who is to be received comes before the whole community” (RB 58.17). Like the apostles and first disciples, Br. Bede has given up body, soul, will and possessions to follow Jesus.

Said Abbot Charles: Brother Bede, you have given up all and die symbolically today by having the pall placed over you. This powerful and poignant symbol indicates that you are giving up your old life of individuality and are donating the new man, as it were, to the Lord and to the community.

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mobile-vocationsWe are always happy to promote the The Little Sisters of the Poor and the work they do with elderly poor. If you are a young single woman, between the ages of 17 and 35, and want to be introduced to this beautiful life of service to the poor, the Little Sisters in Mobile, Alabama, are having a discernment retreat weekend from November 14 -16th, 2014 at their Sacred Heart Residence.

The weekend will consist of Mass, talks, service opportunities, Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation, vocation stories from the Little Sisters, and a one-on-on opportunity for those who want to accompany a Little Sister in her daily duties. It will begin at 5pm on Friday and conclude by 2pm on Sunday.

I had the privilege of attending one of these discernment weekends and it was a memorable experience. Besides getting a glimpse of the sisters’ selfless service to their residents, I also got to meet one of the Little Sisters’ prayer warriors. This was an invalid Little Sister, not that old, who suffered from a debilitating disease that left her confined to a room, hooked to machines. I never saw such serenity and love radiating from a more beautiful face. She grasped my hand, and I felt that I had held the hand of a saint.

The Little Sisters in Mobile have a 92-bed facility that is full to the rafters. They hope to expand soon to accommodate more residents who do not have adequate financial means to live independently. Often, there is no family to care for them or even visit. Because the Little Sisters actually live at the Home, they share their entire lives with the residents, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.  This is what makes their homes unique. It is truly a place of family.

Registration is free for the weekend but registration in advance is appreciated. If you have any questions, please call Sr. Carolyn at (251)591-3700.

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Passionist Q & A

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Liturgical Year, Women's Communities | No comments yet.

 

The "under 30 gang" in Whitesville

The “under 30 gang” in Whitesville

Who is Paul Francis Daneo, Italian mystic and saint, better known as?

St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) whose Feast Day is today, October 20th.

 What does their insignia – Jesu XPI Passio – mean??

Written in Greek and Latin, these words mean: “The Passion of Jesus Christ.”

Who are the Passionsist saints?

St. Maria Goretti, St. Innocent Canoura, St. Gabriel Possenti, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Vincent Strambi, Blessed Lorenzi Salvi, Blessed Dominic Barberi, and most recently St. Charles Houben. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Princess Diana’s great-great-great-uncle, Fr. Ignatius (George) Spencer, Passionist priest, is being proposed for sainthood. He is also the great-uncle of Winston Churchill.

How were the Passionists founded?

The sorrowful Mother appeared to St. Paul of the Cross in the eighteenth century dressed in the Passionist habit, asking him to found an institute to remember the sufferings and death of her Son.

What refrain do they hold close in their hearts?

“May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts.”

 Where can I learn more about the Passionists nuns?

Visit our three Affiliates’ websites! Located in: Ellisville, MOWhitesville, KYErlanger, KY

Thanks to the Passionist Fathers too for some of the ideas for the Q&A!

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Visitation Musings

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Cloistered life, Saints | No comments yet.
Tyringham Visitation

Tyringham Visitation

Today, the Feast Day of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, is a good to day to highlight the Visitation Nuns in the US. Three are Affiliates of the IRL: Tyringham, MA; Toledo, OH; and Snellville, GA.

Visitation communities are usually of interest to women of an older age, widows, etc. who feel a call to religious life, perhaps newly realized or a call always there that is now being pursued. The communities in Snellville and Toledo do consider belated vocations. As the Snellville nuns told us, “The founder set no age limit for admission.”

St. Margaret Mary was educated in a Poor Clare school but when she visited the Visitation convent in Paray-le-Monial, France, she heard these words in her heart: “This is where I want you.” The Order was founded by St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal in 1610. The emblem of the Visitation nuns is a heart pierced by two arrows, surrounded by the Crown of Thorns. It was a foreshadowing of revelations to come, 60+ years later, to St. Margaret Mary who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In these revelations, Jesus made known that He was not despot to be feared but a God of love who invites us to come to Him as a child to a Father.

miToday is also the anniversary of the Militia Immaculatae, founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe on this day in 1917. The MI’s mission is “To Lead Every Individual With Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” The day after his ordination in 1918, Maximilian celebrated his first Mass in Rome at an altar at the Basilica of S. Andrea delle Fratte where the Blessed Virgin Mary had appeared to the Jewish Alphonse Ratisbonne who was instantly converted. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary lead us too to a love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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St. Teresa of Avila

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Women's Communities | No comments yet.

This picture is too wonderful not post on the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila. It shows two Carmelites Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sister Mary Scholastica and Sister Inez, with a very young aspirant.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux wanted to enter at age 14 but this may be pushing it a little too far!

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Thérèse’s sisters Pauline, Marie and Céline all became Carmelite nuns. Thérèse wrote that she too was destined to great things, like St. Joan of Arc, whose exploits “filled her with delight.” However, instead of calling her to combat in the world, she heard “in the depths of my soul a voice that was gentler and stronger still: the voice of the Spouse of virgins was calling me to other exploits and more glorious conquests, and in the solitude of Carmel I understood my mission was not to crown a mortal king but to make the King of Heaven loved, to conquer for Him the kingdom of hearts.”

God bless all of the Carmelites in the world today. May their prayers and good works bring under the standard of Christ many souls.

 

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National Vocation Awareness Week (Nov 2-8)

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in General interest, Vocations | One comment

381Next month we celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week (November 2-8), a time for all to pray for a culture of vocations for the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. In other words, to pray for an environment in homes, schools, workplaces and souls where young men and women can hear God’s call to them.

“A culture of vocations is one that provides the necessary support for others to hear and respond to God’s call in their lives,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “With God’s grace, we help build that culture through fervent prayer, the witness of our lives and the encouragement we extend to those discerning a vocation to priesthood or consecrated life.”

It is especially important to pray for vocations from the Hispanic community which are 54% of the Catholics in the U.S. yet only 15% of the men in the seminary and many of these are foreign-born.

More information and resources for National Vocation Awareness Week, including a prayer card, suggested prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes are available online at the USCCB website.

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The Passionists of England

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities, News | No comments yet.
Fr. Ignatius

Fr. Ignatius

In the news recently, was an item stating that while Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, was in Malta, he attended his first official Catholic Mass. It was noted that one of his distant forebears, Fr. Ignatius of St. Paul (1799-1864), born Hon. George Spencer, is potentially on the road to canonization.

Fr. Ignatius is the great-great-great-uncle of his mother, Princess Diana (nee Spencer), may she rest in peace. An Anglican vicar before he became a Catholic and a Passionist, he spent his life working for the conversion of England back to the Catholic faith. Because of his tireless efforts for this cause, he is known as the Apostle of Prayer for England.

Instrumental in his life was Bl. Dominic Barberi, CP, the priest who brought the Passionists to England in 1841. Fr. Ignatius first met Bl. Dominic while studying in Rome and received the Passionsist habit from him in 1847. Bl. Dominic was also the one who received Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman into the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Newman had said: “If they (Catholics) want to convert England, let them go barefooted into our manufacturing towns—let them preach to the people like St. Francis Xavier—let them be pelted and trampled on, and I will own they can do what we cannot.”

Bl. Dominic, CP

Bl. Dominic, CP

Well, Father Barberi came barefoot; he was pelted with rocks and showered with obscenities. But he persevered. Cardinal Newman’s conversion in 1845 was a crowning achievement. Bl. Dominic had a heart attack while on a train in 1845 and the passengers, fearing he had cholera, had him removed and he died later that day. Strangely enough, Fr. Ignatius also died after leaving a train. He had a heart attack and collapsed into a roadside ditch in 1864. The two bodies now reside in a new shrine in Lancashire which also includes the remains of Elizabeth Prout, Mother Mary Joseph of Jesus, the Foundress of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion.

Cardinal Newman called Fr. Barberi a zealous missioner and preacher. “When his form came within sight, I was moved to the depths in the strangest way. The gaiety and affability of his manner in the midst of all his sanctity was in itself a sermon. No wonder then that I became his convert and his penitent. He was Bl. Dominic of the Mother of God, C.P., great lover of England.”

 

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sdem2ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II

TO THE SERVANTS OF MARY MINISTERS TO THE SICK

on the occasion of their 150th anniversary in 2001

The particular nature of your primary task, free care of the sick in their own homes, takes on new meaning in our times where the reality of illness or death is often concealed in daily life. With this service you eloquently proclaim that illness is neither an unbearable burden for human beings nor does it deprive patients of their full dignity as persons.

 On the contrary, it can become an enriching experience for the sick and for their whole family. In this way, by holding out a hand to the sick, your mission also helps to keep families together and discreetly supports cohesion in the home, where no one should feel he is a burden.

 I ask the Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick, to accompany you in your efforts and to visit homes with you, in order to show them Jesus, the true Saviour and Redeemer of every human being through His sacrifice on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection.

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The Suffering Albanian Church

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News | No comments yet.
Fr. Ernest and Pope Francis

Fr. Ernest and Pope Francis

In late September, Pope Francis made a one-day visit to Albania, a country that in 1967 boldly proclaimed itself to be the world’s first atheistic state.

One of the most moving moments for Pope Francis, one that moved him to tears, were the testimonies of a priest and a sister who were able to persevere in the Faith when the practice of any kind of religion often resulted in torture and death.

Fr. Ernest Troshani told the Holy Father how he had studied with the Franciscans for ten years, continuing even after his superiors had been shot and killed. In 1965, he was ordained and celebrated his first Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday. He was arrested, tortured and told he would be hanged. When a spy was placed in his room to get him to peak against the Party, Fr. Troshani responded that Christ had taught us “to love our enemies and to forgive them and that we should strive to seek the good of the people.” When these words of his reached the ears of the dictator, he was freed.

He was given 28 years of forced labor where he was able to use his priestly faculties. “The Lord has helped me to serve so many peoples and to reconcile many, driving out hatred and the devil from the hearts of men.”

Sr. Maria

Sr. Maria

Sr. Maria Kaleta, now 85 years old, was in the Franciscan Stigmatine convent for seven years before she was forced to return home by the Communists. During this dark time, she was given permission to keep the Blessed Sacrament at home so she could bring it to the sick and dying. Her uncle, a priest and martyr, is now being considered for sainthood.

“When I think of it,” she said, “I wonder how we were able to endure such terrible sufferings, but I know the Lord gave us strength, patience and hope.”

Pope Francis said that he was shocked, when preparing for this visit, to learn how much the people of Albania had suffered.

“And we may ask them: ‘But how were you able to survive so much tribulation?’ And they will say this passage that we have heard in the Second Letter to the Corinthians: God is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. It was He who consoled us!, with this simplicity.”

“Woe to us if we look for consolation elsewhere! Woe to the priests, the religious, the nuns, the novices, the consecrated when they look for consolation far from the Lord! I do not want to ‘hit you over the head’ (it.bastonarvi), eh? I do not want to become the executioner here, but know this well, eh? If you look for consolation somewhere else, you will not be happy!”

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