Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation – September 29 – October 7, 2012

We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God, despise not our prayers in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Fr. Frederick Miller of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, has composed a novena to make us more aware of the truths of our Faith and to call us to deeper conversion of heart and a life of greater charity. EWTN Global Catholic Network has organized the novena to  pray for the country ahead of the November elections.

Catholics have always turned to Mary when in need so we entrust our cares to her as we pray for religious freedom in our country. Since 1792 our country has been entrusted to Mary and in 1846 we recognized her as our patroness under the title of The Immaculate Conception.

The novena begins on September 29 and ends on October 7, the Feast of the Holy Rosary. Each day delves into a different aspect of Mary’s life:

Day 1: The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God
Day 2: Mary’s Desire for Virginity
Day 3: The Annunciation
Day 4: The Visitation
Day 5: The Divine Motherhood of Mary
Day 6: The Wedding Feast of Cana
Day 7: Mary at Calvary
Day 8: Mary and the Mystery of Easter
Day 9: The Assumption of Mary into Heaven

Father says that the proximity of the Novena to the 2012 Presidential Election will offer an opportunity to pray for all of our government officials and seek Divine Assistance in the elections. Join EWTN for Mass every morning at 8 am ET starting September 29 and continuing through October 7. Bishops from across the country will lead the Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation. The novena can also be found in the September 23rd edition of the National Catholic Register. O Mary, our Mother, pray for our country!

Carmel of the Holy Family and Saint Therese

The IRL welcomes the Carmel of the Holy Family and Saint Therese of Georgetown, California, as a new Affiliate Community. There are 12 sisters in the Carmel with one in temporary vows and 2 novices. They joined the Diocese of Sacramento in 1935.

They live the traditional Carmelite life of prayer and penance seeking union with Christ in order to participate in His salvific mission

A second Carmel is also part of the IRL family as a our last Board Meeting: the Carmel of the Assumption in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. They were established in  1961 and have 13 solemnly professed nuns. The land for the monastery was purchased because of its proximity to the Benedictine Archabbey of St. Vincent. The monks have served as chaplains, confessors and spiritual directors to the community from the very beginning.

The Carmel of the Assumption is self-supporting.  The community supplies altar breads to the parishes of the diocese, and supplement their income by rosary making, icon plaques and bee keeping.

Philadelphia Carmelites Launch First Website

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Philadelphia have launched a new website that is quite unique. The information included is primarily videos on their spirituality and heritage.

The order was originally founded in 1593, and in 1902, a monastery was established in Philadelphia by four Carmelites from Boston, with permission from their superior. Eight years later, the monastery was moved to the location where it stands today. Four foundations eventually evolved from this monastery.

St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross inspire the nuns to live holy lives true to their founders. The spirituality of the order is rooted in prayer, silence, and solitude, which serve to foster growth towards Christian sanctity. Enclosure is also a foundation of the order, and is viewed by the nuns as a safeguard for prayer.

Prayers and sacrifices are offered for the service of the Church and the salvation of the world. Although St. Teresa was never a missionary, she held priests and missionaries in a special place, praying for the clergy, the spread of the Gospel, those who had left the Church, and those needing spiritual assistance. The vocation of the nuns is at its heart apostolic and missionary. It is not an active ministry, but one mystically rooted in prayer.

The stories of this order, and videos, can be found at the new website. A Triduum in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux will be held September 29 – October 1, 2012,  with Vespers, Benediction and Mass.


A Carmel in the Desert

I once went out of my way to go to Mount Carmel, Utah, thinking that a Carmelite Monastery might be nearby, only to discover that it hosted a three way stop sign and a motel. That was about it. It was beautiful country though.

As it turns out, there is a Carmel in Utah that happens to be in Salt Lake City. This IRL Affiliate Community recently hosted a Fair which provides them with their main source of income for the year. The sisters also make altar breads, carmels, peanut brittle, fudge, toffee, note cards and Carmelite dolls. There are 11 nuns living at the Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which was founded in 1952 as a foundation from the monastery in Alhambra, California. The purpose was to establish a Catholic presence in a state where Catholics were a distinct minority.

The reason for the Carmelite life, its prayer and austerity, its silence and enclosure, is to allow the Carmelite Sister to devote her entire energy to the worship, the contemplation, and love of God.  A Carmelite Sister is dedicated to pray for the needs of the Church, the Pope, Bishop, Priests, religious, laity, and especially for the diocese in which the Carmel is located. She prays for the return of lapsed Catholics to the spirit and practice of the Faith, for the conversion and salvation of all peoples, and recommends to God their needs in all circumstances of life.


God gives Himself wholly to the soul

which gives itself wholly to Him.

(St. Teresa of Jesus)

Celebrating 150 Years

On August 8, 2012, the Feast of St. Dominic, the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception concluded a year-long celebration in honor of the 150th anniversary of their founding.Earlier in the year they also celebrated the first professions of Sr. Maria Rosaria Freeland and Sr. Maria Vianney Kysely who exchanged their white veils for the black.

The community was founded in 1861 in Poland by Róża Białecka (Mother Maria Rose Kolumba) to combat illiteracy and poverty. Besides seeing to their spiritual needs, Mother provided sacramental assistance so that all the people could live and die reconciled to God.  The first Sisters came to the U.S. over eighty years ago, and for over seventy-five years they have served the elderly in Justice, IL. The Sisters also teach in St. Fabian Polish School in Burbank, IL and in the parish of St. Walter, in Blue Island, IL. The retreat house run by the Sisters opens its doors to many groups that come for one-day, weekend, or week-long retreats and formation meetings.

Outside of Illinois, the sisters have homes in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Canada, Europe and the countries of the old Soviet Union.

To read more about the foundress, please visit their website where Mother Kolumba is featured in an ongoing blog. You can also watch a short video in which singer and songwriter Sarah Bauer visits the sisters to find out about their life and to spend a day living their life.

Help Wanted: Long Hours, Hard Work, No Pay

The Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, NM, put out a funny vocations brochure in 2009 which just came to my attention. Here are some tidbits from their brochure:

Hard Labor: If you have ever secretly supposed that the contemplative life to be a leisurely round of devotional exercises, punctuated by strolls in the garden and a spot of embroidery now and again, FEAR NO  MORE!….Here you will be given ample scope and freedom to pursue an ambitious career as a fully-certified, full-time lowly servant of God.

Long Hours: Imagine the joy! Each night you will leap from your sleep at the enchanting hour of 12:30 a.m.!!

No Pay: Yes, say goodbye to that jingle in your pocket for there are no salaried positions to be had in the monastery, no payroll, no wallets, not even a piggy bank.

For as there can be never be labors too hard, nor hours too long in the service and praise of God and in the life and death struggle for souls, it follow that…


The Roswell Poor Clares were established in 1948  as a foundation from Chicago. Since then they have established 6 daughter-monasteries over the years including one in the Netherlands and one back in Chicago. There are currently 23 in the community.


A Moo-ving New Vocation for the Benedictines of Mary

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, continue to welcome new members into their community, though one is of the four-legged variety! Sweetpea was born in June to Ephy, the Sisters’ dairy cow, who gives them up to 8 gallons of milk a day!

The sisters also rejoiced on September, 15, 2012, when three postulants received the habit: Sr. Gina, Sr. JoAnna and Sr. Margaret Mary. That same day they welcomed Regina Shannon as a new candidate.

Aspirants are welcome to visit, usually staying for a week at a time. As the sisters say, “We surely don’t mind bumping elbows at the refectory in order to help them discern their own vocations.” They also welcome priests and seminarians who want a quiet place for a retreat.

Please pray that God who has begun His work in them may bring it to fulfillment!


The Miracle of the Liquidation of the Blood of St. Januarius

Today is the Feast of St. Januarius and the people of Naples, Italy, eagerly awaited the miracle when the dried blood of the the saint liquifies.

The miracle has occurred annually since 1389! If the blood does not liquify, then the people believe that a tragedy will befall the city. The last time this happened was in 1980 when an earthquake caused over 2500 deaths.

To see Father James Kubicki’s comments on the miracle, click here.



Uniting Suffering to the Cross

Mother Mary Salvador, CP, of the Passionsist Nuns of Ellisville, MO, thinks it is no accident that her bout with pneumonia and hospitalization occurred on the same day that President Obama announced his “compromise” for religious employers who objected to the HHS health Care mandate.  The Passionists, along with seven other contemplative communities in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, have joined together to pray for religious liberty.

There is value in suffering, she says, and it is important to take all of our suffering and turn it into prayer. The Passionist motto is:  “May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts.”Sister Veronica says, “As the mystical body of Christ, we can unite to Jesus on the Cross.”  In the Gospel of John, Jesus prayed that “they may be one, even as We are one.” Mother Mary Salvador says it is important to pray together. The impact of prayer is greater when “we all speak together. It’s important that we do this unanimously.”

The entire article is available from the St. Louis Review.  Let us join them as we pray with one voice to the Father:

Almighty God, Father of all nations,

For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).

We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,

the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.

Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;

by your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for our­selves and for all those who live in this blessed land. We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign,

one God, forever and ever.


Maximilian Saint of Auschwitz Drama

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, the IRL and Marytown (home to the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe) are sponsoring Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz, a drama performed FREE by Leonardo Defilippis of St. Luke Productions on Sunday, September 23, 2012, @ 6:30 PM, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Auditorium in Mundelein, Illinois.

There is no charge for the performance but you must register in advance by calling Marytown at (847)367-7800 ext 226 or visit the Marytown Gift Shop at 1600 West Park Avenue in Libertyville, IL, 60048.

The Conventual Franciscans of the St. Bonaventure Province, an IRL Affiliate, are the guardians of the shrine to St. Maximilian. Their beautiful chapel has adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, open to the public, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It is located on the property adjacent to the Mundelein Seminary where the drama will take place. Stop by and pay the Lord a visit!