And the Winner Is…A Sister?

sr christinaUrsuline Sister Cristina Scuccia was the landslide winner on the Italian show The Voice which features singers ala American Idol I guess!! Click here to hear some of the songs which sent her to the winner’s circle.

After winning the top prize, Sister Cristina led the startled crowd in prayer, a crowd that included her atheist voice coach, rapper J-Ax who warned her that he and the other “bad-boy” coach on stage “will burst into flames.”

Sister Cristina’s version of the Alicia Keys’ song: “No One,” had 51 million views! Pretty amazing for a woman in a habit!


A Modern Pillar-Hermit

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

pillar monk

This is a photo of a stylite’s hermitage atop a great stone pillar. A stylite is a person who lives atop a pillar, enduring the solitude and natural elements for love of God. The most famous of them was St. Simeon Stylites who lived in what is now Syria in the 5th C. He lived atop a pillar for over 35 years!

st simeon

This is an image of the pillar-hermit St. Simeon Stylite from a 10th C manuscript. Apparently, his pillar reached the height of 50 feet. He died in 459.


St. Simeon’s pillar became encased in the center of an octagonal courtyard and complex of buildings. St. Simeon’s pillar can still be seen in the center of the courtyard, although it is now less than 7 feet high. St. Simeon’s relics were mainly taken to Antioch. Pray that the current civil war does not destroy this ancient memorial.


maxime climbers

The hermitage in the above photos, located in the country of Georgia, is a 30-foot rock outcrop called Katskhi that was used by Christians until the 15th century. In the 1940’s climbers discovered the bones of the last  inhabitant and and the remains of a chapel.


Looking at the pillar too was Maxime Qavtaradze, a “bad boy” who sold drugs and ended up in jail. “I used to drink with friends in the hills around here and look up at this place, where land met sky. We knew the monks had lived up there before and I felt great respect for them.” In 1993 Maxime professed monastic vows and began his new life atop the pillar. A little community has formed around him, including priests and troubled people seeking guidance.

maxime base camp

You can order the documentary, Upon this Rock, about Maxim’s life and hermitage.  Proceeds will support the restoration. The Huffington Post also has a great story on Maxime and stunning photos.

Honor the Priest

m angeline

Honor the priest who received your soul as it entered on its spiritual life at Baptism. The priest who nourished it and gave it strength on its pilgrimage. The priest always the priest. Who shall prepare it to go before God, the priest!

And, if my soul should die by sin, who will call it back to life and give it rest and peace? Again, the priest. Can you remember a single gift from God without seeing by its side a priest? Of what use would be a house of gold, if you had no one to open the door for you? The priest has the key to the treasures of God.

If you went to Confession to the Blessed Virgin, or to an Angel, they could not absolve you. They could not give you the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Blessed Virgin could not call her Divine Son down into the Host, and were a thousand angels to exert their power, they could not absolve you from one venial sin.

But a priest, no matter how humble he be, can do all these. He can say, “Go in peace, your sins are forgiven you.” Therefore, honor the priest; pray for the priest.

Ven. M. Angeline Teresa, O.Carm., Foundress of the Carmelites for the Aged and Infirm

Here I Am Lord Conference Registration

Revised HereIAmLordbannerFor those of you not familiar with the annual “Here I Am Lord” Conference held at St. Patrick’s Church in Saint Charles, Illinois, it is an incredible phenomenon. A total of 3000 young people and 55 religious communities attended the annual four-day event which is meant to sow the seeds of vocational awareness.

The weekend features music, speakers, student skits, specialized programs for specific ages and family events. Religious communities staff booths, provide vocational brochures and share information about their ministry and the consecrated life. Sr. Joachima Celinska, OP, from the Dominican Sisters in Justice, Illinois, said, “This is a great event not only for youth but for the family.” She added that the youths waiting in line for confession were a great witness to one another.

The conference was founded in 2003 to promote vocation awareness. The vocations of marriage, single life, religious life and the priesthood are all vocations in the eyes of God and the Church.  HERE I AM LORD provides an opportunity for young people and adults of all ages to recognize that fact. The largest parish-based vocations conference in the United States brings together Religious from across the country to share the joy of their vocation. The best Catholic speakers and musicians join with them to share the joy of their own vocation and faith.

The theme for next year’s (March 5 – 8, 2015) meeting is: Be Not Afraid! And don’t be afraid to register now if you are a religious community. Space is limited!!