Category Archives: News

An Adult Coloring Book on the Rosary

avemaria mitsuiOne of the hot items now is adult coloring books.  I have seen ones containing flowers, nature, animals and the like, all looking vaguely New-Age-y. My niece is using them as therapy as she sits at the bedside of a sick loved one. The coloring of the images is therapeutic and often results in an incredible picture!

Therefore, I was pleased to see that Daniel Mitsui has issued The Mysteries of the Rosary: An Adult Coloring Book (64 pages, 8.5 x 11, $9.95)  to draw people who are interested in this type of artistic endeavor into the mysteries of Christ’s life. Elizabeth Scalia, US Editor-in-Chief of Aleteia, writes in the Forward that she found that spending time working on Daniel’s images “brought me first into a place of deep focus, then into relaxation, and finally into the stillness that comes with prayerful adoration.”

front_coloringIf you are unfamiliar with Daniel’s work which is reminiscent of illuminated manuscripts, check out his website. To the right is sample artwork similar to what you would find in the Rosary Book. His work is incredible detailed and rich and theologically profound, using images that you often find depicted in ancient stained-glass windows. Yet it is wonderfully original and fresh for our modern eyes.

The coloring book is formatted to resemble one of the early devotional books dedicated to the Holy Rosary. Daniel took the mysteries from a series of large drawings he originally drew in ink on calfskin vellum. Many of the borders and ancillary pictures he took from other drawings. All the artwork came from his own hand.

This unique coloring book contains thirty illustrations— Fifteen full-page drawings of the Rosary; Twelve vignettes featuring prophets, evangelists and Church Fathers; and Three larger drawings with the artist’s commentary.

thumb_millefleur_resurrectionSince Daniel’s reception into the Church in 2004, he has focused on religious subjects. In 2011, the Vatican commissioned him to illustrate a new edition of the Roman Pontifical. In 2012, he established Millefleur Press, an imprint for publishing fine books and broadsides of his artwork and typography.

To order the Rosary book, please visit Ave Maria Press.

New Canadian Carmelite Monastic Foundation Forming

ChurchCroppedI always life to keep abreast of new beginnings in religious life so I thought I would let people know of a new Carmelite Monastic foundation that is being formed in southern Saskatchewan. Called the Monastery of the Transfiguration, Sr. Juana Benedicta of the Cross has received approval from the archdiocese to begin this work of evangelization though the apostolate of prayer.

These Carmelite Monastic Sisters are a family of solitaries living the eremitical life in a monastery, in the Teresian Carmelite tradition.  “For the style of life we aim to follow is not just that of nuns,” said St. Teresa of Avila, “but of hermits.” The contemplative sister assists the Church by giving witness that God is the only Absolute, enlarging “the Church by her hidden apostolic fruitfulness.”

The monastery is located on 60 acres of land on the Saskatchewan prairies. It includes a large chapel, dedicated to Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, that was recently renovated. The Rule is the Primitive Rule of St. Albert, written for Carmelites sometime between 1206 and 1214.

IMG_0003_200x132on200As Carmelite solitaries, the ideal of Elijah contemplating God on Mount Carmel becomes the ideal for a life dedicated to a personal encounter with the Eternal Father and the desire for transformation through the Holy Spirit by imitation of His Son Jesus.

A young woman interested in this way of life of silence, solitude, strong community and the spirit and joy of the Gospels, (between the ages of 18 and 35, in good health, a minimum of high school education and some work experience), can receive more information by contacting:

Carmelite Monastic Sisters Inc.
Monastery of the Transfiguration
Box 1896
Moose Jaw, SK S6H 7N6
Canada

Email: carmst@sasktel.net

Two Founders Canonized

Earlier this month, Pope Francis canonized two founders of religious congregations: Bl. Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad (1870-1957) of Sweden and Bl. Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701) of Poland. If the names are unfamiliar, the communities probably aren’t because they are the founders of the Order of St. Bridget and the Marians of the Immaculate Conception respectively.

Bl. Elizabeth Hesselblad
Bl. Elizabeth Hesselblad

Bl. Elizabeth was born a Lutheran in Sweden but converted to Catholicism in 1902 in New York. Like her mother in spirit St. Bridget of Sweden, Elizabeth desired that all may be one in Christ (Ut omnes unum sint). After her conversion, Elizabeth was permitted to live in the convent in Rome once inhabited by St. Bridget herself. She re-founded the Bridgettines in 1911, which, after being founded by St. Bridget of Sweden in 1344, had been virtually extinguished by the Protestant Reformation. She was also able to re-found monasteries in Sweden: Djursholm in 1923 and Vadstena in 1935, the city where St. Bridget remains reside. In the U.S., they have a monastery in Darien, CT, where the sisters have a special mission in furthering ecumenical work.

brig nunThe Bridgettine sisters wear a distinctive Crown signifying the Five Holy Wounds for their order was founded to have a specific devotion to the Passion of Christ. By their Crown with its 5 red stones, they remember Christ’s suffering on the Cross and keep that awareness alive in our cold world. Because of Elizabeth’s own works of charity during World War II, she was cited among the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust center in Israel.

mic john
Bl. Stanislas

Bl. Stanislaus (John) Papczyński (1631-1701) was born in 1631 in Poland. He was ordained a Piarist Father but received the calling to found the Marians of the Immaculate Conception in 1670. Their mission is threefold: devotion to Mary Immaculate; offering prayers and sacrifices for the dead, especially those who were not prepared to die; and active service to the Church. In America, they are best known for their work promoting the message of Divine Mercy from Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

mic george
Bl. George

Like the Bridgettines, the MIC’s were almost wiped out. However, their “Renovator,” Lithuanian-born Bl. George Matulaitis, re-founded the MICs in 1910 which had been reduced to one member thanks to persecution by Russian authorities. Blessed George rewrote the Constitutions, attracted new members, and “unleashed the renovated Marian Congregation as a zealous army for Christ and the Church in the modern world” as it says on the MIC website!

mic
Fr. Seraphim

The IRL was blessed to honor Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, with its’ 2016 Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award for his tireless work in spreading the message of and devotion to Divine Mercy as revealed to the world by Sr. Faustina. You can get a copy of his two talks by visiting the IRL website.

A Triumph For the Sacredness of Life – Friars of the Sick Poor

fsp groupThe Friars of the Sick Poor are a relatively new community of men in Los Angeles, founded by Bro. Richard A. Hirbe, fsp, on December 12, 2001. Their mission is to give themselves to God in the service of the sick poor and marginalized, whom they receive in God’s name.

Many of you are aware that California recently passed the so-called Death With Dignity Act. Hence, we were thankful to receive this message from Bro. Richard recently: “I am pleased to forward you this memo from our CEO … St. Francis Medical Center (SFMC) has taken the stance, that although no longer under the sponsorship of the Daughters of Charity… will not participate in the California Death with Dignity Act…. Another triumph for the sacredness of LIFE!”

With hope as their charism, they help people to find meaning in their suffering and sickness as being redemptive, inviting them to a fuller life within the Church.

Bro. Cesar John Paul
Bro. Cesar John Paul

One of the most inspiring vocation stories that we have featured in Religious Life magazine was of a Friar of the Sick Poor – Br. Cesar John Paul Galan. Cesar, a young man growing up in a challenging neighborhood, found his life changed forever when both he and his brother Hector were the victims of a shooting. One of the first people Cesar met at the St. Francis Medical Center where he was in the ICU was the chaplain – Bro. Richard Hirbe.

Brother Richard told him that Hector was on life support and unable to survive. He also had break the news that Cesar that was now paralyzed and would never walk again. Cesar remembers grabbing Brother’s habit and saying: “Brother…If I am never going to walk again, then teach me to fly.” He wanted to turn something ugly into beauty, just as Jesus did on the Cross.

Brother did;  first, as a post traumatic stress chaplain at that same hospital, SFMC, then as a Friar of the Sick Poor, clothed in the habit in 2010. He is now studying for the priesthood so he can return to  SFMC and offer people the sacraments “during the most critical time of their lives.”

Brother had the blessing, with Brother Richard, to meet Pope John  Paul II who told him: “Never be afraid my son.” He began in that moment to see his infirmity as a gift for others. “Ever being ready to tell them the reason for our hope” (1 Peter 3:15).

For more information about the Friars, please visit their website: friarsofthesickpoor.org.

 

 

The Pauper Theologian: St. Anthony of Padua

AnthonyofPauduaToday the Church celebrates the feast of one of the earliest Franciscan saints and a Doctor of the Church, Saint Anthony of Padua. More than aiding one to find lost articles, St. Anthony led a remarkable life that was spurred by an encounter he had with the Franciscan protomartyrs.

St. Anthony was born into a prominent family in Lisbon, Portugal in the year 1195. At the age of fifteen, he joined an Augustinian monastery where he studied intensely and was ordained a priest. His life was changed forever, however, when he encountered the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs who had been tortured and beheaded in Morocco for their preaching.

Inspired to preach the Good News like the Franciscan protomartyrs, St. Anthony gained permission to leave the Augustinian Monastery and become a Franciscan. He then went to Morocco where he became ill and was forced to return to his homeland. On his return journey, however, strong winds forced him and his companions to land in Sicily where he eventually attended the Pentecost Chapter of Mats. Saint Anthony continued to live as an obscure Franciscan friar until he was asked to give a sermon at a meeting with a group of Dominicans. The depth of his knowledge and holiness shone throughout his speech and he was assigned to preach in northern Italy.

St. Anthony quickly became renowned throughout Christendom for his preaching which he nurtured through his deep prayer life and studies. He died at the age of 36 and was canonized in less than one year. Over three hundred years after his death, St. Anthony’s body was exhumed and his tongue was found to be incorrupt, a testament to his teachings.

Conventual FranciscansThis early Franciscan saint is especially honored among the Conventual Franciscans who have custody of the basilica in Padua where his relics reside. They continue to promote education and study amongst friars especially those in formation like Br. Bernard Fonkalsrud OFM. Conv. who said, “the Conventual Franciscans have always encouraged our friars to seek to learn, inspired by ‘il Santo’ who was really the first Franciscan theologian and teacher. St. Francis entrusted St. Anthony to teach the friars, so long as it did not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotedness. We can see products of this mindset through such examples as St. Bonaventure, Bl. Duns Scotus and St. Maximilian Kolbe.” Br. Bernard and the Conventual Franciscans continue to lead lives inspired by St. Anthony of Padua who himself was inspired by the holiness of earlier Franciscans.

Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen Celebrate 775 Years

hank familySome communities are celebrating 25 years and 100 years this year but another is celebrating 775 years! Amazing!

The Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen were founded in 1241, just 15 years after the death of Saint Francis. In the early 14th C, they received the Third Order Rule of St. Francis.  Throughout the centuries, they suffered the “slings and arrows” of misfortune as a result of the vicissitudes of history but they have persevered. In 1632, for example, the sisters had to flee from an invading army.  By 1635, of the five sisters remaining, 4 died of the plague. In 1828, because of governmental laws forbidding the acceptance of new members, there were only 5 sisters left again. But by 1968, they had over 2000 sisters!

Motherhouse
Motherhouse

Today, they are an international congregation serving the Lord in 5 countries: Germany, the United States, Brazil, Spain and India. The sisters in Hankinson, the North American Province, currently live in six convents with 25 sisters. Worldwide, there are 800 sisters!

In May, three sisters from Hankinson travelled to Germany for the festivities. Back home, the sisters were busy planting trees – 42 of them in one day! According to tradition, when Sr. Mathilde arrived from Germany in the early days, she looked at the barren plain and yearned for the trees of Bavaria. So they planted trees. Lots of them! In honor of the 775th anniversary, the congregation decided to plant 775 trees throughout their 7 provinces.

hankchurchTrees have deep roots. They appear to be asleep for a brief period of time and then they blossom forth again. “This related well to our Congregation,” say the sisters, “as through the years we have experienced the dry times when our congregation was down to one Sister and then a springtime of new growth, branched out in newness reaching the United States, Brazil, and India to share the message of Jesus Christ in caring for the sick, the hungry, the widow, the children and the lonely.”

The imitation of Christ, in love, 

is the way & goal of our vocation.

Apostleship of Prayer: June Intentions

ApostleshipofPrayer

The Holy Father’s prayer intentions for the month of May as well as reflections by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

UNIVERSAL INTENTION

Human Solidarity. That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find–even within the huge cities of the world–opportunities for encounter and solidarity.

Solidarity is more than the name of a famous Polish labor union that brought about momentous change in the Communist world in the 1980s. It’s an important part of the Church’s social teaching.

Solidarity recognizes that every human soul is created by God and redeemed by Jesus. Thus, all people are equal before God and deserving respect.

At the beginning of World War II, Pope Pius XII wrote: “A contemporary error is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, imposed both by our common origin and by the equality of all men. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross.”

Pope St. John Paul II wrote that solidarity is “a firm determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”

More recently, Pope Francis wrote that solidarity is the answer to the “scourges of our own day.” Speaking to the United Nations and quoting from an Argentinian poet, he said: “Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law. If you fight among yourselves, you’ll be devoured by those outside.” Who is the one outside the human family who devours? The devil.

And so, in solidarity with people everywhere, we commit ourselves to praying and working this month for the common good so that all people, especially those who are alienated and abandoned may know they are not alone.

EVANGELIZATION INTENTION

Seminarians and Novices. That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.

Following Christ, we are all called to be missionaries. Pope Francis wrote that “if every baptized person is called to bear witness to the Lord Jesus by proclaiming the faith received as a gift, this is especially so for each consecrated man and woman. Since Christ’s entire existence had a missionary character, so too, all those who follow him closely must possess this missionary quality” (World Mission Day Message, 2015).

He went on: “Mission is a passion for Jesus. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love. At the same time, we realize that the love flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity.”

Those who have experienced the deep love of the Heart of Jesus and give themselves totally to God’s service as priests and religious sisters and brothers—these consecrated ones are called to share his passion for mission. They cannot keep the Good News of God’s love to themselves. But they need preparation so that their initial experience of God’s love may grow and so that they will know the best ways to share that love.

Seminarians and those beginning consecrated life in religious communities need teachers who will guard the spark that inspired them to serve God. They need joyful and wise mentors who will fan the spark into flame in such a way that it does not burn too fast and burn out but rather burn with the steady light and warmth that is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the burning furnace of charity.”

We join Pope Francis in praying that dioceses and communities may commit some of their best people to the formation of future priests, sisters, and brothers.

A Blessed May in Fort Wayne

FortWayneFriarsOne of the IRL’s youngest communities is quickly growing in northern Indiana. The Franciscan Brothers Minor of Fort Wayne, IN welcomed several men into their community this past month through profession of vows and are rapidly expanding after being founded just seven years ago.

The Franciscan Brothers Minor celebrated throughout the month of May with men in formation being invested with their habit and professing vows. They welcomed ten new novices when Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of the Diocese Fort Wayne-South Bend, invested them with their habits on May 18th. The celebrations continued that evening when four friars professed temporary vows. The friars then concluded the month with the solemn profession of vows by three friars on May 31st.

The Franciscan Brothers Minor have grown quickly since their founding as they have tried to grow in holiness by imitating Our Lady through their Marian vow. They strive to observe the Gospel according to the Rule, Testament and the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is appropriate that this young community that honors Our Lady welcomed ten novices, four friars in temporary profession and three in solemn profession in May, the month of Mary.

Celebrating 25 Years of Life

SL 25The Sisters of Life celebrated the 25th anniversary of their foundation yesterday in New York. They have grown immensely during the quarter-century and have expanded throughout the United States and Canada. The Sisters held a Mass and block party to commemorate the occasion and all the blessings they have received over the years.

The festivities began with the Celebration of Mass in a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Cardinal Dolan was the main celebrant with several other bishops, a diverse group of religious and lay people in attendance. In his homily, Cardinal Dolan said, “a quarter century ago, we worried – we worried that consecrated religious life was in trouble.” He did, however, state that new orders such as the Sisters of Life are “a booster shot for all of us.”

Sisters of Life Block PartyFollowing Mass, the Sisters of Life took to the streets near their Sacred Heart of Jesus Convent for a block party.  The Sisters served food, had activities for children, as well as provided opportunities for people to go to Eucharistic adoration and confession. An outdoor Eucharistic procession and benediction appropriately concluded the festivities.

The Sisters of Life have grown immensely in the short 25 years since John Cardinal O’Connor founded them in 1991. They are unique in that they take a special fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life along with the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Having grown from eight sisters to nearly one-hundred in the short time span, the Sisters of Life look forward to continuing to grow as they promote the sanctity of human life.

Apostleship of Prayer: May Intentions

ApostleshipofPrayerThe Holy Father’s prayer intentions for the month of May as well as reflections by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

UNIVERSAL INTENTION: Respect for Women. That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed. In the words of Pope Francis, Mary is “the true and sublime example of woman.”  
It’s inconceivable to think of the apostles awaiting the Holy Spirit at Pentecost without Mary praying with them. For it was she who conceived by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus, the one who called and sent the apostles to continue his work.

Women have, in Pope Francis’ words, an “irreplaceable role.” Speaking to the Pontifical Council for Culture, he said: “I encourage the contribution of so many women who work within the family, in the areas of teaching the faith, pastoral work, schooling, but also in social, cultural, and economic structures. You women know how to embody the tender face of God, his mercy, which is translated into a willingness to give time rather than to occupy space, to welcome rather than to exclude.”

Throughout the world, unfortunately, women are not only excluded but under attack. The pope went on: “The many forms of slavery, of prostitution, of mutilation of the female body, require us to set to work to defeat these forms of degradation which reduce it to purely an object to be sold on the various markets. I would like to call attention, in this context, to the plight of so many poor women, forced to live in dangerous conditions, exploited, relegated to the margins of society, and rendered victims of a throwaway culture.”

Perhaps the most common degradation of women is pornography, which the U.S. bishops have said “is so pervasive in sectors of our society that it is difficult to avoid, challenging to remove, and has negative effects that go beyond any one person’s actions.”

And so we pray with Pope Francis that women may not only be respected, but that their contribution to the good of the family and society may be recognized and esteemed.

EVANGELIZATION INTENTION: Holy Rosary. That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace. 

The rosary is a powerful prayer which is very important to Pope Francis. He said he was inspired by Pope St. John Paul II to pray it faithfully.

He said: “If I remember well, it was 1985. One evening I went to recite the Holy Rosary that was being led by the Holy Father. He was in front of everybody, on his knees. The group was numerous; I saw the Holy Father from the back and, little by little, I got lost in prayer. I was not alone: I was praying in the middle of the people of God to which I and all those there belonged, led by our Pastor.

“In the middle of the prayer I became distracted, looking at the figure of the Pope: his piety, his devotion was a witness. I felt that this man, chosen to lead the Church, was following a path up to his Mother, a path set out on from his childhood. And I became aware of the density of the words of the Mother of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego: ‘Don’t be afraid, am I not perhaps your mother?’ I understood the presence of Mary in the life of the Pope. From that time on
I recite the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary every day.”

Throughout history popes have asked the faithful to pray the rosary when Christianity and civilization were threatened.  Pope Francis asks us to do the same.  He said: “Mary accompanies us, struggles with us, sustains Christians in their fight against the forces of evil. Prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary, has this ‘suffering’ dimension, that is of struggle, a sustaining prayer in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle.”

In this month dedicated to Mary, we honor her by following in the great tradition of using the non-violent weapon of the rosary, praying for peace and the spread of the Gospel of Mercy.