Archive for the 'News' Category

A Widow’s Walk

Friday, July 11th, 2014
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Dr. Rhonda Chervin, PhD, MA

Here is something greatly needed and timely for our times. “A Widow’s Walk” conference specifically for women who seek encouragement, comfort and wisdom from the widow saints after the loss of a husband.

The presenters for the three-day event are Dr. Rhonda Chervin and Marti Armstrong. Dr. Chervin, along with Anne Lassiter, has a 4-Disk DVD out entitled “A Widow’s Walk With Christ” which you may have seen on EWTN.

During the Widow’s Walk Conference, there will be two 1-hour talks a day followed by group sharing and prayer. It will be held at the Home of the Family of Jacopa Association in Steubenville, Ohio, from August 12th-14th, 2014. The Family of Jacopa was founded by Kathleen Marshall, FJ, (Community Servant), and it is a Franciscan Community specially for widows and women over the age of 40.

The topics look wonderful: saints who were widows, Jesus as the Second Bridegroom, Mary as the exalted widow, Stations of the Cross for widows, witness stories of the presenters, and much more.

Some saints who come to mind who were widows are Sts. Jane de Chantal, Elizabeth Seton, Bridget of Sweden, Frances of Rome, Rita of Cascia, and, of course, the Blessed Vrigin Mary. Like Consecrated Virgins, Consecrated Widowhood is making a comeback around the world.

On her website, Dr. Chervin has a list of options for widows desiring to give themselves more fully to the Lord including the names of communities that are specifically for widows or accept widows as an older vocation, the status of a Rite for Consecrated Widows, etc.

Right now, there is no official, canonically recognized Rite for widows to be consecrated in the Latin Church. However, the Canons for the Eastern Catholic Churches do allow for the consecration of widows and widowers.

For reservations for “A Widow’s Walk,” please call (740)314-8455. Please advise them if you need overnight accommodations.

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Radical Joy Conference – Tampa

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

rad joyHere is an event that I wish every parish would sponsor or encourage: Radical Joy Expo – Religious Life Conference. It is an day-long meeting meant to introduce young people to religious life. As Pope Francis said, “No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since no one is excluded from the Joy brought by the Lord.”

Pope Francis has declared 2015 a year dedicated to consecrated life. This observance will be a distinct way for the Universal Church to thank religious for their witness and response to God’s call to radically follow Him in joy. It will also serve to promote vocations to this unique form of discipleship in the Church.

radical joyAll young people are invited to come together on this day, Saturday September 13th, so that they themselves can see that this radical witness of joy, joy that only Jesus can give, is still alive, well and making a big comeback! It is an opportunity for young people to talk face-to-face with sisters, brothers and priests.

Bring your school, bring your youth group, bring your family and friends. Don’t think that this invitation isn’t for you. Come, come see what God has in store specifically for you. The location is: Mary Help of Christians Center, 6400 East Chelsea Street, Tampa, FL, 33610. For more information visit the website or call  (813)626-6191.

“Consecrated life is a prophecy,” said the Holy Father. “Like birds, God ask us to fly the nest and to be sent to the frontiers of the world, by avoiding temptation to ‘domesticate’ our young people we help our church grow. This is the most concrete way of imitating the Lord”



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College of Mary Magdalen Collegiate Summer Program

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Magdalen_Oct2013_by_Lomanno_0205 (1)The College of Saint Mary Magdalen, an IRL Affiliate, has a wonderful summer program for college students. Held July 27 – August 9,  the cost is only $795.00.

The program gives young people a two-week experience of living on a Catholic college campus for study, prayer, and recreation.  Participants live in the College’s residence halls, study philosophy, theology, and music (with the option to study politics and literature), attend daily Mass, and enjoy sports, drama, and socials.  Several day-trips are planned for hiking in the White Mountains, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, canoeing the Merrimack River, and spectating at the Quechee Gorge in Vermont.

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen’s Summer Programs are designed for students who have completed at least one year of high school.  Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, and recent high school graduates are welcome to attend. Scholarships and financial aid are available.

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen is one of only 28 colleges in the U.S. to be named to the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. The College offers a Great Books education rooted in the Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions.  Their fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church is a source of joy for their students, their parents, and their entire collegiate community.  As they say on their website, they are joyfully Catholic!
For more information, visit their website or call: (603)456-2656



The study of philosophy does not mean to learn what others have thought but to learn what is the truth of things. -St. Thomas Aquinas


Vocational Discernment at Mater Redemptoris

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

mater redOne of the biggest obstacles a young woman faces as she discerns a religious vocation is finding wise spiritual guidance along the way. The other  factor preventing a flourishing of vocations is the sad truth that most young girls have never seen much less talked to a sister.

Fortunately, in the IRL’s backyard there is a wonderful apostolate whose mission is to assist young women to discern a call to the religious life. Called Mater Redemptoris, the goal of all of the programs is to promote understanding of religious life in the Church and to assist girls and women to find God’s particular call for their lives. It is a joint project with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George and the Diocese but it is open to women outside the diocese.

They offer long-term live-in opportunities, spiritual mentoring, retreats, and vocational talks. They just completed a vocational pilgrimage where women and their chaperones visited Catholic shrines and religious communities in the Eastern U.S. (It was so popular there was a waiting list!)

For high school girls, there are summer immersion programs (June 22-28 & July 6-12) where they will get a closer look at religious life.

For girls aged 9 – 13, a retreat (July 1-2) gives them an opportunity to interact with the Sisters and to begin learning about religious life.

Private retreats are available for adult women.

What a fabulous resource for young women! Check out their website and blog!


Fr. Hardon 100th Birthday Memorial Mass

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

hardonAll are invited to a Memorial Mass and Reception to celebrate the 100th birthday of Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, and the 67th anniversary of his ordination.Yes, he was ordained on his birthday. It seems he was ordained at the same time of day that he was born into the world, according to his Mother!

The event will take place at the Colombiere Retreat Center in Clarkston, Michigan on June 18th, 2014, at 7:00 pm.

Fr. Hardon, who died in 2000, packed an enormous amount of work into his long life. He never wasted a minute. If he wasn’t writing or teaching or administering the sacraments, he was praying.

In the name of God, I beg you, with all my being, to pray.

Pray every day to our Lord. Pray for priests.

Pray that priests may be priests not only in name, but in reality.

What is a real priest? A real priest is one who loves Jesus crucified.

A real priest is one who loves nothing more — and I mean every syllable — who loves nothing more than to suffer out of love for Jesus, who ordained him.

A real priest is a living martyr. Pray for priests.


And the Winner Is…A Sister?

Friday, June 6th, 2014

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

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

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.

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Honor the Priest

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

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

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Here I Am Lord Conference Registration

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

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!!



Pedaling for the Poor

Monday, May 26th, 2014

tor bikesThis summer, Fr. Matt Russick, T.O.R., is going to cycle more than 250 miles of rail trails across 4 states to raise money for the Franciscans’ ministries to the poor in Steubenville, Ohio. Father’s goal is to reach $5,000 by August 1 when he will arrive, God willing, back in Steubenville.

At the Heart of Mary Mission House in downtown Steubenville,the sisters serve the poor, the sick and the oppressed, sharing the good news and instilling hope and healing. They also coordinate a ministry at Samaritan House Thrift Store, a clothing store and emergency food center. In addition to this, the sisters also run a catechetical soup kitchen.

Father’s trip will begin in Hancock, Maryland, and will probably follow the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, the Great Allegheny Passage and the Panhandle Trail. If you would like to donate to help this worthy cause, pledges can be made through PayPal on their Pedaling for the Poor fundraising website. Donations may also be made by check, payable to Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R. with “Pedaling for the Poor” in the memo line. Please send checks to Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R. 369 Little Church Road, Toronto, OH 43964.

Our ministry aims to restore the dignity of those who through poverty, various forms of oppression, or suffering, have lost the sense of their preciousness as being a son or daughter of God” (Constitutions 88).

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