27 February 2008

Shameless Promotion (part III ?)

As our readers will have noticed, we have not begun to use Blogger's label tool ... but a cursory check of our titles shows this to be the third (and possibly fourth) time we've engaged in "shameless promotion." This coming Saturday, our campus is hosting the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales' annual "Live Jesus Day." Our very own Sister Mada-anne will be featured among the presenters in this year's program which focuses on finding a balance between faith and science. The day is from 9am - 2pm and includes breakfast, lunch, Mass and two presentations. For locals who would like more information (it' s not too late to register!) click here.
"Let us not entertain the vain hope of being or wishing to be saints in three months!"
St. Francis de Sales (on Lent)

23 February 2008

Planting Seeds

Our vocation display hit the lone-star-state this past week, planting seeds a bit father from home than we have in the past. The University of Dallas campus hosted a vocations fair on Thursday and Sister Rosemarie and Sister Mada-anne (formerly a resident of Texas and instructor at UD) represented our community. The sisters report a number of inquiring young women who visited with the different representatives from women's communities -- many of whom were freshman! Prominently located near the student cafeteria and bookstore, the vocation fair was visible to passers-by (even those who are not discerning a vocation.) One of these passers-by was former Visitation staff member, coach and associate, Molly McCarthy who is pictured below with her two children.

19 February 2008

Ask and You Shall Receive

Last Friday, we shared a little post about St. Claude de la Colombiere and asked for suggestions about why he might be named the patron saint of toy makers. A tip of the hat ... er, veil that is, to an anonymous commenter who reported:

"It seems St. Claude may be the patron of toy makers because making toys was one of the primary occupations of the region in which he lived and preached .... Through the gift of the Internet we have a chance to see a book from the Harvard University collection, published in 1904 by a Mrs. Arthur (Nancy) Bell, titled Lives and Legends of the English Bishops and Kings, Medieval Monks and other Later Saints. In a chapter on symbols in Christian art, she notes that St. Claude often is depicted with a whistle because he ministered to a community of whistle-and-toy makers. "

Bravo, kind reader, for your investigative skills. "The Red Pen" also posed this question to his audience and received a similar response. In addition, The Red Pen received a comment noting that the sort of whistles which were being made in St. Claude's native region were not the kind of whistles that we might see around the necks of piebald referees at our students' sporting events. (A new image of a "pied piper" ... though far more innocuous!) He provided a link to a short (but interesting) history of whistles.

15 February 2008

A Feast for the Heart

Most people celebrate Valentine's Day with hearts and heart-shaped gifts, etc. It seems fitting, in a way, that on the day following, the Church commemorates St. Claude de la Colombiere, a chosen apostle of the Sacred Heart. Although the sacred season of Lent renders optional all minor memorials and commemorations, it is a treat that St. Claude's commemoration falls on a Friday, as we are especially mindful of the Sacred Heart.

Last year we shared a few biographical tidbits of this "cousin" of ours. We would continue to throw out, to our readers, the question of why he might have been named the patron saint of toy-makers. If any among our readers know why (or even have a creative suggestion), do comment!

Below we share a prayer written by St. Claude:

Lord, I am in this world to show Your mercy to others. Other people will glorify You by making visible the power of Your grace by their fidelity and constancy to You. For my part I will glorify You by making known how good You are to sinners, that Your mercy is boundless and that no sinner no matter how great his offences should have reason to despair of pardon. If I have grievously offended You, My Redeemer, let me not offend You even more by thinking that You are not kind enough to pardon Me. Amen.

10 February 2008

Mini-Road Trip

Sister Rosemarie visits with the "future of the Church."

This past weekend, our vocation duo visited (nearby) Christendom College for their third annual "discernment weekend." Bishop Paul Loverde celebrated Mass on Friday afternoon to begin the weekend of events which included Adoration, Mass, break-out sessions on the different vocations in the Church, vocation booths and a First Sunday of Lent party on Saturday night. The events were geared to provide an opportunity for students who are considering a vocation to the religious life or priesthood to visit with vocation directors in formal and informal ways. The vocations booths drew a large crowd, including local families who brought their young children to see and to visit with the religious and priests. Over 25 communities and dioceses were represented during the vocation weekend. The dry erase board in the student commons, listing the schedule of break-out sessions concluded its message with the following:

"Do not be afraid to open your hearts ..."

06 February 2008

BEE Holy This Lent!

Those who are familiar with the writings of St. Francis de Sales know that bees figure prominently in the examples he uses to illustrate different aspects of the spiritual life.
As we begin this most sacred season of Lent, we share with our readers an excerpt from his homily on Ash Wednesday, 9 February 1622. This selection highlights his affection for (and admiration of) bees ... and it gives us all a good reason to have arachnophobia!
"Do not act like the spider who, who represents the proud; but imitate the bee, who is the symbol of the humble soul. The spider spins its web where everyone can see it, and never in secret. It spins in orchards, going from tree to tree, in houses, on windows, on floors -- in short, before the eyes of all. . . . But the bees are wiser and more prudent, for they prepare their honey in the hive where no one can see them. Besides that, they build little cells where they continue their work in secret. This represents the humble soul, who . . . is content that God sees and knows what she does."

02 February 2008

World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

As the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the temple, we are invited to pray for those in (and those considering a vocation to) the consecrated life. We thought, as a help to those who might be discerning, it might be nice to share some "signs" which may indicate that a woman has a vocation to the monastic life.

10. You find yourself beginning and ending every activity with a prayer. Not a bad habit to cultivate for all walks of life. "The sisters should remember that all work, united to that of Christ, is a sharing in the total work of creation and redemption" (Constitutions XVI).

9. You have cancelled your credit cards. You notice a sudden desire to "leave everything" and follow Christ and your credit cards are the first things you leave behind! "The sisters promise to have no wealth but that of the community" (Constitutions V).

8. You have changed your ringtone to the Halleluiah Chorus. Instead of using one of the generic ringtones pre-programmed on your phone (or a nifty pop-song that you've downloaded) you have "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" announcing each phonecall for you. Sorry, but cell phones are not covered in our Constitutions.

7. You respond to the sound of a bell. When you hear a bell, you either pray or eat. "Be assiduous in prayer at the hours appointed!" (Rule of St. Augustine)

6. When you visit for a retreat you leave something behind. It doesn't happen too often, but when it does, it is usually a good sign that you may want to return. "From experience, the sisters know that hospitality stimulates their own fidelity and deepens their life of prayer" (Constitutions XIV).

5. Sephora has taken you off their mailing list. Since you no longer take advantage of thier gift-with-purchase incentive, they have removed you from their mailing list. Instead, you find yourself receiving "Mystic Monk Coffee" ads in your email inbox. Make-up not covered in our Constitutions.

4. You no longer feel the urge to "shop 'till you drop." Instead, you find yourself preparing for Christmas by spending more time in prayer and checking the internet for nearby Churches that have Adoration. "By vocation the sisters are called to the contemplative life. Prayer is at the center of their existence" (Constitutions VIII).

3. You've simplified your wardrobe. You notice a sudden change in your ensembles for work. You no longer delight in coordinating outfits for different occasions and you find yourself wearing the same clothing day after day. "The habit is to be conceived in such as way as to be a sign of consecration, a witness to poverty, and an expression of fidelity to the tradition proper to the Order" (Constitutions JN 146).

2. When visiting for retreat, you manifest a willingness to put away flatware. Fidelity in small matters is highly valued in monastic life since "big matters" don't often come our way. Retreatants (and postulants!) who cheerfully reach for the flatware as it exits the dishwasher show promising signs of a vocation. "The sisters value every task, whether manual or intellectual" (Constitutions XVI).

1. Jesus Christ. "To have chosen Jesus for the only object of your love is to have promised that your hearts shall have no other affections than to please Him, to love and serve Him, and that all your desires shall be for Jesus, all your solicitudes for Jesus, all your thoughts for Jesus, in a word, all your soul and all your faculties for Jesus alone, Whom, of your pure unconstrained and free will, you have chosen for the only Spouse of your heart, and the sole object of your love" (St. Jane de Chantal).