31 October 2009

Happy 99th Birthday

No, that's not a Halloween costume, it's a bit of a photographic embellishment to mark our dear Sister Raphael's 99th birthday today! Sister offers (almost) a century's worth of wisdom marked by her characteristic wit and humor. Among sister's witty remarks is the "gold standard of citrus." When a sister offers our local nonagenerian a piece of orange or grapefruit at a meal other than breakfast, her reply -- with a smile -- is: "Gold in the morning, silver at noon and lead at night. No thank you, dear."

As a librarian for many years, Sister Raphael has a great love for books. In addition, she is insatiably interested in maps. Perhaps, somewhere in her past, a great-ancestor was a cartographer! Please join us in thanking God for sister's good humor and good health. We hope to be adding a third digit this time next year!

27 October 2009

Steubenville Video -- Finally!

It's taken us quite a while to collect our happy memories from this year's vocation fair at FUS. Part of the reason we are almost a month late in sharing a window into our trip is that we've graduated to a new video editing program. Thanks to our school's IT department, we are using Sony Vegas to edit our videos. Although the possibilities for transitions and fades and other such features are wonderful, the "learning curve" is a steep one, so we're a bit slow in the "Shoestring" department these days. Do enjoy a short road trip with us!

23 October 2009

Even More Shameless Promotion

Pardon the shameless promotion:

Tonight we will be showing the movie "Therese" at 7.15pm and serving pizza to locals who wish to join us for movie night. The movie will be shown in the school's "Little Odeon" on the third floor of Founders' Hall. From 7pm to 7am we will be having all-night Adoration. Movie-goers are welcome to stay and pray after the show!

19 October 2009

Solemn Profession

This video needs little introduction but the appearance needs a bit of an explanation: this is our first attempt at using HD video ... so embedding the window at the correct HD size did not -- apparently -- go as smoothly as planned. Fortunately, Friday's event did and we're pleased to share a few minutes of it with our readers! Sister Mary Roberta made her solemn profession on the Feast of St. Margaret Mary and here we have a 3 minute recap of the highlights. Thanks to our school's IT department for use of the software which made it possible to edit in HD. Revisit with us this momentous event!

"I choose Jesus, my Lord and my God,
for the only object of my love . . ."

from the Profession formula for the Order of the Visitation

15 October 2009

Climate Change is the Answer, NOT the Problem!

This is our third year of participating in "BAD" -- blog action day. To quote the organizers of this year's BAD, "Anyone is free to join in on Blog Action Day and there is no limit on the number of posts, the type of posts or the direction of thoughts and opinions." With that liberty in place, we'd like to put a Salesian spin on the discussion.

It is true that our lifestyles as individuals and as nations can affect the environment in a positive or negative way. Our impact on the environment as it relates to climate change, however, is only a symptom of a larger problem. The larger problem is our diminishing respect for the dignity of human life and a lack of recognition for the Lord's splendor in the created world around us. What's the solution to this problem? Climate change. Not a "global warming" kind of climate change, but a change in the CULTURAL CLIMATE.

Climate change will be a wonderful thing when it means that we respect the dignity of the unborn child; when we revere and honor the wisdom of the senior citizens among us; when our interactions with one another are marked by mutual respect and kindness. When we do not respect human life as a gift from God, it is not a surprise that we fail to treat the environment with gentleness and respect. Changing how we treat the environment will only happen when we change how we treat one another. The God of the universe, who created us out of love, longs for the day when we treat one another with a respect worthy of the kingdom of God. When we treat each other with gentleness and love we cannot help but to treat the world around us with respect for we will see God's handiwork in every flower, every raindrop and every creeping, crawling critter around us.

"Thus it is that good thoughts and holy aspirations may be drawn from all that surrounds us in our ordinary life. Woe to them that turn aside the creature from the Creator, and thrice blessed are they who turn all creation to their Creator’s Glory."
St. Francis de Sales

"Blessed is the soul who seeks God everywhere. For she will find Him everywhere and everywhere she will seek what she has found!"
St. Jane de Chantal

12 October 2009

Profession Approaching!

The countdown has begun! This Friday at 11am, during the Feastday Mass for St. Margaret Mary our Sister Mary Roberta will be making her solemn profession. Locals can still RSVP to the monastery by phone or email. A lunch reception in the Heritage Room will follow the Mass. Do join us if you are able to and do pray for sister as she continues her retreat. Stay tuned for pictures from this great event!

08 October 2009

Post-Meatball Post

We never did figure out who it was who suggested that the meatballs at the "Monastic Meatball Supper" were the size of bowling balls ... but Sister Anne E had a quick retort at the suggestion. We'll spare our readers the gory details of the "how big meatballs should be" discussion.

Our second "Monastic Meatball Supper" was a big hit with over 40 guests in attendance and well over 90 meatballs consumed -- not that anyone was counting! Above, the "picture yourself with us" display was a popular attraction both before and after the meal. Males and females alike enjoyed being a Visitation Sister for a moment while their friends took pictures of the sight.

Among the diverse group we were privileged to have students from Georgetown, George Washington, American University as well as a number of recent grads who are working in the area ... and a bunch of nuns, too! :)

This year's program included an historical sketch by our Sister Mary Archivist and it concluded with a tour of our crypt and a few historical anecdotes about the 41 nuns, 2 priests and archbishop who are buried there. Thanks to all who attended and made the evening a most enjoyable one!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
1 Cor 10:31

04 October 2009

Book Recommendation

In this year when we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of St. Francis de Sales' book "The Introduction to the Devout Life" we share a book suggestion which could be considered -- very affectionately -- the "low calorie" version of our Holy Founder's great work.

The Rev'd Bernard Bangley, a Protestant minister who discovered St. Francis de Sales over 30 years ago, has taken St. Francis de Sales' classic work and written what he calls a "paraphrase." If you have not already read the IDL, Bangley's work is a wonderful place to begin. Some of the images which St. Francis de Sales uses that are unique to his cultural era are explained in Bangley's introduction to the book. The language is new and fresh but the themes are clearly the work of de Sales' prolific pen.

Perhaps, dear readers, you have a friend who may not be ready for the IDL as it is written in its delightful 17th century parlance and the sterling 1950 Ryan translation ... but this "stepping stone" is a great gift for one just beginning the spiritual journey.

In the interest of full disclosure, the monastery neither sells these books nor profits from the sale of Rev. Bangley's work. We just think it's a great book. (If, however, you'd like to help us out, you can purchase a copy of our 400th anniversary book by clicking here for an order form-- shameless promotion at its best!)