Sunday, July 5, 2015

July Novitiate Update

Our Novitiate
Sister Angelique, Sister Veronica
Postulant Cecilia
Aspirant Sarah (outside the enclosure grille, for now!)
Our Aspirant Sarah is scheduled to join our community on July 22, feast of St. Mary Magdalene, one of our favorite saints.  Along with the feast of St. Thomas, which we celebrated it is like a little Easter in the middle of summer.  The Paschal Mystery is never far from our hearts, indeed it is a part of our daily reality.

In the last few months we have had to bid farewell to some of our novitiate Sisters as it became clear that God was not calling them to remain with us forever.  In the midst of good-by embraces and tears, we assured them that it is always a blessing when God reveals His will, even when it is not as we would will.  And while we were together, we have been a blessing to each other in what we have shared and learned about Him and about ourselves.  We go forward now without regrets and knowing that we will ever be united in the Heart of Christ, as long as we are faithful to Him.  Yet it has been hard, as always the Cross is.  So we look forward with special Easter joy to welcoming a new one into our midst in a few weeks.

Sarah’s journey has been arduous as she had a large student loan to pay before she could enter religious life.  But diligent work with the Laboure Society has enabled her to successfully raise enough funds to pay off her loan.

Our two "Sarahs"
Sister Veronica (formerly Sarah Golden
and Aspirant Sarah Meier
Our other “Sarah”, now our Sister Veronica Mary, also paid back her student loan through the Laboure Society.  It was enlightening to find out that many young people are prevented from following their vocations because of onerous student debt.  Anyone interested in donating to a worthy cause could check out this website:   www.

On June 14th, Monsignor Keeney, pastor of St. Bede’s parish in nearby Williamsburg, VA, allowed Sarah to speak about her vocation and the good work at Laboure to the congregations at all the Sunday Masses.  Because of the generous response, she was able to meet and even surpass her fundraising goal.  May God bless and reward all our good friends at St. Bede’s.

Tomorrow we have a young discerner visiting us for a few days.  Pray for her and for us as we seek to know God’s Holy Will.  He tells us that He gives us “a future full of hope”.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

To Be More: A Lesson From a Pollen Covered Bumble Bee

Last week's bumble bee inspired this little poem:

To Be More

My love is living in the lilied being,
Fragrancing the flower from its core.
He calls through petal lattices entreating
Me, the bumble bee, to come, be more.

He tumbles me in dusty, depths of gold.
Silently, I sip His hundredfold,
Then lift from lily lip into the light,
A glinting hum of glory and delight.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Garden Update

It has been awhile since I have given a Poor Clare Garden Update.  Here are some recent pictures of this year's vegetable garden:

Potatoes on the far left
Cucumbers at center
"Volunteer Row" (Where we deposited our kitchen compost) on the far right


Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Beyond the gate is our new section,
planted with Buckwheat as a soil builder

So far we have harvested lots of Asparagus, some Kale, Beets, and Lettuce.  The Squash and Zucchini have lots of flowers with fruit already beginning to form.  Green Beans, Tomatoes, Eggplant are up and coming.  Potato greens are beginning to die off so harvest is just around the corner.  Butternut Squash will be planted next week, God willing, along with a second planting of Green Beans.  Our roto-tiller is ailing so our friend Joe has been called to fix it along with our push mower.  While I was watering this morning, a bumble bee, covered with orange yellow pollen, stopped to watch.  Yes, summer is here!  Happy Father's Day to all our Dads!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tibi Dixit: Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Our Sacred Heart Statue
in the back of our choir

One of the Easter introit chants, "Tibi Dixit" (To you my heart has spoken:  Seek His face...) has a certain beat to it that reminded me of the beating of the human heart.  So I wrote this poem with an attempt to imitate that cordial rhythm.  On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, may all our hearts beat in unison with His.

Tibi Dixit

To you my heart is speaking,
Murmuring and beating,
Necessity in seeking
Your face, your face

Humanity deleting
Your face, effaced,
Sweating, swollen, bleeding,
Divinity disgraced,
And all, in all conceding.

Shall pulse rate pause or race
Your face to see?
With me your heart is pleading:
Hide not your face
From me.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Hidden hearth

On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, we re-visit the mystery of Holy Thursday and our Lord's gift of the Eucharist.  Above is this year's Holy Thursday Repository.  Below is a Poem written many years ago by our Sister Mary Agnes at a time when we had a very small altar in a small monastic choir for our daily adoration.

The Hidden Hearth

When six flickering flames
Gradually hush the quiet noise of intellect.
Beacon home the wandering heart
            To rest in You;

When dawn-light eases dark from this room,
Earnest with the stillness of prayer,
These walls become the walls of the world
            Over Your house of gold.

Listening, I know Your love is
            Greater far than our desire,
Great enough to take the look
Of bread and weakness
            To be our food and power.

Godhead gazing from this open door,
You know what destinies hinge
            On this hearth fire gathering,
What sparks fly to kindle new fire
            Across the face of earth.

What You do to unresisting
            Wheat and wine,

            O, Work in us.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Little Magnificat

If today were not Trinity Sunday, it would be the feast of the Visitation when our Lady sang her Magnificat to her cousin Elizabeth.  Come to think of it, she was also the first to experience in her life the most intimate workings of each of the Divine Persons upon her own little human person.  Here is a poem inspired by this mystery:

Little Magnificat

The God who is great above all things,
Gazed and was magnified in me.
My spirit breathes his exaltation
As each and every generation
Calls me wholly blessed.

For he who is mighty,
(And oh, how holy!)
Has done for me
the greatest thing:

He made my maiden lowliness
His lovely nest
For lowly rest.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Spiritus Spirat Holy Pentecost Sunday

“The wind blows where it wills and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  Jn. 3:8

In all three ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, the same word used for “wind” is also used for “breath” or “spirit”, the animated body’s own personal “mini-wind”, or that immaterial something which somehow gives life and movement and whose absence is the infallible sign of death.  Hence, “the wind blows…” in the above passage from St. John’s Gospel, could also be well translated, “The spirit spirates…” or “The breath breathes…”

Today, Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the breathing of God’s own Holy Ineffable Breath upon His Bride, the Church.  Those of us who have received Him now breathe with the Breath that is eternally exchanged between the Father and the Son.  What can be more intimate than breath?  Yet God has come this close to us, that He lives and breathes in the depths of our being.  Our own breath now mingles with His in a kiss of love that makes us one in His Divine Mystery.

Spiritus Spirat

Your breathing fragrance spires mine.
Rising together, they intertwine,
Tendrils of an incense vine
That over us a canopy spread.

Perfuming aloes and myrrh descend
Anointing the dead
And risen again. 

Wherever we will our spirits breathe
Spiraling the bridal wreathe.

A bird flew into one of our hall windows overlooking our courtyard.
When the sun is just right, you can see its imprint on the window glass.
Can you see it?  I am reminded of the Holy Spirit.