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.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ascension Thursday and Sacred Promises

On Thursday, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, we had the special joy of witnessing our Sister Maria Christi take her next step in formation.  Sister is a finally professed Sister from an apostolic congregation who has discerned a contemplative vocation with us for the past few years.  Here she makes her Sacred Promises to observe her vows according to our Poor Clare Rule and also makes a Vow of Enclosure.

Entrance Procession

Mother Abbess exhorts her to the faithful observance of our Rule

Sister pronounces her Sacred Promises and her Vow of Enclosure

Signs of a Professed Sister
Black Veil and Knotted Franciscan Cord
Festive Flower Wreathe 

All dressed up!


Offertory Procession

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Aqua Sapientiae

Aqua Sapientiae

Aqua sapientiae
potavit eos,
alleluia:  firmabitur
in illis, et non
flectetur, alleluia:  et
exaltabit eos
in aeternum, alleluia,
Ps. Confitemini Domino, et invocate nomen eius:
annuntiate inter gentes opera eius


From the water of wisdom
he has given them to drink, alleluia:  it will be established
in them and will not
be changed, alleluia:  and
he will exalt them
forever, alleluia,
Ps. Confess to the Lord, and invoke his name:  announce among the nations
his deeds.

Poetic Meditation

I have been given the water
of wisdom to drink
That trickled first
from the temple’s broken side.
Well past are the fearsome days
of that temple’s upraising.
So now the waters grown strong
in me are rising.
Wave upon wave this stream
is ocean wide.
Over the flood God intones his song
And fountains
from the earth respond.
(from the Offertory: “The Lord intoned from heaven…and fountains of water appeared, alleluia”)

Sunday, May 3, 2015


In our monastery, Gregorian Chant holds pride of place in our liturgies.  Every day of the Easter Octave has its own proper chants.  One Sister became fascinated with the introits (entrance chants) and was inspired to write a poetic meditation on each of them.  The next few posts will feature some of her work.



Resurrexi, et adhuc
tecum sum, alleluia: 
posuisti super me
manum tuam, alleluia:  mirabilis facta est
scientia tua,
alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Domine probasti
me, et cognovisti me:  tu cognovisti
sessionem meam, et resurrectionem meam.


I have risen, and even now
am with you, alleluia:
upon me you have laid
your hand, alleluia:
wonderful has become
your knowledge, alleluia.
Ps. O Lord you have probed
me, and known me:  you
have known
my resting, and
my rising again.

Poetic Meditation

I am risen up again
And I am with you still.
You placed your hand upon me
To cut and nail and kill.

The Lord has probed my heart
With pain, and known it to be true.
Send your hand into the wound.
Marvel now-
you know it too.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Remembering the Sacred Triduum 2015

Could you not watch with me one hour?"  This is the poignant question we remember our Lord saying to His disciples on that first Holy Thursday.  After our Mass of the Lord's Supper, we keep vigil until 1AM with our Eucharistic Lord at the repository in our chapter room.

"Christ was made obedient, even to death on a cross"  
Our Good Friday Cross after the Three O'Clock Service

Each of the Holy Days had its own icon displayed in our refectory.
Here is our Lord being laid in the tomb for Holy Saturday

All is ready for the Paschal Vigil!
Lilies trumpet His triumph in our Sanctuary

Our Glorious Paschal Candle

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pantry Shower

Only some of the many gifts that came to us today from our friends at
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish

Usually Sunday is a Sabbath day of rest, but not this Sunday!  For today was the annual pantry shower for the Poor Clares from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Newport News, Virginia.  Even though we moved from Newport News to Barhamsville 11 years ago, our faithful friends in our former home parish still remember us very generously.  This day was punctuated by the doorbell, soon followed by a hand bell summoning all able bodied Sisters to help haul, sort and distribute bag after bag of canned vegetables, fruits, and other household supplies emanating from cars driven by smiling parishioners.  Time and again we were able to thank these good servants of the Lord with our age old monastic formula, “May God reward you!”  Today, we prayed with special fervor our daily after-dinner prayer: “May You see fit, Lord, to bestow eternal life on all those who do good to us for Your sake”.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Moving Easter Event

Today is the Octave Day of Easter, Mercy Sunday!  Spring has finally come to Virginia after a long and cold winter.  New life is flourishing in our monastery gardens and in our monastic souls.  The ever new Paschal joy resounds in all our songs and music.

Yesterday was an historic day for us as we replaced our original choir seating 

with a newly designed arrangement.  

Two of our benefactors were on hand to unscrew and transport the old to new locations while the movers brought in the new seats.  We now have room to expand and to accommodate those who are asking to join us.  Here are some pictures of the “moving event”.

Our friends, Jim and Joe, removing the old choir seating

Outside on our front lawn. Cherry trees in full bloom!

New seating being installed

Finished!  View from the 2nd floor