Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sister Marie Elise Solemn Profession Pictures

Here are some pictures from yesterday's Solemn Profession ceremony:

Sister Marie Elise
leads the entrance procession of the Sisters

Sister Marie Elise
prostrate under a pall while the congregation prays
the litany of the Saints.
This symbolized her death to her former life and her rising to a new life in Christ.
Bishop DiLorenzo
prays the Solemn Prayer of Consecration
over the newly professed Sister Marie Elise

Monday, July 28, 2014

Solemn Profession tomorrow!

Our dear Sister Marie Elise of Jesus Crucified will make her Solemn Vows tomorrow!  Pray for her!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sister Miriam Rose Shares Her Investiture Day

It is our custom that after an investiture ceremony, the new novice writes a general letter to our other Poor Clare Monasteries to share her experience of that blessed event.  Here is our Sister Miriam Rose's letter for you all to enjoy:

Dear Mothers and each dear Sister,
Magnificat anima mea Dominum! I wish to thank you all and sincerely say may God reward you for your wonderful letters and beautiful holy cards. They each meant so much to me and I am strengthened all the more in knowing of your prayers as I continue to persevere in my vocation. And if I may, I also ask for your prayers for my dear community sisters who have given so much of themselves to make our investiture day special. (I say "our" investiture day because it was not mine and it was not His but ours, because He is a God who gives and shares everything and keeps nothing for Himself. We truly don't deserve Him.)
They tell me over here that you wish to know my own experience throughout the investiture and even though I am not the best with words I will do my best to give you what you wish to know:
To be honest, I think I had better retreats. I had so much interior noise blasting through my head that I found it hard to peacefully pray and concentrate. I remembered the advice Mother Vicaress (who, as you know, is also my Mistress) gave to me before my retreat: Just stay open and be receptive to whatever the Holy Spirit wishes to give to you. Huh! Easier said than done, I must say. But throughout the retreat I kept her words as close to me as possible and tried my best to remain passive even though I had no idea what was going on inside of me and why all of a sudden my thoughts were practically screaming at me. All I knew was that I had to hold on and trust, some how, in the Lord. (However, as I look back on it now I see the small and tender graces that were given to me and in all that chaos I now know for certain, even though it was never felt, that I was slowly beginning to surrender myself to our Beloved Lord.)
And so I went to bed on June 27th dreading the noise that would await me in the morning, but when June 28th finally came around I was quite surprised to be awakened and surrounded by a complete and peaceful silence. It was a peace that I had never experienced before and I will never be able to truly describe. All I can say is that it was a peace that only God can give.
And so I went to Lauds and coffee still amazed at what I was feeling and after I got into my Mother's wedding gown, Mother Vicaress brought me into the Novitiate common room and wisely left me there alone so that I might reflect on the amazing grace that was about to take place. A lot of things were thought in that moment: some silly, some serious and some personal things. But the one thing I really wish to share with you is when I turned to the picture of our Holy Mother St. Clare: I imagined myself putting my hand in hers and allowing her to lead me in the footsteps of our Blessed Mother.
Oh dear! So many things I wish to say! I wish you would have seen the smiles that each of my dear sisters gave me as they walked into the Novitiate and I wish you could have felt what I felt when I was given the olive branch and the softly lit candle. But, of course, you do know what I saw and how I felt because you all had gone through the same seedling beginning as I had just gone through. And I praise the Lord for that.
Another moment I would like to share, before I talk about the actual clothing ceremony was when we were making haste to the choir for the celebration of the holy mass. I remember that we sang "Look down with love on us radiant vine dresser" and how at the very end of the song we had just made it into the choir when we were singing "In our hearts that yearn jar Him" and it was then that I looked up towards the tabernacle to see Him waiting for me. I walked down the isle towards Him and as we looked at each other a thought came to me saying, "I yearn for you, too."
Isn't it beautiful the things He can say to us in the silence of our hearts?

The readings for Holy Mass were unbelievably fitting and it surprises me all the time how the Holy Spirit can fit extraordinary events and liturgical celebrations together so well. Plus I loved it that our Mother was the main honoree of the day. Everything was so special that I could not have asked for anything more. I had all my loved ones with me: my family behind me and my "far away" family and friends in the extern chapel and then, most of all, my God (Father, Best Friend, Bridegroom and Brother) with His Mother beside me. There was nothing else I wanted.
Then came time for the clothing ceremony. I remember being very careful the whole time in our gown, because it was covered with lace and if I made one wrong move, RIP! (Rest In Peace!) And so as I stepped out of our gown and into our new life the muscles I had restrained all that time gave way and I stretched as if! had finally awakened from a long night's sleep: Before, I was confined. Now, I am free. Before, I wore the world. Now, I wear the cross. And just as our Lord Jesus had done, I kiss it and embrace it every time I put it on, allowing it to remind me that I now live for Christ. And let no man take it away from me.
Some of you, I am sure, wish to know how I like my new hair do and I will just make one comment on it: Good riddens! But on a serious note: being "stripped" of yourself is the best way to describe how it was for me. I loved my curls. The wildness of them as I played sports in the park or walked in the breeze on the beach gave me much excitement. But that's the point. I gave myself excitement. Did I ever stop to allow Him to give me the excitement that comes with being His? Maybe sometimes I did. But when Mother was cutting my hair I could not help but smile and think that my pride and joy is no longer going to be myself, but from now on it will be God. He is the crown I am striving to achieve.
And after being adorned with the precious stones, priceless pearls, sparkling gems, and golden crown of the under cap, head band, head cover, and veil, I was finally given a new name. This was very important to me because like all young people we wish to know who we are. We desire to find ourselves and know ourselves. It is something we ache for because deep down, I believe, when we finally know ourselves is when we can truly live out our FIAT to the Lord. And so as Mother Abbess was preparing to tell me my new name I asked God: Lord, who am I? And through the lips of Mother, He gave me my answer. "You are to be called Sr. Miriam Rose" of the Holy Face.
With such a big name I feel very small and I ask for your prayers that I may live up to it.
But how I love my name! To be named after our Blessed Mother's Motherhood helps me to understand more fully that I am a child of God and as our Lord had gone through the Virgin Mary to become flesh with us, it is now my turn to follow our Holy Mother St. Clare by going through our Blessed Mother to be united to the Divine Bridegroom.
May we all be united to Jesus through Mother Mary and may He reward you again and again for your prayers and spiritual presence during my retreat, investiture, and for the many barefooted and poor years to come as I continue to discover the Love of God.

With much love and special prayers to each one of you as we all gaze on the Face of Christ together in the Eucharist,

Sister Miriam Rose of the Holy Face

P.S. Jesus loves you J

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rain Dance

As the Gospel gives us today another gardening parable, I here share another Poor Clare gardening experience.  Perhaps this only happens to me.  I wait patiently for the rain to come and water our vegetables.  Day after day the sky is blue.  Or clouds do arise on the horizon only to lumber by without dropping any of their cargo.  Finally I give up and drag out the hose in the early morning.  Almost without fail, by the end of the day a storm has blown in from heaven knows where and has watered all the gardens better than I ever could in one percent of the time.  So now, whenever I water the vegetable field, I say that I am doing my rain dance.  But about a month ago, the ultimate happened:  while I was watering a thunderhead appeared…

Rain Dance

While I ploddingly watered my panting garden,
The thunder grumbled down on me.
I could not help but hearken
As the frowning monster darkened
The bending, trembling trees.

Eyeing it with apprehension,
Reluctant to spark undue aggression,
Yet more in me was expectation.

So with hose in hand
I defied the sky
Until then happy and
Hopelessly dry.
“I dare you to better
My hose and I!”

For my sun-drenched land
I would dance and tease,
That the rain may be better
And I at ease.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Poor Clare Summer Gardening

Today’s Gospel of the Sower reminds me that it has been awhile since I have given any Garden Updates.  Our Poor Clare garden is in full summer swing, but I felt it more opportune to share about the flourishing of our Novitiate Sisters.  It has been a blessedly challenging time keeping up with both!  

So, to report:  we harvested a record number of asparagus spears and now the plants are beautifully lush and green.  I especially love to see them sparkling with dew in the early morning sun.  The beets did really well as did the spinach and kale.  The level of productivity of the summer squash has not come up to last year’s standards, while the green beans are producing vigorously.  Transplanting was almost a total disaster—better luck next year through better methodology!

Gardening was the basis for some of our Lord’s parables and is also an endless source of inspiration and prayer for us.  Here is a little poem from a little novitiate gardener:

 Flower Pot

I never was much to look at-
Nor am I still-
A chipped reject, little worthy of mention,
Save for the attention of a morning in Spring
When tool shed door groaned in on musty darkness,
And an earthy hand plucked me, moldy, forth,
Filled last Autumn’s emptiness with soil,
Pushed in a poignant seed-

Now you see
A glorious blossom-
Why look at me?

Visit us again for more Summer Gardening updates!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Poor Clare Fourth of July

Our Lord said in today’s Gospel that the Father reveals “these things” to the little ones.  What are “these things” but the many forms of His love and care for us?  The 4th of July fireworks always brings out the child in every American, and even in many non-Americans as well.  Mother Abbess’ family provides us each year with sparklers for our entertainment.  Here are some pictures of us enjoying them.

After the sparklers were finished, two of us began some good old American square dancing while the rest cheered them on.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

We Have a New Novice!

Our former Postulant Mary was a beautiful bride!

Now she is even more beautiful as a Poor Clare Novice
Sister Miriam Rose of the Holy Face!