Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Cross and the Crib

Blessed Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr!  The Cross is never far away from the Crib at Christmas nor at any other time.  Here at Bethlehem Monastery, we take care to decorate our crucifixes as well as our Christmas trees and Creche scenes.  As St. John's prologue puts it:  The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Here we would like to share our Christmas morning Mass petitions:

That all who have been reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism may celebrate this feast of the Lord's Nativity with surpassing joy, and walk always in the Light of Christ which shines upon them and through them, illuminating the darkness of the world.

That the great ones of this world may follow the lowly in simple faith to find their true King who rules in humility and governs in poverty.

That the afflicted in body or spirit, for whom this day is a temptation to despair, that they too may come to the manger where their sorrow will be turned into joy by the tears of the Infant Christ.

That we who have heeded the angel's song and have come to Bethlehem to see the great thing that has taken place, may like the shepherds, return to our daily lives, glorifying and praising God for all we have heard and seen:  God made Man for love of us.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Greetings from Bethlehem Monastery

Our artistic Novitiate somehow makes tissue and construction paper into stained glass!  This creation hangs on the glass door leading into one of our interior patios, making a rather bleak sight into a meaningful nativity scene.  May Our Lady and her Blessed Child brighten your life with their gracefilled presence this Christmastide!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Construction/Fundraising Update

We have good news….                And not so good news….

We have a contract and the price is not as high as we feared it would be!
                                                                                                                                                But it is high enough.

We have raised enough funds to pay for the architectural plans!
                                                                But we still need money for things like bricks, windows, doors….

Novitiate Dorm Fundraising Goal:  $100,000

As the insurance company and our contractor debated the merits of the contract, the Poor Clare crew set to work.  Mother Vicaress emptied her storage closets destined for demolition and the novitiate Sisters removed the doors.(No one is quite sure where the contents of the closets went.  It is Mother Vicaress’ secret)

Our good lawn maintenance man cut down the courtyard trees that were in the way of construction, while the Poor Clare gardeners transplanted shrubs and flowers.

This little engineer’s flag marking the site of soil testing in our courtyard is our sign of hope that construction will soon begin!  When?  God knows even if we don’t!  We thank you for all your help and ask you to continue your support of our project both by your donations and your good prayers!

You can use our Paypal button at the right hand corner or send us a check through the mail:  Bethlehem Monastery of Poor Clares, 5500 Holly Fork Rd., Barhamsville, VA 23011.

Those who use Facebook may want to consider doing a fundraising campaign for us there.  We have heard these can be quite successful!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.

We are in the first week of Advent, yet we do not forget why He came and His Passion lived out in the crisis afflicting the Church at the present time.  One of us wrote a poem a year ago after taking care of a persistent wound for an elder Sister.  This year, the poem seems prophetic.

Your Body

Your body is so very wounded,
It wearies me.
Sores all over, unhealed, unsalved,
No hope of healing.
Woe, woe for wounds that weep,
Sores that seep
When I bandage them,
They fester beneath the gauze.
There is no soundness to be found in You-
Even exhausted pores sweat blood.

Where the end
To anguish beyond remedy?
I too have sinned;
I look upon You, and my own battered body
Resonates within.
I lay my hands upon You to heal,
Only to inflict infection.

Your Body wounded all over
Has been bought in blood;
Her slavery to sin has ended-
There remain now the open stripes.
Help us, Lord;
Have mercy.