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We remember Sr. Lorita's kind and gentle spirit. May we daily ask for God's grace to follow her example of joyful humility.
Listen to the "It's a Nun's Life" podcast with General Community Leader Joyce Shanabarger: http://anunslife.org/podcasts/ask-sister/as183-apr-08-2016-OSF-FrankfortIL-MRT
Find beauty in unexpected places!
Fr. James Martin gives sage advice in this week's America magazine: Don't be a jerk. http://americamagazine.org/issue/dont-be-jerk. See others as God sees them.
Christ is risen! Alleluia! Easter is such an important feast that we celebrate it for eight days! We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, conquerer over death. In the gospel of Luke (24:34) we read: The Lord has indeed risen, alleluia. ALLELUIA!
This dramatic event has captured the imagination of artists and writers, composers, and poets for centuries on end. May it capture your own heart today. The daffodils are trumpeting the good news! The birds are all singing this song! May your heart skip a beat captured by the joy that death is not the end of the story. No, new life awaits us all. Happy Easter today!!
It is with great sadness that I must tell you that our Sr. Rosenkranz was visited by Sr. Death last night. She will be celebrating the high holy days and our 150 the anniversary with all the saints.
You are welcome to share your memories of Sr. Josephine by adding a comment to this post.
How can we be “light” for others, as God calls us to be? God has “grasped us by the hand” and guides us along the way. - Isaiah 42:1-7
Sunday begins Holy Week. So different than any other week of the year. It celebrates and commemorates the last days of Jesus life on earth and his first steps as the Christ. This is a huge transformation. But Lent gives us glimmers of that light and conversion in our own lives. Before we enter next week, maybe take a bit of time and give thanks for the graced moments when God has broken in these past Lenten days and touched your heart through a helping hand, a new learning, a touch of someone who really loves you, a spring robin...any glimmer of light. For all light, good and beautiful, is a reflection of our creator God who is drawing you to His merciful heart.
Be a peacemaker today! Find ways to show acceptance, empathy and kindness to strangers, coworkers and family. Which challenges you most?
Walk into Catholic churches and you will see those distinct depictions of the "Stations of the Cross." These come out of the Franciscan tradition. It was a pious practice originating around the 15th century for meditating on the last 24 hours of Jesus' life. Of the 14-15 stations, three depict Jesus falling to the ground under the heavy weight of the cross. Yet, followers of Jesus believe that after each time he fell, he stood up again and moved forward in his desire to fulfill the will of His Father by being faithful to the end.
As Lent continues to challenge us, keep your gaze fixed upon the destination or goal rather than upon self. Keep your balance like those tightrope walkers looking ahead. But if you stumble and fall, someone will be there to help you up to make it to the end. Blessings of peace today, to keep on keeping on!!
Lent gives us a good reason to count our blessings. To thank God for the talents that we have been given. But these talents are not to be kept to ourselves. Today take a moment to reflect on how we can use them to make the world a better place. Not to share our talents with other is a waste of a talent. As we share our talents we grow along with others.
Try to do something beyond your usual generosity today. What's in your heart?
Praising God is prayer, too. How many of your prayers each day praise God? How will you praise Him today?
Now is a time to look forward and prepare for new growth in our personal faith journey. We have been doing this by letting go of some of our bad habits but also now to think about forming a new habit. This may be a good time then to gather those things that we longer use or have out grown and give them the needy BEFORE we look for our new Easter outfit. Spring Break is a perfect time in the spirit of Lent of becoming less cluttered.
Feeling humbled as you journey through Lent?
Remember God’s words in Hosea 14:9: "I have humbled him, but I will prosper him... Because of me you bear fruit!"
To become more Christ-like, we must first realize and admit we have faults and failings that require change. Through prayer and Scripture reading since Lent began, you may at this point be coming to accept some difficult truths about just what those changes need to be and what that means for your daily life. But don't be discouraged! That is just the first step.
Now ask Him to help you take the next step by helping you to turn away from old habits, thoughts and actions. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!
We wake each morning, pausing to ask for the graces we desire for the day. Throughout each day, the background of our thoughts and feelings is more and more taken up with what this journey means for our personal change of heart, the renewal of our baptismal commitment, and our growing desire to act in solidarity with the poor. We go to bed each evening after pausing to give thanks for the gifts of the day.
"Come back to me with all your heart" is the first line of the refrain of a Lenten hymn, "Hosea". You can listen to John Michael Talbot singing the entire hymn at the following link:
The robin families have returned and begun building their nests. Coming soon will be little ones like you see in this photo from years past. What a gift to witness new life emerging from the cold and barren winter landscape! As we move through Lent, each observing it in our own way, we hope you are feeling your new life in Christ come alive, touching others' lives with the joy of mercy that He promises.
"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." - Psalm 90:12
On February 29th, we get the opportunity to celebrate an extra day. It is Leap Day! Every four years we add one more day to our Gregorian calendar to make up for lost time. Reflect on that—you have been given an extra day. Imagine you had an extra day on the weekend or an extra day of vacation or an extra day to get that issue fixed? It would be a gift.
In essence, you are being given a gift of time.
What will you do with this 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds? During Lent, give thought to provide some of that time to God, who has given life and time to us. Remember, the purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. Consider using your extra day to focus on one of those lofty goals.
"To look at the Crucifix and then to look at our own hearts; to test by the cross the quality of our love--if we do that honestly and unflinchingly we don't need any other self-examination." Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) English Catholic Author
The mother of James and John asks Jesus to make her sons powerful and prestigious in Jesus' new kingdom. The rest of the disciples get very angry at James and John for what seems like a selfish request. Interestingly, Jesus does not rebuke the request, but instead gently explains what it really means to be great. Oftentimes we may feel like we shouldn't pray for something because we think it's selfish. Jesus longs for us to reveal everything in our hearts to him. He receives everything we communicate to him in prayer in the same loving way a loving parent listens to his or her young child.
Why not connect today with your parents or an elder who looked out for you, thank them and share with them? You might start with our God, whom Jesus called "Abba" or "Daddy," and talk about your aspirations to be great! God is already waiting and poised to listen to your heart's desires.
It can be difficult to balance all that we have to do. What are your priorities? List them and then keep track of how you actually use your time each day for the next week. Are there inconsistencies with what you believe is important and how you really spend your time? This Lent, reflect on where you spend your time and then make time for the things that are truly important.
Tired of living life without clear direction or purpose?
We have so many distractions that take us away from living a life with Christ. Feeling empty, we try to fill that void with too many activities or irrelevant events or things, and we wander aimlessly, further from God.
Lent is a wonderful time to return to God and focus our lives on Jesus and His will for us. Change your lifestyle and let God change your heart.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
It gives us pause to think how hard it is to give up that which we love so dearly. It speaks to us of sacrifice. It challenges us to think about our own values and what we really need. So this year, I choose not to just give up a food or drink or something about me. No this year, I will give something to make a difference in someone else’s life, each day. This year… Give to make a difference.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Take a moment to think those you have not forgiven. Consider the amazing act of forgiveness that God showed us by sending his Son to die on the cross for us, and look for a way in your heart to forgive those who have treated you poorly, even if they are not sorry. Go further by finally forgiving yourself for past sins you still hold in your heart.
"In the silence of prayer we discover that we are loved and known - by name - by the One who is love." (Living Faith)
The goal of fasting is to train our will. We say "no" to small things every day so that we may freely choose to say "yes" or "no" to larger things when the time comes. Just as athletes train their bodies, so we train our spirit.
The season of Lent is a time to help us become free from everything that latches us to this fleeting earthly reality and distracts us from our goal: eternity. Nevertheless, our Lenten journey does not end when the 40 days are over and we have broken our bad habits, strengthened our self-control and enriched our prayer life. Having acquired freedom from that which binds us, we now have freedom for that which is good, true, beautiful, and pure—ultimately, we acquire the freedom to choose God. So consider today what you are working for in the long run as you fast from somethingthroughout the 40 days of Lent.
Isaiah the prophet suggests that this is the fasting God desires: "releasing those bound unjustly, setting free the oppressed, sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own." O loving and merciful God, help us to be your mercy in action long after the VaLENTine's weekend just past, reaching out with a heart full of love.
There are so many small things you can do to make a difference in our environment:
Little and big changes will make a difference! You can affect change for the better.
O Lord, teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
-From A Prayer For Our Earth from Laudate Si'
Janine Hicks from USF Sustainability Cmt
Today we begin the holy season of Lent. Ash Wednesday came upon us so quickly. Our hope is that we open our hearts to more fully heed the workings of the Spirit. May we each become more like Jesus as a radiant presence in our world so that all may love as He loves. NOW is the time to begin to let the good side of you shine! It is within you! These forty days, pick one positive attribute you would like to cultivate during this year of INTEGRITY. This can mean: doing what you say; submitting reports on time; being kind to another; making healthy choices of body and mind. What will you try? Now seal this with ashes today and practice it for 40 days until it is truly who you are! May our merciful God call us yet again to turn our lives toward goodness and love.
Do you have faith the size of a mustard seed? God can work with that! Recall the mustard seed grows to be the largests of plants! MK 4:30-32
This beautiful image is courtesy of http://agnesleung.com/.
Just as important as the bloodshed of our modern saints are the signs of hope. A chapel has been built where Archbishop Dom Oscar Romero was assassinated.
Now on the sides of that remote dirt road where four more martyrs were killed -- three Sisters and a lay woman-- many people have come to settle. A base community has been established on the very land where the women’s bodies were found. The chapel is simple and beautiful, and the people are actively living the inspiration that the women brought to them. I listened to the old people who actually knew the Sisters and continue to be inspired by them. I listened to the young people who only know of them, but still desire to live full and self-giving lives as the women did. I listened to youth leaders who challenged us to live our mission fully in this country which is not easy. What impressed me so much was the people’s deep belief that they are a graced people; they felt important because we, North Americans, left our homes and comfort to be with them during those days.
-Sr. Nancy Roberta Schramm35th Anniversary Pilgrimage to El Salvador
What a privilege it was for me to participate in the 35th anniversary pilgrimage of the martyrdom of so many El Salvadoran church people! An organization called SHARE El Slavador has worked for the reconstruction of El Salvador since the civil war of the 1980s and 90s. They have organized pilgrimages every year for those people who desire to honor the memory of the saints killed in El Salvador and celebrate the hope and good works that these people inspired in those who survived the war and were born after the war.
Without a doubt, Ita, Maura, Dorothy, Jean and Oscar look down from the heavens with joy and saintly pride. Their people are doing great things. They are signs of God’s Kingdom and slowly are contributing to the transformation of the Salvadoran society. There are many challenges yet to be embraced: work with the violent gangs that torment innocent families, assisting in bringing equal salaries to all women and workers, and most important bringing those to justice who are responsible for so many heinous crimes. But the people I met are a patient yet fiery people. They will not walk alone but hand in hand and through the intercession of their modern saints. They love and trust their God who walks with them.
- Sr. Nancy Roberta Schramm35th Anniversary Pilgrimage to El Salvador
The Creche is set. The stable, angels, shepherds, sheep even Mary and Joseph. But something is missing. Where is the child? Yes, the manger is empty because Christ truly comes into the world now only when He comes into the hearts of us all. The Advent season is a time of storytelling of exciting experiences within our Christian history. May this Advent have helped to make Jesus' coming a reality for us in real time, for the Christmas Season is a time of storytelling of exciting experiences within our own lives. Merry Christmas to all!
From one of the stories told of our patron, Francis,
"The manger was prepared, the hay had been brought, the ox and ass were led in.
There simplicity was honored, poverty was exalted, and humility was commended,
and Greccio was made, as it were, a new Bethlehem."
--First Life of St. Francis by Thomas of Celano
Christmas is a paradox, for it is both hope and despair, love and fear. For some it is the happiest time of year and for others it only stirs sadness and loneliness. "Fear not!" said the angel to Mary, announcing Christ's birth. "Fear not!" sang the angels to humble shepherds in the fields when they announced the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem. "Fear not!" Isaiah told the people. "Fear not!"
May we not fear to remind everyone the "REASON FOR THE SEASON!" We hope our Advent messages have helped you remember the mystery of it all---paradox of excitement and dread, the hopes and fears, stillness and chaos, for this is life, and it is into this whirlwind that our God chose to come and dwell among us. The day draws near....
Do you know a compassionate caregiver who is looking for work and is a CNA with a current CPR card? The Assisted Living Unit at the Motherhouse is now hiring one or two CNAs to work as needed (rotating shifts) with our nuns.
For information, call Karen Hannon, RN at 815.464.3860.
The longest night of the year is over. Soon daybreak will be brighter, as the morning star rises earlier. Perhaps we have learned a bit about time. During Advent we realize our most personal and precious gift is TIME. Quality time is gift giving: be with family and friends. Breathe peace in and share it!
A 4-year-old asked her mom for apple juice. “In a minute, honey. I’m trying to balance the checkbook.” Perplexed, the child said, “Why? Is it wobbly?” A moment of joy! In the gospel we hear, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” Our lives are filled with “God moments” when we feel God’s presence in a special way. She found God in a child’s innocence. How and where do you find God? “God is with us” always…Look around!
Of course we know how to observe Advent. We’ve been doing it all of our lives. We know that Advent, both the season and the movement, calls us to prepare for a reality that is both now and not yet, a future whose essence is shaped by everything we do and everything we don’t do in the present. So we prepare. We divest of accumulated clutter that obscures the vision of our hearts and dims the horizon of our spirits. We carve out time and space in the darkness. We might even befriend the chaos that swirls around or within us so that we can turn our attention to something far deeper that hollows out and stills our interior. And we long. We long for the fullness of God’s divinity to fill the opened space of our humanity.
O Come, o come Wisdom from on high! O come Emmanuel!