World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life
- Created on Saturday, 02 February 2013 01:44
On this World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life, a "Prayer To Know One's Vocation" from the U.S. Bishops' Conference
Lord, my God and my loving Father, you have made
me to know you, to love you, to serve you,
and thereby to find and to fulfill my deepest longings.
I know that you are in all things, and that every path can lead me to you.
But of them all,
there is one especially by which you want me to come to you.
Since I will do what you want of me,
I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me:
into my mind, to show me what you want of me;
into my heart, to give me the determination to do it,
and to do it with all my love, with all my mind,
and with all of my strength right to the end.
Jesus, I trust in you. Amen
Photo by Gregory A. Shemitz, 2012
Our faith is about love, joy, service to others and building a culture of life!
- Created on Friday, 25 January 2013 21:33
Last night we were 24 Little Sisters strong to attend the annual Vigil for Life at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The Basilica is always filled far beyond its normal capacity for this event, and last night was no exception. Along with other women religious we had great seats right at the foot of the sanctuary. Today a smaller group, including our current postulants, participated in the March itself.
Knowing that the March is obviously focused on the beginning of life, we were surprised and grateful to hear Cardinal Sean O'Malley speak about end of life issues at the beginning of his homily, a few excerpts of which follow. To listen to his entire homily CLICK HERE.
"The Gospel of life is an imperative for Christ’s disciples. Christ through his Church is urging us to be defenders of life in the midst of a culture of death.
We recently managed to defeat a ballot initiative in Massachusetts that would have legalized physician assisted suicide. The initial polls had us losing 70% to 30%, but thanks to the power of prayer — so many rosaries, hard work and alliances with a broad coalition… we actually won. It was like the race between the tortoise and the hare and in our race we were the turtle that beat the rabbit. There is no doubt that the next great assault against the Gospel of Life will come from those pushing physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. A society that allows parents to kill their children will allow children to kill their parents.
We have to convince America that abortion is not a necessary evil, but simply evil!
We must listen with empathy to be able to communicate the Gospel of Life. … communicating greater understanding … We must work to overturn the laws … but we must work even harder to change people’s hearts, to help Americans understand that abortion is evil and it is unnecessary! … Changing hearts is always the hardest part. We must never tire of clarifying misunderstandings and shedding light where there is myth and confusion demonstrating empathy and compassion and a deeper vision.… It’s not just about the lucidity of our arguments, it’s also about the effect that our words have on others. our task is to present the truth with civility, empathy and clarity. Being champions of the Culture of Life is about building a civilization of love. The New Evangelization is really about changing hearts, it begins with our own heart, our own conversion.… To be able to carry out the mission that Christ has given us we need to be better people, to grow in faith, who witness Christ’s love and to serve the poor and suffering, esp. women experiencing difficult pregnancies… This Year of Faith is a call to a deeper conversion so that we can become effective apostle of the Gospel of Life in the New Evangelization.
Our faith is about love, joy, service to others and building a culture of life!"
Our Little Sisters from Washington sent this account of their participation in the Vigil and March:
One of the many blessings we Little Sisters have here in D.C. is the wonderful grace of being able to witness and to participate in the National March for Life and all of the events surrounding this annual event which draws more and more people each year. Here at Jeanne Jugan Residence, our own participation in this most important moment for pro-lifers began on Wednesday, January 23 as we welcomed 53 parishioners from the Church of St. Nicholas in Indiana. As they arrived around 6:45 p.m., Little Sisters and postulants were on hand to show them to their sleeping quarters throughout the home, and then our kitchen staff graciously served a pizza supper for our guests. After having spent over twelve hours on the bus driving cross country, the group was admirable in their insistence on a holy hour after supper, and many of us were delighted to join them for this time before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, during which they had praise and worship music, as well as the proclamation of that day’s Mass readings and the singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
On Thursday Little Sisters from Baltimore and Richmond joined us for the opening Mass of the Vigil for Life held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which drew thousands of people to Mary’s House. As in the past, we were treated to top-notch seats in the front, giving us an impeccable view of all the many concelebrating priests, bishops and cardinals, not to mention the seminarians and deacons! Cardinal Sean O’Malley was the principal celebrant and homilist, and he gave a wonderful homily, urging all to “live (our) faith so intensely, that we will generate a culture of Life.” Even before speaking of the unborn child, Cardinal spoke of the evil of assisted suicide and euthanasia, stating that “a nation that allows parents to kill their children will eventually allow children to kill their parents.” Citing the Gospel of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth which was the Gospel proclaimed at the Mass, his Eminence spoke of Mary as the one who said “yes” to life, “yes” to love, and even “yes” to the Cross.
Following the Mass, we bid farewell to the delegation from Baltimore and returned home to get some rest for the day ahead. Three Little Sisters, our five postulants, and Monica, a young woman who is discerning religious life, ventured out to the Metro station in order to arrive at the Verizon Center in time for the Opening of the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life. Despite predictions of snow, the air was cold but clear, and we were able to find seats in plenty of time. We were actually quite early, but more young people joined us as time went on. We thoroughly enjoyed the music as well as testimonies from young people involved in the pro-life movement in their high schools. At around 9:30, all at the rally prayed the rosary together, and then it was time to prepare for Mass, the real power behind the day! Cardinal Donald Wuerl was the main celebrant of the Mass, and Fr. Carter Griffin, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Washington and Vice-Rector of Blessed John Paul II Seminary in D.C. was the homilist. Like Cardinal O’Malley, Fr. Griffin urged all pro-lifers to grow in faith, stating that the transformation of society starts with the conversion of each heart, beginning with our own. He urged the young people present to continue their efforts, affirming them as the “Pro-Life Generation.”
Nourished with Christ’s Body, we took a few bites of our sack lunch before heading over to the Mall by the Capitol building, where the March was to begin. We were privileged to see a beautiful video tribute to Nellie Grey, Foundress of the March for Life, as well as hear several testimonies from various people, one of whom was Senator Rick Santorum, who spoke eloquently and with conviction about the grace that a handicapped child brings to a family. Around 1:30 p.m., the March was officially declared “begun” and we were on our way. Because of the huge crowd, it took a while before we actually started walking at a normal pace, and we were happy to meet our fellow Marchers for all over the country. By the time we finally reached Constitution Avenue – the official “road” of the March, snow was falling from the skies and seemed to get a bit heavier as time went on. We felt the cold, but the many, many people bunched together helped to generate some heat! By the time we reached the Supreme Court building, it was around 3:45, and our March route was concluded. But there were thousands still behind us, making their way on this pilgrimage for Life! As Fr. Griffin stated in his homily, this 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade can be likened to the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert. Through prayer and sacrifice, especially the One Sacrifice of Christ our Life, may our country soon reach the Promised Land, where every human being is protected and cherished, from natural conception to natural death.
The Visitation Expresses the Beauty of Hospitality
- Created on Friday, 28 December 2012 14:11
On the 4th Sunday of Advent (December 23), Pope Benedict spoke about the Visitation in his Angelus message. His reflection on hospitality was quite touching, since we Little Sisters devote our lives to hospitality to the elderly and make a 4th vow of hospitality. His message still applies as we enjoy each day of this Christmas season:
The scene of the Visitation also expresses the beauty of hospitality: where there is mutual welcome, listening, making room for the other, God is present with the joy that comes from him. Let us imitate Mary in the Christmas season, visiting those who are in difficulty, especially the sick, prisoners, the elderly and children. And let us also imitate Elizabeth who welcomes the guest as God himself: unless we desire him we will never know the Lord, unless we expect him, we will never meet him, unless we seek him, we will never find him. With the same joy as Mary, who hastens to Elizabeth (cf. Luke 1:39), we too go out to meet the Lord who comes.
Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage
- Created on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 03:05
As we participate in the Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage organized by the U.S. Bishops' Conference, January 19-27, our prayer is more intense on the 22nd, the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. Please join us in praying this prayer for life, and enjoy this short video on the preciousness of human life, especially in the elderly whom we serve.
God, who adorn creation
with splendor and beauty
and fashion human lives
in your image and likeness,
awaken in every heart reverence
for the works of your hands,
and renew among your people
a readiness to nurture and sustain
your precious gift of human life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns
with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus, the door of faith
- Created on Saturday, 22 December 2012 01:58
These photos were sent by our home in Oregon, Ohio, showing a unique take on the Year of Faith theme, "The doors of faith are always open..." Bill Cook, the home;s development director, wrote, "Here at the Sacred Heart Home we are blessed to have many creative and handy volunteers and staff who built for our Residents a symbol of the Year of Faith doors. On Oct. 11th of this year we celebrated the beginning of the Year of Faith by opening these doors as a symbol of each person opening their hearts to conversion and the deepening of their own faith"
For the Christmas season, this door of faith has been transformed into a stable for the baby Jesus, the object and goal of our faith. The effect is a charming and meaningful symbol of faith that the Residents pass many times throughout the day.
“Lord Jesus, you stand at the door of our hearts and knock, inviting us to open ourselves to the gift of faith so that eternal life may be ours by knowing the Father and Holy Spirit who with you, the Son, are the One God, living and true.”