Thursday, September 16, 2010


Congratulations to the people of Mexico as they celebrate their Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of their independence from Spain.

These Saints Deserve Our Attention

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian. I must admit these are saints to whom I have not given a lot thought. Today at Mass the priest mentioned that St. Cornelius became pope after a fourteen month vacancy in the papacy because of the Roman persecutions. He mentioned how many Christians were martyred because of their refusal to worship the Roman idols.
As a student of the Old Testament my ears perked up when I heard the word idol. Throughout the prophetic literature we hear about the Israelites' constant struggle with idols, their forgetting who was their God.
In the Book of Jeremiah we hear, "goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols; for their images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion (Jer 19, 14b-15a).
Each age has its idols. Each one of us has his or her own idols, works of delusion, things that satisfy only temporarily. These are constant struggles, perhaps our addictions. For some it's money, for others consumerism, and then, of course, there's food, alcohol, television, computer, and for some, perfection, a true delusion.
Today we are invited to ask ourselves, "who or what is number one in my life?". We might also ask "who or what has my energy"?
What do you think are the most common idols in 2010?
Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian were longtime friends. Both agreed that those who had denied their faith and out of their fear worshipped idols should be forgiven; however, all in the Church were not of the same mind. Perhaps there was resentment among the families of those of those died for their faith, that others should deny the faith and then be readmitted. Pope St. Cornelius held a Synod in Rome in 252 and ordered the relapsed to be restored to the faith with the usual "medicines of repentance."
Idols and forgiveness. Two issues in the 3rd century. Two issues in the 21st century!
I think I'll be paying more attention to these two saints!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Tomorrow is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. It is also the anniversary of my entrance to the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity. My classmates and I often wondered what God had in store for us, giving us a feast of the Cross for our entrance day. Our Novice Director later reminded us that is the TRIUMPH of the Cross. This is a big one, since I entered in 1980, it is 30 years. In many ways it seems like yesterday. I ask myself where the time has gone, then I remember all the places I've lived as a Missionary Sister!
I have been conscious of this anniversary all year. Perhaps I mentioned to a friend that this would be my thirtieth year in the Community. Before I knew it in January Kathy was gathering together our mutual friends in her home for a celebration and reunion. Most of us were medical technologists who had worked together. Because of all the moving it has been difficult to keep in touch, but we were able to pick up as if we had seen each other just yesterday. Those are good friends! That was a great way to begin the thirtieth year in the Congregation.
One doesn't persevere on her own! It takes God, of course, and many others. I am truly grateful for the support of my Community. As a Vocation and Formation Director, I am most grateful to my Formators and Vocation Director who put up with me in the moments of doubt and the early years of adjustment to Religious Life. My family, my sisters Margaret and Fran have stood by me through it all. God has placed many "companions on the journey" in my path who continue to remind me of His love and care.
Even though my "job" these days is to encourage women to enter Religious Life and to walk with them as they begin, some people ask me if I would do it again or even if I feel Religious Life has a future. This puzzles me, especially when I think of how in this way of life I've seen God's love revealed to me and to others in the most profound ways. I think apostolic religious life is a marvelous way to grow in the love of God and offers us the ability to express this love in diverse ways, and to invite others to the same regardless of their "calling".
I continue to be inspired by the Sisters in my Community in their commitment to prayer, their missionary spirit, their dedication and their care for one another.
In these past several years I've had the opportunity and privilege to work with Religious of other Congregations in Vocation and Formation projects and programs, and have come to appreciate all we share in common, as well as the great respect for one another's Charisms. Frankly, I just can't understand why people aren't knocking down our doors to join us in this great adventure!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Evangelization Retreat

Another interruption was preparing for the Evangelization Retreat this past weekend. Approximately fifty Hispanic women came to Mother Boniface Spirituality Center for a weekend in which they encountered, as they said, the Living Christ, and themselves.
This retreat was developed by Frs. Vincent Finnerty, CM and Jesus Guadarrama, CM. when the three of us worked in Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Charlotte. Father Finnerty was the Diocesan Director and Fr. Jesus was a layman on the team at the time. I had just arrived from almost eight years in Mexico and was soon made responsible for the women's retreats.
Last year through a stroke of Providence, Fr. Jesus and I were both in Philadelphia, so we were asked to begin the women's retreats here. We had our first retreat last September.
Our own Sister Maria Lauren who is part of the Archdiocesan (Phila) Hispanic Ministry Team and I worked with the women on the Team before the Retreat and were Spiritual Guides during the retreat. We were fortunate to have four priests for Confessions and two who also accompanied us throughout the retreat.
For me one of the joys was seeing the fruits of Sister Maria Lauren's missionary labors during her time in South Philadelphia in the women on the retreat. It was obvious how deeply she has touched their lives.
The theme of the retreat was the Woman at the Well (John 4). She was a model for the women to see that no matter what has happened in our lives Our Lord will never reject us. He forgives us, sets us free, and having experienced this love and forgiveness, he calls us to be missionairies, inviting others to experience the same.
Some of the women on the Team have had little formal education, yet they and the conferences they gave were powerful witnesses to the action of God in their lives. They invited the retreatants to experience this same power in their lives.
When the retreat was finished the women got on a bus and headed to South Philadelphia where many of them live and were received by their families who were anxiously waiting to receive these New and Renewed Women.

A Few Interruptions

Please for forgive the interruption in blog posting. One interruption I had was the privilege of accompanying my friend, Sister Sara to her new mission. Going to a new mission is a highlight in a missionary's life. So I was especially privileged to be with Sister Sara as she experienced the bittersweetness, the tears and sad expressions of those bidding her farewell. You could tell she had really left footprints on the hearts of all there. This sadness was compensated for by the warm and joyful reception that greeted her in her new mission.
Sister Sara is just one of several Sisters in the Congregation beginning new missions. The same scene has been repeated with Sisters Susanne, Marie and Jane and Mary Ann. Please keep them and all the other Religious Sisters who are experiencing new beginnings at this time of the year in your prayers.