Category Archives: Prayer Requests

Help a Sister out!

We would like to interrupt this terribly long blog break to bring you a very special announcement and prayer request:

A friend of a friend is trying to enter the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, but she needs to pay off several thousand dollars in student loans by the end of this month in order to enter. Will you help? Every little bit counts! Click here to donate.

As for the terribly long blog break – nothing is amiss! I’ve just been a little overwhelmed by the demands and chaos of my second semester as a first-year teacher. Fortunately, the end (read: the summer) is in sight! Be on the lookout for a revival of the blog once the school year winds down in May.

Please pray for Chelsea’s fundraising campaign, and pray for me and my students as well!



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Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (by Cardinal John Henry Newman)

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Ora pro nobis!

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,                                             … have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Heart of Mary,                                                                    … pray for us.
Heart of Mary, after God’s own Heart,
Heart of Mary, in union with the Heart of Jesus,
Heart of Mary, vessel of the Holy Spirit,
Heart of Mary, shrine of the Trinity,
Heart of Mary, home of the Word,
Heart of Mary, immaculate in your creation,
Heart of Mary, flooded with grace,
Heart of Mary, blessed of all hearts,
Heart of Mary, throne of glory,
Heart of Mary, abyss of humbleness,
Heart of Mary, victim of love,
Heart of Mary, nailed to the cross,
Heart of Mary, comfort of the sad,
Heart of Mary, refuge of the sinner,
Heart of Mary, hope of the dying,
Heart of Mary, seat of mercy,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Immaculate Mary, meek and humble of heart,
Conform our hearts to the Heart of Jesus.

Let us pray:

O most merciful God, who for the salvation of sinners and the refuge of the wretched, has made the Immaculate Heart of Mary most like in tenderness and pity to the Heart of Jesus, grant that we, who now commemorate her most sweet and loving heart, may by her merits and intercession, ever live in the fellowship of the hearts of both Mother and Son, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


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Novena to the Immaculate Heart

To all those who prayed for me during my retreat, I offer my deepest gratitude. This past week was fruitful in ways I could never have anticipated! I’ll try and share a bit more about the many graces I received in the coming days, but for now I ask that you would please continue to accompany me with your prayers. I’ll be praying this Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in these last days before my Consecration on her feast. Please pray with me for my intentions (for the grace to live my vocation with humility and zeal, for the sanctification of priests, and for an increase in vocations) and feel free to add your own in the comment box. I will post the Litany on the last day of the novena.

Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

(Friday, June 8 – Saturday, June 16, 2012)

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, ever Virgin! O Heart most pure, most noble, most perfect image of the adorable Heart of Jesus! We humbly entreat you to intercede for us and to obtain for us the favors we petition for in this novena, if it be the holy will of God to grant them, and if not, to ask for us whatever graces we most need.

(Pause for private intentions said in silence.)

We desire by this novena, which we offer in your honor, that you will always be, after the Heart of Jesus, the object of our love and devotion. Through your Immaculate Heart we offer to your divine Son all our thoughts, words and actions of this day and all our days.

We pray for Benedict, our pope, for N., our bishop, for all priests, and for the conversion of all sinners. We beg your powerful intercession for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, especially for our diocese.

Through your maternal Heart, we ask God’s blessings upon our families, upon all who have been good to us for the Lord’s sake, for all the living and the dead who are dear to us, and for all for whom we have been asked to pray.

Hail Mary…

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Refuge of Sinners, pray for us.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.
May Mary’s Immaculate Heart be forever praised!

(On the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, add the Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.)


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One More Prayer Request: For Paw-Paw and our family

My grandfather (mom’s dad) passed away on Monday afternoon. 92 years old, married to my grandmother for over 65 years – such a beautiful, full life. Since I’ll be going out of town tomorrow and then probably returning over the weekend to work that retreat, I will be off the blog for the rest of the week – but I just wanted to pop in to ask for your prayers for my Paw-Paw and our family. I also thought I’d share a poem I wrote about him back in 2007, one of my favorites.

To my grandfather, while eating

In the kitchen with my eggs and toast, I heard you
Hammering down the wrinkled boards with halting steps
Like an un-oiled machine, top-heavy, nearly doubled-over
Since you made the cane your enemy.
As the percolator gurgled on the stove
Your denial rumbled through the house like thunder.

At lunchtime, you made it to the table first (sans cane)
So I had to stoop to kiss your snowy brow
Which, underneath its untamed bit of fleece,
Was spotted and uneven as a topographic map.
Curious to know if I’d been eating enough,
You pinched my waist with your great knotted fingers.

I didn’t eat enough, you said at dinner,
Scattered crumbs and wagged a crooked finger.
We ate jambalaya from a box that evening,
And you protested your vegetables and
Thought the sweet potatoes tasted strange.
You were stiff and stubborn, so I held my tongue.

You weren’t always so rough.  I’ve seen you then –
A polished photo in cool black and white,
You’re stretched out smoking languidly in bed
With your eyes closed and your dark hair nicely combed,
Your lonely uniform draped over a chair;
Yes, once you were Gregory Peck at a hotel in Rome.

Now there’s your halting step, your unkempt hair,
Your hands, sun-tanned, knuckles swollen with age,
Your hands that shudder as they hold the spoon;
Yet your brown eyes are warm, your steady gaze
Unchanged, and when you grin and wink at me
Over your ice cream, I have to wink back.


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Urgent Prayer Requests

March is always a crazy, crazy time for me. I know that this next week will be so busy, I’ll hardly be able to think straight – so I wanted to be sure I passed on these important petitions to all of you while they were still fresh in my mind and heavy on my heart. Please join me in praying for the following intentions:

For reader L. and her son, Brandon (urgent intention).

For first-time parents and fellow missionary “alumni” Andrew and Cristina, and their daughter in utero, Maria Isabella (urgent intention). I met Andrew and Cristina during my mission year; since returning to the States, they’ve gotten married and started a beautiful little family. About a month ago, their lives changed forever when Baby Bella was diagnosed with spina bifida. Cristina and Bella are set to undergo a promising pre-natal surgery early next Wednesday morning (March 14) and are asking for prayers for their preparation, surgery and recovery, as well as prayers that their family can find affordable temporary housing near the hospital. You can read more about this precious young family and the beautiful example they are to me and so many others on their blog, Café con Leche.

For reader G.G., whose family is struggling financially (urgent intention). She will be finishing an important course next week (on March 15) and asks for prayers for her studies, prayers that she could obtain her nursing registration this month and find employment as a nurse, and prayers that she and her husband could be reunited with their young daughter.

For reader Rodrigo, who recently found out that he has been admitted to enter the Order of Preachers (Dominican Friars) this fall! (What joyful news!)

For my new blog-friend Ryan and the apostolate he’s begun that will minister to those who suffer with HIV/AIDS. Ryan wrote to me recently to offer some encouragement and to ask for my prayers – and when I visited his blog in the hope of “getting to know him” a little better, I was totally floored. I was so humbled by his example and very deeply moved by so many of his posts, especially this one. I continue to be amazed that the Lord, in His Providence, has begun to bring people who are truly learning how to suffer fruitfully into my life precisely at a time when I’ve been praying to learn how to do just that. He is so faithful! You can learn more about Ryan’s apostolate and read his reflections on redemptive suffering on his blog, Living the Message of Mercy.

For a friend who is passionately in love with Our Lord but struggling to come to grips with her mental illness.

For the repose of the soul of Deacon Mike, who watched me grow up (over the course of 15 years or so) at my home parish and who passed away last week after a long illness, and for his family.

For a retreat I will be staffing next weekend (March 16-18) for 100 high school teens from my diocese. Please join me in praying that the hearts of these young men and women would be prepared and disposed to receive the Truth of the Gospel, as well as the many graces of healing and conversion that God desires to offer them during this retreat. Pray with me that they could fall in love, finally and definitively, with Christ and His Church.

For a confidential special intention, which I hope to be able to share more about next week.

Thank you all for your prayers and sacrifices and your daily “yes” to Jesus. You inspire me every day!

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Just 100 days…

… until I become a consecrated bride of Christ on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Immaculate Heart of Mary (dk bkgrnd)

A sincere thank-you to everyone who has offered prayers for me during this time of preparation. Please do keep praying that I can learn to have a heart like Mary’s, a heart that is, as Mother Teresa used to say, “only all for Jesus.”



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Prayer Request

Fr. Timothy‘s dad passed away suddenly on Monday, and his funeral was this morning. Please join me in praying for Fr. Tim, for his family, and for the repose of his father’s soul.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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Prayer Request

A reader gave me permission to share a prayer request with all of you. C.S. writes:

“I pray that me, my wife, and daughter will be reunited for the holidays and that there will be a restoration in our relationships. We also suffer in poverty so I pray God will answer in whatever way He sees fit. I also pray for the salvation of my wife  and daughter.”

Lord, hear our prayer!

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It has taken me weeks months to write this post.

I’ve said from the beginning that I did not intend for this blog to turn into a virtual diary chronicling every mundane detail of my daily life. This is still the case; I value my privacy (hence the pen name), and I don’t really think you guys would find my day-to-day activities all that interesting. (Secretary by day, theology student by night – talk about life on the edge!) However, in my efforts to avoid becoming “too personal,” I’m afraid I haven’t been personal enough… and I think I’ve finally figured out why.

I wanted this blog to be positive and encouraging – “the witness of a vocation joyfully lived.” I wanted to show that discerning a vocation (i.e. falling in love with Christ) can be a beautiful, joy-filled journey – and I can still say wholeheartedly that it’s been that way for me! The problem is, lately I haven’t been feeling very joy-filled. In fact, I haven’t really been feeling “filled” with anything, except maybe bitterness, or confusion, or fear.

I’ve been having a rough go of it for quite a while now, and somewhere along the way I let myself become afraid that if I were honest about how things were going, I’d somehow end up being dishonest by misrepresenting my vocation and making it seem miserable and unappealing.

Thank goodness I have friends who are such beautiful examples of authenticity. (Kolbe, Flannery, Joan, Rita, Harry, Philomena – you guys are irreplaceable!) They have been incredibly kind to me during these difficult moments, and their unconditional acceptance of me, faults and all, has shown me that my fear of “ruining everything” with my honesty is, like most fears, silly and unfounded. Authenticity will always enhance our Christian witness, not detract from it! So, from here on out, I’ll be trying to speak (er, write) from a more authentic place.

It’s been a rough year, guys. These past few months in particular have been really, really hard, and as the date of my consecration (still set for next June) gets closer and closer, greater and greater difficulties have cropped up in just about every area of my life  – prayer, work, health, relationships. I still haven’t quite figured out how much of what’s been going on is on the natural (physical/psychological) level, and how much of it might be spiritual, but I do know that it’s got to be some combination of the two.

On the one hand, I can see that my perfectionistic tendencies, chock-full schedule and poor stress-management skills have been wreaking havoc on my health, leaving me burned-out and more than a little irritable. Fr. Savio has always tried to remind me that “exhaustion is the enemy of the soul,” and of course, he’s right. When you’re completely exhausted, just about any activity – prayer, work, time spent with friends, basically any activity other than sleeping – loses its appeal.

On the other hand, I’m in the last stretch of my formation before I’m consecrated to the Lord in a solemn, holy rite that will make me entirely His forever, and I can’t imagine that the enemy is very happy about that. He’s probably been doing his utmost to orchestrate this latest barrage of temptations as a last-ditch effort to derail my plans and get me to start doubting the Lord’s love for me. (For the record, it hasn’t worked! The wonderful people in my life have continually thwarted his efforts by going out of their way to love me in the midst of my failures and my messiness. If they can be so kind, how much more must the Lord [still] love me?)

I also know that I’ve still got tons of growing left to do before Christ makes me His bride, so it’s certainly possible that God is allowing this dryness/darkness in order to show me just how dependent I am upon Him for… well, everything.

“Nothing is more fatal in the spiritual life than the thought that we can do anything good without our Lord, and our self-love is so subtle, that unconsciously we attribute to ourselves the little good that we do, which spoils everything. Our Lord, out of love, leaves us sometimes to our wicked nature, and then we are frightened in seeing all the evil and the possibilities of evil hidden in us. It is not that we are worse than before, but that our Lord let us see the depths of evil which grace had covered. During these moments, we should act in union with God’s designs, by humbling ourselves profoundly and throwing ourselves into God’s arms.”

– Bl. Columba Marmion

Either way you look at it, it would only make sense for there to be some sort of spiritual element to these trials, underneath whatever’s been happening mentally and (perhaps as a consequence) physically.

I can’t go into much more detail than this – that would take a whole series of posts, and besides, I’m still getting used to this authenticity thing: no more fooling myself into thinking I can be perfect, no more pretending “everything’s fine” when it isn’t, no more trying to “take care of things” myself without asking for help. I’ve talked things over with my spiritual director and a few trusted friends, so there’s no need to worry (in case you’re the anxious type, like me!) about me trying to handle everything on my own. I know I’m in good hands, but I could definitely use some extra prayers.

Till next time, oremus pro invicem*–



* Let us pray for one another.


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On Retreat

In a few hours I’ll be leaving for that Spiritual Motherhood Retreat with the Sister Servants. I’ve been needing to go on retreat for months, so believe me when I say that I’m really looking forward to the silence!

Please keep me – and the other “spiritual moms” who will be attending – in your prayers.



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