Tag Archives: Religious life

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!

Charity

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Potpourri: I love the Pope, Dominican Vocations, Happy Priests!

Inspired by my incredibly creative friend Maggie and her beloved “Clippings” posts over at Ten Thousand Places, I thought I’d try out a similar series of posts on this blog. Each Potpourri post will consist of a list of miscellaneous links, photos, videos, quotes, and/or other tidbits I came across during the week that I thought might interest you all. Let me know what you think!

  • I just now got around to reading the Holy Father’s address to young women religious at World Youth Day in Madrid. LOVE this quote (emphases mine):

“Gospel radicalism means being ‘rooted and built up in Christ, and firm in the faith’ (cf. Col 2:7). In the consecrated life, this means going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart, putting nothing ahead of this love (cf. St. Benedict, Rule, IV, 21) and being completely devoted to Him, the Bridegroom, as were the saints… Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter. … In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”

– Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Young Religious, 19 August 2011
Nuns at World Youth Day in Madrid

There were LOTS of young nuns at World Youth Day in Madrid!

  • More good news from the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN: 1 sister recently made final vows, 15 novices made first vows in July, 24 received the holy habit and began their novitiate (including a friend from my hometown, now Sr. Malia Grace!), and 16 new postulants entered in August. Deo gratias!
  • A spunky young blogger reflects on the journey that led her to enter the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI: “Why I’m Joining the Habit-Wearing, Rock Star Sisters” (Ha!) And just for the record, this is yet another proof that in the Young Catholic Church, “six degrees of separation” do not apply; it’s always more like one or two degrees. Exhibit A: Meris has just entered the same convent where a dear, dear friend of mine from college (Sr. Mary Martha!) just began her novitiate. Exhibit B: Meris’ high school friend, Brother James Claver, was a missionary with me in Honduras back in 2008. In both cases, it’s just one degree! Crazy!
  • Meris’ friend Carolina, who also entered the Sisters of Mary this fall, has shared a beautiful “glory story” on her blog about the generous donors who paid off her student loan debt so she could enter the convent. Praise God!
  • Clergy are ranked #1 on a list of the “Ten Happiest Jobs,” based on a survey conducted by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago. I always love to hear the clergy that I know describe their job as “being a happy priest!”
Happy Seminarians

Happy Seminarians. I have no idea who took this photo, but I just love it!

That’s all for now. Look for another I’m-so-excited-about-vocations! linkfest next week!

Charity

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Leaving All Things Behind: the Dominican Friars

A friend recently alerted me to this video of the Dominican Friars (Eastern Province) and their 21 new novices.

More evidence of the vocations boom! Even if you don’t believe it’s here yet, you’ve got to admit it must be coming soon…

Learn more about the Dominican Friars on their Web site, www.op-stjoseph.org

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Nashville Dominicans in the News (Yet Again!)

Always great to see the “vocations boom” being covered by the secular media!

To learn more about the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, visit their Web site: http://nashvilledominican.org

(HT to Aggie Catholics)

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Poor Clares of Lerma Form New Religious Order

About a month ago, I stumbled across this video of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap. (Preacher to the Papal Household and author of the fantastic book Virginity: A Positive Approach to Celibacy for the Sake of the Kingdom) visiting a vibrant group of young Poor Clares at a convent in Spain. Because the clearest versions of this video are the originals in Italian and Spanish, the one I’ve posted below is not subtitled. (If you really want English subtitles, you can go here – but I have a feeling you’ll agree they aren’t really necessary!)

Beautiful, right? Since that video was posted in 2009, when there were already a whopping 140 sisters in the convent at Lerma, the number of sisters in this community has climbed to almost 200! And that’s not all. Last Saturday, the “Clarisas” of Lerma officially became a new religious order.

Nearly 200 young nuns processed from their cloister to the cathedral of Burgos on Saturday [February 12, 2011] for the official establishment of their new institute of consecrated life.

Sister Verónica María Berzosa Martínez, formerly the abbess of the group, is now also their founder.

Sister Berzosa, 46, joined the Poor Clares when she was 18. She felt called along with the sisters of her community to establish this new charism, which has now been recognized by the Church as an institute of consecrated life.

Read the entire article on Zenit.org.

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Vocation Stories: Fr. Juan, O.C.D.

Young Man Praying

(image source)

“It was as though something had taken hold of my heart, at once powerfully and lovingly, urging it to choose the priesthood in order to share with others the Good News of the love of God…”

My vocation story would not make much sense if I did not mention the transforming encounter with Christ that I experienced at age eighteen. At a moment in my life when I felt alone, unhappy, and unsatisfied with myself and with my life, I made a Cursillo retreat. There I experienced Christ as a real person who was alive, who knew me totally and loved me unconditionally. I understood that He was the answer to my deepest aspirations and desires. Only in Him could I fulfill the purpose for which God, in His love, had brought me into existence. After this experience, I resolved, with the help of the grace of God, to live according to His will, and I made a commitment to live a live of personal prayer, frequent reception of the sacraments, and service.

My call to religious life and to the priesthood did not emerge until months later. As I prayed before the Blessed Sacrament one afternoon, I asked Our Lord to show me what I ought to do with my life, which road He wanted me to take. I was a first-year university student, but still did not know what career to pursue. While I was praying, I saw the pastor of the church pass by as he prepared to celebrate Mass. I thought: “This man is so fortunate! He has no occupation, job or profession other than God and His work. What better cause is there to live and work for?”

At that moment, I felt a very strong attraction to the priesthood. It was a desire that did not come from me; it was as though something had taken hold of my heart, at once powerfully and lovingly, urging it to choose the priesthood in order to share with others the Good News of the love of God in Christ Jesus. This took me completely by surprise, since I had never before felt the desire to be a priest.

I felt stunned and excited at the same time. One part of me wanted to say “yes” immediately. Another part reasoned that these desires were merely the result of the powerful spiritual experience I’d had on my Cursillo retreat. Besides, I wasn’t holy enoughto be a priest! I thought about my weaknesses, the many ways in which I was inadequate, and other reasons why my sudden desire could not possibly be from God.

Other experiences followed which confirmed that God was truly calling me to the priesthood and to religious life. No longer doubtful, I went to the other extreme, wanting to know immediately the specific religious community that God was calling me to join… But there were so many religious orders! How was I going to find the right one? And so I proceeded to wear myself out going from one place to another, from one religious community to another, trying to discern and to find the place where I was being called, but with very little success.

During this process, I began getting to know the Discalced Carmelite Friars. I fell in love with their spirituality, and my spiritual life began to be guided and formed by it. Several years passed. I finished my degree at the university and landed a job as a teacher in a Catholic school, a job which I enjoyed very much. Nonetheless, I knew that God was calling me to religious life.

One day I decided to contact the vocations director of the Discalced Carmelites, Oklahoma Province. I had already contacted him years before, and he had invited me to visit them, but at the time I did not have the necessary funds to do so. This time, I was able to accept his invitation. I visited the friars at the Basilica of the Little Flower in San Antonio, Texas. While there, God allowed me to see in simple but clear ways that this was where He was calling me. I entered as a postulant in 2001.

I have now spent eight years as a Discalced Carmelite friar and a little less than two years as a priest, and I have no regrets. Quite the opposite; I feel very grateful. It has not always been an easy journey, but Jesus has always been faithful to me, even when I have not always been faithful to Him.

As a Discalced Carmelite, God calls me to a life of intimate, loving union with Him through contemplative prayer, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Every ministry I participate in must be the overflowingof this loving encounter with God. I give Him thanks for his mercy toward me, and I beg Him to give me the grace of fidelity and total self-giving, that I might follow Christ until the end, all the days of my life.

Fr. Juan, O.C.D., is a member of the Discalced Carmelite Friars, Province of St. Thérèse. He is currently studying Carmelite Spirituality in Ávila, Spain.

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A Poor Clare’s Solemn Profession

Since the video in my last post has been removed from YouTube (and I swear it was there just two days ago!), I found another, equally awesome glimpse of cloistered life to share with all of you.

Beautiful, isn’t it? I love how it’s executed with such simplicity. St. Clare would probably be pleased!

(HT: The Anchoress)

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Another Peek inside the Cloister

Our first “peek inside the cloister” was of the Passionist Nuns of St. Joseph Monastery in Kentucky. This time, you get a glimpse of the fascinating life of the cloistered Carmelite Monks of Wyoming.

You can learn more about the monks’ life here, and you can support their monastery by buying Mystic Monk Coffee!

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Women of Mystery, Women of Hope

This 7-minute short film depicts three communities of religious sisters in their day-to-day work and prayer in New York City. The orders shown in the video happen to be three that I have long admired for their commitment to the poor and their joyful witness: the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, the Missionaries of Charity, and the Sisters of Life.

For more information about the sisters, click on the links above the video. For more on the film, check out the project Web site: www.mysteryandhope.org.

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Moving Mountains: The Norbertines of St. Michael’s Abbey

Remember that community of priests I mentioned in Saturday’s post – the incredibly-awesome Norbertine Fathers? Well, a couple of months ago, they made a vocations video about the work of their community. I expected it to be good, but I had no idea it would be this good:

Well done, Reverend Fathers! May your work in the Lord’s vineyard be blessed.

Lord God, give us priests! Give us holy priests! Give us many holy priests!

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