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Sunday, January 27, 2013

St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe Quote

”Jesus honored her (Mary) before all ages, and will honor her for all ages. No one comes to Him, nor even near Him, no one is saved or sanctified, if he too will not honor her. This is the lot of Angels and of men.”
--Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Martyr~

Cleanse Yourself Daily With Tears of Contrition

"In his present state of weakness, man is incapable of imitating the crucified Lamb of God perfectly and avoiding all the stains of sin. And so Francis taught his friars by his own example that those who are trying to be perfect must cleanse themselves daily with tears of contrition. He had attained extraordinary purity of soul and body, yet he never ceased from purifying his spiritual vision with floods of tears..."

~ Saint Francis of Assisi (Bonaventure, Major Life)

St. Francis of Assis Quote

"Often, without moving his lips, St. Francis would meditate for a long time and, concentrating, centering his external powers, he would rise in spirit to heaven. Thus, he directed his whole mind and affections to the one thing he was asking of God. He was not then so much a man who prayed, as a man who had become a living prayer. "

~ Thomas of Celano - Second Life

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sr. Elise's Sacred Promises - Barhamsville, VA PCCs

"Our Sister Elise made her Sacred Promises on November 1, 2012, feast of All Saints. One of us had a digital camera which we used to take a very homegrown, unprofessional video of this blessed event. I did a bit of editing and added a few pictures to the beginning and end. Hope you enjoy this latest ceremony at Bethlehem Monastery of Poor Clares in Barhamsville, VA!"

St. Padre Pio Quote

"A Short Walk around the World at Evening" - poem by Mother Mary Francis, PCC

A Short Walk around the World at Evening

The Lord is robed in majesty and glory,
His bride's resplendent in her poverty.

Forward, each step in step
(And His feet wounded),
In measured love unmeasured
Mark the miles
Where trees reach to embrace the feminine clouds
And scrivening birds write down that lyric-ed love
In flourishes across wide tablet skies.

The Lord is robed in majesty and glory,
His bride's resplendent in her poverty.

And farther, past the summer, gloaming, onward,
Out and over the curve of the continents,
Clearing with song through a path through oceans, gaining
Speed on evening walk till steps are dance
And flowers lift their heads in bright amaze

The Lord is robed in majesty and glory,
His bride's resplendent in her poverty.

That was a pair to circle
(His hands wounded)
The dwindled cosmos and to count its members
One by one in careful love and tending,
With each face known, with each cry heard and heeded.

The Lord is robed in majesty and glory,
His bride's resplendent in her poverty.

Oh, small the world! Oh, dear to hold
On a short walk around the world in the evening.

- Mother Mary Francis, PCC

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

St. Padre Pio Quote

"Many times a day I present your heart to the Eternal Father. ..and I present it to Him without fail at Holy Mass."  - St. Padre Pio

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

St. Maximilian Kolbe Quotes

St. Francis and His Companions

"Because St. Francis and his companions had been called by God and chosen to bear the Cross of Christ in their hearts and in their actions and to preach it by their words, they appeared to be and they were crucified men, both in their habit and their austere life and their deeds and their actions. Therefore, they had a greater desire to receive shame and insults for the love of Christ than the vain honors or respect or praise of the world. On the contrary, they rejoiced in being insulted, and they were made sad by being honored. And so they went through the world as pilgrims and strangers, taking with them nothing but Christ Crucified."

Saint Francis of Assisi,
from the "Little Flowers of St. Francis"

Monday, January 21, 2013

Perfect Joy - Franciscan Style

Perfect joy, as taught by the Seraphic Saint Francis:

One winter day St. Francis was coming to St. Mary of the Angels from Perugia with Brother Leo, and the bitter cold made them suffer keenly. St. Francis called to Brother Leo, who was walking a bit ahead of him, and he said: "Brother Leo, even if the Friars Minor in every country give a great example of holiness and integrity and good edification, nevertheless write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that."
And when he had walked on a bit, St. Francis called him again, saying: "Brother Leo, even if a Friar Minor gives sight to the blind, heals the paralyzed, drives out devils, gives hearing back to the deaf, makes the lame walk, and restores speech to the dumb, and what is still more, brings back to life a man who has been dead four days, write that perfect joy is not in that."

5]And going on a bit, St. Francis cried out again in a strong voice: "Brother Leo, if a Friar Minor knew all languages and all sciences and Scripture, if he also knew bow to prophesy and to reveal not only the future but also the secrets of the consciences and minds of others, write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that."

5]And as they walked on, after a while St. Francis called again forcefully: 'Brother Leo, Little Lamb of God, even if a Friar minor could speak with the voice of an angel, and knew the courses of the stars and the powers of herbs, and knew all about the treasures in the earth, and if be knew the qualities of birds and fishes, animals, humans, roots, trees, rocks, and waters, write down and note carefully that true joy is not in that."

5]And going on a bit farther, St. Francis called again strongly: "Brother Leo, even if a Friar Minor could preach so well that be should convert all infidels to the faith of Christ, write that perfect joy is not there."

5]Now when he had been talking this way for a distance of two miles, Brother Leo in great amazement asked him: "Father, I beg you in God's name to tell me where perfect joy is."

5]And St. Francis replied; "When we come to St. Mary of the Angels, soaked by the rain and frozen by the cold, all soiled with mud and suffering from hunger, and we ring at the gate of the Place and the brother porter comes and says angrily: 'Who are you?' And we say: 'We are two of your brothers.' And he contradicts us, saying: 'You are not telling the truth. Rather you are two rascals who go around deceiving people and stealing what they give to the poor. Go away]' And he does not open for us, but makes us stand outside in the snow and rain, cold and hungry, until night falls-then if we endure all those insults and cruel rebuffs patiently, without being troubled and without complaining, and if we reflect humbly and charitably that that porter really knows us and that God makes him speak against us, oh, Brother Leo, write that perfect joy is there!

5]'And if we continue to knock, and the porter comes out in anger, and drives us away with curses and hard blows like bothersome scoundrels, saying; 'Get away from here, you dirty thieves-go to the hospital! Who do you think you are? You certainly won't eat or sleep here'--and if we bear it patiently and take the insults with joy and love in our hearts, Oh, Brother Leo, write that that is perfect joy!

5]And if later, suffering intensely from hunger and the painful cold, with night falling, we still knock and call, and crying loudly beg them to open for us and let us come in for the love of God, and he grows still more angry and says: 'Those fellows are bold and shameless ruffians. I'll give them what they deserve.' And he comes out with a knotty club, and grasping us by the cowl throws us onto the ground, rolling us in the mud and snow, and beats us with that club so much that he covers our bodies with wounds--if we endure all those evils and insults and blows with joy and patience, reflecting that we must accept and bear the sufferings of the Blessed Christ patiently for love of Him, oh, Brother Leo, write: that is perfect joy!

5]'And now hear the conclusion, Brother Leo. Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ gives to His friends is that of conquering oneself and willingly enduring sufferings, insults, humiliations, and hardships for the love of Christ. For we cannot glory in all those other marvelous gifts of God, as they are not ours but God's, as the Apostle says: 'What have you that you have not received?' But we can glory in the cross of tribulations and afflictions, because that is ours, and so the Apostle says: 'I will not glory save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.'"
5]To whom be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

PCCs Gardening

Love is the Answer to Everything

Sunday, January 20, 2013

St. Padre Pio Quote

"Detach yourself from the world. Listen to me. One person drowns on the high seas, another chokes on a glass of water. What difference there between these two; are they not both dead?"
- St. Padre Pio

PCCs of Barhamsville, VA - new postulant 9/12

From a Facebook page for the sisters, a beautiful picture:
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Photos from a PCC vocation booklet

Photos scanned from a Poor Clare Colettine vocation booklet for discernment.  The pictures are actually from different PCC communities:

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PCCs of Palos Park, IL

They carry on 800 years of prayer and work

Poor Clare sisters at the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception in Palos Park prepare the altar on March 18 for a Mass with Cardinal George celebrating the 800th anniversary of their order. Karen Callaway/Catholic New World
By Joyce Duriga
Six women living a life of simple poverty in an enclosed world inside Immaculate Conception Monastery in Palos Park are part of an 800 year-old religious community dedicated to prayer and penance. They are Poor Clare sisters and on March 18 they celebrated their anniversary during a Mass with Cardinal George.
The order was founded in Assisi, Italy, in 1212 when a young woman named Clare left her wealthy family to begin a community of religious women under the guidance of St. Francis.
At the time of St. Clare’s death, 50 communities were in place in the Franciscan tradition of the Poor Ladies, as they were then called.
The women take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and enclosure living in a cloister and shutting themselves off from the rest of the world to live a life of prayer and work.
“Enclosure is a way of living Sabbath permanently,” Cardinal George explained in his homily during the March 18 Mass. On the Sabbath, Christians take the time to be quiet and listen to God.
“The life of the Poor Clares is not just a life marked by enclosure. Most especially it is marked by contemplation,” he said, to seek and understand what God is saying. In a particular way, the Poor Clares contemplate Christ crucified, to whom they are espoused.
“In that image of a crucified Lord we find eternal life,” the cardinal said.
Through their life of voluntary poverty, the Poor Clares “clear the mirror” from distractions so they might see Christ crucified all the better, he said.
The Poor Clares came to Chicago in 1893 residing in a monastery on Laflin Street. In the 1960s they moved to a location in Hickory Hills. However, in 1992 the monastery closed because of dwindling numbers and the remaining sisters moved to a monastery in Roswell, N.M.
In 1999, Cardinal George travelled to Roswell and asked that the Chicago monastery be restored. The sisters agreed and they returned to the area and took up temporary lodging in a convent on the grounds of St. Symphorosa Parish, 6135 S. Austin Ave., until their new monastery in Palos Park was completed. The cardinal dedicated the new Immaculate Conception monastery in 2003.
The sisters wear full habits, which they make themselves, and go barefoot in a spirit of poverty. They have a garden where they grow their own food and they also rely on the aid and generosity of friends and benefactors to obtain other food staples and support.
Once a sister enters the monastery she normally stays in that same place for the remainder of her life — except for medical purposes or if she is asked to help start a monastery in another location.
“The whole of our life is dedicated to God. It’s all consecrated to him,” said Poor Clare Mother Teresita, the monastery’s abbess. “But then we do our daily work, keep the monastery going, and then we go to prayer. It’s a life of prayer and work.”
They spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament praying on behalf of the needs of the archdiocese, the church universal and any special intentions given to them.
Mother Teresita, who was interviewed through a screen at the monastery, said the sisters are praying for eight new vocations to their monastery to coincide with their 800th anniversary — and for more to join their community around the world. March 18 is not the end of the celebration. The sisters will also note the anniversary on St. Clare’s feast day, Aug. 11.
The Poor Clares’ 800th anniversary is an affirmation of faith and St. Clare’s calling, Mother Teresita said.
“This was one young girl, 800 years ago, she went out in pure faith to the man that people thought was crazy — this Francis di Bernardone,” Mother Terista said. “She went out to join him but she had no clue who was going to come to join her.”
The number of Clare’s sisters grew, through the grace of God, and for eight centuries has born a radical witness to the Father’s love.
“Not everyone is called to live like we are but everyone is called to give God the primacy of their lives. So that’s what our life says,” Mother Teresita said. What else does this anniversary affirm for the Poor Clares?
“And also, God is enough,” Mother Teresita said. “We really don’t need anything else.
The public can join the community for Mass daily at 7 a.m. The sisters also accept prayer intentions. To learn more, visit

PCCs of Roswell Recordings of Gregorian Chant

Found at this website:

"Walls Around the World" by the Roswell PCCs

The Los Altos Clares here: http://poorclares.wo...clare-vocation/ have some really lovely drawings that were done by the Roswell PCCs but are not on their website. They are in the booklet Walls Around the World by the Roswell PCCs, which includes tidbits from conferences on enclosure by Mother Mary Francis, PCC, former Abbess (and Author of "The Right to Be Merry") of the Roswell PCCs. Below is the cover and some of the drawings.  For the whole scanned book go to this link -

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My favorites:
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(from a friend who entered the PCCs)

Let Us Climb the Mountain of the Lord

25]The mountains proclaim the glory of God! Throughout the ages their beauty and majesty have lifted man's heart to God and called him upward to a place of sacred encounter. It was on the mountain called Horeb that the Lord spoke to Moses from the burning bush and to the prophet Elijah in a tiny, whispering sound. The Son of God Himself, when He walked our earth, sought the heights of the mountains to pray to His Father. Mount La Verna witnessed the divine encounter that left our seraphic Father St. Francis with wounds of love in hands and feet and side.

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We, too, are called to the heights. The whole of our blessed vocation is a summons from the Bridegroom, "Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord!" (Is. 2:3) Set forth on a journey that will last a lifetime, this Franciscan adventure of love! To go up the mountain, we must first leave the comforts of the valley, and fly from all that will keep us from the heights. Thus we give clear witness that man belongs entirely to God, and so keep green among the human family the desire for a heavenly home (cf. Gaudium et Spes, # 38). Our life says to the world, "There's something up there!"

25]We take the sturdy staff of obedience to guide us on the direct path to the summit, for there is no shorter way nor one which leads more directly to heaven than to renounce one's own will for God's love (cf. Testament of St. Colette). The Lady, holy Poverty, lightens our journey. Like our sisters the larks, we entrust ourselves entirely to the providence of the heavenly Father, and know the joy and lightness of heart that spring from a genuine and effective poverty (cf. Constitutions of the Poor Clare Federation of Mary Immaculate in the United States of America).

125]The precious gift of God that is radiant chastity infuses into our hearts an unparalleled freedom to love. It binds us to Christ and also to our community with a unique and stable bond (ibid.). This sisterly charity helps us keep our footing in the narrow passes on rocky ways.

125]As we climb, our gaze encompasses the whole world, gathering the needs of the souls of men into the embrace of sacrificial love (ibid.). We set our journey to a song, the psalms and hymns that many travellers have sung before us as they made the ascent. The Virgin Mary illumines our way as Mother and guide, and every path she travels is made safe and joyful.

25] Everything on this mountain is worthy of wonder; but the greatest wonder is the wonder of Jesus, walking with us, present to us in the Holy Eucharist as companion on our journey.

25]Our life of spousal love is this daily ascent toward the summit, that eternal wedding feast with the King. "Blessed are those called to the wedding feast of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:9). This is the ultimate beatitude. This is our hope and our whole desire.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Be In the Presence of God

"Contemplatives throughout the ages have learned how to be alone with God. Throw away the books! Knock off the daydreaming! Get rid of everything! Simply dwell in His presence. Silent... Empty... Expectant... Completely Still..."
~ Fra Chris
(From the Facebook page of Franciscan Lay Apostolate)

Praying Franciscans

"Want to know our secret? We pray. Then, we pray some more. And when we're done praying, we pray some more. Once you begin to love prayer then you will begin to "feel" prayer. Then you will "become" prayer."

~ Fra Chris 

(From the Franciscan Lay Apostolate on Facebook)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

St. Padre Pio Quote

"Let us try to serve the Lord with all out heart and will. He will always give us more than we deserve."
- St. Padre Pio

Prayer for Thursday--A prayer for forgotten souls

O merciful God,
take pity on those souls
who have no particular friends and intercessors
to recommend them to Thee, who,
either through the negligence of those who are alive,
or through length of time are forgotten
by their friends and by all.
Spare them, O Lord,
and remember Thine own mercy,
when others forget to appeal to it.
Let not the souls which Thou hast created
be parted from thee, their Creator.

May the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord


Almighty ever-living God, who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you. 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.

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. This brings to an end the season of Christmas. The Church recalls Our Lord's second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan. Jesus descended into the River to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget sons of God. The event takes on the importance of a second creation in which the entire Trinity intervenes.

In the Eastern Church this feast is called Theophany because at the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan God appeared in three persons. The baptism of John was a sort of sacramental preparatory for the Baptism of Christ. It moved men to sentiments of repentance and induced them to confess their sins. Christ did not need the baptism of John. Although He appeared in the "substance of our flesh" and was recognized "outwardly like unto ourselves", He was absolutely sinless and impeccable. He conferred upon the water the power of the true Baptism which would remove all the sins of the world: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sin of the world".

Many of the incidents which accompanied Christ's baptism are symbolical of what happened at our Baptism. At Christ's baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him; at our Baptism the Trinity took its abode in our soul. At His baptism Christ was proclaimed the "Beloved Son" of the FClick here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.ather; at our Baptism we become the adopted sons of God. At Christ's baptism the heavens were opened; at our Baptism heaven was opened to us. At His baptism Jesus prayed; after our Baptism we must pray to avoid actual sin.

— Excerpted from Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
The mystery of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan by St John, the Precursor, proposes the contemplation of an already adult Jesus. This mystery is infinitely linked to the Solemnities of the Lord’s birth and the Epiphany that we have just celebrated, as in some ways it takes up and represents their significance to us.

At Christmas we have contemplated the human birth of the Word incarnate by the Virgin Mary. In the 4th century, the Fathers of the Church deepened the understanding of the faith with regard to the Christmas mystery in the light of Jesus’ Humanity. They spoke of the Incarnation of the Word already working like the ‘Christification’ of that humanity that he had assumed from His mother. Or put in simpler terms: Jesus is the Christ from the first instant of conception in Mary’s spotless womb because He Himself, with His Divine Power, consecrated, anointed and ‘Christified’ that human nature with which He became incarnate.

In the mystery of the Epiphany, we then meditated on Christ’s manifestation to all nations that was represented by the Magi, the wise men from the East, who came to adore the Child.

Now, in the mystery of Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River, we again encounter and represent the truth of the Lord’s incarnation and His manifestation as the Christ. Jesus’ Baptism is in fact His definitive manifestation as the Messiah or Christ to Israel, and as the Son of the Father to the entire world. Here we find the dimension of the Epiphany which was His manifestation to all nations. The Father’s voice from heaven shows that Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal Son and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove shows the Trinitarian nature of the Christian God. The true and unique God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shows Himself in Christ, through Him, with Him and in Him.

The Baptism in the Jordan returns to the great Christmas theme of ‘Christification’, Jesus of Nazareth’s spiritual anointing, His presentation as the Anointed One per excellence, the Messiah or the One sent by the Father for the salvation of mankind. The Spirit that descended on Jesus shows and seals in an incontrovertible way the ‘Christification’ of Jesus’ humanity that the Word had already fulfilled from the first moment of His miraculous conception by Mary. Jesus, from the very beginning, was always the Lord’s Christ, He was always God. Yet, His one, true humanity, that which is perfect in every way, as the Gospel records, constantly grew in natural and supernatural perfection. ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with men’ (Lk2:52). In Israel at 30 years of age, one reached full maturity and therefore could become a master. Jesus came of age and the Spirit, descending and remaining on Him, definitively consecrated His whole being as the Christ.
The same Spirit, that descended on the water of the River Jordan wafted over the waters during the first creation. (Gen 1:2) Therefore, the Baptism in the Jordan presents yet another truth: that Jesus has started a new creation. He is the second man (1 Cor 15:47) or the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45), that comes to repair the first Adam’s guilt. He does this as the Lamb of God that takes away our sins. ‘Looking at the events in light of the Cross and Resurrection, the Christian people realised what happened: Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon His shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan. He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners.’ (J Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth, Bloomsbury 2007, p18)
Excerpted from the Congregation for the Clergy

Commentary for the Readings in the Extraordinary Form:
First Sunday after Epiphany

"Jesus came to Nazareth, and was subject to them" (Gospel).

"Subject to them" is the awe-inspiring phrase which sums up His Life. Humbly did He abide by the decrees of human law! Obedience to "My Father's business" must come first, as a guide to all other business, if heaven is to find our family unbrokern (Prayer).

If Jesus withdraws from us as a test of our love or if we lose Him by the commission of sin, we will not regain the joy of His Presence amid the distractions of "relatives and acquaintances;" but we will find Him "in the temple" at Confession and Communion.

So-called "modern" ideas and practices are evicting Christ from the home. As as antidote, at the family meal let us read aloud from the New Testament. "Let the word of Christ dwell" in your home (Epistle). Then will your family, even though living in "obscurity" as did the Holy Family, advance "in wisdom and. . .grace before God and men" (Gospel).

— Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood