Monday, October 31, 2011

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin...

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin.
God lifts you up, takes you in,
     and washes all the dirt off of you.
He opens you up, touches you deep inside
     and scoops out all the yucky stuff
     -- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.
Then He carves you a new smiling face
and puts His light inside you
to shine for all the world to see.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


The first step to improvement, whether mental, moral, or religious, is to know ourselves -- our weaknesses, errors, deficiencies, and sins, and that by divine grace, we may overcome and turn from them all.

~ Tryon Edwards

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Community Nunning

As we had posted earlier, our community retreat was October 7-14.  During these days of silence and prayer we remembered all of you in our prayers in a special way, and want to thank you for remembering us in your prayers as well.

It was a blessed time.  During the first three days, we had time on our own to pray, reflect and rest.  Then Monday, October 10 our retreat master, Father Bill Kiel, a diocesan priest of our diocese, arrived and led us in prayer and reflection on the topics of forgiving, forgetting, reconciliation, trust and mercy.  A very different approach and one that we all truly appreciated.

As has become our custom, we had a new community photo taken at the end of the retreat.  We hope you like our "mug shot"!

Speaking of retreat, our Advent Live-in Experience is December 9-11.  We'd enjoy getting to know you and sharing with our our beautiful monastic life.  Please call Sr. Mary Clare at 724-834-3060 for additional information and/or to make reservations.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Bridegroom with Us

It is not for his gifts
that I continue in my prayers,
but because he is true Life.

It is not so much by hope
as by bonds of love that I am drawn.
It is not for gifts,
but for the Giver that I yearn.

It is not glory I aspire to,
but it is the Glorified One whom I wish to embrace.
It is not by the desire for life,
but by the remembrance of him who give life
that I am ever consumed!

It is not for joyous passions that I yearn,
but it is because of a desire for him who is preparing them
that my heart bursts out in tears.
It is not rest that I seek,
but it is the face of him who offers rest
that I seek in prayer.

It is not for the nuptial banquet,
but it is for the Bridegroom that I long.
Despite the weight of my transgressions
I believe with an indubitable hope,
trusting in the hand of the Almighty One
that not only shall I obtain pardon,
but that I shall see him in person,
thanks to his mercy and pity,
and that I shall inherit heaven
although I completely deserve to be banished.

...Receive with sweetness,
O powerful Lord God,
the prayer of him who was bitterness for you.
...Grant that through remembrance of your hope
I may remain unscathed, protected by You.

~ Saint Gregory of Narek
from The Redicovery of Prayer,
by Bro. Bernard, OP

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Wise Woman's Stone

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream.  The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.  The hungry traveler saw the precious stone in the wise woman's bag, admired it, and asked the wise woman to give it to him.  The wise woman did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune.  He knew the jewel was worth enough to give him security for the rest ofhis life.

But a few days later he came back, searching for the wise woman.  When he found her he returned the stone and said, "I have been thinking.  I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back to you in the hope that you can give me something much more precious.  If you can, give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."

The Best of Bits & Pieces
from Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Love of God

The proper characteristic of love is that it stoops down...
it must stoop down even to nothingness
and tranform that nothingness into fire.

~ St. Therese of Lisieux

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Every Heart...

In every heart there dwells a dream;
With every dream there's hope,
And everywhere we chance to go
God sends us strength to cope..

In every heart there dwells a smile;
With every smile there's love,
And everywhere we chane to go
God sends blessings from above...

In every heart there dwells a glow;
With every glow there's light,
And everywhere we chance to go
God sends a starlit night..

In every heart there dwells a friend;
With every friend there's gleee,
And everywhere we chance to go
God send joy to you and me!

~ Hope C. Oberhelman

Monday, October 24, 2011

Undivided Heart

"...the first and fundamental point she made was, that one hwo comes to the service of God, if he be truly intent on entering into union with God, must strip his heart of all sense-love -- not merely love of any other person, but of any created thing whatever.  He must strive towards God his Creator with his whole mind and his whole heart.  For the heart, she always said, cannot be given over wholly to God, unless it first be set free from every other love."

~ St. Raymond of Capua in his life of St. Catherine of Siena

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seek First the Kingdom

We "cannot serve two masters. 
But a man does try to serve two masters
if he seeks both the kingdom of God for the great good it is
and also other temporal things. 
He will not be able to keep his eye undivided
and serve the Lord alone."

~ St. Augustine

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Undivided Love

Too little does any man love You
who loves something together with You,
loving it not because of You.

~ St. Augustine

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Blumen" Nunning

While our life is centered here at the monastery around the praise of God in The Liturgy of the Hours and the daily celebration of the Eucharist, sometimes it is necessary to go out on an errand.  Some errands are more interesting than others.  This is a case in point.

On Sunday we will cerebrate the dedication of the Last Supper Shrine (large life-size bronze statue of Christ seated at the table with twelve benches -- its proper term is "interactive statuary").  We needed some potted mums to decorate the area for the blessing service and so it was a trip to the local floral wholesaler.

The contents of the back of the car?  Twenty five gold and deep red mums!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Attorney

After living what I felt was a "decent" life, my time on earth came to the end.
The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house.

The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table.

As I looked around I saw the "prosecutor."  He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me.  He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen.

I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me, I felt I knew Him. 

The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes.  He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room.  I couldn't take my eyes off of Him.  As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, "Let us begin."

The prosecutor rose and said, "My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell."  He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and In the past when I cheated others.  Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank.  I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about.

As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life - couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I'd done?

Satan finished with a fury and said, "This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise."

When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench.

The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward.

As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty.  I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.

He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, "Hi, Dad," and then He turned to address the court.

"Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations.  And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished."

Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, "However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine."

My Lord continued with, "His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from Me.

Satan still does not understand yet.  This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy."

As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, "There is nothing else that needs to be done.  I've done it all."

The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down.  The following words bellowed from His lips…"This man is free."  The penalty for him has already been paid in full.  Case dismissed."

As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, "I won't give up, I will win the next one."  I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, "Have you ever lost a case?"

Christ lovingly smiled and said, "Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them
has received the same verdict as you, “Paid In Full.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The end doesn't seem to be so near...

We just learned on Monday that Sr. Gaudentia is being "kicked-off" of hospice -- for the third time!  It's hard to imagine how as sick and frail as she was several months ago that she could be back to her old self. 

Perhaps she took a lesson from our founding Prioress, Mother Leonarda.  When a deacon at St. Vincent Seminary asked her a week before she died what she attributed her success to, she responded, "German stubbornness," which of course was coupled with a strong spritual life.

May we all take an example from these two women of faith and realize that our true strength is found in the Lord.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

St. Luke and The Divine Office

It is St. Luke's Gospel that provides us with the texts of three canticles that are prayed each day as part of The Divine Office:  1) the Magnificat or Canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46:55) prayed at Vespers, 2) the Benedictus or Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79) prayed at Lauds and 3) the Nunc dimittis or Canticle of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32) prayed at Compline. 

The Magnificat is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and is perhaps the earliest Marian hymn.  Its name comes from the first word of the Latin version of the canticle's text.  The text of the canticle is spoken by the Virgin Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth.  In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with the future John the Baptist, the child moves within Elizabeth's womb. When Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith, Mary sings what is now known as the Magnificat in response.

The Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah on the occasion of the birth of his son, John the Baptist.  As with the Magnificat, the Benedictus' name comes from the first word of the Latin version of the canticle's text.

The Nunc dimittis likewise is so named from the beginning of the Latin text.  Simeon was in the temple in Jerusalem when Mary and Joseph came to the temple to present their first born son to the Lord.  Simeon had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah. 

The next time you pray one of these canticles, remember to say a prayer of thanksgiving for St. Luke who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit penned them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I would rather die...

Not the wide bounds of earth
nor the kingdoms of this world
will avail me anything.
"I would rather die"
and get to Jesus Christ,
than reign over the ends of the earth.
That is what I am looking for
-- the One who died for us.
That is whom I want --
the One who rose for us.

~ Ignatius of Antioch

Sunday, October 16, 2011


                          F ully
                          R elying
                          O n
                          G od

Our retreat master, a teacher before he was called to the priesthood,
shared this acronym with us.

The hard part, the questions:
 Are we?

Are you?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prayer for Peace and Tranquility

Let nothing ever disturb you,
Nothing affright you;
All things are passing,
God never changes.
Patient endurance
Attains to all things;
Who God possesses
In nothing is wanting:
Alone God suffices.

- Teresa of Avila

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wisdom from St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Nothing can work me damage
except myself.
The harm that I sustain
I carry about with me,
and never am a real sufferer
but by my own fault.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Prayer to Seek God Continually

O Lord my God,
I believe in you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Insofar as I can,
insofar as you have given me the power,
I have sought you.
I became weary and I labored. 
O Lord my God,
my sole hope,
help me to believe
and never to cease seeking you.
Grant that I may always and ardently
seek out your countenance.
Give me the strength to seek you,
for you help me to find you
and you have more and more
given me the hope of finding you.  
Here I am before you
with my firmness and my infirmity.
Preserve the first
and heal the second.
Here I am before you
with my strength and my ignorance.
Where you have opened the door to me,
welcome me at the entrance;
where you have closed the door to me,
open to my cry;
enable me to remember you,
to understand you,
and to love you.

~ St. Augustine

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A dimly burning wick he will not quench...

Abba Orsisius said, "It is my opinion that you must carefully watch your heart.  If you do not, you will absent-mindedly become careless with your speech.  A lamp produces light when it has oil and a trimmed wick.  One may light the wick without a supply of oil, but it will burn away and shadows will gradually come.  If a mouse attempts to eat the wick while it is still smoldering, the heat of the dying flame will turn it away.  When it knows fire is no longer in the wick, it knocks the lamp to the floor.  An earthenware lamp will be shattered, but a brass lamp you may repair.

"If a soul is careless, the Holy Spirit will gradually depart, until it grow cold.  Then the enemy chews on the soul, and wickedness breaks it apart.  If a good person who truly loves God stumbles into brief carelessness, our merciful God will caution him to watch more carefully in the future."

from By Way of the Desert
compiled and modernized
by Bernard Bangley

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Prayer for Self Knowledge

O Lord Jesus, let me know myself, let me know You,
and desire nothing but You alone.
Let me hate myself and love You,
and do all things for the sake of You.
Let me humble myself and exalt You,
and think of nothing but You alone.
Let me die to myself and live in You,
and take whatever happens as coming from You.
Let me forsake myself and walk after You,
and ever desire to follow You.
Let me flee from myself and turn to You,
that thus I may merit to be defended by You.
Let me fear for myself, let me fear You,
and be among those who are chosen by You.
Let me distrust myself and trust in You,
and ever obey for love of You.
Let me cleave to nothing but only to You,
and ever be poor for the sake of You.
Look upon me that I may love You.
Call me that I may see You and forever possess You.

~ St. Augustine

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lectio Nunning

Each day, our schedule provides time for each of us for lectio divina, that ancient practice of praying with scripture.  It's a time not to gain information, but to form the heart in an ever deepening relationship with God. 

Just as with The Divine Office and the daily celebration of the Eucharist, this time of prayer grounds us in Christ and helps enable us to be Christ-bearers to each other.

Some of you may remember reading our earlier posts on lectio divina.  If you haven't, we invite you to read them or if you have and haven't had a chance to try this prayer yourself, we invite you to read them to discover how to make lectio divina part of your own prayer life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Prayer of Trust in God's Heavenly Promise

My God,
let me know and love you,
so that I may find my happiness in you.
Since I cannot fully achieve this on earth,
help me to improve daily
until I may do so to the full.
Enable me to know you ever more on earth,
so that I may know you perfectly in heaven.
Enable me to love you ever more on earth,
so that I may love you perfectly in heaven.
In that way my joy may be great on earth,
and perfect with you in heaven.
O God of truth,
grant me the happiness of heaven
so that my joy may be full in accord with your promise.
In the meantime
let my mind dwell on that happiness,
my tongue speak of it,
my heart pine for it,
my mouth pronounce it,
my soul hunger for it,
my flesh thirst for it,
and my entire being desire it
until I enter through death
in the joy of my Lord forever.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Catholic Codes

This information is for Catholics only. It must not be divulged to
non-Catholics. The less they know about our rituals and code words, the better off they are.

Amen: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

Bulletin: Your receipt for attending Mass.
Choir: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.
Holy Water: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.
Hymn: A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation's range.
Recessional Hymn: The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.
Incense: Holy Smoke!
Johan: The original "Jaws" story.
Justice: When kids have kids of their own.
Kyrie eleison: The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize besides gyros and baklava.
Magi: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.
Manger: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn't covered by an HMO (The Bible's way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.)
Pew: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.
Procession: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.
Recessional: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.
Relics: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know when to sit, kneel and stand.
Ten Commandments: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.
Ushers: The only people in the parish who don't know the seating capacity of a pew.

Author Unknown

Friday, October 7, 2011

To Our Lady of the Rosary

O Virgin Mary,
grant that the recitation of thy Rosary
may be for me each day,
in the midst of my manifold duties,
a bond of unity in my actions,
a tribute of filial piety,
a sweet refreshment,
an encouragement to walk joyfully along the path of duty.
Grant, above all, O Virgin Mary,
that the study of these mysteries may form in my soul,
little by little,
a luminous atmosphere,
pure, strengthening, and fragrant,
which may penetrate my understanding,
my will, my heart,
my memory, my imagination,
my whole being.
So shall I acquire the habit
of praying while I work,
without the aid of formal prayers,
by interior acts of admiration and of supplication,
or by aspirations of love.
I ask this of thee,
O Queen of the Holy Rosary,
through Saint Dominic,
thy son of predilection,
the renowned preacher of thy mysteries,
and the faithful imitator of thy virtues.

We uphold you in our prayer...

Dear readers,

Last evening we began our community retreat that ends on Friday evening, October 14. 

During these days of prayer and recollection, we will hold you and your intentions in our prayer in a special way.  We ask that you remember us in your prayers during these days.

God bless you abundantly!

                                                               Your Benedictine Nuns

P.S.  Don't worry!  We have worked ahead so that you may continue to enjoy our ususal daily blog post.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Most Powerful Force on Earth

that the most powerful force
on earth

~ Nelson Rockefeller

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ora Nunning

Our day flows around The Liturgy of the Hours, which gives our day form and structure.  This praise of God, or ora, is what our lives as Benedictine Nuns is all about.  We gather in chapel six times each day to chant the psalms that are a large part of the Office (another term used for The Liturgy of the Hours).  To these are added antiphons, readings, responsories and prayers.

Our Office is in English and we use simplified Gregorian chant melodies.  The texts are derived from the Antiphonale Monasticum.  We suppliment it with readings, intercessions and prayers taken from the four volume set of The Liturgy of the Hours.

Individuals are always welcome to join us to praise God in our Cor Jesu Monastic Chapel (see side bar for times) or via WAOB (106.7 FM) on the days we are broadcast.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Secret of Life

As the Lord God was creaing the world
He called upon his archangels.
The Lord asked his archangels to help
Him decide where to put the Secret of Life.

"Bury it in the ground," one ange replied.
"Put it on the bottom of the sea," said another.
"Hide it in the mountains," another suggested.

The Lord replied, "If I see to do any of those
only a few will find the Secret of Life.
The Secret of Life must be accessible to

One angel replied, "I know, put it in each man's heart.
Nobody will think to look there."
"Yes!" said the Lord.  "Within each man's heart."
And so it was --
the secret of life lies within all of us.

Author Unknown
Discovered in A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Most Richly Blessed

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
- Anonymous Confederate Soldier

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's Intentions for October

Photo:  Pressestelle Erzbischöfliches Ordinariat MĂĽnchen

October's Intentions:

Terminally Ill:  That the terminally ill may be supported by their faith in God and the love of their brothers and sisters.

World Mission Day:  That the celebration of World Mission Day may foster in the People of God a passion for evangelization with the willingness to support the missions with prayer and economic aid for the poorest Churches.

For more information about the Apostleship of Prayer, visit: