Monday, December 29, 2008

On the Way of Lights

In the evening, Sr. Assumpta, Sr. Emi, Sr. Rebecca, Sylwia, and Emily went to Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, Illinois, to see the "Way of Lights." The Shrine is run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and for Christmas they put up thousands of Christmas lights. The lights stay up for about two months and many people come to see. We drove through the whole Shrine and saw many trees, figures, and other beautiful lights. At the end there was a life-size Nativity scene. It was a beautiful way to continue celebrating Christmas.

Baby Jesus Party at the Polish Parish

December 28:

On the feast of the Holy Family, we went to the Polish parish, St. Agatha's, to hold a Baby Jesus Party for the people there. Once a month we go to St. Agatha's, and before Christmas we had a book exhibit there. This time we took pictures with Baby Jesus, did face-painting and coloring, and a book exhibit. Sylwia spoke after Mass to invite the people to come and to tell them about our congregation and our mission. After Mass the people always come downstairs and meet together for coffee and cake. They always like to see us, and we have many good friends there.

Merry Christmas -- Wesolych Swiat!

December 25:
We celebrated a beautiful Christmas Day in community. We sang at the 9:00 Mass at our parish, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. When we came home, we opened gifts and ate a delicious lunch. We finished our day by having Adoration together, and in the evening we watched a movie.
P.S. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Preparation

December 24:
It's Christmas Eve! The postulants wish you a very blessed Christmas! This Advent we have been preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus, especially this last week with our Christmas Novena, and now we are preparing a delicious meal for our bodies! We are celebrating Christmas Eve with the traditional Polish meal for "Wigilia" (Christmas Eve). Last night we made about 150 pierogow. We will also eat barszcz czerwony (beet soup). Before the meal, we will read the Gospel of the Nativity story, pray the Our Father together, and share oplatek. Each person receives a piece of oplatek, which is unleavened bread, and shares it with every other person, thanking them for their presence and their gifts and wishing them blessings and prayers. Tonight we will go to 10:30 Mass, and we will pray for you and your intentions.
P.S. Merry Christmas! Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!

December 13:
At 10:00, our big party began! We held our annual birthday party for Baby Jesus, and more than 300 people came. For many families, this birthday party is a special Christmas tradition. In our chapel, we prepared many costumes of Joseph, Mary, shepherds, angels, and kings for the families to dress up and have their picture taken with Baby Jesus. Some families brought their own real baby to be Baby Jesus! After the picture-taking, the families could go to the conference room where there was birthday cake and other refreshments, face-painting, and coloring. The face-painting was especially popular with the children. We even had two clowns who came to the party to play with the children and make fun balloons. We were also very happy and blessed to have many wonderful helpers for this day. It was a beautiful day...and now we are already starting to think about next year's party!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

You Are Invited to Baby Jesus' Party!

We have a special invitation for you! On Saturday,
December 13,
from 10 until 3,
we will have our annual Birthday Party for Baby Jesus. It will be at our bookcenter on Watson Road in St. Louis. All children are invited! You can dress in costumes and have your picture taken with Baby Jesus, eat birthday cake, color, sing, and more. For more information, please call us at 314-965-3512.

P.S. We hope to see you there!


For Sylwia, this was her first Thanksgiving, and she took pictures of everything! Everyone helped to prepare the meal -- at one point, there were seven people in the kitchen at the same time. Sr. Rebecca made her mother's stuffing and a pecan pie; Sylwia made turkey cookies and cranberry sauce; and Emily made asparagus (a special recipe from Sr. Rebecca). Everything was delicious ("pyszne" in Polish). After the meal, the postulants took a walk with Sr. Caritas while the rest of the community went to sleep. :) In the evening, we spent time together watching movies.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What We Did in the Windy City

November 21:
We went to Chicago and stayed four days with our Sisters there to help them in the apostolate. It was a good experience because we met new Sisters and we saw how the apostolate is carried out in another city. The Sisters showed us different churches and took us around the city. We enjoyed getting to know the Sisters, seeing the city, and learning more about our Pauline life and charism.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Retreat for Young Women in Chicago

On Sunday,
November 23
in Chicago, we helped with a day of retreat at the Sisters' convent. Eleven young women came to see how the Sisters live, work, and pray. Sr. Helena Raphael spoke about the Daughters of St. Paul, and also about discernment and being open to God's plan for us. We went to Mass with the young women, listened to Sr. Helena's conferences, ate lunch and took a walk with them, and shared about our life. It was a beautiful and very joyful day, and we will continue to pray for the young women we met.

Mission in Chicago!

On Friday,
November 21,
our postulant group drove to Chicago. We went to visit our sisters there and to help with some events. On Saturday, we participated in an "Encuentro" -- a conference for all the Hispanic young people in the Archdiocese of Chicago. There were about 1,200 youth who attended! We had an exhibit, and there were many talks and lots of music, and at the end of the day there was Mass with the bishop.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Come and See! A Special Visit

On Sunday,
November 9,
we had two special visitors -- Sr. Margaret Michael, our national vocation director, and Jackie, a young woman from Kenya who is in discernment with our community. Jackie came to spend time with the sisters and postulants. We went for a hike at a nearby park. We prayed together, and in the evening we played cards. It was a very joyful time! The next day, Sr. Michael gave us a class on an aspect of our Pauline spirituality. We very much enjoyed having them with us.
P.S. Jesus says, "Come to Me, all of you!"

Vatican II Class

Sylwia, Emily, and Sr. Rebecca took a three-week class on Vatican II. The class was held at St. Peter's Church and our teacher was Fr. Mike, the associate priest at St. Peter's. It was very interesting because many of the people in our class were alive during Vatican II, so they shared their thoughts with us.

Adventure on Grants' Trail

Sylwia and Emily made a new discovery: we are experts in repairing bikes. Close to the convent in St. Louis, there is a very beautiful walking and biking trail.
The neighborhood around the convent is also very good for walking and biking. We fixed two of our bikes so that we could ride around the neighborhood and on the trail. The weather has been very beautiful and good for being outside, and many times we go for short walks and bike rides.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This Halloween was special because it was Postulant Sylwia's first time to celebrate Halloween. Sylwia carved her first pumpkin -- she carved the eyes and nose, and Sr. Joane made the smile. Sylwia named the pumpkin "Timothy" because her English teacher told her she must practice her pronunciation of "th." Sr. Rebecca made caramel apples, and Sr. Jerome prepared a very nice meal. After supper, we played Catch-Phrase and charades. Some of the words were very funny to act out -- we laughed a lot!

On the Air!

The Catholic radio station in St. Louis is called Covenant Network. During the last week of October, we went to the station to record "St. Paul Spots." These were brief thoughts from the Letters of St. Paul that the station will play throughout the Year of St. Paul.

Wizyta w polskiej parafii w St. Louis

On Sunday,
October 19,
we went to St. Agatha's, the Polish parish in St. Louis. Mass was celebrated in Polish -- now Sr. Rebecca and Emily understand what it is like for Sylwia when Mass is celebrated in English. After Mass, we went downstairs where there was a Polish meal. We met the priest and some of the people. We celebrated with them the thirtieth annivesary of John Paul II's election to the papacy with traditional Polish songs.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mother Thecla Book Club

On the first Saturday of every month, several junior high girls meet in our bookcenter. We read and discuss the life of a saint (in October we spoke about Bl. Jacinta and Francisco of Fatima, and in November about St. Bakhita of the Sudan). After our discussion, we have a time of Eucharistic Adoration. In December we will read and discuss St. Juan Diego.
All girls in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade are invited to come -- for more information, please call our bookcenter at 314-965-3512.

School of Evangelization -- Come, Holy Spirit!

October 7-10:
Sr. Joane, Sr. Emi, and Emily participated in the Archdiocesan School of Evangelization from October 7-10. It was a week full of talks and prayer on evangelization. Many people from the whole Archdiocese of St. Louis attended. We pray that it was a fruitful experience for all.

Our Annual Benefit Dinner with Friends and Benefactors

On October 5,
we had our annual benefit dinner and auction. Every year we hold a fund-raising dinner. Many, many good people and friends of our Congregation come to support us. This year, many of our sisters came from other houses to be with us. It is always beautiful to see how people appreciate and support us and our mission.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Meet Sr. Rebecca!

Name: Sr. Rebecca Marie Hoffart 
Entered: May 28, 1984 
Made 1st profession: June 28, 1992
Some places you’ve been stationed: Boston; Alexandria, VA; New Orleans; Philadelphia; Toronto, Canada
What drew you to the FSPs? I was drawn to the Daughters of St. Paul when I witnessed their joy and enthusiasm for our mission as well as the beautiful community life they lived together.
Favorite Scripture passage:“I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10 

Other favorite quote: “Jesus is a passionate lover who goes in search of persons who respond to His love. Let us give Him the freedom to take possession of our heart.” Blessed James Alberione
What do you do now? I am our Postulant formator and our vocation director for the St. Louis area. 

Do you have any hobbies? I really enjoy reading on different topics such as biographies, historical novels, and spirituality. I also love getting outside to take walks and to enjoy nature.
What would you say to a woman discerning a religious vocation? First, I would say, “thank you” for being open to following Jesus more closely. If you are discerning a religious vocation it is a great thing to take time to pray every day and it is also important to have patience with yourself, to wait for God’s timing. God will send you the help you need along the way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do Not Fear -- I Am With You

Our Constitutions remind us that we are to base our lives on the Master's promise to our Founder, "Do not be afraid, I am with you. From here I will enlighten. Atone for sin." Bl. James Alberione heard these words from Jesus at a critical time in the foundation of the Pauline Family. During this time, he himself was physically sick, his newly founded community was struggling to survive, there were many bills to be paid, and the Founder was questioning if truly he was following God's will. Jesus appeared to him in a "dream" and said these words that are now found above the Tabernacle in every Pauline chapel around the world. It is God's promise to the entire Pauline Family and to every member.

Our lives are continually unfolding, with all the transition and the excitement that brings. We recently welcomed Sr. Joane Caritas, a newly perpetually professed sister, and Sr. Emi Magnificat, a new junior professed sister. Sr. Carmen Christi, who has been serving as formator for the postulants, has been asked to begin her service as novice formator in our Provincial House in Boston, MA. In preparation for this, she will be traveling to Rome to participate in a Pauline charism course. Sr. Rebecca Marie has been named the new postulant formator and has already arrived in St. Louis. And the excitement continues! We will be welcoming Sylwia, a young woman from Poland who will begin her time of formation as a postulant among us.

With all these comings and goings, the words of Jesus continue to be a source of strength and encouragement. He is the reason for all we are, for all we do, and for where we go. From the Tabernacle, we find strength for everything. It's all a response to His love for us and His call to communicate Him to others as He desires.

And the most beautiful part is that His Eucharistic presence accompanies us everywhere, and keeps us united to one another. Our Co-foundress, Mother Thecla Merlo, would often write to the Sisters and say, "Meet you at the Tabernacle." And so, at the feet of Jesus in the Eucharist, we experience the gift of communion with Him and with all those whom we love.

In the weeks to come, we want to introduce you to all the members of our community here in St. Louis. We will be featuring a different sister or postulant each week and sharing about her vocation and life as a Daughter of St. Paul. You will discover just how unique each person's vocational journey is, as well as the common values that have shaped our lives and calls.

We invite you this week to stop by your church for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Spend a few moments in silent adoration, allowing the Lord to love you and expressing your love to Him. May you, like Bl. James Alberione, hear the words of Jesus, "Do not be afraid. I am with you. From here I will enlighten."

-Sr. Carmen Christi and Postulant Emily

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord!

Sr. Carmen Christi, Sr. Mary Agnes and Postulant Emily share the fruit of Sr. Mary Agnes' culinary creativity and love for community. Pictured above is a closeup of this delicious dish made of polenta and vegetables. Polenta is a special cornmeal dish common to certain areas of Italy. It's amazing the joy that comes from simple, daily signs of love that are but reflections of God's faithful and unconditional love for us!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Give thanks to the Lord; His love is everlasting!

Blessed Feast of the Queenship of Mary! This is a special day in my life because it marks the first anniversary of my entrance into postulancy. I am full of gratitude today for the ways Jesus is working in my life, and full also of the desire to live this next year in deep union with Him. Sr. Emi Magnificat is also celebrating her anniversary of entrance today, so we are united with all our Sisters in praising God for the gift of our vocation.

Once again, we have a lot to share with you! On Sunday, we went to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for a farewell Mass for Archbishop Burke. Formerly archbishop of St. Louis, Archbishop Burke has been appointed prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. We will miss him here in St. Louis, but he will do a lot of good for the universal Church. We were able to speak with him and receive his blessing at a reception after Mass, where we also met a lot of people who know us and collaborate with us. It was a great gathering of the Church of St. Louis!

On Wednesday, we celebrated the anniversary of the foundation of the Pauline Family. August 20, 1914, marked the official beginning of the Society of St. Paul and thus the initiation of the Pauline Family. A word about the Pauline Family: Bl. James Alberione, founder of the Daughters of St. Paul, founded nine other institutes as well – one religious institute for men, four for women, four secular institutes (organizations for lay men and women, families, and diocesan priests), and one organization of cooperators or associates. These ten branches make up the Pauline Family. It’s so beautiful because we’re all united in spirituality and mission, and because we’re so diverse, we’re able to carry out the mission in many different ways and states of life. On Wednesday we celebrated with a special morning and evening prayer, and a delicious meal prepared by Sr. Mary Agnes, followed by a “torta di fondazione della Famiglia Paolina” (foundation of the Pauline Family cake)!

On Thursday, Sr. Carmen and I returned to the Catholic radio station to record an interview on St. Paul the Apostle. The program on Eucharistic Adoration that we recorded last week aired three times this week, and people coming into the bookcenter have told us that they heard it! It’s so beautiful to see how far our mission reaches. We’re also preparing our lecture series and Faith and Film Nights for the fall, with a focus on St. Paul, of course!

Speaking of St. Paul, I’d just like to conclude with a few words from our spiritual Father to give a little inspiration to the week. In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul says,
“But whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”

St. Paul the Apostle, pray for us!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Communicating JESUS on the airwaves.....

Thank you to
Theresa Holman
who hosted a radio interview on
Covenant Network with
Emily and Sr. Carmen Christi .
The topic was Eucharistic Adoration.
Emily stands next to the Covenant Network Radio
banner which shows the Eucharist radiating its
light to the city of St. Louis.

Blessed Feast of the Assumption!We join with our Blessed Mother to proclaim the wonders God has done in her life and in each of our lives. For many of our Sisters, this is the anniversary of their entrance into the community as postulants so we remember all of them in our prayers and ask the Blessed Mother to continue to strengthen them in their "yes" to the Lord.
Our week has been filled with apostolic excitement. Monday, Sr. Emi Magnificat, Emily and I participated in the annual Religious Education Conference for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. We set up our exhibit of materials, highlighting once again, the many resources we have available for the year of St. Paul. The day began with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Hermann where he thanked all the catechists for their "passion for Christ" which is the biggest gift they share with the young people they teach. We met so many dedicated men and women throughout the day!
On Wednesday, Emily and I offered a presentation on St. Paul to over 30 members of the Serra Club. The Serra Club is an international group of men and women who commit themselves to pray and support vocations in the Church. We were very warmly welcomed by all of them and were so happy to share our love for St. Paul with them. We also offered them suggestions on how to live and celebrate this Pauline Year.On Thursday, Emily and I were blessed to participate in the "radio apostolate" through the invitation of Tony and Theresa Holman at Covenant Network Radio here in St. Louis. The topic of the interview was Eucharistic Adoration, one that all of us Paulines hold dear in our heart. Theresa is an excellent interviewer, and like her husband, has a passion for communicating Christ through the airwaves. How much good they are able to do through this important ministry.
We know all our apostolic initiatives are possible through the prayerful support of Sr. Mary Jerome who is now on retreat and Sr. Joane Caritas, Sr. Mary Agnes and Sr. Mary Charitas. This is the beauty of spiritual communion as we carry out our mission together.
We wanted to let you know too about our PRAYER CAMPAIGN FOR PAULINE VOCATIONS. Yes, during the year of St. Paul, we are inviting everyone to join us in prayer to St. Paul for the intention of vocations. You will find the prayer below. If you are interested, you can contact your nearest Pauline Book and Media Center for a copy of the holy card, or send us your address and we'd be happy to send you one. We are inviting people to commit to say it everyday and are gathering signatures of those who do so.That's all the news for now.Thanks for your prayers and count on ours.
Have a Jesus-filled week,
sr. carmen christi
Prayer to St. Paul for Vocations
Paul, Apostle of Jesus Christ,
Tireless Traveler who announced Christ's message;
Father of the Pauline Family;
You in whom Christ lived and spoke;
we call upon you because the world today
needs your presence, your boldness,
your knowledge of Christ and him crucified.
Come among us, Paul, teach us Jesus!
Help us know him, love him, live him,
and share him with others just as you did.
Draw into the Pauline Family more men and women
who totally consecrate their lives to Jesus Christ
in poverty, chastity and obedience.
Rooted in Christ, may they find
new and inventive ways to proclaim his Gospel
through the media.
O Apostle Paul, you who live today
through the Pauline Family,
with immense confidence
we entrust to youour great need for vocations
and for holiness of life, Amen.