Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Alone with God Alone

Another week in Boston has flown by! The class on St. Paul with Celia finished yesterday. As a final project for the class, we worked to develop a presentation on St. Paul. Our hope is to take this presentation back to St. Louis and offer it to parishes to help them celebrate the Year of St. Paul. Would anyone like to share with us what you are doing to celebrate this Year of St. Paul?

Sr. Carmen has finished her annual retreat and Encounter (a series of meetings and updating for the Sisters), and Emily is preparing to begin her annual retreat. Annual retreat is a very special and graced time when we come apart to be with God and listen to Him more profoundly. You are in our prayers during this time, and please keep us in yours!

A quote from our Co-foundress, Mother Thecla Merlo, to conclude this post: “Our heart, our soul is too big to be happy with things which end. Only God can make us happy – only serving God, loving God alone, sacrificing ourselves for Him. Then one is always happy. Let us unite ourselves intimately to God and we will be happy in any place, with anyone, in any work.”

God bless you!
- Emily

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting to Know St. Paul

It’s time once again to catch you up on our adventures in Boston! This past week has been full of St. Paul, Italian class, and sunshine! The weather has been beautiful, which we appreciated when we went to the North End of Boston on Sunday. Sr. Margaret Joseph, Sr. Mary Frances, and I went to Mass in Italian at St. Leonard’s Church, and then we went to a “ristorante” for “il pranzo italiano” (an Italian lunch). I had ravioli – it was delicious! It was a great way to get a taste of the culture of Italy.

Classes are in full swing! Italian class finished yesterday, but as one sister told me at breakfast, my study of the Italian language has only just begun! One of the reasons that we study Italian is to be able to read the Founder and Co-foundress in their original language. Since Fr. Alberione and Mother Thecla are no longer alive, a primary way that we receive and pass on the charism now is through their writings. So it’s very important to be able to read what they really wrote! I’m looking forward to being able to do that.

Another way that we come to understand the charism is by studying St. Paul. In the class on St. Paul that Celia is teaching, we have been looking at the “Good News” that Paul so passionately proclaimed. What strikes me about this is how convinced Paul was of God’s tremendous love for us, shown in His sending His Son to be one of us. “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Paul was also convinced that because Jesus lived and died for us, everything is changed. We are now living in “a new creation,” and Christ is living in us. It's incredible, isn't it?

So now you have a little taste of what we’ve been living and learning this week. Sr. Carmen Christi is on retreat at our St. Thecla’s Retreat House until today, so keep her in prayer. I will go on retreat at St. Thecla’s next week. If you have any prayer requests for us, don’t hesitate to send them our way!

Here’s a little St. Paul trivia for you. Complete this quotation of St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live....” For bonus points: what letter of St. Paul is this from?

God bless you,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First Profession, St. Paul Summer Program Pictures

Sr. Lynette Constance, Sr. Karen Marie (novice formator), Sr. Emi Magnificat, Sr. Margaret Christopher (provincial superior), Sr. Ana Maria

Sr. Emi Magnificat pronounces her vows.

Sr. Lynette Constance professes the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Daughter of St. Paul for one year.

Sr. Carmen Christi and Emily with the St. Paul Summer Program "team": Sr. Margaret Michael (seated) and Sr. Christine Virginia (right)

Sr. Margaret Michael, national vocation director. Sr. Michael accompanies the young women who are in discernment with the Daughters of St. Paul.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Blogging from Boston

We have been in Boston for a little more than a week now, and we are soaking in all the beautiful experiences of prayers, study, and community. When we arrived, we found the Sisters in the middle of the St. Paul Summer Program. This is a program for high school women to come and stay at the convent in Boston to experience the life and mission of the Sisters. The young women who come live with the Sisters, experiencing the prayer life, attending classes on the spirituality and charism, and joining in experiences of mission. I myself am a graduate of the St. Paul Summer Program, having come for three years in a row! It’s a great opportunity for young women interested in learning more about religious life. You can read more about it on our website:
We were able to join the Summer Program participants for some of their prayer times, classes, and recreation. Sr. Carmen and I taught a class on Mother Thecla.

The next big happening was First Profession! Sr. Lynette Constance and Sr. Emi Magnificat made their first profession as Daughters of St. Paul on Saturday, June 28. The Mass was beautiful, the two newly professed Sisters were radiant, and the whole day was a celebration of God’s love, grace, and mercy. The next day, we joined Srs. Lynette and Emi and their families at our retreat house for an afternoon meal and games. Sr. Lynette left for Singapore on Thursday; Sr. Emi will leave for St. Louis at the end of July; and Sr. Ana Maria (who did her postulancy and novitiate here but will make her first profession in her native country of Romania) will depart in a couple weeks.

On Monday, classes began! The class on St. Paul has been amazing so far. Celia provides so many insights into the character and theology of Paul. It really makes me want to get to know Paul better. I hope to take this year as an opportunity to “make friends” with this great saint who is the true Father and Founder of our Congregation! Sr. Raymond has been joining us for the St. Paul class, and Sr. Frances is one of our classmates for Italian class!
Mercoledi, abbiamo preghato preghiere serale in italiano e poi abbiamo mangiato una cena italiana. Abbiamo parlato soltanto italiano alla tavola. Molto difficile! On Wednesday, we prayed Evening Prayer in Italian and then we ate an Italian supper. We spoke only Italian at table. It was very difficult!

A big gift this week has been the presence of Sr. Filippa. Sr. Filippa is a Daughter of St. Paul from Italy who is here in the States to guide the annual retreats for our Sisters. This past week she has been guiding five of the senior Sisters in reflecting on their life and vocation in the light of St. Paul’s life and vocation. Sr. Carmen and I have been blessed to attend her conferences. Sr. Filippa is truly filled with the spirit of St. Paul, and she communicates that every time she speaks about him. She has helped me to see how rooted Paul’s life was in his experience of the love of God, and how everything in Paul’s life pointed not to himself but to Jesus.

I’m sure that there’s more, but this post is long enough! To conclude: can anyone tell us the meaning of this Italian sentence? Gesu Maestro, Via, Verita, e Vita, abbi pieta di noi. God bless you!

- Emily