Thursday, October 29, 2009

Parish Exhibit and Feast of the Divine Master

October 24 –
October 25:
Sr. Emi and Jackie departed for Christ the King Parish in Springfield, Illinois on Saturday afternoon to set up the book exhibit for the vigil mass. We received a warm welcome from the priests and even had one parish member help us transport the books to the exhibit area! Sylwia and Emily joined us for the exhibit at the Sunday masses, where we shared many of our children’s books as well as books on spirituality with the parishioners. We also had several opportunities to share information about our congregation and mission.

On Sunday, we celebrated the Feast of the Divine Master which is a principle devotion of our Pauline family. ( After our exhibit, we visited the State Capitol building in Springfield and took several photos at the historical site. When we returned to St. Louis, we had ice cream at Ted Drewes with the other sisters. We concluded our feast day celebrations on Monday with a community holy hour of adoration. Thereafter, we enjoyed an international dinner prepared by Emily, Sylwia and Jackie: American baked potatoes, Polish soup and pork stew prepared with Kenyan spices. What a festive weekend!

May Jesus our Master, our Way, our Truth and our Life, teach us His way of truth and holiness!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Medical Conference in Springfield, Illinois

October 21 -

October 25:

Sr. Emi, Jackie, Sylwia, and Emily traveled to Springfield, Illinois, for an exhibit at the Catholic Medical Association Conference. This is a national conference that happens in a different city every year. There were doctors and health care workers from all over the country there, including Dr. Mathews, our new Pauline Cooperator from St. Louis (Dr. Mathews just made his promises as a Pauline Cooperator on October 11). He helped us prepare the exhibit, took us out to supper, spent a lot of time with us, and told us his vocation story. It was an inspiration to have him with us. The exhibit was beautiful -- the people were interested in everything from Church documents to DVD's, from books on spirituality to children's books. We joined the participants at the conference for an evening of entertainment at the Lincoln Memorial, and for their closing banquet on Saturday night. We also had a tour of the beautiful Franciscan convent where we stayed, which included a spontaneous drum concert! It was a wonderful experience of our mission.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meet Jackie!

What is your name? Jacqueline Wairimu Gitonga.

Where are you from? Hometown of Nyeri in Kenya, Africa.

How old are you? 31 years old.

When did you enter? October 12, 2009.

Where did you go to school? For my undergraduate studies, I majored in Business Administration at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2001, I came to the United States to pursue my Masters and Doctoral studies in Human Resource Education. I graduated in June 2009 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) (Go Illini!).

What do you like to do professionally and for fun? For fun, I like to hike, travel, read, listen to music, dance, bake, view artwork specifically paintings, historical sites, collect flowers and make flower arrangements. Professionally, I enjoy helping people achieve their full potential in various work settings particularly through the design and evaluation of training and professional development programs.

What languages do you speak? English (of course); Kiswahili, Kikuyu, French (un peu!).

How did you meet the Daughters of St. Paul? In 2004, I was chatting with a Franciscan sister from Tanzania about my vocational journey and she mentioned the Daughters in our conversation. Later on in my time of prayer and adoration, the idea of the Daughters returned and I searched for information about the community in the Vision Magazine. My first visit was with the Daughters in Chicago in October 2004 where they were celebrating 25 years of ministry in the “windy city.” I was amazed at the immense peace I felt while there and desired to continue communicating with the sisters. Since then and while working on my graduate studies, I remained in contact with the Daughters through attending retreats, parish and conference book exhibits, internship and live-in experiences, phone, mail and email communication.

What drew you to the Daughters of St. Paul? Devotion to Jesus through their daily hour of adoration, evangelization mission using a diverse set of skills and technology as well as the internationality of the congregation.

Favorite Scripture passage: “Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lecture on Carmelite Spirituality

October 14:
Sr. Mary Joseph of the Carmelites of the Divine Heart of Jesus spoke on Carmelite spirituality at our bookcenter. About twenty people came to hear her lecture. She spoke about the history of the Carmelite order, from the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament right up until the present day. The people liked her because she was very dynamic and had a good sense of humor.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Welcome, Jackie!

October 12:

Our postulant group grew this week! We welcomed Jackie Gitonga into our community. She arrived on Friday and we celebrated her entrance on Monday. Jackie is originally from Kenya, Africa, and has been studying in Illinois for several years. We are so excited to have her with us! You will be seeing a lot more of her!

Annual Benefit Dinner

October 11:

We had our annual benefit dinner fundraiser at St. Raymond's Maronite Catholic Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Five of our sisters from Boston and one who is studying in Colorado came to be with us for the dinner. The evening started with Mass at 4. During the Mass, Dr. Jeff Mathews made his public promises as a Pauline Cooperator. (The Cooperators are a lay branch of the Pauline Family, founded by Bl. James Alberione, who collaborate with our mission.) After the Mass, we had the dinner with 350 people in attendance! It was beautiful to see how much our friends and benefactors love and support us. Following the dinner, we presented awards to three of our benefactors. Sr. Margaret Timothy, our provincial superior, spoke, and Archbishop Robert Carlson also spoke. Finally, we finished our evening with a stop at Ted Drewes, St. Louis' famous ice cream place!

Film Night -- St. Therese

October 9:

We had our second St. Paul Movie Night. About twenty-five people joined us for a movie about St. Therese of the Child Jesus. We provided pizza and popcorn during the movie, and after the movie we had a nice discussion. Everybody wanted to learn more about St. Therese and the Carmelites. We hope that you will all come back for our lecture on Carmelite spirituality on Wednesday, October 14!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monthly Retreat

October 4:

On Sunday, we made our monthly retreat. Our founder, Bl. James Alberione, told us, "The monthly retreat and the Eucharistic Hour of Adoration will be a holy beginning for the month." So each first Sunday of the month, we have a day of silence and recollection with more time to pray, reflect, and be with Jesus. This Sunday was a beautiful sunny autumn day, perfect for retreat. We finished our day of retreat with an Hour of Adoration together in our chapel.

P.S. We were praying for you!

Holy Hour to Pray for Vocations

October 2:

We went this month, as we try to go every month, to Holy Redeemer Parish for a Holy Hour. Each month this parish has an Hour of Adoration to pray for vocations. Many lay people, seminarians, and young people come. This month Msgr. Rice, the archdiocesan director for vocations, gave the homily and celebrated Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is a good opportunity to pray with people for priestly and religious vocations, and we always have a good time at the reception after!