Thursday, December 30, 2010

Postulancy 2010 - Our Year in Pictures!

It's a wonderful feeling to look back at the year and see the many ways the Lord has been with us and blessed us along our life's journey. We hope you enjoy the pictures and join us giving thanks to the Lord for His goodness!!

Our Year in Pictures:
http://picasaweb.google.com/fsppostulants/FSPPostulancy2010OurYearInPictures?authkey=Gv1sRgCPm4staxx5iyQg&feat=directlink

God bless you!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Greetings!

Peace!

As we celebrate the coming of Jesus this Christmas season, we join you in thanksgiving for the many blessings we've received this Advent. We also look forward to the New Year with much hope and look back to 2010 with much gratitude for new friends, new family members and the many changes in our lives this year.

Most of our postulants will be celebrating Christmas in the convent for the first time this year and though that is truly exciting, we'll surely miss our families and friends. So we ask for your prayers as we promise you ours!

We wish you and your family a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

God bless you,
Jackie, Laura, Cheryl, Erin, Theresa and Sr. Rebecca Marie


P.S. Can you guess how many Christmas trees we have?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Harry Potter Movie...




Think we'd miss it??? Nope...we got in line with the rest of humanity to watch it when it premiered...it was a great experience being out in the movies and experiencing the "Potter frenzy". Needless to say, we had lots of fun! The makers of the Potter movie made sure we were hungry for more...looking forward to the grande finale next year!

Ecclesiology Class




Well, this Fall we learned about the Church by taking an Ecclesiology class through Paul VI institute (http://archstl.org/paul6) with Dr. Gresham. We took the class with postulants and novices of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus (www.carmelitedcj.org/). It was an enlightening journey in many ways. More so for me to delve deeper into the big picture of being Catholic and God's desire to bring all humanity to Himself through His Son Jesus. There were a lot of other pearls we learned along the way: the call to holiness given one's vocation in life, the call to religious life, the role of our Blessed Mother...it was great! Looking back, one cannot but desire to say "Maranatha"... come Lord Jesus and renew us to bring unity and salvation to the human race, so loved by our God!
Peace,
Jackie.


Counting our Blessings this Thanksgiving!




















We usually spend our holidays together as a community so Thanksgiving was another moment to do just that. We were particularly graced to have Theresa's cousin and Jackie's brother and cousin join us for the feast! Everyone chipped in to prepare different dishes and make the occasion festive. Also being the eve of the death of our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, we had a grace-filled Hour of Adoration together in the evening, to give thanks for many of God's blessings to us and especially the gift of being called to the Pauline family!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On the Road Lately...

We've been on the road quite a bit lately bringing the Good News to people far and wide. One of the neat things we get to do as postulants is participate in parish and conference exhibits. Like St. Paul we traverse the globe (or wherever we are at) to bring the Gospel through our books, music, DVDs, etc. Recently we had parish exhibits in Florissant at St. Angela Merici's and at the Adult Formation conference in Springfield, Illinois. It was an exciting experience for me to see so many friends at the conference who I knew from my school days in Champaign :-) Last weekend, Laura and I accompanied Sr. Donna to Leawood, Kansas to bring share the Word at Church of the Nativity (http://www.kcnativity.org/) which had over 2000 families! Needless to say, our experience there was grace-filled and the people received us so well - we were sold out of the different titles that we recommended during our pulpit talks! Through our exhibit experiences, we touch the ardent need in peoples' lives to experience God in their various life circumstances. It is so evident: when we have tasted the goodness of Jesus, it is just too good to keep it to ourselves...

Peace,
Jackie.

Radio Check...check..







We had a great time recently at a local radio station when we went to record our Annual Baby Jesus party ad to go on air soon. After a brief tour of Covenant Network (http://www.covenantnet.net/), we got down to recording the ad as well as a short interview on the party and our community. We usually get over 100 families coming to our party! The Baby Jesus party is a wonderful reminder during this busy season to keep Jesus as the reason for the season. We hope many will join us as we celebrate Jesus' birth at our store (www.pauline.org/Locations/StLouisMO/tabid/225/Default.aspx) in less than three weeks!
Blessed Advent,
Jackie.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Erin does exist :)





What is your name?
Erin Marie Nolan

Where are you from?
This is always the most difficult question for me to answer. The short answer is that I am basically half American and half English. I was born in California but grew up mainly in Europe; in Italy and England. I have also spent significant amounts of time in Amsterdam, Houston, TX and Bosnia. Odd combination I know. My favourite place I have travelled to is Lebanon. It is a truly beautiful country and culture.

How old are you?
I just turned 29 this past October.

When did you enter the Daughters of St. Paul?
I entered the community with Cheryl and Theresa on September 1st, 2010.


Where did you go to school?
Well, since we moved a lot I attended many different schools but for college I went to Rice University in Houston, TX. I graduated from there with a bachelor degree in music. I absolutely loved it there and would highly recommend this school for any of you that are searching for potential universities.

What do you like to do professionally and for fun?
I suppose the answer to both those questions is I love to play music. Before entering I was an orchestral musician working in London. I play the viola and love playing all kinds of music; chamber music, orchestral music, ethnic music, jazz....and I especially love playing music for prayer settings. God gave us such an amazing, rich, and beautiful gift in music and it can be used in such a powerful way as an instrument of his love, his peace, his gentleness, and just simply as an instrument of his presence.
I also love taking walks and enjoying nature. I especially love trees and never cease to be amazed by their beauty, their strength, their variety in color (even when they are all green :), and the detail in each one. I also never cease to appreciate the beauty with which they reflect the sun's light.
What else do I enjoy?... well as my sister says 'we all know that you enjoy a good movie.' This is true, I do very much enjoy movies.
I also just really love people. I love to meet new people, work with people, play music with other people, talk with and get to know people, and get to know different cultures. I suppose that leads me to another thing that I love: travelling.
I also do enjoy reading very much, even though I am a distracted reader which makes me slow. But I do treasure the time I get for spiritual reading. There are many more things but I am sure that I am beginning to bore you so I will leave it there for now.

How did you meet the Daughters of St. Paul?
Well the short answer is actually that I met them through 'Vision' magazine. The longer answer is that I have thought about religious life since I was about 16 but for various reasons it didn't feel like the right time until recently. Over the years I tried my best to give my life to the Lord in whatever situation he placed me in and followed the musical opportunities that came. At the same time I asked the Lord to guide me and to give me the grace and strength to follow whatever path he laid out for me. As the time came when it seemed as though I should discern my vocation more seriously my mother found a Vision magazine and passed it on to me. I must say that while I was excited, I was even more overwhelmed by the number of religious orders there are in existence. I wondered how I could possibly even begin to find out which one might be for me as I could obviously not go visit them all, or even talk to them all. The good thing is that there is an online survey on Vision magazine's website that asks you various questions about your spiritual life and then matches you up with various orders according to their spirituality and mission statement. After completing that survey I decided to start by looking into the first five on the list. The Daughters of St. Paul happened to be number two. I found that as I started to read more on their website, I couldn't stop reading. As I got to know them better I found that being with them, following their life, and learning from them really brought me in to a closer relationship with Jesus and inspired me to want to grow more and to want to bring this gift to others. So a year later, here I am. The Daughters of St. Paul carry with them an amazing spirit of joy that is contagious. They are also beautiful and strong messengers and missionaries of the Gospel and Jesus' presence in the Word. So, if you have a yearning to bring Jesus to others; his love, his joy, and his truth, then I urge you to come and see.

Blessings to you all!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Join us for Lunch...

This Saturday, November 13 we are having "Lunch with the Postulants"! Hope you can join us for lunch, a tour of the convent, Eucharistic Adoration, some fun and games :-) We will start with lunch at 12:30pm. Hope you can make it...see you then!

Please RSVP to Cheryl or Jackie at: fsppost@aol.com or 314-965-6935.

Feast of the Divine Master







Our spirituality is awesome. It focuses on Jesus our Divine Master. From Him we learn how to love, shepherd, intercede, minister...pretty much everything that Jesus did and does even today! Well, as Paulines, we celebrate the Feast of the Divine Master on the last Sunday in October. It was a feast indeed, with special prayers and time of Eucharistic Adoration. Sr. Raymond Marie, one of our sisters who was visiting from our Motherhouse in Boston, led us into a beautiful time of prayer where we invited our Master to bless our convent and different parts of our apostolate. We had a solemn procession through the different parts of our convent and Jesus blessed them (as if to say: may they be fruitful, "multiply", and give glory to God!). We then reverently thanked the Lord for His Word in different ways (e.g. kissed the Bible, touched it with our forehead, etc). Of course in addition to prayer, we had a special banquet where everyone chipped in to make different foods for the feast. We had a wonderful day! Jesus is the heart of what we do and are as Paulines. We live that He may truly live in us; that like our father St. Paul we pray: may Christ be formed in me. Its beautiful...its simply amazing!
Peace,
Jackie.

Encountering God through Media...







We've been keeping busy the past couple of weeks :-) We just completed a two-week workshop on Media Literacy with Sr. Margaret Michael, our national vocation director. One would think that media and its impact on our lives just began the other day...not exactly! Actually, it was REALLY neat to learn how the Church's discussions on media and our culture have been going on for decades! Anyway, point taken, we took a journey to explore how the arts and the media of our time can be used to bring people closer to God. One of the exercises we did was the "Symbolic Way" where we got up pretty early and watched the beauty of the sunrise, God's creation of a new day. It was a profoundly spiritual encounter with God - we were moved deeply in different ways. We brought our "movements" to Jesus in our Holy Hour and this provided for an even more grace-filled encounter with God. Other parts of the seminar involved watching movies (or clips) and learning how to analyze them, seeing the messages and themes presented etc (pretty much disecting the movie!). We also learned quite a bit about our Founder, Blessed James Alberione and his vision of using the media to bring all to Christ. It was all good stuff. Certainly, there is still so much to do to bring the message of Christ's love to our world...and how beautiful and variant the means God has given us to do it!!
Peace,
Jackie.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun with Pumpkins

When people hear that I entered the convent, I am not sure what they imagine. But I am pretty sure some people picture a dour group of women in habits, possibly with winged veils waking at 4:30AM for prayer and eating porridge for breakfast.

So, when I mention the fun we actually have together in the convent, I know that some people are surprised. The look on their faces indicates that they are thinking something along the lines of - "Fun? Really? Is that allowed in a convent?"

Yes, yes it is my friends. It is possible to have fun and be joyful, and I am realizing that the joy I feel in the convent is much fuller that what I felt before.

One such thing that brought me joy recently was our pumpkin adventure which started a few weeks ago at a nearby farm where we all carefully chose our pumpkins. Several weeks later we got together to carve them. Cheryl, Theresa, Laura and Jackie carved pumpkins and Erin, Sr. Karen and Sr. Margaret Michael busied themselves cooking the pumpkins we did not carve and baking salted pumpkin seeds.


Our fall adventure resulted in a delicious meal of pumpkin risotto made by Erin and the rest of the pumpkin insides will provide us with scrumptious pies, cookies and Sr. Margaret Michael's special pumpkin spice muffins.



Here are the results of our prodigious creative minds:

Jackie's Holy Pumpkin














Theresa's Spooky Cat



















Laura and Cheryl's Sneaky Grins










The simple joys of life, nothing beats them.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Amazing young people

In today’s Gospel (Thursday), Jesus says “I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Luke 12:49) This morning, during my meditation, I realized that last night I witnessed one of those fires that was set by our Lord. I would even dare to say it’s blazing. Some of us went to Incarnate Word (http://www.incarnate-word.org/) parish last night to go to one of their Wednesday prayer nights. What an amazing and beautiful evening we had. The young people of that parish gave me so much hope, encouragement, and courage to live out my faith better. Every Wednesday evening between 50-100 high school students come voluntarily to this parish to praise God. The evening began with some praise and worship music led by Adam Bitter (http://www.adambitter.com/). Yesterday, our very own Postulant, Erin, played her viola along with Adam. After several songs, one of the teens, Nick, gave a talk about not being complacent in our faith. He reminded us how easy it is to slip into bad habits in our prayer life and that over time these lead us farther and farther away from God. Following Nick’s talk, the Youth Minister Dan also gave a short talk that tied in some of the themes Nick brought up. At the end of his talk, Dan invited the teens to really think about the times that their prayer life was strong and what it was they were doing that made it so strong. One by one, they spontaneously began to share their own experiences with the whole group – very practical things they had done to make God a part of their day. I was amazed at their openness and the freedom with which they shared their experiences with their peers. There was definitely an atmosphere of trust and love for one another in the room. They all gave me some great ideas that I can use myself. One of the youths mentioned that reading a little bit of the Bible every day has really helped her, that she realized that Jesus is present not just in the Eucharist, but also in the Word. And so when she prays with the Scriptures, Christ is really present to her - even in her room. After the sharing, Adam and Erin led us in some more songs praising God. Many of the teens were down on their knees before a large cross praying to Jesus. As they felt called by the Holy Spirit, some of their peers would go over and pray with them. It was really beautiful to see them ministering to and praying for each other. I’m so thankful I decided to go last night. They were such a wonderful witness to me. It brings me great joy and hope to see the flames of faith so alive in those young men and women who are ready to set their world ablaze with the love of God.

Laura

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Touched by God's Generosity

Ever marvel at the ways that God uses to show us how much He loves us? Well, one afternoon, a friend of our community who had been to our Benefit dinner a couple of weeks ago surprised us with gifts of beautiful warm blankets that she had made for each one of us!! She said that she understood how it felt to be away from home and that she wanted to give us something that would help us "feel at home". Well, we are TRULY enjoying them :-) Really, a BIG thanks to you all who touch our lives through your love, prayers, and support in our journey as we strive to follow Christ more closely in our lives. You are a wonderful reminder of God's closeness, tender love and generosity to us...God richly bless you!

Go I-Pad !!

One of our evenings after dinner, we got chatting about our new I-phone applications. Sr. Margaret Timothy (our Provincial superior), still visiting with us after Annual Benefit Dinner, gave us the "inside scoop" on these new applications. It was quite amazing to see how these new tools have immense potential to help people meet God and give wings to the Gospel message. From soothing meditations to powerful retreat experiences, the possibilities are truly endless! Hope you get a chance to download some stuff yourself (http://www.pauline.org/) ... Of course, we had lots of fun exploring the I-pad games as well...

video

Annual Benefit Dinner











Earlier this month, we had our annual benefit dinner here in St. Louis. It's a wonderful time when some of the sisters who have been "missioned" here before, return for the dinner and re-connect with old friends. The dinner is also a fund-raiser for the needs of our province. We had over 270 people in attendance! It was great to meet so many friends and collaborators in our mission :-) Needless to say, it was a blast! When all was said and done, we stopped by Ted Drewes (it's tradition!) for frozen custard. Thanks be to God for the gift of friendship!

video

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Meet Cheryl =)

What is your name?
Cheryl Khristina Bayot Galema


Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the Philippines then my family immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 2001.


How old are you?
I turned 31 in April, 2010.


Family background:
I'm the eldest of four. My two younger sisters are both in their twenties and our youngest brother is turning 15 in December of this year (2010). They all still live with our dear parents in Toronto.


When did you enter the Daughters of St Paul?
September 1, 2010.


Where did you go to School?
I went to the School of the Holy Spirit in Quezon City, Philippines for elementary and highschool and graduated in 1996. Then I completed my BS Computer Science degree at the University of the Philippines (Diliman Campus) in 2000.


What do you like to do professionally and for fun?
I spent a lot of time reading books, watching TV, singing and dancing when I was younger. I also enjoy singing in the choir and playing the guitar. I started to get fascinated with computers before Windows 3.1 existed and continue to enjoy the technological advances to this day. I worked in web and database programming since I graduated from university and then I also had an opportunity to team lead and manage a brilliant team of web developers in the past couple years. I'm VERY glad to have the time now to read more and start practicing to play the guitar again. Nature walks and going to the beach are my favorite ways to relax.


What languages do you speak?
Filipino and English


How did you meet the Daughters of St Paul?
In 2004, a friend of mine needed to get a bible and she knew about the Pauline Books & Media in Toronto so I tagged along with her. From that time, we would always go there to get books for ourselves or as gifts to friends and family. In 2006, we attended one of their Faith and Film nights and that was the first time I got acquainted and actually "shook hands" with a nun! I may have considered religious life then but I was quick to brush it off and get on with my life. However, my friend and I kept coming back to the bookcentre at least once a year to get some books, music CDs and DVDs that helped us grow in our faith.

In June of 2008, I picked out the Life & Soul magazine from my mail (a quarterly magazine by the Daughters of St Paul) and it was the year of St Paul so I got curious and went online to browse http://www.pauline.org/. I found myself reading about their spirituality, the founder, their devotion to Jesus as the Divine Master, and ended up on the vocation page! I felt really drawn to "come and see" what this community is about and felt the Holy Spirit giving me the grace to take a closer look at religious life. So in August 2008, I finally "met" the Daughters of St Paul in Chicago for the young adult vocation retreat.


What drew you to the Daughters of St. Paul?
Jesus as friend but also as "teacher" had a very strong impact in my life growing up so the sisters' relationship to Jesus as "Divine Master, Way, Truth, and Life" really attracted me. Their Eucharistic spirituality; daily mass and hour of adoration reminds me so much of 3 of my dearest friends whom I met at different times in my life, who often invited me to accompany them to chapel... something that I wouldn't normally do by myself. Their mission of proclaiming Christ through the media also attracted me because I often found God's message of love, mercy and forgiveness through books that I read, songs that I listen to, and movies that I watch. But what really made me decide to move forward with applying for postulancy is when my heart was deeply moved by Jesus words to their founder, Blessed James Alberione, that can be found in their chapel...

"Do not be afraid, I am with you, From here I want to enlighten, Live with a penitent heart."


Favorite Scripture Passage:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine."
- Isaiah 43:1

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pro-life Dinner






Our community was invited to a pro-life dinner about two weeks ago by Mrs. Usselmann, founder of Our Lady of Guadalupe for Life (http://www.ourladyforlife.org/). Her daughter is a Daughter of St. Paul! The group focuses on putting billboards on major highways in our area with a pro-life message and picture of Our Blessed Mother - Our Lady of Guadalupe. Auxiliary Bishop Hermann celebrated mass and attended the dinner too. He has been an important part of the ministry and has blessed many of the billboards. At the dinner, Mrs. Usselmann shared how many peoples' lives have been transformed after reading the billboards on the highways! It sure was amazing to see how this great work which began from a simple pilgrimage experience she made to Mexico about 20 years ago, has made such a difference in many peoples' lives today. What a powerful way to reach out to people in our time with the saving message of Jesus Christ...and of course, you can never go wrong with Our Blessed Mother!

That's a first!




We planned our first Seniors' day event (not only for seniors !) - and all went well :-)...thanks be to God! We had about 30 people in attendance. The topic this Fall will be on "Understanding the Mass". Our main speaker, Fr. Thomas Hinni, a Vincentian priest will be guiding us into a deeper understanding of the Mass while addressing some of the changes that will take place next year. Lots of people raised some pretty good questions, which was great! After the talk, we had some time in Eucharistic Adoration with music prepared by Laura and Erin and supported by our "postulant choir" of Cheryl and Theresa. Jackie guided us in the Eucharistic Visit. After our time with Jesus, we had a little social time with those who attended in our book center where we enjoyed some treats made by our volunteers. It was a good day overall...exhausted, but satisfied :-) Looking forward to next month!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Introducing Theresa

My name is Theresa. I am one of the new postulants this year, along with Erin and Cheryl. I am really excited to introduce myself to everyone who reads this blog. Thanks to those of you who have been keeping me and the other postulants in their prayers.

I am the eldest of three sisters and one brother.
I love to write on my blog, read books, goof around and bake cupcakes.

My family is one of the most important things in my life. My parents lives in Oklahoma now but I was born in Steubenville, OH. My father, Chris Noble, was a teacher of Evangelism at the University of Steubenville. I remember having a great desire even at a young age to join him in his efforts to bring others to the faith. My father let me join him in one of his evangelism classes and I filled out the workbook right along with the other adults there, (quite possibly along with some Daughters of St. Paul, because my father told me there were some FSPs in his class!).

For a variety of reasons, I rejected the faith of my childhood when I was fourteen and I spent twelve or so years as an atheist, agnostic, and finally a seeker who eventually found her way back to the Catholic faith of my family. A few years after my “reversion,” I began to hear God’s call to discern religious life. At first I totally ignored it; I really loved God but I wanted to get married and becoming a religious was just not in my plans. But thanks to a great spiritual director, I began to listen to God and realized that He was inviting me on this beautiful adventure.

I found out about the Daughters of St. Paul while I was watching this YouTube video from Father Stan Fortuna. I had first seen him speak in Oakland, CA and I really identified with his vocational story. In this YouTube video, Fr. Stan mentions "his girls" at the Daughters of St. Paul and I thought to myself, "If this priest likes this order, I might like it too." Sure enough, after a retreat and heartfelt prayer I felt myself called to enter postulancy with the Daughters.

I left a great job as a Systems Analyst in San Francisco, fabulous friends and a wonderful family in Oklahoma to come to St. Louis and I am excited to get to know a new place and follow God on this adventure He has planned for me.

Please pray for me as I begin this journey of further discernment; I definitely could use your prayers. Be assured I keep you in mine as well, God bless!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fr Lockwood's Church History Presentation

Our bookcenter events have begun again for the fall. Our first one was the first of three lectures on Church history. They'll all be given by Rev. Gregory Lockwood from St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish here in St. Louis (www.psichurch.com/churches/016stelizabeth). We had a wonderful turn out for the event! Our conference room was packed and every single chair was taken. We had to hunt up more chairs as more and more people came through the doors. For the second lecture he'll be giving in October, we've decided to move the lecture out into our bookcenter so there'll be more space. Hopefully we have enough chairs though! Father did a great job. He's a very engaging speaker. He REALLY knows his church history and he adds a little humor too when he speaks! We're looking forward to next month already!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The New and Revised...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010:

Well, here we are...the new and revised postulant group :-) We thank God for sending us Erin, Theresa, and Cheryl. Please keep us in your prayers - you are in ours too. We look forward to sharing our exciting formation journey experiences with you. Stay tuned to learn more about Erin, Theresa, and Cheryl....info coming soon!

Community Sunday













Sunday, September 12, 2010:

After a long week, it was nice to sleep in and have a relaxing day of rest. We attended noon mass at Assumption Catholic Church (www.assumptionstl.org) and then spent our day at The Butterfly House (http://www.butterflyhouse.org/). It was thrilling to see all the beautiful butterflies flying around inside the conservatory. We took lots of pictures. They were such a pretty sight...all sorts of colors, sizes, species...you name it! Afterwards we went to another part of the Butterfly house complex and had some fun riding on a carousel...something some of us had not done since we were kids!! It was great :-) We then went out for an early dinner to Blueberry Hill (http://www.blueberryhill.com/) located in University City. The cafe is famous for its burgers - which by the way were pretty amazing! Anyway, we had dinner at one of the tables on their sidewalk while enjoying the city which was teeming with life - lots of young people, people in costumes (not sure why...), people playing drums, and music of all sorts. We truly had a fun-filled day :-) Thank God for Sundays, now we are rejuvenated for the week!