Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thanks for saying Yes!

     Last week Carly, Chelsea and I went to see The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey.
I read the book about ten years ago, so I had forgotten many of the details of the story. Watching it come alive on the screen was really amazing.

     One of the themes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy that has always appealed to me is the theme of being chosen. In the LOR, so many are chosen to carry out tasks that they would have preferred not to have been chosen for. They feel too weak, too insignificant... but they choose to say "yes." All those "yesses" together conquer evil in their world.

     The same theme is running through the Hobbit too--being chosen and responding to the call. It was a great movie to see during Advent...

     Mary's yes to the Angel brought a new hope to the world. This young girl, so insignificant, said a word that set off a chain of events that has essentially changed each of our lives and has called each of us to say our "yes" in spite of our weakness or insignificance.

     You and I are chosen. At times the path we are called to walk is not easy or desired. It could be quite unexpected or even dreaded. When we say yes for the sake of our brothers and sisters--for the sake of Christ, we are changed and our yes changes others.

     Where would the Dwarfs have been without Bilbo the Burglar? Imagine if he hadn't said yes. (well, there would not have been a great book to read or an amazing movie to watch--but you know what I mean.) Reflecting on this has helped me to come to a greater belief that my yes every day has consequences far beyond what I can see. Why does God choose me and you to carry on His work? It's a mystery. But God has reasons and there is a purpose far greater than we can see.

Sr. Rebecca Marie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pretty in Pink

It's that one time of year where the church puts on her best and brightest pink pizazz!

Honestly growing up I LOVED "pink" Sunday for three reasons:

1. Christmas was soo close you could taste it! (or better see it--I love being catholic!)

2. I could freely share and promote my disgust for the color pink.

3. It was the one Sunday I could lovingly tease my pastor for sporting a "manly" pink.

Seriously, it is tradition to this day in my family to talk about in the car on the way to mass how we were going to break it to Father that he was wearing pink... And he loved the attention. Every year Padre would grin and say in his accent right out of Spain "it's Rrrose."

I guess, looking back now, it was kinda bonding. He hated pink. I hated pink. He loved the third sunday of Advent. I loved the third sunday of Advent.

In college I discovered the church's great word for this week of Advent. "Gaudete."

Personal Translation: week that's " a little gaudy." And the third week of Advent rightly is a gaudy pink! The joy of the coming of the Incarnation should be at a melting point. The church can't hold it in any longer. Like Buddy in the film "Elf" she cries out in public " I'm in love! I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"

If you haven't seen Elf it looks something like this:
Here  and particularly Here

The church bursts with joy and blushes pink because Christ the redeemer of us all draws in close.

So growing in grace and wisdom, pink has grown on me a bit. Especially as a color of great joy. The real Latin translation of "Gaudete" is "Rejoice!" Today, Saint Paul calls for a two fold call to joy.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
Phillipians 4:4

So, if you haven't already let your Parish Priest know how great he looked in Pink this Gaudete Sunday. You should. Really. He is a visible sign of Church's overflowing joy in the Birth of her Savior.

On a different note...

Father had a great reflection in His Homily today in the wake of Friday's tragedy:
Joy is not the absence of grief or pain or tears in the wake of Sandy Hook. The beatitudes teach us, "blessed (or Happy in some translations) are those who grieve".
We should learn to be good grievers...Because even in the midst of sorrow we should rejoice so that we can allow Christ's peace to fill up our hearts and minds. It is our faith in Christ's goodness that we can know with great certainty that in Heaven every tear will be wiped away and every moment of sadness will be turned to great joy.

~Postulant Carly

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Even a year later...

“And also with… your spirit?” oops….

Yes, even a year later I still catch myself saying the “old” Mass responses… and Yes, I do realize I’ve been to Mass about 368 times since it’s been changed (AT LEAST).  But just recently I’ve been having trouble with one response in particular.
It’s the phrase directly after we say the Lamb of God when the priest elevates Jesus in the chalice and the host.
We used to say, “Lord I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
Now we say, “Lord I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Last year, when I found out that we were changing that phrase, I was devastated. My whole life I had said that prayer and I felt very attached to it. Throughout my life I had never left the Church, but as a teenager I definitely went through a period of doubt and skepticism of the Church and especially the Eucharist. However, It was THIS phrase that played a major role in my mini-conversion and journey back to a great love of the Church and an intense love for Jesus in the Eucharist.
So when I heard that that the phrase was being changed, every fiber of my being revolted. The poor Sister who told me that phrase was being changed… I was not a happy camper. She found that out right away.
The first time I actually heard the new response I thought to myself, “Why the heck are we talking about roofs in the middle of Mass??” I remember complaining to Jesus about all the reasons why I didn’t like this new response: It was weird that we were talking about roofs…I thought it sounded awkward…I liked the word “receive” and now it wasn’t there…It didn’t “draw me into the moment”…blah, blah, blah…
In the midst of my soliloquy of complaints I had the revelation that no matter how much I complained, the phrase wasn’t going to magically change AND (most importantly) if I truly believed that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ and that the Pope, who is the head of the church, is a successor of Peter and Peter was chosen by Jesus Himself, THEN I had better listen to what the Church had to say because Christ speaks through His Church.
Needless to say, once I accepted this, I’ve found that the words “aren’t so bad”.
One day at Mass I was praying with this phrase and I was deeply struck by the beginning, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof…” As I said these words in unison with the rest of the congregation, I heard them in a new light.

I thought about how I am a human person, both body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, I am a temple of the Holy Spirit. I am a temple. So as I say this response, I am really inviting the Lord into my temple.
I then reflected on how often I’ve “dirtied the temple” by my sin. This is when I was hit with the power of the second part of this phrase, “…but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” By one word Jesus can restore the “cleanliness” and original beauty of my soul. There is so much more to it but, as Catholics, we believe that through the power of the Sacrament of Confession, our souls are restored to their full beauty. This is why it is so  important to go to confession. We ARE NOT worthy to receive this incredible and wonderful gift of sacrifice, but when we are healed, when we are restored to worthiness through confession, we ARE able to worthily partake of this beautiful sacrifice. Jesus loves us so much that He wants nothing more than to be intimately close to us. Who are we to deny Him that closeness? Let us go to confession often so as to prepare our “temple” to receive the Body and Blood of our Beloved Jesus! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

5 Nuns walk into a Bar

...and two Postulants. We may have turned some heads this month as we walked into Kirkwood Brewery. Admittedly we felt like the beginning of a bad joke.  So what were we doing in a bar at 7 o'clock at night? The Nuns and the Posts attended St.Louis Young Adult Ministry's Theology On Tap. TOT is a program of lectures that has took off in numerous catholic dioceses across the country.

If you have never heard of Theology on Tap (TOT) check out the diocese near you.
Quick TOT History Lesson (from my friend wiki):

The series was cofounded by Father John Cusick, a resident of Old St. Patrick's Parish, and director of the archdiocese's Young Adult Minister and Father Jack Wall in June 1981 in Arlington Heights, Illinois, as the result of comments made by a recent college graduate who was "concerned about his personal identity and finding meaning in life."[1] 
The lectures, which are often given by noted spiritual leaders and religious academics, address current topics in religion and theology, and are notable and sometimes controversial for their venue, which is normally a bar or restaurant. 
Since its inception, the program has spread to more than 180 parishes and dioceses and at least six other countries, including Canada,ItalyTaiwan, the PhilippinesIrelandAustralia and Hong Kong.[4]

Talk about meeting the people where they are! The diocese rented a large room (the whole left half of the restaurant/bar) and it was filled to the gills with young adults (like over 100) who came to socialize and hear a lecture on the faith.

This past month the talk was given by Daughter of Saint Paul, Sister Helena Burns. She nailed an awesome talk on Theology of the Body and finding God in the media.  If you don't already read her blog it's Here.

She is in good company. Other TOT speakers have included Archbishop Donald Wuerl, Cardinal Rigali, Cardinal Patrick O'Malley, Cardinal George Pell and more!

Here's the FB info on TOT for Saint Louie:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh, by the way...

As you can tell by perusing our blog that we live in St. Louis. I thought it would be nice to let you know that we have a blog for our bookcenter too!
Check it out to see what we're up to here in the St. Louis Bookcenter. Some of our Sisters write short, inspirational posts too! Enjoy!

Our Bookcenter in St. Louis!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving thanks for a hundred things and more!

Since it’s thanksgiving… I started thinking about how incredibly blessed I am and how I should be thanking God for everything… All those little things as well as all those in-your-face things. So I made a list…. These are 100 things, in no particular order, that I am thankful for…

I’m thankful for…

1.     The splendor of autumn
2.     Sister Mary Joan’s authentic Italian Cooking. (so yummy!)
3.     Freshly baked cookies straight from the oven.
4.     Sweaters…the warm and cozy kind.
5.     Hearing my Sisters laugh from down the hallway.
6.     Community Life
7.     Chocolate 
8.     Unexpected mail
9.     A phone call from my family where I get to talk to ALL of my siblings in one sitting!
10. That genuine laughter that erupts from the bottom of your soul.
11.  Really great, heavy blankets
12.  Bread
13.  Baking. Anything.
14.  Watching a really great movie and discussing it afterwards.
15.  Warm, clean piles of laundry straight from the dryer.
16.  Being in the chapel first thing in the morning.
17.  Reading and being inspired by the writings of amazing, holy people like Blessed James Alberione.
18.  Hand written letters
19.  Postcards sent from all over the world!
20.  Learning to iron… for real.
21.  Being taught how to make REAL Italian meatballs and tomato sauce. mmMMmm…..
22.  When Sr. Donna makes comfort food 
23.  Sr. Mary Joan’s hilarious sayings…
24.  People who come into our bookcenter
25.  Benefactors!!!
26.  Technology
27.  Those moments when the sky is that perfect shade of blue and you feel like there’s not a care in the world…
28.  The smell of dryer sheets (yes, weird but true.) 
30.  Sr. Rebecca’s patience
31.  Music. Good music.
32.  A really great navy blue sweater 
33.  St. Arbucks. (The postulant’s favorite “Parish”-- take away the period in the name.)
34.  Playing Piano at St. Elizabeth’s.
35.  Calla Lillies (My favorite)
36.  A really GOOD church musician…
37.  Yellow… not the highlighter yellow, but that warm-makes-you-wanna-smile-forever-sunshine-yellow. that color.
38. Candles
39. Those puffy white clouds that look like you could take a plane up and just step right out and take a nap on it’s fluffiness.
40. Difficult moments
41. Home
42. Cushioned kneelers
43. My croc flats
44. Crisp morning walks to Mass with Sr. Cynthia and talking about the Gospel of the day
45. Kitchen talks with Sr. Mary Joan about the founder, and Italian food, and vocation stories and life….
46.  Watching Lord of the Rings with Fr. Gerber 
47.  The beauty of a "regular" schedule
48.  Sharpie Markers
49.  Raspberry-Lemonade… so.delish.
50.  The Black Hymnal
51.  My incredible friends in MD that have been there for me my whole life. 
52.   New Balance Sneakers
53.  Scarves….the warm hug-your-neck kind that you just want to leave on, even inside. 
54.  Waking up AWAKE! (easier said than done)
55.  Sunshine pouring into my room.
56. Book exhibits
57. Chocolate Care packages from Maggie 
58. Drawings from my siblings.
59. "Folks-y" acoustic guitar music  
60. The smell of Tuesday morning (aka- floor washing day!)
61.  Beethoven (playing it and having it played to me)
62.  My skirt that never wrinkles…which means I never have to iron it!
63.  Not having to think about what I’m going to wear in the morning…. Blue and white. Biggest decision is which blue sweater I’m going to use…. Beauty.
64.  Not having to wear make-up anymore!
65. Mistakes…. Because I learn SO much from them.
66.  The smell of bread baking
67.  That feeling you get when you receive a really great hug.
68.  Studying to classical music 
69.  My grandmother’s recipes
70.  Creativity
71. Our back yard grotto
72.  Sr. Noel’s cupcakes...they’re like heaven in your mouth and I miss them now that Sr. Noel's been reassigned to Boston. 
73.  Crazy moments
74.  The quiet moments in the chapel when it’s just Jesus and me.
75.  Long leisurely walks
76.  Prayers
77.  Those moments when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are loved.
78.  Did I mention COFFEE?? 
79.  Tea with milk and honey…. Mmmm
80.  Panera
81.  Silliness
82.  Artistic inspiration
83.  Prayer Requests
84.  Retreat Sunday
85.  SLEEP
86.  How everything…(I mean everything) is labeled here at the convent.
87.  Post-it-notes.  I use them for EVERYTHING!
88.  Lemon and honey in hot water
89.  Sr. Mary Joan’s homemade tiramisu
90.  Community Recreation nights
91.  Photography and my camera
92.  The way light falls on things and takes your breath away
93.  People’s patience with my ridiculousness.
94.  The fact that I live with amazingly talented people.
95.  Rain…good steady rain
96.  Color
97.  My community here in St. Louis… I am SO incredibly blessed to live with the most amazing people. Everyday I become a better person because of them and their example.
98. My family… I am so blessed and eternally grateful for the wonderful gift of my family, who are so extraordinarily precious to me.
99. My mom…She is such an incredible woman. This is so generic of me, but I can’t even begin to describe how amazing she is and how blessed I am to have her as my mother.
100. GOD…. I mean really…who am I kidding? Without Him, my list wouldn’t even exist, much less me. I am indescribably thankful for the gift of being able to thank HIM


Friday, November 9, 2012

Baby Jesus Party

There's been so much going on this month... but this is one of the things that we're working on currently! 
Our annual Baby Jesus Party! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Three of Us

October is well underway and Carly, Chelsea and I have been immersed in so many activities--classes, events in the Archdiocese, helping in the Book Center, promoting evangelization events...and the list goes on.
As you know, our three new novices, Sr. Theresa, Sr. Cheryl and Sr. Sandy entered Novitiate on September 21st in Boston. At the moment it is the three of us in the Postulant community. It has been a very blessed time for us to get to know each other even more, and to grow in loving service of one another. We have had countless opportunities to step in and help each other and the other five sisters in the community.

We really miss our three Novices during house cleaning time! We also miss Sr. Theresa's excellent bread making skills, Sr. Sandy's gourmet lemon bars and Sr. Cheryl's Filipino desserts.

You, our readers, may not have realized that when we were ten in our community here last year we were actually out of room, so this Fall we've begun a construction project to create a larger space for apostolic events in the Book Center and to create more bedrooms in the convent. The construction is going along well, but it will take a while to complete the entire project.

You can only imagine how much fine dust a construction project brings--that means more dusting, sweeping and mopping. (Did I mention how much we miss Sr. Theresa, Sr. Sandy and Sr. Cheryl?) Just today the workers were making holes in the postulant's study ceiling! It has to get worse before it gets better.

God willing this part of the construction will be finished before we welcome new postulants into the community in the coming year. In the meantime keep us in your prayers. We are always praying for you!
Sr. Rebecca

Saturday, September 22, 2012


3…2…1… It’s official. 
Carly and I are officially second-year postulants.

Well, yeah, maybe I have been in a little bit of denial seeing as how we’ve been living as second year postulants for….let’s see….oh, a month and a half or so, but according to my brain we are now official “second years”. (Yes, being referred to as a “second year” makes me think about Hogwarts too…)
Okay, I have two reasons. So here’s why:
First reason: Yesterday, Carly and I celebrated our one-year anniversary of being official postulants. One year ago, September 21st 2011 we were officially entered the postulancy program of the Daughters of St. Paul. 
Carly, me and Sandy right after we entered Postulancy (9-21-11)
My second and most exciting reason is that our second year postulants entered the Novitiate yesterday!!! YAY! So now we have Sr. Theresa, Sr. Cheryl, Sr. Julia and Sr. Sandy! (Pray for them!)
Novitiate Group!
(L to R: Sr. Carmen Christi [She's the Novice Formator],
Sr. Jackie, Sr. Cheryl, Sr. Theresa, {Mary Queen of Apostles}
Sr. Sandy, Sr. Julia, and Sr. Laura!) 

Second-Year Postulants 2012-13
(Carly, Sr. Rebecca, and Me) 
So, now, officially, I feel totally solidified in my second-year-ness.
Pray for us!