Monday, February 20, 2012

SOLI Vocation Video

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Poverty Unplugged


Does the vow of poverty scare you?  Are you afraid that your life will be empty without going to bed with your iPod (with Christian music of course!), without a stash of your favorite snacks, without the comforts that you have always enjoyed thus far?  Are you drawn to religious life but feel that the vow of poverty is too hard for you and therefore wish to draw back?

If this is you, this article is for you!

First of all, you should understand what religious poverty is not, and what it is.  You may find that you are only scared of what you THINK it is and not what it really is!

If after the first section you know what it is and it still scares you, read on, for we will explain:
1.       Why the vow of poverty is a necessary accompaniment to the vow of chastity;
2.       Why the vow of poverty entails more of a receiving than a giving up;
3.       And why ultimately, instead of misery, the vow of poverty brings immense joy!

Does this sound impossible?  Then please read on…

What religious poverty is NOT

1.       Destitution; Utter pennilessness;  famine and starving to death, freezing and dying of tuberculosis.
2.       Merely being available to others, and giving of our time.  Any other strange definition not compatible with the explanation below.

What religious poverty IS:

1.       A sparing-sharing lifestyle in community.
Avoiding luxury
Avoiding superfluities.
Feeling the pinch of poverty sometimes in needs.
2.       Permission to use temporal things.
Reliance on the Constitutions regarding the use of temporal things.
Seeking permission from the Superior to use temporal things.
3.       Factual poverty which leads to spiritual poverty.
Poverty not an end in itself but to give us interior freedom to belong to God totally! Claiming so-called “spiritual poverty” without factual poverty is an illusion. We grow attachments by repeated use of things.  By avoiding the use of what we do not need, our hearts are free to belong ever more totally to Jesus Christ.We are finite beings.  Therefore the love of our heart is finite as well.  It is like the space on a computer’s hard drive memory.  Only a certain number of items will fit there.  What is in there? So, if we truly want to free up more “memory” to love God, we need to remove some files from our hard drive.
4.       Modeled after the poverty of the Son of God made Man, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, in His birth, in His hidden life, in His public ministry and in His death on the cross lived poverty.  He is our model.
5.       Modeled after the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man.
He taught self-renunciation, self-emptying and the giving up of possessions.  If we say we want to follow Christ, we must live according to His teaching.
6.       Self-emptying after the model of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, being God made Himself man, emptying Himself for our sake.  Even though He was rich, He became poor, to make us rich out of His poverty.  Jesus is our model.
7.       A radical readiness for the Kingdom of God.
This self-emptying is not an end in itself.  This purifies our heart, our desires to the point where we desire God alone, live for God alone, forsaking our selfishness.
8.       Emptying oneself of things in order to receive God, in order to love God with one’s whole heart.
In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge’s fiance complains that he doesn’t love her anymore, that the love of wealth has filled his heart and changed him.  He doesn’t deny it.  The history of man attests to the greed and attachment of the human heart to possessions.  If we really want to love God, we must detach ourselves from created goods and only use them insofar as they help us to love God and do His Will.
Jesus said that you cannot serve both God and mammon. 
9.       The necessary accompaniment to the vow of chastity.
If we give up exclusive, intimate relationships of love, of marriage and family for the sake of living for the love of God alone and all men in Him, it is only the natural accompaniment that we would detach ourselves from the inordinate love of sub-rational creation as well.
10.   Necessary to be effective in the apostolate.
If we want to draw souls to God through our works of catechesis, caring for the elderly or in any other way, how could we incite others to follow the teaching of Christ, including detachment and poverty, if we ourselves do not follow it?  There is no authenticity, and where there is no authenticity, there is no impact.  For if the messenger does not believe the message enough to put it into practice, why would the hearer be impacted enough to put it into practice?
11.   Necessary accompaniment to the virtue of humility.
When a person accumulates possessions, the virtue of pride can begin to grow.  We associate wealth with importance, and with importance comes pride and thinking that we are superior to others. While a person could indeed become proud of their poverty, and one must avoid this pitfall, the more natural accompaniment to poverty is humility.  The poor are not accounted among the great of the world, and thus do not have the temptation to think they are better than others.
So… what do you get?

St. Peter was always so candid with Our Lord and so now, centuries later, we reap the benefits of his honest questioning. St. Peter asks Jesus point blank: “Lord, we have left everything and followed thee. What shall we get?”  Could one be any more blunt than that? Jesus answered that we would receive them all back, in the hundredfold, with persecutions in this life and in the next world, eternal life.Jesus is the most wonderful Teacher, for He models the example, He speaks the word and explains it to his Apostles.  As regards poverty, this is the case in a very clear way.

Religious poverty is a counsel. 
There is poverty of precept found in the OT (Thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not covet),  and in the NT – renounce possessions and attachment, avoid superfluities - Everyone must do this. There is ALSO poverty of counsel: e.g. the rich young man – sell all your possessions and come, follow the Lord.  This is the Radical Fullness. You are invited to do this by the Son of God!

OK – So I accept that taking a vow of poverty is valid and desirable because of its supremacy, but I still feel that it would be too hard – I think I would be unhappy.

My dear child, we know from history and experience that religious poverty is not the bringer of unhappiness but rather the bringer of joy.  OK, proof you say?

1.       What makes people happy?  Does affluence have a direct impact on happiness?  Usually the opposite bears out – suicide in affluent nations; rich and famous – OD, suicide...even  saw this in the ancient world. 
      OK – no.
2.       Have you ever had the experience, where you wanted something, finally got it and then you got bored of it quickly, or wanted something better?  Your own experience bears out that things do not fill the hole in the human heart, but actually leave it thirsting for something greater.   This thirst can only be satisfied by God.  True peace and happiness are to be found in God and in God alone.  Everything else is a teaser. 
4.      So if we want to be truly happy, lastingly happy, drink from the source – God alone.
5.       Convent life – in our experience, is a joyous thing.  I do not think that I heard such carefree, joyous laughter, except in the convent.  There is a joy in being consecrated to God that people in the world can not imagine.  Where they imagine drudgery and an almost unwilling putting up with the harshness of poverty, there is rather peace and joy, because our heart is being freed, little by little from its slavery to material things.

      Blessed Dina Belanger  testifies  that when she decided to be generous with Our Lord  she prepared herself for the pain and absence that would result, but instead she experience nothing but the joyous fruit of interior freedom.

OK – business approach – Gold for the Price of Dirt
Back to Peter – what did he really give up?  A couple of smelly fishing nets, his modest, poor life. 
What did He get in return?  Intimacy with Jesus, the Son of God – living with Him, being taught by Him for 3 years, eating with Him, conversing with Him, receiving the call of the papacy from Him.  Peter died a martyr, for the love of Jesus – totally possessed by the love of God. The call to religious life and religious poverty in particular is an adventure, but one in which the poor little human “giver” winds up being the recipient of something far greater than what He gives up. 

OK, shall we summarize even more?
You give up:
1.       Your own stuff ( you will give it away, or bring some to the community but not as your own)
2.       Calling anything your own (you have to share now)
3.       Using things as a possessor (you need to ask permission now)
4.       Certain objects/material things that you may be used to (you don’t bring everything with you!)
What you get:
1.       The assurance that you are giving everything to God.
2.       Freedom of heart to love God!
3.       The assurance that you are following Christ as close as possible.
4.       God Himself.  “I desire Thee and nothing more”
5.       St. Teresa of Avila said that God does not give Himself completely to a soul, unless she gives herself completely to Him.  When the soul holds nothing back, neither does the Lord.

I need encouragement, you say. . .  Has anyone else done this?
Oh my, yes! 
Jesus
The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph
The Apostles
Early Jerusalem community
Saints of all walks of life

The early religious communities and all religious communities up to the present day – in varied forms.
Literally, there are thousands and thousands and thousands of people who have already done what you are considering doing!  There are thousands and thousands as we speak (write!) that are doing it at this very moment!  If you enter religious life, you will share this way of consecrated poverty with your Sisters in religion.  You are not alone.

OK – should I be more blunt? 
 You only have one life in which to become a saint, to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.  We are impeded in our love of God by attachment to all that is not God.  Therefore, whatever aids us in loving God should be our greatest desire.  For if we waste our life, our only life, on meaningless distractions, shall we not regret it greatly? Why not give God everything?  Why not radically embark on the journey to be a saint, to hold nothing back from God?  All else is a waste of time.  The end.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy World Day of Consecrated Life!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sharing the Joy of Christmas


Dear Friends, Merry Christmas to each and all of you from the SOLI Community! We pray that you and your families all enjoyed a blessed and grace-filled celebration of Our Savior's birth and that this coming New Year draws you all ever closer to the Lord who loves each of you, His children, so deeply.

Christmas is always a beautiful experience here in the house of the King. All the little special events we have, as we move closer to the great day, add to the anticipation in our hearts to greet the Divine Infant at His coming among us.  During the last week leading up to the Solemnity, the sisters prepared the children from our Family Catechism Program, Blessed Sacrament Parish Saturday Morning Catechism program, as well as the seniors in our Retirement Home, to present Christmas Pageants for their families and friends. The faces of the young and not so young were radiant as they took part in sharing the joyous story of Our Divine Savior's birth.


The Sisters were also given a surprise gift from some dear friends who are members of the Kitchener-Waterloo Grand Philharmonic Choir ~ twelve free tickets to attend their performance of Handel's Messiah! Later that week, about twelve of the choir members came to Marian Residence to sing for our dear seniors. The little choir proudly calls itself the "Granny Group" and have been coming to sing here for about ten years. It is always an evening enjoyed by residents and sisters alike. This year we also had a little surprise for them! ~ the sisters joined them in singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus for the residents! Look out! Nun flash-mob!!
Through the kindness of the Galt Kiltie Band here in Cambridge, the Sisters were able to borrow some wind instruments to form for Christmas the SOLI Sisters Ensemble...tuba, french horn, clarinet, flute, violin and yes, even a saxophone! The sisters shared their gift of music at our volunteer appreciation party as well as the Marian Residence staff dinner, and Christmas dinner for our Seniors.  
With all the waiting now over, the Holy Season began with the celebration of early evening Mass for Christmas in the Marian Residence chapel at seven in the evening with our Seniors.Our dear and faithful friend, Father Tim Higgins came to offer the Mass and the seniors joined the sisters to sing the Missa de Angelis that night. Shelby, our youngest postulant, had the privilege to carry the Infant Jesus statue in the entrance procession and place him in the wooden manger of our nativity scene in the front of the chapel. After Mass, the young sisters all gathered around our Newborn King to welcome him once again and to express their love for Him in the silence of their hearts.

Following Mass a little Christmas party was had with the seniors. More excitement began to build as the sisters prepared to attend Midnight Mass ...Gloria in Excelsis Deo!!! He is born!! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords! At Blessed Sacrament Parish, where some of the sisters went that night, His Excellency Bishop Ustrzycki  celebrated the Holy Mass together with Fathers Lobsinger and Raj. When the sisters returned home the community had their own Christmas celebration together into the wee hours of the night sharing the joy of the Savior's birth together. Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SOLI Patronal Feast Day Celebration

A blessed Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary to you all! Today we joyously celebrated our Community's Patronal Feast. It is always wonderful to spend this day meditating on the tremendous gifts of grace bestowed upon Our Lady, especially her Immaculate Conception, being preserved from Original Sin from the very moment of her existence in the womb of her mother St. Anne, through the merits of the redemption her Divine Son would gain for us all through His life, death and resurrection.  

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee! 

We began our Feast with the chanting of Lauds in praise of Our Blessed Lady. The Formation Household traveled over to Cambridge from Glen Morris to join the rest of the Community for the celebration of Holy Mass offered by Father Tim Higgins, at the end of which the sisters all renewed their Total Consecration to Our Lady together, according to the method of St. Louis Marie De Montfort. In the evening we enjoyed a meal together and some lovely singing in honor of our Lady with our dear friends Bishop Matthew Ustrzycki and Father Wayne Lobsinger. May Our Blessed Mother bless each of you with her motherly love and obtain for you and your loved ones the choicest of graces from her Son. Ave Maria!





Thursday, November 10, 2011

November: Month for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

As November is upon we are reminded to think and pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, who are traditionally remembered during this month. Those countless souls await our prayers and good works and any little pain and suffering that we can offer for them throughout the day. Let us make a valiant effort this month to offer up many acts of love for these dear souls who will not forget our goodness to them. Here is a prayer below that you may wish to pray during this month or even make a part of your regular devotions.

Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that 1000 souls would be released from Purgatory each time it is said devoutly:


Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Know that we are remembering all the deceased in our prayers in a special way during this month. If there are special people that you would like us to remember during this month, please send us their names and we can pray for them.

All Saints Celebrations!

As usual, each year, we host All Saints Parties for our Catechism students. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy from our celebrations of our heavenly Friends!





October Vocation Retreat Highlights



We thank God for all the graces received during our vocation retreat two weekends ago. In the quiet atmosphere of our Formation House, the retreatants had an opportunity to spend quality time with Our Lord in Adoration and silent prayer, following some of the meditations of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.



As well they had the opportunity to learn about the theology of religious life, about the charism of the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate and enjoy a Q & A session with the Novices and Postulants about discernment and religious life.



"It was quite relaxing, informative and beneficial to me personally in discerning what faith-based direction I will take in life." - Retreatant

"It was a very peaceful and enlightening experience for me. The Mass was beautiful and the Chapel was very wonderful. The retreat was different from any other retreat that I've been to. Very peaceful and quiet so I could think and pray to God and Mary and other Saints. I felt as if I was right at home with the Sisters. People understood me there better that in the outside world. The talks were fabulous! It is a very balanced life style. Thank you for the weekend! " - Retreatant

Our next vocation retreat is:

Sat. March 3- Sun. March 4, 2012.

You can sign up on our website or read more information about it!

The Best Marriage


Read the excerpt below from:

on The Best Marriage from the page "Discerning Religious Life"at the website www.religious-vocation.com . Please post your comments and questions!


"It is therefore necessary during one's discernment to understand that religious life is not a "giving up" of marriage. Rather, it is an elevation of marriage, beyond this world, towards its ultimate fulfillment - it is to live, here on earth, a more intimate union with heavenly reality. Instead of marrying a fallible man, religious in a mystical sense marry Our Lord Himself, wed to the Church. Instead of raising children, religious adopt every soul as their spiritual child. Instead of devoting one's life towards the salvation of immediate family, religious devote their lives to the salvation of the world. In this way, the consecrated life is everything that marriage is, but elevated to a higher dignity and perfection. It redirects man's natural desire for marriage towards a higher and more perfect end; towards the mystical marriage between Christ and His Church. It is thus that the Church considers the consecrated life an act of supererogation, that is; for those who want to become perfect (Matt. 5:48, "be therefore perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" ), for it is first by becoming perfect, that one is able to sanctify others to the highest degree possible. When a mother explained this in simplified terms to her six year old daughter, the child responded; "Why would anyone want to marry a man when they could marry God?" Although her answer may be somewhat simplistic (Our Lord may call certain souls specifically to marriage, to fulfill a certain work in the world), nonetheless it does speak a certain truth. Jesus Christ is the perfect spouse of our soul; it is only He who can fill the natural void in our hearts perfectly. The better life, according to Our Lord, is to simply sit at His feet like the Magdalene, rather than become divided over temporal matters (Luke 10:42)."

The SOLI Charism



As well as being devoted to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother, the special charism, or spiritual identity of the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate is one of offering our lives, that others, especially lapsed and ignorant Catholics, will come to know and live their Catholic faith once again. Every day, in our convent, we offer a special prayer of oblation, asking God to accept the gift of our prayers, works, and our whole lives for this purpose. There are so many people today, Catholics, baptized Catholics, and yet they do not know almost anything about their Catholic faith and are even indifferent towards God and their own salvation, both children and adults. It is for these that we offer ourselves to God.

Our Father Founder, Father William Lloyd Ryan, a priest of the Diocese of Hamilton and who passed away in 2003, proposed a group of Sisters in France, the sixteen Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, France, as models for us to imitate in this self-offering.

These sixteen Carmelites lived during the reign of terror in the French Revolution. People were being killed by the thousands every day. And the Sisters, privately in their convent were offering their lives as a sacrifice, that the reign of terror would come to an end, which offering they made daily. Eventually the Sisters themselves had the supreme privilege of offering their own lives at the guillotine - they all climbed the scaffold one by one, asking their Superior permission to die, with the Superior being the last one to climb the steps to her eternal reward. Now, ten days after the Sisters' martyrdom, the reign of terror came to an end, beginning with the death of Robespierre. Father Ryan said on this point:

"Now it is not for us to say what brought about this happy ending, but it certainly would seem that God accepted the prayers and the sacrifices of these Nuns. At any rate, I've got that as an example for us. We don't live in a reign of terror today, but we have a reign of ignorance, a great indifference to salvation, I would say in many a great many people almost a complete indifference. I think this is a tremendous tragedy. This is a situation that could only be overcome by a special gift from God, a special grace. And it would be a wonderful blessing to us to have even a small way to merit, to help to merit this special grace from God."

So, as Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate, we strive to live the religious life faithfully and teach the Faith correctly and courageously. We do this as an offering that all will come to know and practice their Catholic Faith once again and achieve their salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Discernment Advice from St. Ignatius: The Spiritual Exercises



As Father Thomas Nelson, O.Praem. told the Sisters in classes at the Vita Consecrata Institute, when you are selecting books to read, don't look for the initial after the person's name (M.A., Ph.D etc) but rather the initials before the name... St. (Saint)!

For this reason, we would like to share a summary of advice for vocation discernment according to St. Ignatius Loyola, who used this manner in discerning his own vocation. Apparently, it worked so well that he standardized it into a format for others to use, which, with other spiritual meditations added, came to be known as "The Spiritual Exercises."

1. MAIN PRINCIPLE:

"Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created."

This is the criterion upon which we must make our life choices - really to meditate on these points: "Why am I here on this earth?" "What are the best means I can use to achieve my goal of praising, reverencing and serving God and saving my soul?"

2. WARNING:

"And so I ought to choose whatever I do, that it may help me for the end for which I am created, not ordering or bringing the end to the means, but the means to the end."

What does this mean? St. Ignatius says that many people first choose the means (i.e. their state in life e.g. marriage) and then think about how they might be able to achieve their end through that means (glory of God and salvation of their souls). However, the Saint says that this is backwards thinking! First we must think of the end, the goal to which we are heading - and then select the best means to that goal, and not the other way around. So practically, I should ask the Lord in earnest prayer, "Lord, by what state in life may I (me personally, not someone else) best love and serve You in this brief life, save my soul and help others save their souls?"


3: THE TWO WAYS OF DISCERNMENT OF ST. IGNATIUS

St. Ignatius knows how difficult it is to be honest with ourselves, so he proposes two "ways" of discernment. The first one is more structred and methodical and the second one is more personal and a person can use either one, or both! They are summarized below:

First Way - 6 Steps

1.Define: Define clearly what you are deciding about (e.g. whether to embrace marriage or religious life as a state in life).

2. Dispose: Think of the end (see main principle) and dispose yourself to be indifferent, to have no inclination towards one or the other, so that you can be open to God's will for you.

3. Ask - Pray! : "To ask of God our Lord to be pleased to move my will and put in my soul what I ought to do regarding the thing proposed, so as to promote more His praise and glory; discussing well and faithfully with my intellect, and choosing agreeably to His most holy pleasure and will."

4. Consider: "To consider, reckoning up, how many advantages and utilities follow for me from holding the proposed state of life for only the praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul, and, to consider likewise, on the contrary, the disadvantages and dangers which there are in having it. Doing the same in the second part, that is, looking at the advantages and utilities there are in not having it, and likewise, on the contrary, the disadvantages and dangers in not having the same."

5. Deliberate and Decide: St. Ignatius recommends now, after having in Step 4 carefully looked at the pros and cons prayerfully, in the presence of God, to decide "according to the greater inclination of reason, and not according to any inclination of sense". This seems like a very hard-line approach! But God gave us the gift of reason to aid us in prudently making decisions. Furthermore, St. Ignatius is recommending this method to souls who have not received any extraordinary grace to know their vocation, nor any inclination, rather than to those who already have a sense that God wishes them to enter a particular vocation.

6. Offer: "Such election, or deliberation, made, the person who has made it ought to go with much diligence to prayer before God our Lord and offer Him such election, that His Divine Majesty may be pleased to receive and confirm it, if it is to His greater service and praise."

The Second Way - 4 Rules

This way is more personal and less structured, but can be just as effective:

1. That you be moved in your decision by the love of God.

2. To imagine a stranger comes before you to lay open his vocational struggles and tells you everything (all the details of your own situation in fact!) Now, you, desiring the good of their soul, recommend to them what is for their greater good. Whatever you would recommend to that person - accept that advice yourself.

3. Choose that which you will wish to have chosen when you come to the moment of death.

4. Choose that you will wish to have chosen at the Day of Judgment.


Some may be drawn more to one method than another. Whatever method most appeals to you, we recommend that you take time to pray sincerely and ask Jesus to direct you according to His holy will. May St. Ignatius pray for you all as you continue to pray about God's will for your state in life!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Upcoming Retreat Oct 22-23rd !


Retreat for Young Women
Ages 16-30
Date: Sat. Oct 22- Sun. Oct 23
3pm - 3pm

We extend an invitation to join our 24 hour retreat that will take place soon! We invite you will take this opportunity to grow in the spiritual life and think about God's plan for your life. Hope to see you there!

Why you will not want to miss this retreat!

· Get away from your busy life for a day
· A chance to talk to God about His plans for your life
· Adoration and quiet time with Jesus
· Meet and have fun with the Sisters
· Have a sneak peek at religious life


Click here for more information or to register: http://www.solisisters.ca/retreats.html

Location: Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate Formation House, Glen Morris (just outside of Cambridge) We can pick you up at the bus or train terminal in Cambridge or Kitchener, or if you need driving directions coming from Toronto or London direction, we are happy to mail those to you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Serra Clubs - Promoting Vocations to the Religious Life and Priesthood!

One organization in the Church that is doing much to promote vocations to the priesthood and the religious life for the glory of God and the salvation of souls is Serra. They describe themselves as "a Catholic lay organization for the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, and the affirmation of vocations, and the spiritual development of its members.

For many years now, the Kitchener-Waterloo Serra Club has been praying for our Sisters in Formation by name and has annually invited our community to a special Christmas dinner for the religious in our area, where we sense the great support and appreciation of the People of God for the consecrated life and for us in particular. The Hamilton Serra Club has also been such a great support to us in this Diocese of Hamilton. We have been welcomed to speak at their meetings and they have supported our Sisters as they reach their Perpetual Vows at the Hamilton Diocese Ordinandi Dinner.

Recently, we have been invited by the Toronto Downtown Serra Club to help them encourage and foster vocations to the religious life by participation in their vocation fairs held at the Youth Conference in Midland in August, and also their annual vocation fair held this year at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Scarborough Sept 24-25. It was such a wonderful time to share our faith and vocation with so many people and receive such a warm welcome at the Parish! A special thanks to Zinna Milburn, VP Vocations, and the President of the Toronto Downtown Serra Club, Anne MacCarthy for their invitation to participate. You can see pictures from the recent Vocation Fair below!

We would like to thank all the Serrans who have supported us in our religious life. May God abundantly bless and reward all of you as you labour for an increase in the labourers in the vineyard of the Lord for a rich harvest!





Monday, September 26, 2011

Monthly Discernment Discussion. Topic: Prayer - Thoughts from St. Jose Maria Escriva


You write, "To pray is to talk with God. But about what?" About what? About Him, about yourself—joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions—and Love and reparation. In a word, to get to know him and to get to know yourself—"to get acquainted!" The Way, 91

You don't know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and as soon as you have said, "Lord, I don't know how to pray!" you can be sure you've already begun. The Way, 90

Look at the set of senseless reasons the enemy gives you for abandoning your prayer. "I have no time"—when you are constantly wasting it. "This is not for me." "My heart is dry..." Prayer is not a question of what you say or feel, but of love. And you love when you try hard to say something to the Lord, even though you might not actually say anything. Furrow, 464

Persevere in prayer. Persevere, even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful. The Way, 101

You don't know what to say to our Lord in your prayer. You can't think of anything, and yet you would like to consult him on many things. Look: make some notes during the day of whatever you want to consider in the presence of God. And then take these notes with you to pray. The Way, 97


Please join our discussion by leaving comments or asking questions. What are your struggles in prayers? How can they be overcome? What helps you to pray and to persevere in prayer? In vocation discernment, how can a young woman give ample time to prayer amidst her many committments? What is the essence of prayer?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SOLI Summer Celebrations!!

Hello friends! This has certainly been a busy, blessed, and joyous summer!

This past July, Sister Maria Faustina and Sister Mary Augustine attended the summer Vita Consecrata Institute (VCI) four week program of theological studies and spiritual renewal for religious offered at Christendom College, as a final preparation before Perpetual Vows . The sisters were blessed to have had the opportunity to meet His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, who was a guest lecturer for the class on Liturgy and the Consecrated Life.


On August 15th, Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the SOLI community celebrated together the Final Profession of our two sisters with great joy! The ceremony was most beautiful and the glowing faces of the two sisters reflected their immense excitement and gratitude in being called to give themselves completely to Our Lord Jesus as His spouses forever. We were grateful to have our dear friend, Bishop Matthew Ustrzycki, as the main celebrant for the Mass, and to see all the priests, seminarians, friends and family who came to share this wonderful day with our Community. A special thank you to Mr. Steven Strauss for his work in conducting the Schola made up of some of our own sisters and talented friends, whose Chants also added to the beauty of the ceremony.

So wonderful to have so many of our friend priests at the celebration!
The community sings "Be wise: make ready your lamps; behold the Bridegroom comes! Go out to meet Him!" and the sisters respond, "Now with all our hearts we follow you,  we reverence you and seek your presence.  Lord, fulfill our hope:  show us your loving kindness, the greatness of your mercy."
The ceremony was held in beautiful St. Clement's Church.
Bishop Ustrzycki with M.C. Father Wayne Lobsinger
Sister Mary Augustine receives her wedding ring!
Sister Maria Faustina receiving the Liturgy of the Hours in the ceremony.
Sister Mary Augustine signs her Vows.
Bishop Ustrzycki giving the homily.
The joyous brides as they make their way down the aisle after the Mass
Cut the cake!

We also had the joy this summer of receiving Shelby Glofcheski as a new postulant and Sister Margaret Mary (Rochelle) MacGrath as our newest Novice. Congratulations to everyone!
"Shelby, what do you desire?"   "I desire to become a candidate in the Community of the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate, in order to prepare myself for religious consecration."

"Rochelle, as a sign of your dying to the world and entering into a new way of life in Christ as a Novice with the Sisters of
 Our Lady Immaculate, from now on you will be called Sister Margaret Mary."
Congratulations Shelby!
Congratulations Sister Margaret Mary!
Some of the SOLI Community together with Father Tim Higgins, who is so kind in offering Mass for us each week