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 . 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."


"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?"


"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?"


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!