Monastery Summer Happenings 2016

Greetings to our blog family!  Thought you’d enjoy seeing some pictures of “photo-worthy” events that have happened this summer…

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Not only did we get a new superior in June but we also received a new chaplain! Fr. Lou Caporiccio, C.P.M. is no stranger to our community. His first work with us was back in 2001 as a chaplain for a vocation retreat. Father is a member of the Fathers of Mercy. Here is seen with Sr. Mary Veronica and Sr. Mary Therese while holding a relic of the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Photos from some Strawberry days…

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The awesome staff of Trinity High School in Whitesville was here for a service day in July. They did everything from weeding, repairing flower bed borders and cutting down the forest in the veggie garden, to power washing and help prep newsletters for mailing. May God bless and reward you!

Photos from Peaches days…my did those peaches taste good!

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It was a blessing to have our friend Fr. Charles Connor with us for a week in August…he gave conferences to the nuns and led the Oblate retreat on the theme of the life and spirituality of Venerable Fulton J Sheen. We hope he’ll return…perhaps with conferences on St. Therese of Lisieux.

 

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This photo definitely received the highest raves when I asked earlier this year which you preferred to be used as a life-size vocation poster. We are in the process of having that banner created. This will draw youth to our display tables at various youth conferences. On the table they will see our vocation materials, including our brochure, which show the smiling faces of the young sisters (that is the “32 and under Gang”)

I heard from a young woman in California last week. I thought her message summed up what we want to show in our vocation materials and what so many of you wrote when you shared your suggestions…It is important to promote the heart of our mission, yet we must do that with joy!

She wrote the following:

I have been thinking about being a nun “when I grow up” since I was around six years old. [She is 17 y.o. now.] For the past year, I have been looking into different convents. I have been attracted to the cloistered contemplative life since my preteen years. I have developed a love for Christ in his Passion over the years as well. One priority of mine is to pray for souls, for my country, for everything and everyone! I think it is a neat idea to make a difference in the world through prayer as a nun.

I looked at the pictures on your website and was surprised and pleased to see that, despite your serious mission, you all look happy. To be honest, I am glad to see a few young faces in the pictures as well. I am thrilled to get know your order and can’t wait for a response! Please pray for me and my family.

Dear family, please pray we always be faithful to our mission in the Church and fulfill it with JOY!

God love you!

Sr. Mary Magdalen Celebrates 50 Years of Cloistered Life

A week ago today we had a wonderful celebration of Sr. Mary Magdalen’s Golden Jubilee of Passionist Profession. It was a very small celebration including Bishop Medley, some priest friends, family and friends.

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Mass for the 50th Anniversary of Passionist Vows

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Sr. Mary Magdalen with her siblings Patsy, Mike and Susie

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New gift of 8 vestments in honor of Sister’s Golden Jubilee

Fr. John Vaughan, a long-time friend of Sr. Mary Magdalen’s family, gave the homily. It was very inspiring. In it he includes a quote from Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation to Nuns entitled Vultum Dei Quaerere. Unfortunately there has been some bad press about the document (“nothing new under the sun!”) but here is a good summary.

Enjoy the homily!

            In the summer of 1964 I was preparing to enter my third year of seminary formation. It was at that time that I heard there was an older parishioner🙂 who was going to enter a Passionist Monastery in Owensboro (she was 19 years old when she entered!). I did not know her – nor did I know what a Passionist was either, but I was happy to

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A Woefully Late Post About the 4th of July!

Yikes! It has been too long since I shared a glimpse in our monastic life…

We are all beginning to get used to having a new mother superior. The funniest story of late…Sister Catherine Marie and I were out running an errand. While waiting in line, I proceeded to introduce myself by saying, “I’m Mother Catherine Marie.”  Sr. Catherine Marie looked at me and said, “No, you’re not.”  I looked at her…mystified…I couldn’t figure out what I had said wrong.

Anyway…here is a fun explanation of our celebration of Independence day back on July 4th, written by one of the novices…I hope as I get more adjusted to this new office that my blog posts won’t be so late!  Enjoy!

Oh beautiful, for cloudy skies, for driving sheets of rain…

America, America, God shed His grace on thee…If He sheds half as much grace as rain He shed this Independence day, our Nation will be blessed indeed!

The weather this Gaudeamus Day morning, in the 80s with about 420% humidity, posed an extra challenge to the two new grilling sisters. Mother John Mary, who has done the grilling for the past several years, passed the job on to Sr. Cecilia Maria and Sr. Rose Marie this year. Undaunted by the torrential rain, they set up the charcoal grill under the aluminum awning at one end of the Monastery. It took nearly an hour to get the coals to light, but lots of lighter fluid, help from grilling expert Christie, and fervent prayers, the valiant sisters succeeded in igniting the damp coal, and did a marvelous job preparing hotdogs, hamburgers, and grilled toast and garlic cloves just in time for Midday Prayer and Dinner.

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After a delicious dinner, and a penitential dessert of dirt and worms, several sisters took advantage of the beautiful weather for some time outdoors. Changing into ‘outdoor’ habits, the group took a leisurely stroll in the rain. To top off the splashy, sloshy, soak-to-the-skin afternoon, they returned to the monastery to make s’mores over the smoldering grill.

Thanks be to God for a beautiful day of celebrating the precious gift of our freedom. May He continue to shower down His grace and mercy in on our Nation.

A Small Catholic World Moment

Well folks…it has been a while since I touched base with you. And a lot has transpired!  It has been a whirlwind 3.5 weeks since our community elections. I have moved into the superior’s office (although, please don’t peek in the superior’s storeroom!) and this is the first time in my 21 years in the monastery to have an office with a window!  It is a delight to have natural lighting pouring in as I sit here at the computer. The windowsill is graced with a Jade plant and a Zebra Cactus flanking a statue of good St. Joseph.

This August we will have the joy of welcoming Olivia into the aspirancy program. Olivia was at the Steubenville Youth Conference last weekend and happened to see a young Franciscan Friar from afar whom she thought looked a lot like our Sr. Frances Marie. Turned out that indeed it was Sr. Frances Marie’s brother, Friar Emmanuel, or as he is better known, Brother Manny.

Olivia with two of Sr. Frances Marie's brothers Sam and Br. Manny.

Olivia with two of Sr. Frances Marie’s brothers Sam and Br. Manny.

As Br. Manny wrote: “It was a wonderful small Catholic world moment!”  (Hope you don’t mind me posting the photo and quoting you Br. Manny. Can this superior get away with “presuming” your permission?🙂 )

Her associate pastor, Fr. Scott Goodfellow, recently posted this in their parish bulletin:

The Veil and the Valedictorian

Congratulations to parishioner and high school graduate Olivia K. for being named valedictorian of the Euclid high school senior class of 2016! Olivia is faithful to daily Mass and prayer, and is a devoted member of our Lifeteen youth ministry program. For the past few years, she has been discerning a vocation to the religious life, and we are proud to say that this August she will be entering the order of Passionist Nuns in Kentucky. Olivia, we pray for you and your vocation to the religious life. May the gift of wisdom you have received and nourished guide you to a holy life and a deeper love of God! May we all continue to pray for vocations to religious life and priesthood!

Thanks for your support of our life of prayer through donations and prayers. Your prayers are bearing fruit!  I am counting on your prayers for our vocation retreat in two weeks. God reward you!

Monastery Election Results

On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, our community began a new chapter in our monastic history. Sr. John Mary Read (a.k.a. Sponsa Christi   to our vocation blog readers) was elected Mother Superior!   (Don’t worry. She will continue her blog posts!)

Fr. Pat Reynolds was the representative for our Bishop Medley who was unable to be present. Here he is with newly elected Mother John Mary and the monastic community

Fr. Pat Reynolds was the representative for our Bishop Medley who was unable to be present. Here he is with newly elected Mother John Mary and the monastic community

Mother John Mary came to us from Elberfeld, IN in 1995, and was a postulant during the construction years of our Crisp Road monastery. We have many humorous memories of that young postulant with long curly hair helping us pick up bricks that we Nuns deemed too good to throw away, or driving our 45-mile-an-hour old truck home from the construction site, her clothing spotted with various colors of paint just like all the rest of the famous “polka-dotted Nuns”. We are sure that throughout her “testing by paint” ordeal as a Passionist postulant, she never dreamed that in the plan of the Father, one day she would be called to lead our community as superior. But so it happened.

Throughout these 20 years here at our relocated monastery, Sister has been instrumental in working with prospective candidates to our life.  Hopefully, her vocation work can continue.  Since Mother John Mary is one of only two Sisters who fill a huge generation gap in our community, her election represents a new generation assuming leadership into our future.  As we begin this new chapter in the history of our monastery, we are so grateful to God that we have younger Nuns who give promise of our community continuing on into the future while continuing to attract more vocations.

In the meantime, we are having many laughs as we all adjust to “Mother” Catherine Marie being “Sister” Catherine Marie again; and “Sister” John Mary now being “Mother” John Mary. Throughout the day we hear, “Mother…err, I mean Sister….” And “Sister…err, I mean Mother.” We will soon get it right, especially if our new superior does not take a notion to give us a penance of a rosary for every time we use the wrong title!! Or, on second thought, that might help us make the adjustment faster!!!🙂

Please keep Mother and all our Nuns in your special prayers! And keep up those vocations prayers too!! Watch for our upcoming issue of “From the Foot of the Cross” for a complete story. Oh! and pray for the other Sisters elected to serve the community for another three years:

Vicar – Sr. Catherine Marie
Novice Directress – Sr. Mary Veronica
First Councilor – Sr. Mary Agnes
Second Councilor – Sr. Mary Veronica
Third Councilor – Sr. Mary Magdalen

Mother John Mary and her Council

Mother John Mary and her Council

 

Monastery News Summer Update

There is a lot going on here at the monastery!

For one thing, we are preparing for the arrival of our new chaplain, Fr. Lou Caporiccio, C.P.M. on July 1st. So we have been VERY busy preparing the chaplain’s house for the new arrival.

In the midst of all this we are trying to keep our flowers hydrated. The heat index here has been around 100 degrees…a wee bit warm for the poor little things planted in clay soil… Thankfully, we had a well dug in preparation for Y2K (remember that!?) and we put it to good use each summer keeping our flowers alive. (Plus the flowers don’t have to deal with all the chemicals coming out of the hose.) But now the Japanese beetles have arrived…😦

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Last week we had a lovely celebration for our current chaplain, Fr. Ray Clark. It was his 25th anniversary of Ordination. There was quite  a crowd present (200 people?) including 16 priests. It was a glorious celebration and we are still enjoying the barbecue leftovers from the reception. Thankfully, they freeze/thaw well!

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Anniversary cake by Larena Lawson – delicious and amazing!

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Fr Ray Clark sharing his favorite scripture passage from the Gospel of St. John chapter 6 used on his ordination anniversary card with the ancient mosaic of the loaves and fishes on the front.

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Some of the fantastic volunteers at the reception following the Mass

Along with preparing for our new chaplain we have also been preparing for our community elections which take place Wednesday. Please pray for the light and guidance of the Holy Spirit! We’ll have a Gaudeamus day Thursday to celebrate. Saturday four families (about 20 people) of the nuns will arrive from Texas, Washington, New York and Florida for a 3 day visit – Yay!

The Thursday after the family visit our new chaplain Fr. Lou moves in, and Friday Mary Kate arrives for a week-long live-in to discern a vocation to Passionist life. Please keep her in your good prayers.

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Mary Kate participated in last October’s vocation retreat

This will bring us into July, at the end of which is our next vocation retreat. Please pray that more women register. Thus far, we only have two registrants, only one of whom has made her travel arrangements. Thank you!

A Friday Meditation from Saint Paul of the Cross

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When you find yourself in a poor state of physical health, be sure to make good use of this evil by suffering for the love of God, in union with all that Jesus Christ suffered for us…Repose on the cross quiet in spirit; remain like a child in the arms of Jesus Crucified.

Saint Paul of the Cross

 

Passionist Nuns Growing in Communion

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Here is some interested news about the Passionist Nuns throughout the world. In Italy last fall, Mother Catherine Marie took part in an historic international meeting of the superiors and delegates of our monasteries of Passionist Nuns. (Just so you understand how historic this was, the one and only other time an international meeting was called was in 1978!)  The meeting was convoked by the Holy See to assist our monasteries in the work of establishing a juridical structure that will unite our monasteries throughout the world, and in drawing up a unified “ratio” for the initial and ongoing formation of Passionist Nuns.

As a follow-up to the international meeting, Mother met here at our monastery with Mother Margaret Mary of our Erlanger, Kentucky monastery, (like them on Facebook!) and Msgr. Michael Palud, C.O. (our canonical assistant) to discuss some of the many issues raised at the meeting in Italy. Mother Margaret Mary’s presence among us was a time of rejoicing in our shared vocation, and mutual sharing of ideas, hopes and concerns.

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Mother Margaret Mary, Msgr. Michael Palud, C.O. and Mother Catherine Marie standing in the entrance of our Guest House

Msgr. Palud’s canonical expertise was of immense help in drawing up a document that represents the opinion of our two Kentucky monasteries.  This document was well received by the General Delegate of the Holy See who is assigned to help us.  Two others of our U.S. monasteries, together with the Passionist Nuns in the Philippines, Korea and Japan have also accepted the document Msgr. drew up for us.

Please continue to pray for the Passionist Nuns as we seek to grow in communion with one another and be strengthened in our Passionist charism. In this way, we can better fulfill our life of prayer and joyful penance in the heart of our Mother, the Church.   God love you!

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Msgr. Palud and Mother Margaret Mary along with our community members

 

Lolek Productions’ Photo Shoot at the Monastery

It all started with a desire to make some vocation posters…we needed some really good photos to work with. I contacted our friend Larena Lawson to see if she could help us and she suggested that Fr. Josh McCarty come over and see what he could do.  On May 5th, Fr. Josh and Larena showed up with LOTS of photography equipment and TONS of energy!  Fr. Josh is the founder and operator of Lolek Productions.  Read the blog post about their visit to our monastery.

Here are some of the photos. God-willing, Sr. John Mary, will now make time to get some vocation posters created and printed!

Enjoy this small sampling of the photos he took. Thank you Fr. Josh!

I’d love to have some input from you. Please see below the photos…

I’d appreciate your input! One of the vocation posters I want to create is a life-size poster of a nun to be set by the table where our vocation materials are being displayed at Youth 2000 retreats, vocation retreats, etc. Please look at the last two photos of Sr. Mary Andrea. One outdoors smiling and the other holding the crucifix.  A few words and our blog address will be added to one of these photos to make a poster. Which of these photos would you use to draw young women to our vocation materials’ display table and ultimately to consider Passionist life as their vocation?  When you leave your answer in the comment box would you also let me know if you are

1  Male

2 Female

and what age bracket you fit in…

a) under 15 years old

b) between 15 and 25 years old

c) between 26 and 36 years old

d) over 36 years old

Thank you for your assistance!  If you want your comment to remain anonymous let me know and I’ll delete your name before approving it.

It’s Martha and Mary Time Again

Photo of this statue taken a few weeks ago

This photo was taken a few weeks ago by good friend and diocesan priest, Fr. Josh McCarty, of Lolek Productions. More about that photo shoot and Lolek Productions in an up-coming blog post.

That’s right. As of yesterday, half of the Sisters (the Marys) are in a silent retreat for a blessed 8 days while the other half take on most of the monastery duties (hence, the Marthas).

Please pray for us during these very special days.  We need these times of rejuvenation that we be renewed in our surrender to God’s mission for our contemplative life and that we be filled with generosity to live it. May our Lady intercede powerfully for us that we may fall ever more in love with her Divine Son – Jesus!

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