Celebrating Magnanimity

…the Feminine way! 

    Meaning?  Well, I would think novices in a house of men would play football, have a bon-fire or ?? to celebrate their novice master’s feast day – of course prayer would be a part of that too.  But women have flowers, candles, tea, prayer, affirmation and song!  I might get into trouble saying that but it won’t be the first time – men and women are different! (Of course, our culture, with its struggle with gender issues, would not want you to believe this – they have gotten “equality” and “sameness” confused. But, enough of the commentary.)

    In our community we have the custom of the novitiate members hosting a party for the novice directress upon the occasion of her Feast Day. January 13 brought us the feast of little-known Blessed Veronica of Binasco. Butler’s Lives of the Saints tells us that hers was a life of innocence, from her childhood. She was known for her hard work, docility, love of solitude and gift of tears.  She became a lay sister of the order of St. Augustine in Milan.  She came from a very poor and devout family. Pope Leo X permitted her to be honored in her monastery in the same manner as if she had been beatified and her name was inserted in the Roman martyrology. She died in 1497 at the age of 52. 

    Sr. Rose Marie and Ane Kirstine hosted a delightful tea party in honor of their “little mother” and novice directress, Sister Mary Veronica.  Sister is incredibly generous and always available – truly “large hearted”. Here are some sweet photos from that sacred time.  This post is a little late, but better late than never!

Both Ane Kirstine’s mother and Sr. Rose Marie’s mother were present in spirit through the food enjoyed – bread with olive oil and homemade fudge!

Mary Veronica of Jesus Crucified
We were happy to be able to present to her an image of her Crucified Love – a present from Mother Superior and the novitiate.

Our Holy Founder watching over the festivities.


Saint Therese and our Blessed Mother teach us
how to love our Divine Bridegroom.

    Sr. Rose Marie recited a poem of St. Theresewhile Ane Kirstine played Ave Maria as background music.  Here are the words to the meaningful poem.

Song to the Holy Face

a poem of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

Jesus, Your ineffable image
is the star which lights my path.
You know well that Your sweet face
is heaven for me here below!
My love discovers the charms
of Your eyes bathed with tears.
I smile through my tears
when I contemplate Your sorrows.

Oh! I love to console You,
to live unknown and solitary.
Your beauty knows how to sail,
to reveal to me its mystery,
And to You I would like to fly!

Your face is my only fatherland,
It is my Kingdom of love;
It is my bright meadow,
my sweet sun each day.
It is the lily of the valley
giving the mysterious perfume
consoling my exiled soul.
It gives me a taste of heaven’s peace.

It is my rest, my sweetness,
and my melodious song…
Your face, O my sweet Savior,
is the divine bouquet of myrrh
that I like to keep over my heart.

Your face is my one treasure;
I ask nothing more.
Hiding myself within it unceasingly,
I would resemble You, Jesus!
Leave upon me the Divine Imprint
of Your features full of sweetness,
and soon I will become holy.
I would attract hearts!

After I am able to gather
a beautiful golden harvest,
deign to embrace me in your flames.
Give to me soon the eternal kiss
of your adorable mouth.

    We first heard Twila Paris’ song “How Beautiful” when viewing some scripture videos by Ray Vander Laan. (Mr. Vander Laan is not a Catholic and has some misunderstandings about monastic life but, nonetheless, we have been very blessed by his studies of Scripture.) We bought the music with hopes of incorporating the song into Sr. John Mary’s Solemn profession in 2003 but it didn’t work out. But the music has been played almost each year on Sr. Mary Veronica’s feast. It is one of her favorites and ours too! 

How Beautiful

words and music by Twila Paris

How beautiful the hands that served
the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful the feet that walked
the long, dusty roads and the hill to the cross.
How beautiful,
how beautiful,
how beautiful is the body of Christ.

How beautiful the heart that bled,
that took all my sin and bore it instead.
How beautiful the tender eyes
that choose to forgive and never despise.
How beautiful,
how beautiful,
how beautiful is the body of Christ.

And as He laid down His life,
we offer this sacrifice:
that we will live just as He died,
willing to pay the price,
willing to pay the price.

How beautiful the radiant Bride
who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
the fruit of pure lives so that others may live.
How beautiful,
how beautiful,
how beautiful is the body of Christ.

How beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news and the love of the King.
How beautiful the hands that serve
the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful,
how beautiful,
how beautiful is the body of Christ.

     You may be wondering – who was the mysterious photographer?  Well, the assistant novice directress gets to also attend the party!

     I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of novitiate happenings!  Today we are celebrating our Vicar – Sr. Mary Agnes’ feast day and are having a gaudeamus day in her honor.  More photos of that to come.  God-willing, it won’t take me 2 1/2 weeks to post them! 


This entry was posted by Sponsa Christi.

11 thoughts on “Celebrating Magnanimity

  1. Pingback: Lisa Graas » The Blessing of the Passionists in my Life, and an Advent Meditation

  2. Thank you for posting the NOVITIATE CORNER! I especially enjoyed the Formation Sisters’ Reflections:
    The Liturgy of the Hours. I hope to see this as a regular feature of your website.

    Blessed be God. For those who don’t know this new feature is on our website – http://www.passionistnuns.org

  3. Hello Sister!

    Many thanks to you and your community for all of your prayers and hospitality during my Canonical Retreat there. And thanks for putting up with all of my sniffles, coughs, absentmindedness at the altar, and attempts to chant from the “public side” of the chapel! I had a wonderful retreat. Having Msgr. as my director, being able to join you all for all of the hours of the Divine Office, and the great meals were a tremendous blessing. I look forward, God-willing, to assisting at Mass there as a Deacon, to one day celebrating as a Priest, and to many more Passionist retreats.

    In Jesu, per Mariam,
    Matthew Hardesty
    Seminarian, Archdiocese of Louisville
    St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, MD

    Greetings Matthew! It is always a blessing for us Sisters to have you here on retreat. We too look forward to your future presence in our chapel as Prayer Warrior, Deacon and Priest! May your graces of retreat lead you to greater holiness. May God reward you for prayer for and with us. We remain your Sisters in the Passion of Jesus and look forward to your next retreat!

  4. Dear Sisters,

    I have watched your vocations video on Gloria TV. Beautiful and inspiring! I’m trying to decide whether to show it to my young daughter. She is very devout, yet I don’t want her to feel that I’m pushing her in the direction of a vocation. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. By the way, I’ve posted the video on my blog and hope that it attracts many devout souls to your monastery.

    In JXPI Passio,


    Dear David, May the Lord reward you for posting our vocation dvd! Yes, may your prayer come true – O Lord, call many holy and healthy young women to join our monastic family at the Foot of the Cross…to bring the fruits of His passionate charity to our world!

  5. I do love tea parties. What a special way to celebrate Sister Mary Veronica’s feast day! You never cease to amaze me dear Sisters.

    Actually, I was reading Monsignor Michael’s blog and saw that he spoke of you there. Small world, huh. I’m just learning of the connection that the Mandeville order has with the Passionists. Very interesting.

    Blessings to all of you. I must get there to visit you soon.

    P.S. We had a beautiful celebration this morning at Deacon Steve Hohman’s ordination. What a blessing! Another new deacon!
    So good to hear from you Larena! Yes, our Mandeville Missionaries have a very special place in our heart and prayers. In fact, the candle by St. Therese in one of the photos is our Mandeville Missionaries candle and the novitiate often remember our missionaries there in the novitiate rosary.
    Praise the Lord another deacon! We were with Deacon Steve in prayer today in a special way. Blessed be God’s Holy Name!

  6. Pingback: The Anchoress | A First Things Blog

  7. awww…. hearing about the oil and bread made me tear up a bit. we stole the idea from a restaurant in college and did it all the time at the apartment. what a lovely celebration!

  8. Dear Sponsa Christi,

    your post just seemed excellent for the promotion of CP cloistered life. So… I “stole” a good part of it and posted it on my blog ! Hopefully from my blog you’ll get visitors to your website !

    May the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of Mary be ever in our Hearts !

    Msgr. Michael

    How thoughtful of you Msgr! The Lord reward you. I will be looking for ways to do likewise. United in prayer with each of you our dear brothers in the Passion.

  9. I too love the glimpses into your lives and the explanations of your monastery traditions.

    What was the “bread with olive oil”?

    GREAT – olive oil, salt and other spices in which we dipped our bread – a middle east tradition?

  10. Thank you for the pictures, sisters. These little glimpses into your lives and celebrations go a long way in dispelling the odd notions some have about monastic life, and I believe they inspire more vocations. Grace builds on grace! I have a question; I know the novitate extends for two years, – aspirancy is two to three months long, postulancy one year, novice for two years – so the young woman spends over 3 years living in the novitiate area of the monastery under the direction, tutelage and care of the novice directress – and at that time a sister takes “first” vows, and I know that for Passionists, the sister receives her ring at first vows, but at that time is the sister also considered no longer part of the novitiate? – Correct – Also, how long, from the time of first vows, until final vows? -6 years – Thank you in advance. – Thank you for your interest!

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