Monastery Christmas Greetings!

Blessed Christmas!

Hello friends!  It’s been so long since I posted I almost forgot how to do it!  I do apologize for my absence. Two days ago was the six month anniversary of my election as superior. The past 3 months have been a whirlwind.

We’ve had many good things happening around here…

In August Sr. Mary Magdalen celebrated her Golden Jubilee. She had a small public celebration and then a few months later we had our monastic community celebration.


Sr. Mary Magdalen has a great love for Pope Saint John Paul II. Here she is in his pope-mobile with his former secretary Cardinal Dziwisz. If you look closely you can see Pope John Paul looking down from the Father’s House.

On that day we played a game of finding the lost sheep (like an egg-hunt) and then Pin the Sheep in Jesus' arms.

On that day we played a game of finding the lost sheep (like an egg-hunt) and then Pin the Sheep in Jesus’ arms.


Later in the day some of the nuns played “monkey in the middle”.

monkeyinthemiddle1blog2016 monkeyinthemiddle2blog2016

Towards the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy we consecrated our community to Divine Mercy and I surprised the sisters with a life-size image of the Vilnius Divine Mercy Image…a gift from the family of one of our sisters.


In October a group of students and FOCUS missionaries from Murray State University made a retreat here. It was a joy to see them in chapel and have them join us for our liturgies.


We worked on a major vocation promotion initiative. We had vocation posters and brochures printed and mailed/delivered over 150 vocation packages – special thanks to Oblates – especially Kerry Ledington, and also Larena Lawson and Fr. Julio Barrera. We also had a Vocation banner created that can be set up at Youth 2000 retreats, parishes, and school classrooms. We hope this will draw more young women to consider a Passionist vocation.

thanks to Fr. Josh McCarty and Lolek Productions for this unique photo

thanks to Fr. Josh McCarty and Lolek Productions for this unique photo

Our two aspirants finished their aspirancy program. We thank them for the openness they had to the process of discernment.  Olivia discerned that God has another plan for her – we miss you Olivia!  Ruth entered the monastery on December 8th – blessed be God! Please pray for Ruth and join us in thanking God for the early Christmas gift of her entering the monastery!


(Ruth’s photo as a postulant is on its way in a future blog post. I don’t have access to hose photos tonight and I want to get this posted before Christmas Midnight Mass!)


Mother Fernanda our Delegate General

The end of November brought us our Vatican Visitation. The preparation was quite time consuming as you can imagine. Our General Delegate has been visiting all our Passionist monasteries. A recent apostolic constitution, Vultum Dei Quaerere, calls for all unfederated cloistered monasteries (like our own) to unite in forming some kind of structure of communion. So we have embarked on forging a structure of communion amongst all our monasteries throughout the world (there are five in the States). It will be called a “Monastic Congregation” similar in some ways to what Benedictine and Trappistine Nuns have. Quite a huge project but one we are very happy about. Would you please pray for this huge endeavor? A lot has to take place before the structure is set in place.


Fr. Giuseppe Barbieri, CP was Mother Fernanda’s assistant and translator as she visited the five USA monasteries.

At the same time we were having the Visitation – the three days before Thanksgiving – a retreatant-friend (Kate Mims) and her sons from Houston, came and built a lovely, large wooden bridge crossing the creek down behind the retreat house. This connects to some trails back there, one of which leads to the top of the hill – Angel’s Peak. Kate and sons built a small shrine there to St. Michael the Archangel in honor of their deceased husband/father Michael.

bridgeblog2016 stmichaelshrine2blog2016 stmichaelshrine3blog2016

Thanks Kate and Friends!

Thanks Kate and Friends!

A few weeks ago we had our annual visit with the Fathers of Mercy who are information, along with their formators, superior and a few others…always a joy.

Here they are doing a spoof of a scene from The Princess Bride

Here they are doing a spoof of a scene from The Princess Bride



Last, but not least…we are happily looking forward to the first profession of vows of our novice, Sr. Lucia Marie (from Lakeland, FL) on January 5th.

Well…these are some of the highlights of the past months. There are only so many hours in a day…I am hoping that in 2016 a new nun can take over as Sponsa Christi and keep the blog posts more regular.

Family and Friends – may you have a most joyous and grace-filled Christmas ever.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you…especially those of you who are particularly suffering at this time. May the Peace of the Christ-Child fill your hearts and homes.

Passionist Nuns in the News

A couple months ago, our friend Kristen Krog of Denmark, a Passionist Oblate, interviewed our Sr. Cecilia Maria for the Katolsk Orientering – a Catholic newspaper in Denmark. In the interview Sr. Cecilia Maria shares with us about her journey to Catholicism, the monastery and what it means to her to be a spiritual mother.

And…just in case you don’t speak Danish – here is the English original!

Can you tell a little bit about your Danish background?

My mother’s parents both immigrated to the United States from Denmark, and they met in the Danish Lutheran Church in Los Angeles, CA, where they were married. My mother was born in America, but she grew up surrounded by the Danish language and culture. Most of her relatives still live in Denmark, and I have visited them three times in the little town of Vorning, Jylland, where our family has owned and operated the store for 100 years, since 1916! My baptismal name, Ane Kirstine, is after my great-grandmother, Ane Kirstine “Købmand” Nielsen, who ran the store for many years after her husband Anton died.

My mother taught us many of the Danish customs she knew and loved. Since entering the monastery, I have taught the nuns some of our traditions, too. Now we all look forward to discovering who wins the almond hidden in the Christmas risalamand, and we all enjoy an occasional meal of frikadeller and brune kartoffler! (more…)

Evenings of Prayer for National Elections


This Monday will be our second evening of Eucharistic Prayer for our national elections. We had a great turn out in September.  Please join us in October. Mark your calendar for this Monday, October 3 at 6:30 p.m. here at the monastery. Invite your friends and family to this evening of Eucharistic adoration, prayer, scripture, homily by Fr. Lou Caporiccio, C.P.M. and benediction.

The third and final evening will be Monday, November 7th – the eve of our national elections.

Let us pray for our Nation!

Steve Hermann Photos of Passionist Monastery

“Can I take photos of the inside of your chapel?”, the eager man requested of Sr. Catherine Marie the afternoon of Sr. Mary Magdalen’s Golden Jubilee on August 13.  He could hardly contain his excitement.

We escorted him down to chapel and within 15 minutes he was on his way promising to send us the finished results. These photos are phenomenal and I know you will be as amazed as we were.

You can see more of his work at Steve Hermann Inspirational Photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Alas…Forgotten Blog Post

Hello dear friends, I put this post together some weeks ago but forgot to publish it…alas…losing my memory…the woes of running a monastery. 🙂

Enjoy the post…

A couple weeks ago we celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. This feast was very important to our Holy Founder, St. Paul of the Cross. We prepared for this feast with a Solemn Community Novena. We make 5 of these solemn novenas a year. To help us prepare for the celebration we reflected upon Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII. The morning of the Feast we were free from unnecessary work and spent the morning hours in Eucharistic adoration.

After lunch we gathered to take a walk down memory lane. We divided up into 3 teams had acted out memorable events from the history of our monastic community.

By the way, Theresa was with us for her third visit. Please pray for her and all women who are discerning a vocation to our monastery!


here one team talks about what they will act out.


Sr. Lucia Marie and Theresa enjoy the skit of another team


This scene is portraying the flood we had in the late 1990’s when water was pouring in through every nook and cranny in our basement walls. Since then the drainage problem has been “fixed”!


Sr. Marie Michael enacts the time she almost cut of 3 fingers with an electric hedge trimmer!


Theresa plays some lovely hymns and song for “After Meal Entertainment”


Silence is usually kept at meals while listening/watching spiritual video/Catholic news…On special occasions we turn the tables and speak at meal time.



Please keep Theresa and all our discerning friends in your prayers!


Finally – Photo of Aspirants

Sunday, August 28 Ruth and Olivia received their small Passion sign pin and officially entered the 3-month aspirancy program. They received their pin during Vespers of that Sunday.


The following was the reading for Vespers that evening – how appropriate!

READING      2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
We are bound to thank God for you always, beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, because you are the first fruits of those whom God has chosen for salvation, in holiness of spirit and fidelity to truth. He called you through our preaching of the good news so that you might achieve the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Our Lord is great, mighty is his power.
– Our Lord is great, mighty is his power.
His wisdom is beyond compare,
– mighty is his power.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
– Our Lord is great, mighty is his power.

Indeed His wisdom is beyond compare!


Please keep Ruth and Olivia in your prayers as they and we continue to discern God’s plan if it is indeed his will for them to be future Passionist Nuns.

This post is dedicated to the “aspirant moms”!

A Passionist Saint in the Making

I came across this article earlier this week and thought you would find it interesting. Apologies I haven’t gotten those aspirants posted yet – will do soon!

Father Ignatius Spencer - Passionist Missionary

Father Ignatius Spencer – Passionist Missionary

Priest related to Princess Diana on the path to sainthood

From EWTN News

A relative of Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry has moved one step closer to sainthood.

According to reports from the British news source Catholic Herald, a 20-year investigation into the life and works of Father Ignatius Spencer has recently been approved by Vatican historians.

The positio, or document used in the process to declare someone “venerable,” has officially been passed to the theologians of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood.

If sufficient “evidence of sanctity” is found, they will appeal to Pope Francis to declare the Passionist priest “venerable,” the second of four major steps on the path to canonization as a saint in the Catholic Church.

Fr. Ignatius Spencer was born George Spencer in 1799 and was an Anglican clergyman in the area of Althorp, Northamptonshire, where Lady Diana was buried after she was killed in a Paris car crash in August 1997.

Fr. Spencer converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of 31, scandalizing some in the Victorian society.

The Spencer family, mostly members of the Church of England, were the fifth wealthiest family in the country at the time.

Early on in his priesthood, Fr. Spencer was attracted to the active contemplative community of the Passionists. He became known for his ecumenical efforts in pursuit of “unity in truth,” the same quest for truth that led him to the Catholic faith.

According to Fr. John Kearns, the British Passionist Provincial, Fr. Spencer also maintained his love for cricket, calling it “my mania.”

He was also known for his work with the poor, particularly with Irish immigrants. He once said that he wished he could die like Jesus – “in a ditch, unseen and unknown.” The words ended up being prophetic, because Fr. Spencer died alone after having a seizure on a country lane near Edinburgh, Scotland. His body is entombed in the Church of St Anne and Blessed Dominic in St Helens, Merseyside.

Fr. Spencer is the great-great-great uncle of the Princess Diana, as well as the great uncle of Winston Churchill.

Once Fr. Spencer is declared venerable, the next step in his canonization process would be beatification, which would require evidence of a miracle that occurs through the intercession.

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury told the Catholic Herald that Fr. Spencer’s life is a “heroic and often neglected” chapter of Catholicism in England.

“In facing the challenge of secularism, Fr Ignatius and his fellow Passionists – Blessed Dominic Barberi and Mother Elizabeth Prout – remind us of the missionary energy and purpose which marked ‘the second spring’ of the Catholic Church in England.”

Read Fr. Ignatius’ writings here.

Summer Newsletter and Aspirants!

Hello from a Kentucky cloister!

Our latest newsletter was just posted on our website. It features an interview with Mother John Mary.

And don’t miss the insert that shares the motive-force behind our retreat house and how you can make a holy “get away” to draw near to God in a silent and prayerful environment.

A N D   I   H A V E   F A B U L O U S   N E W S ! ! !

As of this past Saturday we have two aspirants!  Please pray for Ruth and Olivia as they begin this 3-month odyssey of seeking God and his plan for their lives. If all goes well they will discern entering our monastery in December!

I will post photos of them in my next blog post…I know…that’s kind of cruel isn’t it. 🙂

God bless you! and be on the watch for two Passionist aspirants…

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…


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…



nunstrawberriescblog2016 nunstrawberriesdblog2016


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!

novicespeachesblog2016 srceciliamariapeachesblog2016



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.



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.


Mass for the 50th Anniversary of Passionist Vows


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


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