Nothing has ever wounded the Heart of Jesus more than ingratitude. 

Fr. Bonaventure Heurlautlare (Father Founder, Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration)

Solemn Profession of Sr. John Paul

srjpprofcardOn February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Sr. Mary John Paul made her Solemn Profession as a PCPA. It was a day of special grace for Sister and for all who came to witness her life-long vows! The quote from the Gospel of Matthew which the newly-professed chose for her announcement: "With men this is impossible but with God all things are possible," finds an echo repeatedly in the Rite of Profession. The profession of vows began with the affirmation that this is the work of God in the words, "I Sister.... responding to the grace the Lord has granted me..." Please continue to pray for this new spouse of Christ, that the 'good work begun in her' may bear abundant fruit for God and His Church. Truly a life totally dedicated to God and a heart consecrated to Him cannot but be filled with the fathomless joy of the Holy Spirit! srjpblessingsrjpintentionsrjppallsrjpparents

A call to rise above the things of this world

discern“Vocations begin with the Eucharist; they are developed through the Eucharist; and they are preserved by the Eucharist.  All of this is true because the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, still on earth, working through men and women whom He calls to share His plan for salvation.”  -Fr. John Hardon, SJ

God has a plan for you and for your life! This is the good news of discernment. Discernment begins with your relationship with God, with seeking Him who is all the more seeking you. At the heart of discernment is prayer and silent adoration where the heart listens to know the desire of His Heart. Jesus Himself has given us the key to discovering His designs for us. Ask, seek and knock consistently. He has the answer and will reveal it in His own perfect time and way.

   On this quest of discovery, it is important to attend Mass as often as possible and to frequent the Sacrament of Confession. This is important since the more open we are to the grace of God, poured out in abundance in the Sacraments, the more surely we can recognize His promptings. If you then are drawn toward any particular Religious Order, or want to know more about a community, take a big step and write to their Vocation Director. There are Sisters ready to help you in this big venture!

   Another important ingredient in the life of a discerner is daily Scripture reading. Pondering on the Word of God is a sure avenue to hearing God speak to your heart. A spiritual director is also a great help in learning to listen to Our Lord and to distinguish what He may be asking of you. Reading the lives of the Saints and books on the call to Religious Life (such as “And You Are Christ’s” by Fr. Thomas Dubay) are also sources of inspiration which can help bring clarity to your desires.

   Questions, fears, doubts are sure to intermingle with your ardent hopes and aspirations! This is not cause for abandoning the search, but serves to prove your faith and love. Staying close to Our Lady by praying the Rosary is a wonderful way to hand your worries and concerns over to God. She understands! Don’t be afraid to take the step of visiting a community. As you step out in faith, pay attention to where and when you are most at peace, that peace the world cannot give. That is the sure sign that you are on the road God has in mind for you – the road that leads to Heaven.

   This upcoming August 10th – 13th, we will be hosting our second annual Saint Clare Retreat here at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery for young women discerning a possible contemplative vocation. If in your discernment, you think God may be asking you to be His as a PCPA, please write to our Vocation Director at OLAM 3222 County Rd 548, Hanceville, AL 35077. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 205-795-5708. We look forward to hearing from you!

A vocation is a gift from beginning to end — a call to rise above the things of this world and prove by a living witness that there is something more and better to come. -Mother Angelica 

 

Exceedingly great news!

sjpsgaEven as we await the ‘good tidings of great joy for all people’ to be proclaimed on this fast-approaching Christmas, we have exceedingly great news at Our Lady of the Angels! Sr. Mary John Paul and Sr. Mary Gabriella will be making their Solemn Profession of vows on February 2nd, the Presentation of the Lord and March 19th, the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Please pray for them as they prepare to definitively give themselves to Our Lord and enter into a new life – His Life. The unique character of this gift is stated within our PCPA formula of profession when the Sister dedicates “[herself] to Perpetual Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, on behalf of Holy Church” - and we can say, on behalf of every member of the Church.  

            A life hidden in adoration, both at prayer in the Chapel and the rhythm of daily work, truly transcends time and benefits all peoples in every time – for all is given to God.  As these two Sisters set out on this new beginning, their remaining always in the presence of Christ is in a sense ‘in proxy’ for each person who cannot or will not do so. As they are here to love Our Lord, and to love and thank Him on behalf of all, so his gaze from His Eucharistic Throne must see not just them, but also you.  The prayer of our Sisters beats in unison with the Love of God, Who desires nothing less than the salvation of the world. Far from being any fairy tale, this amazing task demands that one’s feet remain firmly planted on the ground so that Christ will find a ready welcome in whatever humble disguise He comes.

As the whole Church keeps vigil for the coming of the Incarnate Son of God, born to take away our sin and bring us to the Father, so our Sisters are preparing for the great exchange of Solemn Profession. Laying down their own lives, they will become sharers in the life and mission of their Divine Spouse. Please join us in praying for Sr. John Paul and Sr. Gabriella in these final weeks before their great day! 

 

November Morning

paverflowerEarly one brisk November morning, the surprising sight of this hearty little flower was more help to overcome sleepiness than the chill in the air. Waking up to the fact that this tiny zinnia was doing something unusual brought into focus over a dozen counterparts in full bloom across a stretch of pavers. This flower’s flourishing in a seeming wasteland was quite a contrast to the inevitable between-paver inhabitants of weeds and moss. The analogy that hit home was parable-like. Most likely planted by wind or bird, and germinating in a rather unfavorable setting, the full life of the flower had not been squelched. This little plant in some way reflects just what the Spirit of the Lord does as He blows where He wills (cf Jn 3:8). Buried as we are with Christ in baptism, the seed of Divine Life given us begins to blossom of its own accord. And if we do not smother this supernatural growth, if we abide in Him, we can exclaim with St. Paul: Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Suds and Sanctity

dishes

Here at the monastery above the large kitchen sink - where piles of pots, measuring cups, serving spoons, & sometimes-burnt pans are washed day after day - is perched a little holy card of Saint Therese of Lisieux. Maybe you’ve seen this photo of her, bending over the wash pool in Carmel, next to her sister Celine. The caption is a saying of the Saint: “To ecstasy, I prefer the monotony of sacrifice.” Sounds rather heroic. And yet, it is a prime characteristic of what distinguishes her in all her extraordinary ‘humanness.’ Her Little Way is a sure path to holiness and is accessible to all who desire the sanctity of the beatitudes. It is a road for those despoiled (or rather being despoiled!) of self-sufficiency and growing in an ever-deepening experience of the Lord's words: "without me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5). Therese didn’t rely on her own gumption when facing hours in a stuffy laundry with Sisters possessing a spectrum of personalities, but she continually sought wisdom and assistance from above. Next to her exceptional poverty of spirit, her ‘mourning’ for the sins and failings of herself and others often took the form of self-sacrifice. Desiring to console Jesus by quenching his thirst for souls, she embarked on the path of self-denial. By curbing petty curiosity or offering to help a demanding Sister, she entered into the joy that is a fruit of the Cross. Although these are thoughts on just two of the beatitudes, meekness, mercy, purity of heart and genuine peacemaking were all Christian attributes St. Therese pursued with a courageous boldness. She has paved this Little Way to such an extraordinary degree, that we really have no excuses, no reasons why we can’t start, or start again, or continue on our way to complete and eternal Beatitude – all with grace from above!

Remembering Sister Mary Vincentia

SMV 485x551Sister Mary Vincentia Wszolek of the Holy Trinity, PCPA died on August 24th, a day after celebrating her 100th birthday. A member of Our Lady of the Angels monastery, Sister Vincentia was in residence at the Mohun Health Care Center in Ohio, having lived at the Portsmouth OH, St. Joseph Adoration Monastery since her entrance in the PCPA Order.

Born Marie Theresa Wszolek on Aug. 23, 1917, in Chicago to Anthony and Anna (Florek) Wszolek, she joined the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago at the young age of 16 on Oct. 4, 1933, made her first profession of vows on Aug. 15, 1936 and her perpetual profession on Aug. 12, 1942.

She was an able apartment supervisor at Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska, for nine years and received a bachelor of science degree in medical technology in 1951 from Creighton University in Omaha. She also served as a laboratory supervisor for 23 years at St. John Hospital in Huron, South Dakota, before following her call to the contemplative life with the Poor Clares. She professed her final vows as a PCPA on May 10, 1974.

Sister Vincentia loved her vocation with all her Polish intensity and fervor. She had deep love for our Lord and the Blessed Mother had a special devotion to our Lady of Sorrows. Sister was always very mindful of the sufferings of Our Lady and would often say: “Oh she suffered so much for us.” Sister Vincentia never allowed old age to hinder her when it came to community living. Sister faithfully made her way to the Chapel with her walker for community prayer, Mass and for her daily holy hour. She never missed being part of community dishes and she took care of the laundry until she couldn’t manage the work anymore. She gave her sisters a shining and a profound example of a bride of Christ who embraced Him in all things. We will never forget her great laugh at community recreation and her tender love for each one of her Sisters in community. Sr. Vincentia would say to the young Sisters after their ceremonies: “Holy perseverance.” Her favorite prayer “Jesus, Mary and Joseph I love you; save souls” was constantly in her heart and mind. As faithful intercessor for all in need during her time here on earth, we pray that she be admitted to the company of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the Saints.

Where Senses Fail

tabernacle smallWith the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi upon us, the celebration of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Saints lead the way in contemplation of this fathomless mystery…

Put aside all care and preoccupation and receive with joy the most holy Body and the most holy Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in holy remembrance of Him.”  - St Francis of Assisi

The Body and Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves will be transformed in our turn. We are to become the Body of Christ, his own Flesh and Blood. We all eat the one bread, and this means that we ourselves become one. In this way, adoration becomes union. God no longer simply stands before us as the One who is totally Other. He is within us, and we are in Him. – Pope Benedict XVI

To make room in our life for the Eucharistic Lord, so that He can change our life into His is that asking too much?  - St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Corpus Christi: the day of adoration, thanksgiving, praise, worship, joy and silent wonder par excellence. In all these aspects of prayer we meet God; ‘God with us’ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The same Jesus Christ who was born of Mary, lived in Nazareth, called the apostles, healed the blind, raised the dead, forgave sinners, was crucified on Calvary and is eternally risen and truly alive – this is the Lord and humble Savior we receive. In awe of His Presence, the book of Sirach says it best: “Though we speak much we cannot reach the end, and the sum of our words is: "He is the all." (Sir 43:27) May you have a blessed Feast with Our Eucharistic Lord!

The Hymn: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence translated by Gerard Moultrie

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descending
Comes our homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
Comes the powers of hell to vanquish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

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If you feel you may have a vocation to our life of adoration and contemplation in the rich Clarian tradition of humility and service then please contact our Vocation Directress.

Te Deum Laudamus!

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