Friday, February 28, 2014

The Heart of Our Home


The Rule of Benedict calls upon the prioress and the community to a particular love and care for the elders in their midst.  At Sacred Heart Monastery, we are blessed to have St. Joseph's Care Center in the heart of our home.  Our elders, the sick, and those recovering, all receive care and comfort not only from our nursing help, but also our own sisters in the monastery at home.

 The Volunteer Valentine party celebrated the sisters and friends who volunteer around the monastery and the sisters receive their joy-filled care.

"Although human nature itself is drawn to special kindness towards these times of life, that is towards the old and children, still the authority of the Rule should also provide for them.

Let their weakness be always taken into account, and let them by no means be held to the rigor of the Rule with regard to food. On the contrary, let a kind consideration be shown to them, and let them eat before the regular hours."
  (RB 37, 1-3)

 The sisters, volunteers, and staff of the Care Center enjoyed an annual soup supper organized by Barb, coordinator of activities for the Care Center.

"Before all things and above all things, care must be taken of the sick, so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person; for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me".

"But let the sick on their part consider that they are being served for the honor of God, and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them by unnecessary demands. Yet they should be patiently borne with, because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward. Therefore the Abbess shall take greatest care that they suffer no neglect."
  (RB 36, 1-10)

Sisters Margo, the junior, and Leonette, the senior, preparing veggies for a weekly soup supper in the Care Center activity room.

"The juniors, therefore, should honor their seniors, and the seniors love their juniors." (RB 63, 10)

The monastery's retreat house for the sisters has recently been refurbished! After tearing up the old carpet and laying a new floor, the sisters stocked the rooms and cupboards and added some finishing touches. The changes have made the retreat space available to our sisters of all ages and abilities.

It is wonderful to have a home away from home to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the 100 sisters around to house; to be with God in the silence of creation.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

On the Feast of the Chair...


Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle.  A day celebrating the gift of Apostolic Succession and the leadership of the Pope.  The first reading from the First Letter of Peter is an amazing reminder of how those called to lead must live for the flock.
Beloved:  I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.  Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.  Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.  1 Peter 5: 1-4
Join us today in praying for Pope Francis, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and all those who lead and guide the Catholic Church.

O God, True Shepherd of all the faithful,
look with kindness on your servant
Pope Francis, whom you set as head
and shepherd of Your Church.

Grant, we pray, that by word and example
he may be of service to those
over whom he presides so that, together
with the flock entrusted to his care,
he may come to everlasting life.

O God, guide Your Church,
built on the rock of Peter,
with the power of Your Spirit
as we continue on the path
that leads to You.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Saturday, February 8, 2014

National Day of Prayer for Survivors & Victims of Human Trafficking


St. Josephine, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy, dedicated her life after she was freed to comforting the suffering and sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery.  On the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, the Church calls us to awareness and prayer for our sisters and brothers who suffer from the injustice of human trafficking.

Pope Francis' recent Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, also included a reminder of our brothers and sisters in most need of our help: "I have always been distressed at the lot of those who are victims of various kinds of human trafficking. How I wish that all of us would hear God's cry: 'Where is your brother?' (Gen. 4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where are the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor? Let us not look the other way..." (211).

Inspired by the leadership of our Holy Father, the USCCB, Religious Communities, and many women and men who work for the end of slavery, take some time today to learn more about the work of the US Bishops' Council and their anti-trafficking programs and pause during your day to pray for the survivors and victims of trafficking.

Intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita

St. Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child
and endured untold hardship and suffering.
Once liberated from your physical enslavement,
you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church.

O St. Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery;
Intercede with God on their behalf
so that they will be released from their chains of captivity.
Those whom man enslaves, let God set free.

Provide comfort to survivors of slavery
and let them look to you as an example of hope and faith.
Help all survivors find healing from their wounds.
We ask for your prayers and intercessions for those enslaved among us.  Amen.

Intercession Prayer
In the weeks before her death, St. Josephine Bakhita re‐lived the terrible days of her captivity. More than once, she cried out: “Please, loosen the chains … they are heavy!” We ask for the intercession of St. Josephine as we pray …

For the estimated 27 million women, men and children currently held in slavery‐like conditions.  R. Loosen the chains, O Lord; loosen the heavy chains!

For those exploited and objectified in the commercial sex industry.
R. Loosen the chains, O Lord; loosen the heavy chains!

For those forced to become soldiers, especially children who are made into tools for violence. R. Loosen the chains, O Lord; loosen the heavy chains!

For those exploited for their labor in agricultural fields, factories, restaurants, private homes, or anywhere in the shadows, where they are out of sight.
R.  Loosen the chains, O Lord; loosen the heavy chains!

For conversion of heart for the perpetrators and organizers of human trafficking. R.  Loosen the chains, O Lord; loosen the heavy chains!

For governments, corporations, and consumers, that we will address the systems that make human trafficking possible. R.  Loosen the chains, O Lord; loosen the heavy chains!

For the success of efforts to stop the demand for human trafficking.
R.  Loosen the chains, O Lord; loosen the heavy chains!

Let us pray: God of hope and freedom, inspire and strengthen us in our work to loosen the chains of human trafficking in our world, so that like St. Josephine Bakhita, we may stand firm in our resolve to create a slave‐free world. Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

(Prayer 'links' found at the bottom of the USCCB Anti-trafficking Programs page)