On January 10th, we welcomed home a new member to our growing family! Yvelyne Bernard, originally born in New York, moved to Florida when she was 15. After college, she moved to Louisiana and worked in campus ministry for 3 years. She found profound peace in our community when she came on one of our Come and See retreats, in Baton Rouge, back in October. Her official entry was to be until February 2nd, yet, even from the first week, she has fit in so well. It’s as if she has been with us for years!
From January 21st to January 22nd, we were in Washington DC, for the Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the March for Life. What a blessed experience! Truly from the time that we left to the moment we got back, God was spoiling us with His loving providence.
First, we had wanted to leave Cleveland early enough to miss the snow that was supposed to fall, but we ended up leaving a bit later; and although the snow was only about an inch on the ground, the city hadn’t salted the streets so we feared the roads being too dangerous to drive on. But praise God, as soon as we got to the main roads and highway, the roads were clear.
Once we made it to Washington, found parking near the Basilica, and tried to find seating, the Sisters got separated from the baby nuns! Thankfully, Sr. Jeanette had told everyone of a meeting spot if anyone got lost or separated. So everyone was able to regroup, after Mass, at the meeting spot. Plus it was a true blessing that we got separated: The Sisters, being so few, were able to sit right at the very front, next to the Nuncio! And the baby nuns, who went down into the lower crypt, were able to be reunited with their friends from Florida.
After the Mass, April’s generous father treated us all to dinner, at a beautiful restaurant. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed each others company and delicious food. After dinner, we made our way to the hotel for a good night’s sleep, ready for the March the next day.
Thursday morning, we went back to the Basilica for Mass. Afterwards, we were trying to figure out the best way to get to the National Mall. We decided that leaving the van at the Basilica, and taking the subway was our best option. Praise God, the nearest subway was right across the street from the Basilica, through Catholic University! As we started to board the subway, the door closed and caused April to get left behind. So we went back to rescue her, haha. It made for funny conversations the rest of the day.
The March itself lasted 4 hours. There could not be less than 800, 000 people there! What a witness to life! It was a beautiful experience. We marched along side seminarians who brought their marching band. Their joy and celebration of life was a beautiful balance to those who marched with a more solemn and sober disposition. In the end, we were all fighting for the freedom of those who cannot fight for themselves. We all were giving our lives, for the sake of others.
After the March, we made our way back the subway towards the Basilica. Our tickets had ran out of money so we were all stopped at the gate. But praise God, the official let us pass without paying. We immediately prayed three Hail Mary’s for him, in thanksgiving for his generosity.
As we made our way back to Cleveland, Sr. Isabel, who had driven the entire time there and back, became very hungry. She missed the exit she had wanted to go to but made it to a Burger King at the next exit. As soon as we walked in, a few girls asked us if we were at the March for Life. Practically everyone in that Burger King had been at the March. We all ordered something to eat and as we found somewhere to sit, a married couple paid for our meals! We thanked them many times and offered up a prayer for them. After eating, we were back on the road and made it back home around 1:30 am. The entire experience was full of blessings. May God bless all those pilgrims, all our benefactors and all those involved in bringing about the Culture of Life!
And finally, about two weeks after the March, Yvelyne, officially entered the convent on February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord. Praise God, her parents were able to come. Normally, the ceremony is closed, but her parents had never visited before, so this was a perfect opportunity for them to have peace of mind and heart, to know that she is safe and happy. It was a beautiful day. We are grateful to God for blessing us with vocations to our community. We humbly pray that vocations continue to come. We have a couple of women who are visiting and others who are interested or planning on visiting. Keep these women in your prayers. May they be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Praised be Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, now and forever. Amen!
On January 21st, we were blessed to be able to attend the Vigil Mass for the March for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. It is estimated that 11,000 people were in attendance. The celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is always incredibly powerful, and it was especially moving to see all of the clergy, religious, and laity there. So many young people… we truly are the pro-life generation.
On January 22nd, we participated in the March for Life. It is a beautiful, peaceful march through our nation’s capital to celebrate the gift of life, and to show our solidarity in defending all human life, from conception to natural death. Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds walked together, some singing, some dancing, some praying, some chanting, some in reflective silence… but all moving as One. So many witnesses, including courageous mothers and fathers who had lost children to abortion. May we strive to build a culture of life everywhere that we go. “Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love” – Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
A letter to our Heavenly Father
What is love? What is man that You keep him in mind, mortal man that You care for him? Who am I to have acquired Your Eucharistic Love? To have acquired You? I am seeking You. I am not far from You because of You; because of Your gifts to me: to mankind. It is by You alone that I know You are Good; that I am, in my essence, good. That You are Love, and that I can love. Love is a choice. May I always choose to love You and Your creation. May I always choose You. May I always choose Love.
I love You. Please help me to discern Your Will for me, and please accomplish it in me.
Praised be Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, now and forever!
As we begin the new year, many of us may have special goals for ourselves. A new year is exciting because it gives us a fresh opportunity to better ourselves in some way. I would like to present to you a daily goal for the new year: to be transformed by Love!
If you are reading this blog, I think it is safe to assume that you have some vested interest in the condition of your soul. This is typically not something our worldly culture encourages us to think about, so it is really our choice (because God has given us all free will) to desire eternal life with God. This desire is really important for the spiritual journey. If you desire to become a saint, then God will make it happen….if you let Him. That is the real struggle.
In order for God to make you holy, you have to be open to receive His love. In Scripture, we read over and over again that God is love. What does this mean? St. John says in his first letter:
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:16-19)
God created each of us in His image and likeness. Because He is love, we were created out of love. St. John, the Beloved Disciple, knew the heart of Jesus very well and he was open to receiving this special love from Jesus. It was John who stayed with Jesus at the foot of the cross with Mary when all the other disciples ran and hid. St. John ran faster than St. Peter to the tomb after he heard that Jesus was risen. St. John was transformed by Love.
We are all called to this same intimate relationship that St. John and Jesus shared, but many of us find this very difficult to accept. In order to be transformed and share in this authentic relationship with God, we need to be vulnerable. This means we have to share and surrender our pains, sufferings, joys, and who we truly are with God! This is not easy and it is often very painful.
You may be thinking, “St. John had it easy because Jesus was really there with him! He got to actually lean on Jesus’ Sacred Heart and be with Him.” Well, if this is your line of thinking, then I have some very good news: Jesus IS still with us everyday, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.
My community is very privileged to have Eucharistic Exposition everyday as a part of our lives. Just by truly being present with our Eucharistic Lord, our hearts are being transformed by His Love. A very special spiritual father of mine once told me that, “prayer is simply heart speaking to Heart.” That is what we do and this is something everyone is called to do! Remember, if you have the desire to be transformed, God will respond. Even if our hearts are just a little bit open, He can work miracles. It was Jesus who said that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains (Matthew 17:20).
Allow Jesus to transform you with His love in the Eucharist. Become like St. John and lean on the heart of the Beloved, and He will make you one of His saints.
United in the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus,
Katie McCloskey, Postulant