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Anima Mariae: the Quarterly Newsletter of the sisters of Mary Immaculate Queen

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What do the nuns do during summer?
Articles in this newsletter:
The Sacred Heart: Symbol of God’ Love
The Fatima Centennial
Yes, Nuns Do Have Fun!
Just for Smiles
Photo Gallery (separate web page)
Calendar

Our Apostolate of Prayer
Send intentions for Sisters’ Novenas

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Summer 2017

What’s a Nun’s Summer Like?

Retreat, Vows, Catechism, Singing, Classes —
and Fun!

For just a quick overview of our summer: First of all, the Sisters will be going on their annual Retreat on Tuesday, June 20, and our Vows’ Ceremonies will take place on June 27. Some people think of a retreat as a kind of vacation, but for the Sisters it is a time of silence, extra prayer, reading and spiritual conferences.

For three Sisters, this retreat will be the last step in a 2-month period of intense preparation for taking vows. Sr. Helen Marie will be making her Final Profession; Sr. Mary Andrea will be making her Triennial Profession (vows for three years), and Sr. Philomena Marie wil be making her First Profession (vows for one year). Also on that day, Sr. Mary Bernadette will be celebrating her Golden Jubilee — that is, her 50th Anniversary of Vows! The combined ceremony of Vows and Jubilee begins with all the Sisters processing into the church chanting the Salve Regina a very moving sight. We would all be most grateful if you would keep all of us in your prayers during this time, and be assured we will be praying for you as well.

Next, after these silent and prayerful days comes a change in pace as we prepare to welcome a large number of visitors to the Mount. On the evening of July 4 comes our Annual Concert and Dessert Social at Mount St. Michael. Guests are welcome to stay and watch the fireworks over downtown Spokane after the concert. And the next day, the Sisters will be hosting a Luncheon Concert, cooked and served by the nuns. Two quite busy days!

But the Sisters do get a break during the summer, and during the week after July 4 we will go on a little outing for a few days of relaxation. (You can read more about how the Sisters recreate later in this newsletter.)

But summer is not all about recreation — there are still souls to instruct and lead to God, and teachers’ classes and projects that can’ t be handled any other time of the year. This includes catechism missions going to several different areas throughout the country, where the Sisters will be kept very busy working with children who aren’ t able to attend a Catholic school, as well as visiting and instructing adults. This year Camp St. Philomena Camp for girls is from August 6-11, the same dates as St. Joseph Seminary Boys' Camp in northern Idaho in order to accommodate parents who have children attending both camps. And a few days later comes the Ladies’ Retreat and Get-away from August 13-20.

What’s next? Oh yes — it’ s time to start the new school year, of course! But... what happened to the summer?

The Sacred Heart: Symbol of God’s Love for Us

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Having just concluded the beautiful month of May in loving praise of our dear Heavenly Mother, we now turn our attention to her Son. God’s greatest gift to the human race was in its prototype, Jesus Christ, God-made-Man. We often view Christ as an afterthought on the part of God. We see a sequence like this: First God created man, then man fell, and lastly, God became man in order to redeem us. However, since God is eternal, all-present and all-knowing, He knew before He ever created us that we would fail the test and before anything ever went wrong, He had a plan by which to fix it. Forever in God’s mind, the image of His Son was united with a perfect human nature, and in the image of that human nature each of us is created.

Within the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the personification of the love of God. In the human soul of Jesus the Holy Ghost dwelt in the fullness of sanctifying grace, also known as the life of God or the love of God. The human Heart of Jesus then, burned with a love both human and divine, which flowed out upon every one of us poor human creatures, and was not content until that Heart was pierced and every drop of His Blood had been poured out for us in proof of that love.

This is the meaning of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians says, “…walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness.” Jesus has taken our sins upon Himself; in His infinite love and mercy, He has paid the price of our redemption. And in His mercy He wishes each sinner to receive His love and forgiveness. Let us trustingly confess to Him our sorrow for the sins by which we have wounded His Heart, and allow His love and forgiveness to heal the wounds we have inflicted on our own souls. The Heart of Jesus, the God-Man, is then the perfect symbol of God’s love for us. During this month of June, let us offer to Jesus our poor love in return for His. After all, that is what He is searching for. He created us out of His magnanimous goodness that we might share His love.

In the face of such infinite bounty of our God, we feel so small and unable to respond adequately. But once more He has forestalled our need. He has also shared with us the spotless Mother who gave Him birth, who formed His body from her own pure substance. Let us ask her, “our tainted nature’s solitary boast” to teach us how to love her Son.

The Fatima Centennial

Sisters kneeling before Our Lady of Fatima   
Our Lady asks each of us: “Will you offer yourself to God, to endure all the sufferings that He may please to send you as an act of reparation. . . and to ask for the conversion of sinners?”

During this Centennial year of Fatima, we can show our love and gratitude to Our Lady in many ways for the wondrous graces she gave to the world in 1917. And while we certainly should be fervent in taking part in celebrations held in her honor, we must remember that what she wants most is that we live according to her requests, which are more urgent today than ever, and may be summed up as follows:

  • above all, true contrition for our sins and amendment of life;
  • to do penance, especially by offering up the sacrifice of daily duty;
  • prayer, especially the daily Rosary;
  • consecration to her Immaculate Heart;
  • prayer and sacrifice to save souls from hell.

One way to spur ourselves to greater generosity is to review Our Lady’s words, and those of the Angel of Portugal, and to consider them as spoken to ourselves. Sometimes I close my eyes and picture myself kneeling with the three children before Our Lady. I listen as she tells Lucia that she and Jacinta will go to Heaven. “And Francisco?” Lucia asks. “Yes,” she answers, “but he will have to say many rosaries.” Then Lucia, glancing at me, asks Our Lady if I will go to Heaven too. Will she say that “Yes” — but that I also “will have to say many rosaries”? She very well might. Then let me imitate the example of little Francisco and pray “many rosaries”!  

Now Our Lady is speaking again: “Will you offer yourself to God, to endure all the sufferings that He may please to send you as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?” The three little ones at my side quickly say Yes. Our Lady’s eyes rest on me as she waits for my answer, full of love and reassurance, yet almost pleading: “Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” How could I say No?

Yet, apparently, many who know the message of Fatima do not live it. In an interview in 1957, Sister Lucia said that “the Most Holy Virgin is very sad because no one has paid any attention to her message, neither (cont’d on back page) the good nor the bad...” It isn’t enough to live our Faith and be virtuous; we must look into our hearts to see if there is anything in her message that we have not taken seriously enough: amendment of life, prayer, sacrifice, reparation, consecration to her Immaculate Heart...

The daily Rosary Our Lady repeatedly asked for at Fatima is to be the source of the graces we need to fulfill her other requests. In her July apparition, she said to pray the daily Rosary because only Our Lady of the Rosary will be able to help you. These are striking words, all the more so in light of Lucia’s explanation in 1957 that God has given two last remedies to the world — the Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary — meaning that there will be no others.

The Sisters invite you to join us in giving Our Lady the 100th anniversary gift that will please her most: a whole-hearted resolution, with the help of her grace, to do all we can to fulfill her requests in our own lives.

Yes, Nuns Do Have Fun!

A Sister making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament Ascension Thursday found the Sisters at the lake, some of them on the lake, and unfortunately, some of them in the lake (all are well)!   

Recently I heard a line in a school play in which Camelot’s Queen Guinevere was said to have “entered a convent where she lived for the rest of her life and never smiled again.” Immediately I thought, “Oh dear! That’s no way to think about convent life!” How wrong they are who think religious life is miserable! Even one who enters the convent to do penance for her past life will find peace and joy — and yes, even merriment — if she lives her vocation with generous love. After all, the religious life is all about love, and a Sister who believes in God’s boundless love for her has much to smile about. In fact, a postulant or novice who never smiles would probably be told that she doesn’t have a vocation. The truth is that nuns have the ability to laugh and take delight in the simplest things in life.

Not only that, but the convent schedule includes periods of recreation, during which the Sisters occupy themselves with games, crafts, walks, singing or playing instruments, etc. There is wisdom in that old saying that “The bow that is always bent will break.” On feastdays, the Sisters sometimes put on skits, which could be inspirational, humorous, or even both at the same time. During the warmer months, we make time for picnics and outings, and outdoor recreation might include volleyball or other lawn games, or even pickleball.

Just for Smiles

A few weeks ago two of our Sisters were traveling down a freeway when the driver noticed flashing lights in the rearview mirror. “Oh no! Is he after me?” she asked her companion Sister, who had been reading to her from a spiritual book. “I can’t imagine what I could have done!” she said as she moved to the side of the road.

The Sisters waited nervously as the officer approached, only to breathe a sigh of relief when he reached the window: “I’m sorry! You’re all right; just pull back into traffic,” he said. Then their relief turned to amusement. Pointing to the Sister on the passenger side, he explained: “I thought she was a dummy — sometimes people put dummies in the front seat so they can use the carpool lane.”

Calendar

June 13
23

21-25
27

29
30
  Sr. Mary Antoinette’s feastday
Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sr. Corinne Marie’s feastday
Sisters’ Annual Retreat
Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Sisters’ Vows Ceremonies
Sr. Mary Petra’s feastday
Sr. Mary Paula’s feastday
July 4
5
12
13-17
  Annual 4th of July Concert at Mount St. Michael
Summer Luncheon Concert at Mount St. Michael
Sr. Mary Veronica’s feastday
Classes for the teaching Sisters
August 6-11

9
11
13-20
15
18
28
  Camp St. Philomena (see www.campstphilomena.com for information)
Sr. Marie Vianney’s feastday
Sr. Philomena Marie’s feastday
Ladies' Retreat and Get-away at Mount St. Michael
Feast of the Assumption BVM
Sr. Helen Marie’s feastday
Sr. Augustine Marie’s feastday


The Sisters praying during the 40 Hours Devotion

Our Apostolate of Prayer

Are you worried about a loved one? Is there a problem that is weighing heavily upon your heart? Send in your intentions, and the Sisters will commend them in their prayers and Masses, especially during our upcoming Novenas:

Our Lady of Mount Carmel
   (Feast: July 16)
Immaculate Heart of Mary
   (Feast: August 22)
 

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Anima Mariae is the free quarterly newsletter of the CMRI Sisters.
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St. Michael’s Convent
8502 N. St. Michael’s Rd.
Spokane, WA 99217
Phone: (509) 467-0986 ext. 123
Fax: (509) 467-1177
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