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  Articles in this newsletter:
A Busy Summer
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Photo Gallery (separate web page)

Our Apostolate of Prayer
Send intentions for Sisters’ Novenas

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Fall 2015

Dear Friends,

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

Praised be Jesus and Mary! As it says in the words of Ecclesiastes, “To everything, there is a season…”  And it was time for summer. Summer! ...Visions of long quiet days, now that the children have left the classrooms for vacation...

Such a thought lasts only a minute in the mind of a CMRI Sister, for when she sends her last student out the door in June with a bright smile and a prayer, she knows the days ahead are not going to be long and quiet. They are in many ways just as full and lively as the school year… but with a different sort of activity.

Our Sisters began the summer with the annual religious retreat — but what a special retreat it was! By God’s Providence we were able to have it at a nearby retreat center. This two story building was a quaint structure from the turn of the 20th century, complete with wrap-around balconies and window seats! We turned one of the big meeting rooms into a chapel (it was truly beautiful with all the statues, the altar, even Stations of the Cross!) and assigned rooms in the various dorms. Everyone took a turn cooking. Between the retreat conferences and common prayer, we had acres and acres of forest and lake front property in which to walk and reflect and pray. It was truly a week for contemplation with God in His beautiful world!

    Father announces the releasing of 100 balloons in honor of the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking of Mount St. Michael
  Father announces the releasing of 100 balloons in honor of the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking of Mount St. Michael
  In late July, four Sisters traveled to sunny California to teach catechism in a week long “camp.” It is wonderful experience for both the Sisters and the children, who come from very diverse backgrounds. It never takes long for the little ones to win over our hearts!

When that week was passed, with renewed spirit we returned to the motherhouse for the annual vows ceremonies. Our postulant became a novice, taking the name of Sr. Mary Andrea. Our two novices took their first vows, and another Sister made her triennial profession of vows. Sr. Madeleine Marie made her final profession. These beautiful ceremonies were attended by visitors from the local parish and around the country. Truly, it is an amazing privilege to give oneself to Christ, and a joy to be surrounded by family and friends on such a special day.

The Sisters had an opportunity to spend a day or two visiting their families during the summer, and soon after we were together again rehearsing for our summer concert. The summer concert is always held on the 4th of July, and right here at Mount St. Michael. Our hill-top property provides a beautiful view of all the fireworks around the city. Visitors this year found the event bigger than ever, as it was combined with the ongoing Centennial celebration of our building. There were quite a variety of outdoor games, tours of the building, food, prizes, even a zip line for extra excitement throughout the afternoon. As dusk fell, the concert began, ending just in time to enjoy the fireworks.

Next on the summer agenda was a week of meetings and classes for the teaching Sisters. These are always a treat, for with everyone home for the summer, it is an opportunity to learn from one another, and to share ideas. The Sisters had outside educators come to share their expertise, and participated in a number of additional conferences via audio recording. Armed with new ideas and skills, we all looked eagerly to planning lessons for another year teaching God’s children.

But as it was not yet time to return to the classroom, we enjoyed a week of outing. Divided between two locations, the Sisters spent time enjoying one another’s company in relaxing surroundings, with opportunities for hiking and canoeing, handicrafts and hobbies, reading, singing, extra prayer — and lots and lots of laughter!

After these weeks of attention to soul, mind, and body, it was time to get back to work — and work we certainly did! Within hours of the end of the outing, Sisters were setting out to teach catechism in various locations where there are not convents or schools. The Sisters that went to California taught the largest group — nearly 100 young people over the course of a week! Another group of Sisters headed east to teach in two locations in Ohio. A third group went to Michigan and Canada. These catechism trips are very important to our Sisters, as we have the opportunity to reach out to help those who have so much less than we have at home. It is a wonderful opportunity to fulfill Our Lord’s injunction to “Go forth and teach all nations…” We only wish we could go more places, and stay even longer!

As the catechism missions were ending, over 50 young ladies from around the United States converged at Mount St. Michael for the 10th annual Camp St. Philomena. This is a week of quite varied activities and events for girls between the ages of 10 and 18. It is a joy to meet so many wonderful young girls, and to give them the opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of other Catholic girls as well as the Sisters. A few of the girls remained for a couple of days after Camp ended for a mini “Vocations Week” at the convent, learning more specifically about religious life.

Girls and staff of Camp St. Philomena    
Top: The girls and staff of Camp St. Philomena.
Bottom: Sr. Louise Marie takes Sr. Mary Gemma to visit with the campers.
Sr. Mary Gemma and Sr. Louise Marie visit with the campers  

Just after the girls headed home with a store of memories to share with their families, a group of ladies began arriving at Mount St. Michael for the 4th annual Ladies Retreat. This event includes several days of a silent retreat, talks or classes for the ladies on various topics, extra prayer in common, time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and some enjoyable recreation — even rafting down the Clark Fork River in Montana! One highlight of this event is singing a High Mass with the Sisters on the feast of the Assumption.

Some time between the Camp and the Ladies’ Retreat, those Sisters assigned to the various missions around the country began preparing to return to their assigned convents and duties. Those at the motherhouse had more than enough to do, especially at the Center, which doesn’t really get a “vacation” in the sense that the school does. Mid-August found us all stationed in our various convents, busily putting to use not only the skills we learned during the summer, but also the renewed enthusiasm for this work for God and souls, which is so integral to our lives as religious Sisters.

Summer has passed, and now it is fall.  “All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven...”  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

As we begin the new school year, we have chosen as the year’s spiritual theme the opening verse of Psalm 126, “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Like St. Francis, we know that we must focus not so much on the material buildings used for the work of the Church as on the spiritual mansions of our Father’s Kingdom, giving the children a strong foundation of humility for their spiritual edifice, sturdy walls of self-discipline, clear windows of pure intention, the lighting of joy, and the roof of charity to cover all. Our tools are the hammer of mortification, nails of gratitude, the measuring tape of obedience, the chisel of moderation, level of patience. And surrounding our house will be the garden of peace.

But back on a more literal view of the matter, this year the Sisters and parishioners at Mount St. Michael are celebrating the 100th anniversary of this house which the Lord built here in the Northwest on the labors of His zealous missionaries, the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus. August 24th saw the centenary of the groundbreaking for this magnificent building, which was to be not only a physical edifice, but a spiritual powerhouse from which would go forth architects of faith to engineer spiritual mansions in the souls of men. We consider ourselves heirs to this mission… Jesus Himself founded the house of His Church on the rock of faith. In following His teachings, and striving to do His will, we also build on a firm foundation rather than on the sand which would bring our house tumbling down (Matt. 7: 24-27).

Finally, to consider one more Gospel analogy having to do with building, remember how Our Lord spoke of the man who wanted to build a house and took thought beforehand as to whether he would have all he needed to finish the project? Well, by our consecration to Our Blessed Lady, we have engaged the perfect financier. She will be able to see us through to the end, for she holds the key to God’s storehouses, and is the distributer of His treasures. If we consult with her, and strive to follow her example and guidance, she will provide for all our spiritual needs, and will keep us supplied with all the necessary building materials to accomplish the Will of her Divine Son.

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of MaryAs autumn rolls around each year, we call to mind the anniversary of the stupendous miracle worked by Our Blessed Mother at Fatima in 1917, the Miracle of the Sun. Thousands of people saw the sun throw off various colors, dance around the sky and plunge toward the earth. The purpose of this miracle was to confirm and bring to the public eye the message Our Lady had given to the three shepherd children over the preceding six months. The pith of the message? Pray the Rosary; cease offending God; consecrate yourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

This was not the first time in the 20th century that heaven had asked for devotion to the Heart of Mary. In the early years of the century, Jesus spoke to a holy mystic in Belgium Berthe Petit. Here are some of the things He said to her:

“You must think of My Mother’s Heart as you think of Mine; live in this Heart as you seek to live in Mine; give yourself to this Heart as you give yourself to Mine. You must spread the love of this Heart so wholly united to Mine.”  

“The world must be dedicated to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of My Mother as it is dedicated to Mine. Fear nothing, no matter what suffering and obstacles you may meet. Think only of fulfilling My will.”

Jacinta, the youngest of the Fatima seers was given special messages by Our Blessed Mother as she lay dying in the hospital. These she passed on through her nurse: “Tell everybody that God gives graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask graces from her and that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be venerated together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ask them to plead for peace from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Lord has confided the peace of the world to her.”

Then in 1946, near the little German town of Pfaffenhofen, the pastor and a few parishioners went out to locate a site on which to build a chapel to thank Our Lady for preserving their town from destruction during the war. An angel appeared to one of the women, announcing the entrance of the thrice admirable Queen, Mother and Mediatrix of all graces. Similar in many ways to the Fatima messages, these communications were also filled with the spirit of the DeMontfort consecration to Mary.

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 the Rosary
   (Feast: October 7)
Our Lady of Guadalupe
   (Feast: December 12)

“I am the powerful Mediatrix of Graces. As the world can find mercy only through the sacrifice of the Son with the Father, so can you only find favor with the Son through my intercession. Christ is so unknown because I am not known. Because the nations rejected His Son, the Father poured out His cup of wrath upon them. It is true that the world was consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, but this consecration has become a fearful responsibility for many men. I demand that the world live this consecration…”

“Have unreserved confidence in my Immaculate Heart! Believe that I am able to do everything with my Son. Substitute my Immaculate Heart in place of your sinful hearts. Then it will be I who will draw the power of God, and the love of the Father will renew the fullness of Christ in you. Fulfill my request so that Christ may reign as the King of Peace…”

“Pray and offer sacrifices through me. Pray always; pray the Rosary. Make all your entreaties to the Father through my Immaculate Heart. If they are conducive to His honor, He will grant them. In your prayers ask Him not for things of temporal worth, but implore graces for individual souls, for the community, for the nations, so that all may come to love and honor the Divine Heart. Keep the Saturdays, which have been dedicated to me, as I have requested.”

In the light of these revelations, let us each ask ourselves, first of all, what is my devotion to the Heart of Mary? Do I honor her sorrows and her sinlessness? Do I pray to her with confidence? Do I meditate on her mysteries and strive to imitate her virtues? Do I offer my day to God through her?

And what am I doing to promote devotion to Mary and her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart? Does my example of Christian living radiate her spirit? Do I speak of her when I have the opportunity?
Let us close by reading these words addressed by Our Lady to Lucia at Fatima; let us hear them as if Our Blessed Mother were speaking to each of us personally:

“Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne.”

“Are you suffering a great deal? 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.”


September 8
  Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast of the Holy Name of Mary
Sr. Mary Andrea’s feastday (day of the death of Bl. Andrew Kim Taegon, Korean martyr)
Feast of St. Michael: Titular feast of Mount St. Michael, St. Michael’s Convent and Novitiate, and St. Michael’s Academy; Sr. Michael Marie’s feastday
October 3
  Sr. Therese Marie’s feastday
Feast of the Most Holy Rosary
Fatima Conference at Mount St. Michael: “The Triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart”
Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady at Fatima (Miracle of the Sun)
November 1
  All Saints’ Day (holyday)
Sr. Mary Isabella’s feastday (St. Elizabeth of Hungary)
Sr. Maria Providencia’s feastday (Our Mother of Divine Providence)

December 8
  Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Mary Immaculata’s feastday
Sr. Mary Loretta’s feastday
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Christmas Concerts at the Bing Theater
Sr. Mary Cabrini’s feastday
Christmas Day; Sr. Marie Emmanuel’s feastday
Sr. Mary Evangeline’s feastday

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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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