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Articles in this newsletter:
Our Pilgrimage to Fatima
The Vocation to the Sisterhood
Pilgrimage Photo Gallery
Summer Events Photo Gallery
Calendar

Our Apostolate of Prayer
Send intentions for Sisters’ Novenas

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Fall 2016

Dear Friends,

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

When we last wrote you we were just about to embark on our pilgrimage to Fatima, and we were brimming over with excitement at the thought of visiting those places hallowed by Our Lady’s presence. It was truly a wonderful journey, and as we promised, we carried a packet of the intentions you sent in everywhere, laying it before numerous shrines

Sisters make their way around the Capelhina on their knees before our midnight Holy Hour.

   

We prayed for you especially at the Capelhina, the tiny Chapel of the Apparitions built over the spot where Our Lady appeared. Here we made a vigil of prayer and reparation, with two Sisters covering each hour through the night. Earlier that evening, we had our own candlelight Rosary procession around the huge plaza, later leaving our candles to burn at the shrine. On another night, we made a holy hour together at midnight, arriving early enough so that those of us who were able could perform the custom of circling the chapel on our knees until that section of the shrine was closed.

   
our first visit to the Cabeco where the Angel appeared
Our first visit to the Cabeco, where the Angel of Portugal gave Communion to the three children.

There are so many special places associated with the Fatima story, and we prayed for you at each of them! In the basilica, we knelt at the tombs of the three seers who saw Our Lady: Jacinta and Francisco, who died as children, and Lucia. We were also privileged to visit their homes in Aljustrel, including the little room where little Francisco died. Nearby we prayed the Fatima Prayers at the well near Lucia’s house where the Angel appeared to the children when they were playing and said, “What are you doing? Pray, pray a great deal... Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High... Make everything you do a sacrifice...” Since this year is the 100th anniversary of the Angel’s apparitions, his message took on much more meaning for us during our pilgrimage.

Praying at dawn at Valinhos
Meditation at dawn at Valinhos on our last day in Fatima. (The white packet of your intentions is on the step directly before the gate.)

   

On the day we left Fatima, many of us rose before dawn and walked to Valinhos. There in the cool gray morning light we chanted the Magnificat amidst the chirping of birds, and then made our morning meditation kneeling at Our Lady’s shrine. After a last visit to the Cabeco, we walked back to the hotel praying extra decades. Later, on the bus, we sang the Farewell to Fatima on our way out of town.

   
Pontevedra: where Jesus and Mary came to ask for the devotion of the Five First Saturdays
Praying in Lucia’s room (now a chapel), where Our Lady asked for the devotion of the Five First Saturdays.

   
Jacinta's bed at the orphanage where she stayed in Lisbon Jacinta’s little bed in the orphanage. The chair at the right is where Our Lady sat when she came to visit her.

This, however, was not the end of the Fatima aspect of our pilgrimage; indeed, its history and message were in our hearts and our minds throughout our travels. In fact, our next stop was a visit to the chapel at the Carmelite Convent in Coimbra where Sister Lucia spent her last days. And the next day we visited the two Dorothean convents in Spain where she spent over 20 years, and where she received additional visits from Our Lady concerning the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and the Five First Saturdays. In Pontevedra, we prayed in the chapel which was once Lucia’s room, and where Our Lady asked her to promote the devotion of the Five First Saturdays of reparation. Here, too, we walked in the convent courtyard where Sister Lucia one day came across a boy and taught him a prayer. Encountering him some weeks later, she asked him if he had prayed it. He replied, “And have you spread through the world what the Heavenly Mother asked of you?”, and became resplendent with light. It was the Child Jesus! He had come to urge her again to promote the devotion of the Five First Saturdays. In this convent we were also privileged to venerate an exquisite life-size statue of Our Lady of Fatima which is said to be miraculous.

On the last day of our pilgrimage, our guide Helena had a special treat for us: a visit to the Lisbon orphanage where Jacinta stayed before going to the hospital where she died. For many of us, this was the highlight of our trip. We knelt by her little bed, touched our rosaries to the chair where Our Lady sat when she came to visit her, and knelt at the window overlooking the chapel where she would sit and pray. The sense of Jacinta’s presence was very strong here, leaving us inspired to live all the more generously Our Lady’s requests for reparation, penance, and devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

miraculous Host at Santarem The Miraculous Host at Santarem

   

So far we have spoken about the places we visited directly related to the Fatima story. But every church we visited in Portugal had a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima — love for the Mother of God was evident everywhere. And where Mary is loved, Jesus is loved and bestows His graces. Another highlight of our pilgrimage was our visit to Santarem, where may be seen a miraculous Host dating back to 1247. (Photography is not allowed in this church; the photo here is from the Internet.) One by one we ascended a small ladder behind the altar and, gazing through protective glass, came face to face with the Host, which has the appearance of flesh with delicate veins and coagulated blood. Kneeling in the pews afterward, we sang hymns to the Blessed Sacrament and prayed the Fatima Prayers. We felt “at home” being again in the Real Presence of Our Lord, but the grace of seeing this mystery in a more visible form was deeply moving, renewing our faith and love in a way nothing else could.

   
St. Anthony as an Augustinian monk!
It was at Santa Cruz Monastery in Coimbra that we first saw St. Anthony of Padua depicted as an Augustinian monk.

Our guide taught us much about Portugal’s rich Catholic history and culture, and especially about two saints Portugal claims for its own. Early in our pilgrimage she took us to the church built over the birthplace of St. Anthony of Padua — in Lisbon, not Italy. Yes, he was Portuguese. (And the Portuguese won’t let you forget it!) Just across the way, in the cathedral where he was baptized, we knelt around the baptismal font and chanted the Salve Regina. This was the first of many opportunities we had of singing in immense stone churches with amazing acoustics. On June 13, St. Anthony’s feastday, we visited the University of Coimbra where he spent nine years in intense studies, as well as the monastery of Santa Cruz where he lived as an Augustinian. It was here that, as guestmaster, he hosted five Franciscan friars on their way to Morocco, and then five months later saw their bodies brought back after their martyrdom. St. Anthony was so inspired by the zeal of these first Franciscan martyrs that he transferred to their order. (We also venerated their relics, which are still preserved here.) 

Venerating the miraculous Crucifix at the Bom Jesus Church in Braga Sisters venerate the large crucifix at the Bom Jesus (“Good Jesus”) Sanctuary in Braga, Portugal.


   

We visited many other holy places, including the beautiful churches of Bom Jesus and Our Lady of Sameira in Braga, not to mention historic sites, such as the Monument of the Discoveries which honors Portugal’s great Age of Exploration; the nearby Belem Tower, starting point for many voyages of discovery; the colorful Pena Palace, summer home of kings, considered one of the most gorgeous palaces in the world; and the picturesque walled village of Obidos, which King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel as a wedding gift. But it was the grace of Fatima that we hope to preserve and cultivate in our hearts with each passing day. For Fatima is the spirit of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, and thus it is by fervently living Our Lady’s message that we will become the saints God wills us to be.  

Thank you again for the donations you sent to help us for our travels. Please pray that we will always profit from the graces that God so lavishly bestowed upon us during our pilgrimage.

The Vocation to the Sisterhood

“My dear Sisters, you are now the Brides of Jesus! What a dignity is yours! What a happiness is yours! You can now claim God as your Bridegroom. What security is yours! God himself has promised you His beautiful paradise. What glory is yours! For every thought and word and action you will now gain two degrees of glory in Heaven.

“You are the martyrs of Christ; true martyrs, because your three vows are your executioners; noble martyrs, because you come of your own free will; glorious martyrs, because of your hope of Heaven and your love of Jesus, your Spouse.

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)
 

“And you, my dear parents, are to be congratulated today on the dignity conferred upon you! Great will be your reward in Heaven for giving your children to God to become His consecrated brides. The mother of Father Vaughan begged God to take her children. Out of thirteen, five became nuns and six priests. Today you have imitated this noble woman.

“How beautiful is the religious vocation! What an honor to be the bride of one’s Savior! And yet, how many refuse God’s call, or delay, till the vocation is lost. The saints teach that the best time to enter is in the teens, for one can then best be formed to the religious life, and the heart is free from the contagion of the world. St. Thomas teaches us that long deliberation is not necessary, nor the advice of many friends. If one has no impediments, such as sickness, impossibility of keeping the vows, and extreme need of parents, and a desire to more easily save one’s soul or to work for God, she can safely enter the religious life. The saints and Holy Scripture itself teach that many are morally obliged to enter the religious life, while many more God leaves free to choose between Him and the world, if the conditions just mentioned are present.”

—Extract of the sermon delivered by the Rev. L. E. Miller, C.SS.R., at a reception of postulants and novices, Sacred Heart Review, Vol. 50, No. 12, 9/6/1913

Calendar

September 8
12
16
29
  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
7
12-16
13
  Sr. Therese Marie’s feastday
Feast of the Most Holy Rosary
Fatima Conference at Mount St. Michael
99th Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady at Fatima (Miracle of the Sun)
November 1
19
  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
9-11
10
12
22
25
27
  Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Mary Immaculata’s feastday
Christmas Concerts
Sr. Mary Loretta’s feastday
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
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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