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Articles in this newsletter:
Requiescat in Pace: Sister Mary Gemma
Devotion to Our Mother of Sorrows
Photo Gallery (separate web page)
Our “Impossible” Dream Coming True!

Our Apostolate of Prayer
Send intentions for Sisters’ Novenas

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  Sr. Mary Gemma in the Gift Shop

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Spring 2016

Dear Friends,

On January 31st just before noon, Our Lord and Our Lady came for our dear Sister Mary Gemma, who went to her reward after a long struggle with ill health.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sister was one of our “older” Sisters, having entered religious life in the summer of 1970. When she knocked on the convent door, it was evident that she was filled with an intense willingness to serve God as a religious Sister. She never lost that enthusiasm through the years as she fulfilled her various duties during her nearly 46 years of religious life.

Sister Mary Gemma spent years of devoted work as a catechist in several of our missions, including Canada, Nebraska and Colorado. But the duty that she is most remembered for is her work in our bookstore here at Mount Saint Michael. Her radiant smile and spirit of helpfulness touched many hearts and proved to be a source of long lasting friendships. She was lovingly known as “the smiling nun at the bookstore.”

Sister was gifted with a wonderful childlike spirit that gave her a way of reaching children and adults alike. One special duty she cherished through the years the privilege of instructing a young disabled child and to prepare her for her First Holy Communion. Truly Sister’s spiritual motherhood was evident.

Frail from an early age, Sister suffered from ill-health throughout her religious life. Her condition deteriorated in the last few years, leaving her unable to fulfill the duties she so loved. Her great devotion to the Passion of Christ helped sustain her throughout her long illnesses. In difficult moments she would look at the inscription on her final profession ring and repeat, “To Jesus my heart, my all, forever.”

Sister with a disabled child she prepared for First Communion Sister shared a special understanding with her pupil whom she prepared to received Jesus for the first time.

Some time in January, Sister Mary Gemma suffered a stroke. She never fully recovered after that. When it became evident that she was not long for this life, the Sisters at the Motherhouse kept an hourly vigil at her bedside. These were special hours to each of us, and we carried away precious memories, especially of her smile. One of the Sisters brought her a crucifix, and for days she clasped it tightly to her heart; it remained in her hands to the end. When the time came for her to depart this life, she was surrounded by Sisters and passed from this life to the next during the prayers for the dying. May she rest in peace.

In closing I am reminded of the words of St. Bernard on the advantages of the religious life. Moritur confidentius — “A religious dies more confidently...” In other words, religious die contentedly because they are assisted by their holy companions who continually speak to God, who pray for them, console them and encourage them in their passage to eternity. The saint reminds us of the promise of Our Lord: “Every one that hath left house or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or lands for my sake shall receive a hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.” And we are certain that God keeps His promises.

Devotion to Our Mother of Sorrows

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:

Annunciation BVM
   (Feast: April 4 - transferred this year)
Queenship BVM
    (Feast: May 31)

To derive the most spiritual fruit from the abundant graces of Lent, certainly there is no better means than devotion to our Mother of Sorrows. From her tender heart, plunged in an ocean of grief, we learn to grow in union with Christ Crucified.
Most tender heart, no floods of grief thy love could ever drown.

The sorrows which once pierced thee through
are now thy fairest crown.

During Lent we usually think of our Sorrowful Mother in relation to the Passion of Christ, but her Sorrows actually began much earlier. When she spoke the momentous words, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord…”,  she accepted wholeheartedly all that was encompassed in the role of the Mother of the Messias. Although she did not know perfectly all this would entail, she knew from Scripture that her Son, as the Redeemer of the human race, would be subjected to unparalleled suffering.

“Thy own soul a sword shall pierce…” The infant Jesus, offered as the first-born in the Temple forty days after His birth, brings joy to heart of the holy old man who has waited long to see his Savior. Simeon in turn sinks the first sword of sorrow into Mary’s heart by his prophecy of rejection. Years of exile in a pagan land follow, avoiding the cruelty of a selfish and blood-thirsty tyrant. And then, just as Jesus reached man’s estate according to the Law, He stayed behind in Jerusalem when His parents left after Passover. What agony and distress rent Mary’s heart at this first separation! More because she knew not where He was nor what had befallen Him. “Mother of God, He broke thy heart that it might wider be…” By these painful experiences during the Childhood of her Son, Mary shared many of the sufferings that befall us, her other children, in this our exile.

Sorrowful Mother

But Redemption had scarcely begun as yet. After His three short years of teaching, there was compressed into three days, a sea of sorrow no other human heart could have endured.

How Mary must have suffered when news first reached her that Jesus had been apprehended. In company with St. John, she strove to follow her Son that she might be as close to Him as she could during the long night and early morning hours of that fateful Friday. Her will was one with His, offering all for the redemption of fallen mankind. But what grief to the heart of the Mother to see her Son so mistreated. What pangs at the sight of Him beaten, weary, struggling and falling beneath his heavy load! To watch as the hands and feet, flesh of her flesh, were pierced and pinioned to the Cross, to stand quietly bearing the overwhelming sorrow of watching Him die slowly for the sake of her other sinful children! And then the numb and wordless agony as His dead body is laid in her lap. It is consummated! Her heart stays with Him in the tomb. Sweet sorrowful Mother! How small our trials seems compared to yours, yet to comfort our small woes is the mercy of your mother-heart. Would that we could compassionate your sorrows as they deserve!

Our Lord once said to Blessed Veronica of Binasco:

“My daughter, the tears which you shed in compassion for My sufferings are pleasing to Me, but bear in mind that on account of My excessive love for My Mother, the tears you shed in compassion for her sufferings are still more precious.”

Most valiant Heart that ‘neath the cross of Jesus didst not quail,
It was thy mighty love for Him that would not let thee fail.
Teach us thy self-forgetting love and make us strong like thee,
then ask thy Son that we may stand upon Mount Calvary.


March 4
  Sr. Maria Kazimiera’s feastday
Mother Mary Dominica’s feastday
Feast of St. Joseph; Sr. Mary Josephine’s feastday
Easter Sunday
April 6
  Sr. Mary Julianna’s feastday
Feast of Mother of Good Counsel
Feast of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, Spiritual Father of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI);
Sr. Louise Marie’s feastday;
begin preparation for Renewal of Total Consecration to Mary
May 12
  Sr. Mary Imelda’s feastday
Sr. Bernardine Marie’s feastday
Sr. Madeleine Marie’s feastday
Sr. Marie Janae’s feastday
Feast of the Queenship BVM (Titular feast of our Congregation)
Sr. Maria Regina’s feastday;
Renewal of Total Consecration to Mary
June 1


  Sr. Mary Angela’s feastday
Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sr. Corinne Marie’s feastday;
Sr. Mary Antoinette’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
  The Sisters’s “Impossible” Dream Come True

Click on image above to find out more!

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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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