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Articles in this newsletter:
Vocational Question:
  Struggling with a Possible Vocation

Convent Trivia
Our Apostolate of Prayer
Send intentions for Sisters’ Novenas
Calendar
Photo Slideshow (separate page)

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Lighting the Advent wreath before dinner

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Winter 2010

Dear Friends,

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

It’s hard to believe that three months have come and gone since our first newsletter went out! Yet reflecting on how much has been accomplished in that time makes it seem more real. The Sisters’ lives have been filled with the activities involved in our many and varied apostolates, as the pictures will show. Every day brings its new adventure and its new grace, as we strive to be, as our Rule states, “Mary’s visible hands at work in the world.”

The month of December brings us not only the beautiful winter snows, but also the often overlooked season of Advent and some lovely Marian feasts. As Catholics who happen to be Americans, most special is our country’s patronal feast, that of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Closely related is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. This story has to contain some of the most endearing words ever spoken by Mary in any of her apparitions. After asking the humble Juan Diego to go to the Bishop of Mexico with a request for a chapel in her honor, our Blessed Mother said:

Anima Mariae
Soul of Mary, sanctify me.
Heart of Mary, inflame me.
Hands of Mary, support me.
Feet of Mary, direct me.
Immaculate eyes of Mary,
look upon me.
Lips of Mary, speak for me.
Sorrows of Mary, strengthen me.
O Mary, hear me.
In the wound of the Heart of Jesus, hide me.
Let me never be separated from thee.
From my enemy defend me.
At the hour of my death call me,
And bid me to come to thine Immaculate Heart;
That thus I may come to the Heart of Jesus,
And there with the saints praise thee
For all eternity. Amen.

—The Reign of Jesus through Mary    
Gabriel Denis, SMM    

  

“I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful Mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows.”

“Listen and let it penetrate your heart… do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”

Should not those words inspire in us the most tender confidence in our heavenly Mother as we continue to reflect upon the words of the Anima Mariae:

Hands of Mary, support me!

As I mentioned, the season of Advent is often lost in the commercialization of Christmas which seems to begin earlier every year. But in the true spirit of reflection and preparation, we consider the Divine Word as a tiny Infant in Mary’s womb. Jesus’ hands and feet were formed in and from Mary! In her book, The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander meditates on Mary as she awaited the birth of Jesus. By the work that she did with her hands: making bread, or weaving or whatever it was, Mary was preparing His hands to receive the nails for our salvation. By her footsteps going to the well at Nazareth, visiting Elizabeth, going to Bethlehem, Mary set the feet of her Child on the road to Jerusalem. Mary formed Jesus the first time, and she will form Him in our souls as well! She will teach us to follow Him:

Feet of Mary, direct me!

Vocational Questions

 
The Sisters pray for those who ask for their prayers

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 Prompt Succor
   (January 15)
Our Lady of Lourdes
   (February 11)

Dear Sister,

For a year now, I have been toying with the thought of a vocation. The problem is that part of me really doesn’t want it. Other times, I think I do want to become a Sister, and I almost start to get excited — until I think about telling my friends, my parents... How can God ask this of me? —Joyce

Dear Joyce,

First of all, if God is asking you to give Him your whole life and all you are, He in turn wants to give you His whole self. And can anyone can love more generously than God?

But really, your struggle is perfectly understandable. It may help you to know a true vocation is not always marked by constant enthusiasm and consolation; anxiety, fear, sadness and even rebellion may be there as well. Because of our fallen nature, something inside us naturally resists and objects when we face choices that may cost us. Yet it is also true that such difficulties help us recognize our weakness that we may learn to find all our strength in God.

If you want to find peace, the best thing for you to do right now is to foster your relationship with Christ. Make Him your best Friend. Spend “quality time” with Him every day; fill your mind and heart and soul with all He has done for you. Confide to Him your fears, your struggles, your hopes and joys. Ask our Blessed Mother to show Him to you that you may love Him as she does. Show your love simply and directly by overcoming your faults, your sins, your bad habits and selfishness. When you feel discouraged or overwhelmed, make acts of faith in His infinite love, mercy and grace. Do this until He is the most important person in your life. Then you will truly want to do whatever pleases Him most, whether or not it means a religious vocation.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Sister Mary

Convent Trivia

Did you know that one of the things that makes Christmas special in the convent is the ceremony of the Kissing of the Feet of Baby Jesus? While reflections on the Birth and Infancy of Christ are read aloud, the Sisters approach one by one to kiss the feet of the newborn Infant. Of course, the Sisters always end by singing a favorite Christmas hymn or two.

Calendar

Vocations Weekend March 11-13, 2010
December 8

10
15-16
25
  Immaculate Conception (holyday)
Mary Immaculata’s feastday
Sr. Mary Loretta’s feastday
Singing Nuns’ Christmas concerts
Christmas Day (holyday)
Sr. Marie Emmanuel’s feastday
January 1
3
6
21

31
  Circumcision of Our Lord (holyday)
Sr. Mary Genevieve’s feastday
Epiphany of Our Lord
Rev. Mother Mary Agnes’ feastday
Sr. Maria Ines’ feastday
Sr. Giovanna Marie’s feastday
February 1
2
5
18
20
26
  Sr. Mary Bridget’s feastday
Purification BVM (Candlemas)
Sr. Mary Agatha’s feastday
Sr. Mary Bernadette’s feastday
Sr. Marie Jacinta’s feastday
Sr. Maria Mechtilde’s feastday
March 4
9
11-13
19
25
  Sr. Maria Kazimiera’s feastday
Ash Wednesday
Mother Mary Dominica’s feastday
Vocations Weekend
Sr. Mary Josephine’s feastday
Annunciation BVM

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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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