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Articles in this newsletter:
The Hands of Mary
Thoughts on Vocations Weekend
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  Sweet Madonna and Child

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Winter 2016

Dear Friends,

A most blessed Advent and feast of the Nativity of Our Divine Lord! Be assured of a remembrance in our prayers, and especially at Christmas Midnight Mass!

Our newsletter is a bit late this time, but its delay meant that our Photo Gallery could include shots of Christmas caroling at retirement homes and the St. Michael's Academy Christmas program, as well as Advent practices, a lovely snow scene, our Thanksgiving celebration,a pontifical High Mass, Sisters teaching on catechism missions and in the classroom, and more!

And now, try to take a few moments of quiet time for reflection -- because it will do your soul so much more good than if you just speed-read through the next few paragraphs. That's it — take a few deep breaths, look at the sweet picture of Our Lady above, and, before you begin reading, close your eyes for just 30 seconds and think about the Treasure she holds in her hands... Okay, now go ahead and read...

A beautiful passage in our Holy Rule exhorting the Sisters to be “Mary’s visible hands at work in the world” has provided inspiration for some thoughts to share with you during this season of the Divine Infancy. Mary’s hands were always busy about the work of  God. At the Annunciation, the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and the Incarnation of the Word of God took place in her womb. One might have thought she would have turned inward and claimed some quiet time to focus her contemplation on the Son of God, Who had just become her own Son. But, no! Immediately, Jesus inspired His Mother with an act of charity, as St. Paul was to teach, “the charity of Christ is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us.” So the very next thing we hear of Mary is that she made a rather long journey to visit her older cousin who was also expecting a child.

To extend a helping hand was Mary’s first thought after the miraculous conception of the Divine Child in her own womb. Mary brings the Divine Child to her cousin, and at her greeting, the babe in Elizabeth’s womb leaps with joy at the recognition of his Savior and at his own cleansing from original sin. During the three months before the birth of the Baptist, Mary spent the time with Elizabeth not as an honored guest, but by her own choice, as a serving girl. Mary’s hands were used to labor. They baked the bread, they carried the water, they prepared the meals, they cleaned and swept. They spun the wool and tended her cousin. And all the while within her were formed the hands that were to heal the sick, cast out devils, bless the children, and raise the dead. Caryll Houselander expresses it like this:

“…for nine months Christ grew in His Mother’s body. By His own will she formed Him from herself, from the simplicity of her daily life…Walking the streets of Nazareth to do her shopping, to visit friends, she set His feet on the path of Jerusalem. Washing, weaving, kneading, sweeping, her hands prepared His hands for the nails. Every beat of her heart gave Him His heart to love with, His heart to be broken by love… Breaking and eating the bread, drinking the wine of the country, she gave Him His flesh and blood; she prepared the Host for the Mass…”

After the birth of the Divine Child, see Mary’s hands as she holds the Infant God, cares for Him, feeds and clothes and washes Him. She does this for Him as a child, and she continues to care for every member of His Mystical Body. And here is the lesson for us. Religious Sisters are said to be doubles for the Mother of God. We must be her hands at work in the world, bearing Christ to those who have Him not, teaching His ways to the children entrusted to us, remembering that whatever we do for even the least of His brethren we do for Him.  

Every Catholic should be a Christ bearer. Each of us can be Mary’s hands. Perhaps when you go to work in the morning, Christ will not be among your co-workers unless you bring Him there: “Be born in us, Incarnate Love. Take our flesh and blood and give us Thy humanity; take our eyes and give us Thy vision; take our minds and give us Thy pure thought; take our feet and set them in your path; take our hands and fold them in Thy prayer; take our hearts and give them Thy Will to Love”(Caryll Houselander).


Thoughts on Vocations Weekend

past Vocations Weekends

This March 17-19 we will hosting our annual Vocations Weekend at St. Michael’s Convent. This is an opportunity for young women to spend a few days with the Sisters to get a little taste of convent life and to ask questions:

  • Have you ever wondered, “What do nuns do all day?” Well, here’s your chance to follow their schedule from morning until night.
  • Find out what it’s like to kneel surrounded by blue veils in the Sisters’ private chapel, and to join your voice to theirs in prayer.
  • Of course, the Sisters don’t spend all day in chapel. They teach, they publish, they run the gift shop, they assist the priests, they milk the cow and feed the chickens, they cook and clean... But something makes their work different — what is it? Come and see.
  • Yes, the Sisters work hard, but we also spend time enjoying one another’s company and rejuvenating ourselves in physical activity, games, crafts, etc. Not only that, but you will find that in the convent, we find joy in the simplest things in life!
  • Did you know that the first “job” of a Sister is to become a saint? And every order helps its members achieve holiness through its own spirit and apostolate. The spirit of CMRI is Marian, based on St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s Total Consecration and on the Fatima message. And our main mission is to defend and preserve the traditional Catholic Faith through our apostolates: teaching, publishing and mission work.

Too many Catholics see the life of a Sister simply as service rendered to the Church, to the work of education and other external works. It is, however, not primarily a state of service, but one of consecration. As the priest takes the place of Jesus in His priestly being, the Sister continues Mary in her life of total oblation of herself to the Holy Trinity. Only because of this can she be a help for many Christians, a consoler for afflicted souls and a refuge, perhaps, for many sinners. First of all, she must be a soul for whom God is all, and who is all to Him through His members. Religious profession, after martyrdom, is the most glorious testimony of love, and, like martyrdom, it is also a new baptism which remits all past sins.

Let us consider these words of a Sister concerning her motive for entering the convent:

“From the moment it struck me what God is, how He alone is, that everything created is in Him alone and that outside there is only a shadow of reality, I realized that it is only God Who counts, that we are made for Him only and that outside of Him there is no reason for living.

“After this, I devoted myself for several years to what I thought was noble and beautiful in the world. Yet I was still deceived, until finally I was led to the only One. Pursued by that thought of God, I entered the convent because I saw that there alone is the only direct end — God. I came to dedicate myself to Him, to know Him better, to love Him unceasingly and to allow myself to be led through Him exteriorly by obedience and interiorly by fidelity to the Holy Spirit.”


December 8


  Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Immaculata’s feastday
Christmas concerts at Mount St. Michael
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
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 Prompt Succor
   (Feast: January 15)
Our Lady of Lourdes
   (Feast: February 11)

January 1


  Feast of the Circumcision
Sr. Mary Genevieve’s feastday
Feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor (Novena: Jan. 6-14)
Rev. Mother’s Feastday
Sr. Maria Ines’s feastday
Sr. Giovanna Marie’s feastday
February 1

  Sr. Mary Bridget’s feastday
Purification BVM (Candlemas)
Sr. Mary Agatha’s feastday
Ash Wednesday
Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (Novena: Feb. 2-10)
Sr. Mary Bernadette’s feastday
Sr. Marie Jacinta’s feastday
March 1
  Ash Wednesday
Sr. Maria Kazimiera’s feastday
Mother Mary Dominica’s feastday
Feast of St. Joseph
Sr. Mary Josephine’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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