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Showing posts from September, 2009

Welcome Back!

We welcome back our Reverend Mother Margaretha Maria and Sister M. Engratia to the United States! They will be here visiting us for a few weeks.
You can check out more pictures from their arrival last night on our website!Please pray for us!

Positive Poverty

Over the last month, by the hand of Divine Providence, I have had the opportunity (or been required!) to speak publicly about the religious life of our congregation to a variety of different groups, in a variety of situations. From one-on-one conversations with teens interested in (or curious about) our life, to a full presentation to the Serra Club of Kansas City, people have been interested in hearing about why we do what we do.


One of the things they "get" most easily is the vow of poverty. Obedience is simply a mystery - and chastity a completely alien idea - but the concept that a holy person should be poor seems to be taken for granted. Sometimes the understanding is a bit distorted, but the idea that "I give up everything for God" seems to be a prerequisite for the authentic living of a godly life.

It just makes sense.

It has several pieces to it. One is the concept that I love Him so much that I give Him everything. A further ideal is identification with the…

New Life

Monica McKenzie, Stephanie Gantt, Katie BaumgartenOn September 8, the Feast of the Birth of Mary, our American Province was blessed with new life – the entrance of three young women as postulants. After a beautiful Mass in honor of our Lady, they received medals of St. Francis from Mother M. Regina Pacis, signifying the beginning of their postulancy. Stephanie Gantt, who grew up in Washington State, became acquainted with our Sisters while doing post-doctoral research in biochemistry at the University of Illinois in Champaign. She met our Sisters who teach at St. Matthew’s in Champaign and then visited our Motherhouse here in Alton. Stephanie heard God’s call to surrender everything to Him and made plans to enter our Congregation. This past summer, Stephanie drove over 6,000 miles across the country, visiting family and friends in Michigan, Texas, and Washington State. Katie Baumgarten, from central Wisconsin, heard God’s call while attending college at the University of Wiscons…

Benedictine Franciscans

I think that the Benedictines have infiltrated the Church.

Everywhere I go these days, I meet some Benedictine connection. Of course, it may have to do with the fact that there is a Benedictine College nearby with Benedictine priests and Brothers - and Benedictine Sisters, for good measure. It may be that many of our Sisters and many of the staff at St. James are Benedictine graduates, but I don't think so.

St. Gregory the Great was Benedictine. Pope Benedict XVI - the connection is obvious.

They are everywhere.

And now, it seems, we are "Benedictine Franciscans."

Not really, of course, but since our Sisters are attending school at Benedictine, we are on campus for a number of activities and events. I know the fight song and the Alma Mater better than those of either of the Universities I attended. And I find myself referring far too often to Sister M. Catherine and Sister M. Hedwig as "the Benedictines." It is really contagious.

Recently, "the Benedictines"…

Come and Rest Awhile

On July 19, 2009, Sister Eva-Maria, Sister Marianna, and myself traveled to New York City. They both told me that once we stepped off the subway and climbed the steps up to the street, we would be in a new world. As I emerged from the underground, I immediately was bombarded with tall buildings and the noise of taxis driving by. I quickly realized that I was in a place unlike any other place I had ever been. I attempted to take all the sights and sounds in as we walked from Penn Station and went past Times Square, Broadway, and Rockefeller Center where we saw the TODAY show weatherwoman, Janice Huff. We then headed towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral.


When we arrived at St. Patrick’s, I was amazed at the beauty of the structure. It seemed to be a beacon of hope and place of refuge in the midst of chaos. As I walked into the Cathedral and saw the side altars, the stained glass windows, and the many statues I was overcome with a sense of peace. I truly felt as if I was in the company of the …