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Showing posts from February, 2009

Ashes to Ashes

Lent begins today. A day of beginning; a day to renew. Often Lent is seen as a season of "giving up;" it is probably better to think of it as a season of "giving to." In our local community, we are pondering the vow of poverty throughout the Lenten Season. The life of St. Francis was marked by absolute poverty, giving up all for God. St. Clare followed him with a determined vision to maintain "the privilege of poverty" in her convents. Living in a culture wholly immersed in greed for material goods, religious poverty speaks a powerful witness. In our congregation, we consciously maintain a vital balance. We follow St. Francis and we have a stable apostolic work, which requires the use of material goods. It's an art, and one that requires constant renewal. How do you use goods as necessary, but not begin to accumulate "things"? How do you possess while avoiding being possessed by things? How do you keep from getting caught up in the a

Welcome to Rachel

Praised be Jesus Christ! Hi! My name is Rachel Erb. I am from York, Pennsylvania. I am 19 years old. I entered the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George on December 28, 2008. While studying Catechetics along with a Youth Ministry Concentration I met the Sisters. I had a blessed one and a half years at Franciscan University of Steubenville which helped me discern if God might be calling me to religious life. I first heard God calling me in eighth grade when I had a sister for a teacher. She radiated Christ with her joy and love. Throughout high school I decided to push this idea out of my mind. Every once in awhile God would ask "What about becoming a bride of Christ?" Many times I argued and told God no! At Franciscan University this idea changed because I saw all the religious sisters who were in love with Jesus and this overwhelming joy was bursting from my heart. I was afraid at first but I asked Jesus what I should do. He replied, "What did Mary do?" S

Always Remember the Spirit of Just Beginning...

The maxim quoted above is the oft-repeated mantra of our school President. He reminds us early and often that the "spirit of just beginning" is the essential outlook from which we must operate. And it's a great paraphrase of St. Francis: "Let us begin today, brothers, to serve our Lord God, for up to now, we have done nothing." In living as "just beginning," there is an element of excitement, investment, daring, that is so often lost when "the new wears off." The beginning is the time when plans are made, goals envisioned; it is a time of joy and hope, trust and confidence. One is open to trying things, experimentation - but always with a purpose. It is the vision that the Church holds for us a brides of Christ. Religious women are never referred to as "wives," we are always "brides" - always just beginning the adventure of life with the Lord of Heaven. Our Mother wisely reminds us that we are ever young; our hearts lo

Our Lady, Health of the Sick

Today is the celebration of the World Day of the Sick, chosen because it is the feastday of Our Lady of Lourdes. Every year thousands of people, suffering from every sorrow and sickness, travel to Lourdes to invoke the intercession of Our Lady. She appeared at Lourdes to a young girl and told her, "I am the Immaculate Conception." During one visit, she revealed the spring that God has used to heal the sick even until the present. For me, it is a day to pause and remember the meaning of sickness; a day to pray for those who are ill; to remember all the Sisters engaged in the apostolate of health care, particularly in our Saint Anthony's Health Center and Mother of Good Counsel Home. God makes all things work for good for those whom he loves, those whom he has called. By identifying with his sacrifice, our sorrow and suffering become redemptive. We have lately had two Sisters diagnosed with cancer. Both of them are young and were very active before God called them to su

Will you lay your life down?

Yesterday I spoke to 6th graders about the consecrated life. As part of the presentation a priest showed a DVD called Fishers of Men . It is about the priesthood. It is a call to young men to lay down their life for Christ. It is a call to sacrifice, to service, to living a life of truth. It is inspiring. Today, I make this same invitation to young women. There are many who desire to live a life more than what this world can offer them. They desire more than just mediocrity. So, I ask you: Will you lay down your life for Christ? The Church needs young women today to follow in the footsteps of Christ. The Lord is calling. He is inviting. He is waiting for women to respond with generous and courageous hearts. What are you waiting for? Will you lay your life down for Christ? It's not easy. It will involve sacrifice. Will you lay your life down for Christ? You will come to know love in a more profound way. Will you lay your life down for Christ? Do not fear. He is with

With a firm resolve to consecrate myself to God...

February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It is also the day in which the Church celebrates in a particular way the gift of consecrated life in the Church. It is a day to reflect on the fact and gift of the consecrated life, as it is given in the particular circumstances of this day and time. Of course, it also serves as a reminder of our gift and responsibility for those of us consecrated as brides of Christ. I think of the big days - the days of promises and gifts. The day we entered. I had no clue what religious life meant. There were romantic images of long silent corridors; prayers chanted in the dawn; martyrdom and exciting mortification. "Let me give you everything!" At the end of the year, we received the habit and veil. We received a name that would mark our days of life in His service. It was a day of great happiness. A beginning. A new life. The joyful days of consecration. There was the day when the Sisters in my group knelt in our provincialate c