Mary Undoer of Knots

Christ came to bring JOY;

Joy to children, joy to parents,

Joy to families and friends,

Joy to the sick and elderly,

Joy to all humanity.

In a true sense, JOY is the keynote message of Christianity,

And the recurring motif of the Gospels.

Go, therefore, and become Messengers of Joy!

~ Pope John Paul II

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent: Training for the Final Coming of Christ

"The liturgy of Advent…helps us to understand fully the value and meaning of the mystery of Christmas. It is not just about commemorating the historical event, which occurred some 2,000 years ago in a little village of Judea. Instead, it is necessary to understand that the whole of our life must be an ‘advent,’ a vigilant awaiting of the final coming of Christ. To predispose our mind to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, one day will come to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize him as present in the events of daily life. Therefore, Advent is, so to speak, an intense training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously."

~ Pope John Paul II
            Dec. 18, 2002

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Advent of Our King

This has been the BEST Advent EVER!  More so than any other year, this has been a time of real preparation for the birth of our Lord.  I think it was two years ago that I prayed that I would understand the significance of Christmas better.....that I would find a particular closeness to and love for Jesus as the Divine Infant.  I must admit, that it often seemed just too sentimental for me, especially in light of how many people see Christmas merely as a season for shopping and partying, giving and receiving gifts bought on credit.....That after all of the craziness of the preparations, it was over in a day.  How empty that must be for people who don't know God.  We are lucky to have Him in our hearts, but we must never be happy with the degree to which we know, love and serve Him.  We must always strive for more, praying and begging that He will increase our desire for Him, increase our Love for Him.......

In a world where so many parents increasingly fail to put their children at the center of their lives, it is not surprising that they would forget about the baby Jesus unless they happened to glance at a manger scene for a moment.  But this is our Savior!  This is our God!  This is the King of Universe, who permitted Himself to become a virtual prisoner in the virginal womb of His holy and blessed Mother.  He permitted Himself to become powerless to see to his own human needs.  As it was recently pointed out to me, He allowed Himself to be put into a position of having to sit in a poopy diaper, waiting to be noticed and surrender His will to that of His parents.  He suffered hunger until He was fed and cold until He was clothed.  Don't be deceived into thinking this is no big deal for a baby.  THIS particular baby was GOD.  What a humble gift we have in Him!  Jesus surrendered every bit of Himself for the will of our Father.

How many people in our lives or in our world have no choice but to surrender everything to God because they have virtually nothing to care for themselves, either by poverty or by illness or infirmity of some kind?  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:3

Are we as blessed?  Are we surrendering everything to God out of necessity, or must we make an active decision to do it? 

During this Advent, I have made an effort to deepen my surrender and dependence on God.  It is easier some days than others, that is for sure.  But we must try again, and always try again and again.  He deserves nothing less.  Let us give Him our loved ones and our hearts.  Let us give Him our hopes, dreams, pain and suffering.  All of it is pure gift to Him.

What will YOU give Him for Christmas this year?

Let it be done according to Your will. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Soooooooo THANKFUL!  There is a whole new feeling at my Church now that we have a resident pastor.  I don't think I can explain it, but Mass on Sunday was just sooooooo WONDERFULLY JOYFUL!!  We have a pastor with the heart of a servant of Mary and the stability of knowing there is a shepherd avalable when we need him.  I, for one, and so grateful for this.  We are loved.  Thank you, Jesus and Mary! 

It was this time last year, that I went to visit the Daughters of Mary for the first time in New Britain, Connecticut.  I wondered why God would send me THERE, of all the places in the world I could possibly go.  But then one of the first things Sr. Alma showed me when I walked in, was the monstrance in the chapel--It was Mary, with arms raised, holding our Eucharistic Jesus.  It was beautiful, but the most amazing thing was that the words on the bottom said AD JESUM PER MARIAM (to Jesus through Mary).  Without knowing that or even thinking about it, I had started signing all of my correspondence to friends "To Jesus Through Mary," for the past year.  I don't know where it came from or why I started doing it, but there it was, live and in person.  It was definitely a God-incidence for me.  Very cool.  The sentiment had long been in my heart and there it was, shining back at me.  Wow.

So here I am a year later, no closer to the convent, but so thankful for what God has taught me in this desert.  With His help, I am definitely better able to surrender and trust, although still not great at it.  Maybe when I am finally ready to learn this, He will let me go!  :-)  No worries.  I am thankful for each day, and looking forward to Advent with my family and friends.  His timing is perfect, His plan is perfect and there is nothing more I could possibly need that He will not provide.  He is ever faithful.  Thank you, Father.  Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you, Holy Spirit.  Thank you, Blessed Mother.  Fiat.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Questions . . .

If not us,


If not here,


If not now,


If not for the Kingdom,


Dare the dream.

~ Anonymous

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Blue Jays - Sisters and Birds

What a day! What a week! Praise be to God!

First of all, the news finally came that we will once again have a resident pastor! YAAYY!!! I can not begin to express how much JOY this brings to my heart. I have worried and prayed for myself and sooooo many others in our parish who desperately need a resident shepherd, and God has heard our cry. Thank you, Father.

Second, I went to spend time with Jesus on Monday, in front of the tabernacle at my very chilly church. It was wonderful. The heat is only on for Mass twice a week, so it was quite chilly with the drastic change in temperature here---22 degrees last night---Yikes!---but the time flew and I barely noticed it at all once my soul was enflamed with His love.

Anyway, I have my own key, and I like to go and just spend time in silence with our Beloved whenever I can. This time, however, I was far from silent, as my mind was running a mile a minute and I had a lot to say.  Mostly, I was babbling to Jesus about family and friends and our new priest, and finally talking to Him about my vocation. I begged Him again, as I always do, to please let me serve Him as a religious. As usual, I ended my pleading with an act of faith, giving it to Him and making my quiet fiat, but this time I asked Him to give me some more tangible guidance, a sign perhaps, as it will soon be a year since I sent in my application and was accepted as a postulant.

It has been months since I felt any forward motion on my dream of entering the convent, and I was wondering if it simply was not meant to be after all? I asked Jesus if He wanted me to stay in this town forever, as a lay person, or move elsewhere as a layperson with a new job, or if He was ever going to permit me to become a Daughter of Mary? I am sure there is much I could do, if it is His will for me to stay here, but I prayed that I had already discerned His will correctly, and that He is preparing a place for me in the convent.

I am trying very hard to love the will of God more than my own, accepting that if He chooses not to remove the obstacles to my entrance, then I will be happy to stay right here and give it up, knowing His will is perfect, and that although I can not see it now, His reasons and my genuine acceptance of His plan will bring about far greater good for my soul and the Kingdom of God than my whining about it and remaining attached to my own designs for the future. Once I finally had my say, I remembered that Jesus already knows my heart and that I was there to listen to Him.

The silence in a Catholic Church is tangible when we open our ears to hear it.  I can feel Jesus in my soul, working on it, healing it. It never takes long, sitting with Him and being filled with His love, before I remember that I do not need an answer that day --- He always works things out for the best. Every time I simply just sit with Him in the silence and let Him speak to my soul, things always have a way of working themselves out in some way or another, and peace always accompanies the resolution. So when I was ready to leave, I was once again peacefully resigned to wait on the Lord.

If you know anything about my faith journey, (which you can read here), you know that I have never seen Blue Jay birds until last year, when the Lord sent many of them to me all year long, everywhere I went, giving me a huge sense of His love, and a belief that they symbolized something that had to do with my journey. When I first met with the Daughters of Mary, I learned that they were known as the Blue Jay sisters, and that, along with some other good affirmations, made me confident that God was calling me to them, specifically.

After I was accepted by the Blue Jay sisters, I stopped seeing the Blue jays, except on Holy Days (Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday), and then I went back to seeing none, even though my friends reported seeing them everywhere, even flocks of them. This sounds crazy, I know, but I wondered why He took them away? And then yesterday, after having asked for a sign from God the night before, I let the dogs out to do their business first thing in the morning, and there was a big ol’ beautiful Blue Jay! I was not even awake enough to be thinking about anything but getting my office open for the day, and I immediately felt a sense of peace.

God is so merciful and kind and good to us! I had been hearing what I thought to be Blue Jays for a few days prior, but never saw them. I knew what I was hearing, but I had to see to believe…..kinda reminds me of Thomas, who heard of the Lord’s resurrection, but would not believe until He saw for himself. Maybe this is a call to greater faith, trusting in what the Lord speaks to my heart, even though there is nothing to see at this time. Wow.

May it be done according to Your Word.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stitches out!

Got my stitches out today!  Woo hoo!  I definitely look like Frankenstein, but since Halloween is just around the corner, no worries!  :-)

God is good.  The peace He has given me these past few days, fills my heart with joy!  I am learning and understanding a little better each day, and living to love Him and trust Him in each given moment.  I know this is easy to say today, when I feel Him so close to me, but I am just so thankful for some new insights that He is developing in my heart, that I hope I will have the strength and peace to move forward into whatever lies ahead, regardless of what He does or does not permit.  Of course I always pray that I will one day be a Daughter of Mary, but at least for today, I am doing better at loving His will more than my own will.  If He does not permit it, then He has His reasons, and my life will be His no matter what.  (Please remind me of this next time I get sad about not being in the convent!  :-)

Your will be done, Lord!  :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010


The phone has been dead this week......Not good for my bottom line, but good in the sense that I am one week past my gall bladder surgery and have been thankful for the quiet and the chance to recuperate.  Thanks be to God . . .

The anesthesia has played a weird part in my brain this week.  I realize how much I have to be thankful for, now that the haze and fog are clearing and I am coming back into my right mind.  :-)  Seriously, though, what a gift to be able to think and reason and make sense of be able to write and have control over my thoughts, at least to whatever extent I ever had control.  What a terrible suffering it must be for people who become brain damaged or suffer from Alzheimer's disease or lose cognitive function for whatever reason, after having been able to put two and two together.  I have had the weirdest dreams, but more than that, my emotions were nutty and my thoughts made me feel like I was walking a tightrope, between sanity and a few fries short of a Happy Meal.  I am thankful that it is over.

Before my surgery, as I was putting on the gown and the hair net, I was stressed a bit about my brown scapular--I did not want to remove it or get into an argument about keeping it on me.  So I prayed to God that it would be invisible to everyone in the operating room.  When we got in there, of course you are in nothing but your birthday suit and a hair net, so certainly they would make me remove it from the sterile environment, but guess what?  They never even mentioned it, because they never even saw it.  I know it is not a magical charm or a superstitious rabbit's foot of sorts.  But if reminds me of who I am as a child of God and it is the closet thing I have to taking the habit to give myself to Him in a profound and personal way.  The fact that I was able to wear it and no one saw it on me, was a special gift when the amnesia effects of the anesthesia were playing games with my mind.  It was a reminder that Jesus and Mary were with me through the entire thing, and that nothing ever happens in this life that God does not permit because He intends to bring a greater good from it.  He always knows just what we need.  I hope He thinks I need to be a Daughter of Mary.  

I know---I am obssessed.  But I just can not believe that He would bring me to this point, only to use all of this to teach me some kind of lesson, sending me on my merry way to live life for Him as a single person in the world.  Oh, I pray He brings me to the convent soon.  But in the end, His will and His timing are perfect.  I pray that my own will lines up with His as I surrender again and again and again . . . Your will be done.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

prayer . . .

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,
And kindle in us the fire of Your Love . . . .

Come Holy, Spirit, COME.

Come Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
And in my soul take up Your rest.
Come . . .

Dear Holy Spirit, light of our souls, spare me from this darkness.
I am like a leaf on the wind, a ship at sea without a sail.
Guide me.
Push me, pull me, show me, stretch me,
But please don’t let me break.
I am so tired, I fear I can barely remember You.
I can not do this on my own.
It would be too easy to close my eyes forever and try not to remember.
But when I do, the pain is intolerable…the loss, the darkness, the loneliness.
I am nothing without You.
And while I am told that You are always here, even when I can not feel you, see you,
To me, You are but a distant memory today, growing more and more distant away as each day passes.
And soon will be the winter.

Send forth Your Spirit, and we shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Oh God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit,
Instructs the hearts of the faithful,
Grant that by that same Holy Spirit,
We may be truly wise,
And ever rejoice in His consolations,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I think this is surrender . . .

It has been QUITE a couple o' weeks here.  Sooooo many gifts and insights, sooo many sorrows and sufferings.  But it is all for the kingdom of heaven, so we count it all GOOD.  God permits nothing that He does not intend to use for a greater GOOD, So bring it on!

About a month ago, I found myself becoming very frustrated, even irritable at times.    I don't think this was anything of which my clients were  aware, but internally, I felt like the fabric of my very soul was being ripped in two.  I struggled to see God's mercy in all of this waiting, but all I could see were my failures, how ever year our Jesus has given me the grace to learn how to be Mary and every year I choose to be Martha.  This is PRIDE, as apparently I have believed all along that I could do this better than God.  Really, I thought I was helping Him and that He wanted my help, but now I think this may be the greatest lesson of all:  He loves me more than He loves anything I could possibly ever do for Him.

So after 8 or 9 months of trying to fundraise and make this happen somehow, I am taking Dear Father O'Rourke's sage advice:  I am putting this behind me.

Oh, I do not mean that I am giving up on my hope to become a Daughter of Mary of the Immaculate Conception, but that I give up trying to actively fundraise so that my obstacles will be removed.  Our all-powerful God could litterally drop a bag of money out of the sky if He wanted, and surely He could inspire someone whom He has financially blessed to help me, so if this is truly HIS VOCATION for me, then I must believe He will remove the obstacle without my crying about it or worrying about it or even thinking about.  When Fr. O'Rourke told me to put it behind you, I cried.  It felt like it was over.  But when I did put it behind me, I realized that was the truest surrender I had made yet, and then fruit of the Holy Spirit, peace, came into my heart, and the frustration was dispelled.  Exhausting.

The interesting thing, was that that I was blessed to have dinner a few days later with Bishop Bambera, Father Boylan, Father Manarchuck, Father O'Rourke, Father Chmil, Father Hornick, Deacon Bill and Mary Graham, Deacon Joe Roinick and Father Cummings following confirmation at our Parish last Wednesday.  First let me say, it does not matter where you are, the power of Holy Spirit at the Sacrament of Confirmation is soooo TANGIBLE you can reach out and touch Him ---To be filled with that love is a gift.  Second, I received so much love and encouragement and concern regarding my vocation, and I have to be honest, there had been practically NONE up to that point.  It was genuine and kind and I could feel the love the way Jesus meant for us to love one another as the Body of Christ. I didn't ask for it, it was just there, a free gift.  I am very grateful for that night.  It went a long way in healing my weary soul.

That brings us up to this weekend.  The yard sale was a HUGE SUCCESS.  It was chaos, so many people came.  I don't have much left and I made around $1,000 so that was great.  Then on Sunday, I was blessed to give a quick talk at the closing of the Women's Cursillo.  What beautiful things our God did in the souls of these women!  It was inspirational and uplifting and yet another gift to be there with them all.  I could talk for hours, but I was only supposed to speak for 5-10 minutes.  I hope I did not go over, but there was so much to say.  I just tried to let the Holy Spirit do the talking.  I got to meet many new sisters in Christ and visit with my best friends from Cursillo's past.  Being on team was the first thing I said NO to this year, because I felt I would be at the convent and did not want to let the team down.  I missed it, and even though I could have done it, in retrospect, God has used the time for other things.  Sr. Alma wants me to bring Cursillo to New Britain, Connecticut!  How wonderful that would be!  I just keep hoping and praying.

I love you, Father!  May it be done according to Your Word!  Fiat!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What an incredible week! Soooo BLESSED

I have so much to write about.........Still processing it all.....Suffice it to say, my heart is light and filled with joy!  I have wonderful sisters and brothers in Christ, and God knew I needed some love this weekend and I received it in abundance.  Thank you, Beloved Lord Jesus! 

More to come this evening......gotta run to the courthouse...... Fiat!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Everything is Grace

Grace abounds!  St. Therese once said, Everything is grace.  How right she was.  Even in this time of suffering, when it seems that most everyone I know is enduring some spiritual, emotional, painfully terrible situation, and where I, myself, am wondering when God will permit me to come to Connecticut to serve Him as a Daughter of Mary, I still know, in my heart of hearts, that there is always mercy.  I know because He tells us, and I know because I have experienced it time and time again, that God does not permit us to suffer any situation, large or small, without knowing that He can bring about a far greater good for our souls. 

And so here I am, even in the midst of having come to the end of my inspirations for how to go about fundraising and 'helping God" to remove this obstacle, (HA!) I know that He has the situation under complete control.  Even though there seems to be nothing stirring in the world to remove the blinders from those who might help in this ministry, I know that our Father's Will, will always be done.  And what is better than that?  Nothing.  (Although I still need much work on internalizing this great Truth).

As an act of faith, I am gathering all of the belongings I can divest of myself of, to sell at a big yard sale October 1st and 2nd.  As I look at things like my china, which I love to use for dinner parties and making holidays special, my first thought is to keep it, so I will have it for Christmas.  My second thought is that an act of faith is just that--An Act of Faith, that this obstacle will be resolved and I will be serving our Lord before the holidays, so be done with this stuff!  Actually, there is a certain freedom I am feeling from getting rid of my things.  Everything is grace, and our merciful God is using this to stretch my faith muscles.  Again, I surrender.  Please Lord, help me surrender.

Fiat.  Your will be done.

Friday, September 10, 2010

NEW BOOK REVIEW: Hope for Hard Times ............ a '30-minute read' by Scott Hahn

     I love this little book! It is classified as a ’30-minute read,’ and truly it is. It’s just a perfect little nugget to chew on, for anyone who is experiencing hard times, or for those who may be trying to help a friend or loved one who is experiencing a painful period in his or her life. Let’s face it, people who are suffering and struggling do not often have the time or the strength to read and digest a 300-page college level discussion. This valuable little book is a succinct but great reminder of truths we already hold dear.

     I especially appreciated the numerous scripture references and quotes from great saints. These example gives us courage to persevere. Here is one I had never heard before:

          If God allows you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. ~ St. Ignatius of Loyola

     Dr. Hahn does not downplay or sugar coat the suffering of anyone in this little gem, nor is his attitude a platitude of pity. Instead, it is solidly backed in scripture and the Truth. The Truth is that all of the saints suffered greatly, and their suffering had great redemptive value. Unlike so many televangelists preaching a" prosperity gospel" today, Dr. Hahn points out that our suffering is not without merit – Our Father always uses it to bring about a greater good. Those who find themselves successful in the eyes of the world, having suffered very little, may find the joys of this world to be their only joys as they find no need for God and travel life on the wide path to perdition. On the other hand, those who pick up their Cross, uniting themselves to Christ on the narrow path, have their hope and faith fulfilled in the world to come.

     St Theresa of Avila once complained to God about how He treated His friends, saying, “It’s no wonder You have so few!” Dr. Hahn tells us it is OK for us to complain to God, but that those who find themselves in trouble, are those who complain about God.  St. Paul warned the Corinthians in 1 Cor 10:9-11 about the consequences of grumbling, and Dr. hahn compared Paul’s words to the Psalms, of which more than 40% are psalms of ‘lament’ or complaint. The Psalms, like Paul, always end with an act of faith, so their complaining always has an underlying hope for the future, even if it is not to be realized until one reaches heaven. We should not be afraid to come to God with our complaint, as long as we remember to make our acts of faith and hope. What we want and what we need are two entirely different things. God always gives us what we need. He may not always give us what we want.

P.S.  If you are interested in reviewing books for the Catholic Company, you can receive free copies of the books you review.  Check the Catholic Company for more information.

P.P.S  If you know anything about me, you know I love our Mother, Mary!  Be sure to check out the Catholic Company's Mary Statues as well as lots of great books on why Catholics love their Mother so much!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Just a pencil . . .

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.

I don't claim anything of the work. It is his work. I am like a little pencil in his hand. That is all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it.

                            ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Father Cassian asked each of the sisters who attended our recent retreat to write a two-paragraph summary of what we discussed during our sessions with him.  He is compiling them all together along with his own reflections, for the benefit of the sisters who were not able to attend.  It is difficult for me to limit myself to such a short synopsis, (there was sooooo much more to the retreat than can be discussed in 2 paragraphs), but here is a short summary of some of what we discussed:

What an incredible, Holy-Spirit-inspired week it was with Father Cassian and the Daughters of Mary! We spoke of many things, but the centrality of the Eucharist in the Church – the source and summit of our faith – was addressed especially, and at great length. Father Cassian was resolute in his belief that Eucharistic Adoration, especially perpetual adoration, were a necessary component of Marian Spirituality, and at the very heart of the Daughters of Mary. Adoration is inextricably connected, heart to heart, Sacred to Immaculate, as Mary perpetually adores the Sacred Heart of her Son. What greater act of love can there be for each of us, but for the lover of Jesus to gaze upon her Beloved in His Eucharistic presence? Father Cassian has promised, and other religious communities stand as beacons of truth and evidence: Communities who institute Perpetual Adoration see
a great increase in holiness and vocations. 

Among many of the other topics of great importance to which Father Cassian directed our attention, was a discussion about the mission of the Daughters of Mary. By way of example, we are called by our inspirational mission statement and creedal statements to defend and protect life. I wondered how zealously are the Daughters of Mary doing this, and if there is more that could be done to protect children and adults in need? Father Cassian said unequivocally, that to live out our mission, we must know the Church, inside and outside, and the writings of our Holy Father, and the current difficulties and challenges facing the Church. He advised most strenuously that we must be committed to continual formation throughout our religious life. There is never a time to stop learning, growing and re-adjusting to the changing times and needs of our world. Per the Vita Consecrata, religious life is essentially prophetic by nature, as it proclaims the Gospel. Again I pondered if our quiet witness is our only means of proclaiming, or must we be the voice who cries out in the wilderness? Father Cassian suggested that we meditate on the mission statement. As I contemplate the beautiful words of the Daughters of Mary mission statement, I am drawn to how Mary went in haste to her cousin, Elizabeth. I too, long to go in haste, as a Daughter of Mary, to bring the loving and healing presence of Christ into this world of so much poverty of faith and spirit and resources, with conviction and the gentle courage and faithful commitment of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Thank you, Jesus and Mary, for a wonderful retreat!


Monday, August 9, 2010


I hardly know what to say.......I think it will be, WEEKS before I can process all that happened on my retreat with the Daughters of Mary.  Suffice it to say, my commitment to following Christ is stronger than ever and my resolve to surrendering everything to Him seems somehow easier.  My soon-to-be-sisters are incredible -- I love them already!  And Father Cassian Yuhaus is a saint living among incredibly holy and prophetic retreat master.  He was friends with Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Pope John XXIII and Padre Pio.  He is a devoted, brilliant, holy servant of the God, and I am privileged to have his guidance and direction in spiritual matters.  He is a treasure of the Church.  I am thankful to God for his life and his holy vocation.  Deo gratias!

So now I continue to wait in joyful hope!  And now that I have lived in community with my sisters for a week and been witness to their joy, passion, faith, commitment and love, I am even more excited about joining them.  What a gift this calling is!  This love God has for us is CRAZY!  Crazy, unfettered, joyous, deep, uniquely personal L-O-V-E.  I can hardly believe how fortunate I am to even begin to recognize some of the depths of this love for me, and I wonder how I could ever live up to such an incredible gift.  I can not even find the words to describe it!  All I can do is shake my head in wonder and say once again, FiatYour will be done!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I am leaving tomorrow for a 7-day retreat with my soon-to-be sisters!  Woo hoo!  I am excited and a bit nervous, as I know the Lord will give me much to think about this week.  If you happen by while I am away, please pray for me, that I will grow in closer union with Him and never let my pride and self-sufficiency come between us.  And please know that I am praying for you . . .

Please pray also for Melissa, as she prepares to enter the Novitiate on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, and for all of the sisters as they grow in love to serve the Lord and all of His children. 

Blessed Mother, please pray for us. 
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, please pray for us. 

Let it be done according to Your Word, Lord. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Making Room

We must remember only Jesus, think only of Jesus,
counting any loss as profit
insofar as it makes more room in us
for thought about and knowledge of Jesus,
beside whom everything else is nothing. 
I must keep all my powers for God.

~ Venerable Charles de Foucauld, 1858-1916 ~

Sunday, July 11, 2010


What a morning! I was sooo HAPPY that my Mom and I were going to get to go to Mass together. This rarely happens, because I usually have to play the organ, so this was a real treat! But we almost did not make it . . .

As luck would have it-----Not luck------As GOD would have it, my Mom came to my house 30 minutes early. I was thrilled, because I like to have as much time as possible with Jesus before Mass begins, so I was glad she misunderstood the time and came ahead of schedule. Had we not had the benefit of these 30 minutes, we would have missed Mass altogether, as we got a flat tire on the way. This was an awesome gift for several reasons, but mostly because it was an opportunity for great Grace.

Today’s Gospel reading was from Luke 10:25-37, the parable of the good Samaritan. How perfect! As the victim of the robbers lay stripped, beaten and half-dead on the side of the road, the priest and Levite passed him by. But the Samaritan stopped and helped him, tending to his wounds and paying for his lodging so he could rest and get well. It was incredible, that as Mom and I sat on the side of the road waiting for Dad to come and bring the spare, FIVE different cars stopped to help us. This was amazing, because I had been stopped on the Turnpike once in the 80s, and sat there for hours before I could get anyone to help. (Those were the days before cell phones). One after another, on this less-than-busy stretch of highway, men, women and cars with families stopped and got out of their cars to offer aid—Not just slowed down, but stopped and got out and made sure we were OK. One even had a nice chat with us about God and faith when she found out we were on our way to Church. She offered to drive us to Church so we wouldn’t miss, but we were worried about Dad with his congestive heart failure changing the tire by himself, so we waited for him, and he cheerfully and lovingly changed the tired for us and gave us his car for the rest of our trip. As it turned out, Father Jacek must have started a few minutes late, because we only missed the opening prayers and arrived in time for the first reading!  I could hardly believe it!

Father Jacek is a very holy, humble and inspirational priest. His homilies are never dull or uninspired, and they always speak to every soul who is walking on any part of the journey to Jesus. Today’s homily was no different. It was filled with not just one incredible nugget to chew on for the week, but many. Mostly he challenged us to be good neighbors and to open our hearts to loving all of God’s children. Of course I could not help but think of how many Samaritans I saw today and how easily they gave of themselves to a stranger on the side of the road. God’s grace is everywhere!  I am sure that this was not only a gift from above, but a powerful reminder.

In a world where so many find nothing but fault, it was a tremendous gift to see God working through so many souls in such a tangible, generous way. It was a beautiful example of God’s love for us, inspiring us to care for one another even in small things. Yet it was also a great reminder to me of the power of God to move hearts to help when there is a need.  It was an affirmation that He is working everything out to bring me to the Daughters of Mary in HIS time.  When will I learn??  Thankfully, He is a patient teacher.

Thank you, Jesus, for so many great examples of Christian charity today! And thank you for always sending help when we need it. I know you are working things out for our best in this life, and I leave it to you to work out the details. Fiat!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Living in the Garden

Sometimes, it is just plain hard to pray the Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. Sometimes, I just want to pray over and over and over again, the first Joyful mystery, The Annunciation. I long to learn more and more how to be like our Blessed Mother, so humble and giving and always ready to do the will of the Father. I love her fiat. But other times, especially when I feel like I am suffering for some reason or another, I long for an understanding of Jesus and His Agony in the Garden. This was one of those weeks.

I have confidence that our Beloved has called me to the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Connecticut. But some people hold the opinion that if God does not make straight the path in the easiest and quickest possible way, then there is reason to doubt if it is truly God’s will.

Certainly, if God does not want me to go, then He has good reason. I will be very, VERY sad if that is true, but I know in my heart that His plans are perfect, even if they are seemingly devastating to MY will. So again, I SURRENDER. Fiat!

I do still have great hope. In fact, the way I see this, is that God is refining me, helping me to lose another layer of pride and self-sufficiency, relying only on Him and realizing who I am in the scheme of things. As St Therese once said, He is the One Who IS. I am the one who is not.

My town is a small one. Since the word is out that I am going to be joining a religious order and closing my law office, my phone has all but stopped ringing at a time when I most need financial success to remove the obstacles to my entrance. I knew my announcement would eventually lead to the demise of my business, but I had hoped that the final fundraising would coincide with the end of my business. Fundraising is going slowly, and so the obstacle to my becoming a religious sister remains unchanged. And because of the delay since my initial announcement, the family that was going to give my puppies a new, loving home, got a dog of their own two weeks ago. I can’t blame them, I mean, how can you tell your kids they are getting a dog and then make them wait and wait and wait? I am sure God has a plan for my puppies and for me. It does seem, however, that everything is falling apart. My hope and prayer is that God will amaze all of us with the plans He has to make my vocation come to its fruition.

He always gives me hope with His Word.  Today’s reading from Isaiah 6:8 is my cry: "Here I am," I said; "send me!"

And today’s Gospel is my comfort, "Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matt 10:29-31

We are loved!
Let it be done according to Your word. Let it be done!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Litany of Humility

~ Rafael Cardinal Merry Del Val

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved …
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others …
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised …
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything …
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should …

Friday, June 25, 2010


Whoever surrenders unconditionally to the Lord,

will be chosen by Him,

as an instrument for building His Kingdom.

~ St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Day Before . . .

The rosary is a beautiful, efficacious prayer. Praying the rosary brings about profound life changes, as Mary leads us closer and closer to the foot of the Cross, and into the depths of the Sacred Heart of her Son, Jesus.

Recently, as I pray and meditate upon the mysteries of the Gospel which are at the heart of the rosary, I find my meditation and thoughts being drawn to the day before. This has led me to consider every mystery of the rosary in this context, as well as some other accounts in the bible where people experienced great conversions or changes of heart. Have you ever considered what it was like, for instance,

The day before . . .

. . . the Angel Gabriel came to Mary
. . . Joseph had a dream
. . . Mary’s visit to Elizabeth
. . . the shepherds heard the angel
. . . the Magi saw the Star
. . . Simeon met the Holy Family
. . . Anna met the Holy Family
. . . the men in the temple met the Child Jesus
. . . the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist
. . . the wedding at Cana
. . . the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven
. . . the healing of the blind man, leper, woman with hemorrhages, etc.
. . . raising Lazarus from the dead
. . . the transfiguration of Jesus
. . . the institution of the Eucharist
. . . the agony in the garden of Gethsemane
. . . the suffering, crucifixion and death of Jesus
. . . the resurrection of Jesus
. . . the ascension of Jesus into heaven
. . . the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

At first I thought the gift of this meditation was merely a help in my waiting to enter the Daughters of Mary….that my life could change any moment and I could be on my way to Connecticut…that I, myself, was living in the day before. But then I realized that the truth is that we are all living in the day before and that each of our lives can change in an instant. Quite frankly, our lives will probably change in an instant for any number of reasons over the course of our lives.

So what does it mean to be living in the day before? It means surrendering this day to God, knowing that He is in charge and that His plan is perfect…..Knowing that we can trust to our faithful Creator, our most vulnerable, frail, imperfect hearts, and He will always bring about the best for us, even when we can not see it for ourselves at a particular moment. All we need do is to cooperate with His grace and make an effort to actively surrender everything to Him, making FIAT! our battle cry. Be it done unto us according to Your Word, Lord.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Waiting in Joyful Hope

Waiting in Joyful Hope…….Well, most of the time……

What does it take to surrender? None of this comes naturally to me. Every fraction of an act of surrender and trust in God takes an act of the will. Every once in awhile, I get a tiny glimpse that perhaps it is becoming second nature for me, but always it is short-lived and I must surrender again and again and again.

My first response to any problem or question is almost always a well thought-out framework for how to solve it or fix it. I have always believed that there was nothing I could not do, given a timeline and a few resources. But this is not always the case when God is in charge. Sometimes He has other plans or does not wish to give me the resources I want to solve the problem.

So what then is surrender? Where do trust and surrender end and plain ol’ stupidity or laziness begin?

I often think of the story of the man who refused help when floods threatened to wash him and his home away. First came the man to the door telling him to evacuate and his response was, No thank you. The Lord will provide! And then, as the waters began to rise and he found himself standing in knee deep water, a row boat came by offering assistance to get him to dry ground, and again he said, Thank you, no. The Lord will provide! Then finally, up on his roof, as his house was about to wash away, a helicopter came to rescue him and again he refused help, saying The Lord will provide.

When he arrived at the pearly gates, after drowning in the flood, he asked St Peter why God let him die? And St Peter’s response was, Are you kidding me?? He sent you three men, a boat and a helicopter!

I think the moral of this story is that we must cooperate with Grace. It is so much easier when the need and response is instantaneous, but when it is drawn out over a period of time, I think it becomes harder to discern which is the life raft and which is my own agenda. Am I cooperating with the Holy Spirit or am I being lazy? Oh boy, can I relate to Martha. I want to be Mary, but I always end up more like Martha, making things happen and working until the work is done. Who knew that being Mary was so difficult?

God has given me so many gifts, one of the best gifts being my vocation to the religious life and my acceptance into the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Oh, I long to join them! I beg our Beloved Jesus to remove the obstacles to my entry every day. But the process has seemed sooooo slow.

Every day, I give Him my life, my work and my heart. I give Him my family and my friends and everything that us important to us. Every day I tell Him that I know His timing is perfect, and there must be some reason why I am still here, waiting in joyful hope. But some days, I wonder.

I wonder if God wants me to do more? I mean, is it enough that the word is out there that I need help, that eventually someone or some circumstance will arise to help me remove the obstacles to my entering religious life? Should I do something? Ooooo….right as I typed that last sentence, I heard in my heart, Mary’s words, Do whatever He tells you to do. Wow.

That Mother of ours is always listening….always helping…always on my side, helping me to find my way ever closer to the foot of the Cross. I’m going to have to stop this typing for a little while. Time to listen . . .

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I wish I could express the Joy I have in my heart! I mean, all around me people are suffering terrible things like serious illness, loss of jobs, depression, divorce……but in my heart, at this moment, my cup overflows!

Oh, it is not that I don’t care about the suffering of my friends and clients and family---I LOVE them very much. But this Joy surpasses human condition and present emotion and reaction to events and troubles.

What is this Joy?

An online free dictionary explains it as intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness. But is THAT all this is?

Archbishop Timothy Dolan says, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God within.” Oh yeah…yes…yep…..That’s IT!

There are plenty of things I could be complaining about----It’s too hot, my house is a mess, somebody yelled at me, my car broke down, the weeds in the yard are winning, my Mommy is sick, ugh….my Mommy is sick. But does this steal my Joy? No. Not today. Because God’s presence is within me. He lives in me, through me and with me. He is my Beloved, and I am His. This Joy is internal and it is eternal. He has given Himself to me, and I to Him.

Do I always feel so great? Are some days better than others? Of course there are! But that is because of my human weakness and frailty and not because He has done anything wrong. In this relationship, if there is ever a disagreement, I am always wrong, He is always right. Usually, if there is a lack of the feeling of Joy in my soul, it is because I am not including Him, not keeping Him at the center of my life. Always there is sin to cloud things up, but thankfully, confession clears the air and lets me see Him clearly again. He is my Joy, our Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Great News---We Christians can all have this Joy! We only need to surrender ourselves to His grace….To live in His Presence……To give Him every moment of every day, even on days when we have to remind ourselves that we are giving Him every moment of every day. And at the end of the day, we speak to our Beloved, and talk to Him about the times when we turned away from Him, the times when we did not include Him and walked away from His grace. And then simply, we ask Him to help us do better the next day.

Let us try always to give Him our moments! He is our Beloved and He deserves nothing less.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

for my Beloved . . .

Worthy, I am not
But you give me everything I desire
What have I, that has not come from You?
Everything I have is Yours.
My very life and breath are Yours alone.
For my part, I surrender. . . .
Help me surrender.

How can I thank you for such undeserved attention?
Never before have I known such tender love!
You fragrance the morning air with the sweet song of the mourning dove.
You call the blue jays to dance under the trees.
Your red birds tickle me and make me smile.
All these you give to me.

The very thought of you evokes joy and pleasure immeasurable
You are with me always, I know
But you tease me when you hide
Ah, such hidden pleasures
To know You and love you, even when I feel you distant away.

Oh my Beloved
Leave me not for a second
Rest beside me when I sleep
Without Your hand on mine, I am lost

I whisper Your name
But where is the breeze that lifts me to You?
Oh, I know You are there, but you make me wait.
You make me want You, desire You with every beat of my heart
My soul cries out and echoes in the desert.
Sweet misery when your presence escapes me.
Stay with me.
Breathe in me.
Pray in me.

Without you, I am lost . . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Go, therefore, and be Messengers of Joy!

Christ came to bring joy;

Joy to children, joy to parents,

Joy to families and friends,

Joy to the sick and elderly,

Joy to all humanity.

In a true sense,

Joy is the keynote message of Christianity,
and the recurring motif of the Gospels.

Go, therefore, and become Messengers of Joy!

                  ~ Pope John Paul II

Friday, May 14, 2010


     Fiat! What was Mary’s fiat? During this month of May, the month traditionally held to be Mary’s month, we can not think of our Blessed Mother without remembering her FIAT. Translated from Latin, fiat is simply Let it be done.

     Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
Luke 1:38
     May it be done to ME.

     May it be DONE.

     May it BE.

     What is Mary’s Fiat, but a complete and total surrender to the will of God? A YES, without having to know every single detail of what will happen in her world. A YES to the joy of bringing the Son of God into the world with her quiet cooperation. A YES to the suffering, and the swords that would pierce her own heart for giving everything she had and everything she was to our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

     Do we say YES to our Lord every day? Do we say YES to suffering and YES to loving and YES to giving everything we are to our Father in heaven, His Son, and our sanctifier, comforter and teacher, the Holy Spirit?

     Jesus lived His FIAT to our Father in heaven every day of His earthly life. During His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His remarkable fiat when He said, Not my will, but Thine be done, was nothing less than a complete and total gift of Himself for you and for me. Without this gift, we could have no hope of redemption.

     How can we honor God and give ourselves to Him? How can we begin to live our lives more and more for Him each day through our surrender to His Divine will? How can we make Mary’s words our own? Perhaps we should be like Mary and ponder these things in our hearts. Let it be done unto us according to Your Word, Lord. Let it be done.

The Journey

     In my life, I have been a musician, a certified music teacher, an attorney and a college professor. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. I used to know God on a very limited, impersonal basis, not unlike many of my gifted and talented college friends, because I think we all saw ourselves as self-made, not needing anyone else, including God. We were talented and smart, and with few exceptions, we attributed all of our gifts to our own hard work. We did not see our talents as the tremendous gifts from God that they truly are. We were fiercely independent, as many young people are today, and sadly, we saw no need for Him.  

    It was not until after I was attacked in my bedroom by an unknown assailant in 1998, that I had to cry out to God in desperation, for the first time ever. Truly, I credit this horrible assault as having been the event that led me back to the heart of God, and although it makes little sense to many people, I now see it as an enormous blessing that our Lord permitted this evil. It was then when I was at my lowest, and I began to finally see that everything I had and everything I could do with my mind and my hands were all a gift from God. Of course this knowledge did not come overnight, but in God’s perfect time in the years which followed. With my first desperate call to Him, and with the hope that He might hear me, He brought me out of darkness and back into the light. I realize now that He was always there, but that my cold heart was not ready to see Him or hear Him until I had nowhere else to turn.

     It was a few years after the attack, that I had a dream. Suffice it to say, I found Jesus in this dream. His demeanor and the love and gentle peace that accompanied His presence gave me great joy. I did not know it was Him at the time, but when He put His hands on mine and looked into my eyes, I knew I had found love. The dream was a gift and it worked in my life to help me begin to change my cynical perspective.

     This dream occurred around the same time that I was miraculously healed from the PTSD associated with my attack. I had traveled with a friend to Ottawa to see a holy and humble priest friend of his. When Father Kane was introduced to me and he looked at me, he held my glance and a peaceful smile came over his face. He spent the next few minutes alone with my friend and my friend’s daughter, and when they left his office, he asked me to come in. We spoke for a few minutes, and he asked if he could pray for me. He was well known for his healing of the memories, although I had no idea what that meant. I thought he was very kind to pray with me, as he read a gospel and then prayed over me in tongues before we said our goodbyes. I thanked him and he was so gracious and kind and filled with joy. I did not expect to be healed because it did not make any sense to me how you could live with these memories and then still have them but not the nightmares and flashbacks. It was not until a few weeks later that I recognized that I had no more nightmares, flashbacks or panic attacks. I have been 100% fine ever since then, with absolutely no recurrence. Thank you, Jesus!

     Some time after that, I was feeling called to spend time in silence at the Church, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and so I made an effort to regularly do so. Then, one day, while I was in the church alone, I heard an audible voice telling me that I needed to forgive the man who attacked me. I was alone in the Church, so this surprised me. I looked around, and then went back to my contemplation. I heard it again, looked around again, and then said, out loud, “Lord, I don’t know what you are asking me to do! I have no ill will toward this man. I am healed. It’s over. But if you want me to then, FINE. I forgive the man who attacked me. I forgive him for the scars on my body. I forgive him for the lost years and the darkness….” I went on and on in a litany of everything I felt I had lost, until I had nothing more to say, and then I heard just as clearly, that I must be praying for this man’s conversion, as if it was an emergency. And so I did. 

     Over the months which followed, I prayed rosaries and Chaplets and asked for intercession by my friends and all the saints in heaven. I wrote the story and my intentions for him, on every prayer intention slip I could get my hands on, and I am confident that I will see him in heaven someday. I look forward to it, and I am happy about it. I know he is my new brother in Christ Jesus, and in a bizarre way, He brought me to Him. I forgive him, and I love him. The unfathomable Divine Mercy of our Lord began to take on a great importance to me. I was given a great gift of mercy and understanding, and through this gift, I began to appreciate the depth of love the Father has for each and every one of us, as well as the depth of sorrow for sin. I treasure this incredibly beautiful gift from our most generous Beloved, the Divine Giver.  Maybe someday I will tell you more about it. 

     One of the first overt callings I had from Christ was when I made my Cursillo in October 2004. The weekend was almost over, and I ended up being inadvertently seated alone in the Chapel. I began to have a strong feeling of all of the abandonment I had ever felt in my life, including the attack, and then I looked up at Jesus on the cross, and for a brief moment, I was able to share in His abandonment on the cross, along with all of the pain and suffering that entailed. It was only for a moment and then it was replaced with the most incredible joy I had ever known. I knew for the first time that Jesus was with me always and that I was never alone, no matter what. I knew He was calling me to bring Him to everyone, everywhere, especially given the theme for that weekend, Pope John Paul II’s “Go, therefore, and be Messengers of Joy!” I could think of nothing else and I longed to be His Messenger of Joy, joining forces with Him in every way I possibly could. It was through this Cursillo weekend, there began an unquenchable fire burning in my heart that has only grown and will never be extinguished.

     There have been many wonderful experiences and moments close to God in the years since then, and I have longed to give my life to Him as a missionary sister, giving up all of my worldly possessions to follow Him wherever He called me. I began to wonder if it might only be the desire of my heart and not a call from God, because I had prayed, and He did not remove the obstacles or give me any insight as to how to resolve my school loan debt so that I could leave to bring Him to those living in darkness. All that changed at the beginning of 2009.

     In early 2009, I became acutely aware of the gifts God was giving me in every part of my life. I had adopted St Therese’s quote as my own, “He gives me whatever I want, because I want whatever He gives.” I was trying to come to terms with the thought that perhaps God had me right where He wanted me, continuing to use my law office as a ministry, and that I should begin to find new ways to bring Him to my clients and neighbors, as perhaps He was not calling me to a religious order after all. But I soon found that was not true. He brought a profound sense of peace to my heart and made it clear that I was, in fact, going to serve Him in this way. He made it clear that the school loans would not be an obstacle and that I must learn to surrender. I did this in small ways as rectora of the October 2009 Women’s Cursillo, but it was not until the week after the cursillo that He made His way clear to me.

     I had been seeking religious orders out on the internet, and I found myself disheartened by their lack of orthodoxy and worldly ways. I was trying to make things happen by use of my senses and abilities, and of course that never works without prayer, so I began praying the Memorare every day for the specific intention of giving my vocation to Jesus through His Mother, Mary. I had long been consecrating myself to Him through her Immaculate Heart, and now I knew I had to completely surrender my vocation and simply wait for the answers to be revealed.

     It was Sister Regina at St Gabriel’s Monastery in Clarks Summit who told me of the peace she felt and such joy when the Daughters of Mary were in the house. She said she thought of me right away. So I called, spoke to the vocation director, Sr. Mary Alma, and she sent out 2 brochures. As soon as I received them, I felt a peace wash over me. I loved the Marian spirituality and orthodoxy! Sr. Alma was so filled with joy in her emails and phone calls that I wanted to come right away to see if God was calling me to New Britain. After a good visit and many affirmations, I am confident that He is, and I long for the day when He will bring me to the convent. I know He has a plan for this, and I look forward to seeing Him reveal His Plan and those whom He has called to help.

     God has been calling me all of my life. He has called me through dreams, through scripture, and through the communion of saints. He has called me through good friends, holy people and the confessional. He has been calling me over and over and over again, and the time is now to give Him everything.