Sunday, December 16, 2007

Radio Interview

Here's a link to a radio interview with the Director of Bella, Alejandro Monteverde. This interview took place on a show called, "Conversations with Father Bob", hosted by Fr. Bob Camuso.

Bella movie site

here's the link for the 'Bella' movie site http://www.bellamoviesite.com/

'Bella' is bella...

If you haven't seen the movie 'Bella' yet, I would highly, highly encourage you to go see it!!
I saw it last week and was really edified and touched by the message of the movie. It wasn't overt or in-your-face or cheesy but a story about how two wounded people help heal each other. It was fabulous.

God works like that so often in our lives, He sends people to help heal us. Often we think that the people we meet or live with are in our lives by mere coincidence but that is far from the truth. God loves us so much that He sends people into our lives to help set us free from our own selfishness, woundedness and sinfulness. Especially during this Advent season, God is really working to make straight the paths within our own hearts so that they lead to Him. Many times the paths in our hearts lead to ourselves, other people, money, affirmation, etc., instead of God, in who alone we find true fulfillment, peace and joy.

One of the best things we can ask when a difficult situation or suffering arises, instead of blaming other people for our unhappiness and problem, is "God, what are trying to teach me?" He is always at work teaching us and speaking to us, we only need to have ears that hear. It's easy to fall into a pattern of self-pity and gloominess, where we give our peace away at the smallest disturbance and point the finger at other people as to why we aren't happier, holier, more successful, etc. And the lessons that God is teaching slip by us.

Thankfully, each day that dawns is a new day, full of gifts and graces from God.
Happy Advent!
Go see 'Bella'!!!!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

December 8th

A deep and heartfelt 'thank you' to all of you who came to our Profession of Perpetual Vows!! It was so wonderful to have you be a part of that amazing day. I will be posting photos and video of the Profession of Sr. Mary Paul and myself very soon. You are all in my prayers!!
Sr. Miriam James :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wales, England Pictures




Here are some nice pics of Wales, England where we have a mission. Pictured are, seated, Sr. Mary Immaculate, Sr. Victoria, Sr. Trinity and Fr. Derek.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

All Saints and All Souls

We have some awesome feast days coming up this next week, Nov. 1st is the Solemnity of All Saints Day and Nov. 2nd is All Souls Day. Try to attend Mass one of these days and I think you will be moved by the depth of these special feast days.

Simply put, All Saints Day is a time to thank God for all the Saints who have gone to heaven before us and to ask them to pray for us.

All Souls Day is a time for us to remember those have gone on to eternal life before us and to pray for them.

Find out more from EWTN at www.ewtn.com

Turn on the radio...

This was some heartening news

I was reading somewhere (maybe the National Catholic Register- I can't remember :O ) about the power of Catholic radio and it's growing presence in the U.S. market. Radio is one of the most cost effective ways to reach people, in the sense that one doesn't need to purchase expensive equipment to listen to a radio station and many people spend hours a day in the car on the way to work and naturally turn on the radio.

Pope John Paul II writing Ecclesia in America remarks, "For the new evangelization to be effective, it is essential to have a deep understanding of the culture of our time in which the social communications media are most influential. Therefore, knowledge and use of the media, whether the more traditional forms or those which technology has produced in recent times, is indispensable. Contemporary reality demands a capacity to learn the language, nature and characteristics of mass media. Using the media correctly and competently can lead to a genuine inculturation of the Gospel. At the same time, the media also help to shape the culture and mentality of people today, which is why there must be special pastoral activity aimed at those working in the media."

Excellent words. Glad people are listening...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Seattle Times

Here's an article that came out in yesterday's Sports section written by Zach Landres-Schnur of the Seattle Times.

Our website...

Have you visited our SOLT Sisters website? Check out www.soltsisters.org for info about our community, missions, various apostolates and links to other sites in our community.

Enjoy!

God bless you!

More Brandon Heath...

If you liked the music video of Brandon Heath's, "I'm not who I was" you might like the lyrics to another song on the same "Don't get comfortable" CD entitled, "The Light". It's a beautiful song about clinging to God when all seems dark.
Here are the lyrics:
The hand that feeds the fire
The lips that taste the smoke
All together once again
The moon that hangs so pale
The dark that makes you choke
Comes to cover you again

Stay close you people with your broken hearts
I stand before you as a witness
Hold tight to the Man who stands in front of you
As we move toward the light

The will that knows no end
The eyes that see your heart
Come to look on you once more
The word that shakes the ground
The voice that clams the sea
Stands knocking at your door

Stay close you people with your broken hearts
I stand before you as a witness
Hold tight to the Man who stands in front of you
As we move toward the light.


Here is a video of the live performance of the song but I'd have to encourage you to get the CD or download his album on iTunes because his studio version is better than this live version.



Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fr. Walter Ciszek

I can't remember if I wrote about Fr. Walter Ciszek during the summer. He was an American priest who ended up spending many years in the labor camps of Russia. The two most popular books about him are, With God in Russia and the more personal spiritual side of his time in the labor camps, He leadeth Me.

I read He Leadeth Me over the summer while I was spending time preparing for my Perpetual Vows. I like to read, I read a lot of different things but that was one of the best books I have ever read. Fabulous. Fr. Ciszek talks about the different trials he endured, how he made sense of them and what God was teaching him though it all.

I was really struck by one thing that Fr. Ciszek mentioned. So often we think that to reach people and evangelize, we have have to have a certain program, certain knowledge, say the right things, etc. And while that may be partially true, Fr. Ciszek said that the best way to help people in the world today is to become a saint yourself.

Well said. I agree. It would be much easier to say that we aren't effective because we don't have such-and-such of an educational degree. But that really misses the point. God places so many people in our lives everyday. He is always working. So perhaps I should ask myself, "Am I being faithful to the call of holiness?"

Mother Teresa was quoted as saying, "We are not called to be successful but faithful."
The book that recently came out about her called, Come be my light
is another fabulous witness of personal sanctity benefiting mankind at large.

So, help the world, become a saint!

Some nice articles

Here are some articles from this week's National Catholic Register:
Religion and Sports

The creator of the movie Bella, nice conversion story about Eduardo Verastegui

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm not who I was...

I was just reading John Paul II's encyclical "The Mercy of God" this morning and I was really struck by a comment he made. He said, "Conversion is the most concrete expression of the working of love and of the presence of mercy in the human world. The true and proper meaning of mercy does not consist only in looking, however penetratingly and compassionately, at moral, physical or material evil: mercy is manifested in its true and proper aspect when it restores to value, promotes and draws good from all the forms of evil existing in the world and in man.(emphasis included in the original text)"

WOW!!! That's great news. We see in this that the Sacrament of Confession is far more than just going in some little room and saying the wrong things we've done. It truly is a meeting with Christ, it's a meeting that restores us to our original dignity and allows "all things to work for good for those who believe in God." God even uses our sin to bring us to a closer relationship with Him. Just as the prodigal son was brought into a deeper relationship with his father when he realized the error of his ways and returned to his father and confessed his sin and sorrow, so are we brought into a closer relationship with our Father when we see the ways we've lived beneath our true dignity and go back to Him and confess our faults and failings. Far from belittling us, Pope John Paul II says that true mercy restores us.

And it's not only in Confession that these realities are lived out. We are restored and we offer restoration every time we offer mercy to someone else. Many times among our families and friends, deep wounds are inflicted and we go months, maybe even years, in bitterness and silence. At some point we have to ask ourselves, "Is this really in keeping with my dignity? Is this really worth all of the hatred and sorrow it inflicts?" Perhaps we need to go and say we are sorry and ask for forgiveness. Perhaps we need to tell someone that we forgive them before they even ask us. Thank goodness that forgiveness is an act of the will, and not a feeling. We do our best and ask God to help us forgive those truly who have hurt us. Only then, when we are open to forgiveness and forgiving, do we truly live in the peace of Christ.

I am posting the video below of a song by Christian singer Brandon Heath. When I first heard this song, it really touched me and in the video he explains how the song came about. This song is about conversion and the grace of God...something we all need!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Entrance to Novitiate

The entrance to Novitiate ceremony is one of the most moving ceremonies that takes place in religious life. The women begin the Mass as Postulants and leave the church as Novices, wearing a habit and veil. The videos below show the blessing of the habits (when the women are still postulants) and then receiving the name of the Mary (after they have put on their habits and become novices).



Sisters at play..

For all you athletes out there, here's a fun little clip of some of our postulants and novices at a game of ultimate frisbee that took place over the summer!

Long lost blog...

Wow, it has been some time since the blog has been updated! Poor long lost blog. I guess that's what happens when school starts and other things are all happening at the same time. But, lost no more! Get ready for some cool updates!
First, here are some links about one of our sisters who is coaching volleyball:
The Mill Creek Enterprise

The Everett Herald

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tales from the City...




My days in New Mexico are over. It was a very blessed time. Bosque is a very special place, it is peaceful and healing. I learned a lot there over the summer. It is a good thing to get away for a while and spend time in quiet. Although everywhere one goes, distractions are always present. This is not so much because a place is noisy or busy, but because the distractions dwell within our hearts. It is surprising what we find when we look within. Often, lately, I have been thinking of how far we live below our potential. There is more to life than we care to imagine.

Here are some pics of the scenery at our mission in New Mexico.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Tales from the desert...Part 7

"We had a Eucharistic Vigil last night in preparation for today's feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On this day, 49 years ago, our SOLT community was founded by Fr. James Flanagan.

It occurred to me once again last night that Jesus made us a certain promise. He promised He would be with us always, even until the end of time. This promise is fulfilled in many ways, but it is especially fulfilled in the Eucharist.

As I sat there in the chapel while the sun set and the crickets began to sing, I gazed at the monstrance and pondered some of the stories of Jesus from the Gospel. Jesus in the Eucharist who poured out His grace here in New Mexico last night is the same Jesus who calmed the storm for the disciples. It is the same Jesus who healed the woman suffering dreadfully from a hemmorage. It is the same Jesus who forgave the woman caught in adultery, healed the blind who wanted to see and taught the people with authority. He is one and the same.

St. Teresa of Avila commented once that people told her they would believe in Jesus more readily if they had lived in the time while He walked upon this earth. She replied that it isn't so. Just as believing in Jesus now is an act of faith, so it was back then.

Jesus looked like a regular man. He had a regular job (for a time) and an apparently regular family. When He performed miracles and healings, many people still had a difficult time believing that He was the Son of God. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

If we just go to Church on Sunday, or even weekdays, because we feel that we have to "fulfill our obligation" or of a superstitious reason that something bad will happen to us if we don't go, we aren't living as full a life as Jesus came to give. Our life isn't an obligation or a "should". Our life is a "yes". Like Christopher West says, "Don't empty the Cross of its' power." God has gifts to give us that we can't even imagine. He is truly here with us, even until the end of time.

So ask God for that grace of a deeper, livelier faith. If you have trouble believing Him or find it a drudgery to attend Mass, tell Him so. Go to Confession often. Ask God to heal your blindness so you can truly see. So you can see that He is truly with you at every moment of your life, even the most sorrowful moments that you'd rather forget. Jesus is here with us. The same Man who calmed the storm 2,000 years ago speaks the same words in our hearts today.

Til then..."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Tales from the desert...Part 6

I spent a little time on a silent retreat this past weekend which was a nice thing. Nothing like a little silence to make things in life clear, which is perhaps why the world abhors silence and does all it can to intrude upon the serenity of our minds.

I finished another book, well ok, three more books. Oddly enough they all had to do with the subject of international conflict, more commonly known as war. One of the books was about child soldiers in Sierra Leone. It was really heartbreaking to me to read about mere children being forced into war, high on drugs, with semi-automatic weapons. Wow. It's hard to even imagine something like that, much less live through it.

There was this quote by Mother Teresa on a little calendar that I have and she said (I am paraphrasing here) that war doesn't begin outside ourselves but it begins in our hearts. It begins with conflict and hatred in our own hearts and spreads outward. The best way to counteract war is to love our neighbors.

It sounds simple, doesn't it? But it's true. If I have hatred in my heart and I spread that hatred around, the hatred grows. However, if I have the love of God in my heart and seek to understand others instead of condemn them, then that too will grow.

So I guess the choice is really ours.

Till then...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tales from the desert...part 5

"Something I have been pondering these days in the desert is the will of God. Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Many people talk about the will of God as in, "Sister, I just want to do the will of God" or "I don't know what the will of God is for me." Well, what is the will of God? And how does one go about discovering it in his or her own life?

Perhaps it would help us if we could keep in mind that nothing in our life is coincidental. Nothing. Every person that crosses your path, everything that happens to you during the day is providential, not coincidental. Now, perhaps we don't understand all of what happens to us but that's not really the point. That point is that God is doing something in and with our lives. The experiences we have in our ordinary, routine day are gifts from God. Notice that even in a like environment such as an office, or a school or a religious community wherein people have a similar daily structure, they don't have the exact same types of experiences every day. God is teaching all of us different things. Our life is tailored to us. We aren't generic prototypes or repeats of some cookie-cutter model (okay, so nuns dress the same, but I promise you that we are all very different!).

God loves us so much that everyday, at every moment, He showers us with gifts. These are the experiences that happen in our lives. These are the gifts He has to give us. Perhaps we don't like the wrapping of some of the gifts, for they can come cloaked in humiliation, sorrow, defeat and disappointment, but underneath that wrapping is a gift from God, if we can only see it as such.

I believe that these gifts that come to us everyday make up the larger "will of God" that many people speak of. Sometimes I think we are waiting for some voice to come out of the sky and tell us what to do, while all along we miss the whispers that permeate our daily lives.

If we are faithful to the small things in life, bigger things will be given to us. Jesus exhorted this to His apostles. Perhaps it is in our human nature to want to run before we can crawl. The disciples swore they would never forsake Jesus and then ran away that very night. And we all do the same. So that's when we come to our senses and come back to God, where we belong. Conversion is a daily process. Holiness is a journey of becoming. We are on a mission.

That's the will of God!

Til then..."

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tales from the desert...Part 4

"While I am on the subject of books, women might be interested in reading a book by author Dawn Eden entitled, The Thrill of the Chaste.

I would recommend this book for late teens/adults. It's a memoir by the author of her search for true chastity in her life. Ms. Eden shares with the reader her life that was filled with men and worldly things, yet it didn't bring her what her heart truly sought. She was looking for something far deeper than what society had to offer.

Ms. Eden is open and honest about her experiences. She has a great wisdom, sense of humor and a desire to be everything that God wants her to be. I found it refreshing and insightful.

Til then..."

Tales from the desert...Part 3

"One of the things that I really appreciate about being in the desert and away from the city is that I have a lot of time to read.

If you are looking for something to read this summer and want a book that will grab your attention and inspire you, may I suggest a book called, "Three Cups of Tea." It's a true story about an American named Greg Mortenson who, after failing to climb the K2 mountain in Pakistan, gets lost on his way down the mountain and stumbles into a village wherein he realizes that the children of the village have no school. The kids sit on the cold ground outside in the winter and learn from a teacher who only comes three days a week. Seeing that the children deserve more, Mortenson, with no money and no idea how he will actually build one, promises the village chief that he will come back and build the village a school. And so it begins.

I don't recommend it for very young children and would encourage adult parents to read it first as there are a couple of things in the book that are inappropriate for young children, but I think you may find the book inspiring and a testimony to the generosity, providence and protection of God.

Another thing that was brought to my attention was the story of Chinese Cardinal Kung. Cardinal Kung was a Bishop for the Diocese of Shanghai when he was arrested by the government in 1955 and put into prison for, get this, 30 years. By the time he was released in 1985, there was a Polish Pope and a new Vatican Council had already begun and ended! But Cardinal Kung remained faithful to the Church throughout his ordeal and was actually named a Cardinal by John Paul II "in pectore" (in the heart of the Pope, not made public) during his incarceration.

At 87 years of age, Cardinal Kung was released from jail and came to America. Thereupon he went to Rome and greeted the Holy Father. Here's an excerpt of his being made Cardinal from the website of the Cardinal Kung Foundation:"When Pope John Paul II presented Cardinal Kung with his red hat in ceremonies on June 28, 1991, at the Consistory in the Vatican, the wheelchair-bound, ailing Kung raised himself up from the wheelchair, threw aside his cane and walked up the steps to kneel at the foot of the Pontiff. Visibly touched, the Holy Father lifted him up, gave him his cardinal's hat, then stood patiently as Cardinal Kung returned to his wheelchair to the sounds of an unprecedented seven-minute standing ovation."

I find that idea of perseverance quite amazing. We get bent out of shape if the line at the grocery store is too long, imagine being imprisoned in China for 30 years! Imagine being imprisoned, not for something that you did that was wrong, but for believing in Christ. Things like this still happen in the world today, lest we be ignorant of that fact.

The Holy Father released a letter today to all Chinese Catholics which you can read here.
In it he addressed many important issues and it is no coincidence that the letter comes at a time in history when China's economy and world status are rising and that Beijing is scheduled to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. So you might want to read it.

Our Blessed Mother is appearing on earth more now than ever in the history of time. It seems like she speaks the same message to many different people, probably because we aren't listening to what she is saying. She continues to urge us to turn away from sin, pray, go to Mass and receive the Eucharist, fast and return to Her Son. As our Mother, she knows what is best for us and it must grieve her heart to see so many people living beneath their dignity.

Let us pray to Her for help, wisdom and perseverance.

Til then..."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tales from the desert...Part 2

" There are some very big things going on here in the desert. Yesterday, we visited our new convent being re-built in Holman, about 3 hours north of Albuquerque. Holman is where our community began almost 50 years ago and when the sisters left the area, the convent was destroyed. I remember seeing it 5 years ago before anything had been done to it and looking at the graffiti on the walls and the devastation of it, I didn't think there was much that could be done. However, the foundation was structurally sound and so the sisters and some amazing volunteers began to build upon it.

I was unprepared as to how beautiful the convent would be. The walls are white and they reach high to touch the skylights in the ceiling. There is a tile inlay of the Miraculous Medal, windows that reveal the breathtaking views of the mountains and nature, and even compact little rooms for the sisters that have built in beds, closets and desks. The Sisters aren't finished yet with this project and I hope to post pictures and a video of the convent soon. Much of the work and furnishings have come from generous benefactors who have graciously volunteered their time and resources. I know that God will bless them abundantly for their gifts.

Perhaps that goes to prove that God plants desires in the hearts of people and fulfills them. And that His ways are not our ways. Don't we do that at times, we look at something or someone on the outside and say,"Nothing can be done to fix that person or problem." And then God steps in and does something wonderful. It takes a lot of work, whether on a building or on ourselves interiorly, but we do our part and God does the rest.

I like that.

Til then..."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tales from the desert... Part 1

Sr. Miriam James is preparing for her Perpetual Vows in Bosque, New Mexico. These are some of her reflections from the desert. (please pray for her!)

"After leaving cloudy and rainy Seattle for the desert heat of New Mexico, I've noticed some interesting things. First of all, it's hot. That being said, there is something about the desert that invites reflection and recollection. It's no coincidence that many of the saints left the city and the teeming mass of humanity to embark on an unknown path in the desert. Perhaps they fled for different reasons but I would be willing to bet that although they were leaving "distractions" behind, they knew that a different and perhaps more difficult battle lay ahead.

Sometimes people think that the problems they have are locational. They think, "If only I didn't live here, I would be happy." Or "If only I didn't have this job, I would be happy." or "If I didn't have to live with so-and-so, I would be happy." However, it rarely works that way. We think that if all of our distractions and problems were taken away, we would be happy. So we move, quit our jobs, stop speaking to certain people, etc. and often what happens is that we are just as unhappy as before. Why is that? Because we take ourselves with us wherever we go and most of our struggles are buried deep in our own hearts, not in our neighbor. More on that later...

I really like our mission out here in Bosque and one of the first things I noticed about it when I first arrived here almost nine years ago was the immense peace that permeates this mission. I had never experienced peace like that in my life before that point and it struck me deeply. Many members of our community come here for renewal and preparation of vows and I think it's really providential because this mission is marked by silence, community and peace. So we here also try to take one day at a time and embrace the gifts that God is trying to give us, whatever they may be.

Blessed John XXIII said, "You must live each day as it comes, and proceed arm in arm with Providence, not trying to race ahead."

Think about it.

Til next time..."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sad Article about Planned Parenthood

I read this story in the National Catholic Register about the Planned Parenthood organization. I already knew the damage that Planned Parenthood does to women so I guess something new like this shouldn't have surprised me but it saddened me to see how women and girls are being taken advantage of for the sole purpose of money and the destruction of life.

Let us pray for all of these people.

Abortion is a very difficult thing to encounter. We live in a culture that tells us we can kill innocent children and that it won't cause any problems or distress later on. However, the deeper we go into this mentality, the more we are finding women who have been devastated by procuring or being forced to have an abortion. Things aren't alright later on. Time doesn't make a woman forget about her lost child. She doesn't just "get over it." And often there is no one she can talk to.

If you have had an abortion, please know how much God loves you and desires your healing and reconciliation with Him and your child. There is hope. No matter how long ago it happened or who you are, there is hope.

Project Rachel has a tremendous ministry to women who have had abortions. They offer healing retreats and people to talk to that understand, are compassionate, and can help. Won't you begin the healing process today?

Visit these links to find out more about Project Rachel- www.hopeafterabortion.com
Healing retreats: www.rachelsvineyard.org

We are praying for you.
God has a great plan for your life.
May God bless you and bring you His peace.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

On Religious Life

This is a great reflection by Pope Benedict to Religious Women

From Our General Priest Servant..

Here is a reflection from our General Priest Servant, Fr. Rogel Rosalinas, SOLT

"One of the perennial truths and facts of life is the importance of community. We have heard it said that man is a social being, and as such, he can not live in isolation. All fields of human knowledge would agree to this fact: psychology, sociology, philosophy, and even anthropology. They all affirm that man can fully attain all his potentialities only in a community. The late Pope John Paul II, in one of his earlier writings as Archbishop Karol Wojtyła, said that it is only in the context of a community that the “I” can fully live his dignity and calling, because it is only in the community that he can be connected to the “THOU”, and therefore both the “I” and the “THOU” authentically attain their individuality and at the same time their connectedness.

“Witnessing Graced-Friendship of the Trinity Through Our Lady” is, for me, an expression of this perennial truth about being and living in a community. Graced-friendship is that important element which should characterize our manner and spirit of relationship, connection, and rapport with one another.

It is my contention that graced-friendship is a higher form,a higher dimension of relating primarily because it is based on grace that comes from God, and not just on any human preferences or likings. It is a kind of relationship that evolves, revolves and hinges on every grace that comes from God. It is a relationship that goes beyond human standard and human definitions. It is in this kind of relationship, to which each and every member of the Society of Our Lady is called. Be it in the way we relate with our own respective vocation or with the other two vocations in the Society. It is, it should be, it must be, the level of our relationship in ecclesial teams. In a more concrete way, how can we incarnate the spirit of graced-friendship? Is it something that is altogether beyond our capabilities, or is it something that you and I can participate in?

In his Letter to the Colossians, Apostle Paul writes: “Put on them, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved - heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against one another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put then on love, that is, the BOND OF PERFECTION. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body”. (Col. 3:12-17). This exhortation of the Apostle Paul characterizes how it is to relate in graced-friendship. What the Apostle said can only happen if there is grace-friendship in a community.

In “The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross”, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD, it is says: “You who is in formation should come to understand that you come to the monastery so that all may fashion you and try you; you
should think that all in the community are artisans present there in order to prove you; that some will fashion you with words, others by deeds, and others with thoughts against you; and that in all this you must be submissive as is the statue to the craftsman who molds it, to the artist who paints is, and to the gilder who embellishes it”. This is another way of living the spirit of graced-friendship because it is only through it that we discover that even the ugliest experience in life can be liberating.

Jean Vanier, in his book “Community and Growth”, writes: “In one way, community is a terrible place. It is the place where our limitations and our egoisms are revealed. It is the place where we discover our poverty and weakness, our inability to get on with people, our mental and emotional blocks, our frustrations and jealousies, our hatred and wish to destroy. While we were alone, we could believe we loved everyone….. so community life brings a painful revelation of our limitations, weaknesses and darkness…..and the immediate reactions is to hide them away again, pretending they don’t exist, or to flee from community life and relationships with others, or to find . that the monsters within are theirs, not ours. But if we are accepted with our limitations as well as our abilities, community gradually becomes a place of liberation. In community life we discover our own deepest wound and learn to accept it so that our rebirth can begin. True community is liberating.” For me, this can only happen if there is graced-friendship.

Yes, it is true, Our Lady is our proto-type model on how to live and relate in graced-friendship primarily because She is the daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to you all! May the joy of Jesus Resurrected be with you.

Here is Pope Benedict's Easter Message to the world.

Divine Mercy Sunday is coming and it's not too late to begin the Divine Mercy Novena, you can find it by clicking here.

Speaking of mercy, I think the world is crying out for it. The world is a tough place, it's a place that demands "perfection", chastises the exceptional or poor, spurns the helpless, worships image and falsehood and in spite of all that, the world seeps into us. It's a place of trouble. Knowing this, Jesus said, "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome of the world." Thank God.

God uses the experiences He allows in our life to teach us. He wants us to be truly happy and He knows that as long as we are enslaved to the world and ourselves, we won't be happy. So He sends us help to free us. At first, that freedom feels very painful and we want to go back to our own little Egypt, where things are comfortable even though we are enslaved far more than we can imagine.

But when we are open more and more to the ways God frees us, then we experience the real joy of the Resurrection. We have to die to our slavery in order to live and be truly free. These little triumphs and resurrections come every day. Some days are better than others. Some days we fall down and really crash and burn. Other days we run in the ways of the Lord.

It doesn't matter if we fall, we can always get back up and go back to God, where we belong. Jesus comes to tell us who we really are and reveal our true dignity to us, a dignity that the world cannot give and that the world cannot take away.

Live in that dignity. Life is too short for counterfeits.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fr. Corapi

Fr. John Corapi, a member of our community, came to Seattle this weekend to give a retreat. One of our Sisters attended and said that hundreds of people turned out to hear one of his last talks before he takes a sabbatical from a active ministry for a while.

One of his main points for the talk was encouraging the praying of the Rosary. He mentioned that the Rosary is our weapon during these trying times. He said to pray, pray and pray.

When Our Blessed Mother appears to people, her message is just that. She invites all people to turn back to her Son. She implores her children to repent, turn away from sin, fast, make sacrifices and pray. She gives her protection to those that pray her Rosary.

Our Blessed Mother once mentioned that if you have a hard time believing in her messages, make a Rosary Novena. Pray all the mysteries of the Rosary everyday for 9 days, offering those prayers to the Heart of Jesus and to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment. Try it for yourself and see if your heart changes a bit, I think you will find something miraculous does happen.

If you are tempted to criticize or condemn someone, try praying and making a sacrifice for them first. So often we complain and criticize without trying to help. When I mean help, I mean praying for that person and offering something up for them. Jesus suffered for us, knowing well that we would often reject Him and run from Him. Yet, He does not criticize us, He showers more grace upon us in many forms to help convert us.

Suffering is not a curse, it is a blessing. Offer whatever suffering you may have, everything from being hungry and thirsty or misunderstood and mistreated, to sicknesses in body and suffering in emotions to Jesus and Mary. You don't have to wait for something "big" to unite it to the suffering of Christ.

Offer whatever you have now, now IS the day of salvation.

Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, pray for us!

God bless you!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pope Benedict's Lenten Message

Here is the Lenten Message from Pope Benedict XVI. This really gives you something to ponder.

Happy Ash Wednesday

Check out our post on the Thailand Rebirth Center below, it includes a video as well.


Happy Ash Wednesday-

This Lent, let the Holy Spirit lead you out into the desert where He will speak to your heart. When you wake up in the morning, ask the Holy Spirit to prepare you and choose for you whatever He would like to bestow upon you for that day. Sometimes we get caught up in our own things for Lent and forget that it is the Holy Spirit who leads us, not us leading the Holy Spirit!

God has a great gift to give each one of us this Lent. He wants to remind us of who we really are. So often we let the world distract us and tell us who we are and where we come from. Lent is a time in which we draw away from the world and go to a quiet place with Jesus. Ask Our Lady to come and wrap her mantle around you to quiet your heart and mind.

Have a wonderful Lent-

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Site

Hello! God bless you. If our website looks a little different, that's because it is. We had to start over on a new site yet again, (4th time is the charm). So please pray that we will have no further technical difficulties!! Thank you! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thailand Rebirth Center

I know I promised to post the history of our Rebirth Center in Thailand a long time ago. I was so impressed and edified when I went to visit last summer. So, without further adieu, here it is:

"The inspiration for starting a work to help drug addicts in Thailand rehabilitate came to our founder, Fr. James Flanagan, during the decade of the 1970's. By Divine Providence Fr. Flanagan met two young Thai women who began this work for our community and later became Sisters-Sr. Raphael and Sr. Rosaline.

In 1977, the Sisters went with a group of drug addicts for training in the drug rehabilitation program DARE in Manila, Philippines. After two years of training with DARE, the team came back to Thailand and under the direction of Fr. Flanagan, opened the first Center for drug addiction rehabilitation. This first center, named the Rebirth Center, opened on October 6th, 1979 in an unused building of a former school.

After a permanent building was constructed for the center in Chomburg, the resident population grew to what is somewhere between 250-300 teenage boys and men today.

It was decided in the early 1990s to open a separate women's center for drug addiction rehabilitation. This women's center of Bangkla has a current population of around 50-60 teenage girls and young women.

Many different SOLT members have come from time to time to serve in this apostolate. The two centers are the first and only non-government Therapeutic Community Centers in Thailand. The two centers are also members of the Association of International Therapeutic Communities whose headquarters are in New York City.

PROGRAM:
The life in the two Rebirth Centers is modeled after a family, a school and a therapeutic community. Here the men and women learn and live a responsible way of life with a gradual increase in responsibilities and status. The residents focus on helping each other gain a drug-free life and becoming productive members of society.

The Rebirth therapeutic drug treatment process consists of programs which together encourage the members to develop positive attitudes, healthy relationships, noble ideas, sound values, and mature judgment. These qualities in turn help them to reach emotional, intellectual, and spiritual changes. These changes bring about the integration of the whole person. Some of the programs that bring about this change are individual, group and family counseling, therapeutic workshops, education, vocational training and other support services.

It is a great privilege and joy for all who serve in these treatment centers of Our Lady's Society in Thailand to see afflicted youth come to a new rebirth in their lives and relationships.

Posted below are some of the women from the rebirth center singing a song of welcome: