Getting the peg dolls all painted in shining array for the little children by opening day - They are all dressed up and ready to march!
Enjoying the summer fun time of preparing for the Good Shepherd Atrium for the upcoming year. The materials list requires three-dimensional figures for some of the Bible Stories and, needing to fulfill the requirements, we painted new "people" for the Infancy Narratives and the Paschal Mysteries. Before we began the adventure, the task seemed impossible for those of us who lacked any artistic ability, but our heavenly helpers came to our aid! Since the ATRIUM is the child's SACRED PLACE, it must be set up properly so that it can foster a religious experience and help the child to grow in love with the Good Shepherd. The little children are so eager to learn about Jesus and everything pertaining to God. They are like the thirsty soil drinking in the sprinkling rain, producing thriving, little seedlings joyfully praising God.
But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such. - Mt 19:14
MISSION EVENT IN AUGUST TO BENEFIT MISSIONS IN NIGERIA, ARGENTINA AND THE PHILIPPINES -
BLESSED SACRAMENT FESTIVAL, NEW BEDFORD, MA
5 Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers, especially for strangers; 6 they have testified to your love before the church. Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.* 7 For they have set out for the sake of the Name* and are accepting nothing from the pagans. 8 Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth. - 3 John 1:5-8
Our mission events bring abundant graces! There are many challenges, joys, struggles and lots of gratitude. Our small efforts in raising funds for the needy missions by selling our handmade religious articles bring so many benefits: the opportunity to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, to hear the miraculous stories of how God has helped people in their lives, to pray with and for those who are sorrowing, to teach the rosary and other prayers, to lift up the downtrodden and bring joy to their hearts AND to help the missions. We can attest that Our Most wonderful and powerful God is active and still working miracles in His children's lives because we hear the stories and we rejoice that He allows us to learn of them. And we witness that Our Lady is also a mother to her children and actively drawing them to Her Most Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Our Lady surrounds us with Her Mantle: We pray to Her before our events so that She will be with us and help us whenever we need it. She is our Mother and always at our side. All praise to the Blessed Trinity - and Blessed is Holy Mary!
Enjoying peace and tranquility at The St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk, Maine. A time to pause, rest and contemplate the Beauty of the Lord.
“Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him." Psalms 37:7
We ventured a little further north to another picturesque Retreat House, The Marie Joseph Spiritual Center in Biddeford, Maine. Situated on the ocean, one stands on the shore and ponders the immense ocean expanse, leading to adoration of the Mercy of God, and contemplation of the depths of the rolling, mighty ocean.
#718 - from St. Faustina's Divine Mercy in My Soul: “After Holy Communion, I heard these words:- “You see what you are of yourself, but do not be frightened at this. If I were to reveal to you the whole misery that you are, you would die of terror. However, be aware of what you are. Because you are such great misery, I have revealed to you the whole ocean of My mercy. I seek and desire souls like yours, but they are few. Your great trust in Me forces Me to continuously grant you graces. You have great and incomprehensible rights over My Heart, for you are a daughter of complete trust. You would not have been able to bear the magnitude of the love which I have for you if I had revealed it to you fully here on earth. I often give you a glimpse of it, but know that this is only an exceptional grace from Me. My love and mercy knows no bounds."
May God be praised, Now and Forever! Deo Gratias!
THE TRADITION: OUR LADY PUTS A CURE IN THE WATER OF THE FIVE OCEANS ON THE FEAST DAY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.
An old Irish nun told Sr. Ann Marie about the tradition wherein Our Lady puts a cure in the ocean on the Feast Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Polish also maintain this legend as well as many here in America do. This has become an annual tradition for us as we make a special trip to the wildlife refuge in Rhode Island, very close to the ocean; it is a quiet and reflective time to remember this great Feast in honor of Our Lady.
A priest said that he had an elderly aunt who spent every summer at the shore, but who never went in the water except on August 15. “There is," he said, “a cure in the waters on that day."
Another tradition is followed in some coastal areas with public processions to the ocean where the seas are also blessed on the feast, especially in fishing communities. Carrying a statue of Mary, they read passages from the gospels where Jesus went fishing with His apostles, they toss garlands of flowers into the water and pray the Magnificat when Holy Water is sprinkled on the ocean. They, too, believe that a cure may result when wading in the waters. Participants bring empty bottles (as we did) to fill at the shore and bring the bottles to those who are unable to attend and many wade in the waters to “catch" the cure.
Some speculate it might be because Mary is known as The Star of the Sea. Others say that the custom may date back to 15th century Italy, when a bishop, traveling upon a stormy sea on the Feast of the Assumption, threw his pastoral ring into the sea and calmed the waters. Over time, the faithful attributed healing powers to the waters blessed on this feast. Whatever the case may be, it is a treasured way of remembering and calling attention to The Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption, body and soul, into heaven.
ALLELLUIA! Fr. Ididoro, FI, stationed at the Argentina Mission, celebrates with youth the official rejection of abortion! RESULTS - 38 AGAINST ABORTION, 31 FOR ABORTION AND 2 ABSENTEES.
“Ave María! Yes we are still celebrating because we pro lifers suffer a lot because of the politics. Praise God in the midst of all the pressure! We were accompanying the Pro life senators and I hired one Micro bus with the young people". - Fr. Isidore
The pictures show some of the Pro-life rallies in different provinces and cities in Argentina. This victory is encouraging for pro-lifers around the world and a breath of fresh air. Thanks be to God!
THE LESSON THAT THE MORNING GLORY HAS DEMONSTRATED
We have learned from cultivating our glorious morning glories, sometimes a challenging task, that the divine lesson of the parable of Jesus is manifested. The flowers always look toward the sun, straining vigorously upward day by day. They flourish in the morning radiance and happily absorb the rain sprinkled from the heavens. It is exciting to watch their growth. When the night filters in, the stars twinkle and the moon glows, these fascinating vines continue it's growth. It is like what Jesus says in Mark's gospel:
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. - Mark 4:26-28
But what we have noticed is that when there is no string or branch to cling to, it withers and dies. Its limbs grow scrawny, they dangle and their ends just die. As Jesus taught in the gospel of St. John:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." ~ John 15:5-8
All of nature images the Divine Plan of God in some way, and the Parables of Jesus point to this fact. God is so exceedingly magnificent - He will never cease to amaze us. Deo Gratias!
Buenos Aires, La Plata ~ Argentina. The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have a very poor mission in Argentina. Fr. Isidoro travels among the poor, helping in any way he can. Since it is now the rainy season, the friars have to contend with very muddy, wet roads as they wend their way serving in three chapels. They need to use a "cultural center" for one of the chapels ~ they are hoping that one day a church can be built. The friars are making a concrete area in front of one of the churches since it so muddy when it rains. Fr. Carlos is trying to finish construction of the new friary among his many other duties. May Our Lady inspire others to help them in their needs, and may she shower this very poor mission with an abundance of graces.
The experience that stays with them for a lifetime!!
We have enjoyed another year of Totally Catholic Vacation Bible School here at St. Brendan's Church. The children like it so much that they come back year after year - and when they are old enough they graduate to “Counselors" to help with the younger children. Sometimes the counselors come back even when they are in college! It is a blessing to assist the children experience the Bible as the stories are dramatized. They participate in the action, becoming actors themselves ~~ and this helps the Bible come to life for them. Although there are different segments to the VBS morning, most of the children really enjoy the drama segment which we are involved with and look forward to it each day. We delight in acting out the parts and seeing the crews' faces light up at different moments. What more important Book is there? It is the Love Letter from Our Heavenly Father - and we have the privilege of guiding the children through it. When our 7th grade CCD girls are asked about the prophets, a lot of them remember the stories from their VBS days. Many VBS graduates have said that their times were so enjoyable and memorable.
Our Lady's virtues sparkle in heaven AND on earth!
This picture was taken today ~~ the sun was pouring into our chapel, shining brilliantly on Our Lady's crystal rosary and causing a rainbow of many shimmering colors to radiate on Her dress. The gleaming circles point to the virtues of Mary that are numberless - and are manifested on earth in a variety of ways. As the moon reflects the brilliance of the sun, Our Lady reflects the glory of God, referring all her glories back to God. Her virtues can even be discerned in nature: for example, in the white rose -- her exquisite purity; the white Madonna lily - her immaculate purity, her innocence and her virginity; the tulip -- her fullness of grace. The Rose of Sharon bears a title attributed to Mary in Sacred Scriptures and so much more.
Saint Josemaria, in Friends of God, no. 281 said: “If we become identified with Mary and imitate her virtues we will be able to bring Christ to life, through grace, in the souls of many who will in turn become identified with him through the action of the Holy Spirit. If we imitate Mary, we will share in some way in her spiritual motherhood. And all this silently, like our Lady; without being noticed, almost without words, through the true and genuine witness of our lives as Christians, and the generosity of ceaselessly repeating her fiat, which we renew as an intimate link between ourselves and God."
Though Our Lady's virtues are uncountable, St. Louis de Montfort listed Ten principal Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He strongly suggests that we commit these virtues to memory and strive to imitate them in our daily lives. What are her 10 virtues?
St. Maximilian said to strive to be a GREAT saint!! -- so, with Our Lady's help, we can practice virtues to a heroic degree and we can, indeed, become saints - Great in the eyes of Our Lord!
What do you notice about these pictures I took about a week ago? Do you see the AURA, a sort of light or mist, around the lilies? When I took the pictures, I saw this “mist" in the camera lens, but I thought is was my eyes or imagination. (I have not been able to duplicate this.)
And this image below? No aura. We surmise that it is because Our Lady is back in her “summer home" - her place of honor near the fence and flowers where she is placed when winter has passed ~ now, she replaces the cloud. Perhaps there is a natural explanation, but one thing is for sure: Divine Providence is at work!! It is undoubtedly a sign. This glow is a manifestation of Our Lady - that wherever she visits, Her holy fragrance permeates the area and she always leaves special graces. It's up to us to accept them and respond.
In researching Our Lady and light - I stumbled upon an approved apparition Of Our Lady to a pious lady in Italy in 1722. “The Virgin appeared in a glorious light, surrounded by a host of seraphim and was extremely beautiful. She wore an imperial crown and had a girdle adorned with jewels that surpassed the beauty of the stars. On her shoulders was a blue mantle. On her left arm, she carried the Child Jesus. With her right hand, she lifted a sinful soul from the horrible throat of Hell, keeping it from falling back in. On the other side, a kneeling angel held up a basket filled with hearts, which he presented to the Divine Child in His mother's arms. He took the hearts one at a time and inflamed them with his love. The Virgin Mary said she wished to be called Maria Madre Santissima del Lume (Mary Most Holy Mother of Light), and repeated it three times, and said not to forget that." To make a long story short, an artist painted the vision which was guided by Our Lady herself, and this painting was carried by Father Genovesi, SJ missionary priest wherever he preached. “According to tradition, the visitation of the picture would always result in great love and devotion to the Virgin, thereby making it very difficult for the people to part with the picture. This started the practice of leaving a faithful copy of the picture in the chapel or church of the place visited by Father Genovesi." For the rest of the story, see:
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TO ADORE OUR LORD!
The Franciscan Handmaids of the Immaculate seek daily to draw closer to Our Lord. Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament is fundamental to Our spiritual life as we seek to conform our hearts unto His. Additionally, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Sorrows, we place ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking Her to bring us closer to Her Son.