Walking Each Other Home…

Wow! That’s thought provoking stuff. It should motivate us to complete our preparations though we won’t need a casket.
Maybe there are urns that can be finished.
Your newsletter is so poignant and I found myself very still and quiet as I read it. I was immersed in it and felt with you the feelings of your heart. Thank you for sharing so intimate a look into your lives.
My heart is just overflowing with feelings –love, grief, compassion, support, empathy, –as I hold your shared thoughts and feelings within. I want to say I understand, but perhaps it’s simply my identifying with your own experience. The oyster image is a daily experience for me too.
The heart that contracts from seeing a familiar name among the deceased… that’s happened already in my community, but your intimacy of 45 years among FOUR only is unique. Thank you for expressing so clearly your life as it is unfolding. And for adding Bernie’s and Lorene’s presence as they go before us. I will be 80 this March—it seems kind of surreal, but I know the numbers don’t lie!
I love you all so much. It’s a consolation to imagine that whatever heaven will be like, there will be communion in GOD with all whom we’ve loved!
Wow! Big changes! I pray that each of you receives what you are needing in this process. We are the elders now, and it doesn’t seem possible! I redid my will, health directive, planned my funeral etc. last summer to make it simpler for Mara when the time comes. It is an interesting process, but I rather enjoyed “getting things in order.”
thank you for this excellent and moving piece of writing — your compassionate and spiritual clarity is very good to hear and helpful.
I trust that you will do what is best for your sisters. None of the answers are easy and centering prayer will help you to stay in the sacrament of the present moment.

Jesus’ meeting with Martha and Mary

Thank you for that, due to illness I have had to “do things differently” and yes it’s hard but I’m getting there slow but sure. Bless you
Thank you for this most beautiful reflection. I am drawn into your prayer as well as realizing my own limitations and vulnerability in the face of suffering and so many needs.
I appreciate the use of personal experience as part of your reflection. It helps open up some honesty with myself and some paths to travel for personal reflection. Apparently being an “introvert” is helpful in going deeply into the words of Jesus. Thank you God. This is worth many re-readings.
I just wanted to tell you the mail came at a precise moment as i was going to mass this evening it arrived-our mass was about st.clare today and the song was carefully chosen-a song for saints, what a delight to hear from my wonderful sister-in- christ. I trully admired all you sisters sacrifice and work-may the good Lord continue to keep you safe and sound of mind.
This is an excellent newsletter and made me think again about a well-known passage. Thank you very much. It is written very well, and it is moving and eloquent. This is such a strong way for the Poor Clares to witness spirituality to the world.

Resolutely Determined

I read your your most recent newsletter and it went straight to my heart due to the fact that I am presently going through the same heartbreaking circumstances as you are. My younger sister died with pancreatic cancer in April of this year and two weeks ago my youngest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. My father-in-law was put on hospice this past week. We all, eveXryone need to be treated with love, tenderness and the kindness you speak of in your newsletter. Thank you so much for your love, kindness and attention given to this fact. Please keep me and your family in your prayers. God bless
Thank you for sending this. It was very inspirational to me. It must be hard not having your sisters with you. Every meal bears witness to the change. We are living in a world of great change right now. It is more important than ever to focus on Christ and our responsibility to the world. So often we just want to basque in His gifts to us.
Your sharing was very moving to me. Life really is a testing experience, even for those of us who have so little to suffer. It amazes me how greatly I can suffer over almost NOTHING…. But our Good God is determined to create (excavate!) space one way of another in the soul made for infinite Love!
You are all precious to me, and I pray for your deepening trust in Providence. Au Courage!!!!
The whole newsletter struck a chord with me, but one particular sentence resonated with me. You said “we experience the constant ache that someone is missing” from our lives. We too feel that ache as our son goes through a very difficult divorce. He has limited access to his daughter and thus do we, to our granddaughter. As this issue and others comes before a Judge, we ask especially for your prayers. Thank you for the ongoing support and love you provide in our lives.
M Diane
I want to thank you for this beautiful reflection on staying resolutely focused on Jesus and the Kingdom of God in our lives. Your sharing about the pain you feel in having to decide on your sisters living with assistance in another place, with faith and trust in God throughout all of this, was beautiful and very meaningful.

Hope in dark times

I enjoyed the news letter and have great empathy for what you are all going thru with two of you away in assisted living and after Egypt goes to her reward I will be there too. so thinking of you.
God has blessed you in a beautiful manner. Bernie and Laurene acknowledged in their precious way all the love you have given to them. It is a wonderful acknowledgement recognizing love in all directions. Much love, in God’s name.
I can relate to the difficult times you’ve experienced with your sisters leaving your home after being such an integral part of your family at home. Loss on so many levels is difficult to assimilate: loss of friendship, loving presence, contribution to the group functioning, and on and on. I commiserate with you.
God Bless and Watch over you!
I want to say thank you for your prayers and for your great struggles with the difficulties you have shared with us, thank you.
My sense of death has changed immensely in the past 20 years as I continue to connect with those in spirit. I don’t fear death itself at this point, only the “how” it will happen, I guess. We have so much to look forward to.

My Christmas Gift

I can relate to finding the good in the songs. It takes us back to our childhood excitement and we never forget the words. Thank you all for your continuing gifts of love and prayer found the whole year. Blessings of Joy. Merry Christmas
your greeting was so touching and will bring songs of joy remembered to all of our minds. May the grace of the Incarnation be realized deep in your hearts.
Thank you dear sisters for this good message. God through Christ to send His Spirit–there is no limit to His power — thank you God for so much good you gave, God bless you dear sisters.

Bartimaeus and a Prayer of Faith

thank you very much for this thoughtful and helpful essay — I prayed to Jesus and I asked for his help to continue to support your good work and to build bridges for love and faith, especially I see a way forward in the new churches helping the religious communities more, to build up fraternal love leading to more true love for one another, thank you always and pray for me please
Sisters, Thank you for the helpful prayer and reflection. I admire what you try to do. I have a disability and have a most difficult time trying to live a good life and forgive myself for sins.
Thank you for the meditation. I have been trying to incorporate that style of prayer more in my life. I will be attending Mass this evening and will bring this meditation along to pray before Mass.
I found this the most helpful of all the newsletters in its transparent sharing of what we all experience in our relational living, and in the guided prayer at conclusion. thank you, THANK YOU!

Pope Francis & Saint Francis of Assisi

Thank you for the excellent newsletter. This is a perfect message for today. Restore the rivers and the land to clean earth and water! I like the message: “We need to fall in love again with each other and the beauty of this planet. We need a conversion.” = to fall in love with God, and with one another, the broken bonds healed up (tho they say it is impossible, nothing is impossible for God). Even for us to pray with those over there!
Thank you for your beautifully insightful newsletter on Francis and Creation.
It will draw many readers and has power to lift consciousness of our bond with all the Cosmos. I especially appreciated your call to take care of our “mother sister Earth! Your newsletter serves developing a deeper perception that everything is connected to everything in the Spirit of Love!

Organizing Our Memories

Mary A
I was deeply touched by your reflections. Your visit was a dazzling grace of how God is with us on the journey; thanks for sharing so deeply.
I just can’t believe it has been 25 years that you have been in Saginaw, how wonderful.
I read the moving account of (Our Memories) and it was very touching, it also made me
miss you and wish there were not so many miles between us.
Enjoyed reading your latest newsletter. I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. It went so fast!

Listen with Your Heart

This wonderful reflection is just what I needed today. I am fresh off a directed retreat and it was so very graced. Thank you so very much.
Your thoughts about listening are definitely my truth! I especially like asking the Holy Spirit to be present in our listening.
Thanks, much, for taking the time to create these news letters! Blessings and love returned
this is a beautiful and helpful reflection. The attention you gave to the real and direct process of a listening encounter is great. The life experience described really helped.
The article on listening is exceptionally well done – one of the better explanations of the curative aspect of effective listening I have ever seen…

The Power of Faith

Your reflections are very clear and hopeful. I very much like the links you make to the community of faith today who hear these words of his actions as continuing in our lives: the texts offer us the challenge to deeper trust in the healings that are given.
The power of faith, healing of the woman and of Jairus daughter (is there a misprint?) — thank you for this truth, trust is vital, this speaks to me & I must learn to trust. “Jesus I trust thee” is the Divine Mercy word. I was studying this passage myself and when I read the Greek I learnt that the little girl is being raised in Resurrection, it is a type for Christ, the Greek words are the same, and Jesus stands for the Father — also the little girl symbolizes something else, is it the soul itself called to life by Christ? or life for women, who may rise and walk (pray) with new freedom and strength, God bless OSC and thank you always.
there is a lot there, thank you thank you the name is great: Jairus (whom God enlightens) the implication is that the good priest is enlightened by Christ as God in healing, also the whole passage is about the Christian faith being a healing of the faith through women (to correct the masculinity bias of the old explanation) so this chapter is very strong for Mary and for the sisters & it explains the Jesus point of view that we (men) must note the womanly virtues of compassion, patience, selfless love and be the same — against the manly attributes of aggression dominance etc It is still what we need! this healing, this learning this healing! God bless from Paul
Thank you for moving to the heart of the matter! Faith is trust, wholehearted, unequivocal, and all the other definitions are included. Just a little story from one of our Sisters teaching school in Philly:she asked the class “How do you think the woman could have gotten through the mass of people and reached out to touch Jesus in that crowd?” After a pause a little girl raised her hand and said, “She might have said, “Excuse me….!”

My Lent: The Gift of Compassion

Just read My Lent: Gift of Compassion and I found it very helpful and encouraging to be better and do better, very well written, very good to develop and improve this ministry of Clare Spirit! I am just now reading Greek and deepening knowledge of the Bible and I discovered that the first letter of my name is much more important than I ever knew, and already 50 years have gone! thank you very much and God bless us for good Lent, amen
Compassion is the rarest gift in people I have found in my 67 years. If there is any thing that is really missing in our society it is compassion. It is refreshing to see that even the most devoted Christians suffer from sin. Although I am not “Catholic” I always look forward to your newsletter
I am so grateful. Thank you so much for this reflection. It went right to my poor judgmental soul. I too, am looking deeply into my heart to know how to love better. Thank you, too for all your prayer and beautiful ways.
Your Lenten message is truly a Gift of Compassion. It is too easy and simple to say compassion on a shallow level. Your message makes me think again of what Compassion means. I appreciate your description of receiving compassion and then extending that compassion. Showing compassion is a gift which we receive and can pass on, and it is extended exponentially. Thank you for reminding me of its power.
there is in the response of the lady who has gone through divorce and yet doesn’t want your husband to feel anymore pain. I am married for 42 yrs. I can’t imagine the pain she must had gone through during the divorce, Compassion can be given, even in unimaginable ways, that is the Gift to both the giver and receiver. Oh the ways, that God works through us. Thank you for this awe moment for me. Thank you for your prayers and You are in mine!!
Mrs A M
Thank you for that
I love this story of compassion. If we could all be more compassionate in our daily actions this would be a wonderful world to live. God would be so proud of us. Two wrongs certainly do not make it right. Thank you for sharing this with me.

First to Serve

Ann M
I read ‘contemplative prayer’ & found it so inspirational. It taught me how to pray & be with Him. I read this, at a time, when there were many confusions in my mind about my spiritual life and it brought me an inner peace and interest to pray. thank you sisters
Very well written!! You had a lot of thought put into that short article. I had never given that history much thought but so true. There are so many options now for women that were only available through religious life previously. Times surely do change things.
Thank you!
Sr. Diane
I am glad to receive all your newsletter, but only have time to comment on this last one – First to serve. I think that you expressed very well a real reason why there are fewer religious now than in former days. To add my own thoughts, many of the options open to women today are very dedicated “vocations”. If women do not see much difference in religious communities in contrast to what is available as lay persons, they may not see the reason to become a religious. However, our vocation does not lie only in the “work we do”, but in an offering of our whole life to God as consecrated persons. Thank you for your insights.
What a beautiful article! I have always said that all sisters are a hidden treasure in our church but you have just broadened that belief into the community and country. I am grateful for your service and your prayers.
On vocations — very good newsletter “First to serve” — the problems are deeper and greater than you say. I think that we are in a new spiritual age — the changes of the 20th century changed everything really — all those medical and scientific developments, the advance in women’s rights and power, the prosperity and information-saturated world of Europe and America etc The answer is to do what we do not want to do — we must appeal to the women whom we did not call to before — which means we may have to change to survive — we have to become the best publicists for God’s love, publicity was never the task before, it was done by others. Each congregation must produce a high profile sister (like the examples you mention) to get the image and message to the ones who will grow when they hear — also, perhaps we need to accept in love affiliations and secondments from religious women in other churches (perhaps short term, a new possiblity of outreach and building love in the world), serving together in a sisterly task, supporting our charism, and building love, surely this is the way — the empowerment and strength of Mary was Jesus’s great gift
When I first met my husband’s Aunt 45 years ago, who was an IHM nun, Sister Cyprian, and saw her dressed in a habit, I was impressed with her dedication, kindness and warmth. Now, our Pastoral Administrator in Vassar, Sr. Ellen Rinke, is also an IHM nun, no longer dressed as years ago, but still the dedication, kindness and warmth. Time changes the small stuff, but faith grows and may not seem as evident by the numbers in our view, but we are only a small part of God’s world. What a blessing for us for those who use the gifts they have been given and said yes!
Thanks for the thoughtful reflection on the reasons for fewer responses to religious vocations of women. I think its emphasis on what our forebears have given women of today is better expressed than I’ve seen elsewhere. I also think many of us (more appropriate for apostolic-contemplative communitiers) don’t choose first-hand contact with young women, and that, besides a habit of prayer, is THE key toward their thinking seriously of being a Sister. Some communities also are not choosing daily community living together. As one of my discerners put it, “After I saw how they were living, I realized that there was no daily difference in that mode of life than the one I was now living, and decided for a Community called me to live a daily community life.”
I think you make a valid point. I remember two of the sisters I had in 1st thru 4th grade. Even then I knew they were so young. They taught during the school year and went to school to get their teaching degree during the summer. If it weren’t for the order they joined ‘ (Grand Rapids Dominicans) they probably wouldn’t have gotten their training. They both died a few years ago but I remember them with love to this day.Besides wanting an education they also wanted to serve God and for them it meant joining a religious community. Yes, there are many strong women out there today who are faith filled people who do not join a community. But for those who are struggling with this question I will continue to hold them in my prayers.

Advent Calendar 2014

The Advent calendar is great. I really like the questions…they are written at a kid’s level and are thought provoking. The kids look forward to it too. Today we were in a hurry to get to 8:30 mass and did not do the calendar first thing. When we got back to the classroom, the kids reminded me that we had to do the Advent calendar….loved the Leggo movie too!

Right Relations

Fr. Tom
Dear Laura and Sisters,
Thanks for the recent reflection on the Sunday Gospel about getting along with each other. I could relate to some of the things about being early or late for prayer!! We are funny people . . . . . well, at least I am funny!
But soon after I moved here, I was coming down the stairs one morning and I heard that morning prayer had already started. I knew there were a few minutes yet before the agreed upon starting time and wondered what happened. I found out after that; that sort of thing was happening more than once. So, on another day when someone was about to start and the other member of our community was not there, I spoke up . . . . most uncharacteristic of me!! . . . asking if we knew if So and so was not coming. Well no one knew for sure, but in a minute, here came So and so, just on time. So I felt vindicated. Of course I didn’t gloat too much.
Right Relations article was very important for helping families, friends, co-workers, and all to take one more step to bridging together even when there is anger or hurt underneath. I have seen it happen where the misunderstandings lead people away from each other. It only leaves a gap, a loss, a heartache, not only for them but for others. Thank you for reminding us that Jesus wants us to take the steps for reconciliation now and here on earth. Thank you for the prayers for all those in need. Love you.
Mary Ann
Dear Sr. Laura,
I read with interest your article. I like a lot of your ideas.
As a somewhat retired Lay Minister I do much work in this area. Always have. I did a workshop once on forgiveness and anger. I try to be a good listener and am amazed at what comes forth whether it is in a group setting or one on one. Many times people want to rush reconciliation when it is merely going through the grief process which sometimes takes a long time. I am glad our diocese does such a good job on funerals. I’ve seen amazing turnarounds after being treated in compassionate ways.
I’ve had to learn the hard way how to confront, how to wait until I can speak in love to approach a person. It doesn’t always work out. I really believe in using e-mails for much of this work. It gives you and the other person time to think of their answer.
I believe we need to spend more time on educating people on ways reach a more mature approach to mental illness, avoiding toxic people, stewardship, proper sharing and who to share with. It’s amazing where peace and love happen when you approach it with love. I know many people who are good with being the arbitrator between two people, but that is not where my gifts are. I also believe their are certain ministries where it’s better not to even go. I also believe people need to put in their lives happy events and things are what I call neutral that make for easy sharing. I do find it interesting how God made our relationships so those who are closest to us can grate on our nerves the most.
Many thanks, Laura and Sisters. Good homily!
Wow, this is exceptional – How impressive . . .
Mary Ann
Just read your article and it is very moving..teaching through real life realities.