Sr. Dianne

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Creative ideas for your prayer life
Here is the messages from Sr. Dianne, who has lived as a Poor Clare sister for 58 years. Based on her lifelong dedication to prayer and contemplation, she offers ideas that may enrich your prayers and sense of community.

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Third Sunday of Easter
Lk 24:35-48
April 14, 2024

During Holy Week and now in Eastertide, I have become more convinced
that every desire, longing, fear, and disappointment is heard by God. Yet
what is equally convincing is that every answer to our hearts’ pleas
happens in God’s best timing.

Wishing you this truth, I share this Eastertide prayer for you and yours.


God, give you Joy this Easter Day, that bides with you
along life’s way, and fill your heart with blithesome cheer as
you pass on from year to year.

God, give you Peace this Easter Day, the peace that
cannot pass away, ‘twill turn life’s gray to ruddiest gold
and bring you blessings manifold.

God, give you Love this Easter Day, and all the twelve-
month may it stay to guide, to comfort you, and bless
and fill your life with happiness.

Easter Sunday – Fr. Barko
Jn 20:1-9
March 31, 2024

Have you ever tried to stare directly into the sun? Not so easy and certainly not safe. And on cloudy days, it’s hard to feel the warmth and light of the sun. At night we cannot see the sun at all in most places on the earth. These experiences illustrate our constant seeking of that light, and the struggle we have in doing so.

In our everyday lives, where do we see signs of the light of the resurrection and the fact that Christ is alive?

The disciples went to the tomb, and it was empty. The stone had been moved and some accounts even said the linens were folded! And, of course, Jesus’ body was not there! They are all significant signs, but Peter and others still did not understand – or perhaps believe.

The women who encountered Jesus on the road were the first to put it together – and they ran and reported. And still, disbelief among the men. Imagine how frustrating that must have been for those strong women!

However, when Jesus did arrive, things began to change. Conversation commenced and questions arose. However, it wasn’t until they shared a meal that they all finally recognized Jesus. This is why what we do at the altar when we celebrate Mass is so very important. We recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

After he breaks the bread, the priest puts a piece into the chalice and says quietly, “May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” This signifies the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation.

Then the priest elevates the Body and Blood and says, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.” This is a pivotal part of the mass – when we get to gaze upon the bread and wine and understand they are indeed the Body and Blood of Jesus.

When you are at Mass, stop a moment to take it all in.

Our celebration of Jesus’ rebirth on Easter morning is deeply incarnational and is offered to us through common signs like table and cloth, food and drink. Yet we struggle. We really want to believe that Jesus is alive, that sin and death are defeated forever; we want to have faith. We want to be Easter people.

Mercifully, Christ is patient with us. Jesus meets us in our unquenchable hunger, our weaknesses, our doubts, our fears, and our pain. Not only does he feed us, but he also sits and eats with us.

Christ is not only risen above the heavens and beyond all time—the risen Christ is with us here and now. We have constant access to his endless, extravagant, and comforting mercy.

Remember that during these weeks of Easter celebration!

Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper – Fr. Barko
Jn 13:1-15
March 28, 2024

What’s the Point?

I have to assume Jesus did a terrific job washing his disciples’ feet, but that was never really the point. They are all already clean––Jesus even says as much.

If washing were truly a need, it would have happened the moment they entered the home, not when it does – when supper is mostly finished.

The real point is not the action itself but the relationship that manifests within it. That is what matters.

Despite all that is going on, the purpose is clear.

Through the hustle and bustle, the noise and distraction, see the other and serve them genuinely.

If God kneels and washes our feet, dare we do any less?

The year to come will be challenging. From spring and summer right through the first week of November, the performative noise swirling around us will only get louder, distracting us more and more from God’s lesson shown in this passage.

The mysteries of our faith are truly profound, and yet at times, they also confound us.

We begin the Sacred Triduum by remembering how Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist.

Jesus changed the bread and wine into His Body and Blood, to show how perfect His love is for us.

And so, we celebrate the Eucharist in memory of Him, as He commanded us to do so.

Yet, other than the 2nd reading which mentions the Body and Blood of Christ, the Gospel only mentioned Jesus having supper with His disciples.

And then, the focus turned to the washing of feet.

Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.

That confounded His disciples. And that should also confound us.

We may ask: What has the holy Eucharist got to do with the lowly washing of feet?

When we think about it deeper, we will see that the Eucharist is for everyone, regardless of the state of holiness or sinfulness or worthiness.

In other words, Jesus offers His love for saints as well as for sinners.

In the washing of the feet, Jesus is showing us that He cares about the lowest, the neglected and even the despised.

Jesus gave us the example of humility and charity by being a servant who washes the lowly feet.

In partaking of the Eucharist, we follow Jesus by being servants of humility and charity.

In partaking of the Eucharist, we become servants to the lowly and the lowest, to the neglected and the despised.

In partaking of the Eucharist, we will go down on knees with Jesus, and wash those lowly feet.

That is what Jesus, our Lord and Master did.

We follow Jesus and do likewise.

When we accept this commandment, we walk the path of joy.

When we internalize this law, we become happy.

And so, the paradox: happiness is never a function of filling oneself up; it is a wonderful function of giving oneself away.

When the divine grace enters one’s life (and everything we have is the result of divine grace), the task is to contrive a way to make it a gift.

In a sense, the divine life—which exists only in gift form—can be “had” only on the fly.

Notice please that we are to love with a properly divine love: “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”

Radical, radical, radical. Complete, excessive, over-the-top.

Let us continually remind ourselves that, from God’s perspective, the other is only ever us in different shoes.

Palm Sunday – Fr. Barko
Mk 14:1—15:47
March 24, 2024

The palms we hold during the ritual procession are an imitation of what the local people did long ago, the ones who lined the road. This opening part of the ceremony is more than just another historical reminiscence, it is a proclamation today of Jesus as king. It is the first half of the jarring contrast.

You may not have noticed the kingly aspect specifically, but there are multiple clues in the. First, he rode on a donkey or colt, an animal that was used for royalty’s entrance into a city.

Second, the disciples spread their cloaks over the colt’s back as they would for someone royal.

Then the crowds along the way treated Jesus as a kingly hero. They spread out their coats on the roadway and covered them with palm branches cut from the fields.

It was a symbol to soften the pathway for the kingly one: to keep the dirt off of him. And they cried out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

The King.

Growing up, I always thought that Palm Sunday was a really fun day – at Mass. My siblings and I began by picking out the best-looking palms (and I would try my best not to wave them around too much).

Then, Mass started with a reading about the crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem and praising him with “Hosanna in the highest!”

When the Liturgy of the Word began, things abruptly turned to today’s gospel. Even to a kid, the suffering of Jesus on his way to the cross is powerful and strange, through that VERY long reading.

In my church, the congregation would speak the crowd’s words, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

I never knew how to feel about that. I couldn’t imagine being in that crowd wanting to kill someone, especially Jesus, after praising him as the King of Kings.

As I’ve gotten older, of course I have come to realize that Palm Sunday does indeed fit together, and it fits together through the eyes of the crowd.

The crowd is the counterpoint to Jesus.

Instead of remaining firm in purpose and identity like Jesus, the crowd is fickle, moving swiftly from praise and honor to condemnation and hatred.

I am so often a member of that crowd. We all are. We cheer and honor Jesus with our words and, at times, even strive for true holiness, yet we also stray from God and choose sin and selfishness.

To be human is to be in this very state of fluctuation: to strive, to fail, to turn back, to fail again, and ultimately (hopefully) to always turn towards God again and again as many times as it takes.

This Palm Sunday, I pray that we work to reconcile these two parts of ourselves. On this side of the veil of tears, we may never be perfect.

We may often fall and join the crowd in crucifying Jesus, but we must also remember the Passion is not the end, and there is resurrection yet to come.

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.

You or I would have probably cried out, “My God, why have you abandoned me?”

But are these the words of a king? Does such a total surrender represent kingly action? What do you say? No!

But scripture says the opposite.


Jesus, king of kings, “did not regard equality with God as something to cling to – or to grasp”—for safety or honor or for whatever other reason.

As the greatest king he emptied himself out, became like a slave, obedient even to death on the cross.

This, in allegiance to God and in service of the people.

On this day of the king, Jesus knew who he was, even under the worst strife.

He was and remains the one who loves, no matter what. We have here the opposite of the kind of greatness we always imagine: service of God’s people as the true basis of rulership.

A good ruler pulls a kingdom together and makes it safe, a place of abundance.

If they accomplished such a goal, no kingly suffering would be too great.

Palm/Passion Sunday is a large-scale revelation of kingship’s true meaning, a vision we in our country and the world, certainly need today.

Real love.

Third Sunday of Lent
Jn 2:13-25
March 3, 2024

My gratitude and hopefulness are growing after reading The Global Sisters Report on the Church in Ukraine. (Feb 20, 2024) Reading this article and supporting through prayer the sisters, monks, nuns, psychologists, and volunteers who provide emotional, spiritual, and psychological services to the war’s victims gives me hope for healing and loving comfort.

May this story affect your Lenten practice of prayer for the Church in Ukraine: The church in Ukraine is ‘a field hospital after battle’.

Sr. Dianne

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