Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
There's a new Christian movie about to be released nationwide in theaters called "Firewall - Never Leave Your Partner Behind". Those of you who know any firefighters or anything about firefighters will recognize that term as part and parcel of the honor code of the profession. This movie, which is the next project of the amazing team who gave us "Facing the Giants", is indeed about a firefighter, but it focuses on his deteriorating relationship with his wife. This union seems headed toward divorce until something called The Love Dare challenges the husband to take a new look at his marriage through God's eyes as revealed in Scripture. Many of us are planning to attend a special pre-screening for Christian leaders this week. I have a feeling that the movie, aimed at covenant marriage and its real possibilities, may be targeting not just married couples...but relationships of all kinds that matter. Will let you know after seeing the movie if my hunch is right!
Today is the Feast of St. Monica -- St. Augustine's mother. She prayed for his conversion for many years. Many mothers are inspired by her to pray for their own children and not to give up hope!
God bless you all!
Our Community is Third Order, so he is one of our patrons!
Have a great day! May St. Louis be an inspiration to us! Pray for us!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Today Sr. M. Irina is professing her Final Vows! Congratulations to our dear Sisters across the ocean!!!
Hopefully I'll have pictures soon to post.
God bless you all! You're in our prayers!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Peace be with you all!
OK - I believe we are on Day V:
Day V - So, on this day we traveled to three different churches. . .each one had a very special meaning for me. First of all, this was the 11th anniversary of my Profession of Vows, and so it was bound to be a special day! First, we went to a church in a small village, where we had lunch and met a small group of people. There was really a great "small town" feeling about this place. Everyone was very friendly, and the meal was really like a small potluck dinner that you might find in the US, except of course, it was all Chinese food. What really impressed me about this church was that they were rebuilding the actual church building, and so I couldn't help but think of St. Francis who was instructed by our Lord who said, "Go and rebuild my Church, which you see is falling into ruin."
Then we ventured on to an ancient village where we actually got to have Mass. I was so thankful that I could have Mass on this day, because it was the anniversary of my Profession, but what I did not know was that this Mass would be spied on. The Mass itself was just beautiful, as we sang in Italian and English. The Church itself was very simple, and I got to, again, read the english Gospel and help with Holy Communion. After Communion I thanked the Lord SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much that I could celebrate this anniversary in China, of all places!
From this ancient village, which was very beautiful, by the way, we traveled on to our last destination, which turned out to be the most exciting. This was a state church in Wenzhoe City. The minute we arrived, I knew that something was different, because it seemed that this church really had a lot of money. The others I had been in were more simple. Then we walked in and I felt like I had suddenly walked into Las Vegas. The church itself had all the elements of a Catholic Church building (a tabernacle, a statue of Mary, stations of the cross), but everything seemed to artificial and superficial. The dominant feature was a huge red neon cross in the very front. We were warmly greeted by an overenthusiastic man, whose mannerisms matched the neon lights that were in front of us. When asked what the red cross meant he answered thus, "It is a reminder to us that we are happy people, that we love our country, and that we worship our God. . ." and then he quicky added, "and your God." I think we all knew at that moment that we were smack in the middle of a state run church, and could certainly feel the difference. He invited us then for an evening meal.
On the way out of the church, I was quietly told that there were government officials all over the place watching us, and that I should spread the word that we say nothing about our purpose in China. And so the word spread throughout our group, and before we sat down to eat the group had been informed. As I walked into the place where we were to eat, the man who greeted our group in the church stood at the entrance and said to me in English, "Welcome, Sister." I admit, I was a bit taken back by this, because he certainly wasn't supposed to know this, but I just cooly walked through the door, and wished him a good evening.
And so our group had our gathering with a group of young people that night, but we were not allowed to really do anything religious. What we did, though, was have a great time, and witness to Jesus Christ with JOY in our hearts. I think it might have been one of the most beautiful evenings of all.
I will admit that I was very glad to leave that place, and as we prayed a rosary on the way home, a truck ahead of us had a blow-out in the tunnel, and so it sounded like a bomb going off. I think we all just about lost our Chinese noodles about then. . .but then had a good laugh, as we realized it was just the truck ahead of us, and all was well.
Yes, the Lord was certainly holding us up on that day. . .and what a way to celebrate my profession of vows.
Day 6 will come later. . .
Peace be to you all!
Sr. Mary Paul
Monday, August 18, 2008
Peace be with you all!
Day II - Orientation and pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sheshan. At the end of that day, we met with a group of young Chinese Catholics at a church in downtown Shanghai. We simply had a time of worship together, which led into a question-answer time, and then we ended with prayer. I have to admit I was suffering about that time from massive jet lag, and so I didn't have the energy I would have like to have had. . .but you know what? The Holy Spirit showed up anyway, in spite of our lagging spirits. It was a beautiful time of prayer, and I believed that we were all blessed.
Day III - We visited the river front which goes through downtown Shanghai. Downtown Shanghai is massive - makes New York City look like a village. The buildings are so modern - in fact, we saw what is supposedly the tallest building in the world. We were only able to spend about 45 minutes at this place, because we were then on our way to Wenzhoe (pronounced Win-Joe). So, back on the bus for another 7 ´hour bus trip. The bus trip was beautiful. We got into a more mountainous area, and crossed the longest suspension bridge in the world. It was just completed a couple of months ago, and it really quite impressive. It was really neat to watch the Chinese who were with us on the bus. Most of them had never been outside of Beijing, and so they were seeing these wonderful things for the first time as well. They were so proud and excited about the bridge. I guess the most memorable part of this journey was stopping at a rest stop to pick up some snacks. The place where we were to eat lunch was not opened, and so we just picked up some snacks. It was hilarious watching our group, because noone really new exactly what we were buying. I would say in the end that we came out pretty well. I myself was pleased with "Chinese poptarts" that I discovered. They were slightly sweet crackers with raisins backed into them. Sort of tasted like Pop-tarts, and so they were forever dubbed.
Day IV - This day was spectacular. We drove for 2 1-2 hours to a beach that was south of Wenzhoe. We drove along the coast and there had brilliant scenery. I think between all of us we took about 500 pictures. It was amazing to see the way that the people lived, especially those who lived along the sea, and to see the mountain tombs that could be seen all along. I felt like I was in a National Geographic magazine. It was so beautiful. Of course, along the way, we were praying with one another and simply getting to know each other better. Some weren't feeling to good as a result of the sharp winding roads and our vicious but excellent bus driver. So, we got to the beach in time for lunch and then began our beach ministry. We met about 200 Chinese youth who would be with us the rest of the day.. We spent our time on the because just hanging out and playing games together. We had volleyball, soccar, and frisbee tournaments. I was in charge of the volleyball tournaments, and a Chinese man came to help me with translations.. I later discovered that he was a spy. I didn't know that. I just ordered him around - "Tell them I said this!" "Tell them I said that!" OK - so I was a bit worried after realizing that he was a spy sent to check on our group. We had a great time on the beach, and I can say that I have been in the water on that beach. It was really dirty.
At the end of that day we went to a beautiful church in Wenzhoe where we shared an evening meal with our new Chinese friends, and then we had a program very much like the one we had in Shanghai. It was really a great experience. We sang and prayed together, and at the end of the evening, I ended up praying with a group of Sisters. That was a great experience.
Day V - This was one of the most exciting days. . .but you will have to wait til later to hear about it!
Sr. Mary Paul
Saturday, August 16, 2008
This picture was requested by our friends at Chick-fil-A in Amarillo.
We really do work and pray -- we just like to have fun on the side! (so far the pictures we've shown are not of us working or praying)
Right now there is a lot of working, especially those getting ready for the first day of school. We strive to pray constantly.
Yesterday was the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary! What a great feast to celebrate! Mary is an awesome model for us -- we too someday (if we die in the state of grace) will have our glorified bodies, living in ecstacy with God for all eternity! She is also a model of someone who was so full of God's grace, that she lived the vocation that we all strive for -- holiness of life. There's not enough room here to go into this all...
May Mary our mother intercede for us! Pray for us who have recourse to you!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
(picture on left) Sr. Claire Marie is having a little fun with our horse.There are so many things happening!
- -We are about to send out our first e-newsletter. If you'd like to receive it, please go to our homepage and sign up through the box on the left bottom. ttp://www.panhandlefranciscans.org/
- -Sr. Mary Paul made it back safely from the China mission trip! She is now in Vienna for about 2 weeks (we wait for her to post here about her trip). She will be there for the Final Vows of Sr. M. Irina. She will also be there for the Jubilees of Sr. M. Martina and Sr. M. Antonella! Congratulations!
- -We are praying very hard for many intentions -- family members and friends that are ill and all their intentions... Benefactors and their intentions... For ladies who are discerning their call in life... Help us pray for all those who have asked for and need our prayers. Thank you!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
It was AMAZING being this close to Pope Benedict! He's so full of love and peace and joy!
I kept remembering, however, that we get to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day. This is a million times better than seeing the pope in person! We get to RECEIVE Jesus into our hearts and souls! God is AWESOME!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Help us pray for our apostolates. May God bless them and keep them. May the Holy Spirit use us all for His Glory and to further His Kingdom!
We'll post pictures asap. God bless you all!
Sr. Mary Michael
Friday, August 1, 2008
I hope you enjoy all the pictures on our website, etc. from World Youth Day and other places. Pray for us as we pray for all of you! God bless you!