Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December Awesomeness! Superior General Visits

December Awesomeness -- Top picture is Sr. M. Herlinde, our new Superior General from Austria. She's visiting now!
2nd Picture: We have a tradition that the youngest (time in convent) in the Community gets to carry the baby Jesus in our procession on Christmas Eve! Sr. Mary Grace got the honor this year.
3rd Picture: Our Lady of the Angels Chapel on Christmas Eve!
4th Picture: Beautiful Texas Panhandle sunrise in December
5th Picture: Sr. Mary Magdalene made her award-winning pralines again this year! Yum.
6th Picture: Sr. Theresa just finished a quilt that she'd been working on for over a year. It has all 50 states with their bird and flower on it.
There's not a picture for this one: we're enjoying our time off from school and being together at home for Christmas break! We'll be going back to the schools this Sunday ready for school on Monday!
God bless you! You're in our prayers!

Friday, December 24, 2010

What Do Sisters Do on Christmas Eve?!

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered what Sisters do on Christmas Eve? Well, we just finished decorating for Christmas today. As Catholics, we celebrate Advent to the full, usually waiting until the last minute or last few days to decorate for this special solemnity. Actually, as I write this, some Sisters are still running around doing last minute (literally) decorations before our big celebration begins.

Here in a few minutes we will meet in the Chapel to sing and pray. We will then process to the Dining Room, listen to the special Christmas letter from our Superior General, and Sr. Mary Ana will say a few words of joy and hope! Then we dive in (I mean, we begin) eating goodies and opening little gifts. Not sure what gifts we get this year, but it's usually something practical, like a good book to read, special stationary, . . . I don't know! We haven't opened them yet! If a Sister got something in the mail from a family member in the last few days, she gets it to open at this time. We usually try to get something or to make something special for the Superior -- not always an easy task to keep something like that from her!

After visiting, laughing, eating, opening, and enjoying ourselves just being together, we process with the Baby Jesus to the Chapel and sing to Him. We then go to Christmas Eve Mass. After Mass, yes, more goodies to eat! And, for those who wish, we stay up and watch movies! It's always a special time.

May St. Francis, the first to make a "Nativity Scene" to reenact the first Christmas, pray for you especially during this most Holy Night. May the Holy Family be an inspiration to you to have an even holier family! May you have the grace to remember what is important in your life -- things that cannot be bought in a store or found from working too much . . . the people you love, God Who Loves you and me, and the ability to spread that love to all around us!
Merry Christmas from all the Sisters!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent Waiting

Advent is a time of waiting -- yes, it's still Advent!
What have we been doing? It's a special art to be busy (December Christmas plays, Advent gatherings, and a Come and See Day for High School friends, decorating, shopping, and name a few) and to be prayerful at the same time.
Busy and prayerful! In this very busy time of the year, don't forget to keep your priorities straight -- God is really the One that has to be most important in our lives. He is the Gift we're really looking for!
United in prayer -- we thank God for all of our friends, family, and benefactors! Even those of you out there that we do not know in person. God knows who you are -- thank you for your prayers. We pray for you as well!
3 more days until Christmas Eve!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Receive Love - Be Love!

You cannot be a loving person without first receiving love from God!

"God is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16)

Every ounce of love in this world is from God. Don't forget to take time every day to "receive" love from Him -- meditation, quietly sitting with Him . . . receiving love, going to Mass, reading the Scriptures, and living in His Presence.

Then be love to those around you! Love from God automatically overflows from you to others. Sometimes it takes some effort -- some self-sacrificing, some forgiving, overlooking of faults. Real love is other-centered (not self-centered).

We have such an awesome God?! He's the real deal.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Joys of Community Life -- No Picture can Tell

You know, for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the diocese let school out for the first time in a long time. As a result, all the Sisters came home last Wednesday to celebrate this beautiful feastday together.

We like to post pictures most of the time on this blog, but the truth is . . . no picture can tell how awesome it is to live in unity and love. At recreation that night, we really didn't do anything special. We just sat around talking, laughing, and enjoying each other. Yes, we thought about taking a picture, but some pictures in life are just for your heart. Just thought we'd share! And . . . Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

We just published our last e-newsletter. If you're not on the list, go to our website to sign up!

Here's a link to the Advent E-newsletter -- includes news about a visit coming up from our new Superior General, Franciscans in Guatemala that are running a children's home for disabled children (awesome ministry), an article about why we pray to Mary, and more....

God bless you all!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mary - Our Spiritual Mom

We are preparing to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Wed. - December 8). This feast is very special to Franciscans. The picture above shows some of the Franciscan saints that either had a special devotion to Mary and her Immaculate Conception and/or were instrumental in the teaching and understanding of this special doctrine of the faith.
One of the most instrumental, perhaps, was Blessed Dons Scotus. Here is an article about him to explain more (very interesting):
Here is an article explaining the Immaculate Conception:
And another website with explanations about our beliefs about Mary:
In our own lives, Mary has proven to be a very powerful intercessor and Mother. May she continue to intercede for us constantly mothering us closer to Her Son!
God bless you all!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all from the School Sisters of St. Francis!
The missalette at church said something like this before today's liturgy,
"If we can thank God in all circumstances, that is a kind of conversion."
This is so true. Thank God in good times and in bad. Thank Him because He is doing something in every situation. His Providence is always at work. Jesus, we trust in You!!!
God bless you all! We really do pray for you every day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Growing in holiness???

Dear Friends,

First up -- here's our latest "paper" newsletter!

Secondly -- the topic of this blog post -- Growing in Holiness???

We usually use this blog to tell everyone what we're doing and to post pictures and things. We hope you enjoy it!

This time we will talk about something that we usually take for granted in our own lives. We have time to pray, we take time for spiritual reading every day, and we get to go to Mass every day (we usually get quality time in front of the Blessed Sacrament too!). We hope that some of these practices can help you grow in holiness as well.

Daily Mass: If you can, go to Daily Mass as often as possible. There's nothing greater than receiving Jesus in His Body and His Word to feed our souls!

Spiritual Reading: Try to take at least 10-15 min. a day to read from the Bible, the lives of the saints, or another religious book to help feed your soul. It's amazing to us how often the spiritual reading that we have is "just what we needed" that day to inspire us or to help us.

Daily Prayer: Take time every day to commune with God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this:

"The grace of the Kingdom is 'the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity . . . with the whole human spirit.' This, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him." CCC #2565

God thirsts for us! We thirst for Him too, we just have to take the blinders off to see it. . . or should we say, we need to open our hearts.

Practice Mortification: In this crazy world where everything is easy to get and we think we're too busy to do the things that are really important, we many times leave mortification in the dust. This is really the key to happiness. Learning to control ourselves is so critical. If we do not control our passions, our passions will control us. So, we can practice mortification in little things -- don't add salt to a meal, for example. Little things like this will help us control ourselves in much bigger temptations. We know, it's an oxymoron. "I'm supposed to give up stuff and be happy?" Yes, it's true -- try it.

The Catechism says, "...they [the virtues] dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love." CCC #1804

Wow -- practicing the virtues DISPOSES us to COMMUNION with DIVINE LOVE! God is so awesome!

Bottom line: Make God #1 in your life. That's it. Make God a priority . . . and watch your life turn around. You give yourself to Him, and He will give you Himself!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Texas Tour was Great!

The top picture is with a family in Port Lavaca that we used to teach! The young man in the red shirt was Sr. Mary Michael's 3rd grader (a few years ago)! He's now in college!
The second picture from top is from a gathering at Texas A&M for Discernment of Vocations. It was a great experience. Every place we went was a great experience. For more pictures, check out our website (photo albums are on the bottom right):

The bottom picture is taken from our "Community Day" a couple weeks ago! We LOVE it when all the Sisters are home and we can be together.
God bless you all! United in Prayer!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Great Community Weekend . . . and the Texas Tour!

Okay, we just had another great "Community Weekend" (we usually have them about once a month). We always have some kind of "ongoing formation", then we get to watch a movie, eat snacks, and just enjoy being together.

Our TEXAS TOUR begins this week -- we'll be at:
  • the Catholic Student Center at the University of Texas (Wednesday).
  • Victoria, Texas (Thurs. and Friday).
  • College Station and the Catholic Student Center at Texas A&M (Saturday and Sunday)
  • Tarleton University (Sunday evening)
  • Irving and the Catholic Student Center at the University of Dallas (Tuesday)

Pray for us to spread the New Evangelization and for us to meet whoever God wants us to meet! May the Holy Trinity be in the middle of all of it! God bless you all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Receive Love - Be Love

We had the most AWESOME retreat this past weekend! "Receive Love - Be Love!" We explored how deeply God loves us and how we in turn overflow God's Love to others. We discussed Religious Life and all vocations. We also talked about the awesome plans that God has for our Community with an awesome future. It was a very fruitful retreat -- continue praying for us as we pray for all of you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

We are God's Powerful Instruments

We do not usually do "personal" blogs from a specific Sister, but this time it is. I have been given the task of teaching Religion Class to our local Catholic Middle School 7th and 8th Graders at Holy Cross Catholic Academy. It has been a challenge in some ways, as this is my first time to teach middle schooler's on a daily basis. However, it has awed me how God is using me in this assignment. Every day I clarify things for the students -- misconceptions they had about God, about how God works, or the Catholic Church. I get to talk to them about God's Love. They are learning things, such as, that God can bring good out of evil situations. They are learning that God is in control and that they can trust Him. (The text we're using integrates quite a bit of the Theology of the Body that I love so much too!) They've been learning a lot.

So have I. I'm learning that it is fun to watch the light bulb go on in their heads and hearts as they have the daily opportunity in school to get closer to God. They have become a highlight of my day and a joy to teach! Help me pray for them and all those we minister to in our apostolates! God bless you all!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Temporary Goodbye to a Great Mentor

Have you heard of Fr. Thomas Dubay? Maybe you've seen him on EWTN TV. Maybe you've read a book or two of his on prayer or Religious Life.

He went on to his eternal reward the other day, so we temporarily say good-bye to him. He was our retreat master two times, and we use many of his books and talks in our initial and on-going formation. He has made a huge difference in the Religious Life, especially in this country.

Fr. Dubay, thank you for all of your inspiring talks and insights! Thank you for teaching us about contemplative prayer and the wonders of Communion with the Holy Trinity (from Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross mostly). We will miss you!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Super September, cont.

On Labor Day, we began with the Holy Mass, all of our Morning Prayers and Adoration, and then we trecked out to the local "Wildlife Refuge". Most people do not know that we have one of these in our backyard. We had a good time there, as you can see in the pics above!

Super September!

Dear Friends,

It's been so busy -- sorry the blog has been low on the priority list. Teaching Religion, having a "Sisters Day Out" at the Wildlife Refuge (those animals above are at the refuge, not in the classroom!) . . . it's been busy! This bottom picture is from St. Joseph's School in Amarillo -- the Sisters are enjoying their new "mission"! More pictures in the next post!!!
Top picture is from our Prayer Time together in Amarillo before going to the Refuge.

Getting ready also for the upcoming "Come and See Retreat" -- the Theme is "Receive Love -- Be Love". Pray for us!

God bless you all!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

August Happenings

Top picture: Awesome Annual retreat with Fr. Jordan Kelly, OP! We had a GREAT week. Thank you to all of you who were praying for us!
Middle picture: Holy Cross Catholic Academy (where Sr. Mary Michael is teaching, on same campus as St. Joseph's Elementary School where Sr. Mary Grace and Sr. Mary Pia are)
Bottom picture: "Poverty, Chastity, Obedience" painted on our kitchen wall. Thanks to all who helped prepare our new house.
More pictures to follow soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Getting Ready for School!

We just moved to our new mission at St. Joseph's School! Wow! The parishioners REALLY spoiled us -- they've been working overtime to prepare our convent, getting us new appliances, furniture, repainting everything, and many other sacrifices that we don't even know about. It's very touching to see how excited everyone is for us to be here! We're excited too! We love St. Joseph's!

Our St. Anthony's Sisters will leave tomorrow to go to prepare for school there! Pray for us as we begin a new year of surprises and a journey with the people at these two parishes.

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Oh How He Loves Us!"

That song is stuck in my head. The following is from a talk we heard in Houston at their Life Awareness Weekend:

Pope John Paul II's "Interior disposition of Eucharistic Spirituality" (we should have these points in our lives as people that love Jesus in the Eucharist -- only possible with God's grace through Communion with Him!)

  • Thanksgiving and gratitude (live a life of gratitude . . . to God and to others; and see God in EVERY situation)
  • Self-Offering (live a life of being a "self-gift" . . . be a gift to others!)
  • Charity (live a life a true charity)
  • Contemplation (long to contemplate and to be in communion with God . . . silence and love with the Lord)

God bless you all! Lots going on as usual..... Every day we pray for all of our benefactors, friends, relatives, and people we work with in our apostolates.

"I can change the world by allowing God to change me!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

School Sisters "Family Retreat"!

This awesome family bought our "Family Retreat with the School Sisters" at our FUN Raiser last year! We had an awesome weekend together -- talked about prayer, family life, virtues, thanksgiving for God's blessings in their family so far, Theology of the Body, and much more. The kids had their own retreat with Sr. Pia and Sr. Mary Jude. We even played basketball!!!
We topped it off with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. God bless all families!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lots Going On!

LOTS going on! The top picture is from the 5 inches of rain that we've had in the last day and a half. We're getting our roof repaired and it is unfortunately helping us find our leaks.... One repair at a time! :> From what I hear, our 5 inches is mild compared to other places in Texas that are flooding!

The beautiful chapel picture is from our Motherhouse in Vienna, Austria. We have 3 Sisters there now as delegates to the General Chapter to be held next week! Pray with us for this intention -- May the Holy Spirit inspire us in amazing ways!!!
The picture of our Sisters with Our Lady of Guadalupe is from the Holy Trinity Seminary where the recent Dallas/Fort Worth Vocation Awareness Program (VAP) was held. It was awesome as always.
The bottom picture is from a recent short meeting with some young ladies -- we shot the breeze and then reflected briefly on the book called, Fire Within, by Fr. Thomas Dubay about prayer. The chapter called, "Conditions for Growth" is a favorite. St. Teresa of Avila says that if one wants to have a deep prayer life (a life of love with the Holy Trinity), she/he must live a generous life, with humility, and striving to live the virtues. Live a life of love! She said that this is the secret to a deep prayer (love) life with God, not the "method" of prayer.
God bless you all! United in prayer and love,
The School Sisters of St. Francis!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

First Vows (and Vacation)

Sr. Mary Grace made her First Vows and Sr. Mary Magdalene renewed her vows on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart (June 11). Congratulations!!!!!!!!
Some of us just got back from our annual vacation in the mountains as some gracious benefactors allow us to use their cabins and have a relaxing and fun time for a few days.
United in prayer, The School Sisters of St. Francis!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bishop Cantu at Life Awareness Weekend

The Life Awareness Weekend went very well. It was also a great pleasure to meet Bishop Cantu, the administrator of San Antonio (Archbishop Gomez was transferred to Los Angeles). We've been praying for you all!

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

Yesterday was the awesome Solemnity of the Holy Trinity! The Holy Trinity has become very important to us -- we were made in the Image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:26). We were made in the image of the Holy Trinity -- an image of perfect Love and Unity and Communion. Wow.

Here is a quote from Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (yes, Franciscans love Carmelite saints too, and have a Blessed Feast of the Visitation!):

"I have found heaven on earth, since heaven is God, and God is in my soul. My mission in heaven will be to draw souls, helping them to go out of themselves to cling to God, with a spontaneous, love-filled action, and to keep them in that great interior silence which enables God to make his mark on them, to transform them into himself."(Letter 122)
Here is a prayer from her to the Holy Trinity:
O my God, Trinity whom I adore; help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.
O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You...even unto death! But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to "clothe me with Yourself," to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your Life. Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior. O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance. O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, "come upon me," and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature; "cover her with Your shadow," seeing in her only the "Beloved in whom You are well pleased."

O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy and Blessed Feast of the Pentecost!

We must prepare ourselves for the receiving of the Holy Spirit! Jesus prayed deeply before each big decision or event in His life, so we must learn from Him! (taken from Bishop Zurek's homily preparing for Pentecost Sunday)
We've been busy -- top picture is Fr. Ron praying the Mass with us.... nothing is as beneficial to our souls but to be with and to receive our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Second picture is from a recent youth rally in Amarillo. Teens are awesome!
Third picture is from our little faith formation class here in Panhandle that is graduating. Small but powerful witnesses to the Lord in this world!
Bottom picture is from our recent visit from Greg and Julie Alexander. They work hard to let God use them as instruments to enrich marriages and save marriages, all with the Gospel and the Theology of the Body.
God bless you all! Receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit!!!