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!