Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Awe that takes away the breath
of doubt;
Gratitude which humbles pride;
Ember of desire fanned to flame
by mere whispers of Love.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Nuns Renew Vows

"Little Christmas"
Twenty-fifth of Each Month a Feast of the Incarnation
and a
Time for Renewal of Vows

Loving Father, you have called me to be a living

memorial of Christ the Redeemer, to be a clear

and radiant witness of your love,

a constant reminder of all that you have

accomplished through His Paschal Mystery,

in the Spirit, in your plan of love for the salvation

of the world.

To perfect in myself this union with

Christ my Redeemer, begun in Baptism,

to confirm my commitment to follow Him faithful

and generously in His redeeming love,

I renew my vows of Poverty, Chastitty

and Obedience, in the Church and for the

redemption of humanity.

I trust in your mercy, Father, and in the

maternal help of Mary, Mother of Jesus

and my mother,

to remain faithful to my covenant.

Is a good thing for contemplative nuns to have regular occasions to ask themselves, "Why am I here?" Redemptoristine spirituality is very incarnational; it celebrates in a particular way the mystery of God taking on our flesh, "to be in all things like us". In turn we are to open ourselves up to the grace of God which can mysteriously make its way into our beings and transform us into "living memories of Jesus Christ. " On the twenty-fifth of each month we ask ourselves that all important question and focus once again on the call "to be a living memorial of Christ the Redeemer...a clear and radiant witness of his love."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Community of Mother of Perpetual Help Monastery

The Redemptoristines of Esopus, New York live a life of charity in community according to the Constitution and Statutes of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer. As contemplative nuns our lives are centered on prayer, both communal and private. To ensure this focus we do all that we can to cultivate an atmosphere of silence and the opportunity for solitude. Our charism or spiritual philosophy is inspired by our foundress, Maria Celeste Crostarosa. Her mystical experiences revealed Jesus' desire for us to become his "living memories", expressing the love of our Redeemer in every aspect of our lives. We are to be living witnesses of the Paschal Mystery in our time and in the real world. By our lives in community; our solemn vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; the manner in which we pray, work, recreate, and make decisions together we seek to carry out the request of Jesus to "Tell them I am pure love."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Contemplative Nuns

Ordinary Time
Arrives at the

The creche has been packed away under the basement stairs for another year. Decorations slowly disappear from window sills and stair railings. But carefully tended (don't water too much) poinsettias still brighten our chapel with luscious red and pinkish white blossoms.

Winter seems also to have finally arrived although a weaker version then we remember from the past. In the lower Hudson Valley we have been spared the ice storms plaguing the north country gateway to the Adirondacks and southern states.

Today I was the morning presenter for a "Day of Prayer", a monthly activity offered by the retreat center which shares the grounds with us. The topic was contemplative prayer and the audience was eager, enthusiastic, and clearly committed to the spiritual path. Told them that to speak of contemplative prayer as a method to be learned is a misnomer, a bit of false advertising. Contemplative prayer is that infused grace that comes only through God's initiative. We can only really talk about how one can be disposed to contemplation, how one can open up, shed the preoccupations of normal ordinary life and become available to the work of God. It is a challenge to us all. Even to those living in monasteries. To that I can personally attest.


Was given the gift of time last week - two days with my grandchildren - two days to cook and stock the freezer to help my daughter-in-law - two days to read to big brother Nicholas (almost three), bake sugar cookies with him and teach him to sing "This Old Man". And two days to hold, rock, cuddle and smell newborn Benjamin. May God be praised!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Redemptoristine Nuns of New York

Epiphany First Manifestion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:1,5b

Today, in our monastery, we celebrate the first of three epiphanies or manifestations of Jesus: the adoration of the magi, the baptism in the Jordan by John, and the miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. The figures of the kings and their trusty camel have finally arrived at the creche outside our chapel and taken the place first held by rustic shepherds.

Scripture scholars tell us that the infancy narratives of the Gospels are mythic fable-like stories communicating meaning and message; answering questions about the nature of this Jesus and offering guidance for the spiritual journey we undertake in our lives both to the stable in Bethlehem and to the foot of the Cross.

In her meditations on the Gospels of Advent and the Christmas Season our foundress, Maria Celeste Crostarosa (1696-1755), wrote about what the Magi have to teach us concerning the spiritual requirements of our journey.

Consider, soul of mine, how carefully the saintly Magi searched for Jesus. At once they left their own country and went looking, just because they saw a star which indicated that the Divine Saviour was born. They set out with precious gifts as offerings. They started on a long journey. Leaving their own land, they set out on a long journey to find Jesus. You go, my soul, and get out of the earthly land of your heart. Leave your senses, your cravings, your bad habits...Get out of yourself and go looking for the Beloved. Go along with the Magi and ask every creature where your Jesus is. Tell them you languish, you suffer you are dying of longing to possess His sweet presence. So therefore you, heart of mine...hurry up and travel along with these saintly Kings. They don't stop 'til they are at the cave of Bethlehem..and you, my soul, mustn't stop in any land...that is, do not dwell on any created thing, on personal fancies or pleasures, on any fondness for creatures, not even your own love of self. Do not rest until you have found your Beloved, the God of your heart. Entertain no other thoughts except of Him. Search, with great longing to love Him. Go into the darkest interior of your soul, into the stable of your heart. There you will find Him, poor and despised by men...scorning everything in order to possess your heart. Nothing but God Himself will satisfy you