Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our Community Christmas Letter

From Your Redemptoristine

Advent 2011

We come to you this Advent in the posture of Naomi and Ruth, Mary and Joseph: standing together at the crossroads journeying to a new home: Bethlehem.

Both couples were living in a time of mystery.  Naomi, a widow, decided to return to her native land, Bethlehem, and her daughter-in-law Ruth joins her saying, “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”  And it can be imagined that as Mary and Joseph journeyed together in a time of expectant wonder to be registered in Bethlehem they said similar words to each other.    And we, Redemptoristines in Esopus, echo that sentiment.  

We began the New Year with a visit from the new Redemptorist Provincial of the Baltimore Province, Rev. Kevin Moley and his Council. They came to inform us about the decision made by their Chapter to end Redemptorist ministries at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus come January of 2012.  This startling news held ramifications for us as we were told the whole property would be leased out and we would have to move to a new location next Spring.    Thus our search began.

Along the way we have been helped by many generous people with advice and leads to houses and convents in the Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts area.  We even looked into a place in West Virginia!  Most of the places we visited, either on the Internet or in person, were not suitable for a monastery.  Most old convents sit on small plots of land overshadowed by other buildings.  They tend to be in disrepair and in need of renovation to permit our sisters to age gracefully within the monastery and for all of us to live fully our contemplative life. And even the luxury houses we investigated did not have the right configuration for a chapel, bedrooms, workspace, library, community room and offices, not to mention that they were outside our financial resources.  

We do have hope and faith, expectant wonder, trusting that God is journeying with us in some mysterious way to our new home; a monastery where we can continue to live together our life of adoration, praise and intercession. 

This has been a bittersweet year of last times: the last time for the celebration of our Triduum in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in this monastery; the last barbeque on the patio, the last beautiful autumn colors on the trees of this magnificent property, the last stroll down to the Hudson River, the last celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas…  

Other news:

We were blessed to be able to care for our Sr. Peg at home, with the help of the wonderful people of Hospice, during her final months.  Sister died peacefully on February 21, 2011, with the community surrounding her with love and prayers.  

We participated in three programs of the Metropolitan Association of Contemplative Communities this year: The Effects of Modern Technology on Contemplative Religious Life with Sr. Lynn Levo, CSJ; The Implementation of the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal: A Moment of Recognitio! with Sr. Sandra DeMasi, SSJ and Msgr. Richard Groncki; and Women Working for Peace with United Nations NGO Sr. Margaret Mayce, OP.

Our fifteen lay Associates met regularly on the second Sunday of the month for input concerning our charism, to deepen their prayer life and support one another in order to follow the way of Jesus, making the redeeming love of God present in their daily lives.

We were blessed to have Fr. Ronald McAinsh, CSsR Provincial from the London Province, as our Retreat Director. His timely reflections were on “Transitions: Physical, Generational, Emotional and Spiritual.” 

We mourn the loss this year of Redemptorist Fr. Joseph Opptiz who made our foundress known throughout the world with his book, The Mystic Who Remembered: The Life and Message of Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa OSsR.  We published this popular book a number of years ago and next year we plan to publish a third run.  

On December 7, 1957 six Redemptoristines came from Canada to begin the first foundation of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer in the United States in Esopus.  This December 7th, to celebrate our 54th year we invite the local religious and lay Associates for a Vigil Service for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, as a way of thanking them for their friendship and prayerful support throughout the years. 

As we journey through this time of Advent, and as our Christmas gift, you and your loved ones will have a special remembrance in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass December 16th to 24th during our Novena before Christmas.   On those evenings after Vespers we extinguish all the lights and pray by the glow of the Advent wreath for your intentions with these words:

‘Adore, oh my soul, in the bosom of Mary,
the only begotten Son of God,
who became man for love of you.’

In the coming months, when we have made our definitive plans, we will let you know our new address and contact information.  In the meantime, if you wish to make a donation to help us in the moving process and making our new monastery handicapped accessible, we would greatly appreciate your gift.

May the Prince of Peace be your companion on the journey of life,
and grant you joy and blessings now and always,  
Love and prayers, Your Redemptoristine Sisters

Redemptoristine Nuns of New York
P.O. Box 220
Esopus, New York 12429-0220


Sisters Moira, Mary Anne, Maria Linda, Mary Jane,
Paula, Mary, Maria Paz, Lydia, Hildegard

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