Sunday, January 15, 2012

Settling into Ordinary Time

Here it is, the second Sunday in Ordinary Time. This is a 'skinny' season between Christmas and Lent. Ash Wednesday comes on the 22nd of February this year. Seems just a bit of a breather. But it really can be process time, opportunity to process, to sit with, to fully take in the deep, deep mystery of the Incarnation. There are no cards to write, no presents to buy, no trees to decorate. There is just an in between time, a time to 'be with'. Things even seem to slow down on the social scene in these months. Why not take advantage of it and and carve out a bit of retreat time - an hour, a day, a weekend. An opportunity is being offered. It is like the call to Samuel in today's first reading. Why not respond, "Speak Lord, your servant is listening."

And another matter:

These days we have been watching the dismantling of Mount St. Alphonsus. It is a 400 acre property dominated by a massive former seminary built in 1911. For three generations it has been a constant presence in the Hudson River Valley. For years the students taught Religious Education classes in local parishes. For years the professors fanned out every Sunday to celebrated Masses throughtout the county, bringing their particular Redemptorist approach to preaching and liturgy. Since 1987, it has been a retreat center drawing New Yorkers as well as folks from New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. This week does truly mark the end of an era.

Stained glass dome in chapel
For us these days are filled to overflowing with continuing preparations for our relocation to a new monastery - not a new building but a new location. We are not able to share the details at this time but do that know we are moving ahead. We are so grateful for the support of the Redemptorists and our many friends. We are also grateful to have met so many others along the way who have been so helpf
Please continue to pray for us, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit of Wisdom and Counsel will be with us as we proceed. Please also pray for ourt community elections set for January 26th.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mystery of the Hummel Figurine

On December 27, 2011 I posted a piece about our Redemptoristine tradition of displaying the infant Jesus in many places in the monastery - some as big as a baby doll and some as small as this 5" Hummel figure. I told the story of how I received it as a gift over 50 years ago and have long wondered about its origin and value. Someone else, googling around to find out about their similiar baby  Jesus was brought to this blog and sent the following:

I was searching "google" for information about my bisque Hummel Infant Jesus and your Blog came up.  Because you told how you acquired your Infant Jesus, I'll tell you how I acquired mine.

My Hummel is exactly like yours, but mine is the "large" figurine -- it's about 11.5" long.  I bought it in the fall of 1953 through my German teacher at Mundelein College, Chicago, a darling little German nun (BVM) whose name I now forget, but it probably is in my "year book", if I could ever locate that after all this time.   She was well acquainted with Berta Hummel's religious order and had an arrangement to purchase the "Infants" at cost -- both the small one ($3 I think) and the large one ($6, as I remember).  Most of my classmates who bought one, bought the small one.  But I (and possibly one other student) bought the large one -- mine was my Christmas gift to my Mother -- so I needed to be generous.  She displayed it with her Christmas decorations every year.

Following my mother's death about 6 years later, I reclaimed the Infant Jesus and have displayed it with my Christmas decorations since.  It has survived the move from Chicago to Iowa to California, earthquakes, and 5 kids.  I used to hang it above the fireplace, but now I display it on the mantel in a woven oval basket filled with gold-colored garlands, rolled up, to make a "bed of straw." 

My figurine has the name "Hummel," and the "v" and "bee" stamped on it, indicating that it was made between 1950 and 1955.  It also has the numerals: 78/6 on the back -- I have no idea what this means.  It's the same light beige coloring, and has the two holes in back, as yours.  I have a memory (which I no longer trust) that my German teacher said that Berta Hummel never made any figurines, except this one of the Infant Jesus -- as all her other works were drawings (and the typical figurines were made by other artists, based on her drawings).  The Infant Jesus figurines, which you and I have, are (supposedly) made from molds of the original work of Berta Hummel.

Many thanks,

Also, I have no idea of the value of your Infant Jesus, or mine.  My one "google" search was fruitless in this regard.  But, I know that mine is as "priceless" to me as yours is to you.

Thank you for your Blog, and wishing you God's blessings in this New Year.


This correspondence got me searching again and came up with this. Here's the link: I found a complete description of my small Jesus and a perfect picture. It was made between 1952-1959. Unfortuantely no value was given because the item was sold off line. 

Perhaps this bit of research and exchange of memories will excite those who collect Hummels and prompt them to to share stories and information.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Remember the Call - Vocation Awareness Week

Because we believe in the endless invitation of God, we remain convinced that many women and men are called to enter into deeper relationship with the Divine. We believe that this interior prompting  to remove oneself to an environment tailored to support the search for God is still observed in all the major religious traditions and across cultural lines. However, so many today, while sensing a nagging pull deep within, sensing a persistent desire, do not know where to go. Catholic education and culture today do not provide the information and exposure that would bring them to consideration of religious vocation in the Church.

Contemplatives, although the very life they wish to offer is a remove from the usual involvement in society, must make an effort to reveal their way of life, the search for God it offers, and the opportunity it presents for personal conversion which is transformation in Christ. For Redemptoristines it is the path to becoming a "Living Memory" of Jesus Christ", the inspiration of our foundress Maria Celeste Crostarosa. This blog, our Facebook Page, our website are efforts to invite and to educate.

The following remarks made to consecrated religious by Pope John Paul II are a reminder for us to reconsider our first call. They can also be an invitation to those who today are themselves experiencing the initial inspiration. 

As you renew in your hearts your act of profession, recall to mind that interior inspiration of the Spirit which originally led you to set out on this way to God.

Recall the circumstances of this inspiration, how it became more and more insistant, possibly returning after a time, until you could not fail to recognize in it the voice of God, the force of love with which the Lord calls a person to belong to Him undividedly.

Recall this to mind, in order to thank God with a new heart and to proclaim His mighty works. That inspiration of the Spirit cannot die out. It is destined to endure and, together with your religious vocation, to become more mature throughout your entire lives.

During this week of Vocation Awareness think of your own vocation; help us educate the People of God about the nature of this life; pray for the effort. AND, if you know someone seriously pursuing the spiritual way, why not mention religious life to them and encourage them along the way?