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ST SHENOUTE: THOSE WHO STUMBLE OVER FAULTS AND SINS CAN DRAW ENCOURAGEMENT FROM HIM

“On … 1st July, one of the saints remembered by the wider Christian Church is St Shenoute. He was born around the year 340 in Shenalolet in Egypt. St Shenoute became a monk at the Dair-al-Abiad monastery near Stripe. In 385, after the death of the abbot, St Shenoute was chosen as the new abbot.

He ruled the monastery in a very strict way

He ruled the monastery in a very strict way. A new innovation he brought in was the requirement for every monk and nun to sign an oath to adhere to a strict pattern of life that led to holiness. Any violation to the rule was severely punished. As well as running a strict rule of life in the monastery, St Shenoute saw to it that outside the monastery any vestiges of paganism or heresy were eliminated. Despite this harshness, or because of it, over 2,200 monks and 1,800 nuns joined the religious communities of St Shenoute. He became the head of all the other monastic abbots in the area and became known as one of the outstanding figures of monasticism in Egypt at that time.

Although very strong in certain matters, St Shenoute had a compassionate streak as well. When prisoners and property were taken in a local war, the King promised St Shenoute some property. However, St Shenoute asked instead for the prisoners, whom he released. He provided them with some money to enable them to return to their loved ones. We are told these prisoners went away glorifying God and his saint, St Shenoute.

If we believe the biographer of St Shenoute, he lived to be 118 years old. He is recorded as dying in the year 466. Many suggest that St Shenoute doesn’t come across as positively as some of the ‘nicer’ saints like St Therese or St Francis. But perhaps his personality and harshness shows us that sanctity is possible for people with character flaws and faults. Thus, for those of us who stumble over faults and sins, we can draw encouragement from St Shenoute.”

– Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/June 2015

 

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SR RANI MARIA KUNJU VATTALIL – CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS AND HINDUS WEPT AT HER FUNERAL

SERVANT OF GOD SR RANI MARIA KUNJU VATTALIL

“I was recently reading about an Indian Religious Sister whose 19th anniversary of death [is on 25th February]. Sr Rani Maria Kunju Vattalil was born in 1954 and grew up at Pulluvazhy in central Kerala, India, where she received an excellent education at religious schools. The Vattalil family owned a large plot of land. Rani Maria acted very comfortably with the lower-caste workers on the farm and also with the poor who came to the door begging for food.

SHE DEVOTED HER TIME TO THE CARE OF THE POOR

In 1972 Rani Maria joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation and, after taking temporary religious vows, she was assigned to the juniorate programme at Aluva in Kerala. Once she became a Religious Sister, Sr Rani Maria devoted her time to the care of the poor.

PRACTICAL HELP

She had gained the enmity of money-lenders by advising the poor not to borrow money from them at exorbitant rates. She taught the poor how to pool their meagre resources and arranged for them to get loans at minimal rates. Sr Rani Maria instructed the poor to form cooperatives and purchase machinery for a flour mill. She also helped the poor to complete complex application forms to receive assistance.

ALL THINGS SHE DID FOR CHRIST AND HIS POOR

For the women, Sr Rani Maria organised programmes of cottage textile industries, good hygiene and home-making. She would also gather the poor into village councils to discuss problems and possible solutions and to spread information about their rights. In addition to helping people to help themselves, Sr Rani Maria organised food and clothing distribution centres and promoted the education of girls and boys. In order to better assess the people’s social need she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology. All these things she did for Christ and His poor. A sister companion wrote, ‘Sr Rani Maria, inspired and infused with the ideals of St Francis, fell in love with the poor, regardless of caste and creed, age and sex, and firmly believed that she encountered the crucified Christ in the suppressed and oppressed of society.’

SET UPON AND STABBED BY HIRED KILLERS

Sr Rani Maria’s death came on 25th February 1995. She left her convent and caught the morning bus from Udainagar to Indore. As the bus passed the Nochembur Mountain forests, a hired killer left his passenger seat and lunged at Sr Rani Maria with a knife. He, and two accomplices, eventually pulled Sr Rani Maria off the bus and continued to stab her. Sr Rani Maria kept shouting aloud, ‘Jesus’ as she died from her wounds. Within three days the landlord who had devised the plan was captured along with the three hired killers.

SHE PROCLAIMED THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION TO THE POOR

Sr Rani Maria’s Funeral Mass was celebrated by 7 Bishops and over 100 priests. Thousands of Christians, Hindus and Muslims lined the 100 route from the Cathedral to her burial place at Udainagar. Poor people wept at the loss of this Sister who had been their servant, spokesperson and spiritual guide. The Bishop of Indore wrote of Sr Rani Maria, ‘she gave her life witnessing for Christ. By shedding her blood, she has become a martyr. She proclaimed the Good News of salvation to the poor.’ In 2007 Sr Rani Maria was officially declared by the Church as a ‘Servant of God’. This means that her life and work are being investigated by the Church and is the first step along the possible route of canonization as a saint.”
– From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”, February 2014

 
 

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“BE GOOD, LOVE THE LORD, PRAY FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW HIM”

WHAT A GREAT GRACE IT IS TO KNOW GOD!

“St Josephine Bakhita (Memorial: February 8) was born in Sudan in 1869 and was sold in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum as a slave after traders kidnapped her when she was a young girl.

KIDNAPPED AND SOLD AS A SLAVE

The terror that slavery provoked in her was so strong that she actually forgot the name her parents gave her and so she adopted the name that her kidnappers gave her: ‘Bakhita’, meaning ‘fortunate’.

ENDING UP IN ITALY, WHERE SLAVERY WAS FORBIDDEN

Bakhita was eventually bought by an Italian consul, Augusto Michieli, who treated her well. Eventually they moved to Italy and settled with his family in Zianigo, a hamlet in the province of Venice.

SHE BECAME A CHRISTIAN AGED 21

When Micheli had to move away with his wife he entrusted Bakhita and his daughter Mimmina to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of Catechumens in Venice. Bakhita was baptised Josephine in January 1890. On the same day she was also confirmed and received Communion from Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto, the Patriarch of Venice and future Pope Pius X. She became a nun on December 8 1896 and lived with the Schio community for the next 50 years.

LOVE THE LORD!

During her life Josephine was renowned for her love of children who attended the Canossian schools daily. She was known to say to others around her: ‘Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know him. What a great grace it is to know God!’

‘AS THE MASTER DESIRES’

St Josephine’s later years were marked by sickness and disability. She was confined to a wheelchair, but remained cheerful. When asked how she was, she would reply, ‘As the Master desires.’ In her final moments she had flashbacks to her days as a slave and exclaimed: ‘The chains are too tight, loosen them a little, please!’

SAINTHOOD

St Josephine died at 8.10pm on February 8 1947. For three days her body lay on display while thousands of people arrived to pay their respects. The petitions for her canonisation began immediately.

In December 1978 John Paul II declared Josephine Venerable and in May 1992 beatified her. On October 1 2000 she was eventually canonised, becoming St Josephine Bakhita. Her feast day is celebrated on February 8.”
– This article was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue February 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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ARE YOU MEANT TO HELP PRIESTS “FULL-TIME” FROM 2014 ONWARDS?

CONSECRATED LIFE

“COME AND SEE. ‘Sisters of Our Lady of Pity and St Therese’ invite you to consider your calling, to share their life of prayer and Ministry to Priests, caring for the elderly Priests and welcoming those Priests and Sisters who join them for Retreats and holidays, and helping the Priest in the Parish whenever possible.

• Enquiries to:
Sr Veronica
St John’s Convent
Kiln Green
Reading RG10 9XP
Tel.: +44 (0) 118 940 2964 “

 
 

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ARE YOU “WILLING TO RISK A LITTLE LOVE”?

“OUR LADY OF FIDELITY

The Church needs religious sisters urgently to bring Christ to others by a life of prayer and service lived in the community of Ignatian spirituality.

Daily Mass is the centre of community life. By wearing the religious habit we are witnesses of the consecrated way of life.

If you are willing to risk a little love and would like to find out how, contact Sister Bernadette. ÷ Mature vocations considered. ÷

CONVENT OF OUR LADY OF FIDELITY
Central Hill
Upper Norwood
LONDON SE19 1RS
Tel: +44 (0) 7760 297001 “

 
 

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IS GOD CALLING YOU TO A MONASTIC LIFE OF PRAYER, WORK, COMMUNITY?

“GRACE AND COMPASSION BENEDICTINES

Is God calling you to a Monastic life of Prayer, Work, Community?

• Daily Mass, Divine Office, Prayer and Lectio Divina at its heart.

• Loving care of the elderly and sick in England, East Africa, India, Sri Lanka. Nursery and Primary Schools, Nurse Training and Hospital.

• In a dedicated and caring Community of mixed nationality and age.

Please contact:
Sr Paula OSB
St Mary’s House
38/39 Preston Park Avenue
Brighton BN1 6HG
Email: osb@graceandcompassion.co.uk
Web : http://www.graceandcompassionbenedictines.org.uk [external link].”

 
 

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ARE YOU CALLED TO A LIFE OF PRAYER AND SERVICE WITH THE DAUGHTERS OF DIVINE CHARITY?

“DAUGHTERS OF DIVINE CHARITY

+ An international Congregation working in ten Provinces throughout the world +

Come & join us!

We live and work at:

Sacred Heart
Convent School
Swaffham
Norfolk
PE37 7QW

St Joseph’s Little
Scholars Nursery
Chesterfield, Derby
S41 7PL

St Theresa’s Convent Guest House
Hunstanton
Norfolk PE36 5DP

Vocation Directress:
01760 724577

http://www.sisters-fdc.org.uk [external link]
email: lindafdc@yahoo.it
http://www.sjcsh.org.ul [external link]
http://www.sacredheartschool.co.uk [external link]
Registered Charity no 237760 “

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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ARE YOU A MATURE WOMAN WISHING TO FIND OUT IF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE IS FOR YOU?

“ARE YOU A MATURE WOMAN WISHING TO FIND OUT IF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE IS FOR YOU?

÷ The Congregation of Mater Ecclesiae
invites you to ‘Come and See’ ÷

(Registered Charity No. 1120573)

PLEASE CONTACT:

The Superior
Mater Ecclesiae Convent
Street Ashton
Rugby
Warwickshire CV23 0PJ

Email: admin@mater-ecclesiae-convent.co.uk
Tel.: 01788 8338245 .”

 
 

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PETITIONS FOR TODAY

Bless doctors and nurses and all who work in our hospitals so that their medical skills and human care may assist those suffering weakness and ill-health.

May those in prison and separated from their loved ones experience the joy of your love for them.

Grant me patience and understanding, sympathy and tolerance with all those who cross my path and make demands upon my time.

May the Church suffering in purgatory be prepared quickly for the fullness of redemption and come to see God face to face in heaven.

May those charged with world affairs be granted right judgement to further the cause of justice and peace on earth.

Grant labourers to your Church so that the harvest may be gathered. May vocations to the priesthood and religious life be found and nurtured.

 
 

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CLOISTERED LIFE: SOLITUDE AND SILENCE IN CHRIST

THE CLOISTERED LIFE WITHIN THE CHURCH

“The choice of the cloister is rooted in the desire to make a total donation of oneself to the Beloved in the solitude and silence of a life entirely hidden in Him. In spite of the apparent separation from the world, the cloistered life is endowed with ‘an exceptional apostolic efficacy.’ Separated from everyone, the cloistered soul gives itself to everyone and embraces everyone in its prayers and sacrifices.

WHAT IS THE CLOISTER?

The cloister is the radical choice of a consecrated life, a dedication to make contemplation the habitual dimension of one’s daily life; it is a ‘directing of oneself to the heavenly Jerusalem, in anticipation of the eschatological Church… an exigency – felt of primary importance – to ALWAYS BE WITH THE LORD… Rooted in this spiritual tension, the cloister is not only an ascetical means of immense value, but A MODE OF LIVING THE LORD’S PASCH,’ an involvement in His experience of death and life. It is the generous and ready response to a special call ‘welcomed as a gift and free response of love.’

It is above all a perennial passage from the CELL which isolates to the CELL which opens in a universal dimension: that of the heart which welcomes the presence of the Beloved and, in Him, the whole world. Charity, through the exercise of the evangelical counsels and the tension of the spirit, swells up within the cell of the heart which has limited its contacts and avoids dispersing its love. This charity pulsates within the very Heart of the Beloved and, in union with Him, heads out towards all those in misery and all the needs of the world.

In this way the cloister becomes the ‘city set on a mountain’ (Mt 5:14) towards which – whether aware of it or not – everyone turns in expectation and from which there spreads an efficacious contribution for the recapitulation of all things in Christ. Despite its appearance to the contrary, the cloister is endowed with an exceptional apostolic efficacy which gives support to the Church’s hierarchical apostolate. For their brothers in the world, the cloistered life is a bit like Moses with his arms raised in an attitude of prayer, or even like the image of Jesus Himself who prays on the mountain.

Its contribution of grace and prayer for everyone in the Church and the world is of incommensurable value. With its example of poverty, obedience and chastity, it collaborates in the moral renewal of society before which it stands as a prophetic presence, a persuasive recall, and a fraternal gift of supernatural values. The spirit of the Beatitudes extends beyond the grill and diffuses everywhere a strong entreaty of love, forgiveness and peace. And it is not out of place that, in fulfilling some type of work which is compatible with the Rule and its proper traditions, the cloister might participate in the life of society.

THE RADICAL NATURE OF CLOISTERED LIFE

Every type of vocation offers a unique form of behaviour and a unique set of tasks in view of its final end: the sanctification of oneself and of others. The cloistered life is no exception. Yes, it is a call which, in itself, is not the typical STANDARD; hence, it is not comparable with any other form of Christian existence. Yet from this unmistakable, unique character there flows its behaviour and its tasks, as well as its aim for holiness and, in the end, for glory.

Jesus, ‘having loved His own who were in the world, loved them to the end’ (Jn 13:1). This radical nature of love and dedication is harmoniously reflected in the concerto of the cloistered life and becomes its DIAPASON. It is from the community choir that there emanates what is pre-eminently distinctive about the cloister: sacrificial love in following and imitating Christ ‘who has not come to be served, but to serve’ (Mt 20:28).

Yet sacrificial love never exempts itself from its radical need for unity: indeed, it is a unitive love which repeats that COR UNUM ET ANIMA UNA (Acts 4:32) within the ambit of the cloister, in order to overcome any form of egoism. The tension of such a love cannot leave out the unavoidable meaning of love itself; to desire the good of the one loved. From this there issues that missionary love which turned the Saint of Lisieux into the Patroness of the Missions and which should stir up an apostolic, missionary flame in every cloister and bring about their meaningful commitment towards others.”
– “The Cloistered Life Within the Church” Part V, by Brunero Gherardini was published in De Vita Contemplativa, Monthly Magazine for Monasteries, Year VII – Number 5 May 2013. Contact: fsi.lanherne@talktalk.net

 
 

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