Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

And the Word was made flesh...
 and dwelt among us...
And we have seen his glory.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One of Us

Kissing the Face of God
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...

We've heard this so many times that I think we have become immune to what this means.  It means God could now experience hunger, fatigue, emotions, temptations, etc. For he was "like us in all things but sin." Amazing!

Let us rejoice this Advent and Christmas season that the eternal Word "leapt down from heaven." From the bliss of heaven to become man (while remaining completely God: mystery indeed!), to know what it is like to be human—to show us what it means to be human for "Man revealed man to himself" (Lumen Gentium 43) and to save us. Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our King, Our Shepherd

The liturgical year closes with the Solemnity of Christ the King. The readings use images of Christ the Good Shepherd to describe his reign. What kind of a king would compare himself with a shepherd? Only one whose power is so great that he has no fear of losing it and can thus humble himself greatly. In Ezekiel God describes how he tends his sheep: "I will rescue...I will pasture...I will heal, I will look after and tend my sheep." Compare that with the religious leaders of Ezekiels' time who "pastured themselves" and not their sheep.

As God shepherds us, so he asks us to do for others. In the Gospel parable, Christ the King comes at the end of time to judge. He separates the goats from the rams or those who "...gave me food, gave me drink, welcomed me, clothed me, visited me." For whatever you do for the least, you do for the Shepherd. May Christ our King teach us such compassion.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Burning Lamps

"The Wise Virgins" by James Tissot.
Recently I read the Gospel parable of the ten virgins awaiting the Bridegroom with burning lamps. Something struck me: the five wise virgins also fell asleep. Whenever I hear this parable I always hope that I shall be one of the wise virgins who had enough oil to keep their lamps burning.  But what does that mean? I know what it doesn't mean—perfection.

We seem to think the saints were perfect, but they were far from it! They too, like the five wise virgins, fell asleep at times.  This All Saints Day is a day to realize that there are more saints than those canonized by Mother Church. They are the ones who had enough oil—love of God and neighbor—to keep their lamp burning until the Bridegroom came at their death. They are friends, family members, and even people who we could never get along with!

We are all imperfect and that is alright. God alone is perfect. He does not desire that from us but only fidelity and a constant striving to be ever more faithful to Him in our vocation (whatever it may be) as a Christian.  Happy All Saints Day! May we be counted among them one day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Knocking at the Door

I have a holy card in one of my books that shows Jesus standing outside of a closed door, knocking on it.  There is no doorknob; it must be opened by the person inside.  The image comes from the Book of Revelation (3:20): "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him and dine with him and he with me."
It's a beautiful image with deep meaning.  The Lord will not force himself on anyone; he is waiting to enter our hearts but only if we invite him in.  He respects our free will.  It is up to us to get up and open the door.

But what about those who are trapped in addictions, paralyzed by despair? Those whose wounds keep them chained in pain?  We've all been in a dark place ourselves, mired in our own sins or the consequences of the sins of others.  In our shame and confusion, we hardly dare lift our eyes to heaven, let alone open our doors and expose our misery.  What does Jesus do then?  Does he still stand outside, knocking, waiting for us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and find the courage to open the door?

There's another image in the Gospel of John (the same author as Revelation).  Imagine the Apostles in the Upper Room on Easter Night.  They are huddled behind a closed door, and this one not only has no doorknob on the outside, it is chained, barred, and bolted from within.  Maybe there is even some heavy furniture pushed in front of it.  No one is going to be coming through that door! The Apostles are gathered together in fear, doubt, and confusion.  Imagine their pain: not only are they afraid for their lives, but the very one in whom they have put their entire hope is now dead, shamefully tortured.

Luckily for them,  Jesus does not stand outside knocking, waiting for an invitation to enter.  A closed door is no obstacle for our God, not even a barred and bolted one.  "Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" (John 20:26)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Discernment Day

Are you considering a vocation to the cloistered life?
Would you like to learn more about us?

Vocation Discernment Day
October 15, 2011
for young women ages 17 to 35

Begins at 9:00am
Holy Mass at 11:00am
Fr. Chris Martin, Director of Vocations for Archdiocese of St. Louis
Lunch provided
Evening Prayer with Benediction at 5:00pm

Accommodations are available.
Please RSVP by October 2
(314) 381-2654

Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters
Mount Grace Convent
St. Louis, Missouri

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Prayer to Mary

Dearest Mother Mary,
my Queen,
Help me to give myself
entirely today to Jesus,
thy Son, through thy
Immaculate Heart.
Pray that I might
recognize my cross today
and receive it with joy
and love.  Call me in these
moments of trial to unite
with the Holy Spirit and
ask for direction and peace.
I am thine, Blessed Mary,
keep me and guard me
this day as thy possession.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so is Jesus who stirs you to do something great with your lives.
Blessed Pope John Paul II

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Trust in the Lord

Do not be anxious about your life...Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be giving you besides.  Matthew 6: 25 & 33

With this Jesus turns our focus off of ourselves and onto the Father. There is much to be anxious about—even in the cloister!—but as Christians we are called to seek first the kingdom of God.

Cast all your cares on Christ because he cares for you. 1Peter 5:7

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Dare

I dare you: spend five minutes before the Blessed Sacrament–in silence–and I bet you won't walk away the same.  Just as you can't eat just one chip, so you can't take just one look.  Often converts to our Catholic faith say they were converted by the Real Presence in the Eucharist, meaning, they knew God was truly present.  They somehow wander into a church and fall in love with God in the Eucharist.  Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament lead to my "yes" to my vocation as a religious.  The Catholic belief in the Real Presence is also the most controversial of all doctrines of the Catholic faith.  When a Catholic Church is desecrated it is done by harming the Blessed Sacrament for they know He is our real Treasure.  This Sunday we celebrate "Corpus Christi" which is a feast celebrating Christ's Real Presence with us in the Eucharist; His promise at Ascension to never leave us.  So take my dare, or are you too scared it will change you?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Communion in the Trinity

God's very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, [CCC], par. 221)

The mystery of the Trinity is the central tenant of our faith, but trying to wrap your mind around how God can be one-in-three and three-in-one is a good way to get a headache. 

We are made in the image and likeness of God, and we can get a small glimpse of the communion and unity that exists in the Godhead by observing human life.  The sacrament of marriage has an awesome power: two people become one.  In total love and self-giving to the the other, their love actually takes on flesh and becomes another person in the form of a child.  In a small way, family life mirrors the Trinity where the love and self-giving between the Father and the Son is so real as to become another Person, the Holy Spirit.

Religious are also called to incarnate the union in community that is the Holy Trinity.  Religious living together in community are bonded together in love and unity, a true family gathered together in the Lord's name.  Made up of individuals, the community has one heart and a common goal, to fulfill God's will as laid out for them in a particular charism.

In creating man and woman in his own image and likeness, God created them for communion. God the Creator, who revealed  himself as Love, as Trinity, as communion, called them to enter into intimate relationship with himself and into interpersonal communion, in the universal fraternity of all men and women.
This is our highest vocation: to enter into communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.
(Fraternal Life in Community, 9)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Come Holy Spirit

The Spirit is the source of holiness, a spiritual light, and he offers his own light to every mind to help it in its search for truth. By nature the Spirit is beyond the reach of our mind, but we can know him by his goodness. The power of the Spirit fills the whole universe, but he gives himself only to those who are worthy, acting in each according to the measure of his faith.

The Spirit raises our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of the weak, and brings to perfection those who are making progress.  He enlightens those who have been cleansed from every stain of sin and makes them spiritual by communion with himself.

Through the Spirit we become citizens of heaven, we are admitted to the company of the angels, we enter into eternal happiness, and abide in God. through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations—we become God.

—From St. Basil the Great

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Go to Galilee

Jesus said to Mary Magdalene,
"Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." (Matthew 28:10)

Why Galilee?  Galilee is the place of beginnings, where they first met the Lord, where they were called to follow him.  A place of miracles and deepening faith, new-found purpose and pristine zeal.  We each have our own Galilee, the place where we first met the Lord and where he spoke to our hearts.  We also have our own Jerusalems, places of denial and betrayal, of suffering and confusion.  Doubts and questions, the darkness of the tomb.  After the Resurrection, Jesus is gentle: "Go and tell my brothers to set out for Galilee, and there they will see me."  Remember, return to your roots.

So we return to where we began, but we are not the same.  Our experience in Jerusalem has made us more humble, less self-sufficient.  Pain has widened our hearts, we are more open to grace.  We remember and return to our first fervor, but now with a little more wisdom and understanding.  We meet the Lord; he says "Follow me," and we find ourselves back on the road again.

"Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."
Do not be afraid: go to Galilee and there you will see him.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Gift of the Cross

How precious is the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for our return.
Coptic Orthodox Cross with traditional Coptic ...Image via Wikipedia
By the cross death was slain and Adam was restored to life. The cross is the glory of all the apostles, the crown of the martyrs, the sanctification of the saints. By the cross we put on Christ and cast aside our former self. By the cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfolds of heaven.
(Saint Theodore the Studite)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

He is Risen! Alleluia!

Mary Magdalen stayed beside the tomb, weeping...she stooped to peer inside and saw two angels in dazzling robes...she turned and caught sight of Jesus standing there, but did not recognize him...Jesus said to her, "Mary!" (John 20: 11-18)

Mary came to the tomb, looking for the body of the Lord.  She found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty and ran to tell Peter and John.  The Apostles came, saw, and believed, but then they returned home.  It is Mary who stays outside the tomb, single-minded in her desire to see her Lord.  She is looking for a corpse; she thinks that Jesus is dead and gone, but still she longs for him with ardent desire.  Not even two angels in dazzling robes can catch her interest; she wants only the body of Jesus.  When she turns and sees a man standing there, a living and breathing man, she thinks it must be the gardener. "Sir, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away."  Jesus calls her by name.  He says "Mary," and she realizes that it is he, that he is alive.  Imagine her joy, her inexpressible delight.  Jesus lives, and he has called her by name.

The Lord speaks to each of us too, calling our name in the depths of our heart.   We have been through the darkness of Good Friday, the absence of Holy Saturday...we know pain and loss, emptiness and suffering.  Now the Lord is risen, and he calls us by name.  Are we looking for him? We too can say "I have seen the Lord!" 
Christ Our Light: the Easter Vigil Mass

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No Greater Love

Save your people, Lord.

You are present in the mystery of your cross
embodied in the Eucharist:
bring all peoples into communion
with your redeeming love.

Save your people Lord.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Calling College Students

We have an article up at the Newman Connection, where we are united in prayer for college students around the country. Newman Centers are residence and Catholic ministry centers at non-Catholic universities throughout the world. Newman Centers were named in honor of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman and were inspired by Newman’s writings. The first Newman Center was established in 1893 at the University of Pennsylvania. The Newman Connection is a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of Uniting Newman Centers in Prayer all across the country, while strengthening the Catholic Faith.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Liturgical Schedule

Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper at 5:00 pm

Good Friday: Celebration of the Lord's Passion at 3:00 pm

Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil Mass at 8:00 pm

Easter Sunday: Mass of the Lord's Resurrection: 7:00 am

Please join us!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Omnipotent Love

Christ triumphed over death with the omnipotence of his love. Love alone is omnipotent. This love impelled Christ to die for us and thus to overcome death. Yes, love alone gives access to the kingdom of life!
—Pope Benedict XVI

Monday, March 28, 2011

One Year

Our "new" website is now one year old!  Here's some stats:

20,000 visitors to our website.

8,000 visitors to our blog.

6,500 prayer requests.

1,000 Facebook fans between our two pages, Mount Grace Convent
and Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters.

Deo Gratias!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Love of Christ

I have heard people say that looking at the crucifix or meditating on the Passion of Christ makes them feel guilty. An experience of God's love—as manifested in the Passion—can leave us asking, “What do you want from me?” To know Someone did so much for me me is overwhelming and we feel we must do something in return. He doesn't ask anything from us, but he hopes we will strive to love him. As our Creator he could demand our love; as our Redeemer he could make us feel indebted to him. But we are free to respond to his love or not.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dust and Ashes

Lord, you are merciful to all, and hate nothing you have created. You overlook the sins of men to bring them to repentance. You are the Lord our God. 
(Wisdom 11:24, 25, 27)

Let us pray:
Father in heaven,
the light of your truth bestows sight
to the darkness of sinful eyes.
May this season of repentance
bring us the blessing of your forgiveness
and the gift of your light.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. 

(from the entrance antiphon and alternate opening prayer for the Mass of Ash Wednesday)

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Often we see trials, temptations, etc as "setbacks" along our journey, whether it be the spiritual life, our career, or any goal. But I pose a new thought for you: Maybe those who rise without any pitfalls are weak and those who spiral up and down and up again are able to spring up because of the strength of their latest trial.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Behold, the splendor of His Presence
felt in everything beautiful
For He is Beauty itself.
Maybe that is why man
cannot live without beauty.
O wonderful earthly beauty
Yet it is a cheap substitution
for reality.
O Holy Triity, give us
beauty that we may
wonder at You.
O Holy Trinity...give us Yourself.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Reflection from St. Sophronuis for today's feast, 
the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple:
In honor of the divine mystery that we celebrate today, let us hasten to meet Christ. Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. 
Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.

The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Transformation in God

St. Joseph Freinademetz was the first Divine Word Missionary sent to China.  He was canonized along with our founder in 2003 and today is his feast day.

For me, Saint Joseph Freinademetz gives me hope that I can change and grow in holiness.  He greatly desired to be a missionary to China but once there he found the Chinese culture and people were not to his liking. He found little in the Chinese character that appealed to him as a European.  But he truly believed it was God's will for him and so he strove to love those whom he served and to adapt to the culture.  By the time of his death he even looked Chinese!  He prayed that in heaven he would be Chinese.  The people loved him greatly and on the 100th anniversary of his death the government even allowed the people to celebrate! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Strength in Weakness

Today is the feast day of our Founder, St. Arnold Janssen.

Fr. Arnold was ordinary. Incredibly so. Although he was lighthearted, he wasn't known for his humor or charm but rather for his dry, mathematical personality. He was not a charismatic leader but instead had a knack for boring people with his long theological homilies. His talent and potential were not obvious. Fr. Arnold had no ecstasies, revelations, or great dark nights. People thought he was a fool because of his plan to found a missionary society even while the Church at home was being persecuted.
So why is Fr. Arnold a saint of Mother Church? Once he was convinced of God's will, he never wavered. He was an ordinary guy who let God do whatever he wanted with him. He allowed himself to be viewed as a fool for Christ. He was himself 100%
That is something we can imitate.
Confused? I can clarify.

Most of us are not going to be called by God to have visions, mystical experiences, be charismatic leaders, or even found three missionary congregations. But we are all called to holiness and intimate union with God. We are called to do great things and touch lives around us. People looked at Arnold Janssen and said, "Him? Why would God use him? He is so ordinary and unattractive!"
But God did use him. St. Arnold let him have free reign over his life. God filled his weaknesses with strength.  God opened doors; God disposed hearts, God provided opportunities, God sent candidates, God prospered the congregations.
There's the secret: God did these things! God lead; Fr. Arnold followed. In the darkness of faith, he didn't understand how it could possibly work out, but he trusted God anyway. God wants to do great things in our lives too. He wants to make us into saints. Will we let him?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trust in God

The other day we had the pleasure of having Mass assisted by a Jesuit deacon (he is looking forward to being ordained to the priesthood this summer). Our community has known him for several years but I was struck by his joy. Being young in religious life myself, I am familiar with the twists and turns that come with the first years of religious life. But what was his conclusion? "Praised be God who has brought me though it to this point." We ask God "Why?" in our suffering and find it hard to believe that a good God would allow this pain. God, when he became man, knew suffering himself but his Father brought him through it. Maybe instead of asking why and doubting God's goodness and love, we should rather rejoice in his fidelity and trust that he will again bring us through our sufferings and trials.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain
Heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and Archangels may have gathered there
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air
But only his mother in her maiden bliss
Worshiped the Beloved with a kiss.
(Christina Rossetti)

January 1 is the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. On the octave of Christmas and the beginning of a new civil year, we remember that the Child she gave birth to is the King of heaven and earth forever. Mary is our Blessed Mother as the years diminish and eternity comes closer.

Let us pray:
Father, source of light in every age, the virgin conceived and bore your Son who is called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace.
May her prayer, the gift of a mother's love, be your people's joy through all ages.
May her response, born of a humble heart, draw your Spirit to rest on your people.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters wish you a blessed New Year, full of the peace and joy that only God can give!