Smiling in Ireland

img_6448I’ve been in Ireland for 2 weeks, and my heart’s been smiling since I landed. Sent to visit the Irish Ursulines, I have the privilege and gift of meeting our sisters in 8 different locations.  Travels to Dublin and Sligo, Shannonbridge, Thurles, Waterford, Cork, plus 2 places in Wales keep me on the move, but the countryside and seacoasts along the way could not be more beautiful.  Sheep grazing in fields and quaint little towns are better than any photos I’ve seen.  And in each Ursuline house, there is gracious welcome, good Irish wit, introductions to colleagues and villagers, and the joy of sharing St. Angela’s spirit and Ursuline mission.

Here’s a little blessing prayer I’ve picked up that you can pray with me:

Arise with me in the morning; travel with me through each day. Welcome me on my arrival; God be with me all the way.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

2017valentines-daychallenge-3So . . . did you take our 14-day Valentines Day Challenge? If so, I hope that today you celebrate a deeper friendship with Jesus. If you didn’t take the Challenge, no worries! You can begin a deeper relationship with Jesus any day of the week!

Here are 2 thoughts on friendship to take into today. The first is from scripture. Who are your faithful friends? For whom are you a faithful friend?

Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth. -Sirach 6:14-15

This next thought is a promise from our foundress St. Angela Merici. After Jesus, she’s my next closest friend!

 In times of great need, true friendship is recognized. Believe firmly that then, especially, you will recognize me to be your faithful friend.  -Last Counsel

 

Summer Service 2017

untitledWe, Ursuline Sisters, are offering an opportunity for volunteer service in San Antonio, Texas, July 10-16, 2017 for women ages 18-30. Service will be with persons who are homeless at Haven for Hope, a large and comprehensive center, where we’ll learn about the root causes of homelessness as well as the struggles and successes of homeless persons.

Our group will be housed at Our Lady of the Lake University. In addition to service, each day will include reflection and prayer, meals together, and plenty of fun. There is much to see in San Antonio, and we’ll enjoy the culture, history, and beauty of the city.  There’s no cost for the week except for travel to and from San Antonio, and we have financial assistance available for that.

Contact Sr. Elisa (elisaosu@gmail.com) or Sr. Jean (hopmanj@gmail.com) for more information and an application form. Deadline for application is March 1, so don’t delay. It promises to be a great and graced week!

Take the Valentine Challenge

2017valentines-daychallenge-3We’re about to begin a new month, and guess what? Two weeks until Valentine’s Day! Despite the media hype and commercialization, February 14th still invites us to reflect on friendship.  We all know that friendship doesn’t just happen. It’s a process that takes time—a lifetime.

How about trying something new this year and take the 14-day Valentine Challenge? Between now and February 14th spend time each day reflecting on your friendship with Jesus. After all, that friendship is the most important one we have! Consider things like: How friendly am I with Jesus? Are we bff’s? When did we last spend time together? What do we usually talk about? Who does most of the talking? How much do you really know about him? I’m sure you’ll think of more questions! Consider placing red flowers somewhere in your home to remind you of your commitment to deepening friendship with Jesus. Then, when February 14th arrives, you’ll really have a reason to celebrate!

 

Though Blind, She Still Could See

tap_5836As we approach her feast on Friday, here’s a good story about St. Angela, foundress of the Ursulines. In the 1520s, Angela would have been in her 50s.  People made pilgrimages out of devotion, not just for adventure, so when a long-time friend told Angela of his desire to visit Jerusalem (leaving from Italy), she wanted to go along.  To visit the Holy Land, see the very places Jesus had walked and pray at Calvary seemed like a dream.

From the start, there were many obstacles: severe flooding in Venice, fear of invading Turks, pirates prowling on the seas. Yet, they were able to make the journey—by horseback, over dangerous waters, by barge, and by ship.  Angela prayed them through it all. Arriving at the island of Crete, Angela realized she could not see–she was blind.  They wanted her to return, but she refused.  In the Holy Land, she had to be led from place to place. A fellow traveler remarked, however, that “having been led from one to the other of these very holy places of devotion, Angela had seen them always with the eyes of her soul, as if she had seen them with her bodily eyes.” On the way home, they faced violent storms and an ambush by a Turkish flotilla, but the pilgrim ship escaped.  And Angela’s blindness disappeared; she now could see again!

I love the story, because we, pilgrims in this journey of life, often also feel blind. It’s hard to know the way to proceed, to recognize the sacred in what seems like chaos. Angela shows us how to live by the inner light of faith, to see with the eyes of the soul that God is present in our reality, and to trust we will be led safely through every storm.