Nothing has ever wounded the Heart of Jesus more than ingratitude. 

Fr. Bonaventure Heurlautlare (Father Founder, Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration)

Requiem aeternam dona ea, Domine

MothersNameOne year ago on March 27th, 2016, Mother Angelica passed on to eternal life. It was Easter Sunday, just before evening when she went home to God. In the Scriptures which Mother loved so much, that was the time (close to Easter evening) when the two disciples going to Emmaus, distraught and discouraged, met the Risen Lord. What He said of Himself is also reflected in the members of Christ’s body and Mother herself: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?” (Lk 24:26). Filled with gratitude for Mother’s life, we continue to give thanks for her who is among those that as the Roman Missal says, “have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.”  We give thanks for her love for Our Lord and the Church, her zeal for souls, her vocation, her passion for evangelization, her humor, her silent suffering; all these gifts that have born fruit. And we are grateful to you too who supported Mother and her endeavors for the Faith over the years. May God continue to fulfill the good works that He began through her innumerable “yeses” and keep us faithful until the end!

 A Quip from Mother herself: “We worry about the past, we worry about the future, and we worry about the present. I mean, what worry-warts we are! We worry instead of saying, “He’s watching me. He sees me and He loves me.” That’s why He says, “Courage. It is I, do not be afraid.”

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Lent to Glory

Francis and ClareWith Lent well under way, lest with the Israelites in the desert our “patience [wears] out with the journey” (Num 21:4), let us look heaven-ward for the encouragement we need. One of those interceding for us in eternity who lived an almost entirely “Lenten life” we could say, offers us solid advice for our struggles and a glimpse of “the joy that lay before [us].” (Heb 12:2) Like Christ, tried in His fast in the desert, Saint Clare knew the dangers of the subtle temptation to choose an apparent good (the “why not….?”) and the fury of an all-out battle with the powers of darkness. She exhorts us in the face of “false delights of a deceptive world” to “close [our] ears to the whisperings of hell and bravely oppose its onslaughts.” The Saint assures us that God Himself will “be [our] help and best comforter for He is our Redeemer and our eternal reward.”

Throughout these forty days, we hear Jesus speak of His immanent passion and death. Throughout her life, rather than retreat from the Cross, our Holy Mother hastened to share in Christ’s suffering, His surrender to the Father. From the dramatic ‘exodus’ she undertook from the security of all wealth, inherited status and home, to her prolonged illness at the close of her life, she sought to mirror the One who gave His life for us. She expresses her response to His love in this way: “Look upon Him Who became contemptible for you, and follow Him, making yourself contemptible in the world for Him.” His sorrow, His pain became her own. As she writes to St. Agnes of Prague “That Mirror, suspended on the wood of the Cross urged those who pass by to consider saying: ‘All you who pass by the way, look and see if there is any suffering like My suffering!’ (Lam 1:12). Let us answer Him with one voice and spirit…”

In the midst of her identification with the Suffering Servant, the paradox of the Gospel in her life reaches completion. As the Church beholds our Savior transfigured in glory on the second Sunday of Lent, we see too Clare’s life of self-offering to her Spouse in turn shot through with the light of His splendor in her prayer and ‘being-with’ Him.  She lived continually “[Placing her] mind before the mirror of eternity! [Placing her] soul in the brilliance of glory…[tasting] the hidden sweetness which God Himself has reserved… for those who love Him.” Even in the midst of Lent with Easter weeks away, this foretaste of Heaven is offered to us too. We can entreat with St. Clare, “Draw me after You!...I will run and not tire…”

 

 Many Poor Clares around the world commemorate Saint Clare’s consecration and the founding of the Second Order on March 18th – the night she left home in secret and was received by Saint Francis at the Portiuncula. More than 800 years later, the light of our Holy Mother’s love for Christ continues to illuminate the world!

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Hidden Treasure

shrine-snow blogIt happened not too long ago, while taking the trash out in the darkness of a winter evening. Upon glancing up at the sky before hurrying back into the kitchen, a bright  ‘star’ streaked through the blackness, seeming to spark and sputter into flaring pieces before it vanished. It was breathtaking. Astonishing. Being ignorant as to whether or not a heavy meteor shower was due, such a startling sight provoked questions among us. What did it mean?? Reflecting on the Lord’s Epiphany yesterday, it was all the more striking in the light of this recent event that the Magi in turn knew exactly what the Star of Bethlehem meant. Thus knowing, they sought (not without cost!). And being led in their seeking they found Him, the One in whom all things find their meaning.  The Magi can give us too the enduring treasure they hold, the wisdom born of that humility that falls down in adoration of the Christ, ‘the maker of the starry skies.’

            As this beautiful Christmas season draws to a close today with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, here is an excerpt from a Christmas reflection by our Sr. Mary Gabriel: “God’s Will ought to be like a treasure hunt. His Will is our treasure. Sometimes the treasure doesn’t look too good; it isn’t always bright and shiny, because it is sometimes hidden by dirt. When God’s Will includes trials and difficulties, we can look at the situation as a ‘dusty treasure’… but a treasure nonetheless. Every great adventurer and treasure-hunter can see through the dirt, can see through the dust and dirt in order to find a true treasure. And the greatest Adventurer and the greatest Treasure-hunter is Jesus Christ! So we have to see through the ‘dust’ as Jesus does. We have to see God in everything, as Our Lady did, totally surrendered to God’s Providence in the present moment, going on the donkey to the cave. There she recognized the ‘dusty’ situation truly was a treasure, never to be forgotten down the ages. She accepted with love the poverty and hardship, and she atoned by her love for what the world did not give to our Lord. We also have to make atonement for all the coldness and indifference the world gives to our Lord. Atonement is a treasure to the Lord… a bright and shiny treasure.” 

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We Are Growing!

Charlotte SistersThe Nuns of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, Hanceville, AL are pleased to announce that by mandate of the Holy See, St. Joseph Adoration Monastery of Charlotte, NC, will merge with Our Lady of the Angels on November 21, 2015, under the leadership of Mother Dolores Marie, PCPA, present Abbess of St. Joseph Adoration Monastery.

Mother Dolores Marie and the nuns of the Charlotte monastery are no strangers to Our Lady of the Angels. Mother Dolores Marie was employed by EWTN before entering our Lady of the Angels in Irondale in 1991. She moved with the community to its present location in Hanceville in 1999. In 2002, with the approval of Mother Angelica and the Chapter of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, Mother Dolores Marie was sent to assist the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Portsmouth, OH. She was appointed Abbess there by the Holy See that same year. In 2010, the Portsmouth community moved to Charlotte, NC, at the invitation of Bishop Peter Jugis. Three other solemnly professed nuns of the Charlotte community were also originally members of Our Lady of the Angels.

The arrival of the six nuns from Charlotte will increase the membership of the newly merged community in Hanceville to 10 solemnly professed nuns, including Mother Angelica, Abbess Emerita since 2009, and 6 Sisters in formation.

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The Transience of Poor Clares

pcpa-troyesSt. Francis of Assisi was the prime example of transience. In a day, much like ours, where people clung to a growing economy of wealth and trade, he clung to poverty -- and through poverty to an economy of salvation in Christ. He stressed amongst his frati minori  the need to remain detached, to pray and to walk. The Hebrew verb 'to pray' is also the word 'to walk'. 

In like fashion, the Poor Clares have embraced the transient "vocation" of the Franciscan life.

Many have left Our Lady of the Angel's Monastery in Hanceville to populate existing missions and establish new monasteries across North America and Europe. Others have come to stregthen and share in our community of love.

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On the Eve of St. Clare's Feast Day

klara-01Tonight begins 1st Vespers of Our Holy Mother Clare: Clare's deep union with the Lord and persistent prayers, often were rewarded by miracles. Twice, God saved the convent through the intercession of St. Clare. In September 1240, hoards of Saracen mercenaries attacked the walls of the monastery on their way to the city. Although very sick, St. Clare had herself carried to the wall and right there, where the enemies could see it, she had the Blessed Sacrament placed. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters, and suddenly for no humanly explainable reason the Saracens retreated. A similar situation occurred when the troops of Vitalis d'Aversa attacked Assisi in June of 1241. Again her deep devotion to the Eucharist brought her before the Blessed Sacrament and again the city was spared.

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Our Visitors from Troyes, France

DSC 0107-webOur recreation whith Sr. Mary Antoinette (Troyes, France) and Sr. Margaret Mary. Sr. Mary Antoinette and Sr. Margaret Mary came to visit us for a few days.

Sr. Mary Antoinette left us around 10 years ago to help re-open our cradle monastery in Troyes, France. She gave us a little violin concert while she was here.

The Troyes Monastery, located on rue Mitantier very close to the Cathedral, is thus the ‛Cradle’ of our Order.  Unfortunately, due to a lack of vocations as well as the advanced age and poor health of the Sisters, the Monastery was closed in 1997.  It was re-opened in 2007 by Mother Marie Emmanuel of the Cleveland, Ohio Monastery with the participation of Sisters from the USA and India. 

It is the Sisters’ great joy to dwell there in the House of the Lord, to live within the walls of that sacred place where the first Eucharistic Throne of our Order was established and where Jesus was praised, loved and adored in the heart of France for generations.

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