Youth Pilgrimage Visits Jeanne Jugan Residence in D.C.


Last Saturday morning our Little Sisters in Washington, D.C. received a visit from over 200 young people … all at once! The children, teens and their chaperones represented the Brookewood and Avalon Schools, two independent Catholic schools (one all girls and the other all boys) in suburban Washington.

Each year the two schools make a joint pilgrimage to local churches, and this year it was decided that the event would be in honor of the Year of Consecrated Life. The Little Sisters had encountered one of Brookewood’s directors at an archdiocesan event last December and encouraged him to consider including the home in their 2015 pilgrimage route…. Then they forgot all about this encounter … until two weeks ago when the collecting Sisters met this gentleman again at a church collection.

The group arrived right on schedule, walking over from the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 9:50. Several high school girls carried a statue of the Virgin Mary entitled Our Lady of Purity, as kids of all ages ran, skipped and marched around them, stopping at the statue of Saint Jeanne Jugan facing the home.

Prayer cards and bookmarks with the prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life were quickly distributed, then everyone recited the prayer and a Hail Mary together. A whole group of kids and chaperones, including a young woman originally from Colombia, then gathered around Sr. Marie Mathilde de la Croix, amazed at her age (102!) and ability to speak three languages. As usual she charmed everyone, especially when she gave several of them her blessing.

Just as quickly as they had arrived, the group set off down the driveway for their next stop in what was to be a 10-stop, 20-mile day. At each stop they would be praying for consecrated life. Thanks, kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother's Day, Barbara Green!

This Mother’s Day I am thinking about a heroic mother and grandmother I met this week. Ten of us Little Sisters were invited to attend the 20th annual Becket Fund Canterbury Medal Dinner in Manhattan, NY, Thursday evening (May 7). This year’s honoree was Barbara Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, the family-run business that won their case over the HHS Contraceptive Mandate in the Supreme Court last year.

In her acceptance speech Mrs. Green highlighted the involvement of her family in the business and the decision to sue the federal government:

“I do want to quality something: This decision was a family decision. This included all of Generation 1, and Generation 2 and the adults of Generation 3 — or about 20 family members. And 12 of them are here tonight, so I’m glad to have them here. We are united! I am accepting this great honor with them.

To do something because it is the right thing to do — does not make it easy. But when you have Him in your life, you can do a lot more than you think you can.

It’s only human nature to see if there is a less dramatic way to solve the problem.

We tried to discuss our options. There were just no options on the table. We couldn’t take life. We ALL believe that life begins at conception….

The Becket Fund started our process, carried us through the process, and brought our process to a glorious victory! …

I and my family thank you for this Medal, a Medal of honor for God’s faithfulness in our defending religious liberties.

I’d like to read a quote by C.H. Welch (adapted for our family):

The Lord may not definitely have planned that this should overtake me (our family) but He has most certainly permitted it. Therefore, though it were an attack of an enemy, by the time it reached me (our family), it had the Lord’s permission and therefore all is well. He will make it work together with all life’s experiences for good.

This experience has given our family so much more to be thankful for. We have seen God’s hand at work in the midst of our struggles. We have felt love, prayers and support that we would never have felt.”

To view Barbara Green's acceptance speech CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

P.S. Many people ask us about our HHS case. We are still awaiting the decision of the Tenth Circuit Court on our case. Please keep up the prayers!

 

 

Divine Mercy and the Sick

Holy Week this year marked the 10th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s death. A week later, on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday (a feast created by John Paul II), Pope Francis published his decree for next year’s Jubilee of Mercy. How please John Paul must have been! These events have led many of us to reflect on the saintly Pope’s legacy of mercy.

 

Mercy reaches us through the wounded Christ

Although he did not single out the sick in this context, Pope John Paul II did highlight the close relationship between the Divine Mercy devotion and the suffering. The following excerpts from his canonization homily for St. Faustina, to whom Jesus confided his message of mercy, speak of this:

“His message of mercy continues to reach us through his hands held out to suffering man…. It is not easy to love with a deep love, which lies in the authentic gift of self. This love can only be learned by penetrating the mystery of God's love. Looking at him, being one with his fatherly heart, we are able to look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters, with an attitude of unselfishness and solidarity, of generosity and forgiveness. All this is mercy!”

“Sr Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary:  "I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings of my neighbors. All my neighbors' sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbor" (Diary, p. 365). This is the degree of compassion to which love leads, when it takes the love of God as its measure!”

Pope John Paul II used the canonization of Faustina Kowalska as an occasion to highlight the dignity and value of every human being. This message is so valuable in light of threats to the dignity of the elderly:

“It is this love that must inspire humanity today, if it is to face the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of the most diverse needs and, especially, the duty to defend the dignity of every human person. Thus the message of divine mercy is also implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God's eyes; Christ gave his life for each one; to everyone the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy.”

This consoling message is addressed above all to those who, afflicted by a particularly harsh trial or crushed by the weight of the sins they committed, have lost all confidence in life and are tempted to give in to despair. To them the gentle face of Christ is offered; those rays from his heart touch them and shine upon them, warm them, show them the way and fill them with hope. How many souls have been consoled by the prayer "Jesus, I trust in you", which Providence intimated through Sr Faustina! This simple act of abandonment to Jesus dispels the thickest clouds and lets a ray of light penetrate every life. Jezu, ufam tobie. (John Paul II April 30, 2000)

 

Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the dying

The Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy, a ministry of the Marians of the Imamculate Conception, who administer the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, promote the value of praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet with the dying, following Jesus’ instructions to St. Faustina:

“Encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given you (1541) . . . “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death” (Diary 687) . . . “When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just judge, but as the merciful Savior” (Diary 1541) . . . “Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties [that is, insistent prayers], obtain for them trust in my mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul” (Diary 1777) . . . “Every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same” (Diary, 811).

Saint Faustina was often given the grace to know when a certain dying person desired or needed prayer; she would be alerted to the moment, by her Guardian Angel or by our Lord himself. At those times she would pray until she no longer felt the need to pray, or a sense of peace came upon her, or she learned that the person had died, or heard the soul say, “Thank You!” She wrote: “Oh, dying souls are in such great need of prayer! O Jesus, inspire souls to pray often for the dying” (Diary, 1015).

 

CLICK HERE for a brochure from the Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy, which can help you to know how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet with the dying.

 

 

 

Good News for the Gospel of Life!

The media is not often the bearer of good news for those committed to the Gospel of Life, but we got some earlier this week! A new Marist poll reveals that physician-assisted suicide does not have as much support across the United States as some advocates would have us think. As you thank God read this report from LifeNews.com:

As assisted suicide failed to pass in state legislatures across the country this year, a new Marist Poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus found that a majority of Americans do not support assisted suicide and that strong majorities harbor deep concerns over such proposals.

Assisted suicide proposals have stalled since the start of the year in a number of states, including Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado and Nevada.

More than 6 in 10 Americans (61 percent) do not support a doctor prescribing or administering a lethal drug dose, saying that a doctor should instead only manage an illness or remove life support.

Additionally, 57% of Americans say they are less likely to trust a doctor who engages in assisted suicide.

Strong majorities of Americans also have deep concerns about assisted suicide, including:

  • 67% concerned that fewer life-saving options will be given at end of life.
  • 65% concerned that the elderly will be at risk in nursing homes.
  • 64% concerned that the depressed will be more likely to take their lives.
  • 59% concerned about a wrong diagnosis.
  • 55% concerned that the doctor could misjudge a patient’s state of mind.
  • 55% concerned that it will become a cost-saving measure for health care decisions.
  • 54% concerned that patients will be pressured to take their life so as not to be a burden.

 

CLICK HERE to read more.

 

 

 

Easter: O Charity Beyond All Telling!

On this Easter Sunday my mind and heart are resting on a paragraph from last nights’ Exsultet:

Our birth would have been no gain,
Had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O Love, O charity beyond all telling,
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

 

 

God’s humble care and love brings us back to Holy Thursday, as Pope Francis’ homily at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper expressed so well. The passage of the Gospel that we heard on Holy Thursday “says a word that is precisely the center of what Jesus did for all of us: ‘He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.’ (Jn. 13,2). Jesus loved us. Jesus loves us. But without limits, always to the end. The love of Jesus for us has no limits, it is always more. He never tires of loving anyone. He loves all of us to the point of giving His life. Yes, He gives his life for all of us, He gives his life for each one of us. And each one of us can say: ‘He gave His life for me.’ He gave his life for you, for you, for you, for me for each one, with first and last name, because His love is like that: personal.”

“The love of Jesus never deceives because he never tires of loving, as He also never tires of forgiving, He never tires of embracing us. This is the first thing I wanted to tell you: Jesus loved each one of you ‘to the end.’”

“Jesus, has so much love that He made Himself a slave in order to serve us, to heal us, to clean us … In our heart, we must have the certainty, we must be sure that the Lord, when he washes our feet, He washes everything, He purifies us! He makes us feel once again His love.

In the Bible there is a sentence from the prophet Isaiah that is very beautiful. It says: ‘Can a mother forget her own child? Though a mother may forget her child, I will not forget you!’ (Is. 49:15) That is how the love of God is for us.”

 

 

This is charity beyond all telling, an expression of God’s humble care for us!

Alleluia! Let us rejoice in the love of Christ, our Good Shepherd and Risen Lord!

 

 

 

 

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