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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

And now, time for a little rest.


My dear friends, Laudetur Jesus Cristus!

 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support so far, since I launched LitanyRun.com at the beginning of Lent. What an amazing six weeks it’s been! Sponsorships have been coming in steadily since the wonderful people at EWTN/CNA/National Catholic Register ran anarticle about me… on the very day that the conclave began, and many people were exposed to my vocation and marathon effort. Currently the meter at www.gofundme.com/litanyrun lies at just over 12%!! I’ll be making a payment on my student loans soon after Easter, and update you on the progress from then! Receiving your prayer requests every day has been such an amazing grace. I am honored and humbled by the generosity of the Lord’s faithful servants, and by your trust in my vocation, that you would share with me such beautiful and personal prayer intentions. I take your intentions with me on every training run, to daily mass, and to our Lord in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Enough people heard about Litany Run that I now have sponsors from 32 of our United States, as well as sponsors from Mexico, Canada, England, Scotland, the Philippines and even Malaysia! I feel my Birthday Challenge was a success even though not all of the states are represented yet. On March 25th I commended you all to Our Lady, (since it is usually her Feast of the Annunciation!) and offered my mass in thanksgiving for all that you have given me. I pray that you will keep helping me spread the word, my friends. Especially if you know anyone who could use some prayers and would like to support me from AK, AZ, AR, HI, ID, MA,MD, MS, MT, NH, ND, NM, OR, RI, SD, UT, VT, & WV!

 

At this point in my training the runs are getting longer and more challenging. On March 24th, 2012 I ran my first half marathon (13.1mi) in Queens, NY… and it was tough but rewarding! This year on March 24th, I ran 16 miles and it didn’t feel as tough as I remember that race feeling! Praise Jesus. During this week’s long run I was able to get in all 20 Mysteries of the Rosary, commending each set of mysteries to one of Litany Run’s patron saints (St. Padre Pio, Bl. Pope JPII, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, and Bl. Pier Giorgio Frasatti), and for your prayer intentions.
 
Lately I have found myself focusing a lot on the sufferings of Our Lady during the Passion of Our Lord. (Probably because I am smack in the middle of renewing my Consecration to her. If you have never read St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion or considered doing the 34-day Consecration… I humbly implore you to start researching and praying about it immediately.) One of virtues that I am striving to practice very particularly right now is “mortification in all things,” which St. Louis names as one of Our Lady’s ten principal virtues. The others are her profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual mental prayer, her surpassing purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness, and her divine wisdom. As a future canoness (God willing), my prayers to Jesus through His mother are that I may be given the grace to desire imitating her in everything I do – for she was the first Christian, the most beloved of all women throughout time and history, and suffered silently at the horror of Christ’s Passion… for love of Him whom she raised from conception, and Him who would be raised for all of our salvation. She is the most perfect model of Christianity that anyone could ever look to and, if the Lord desires me to become a consecrated religious – taking her name, her habit, and vowing to do all I do for His glory as she did – then there is no reason for me not to try my very best to be like her even now. And especially now. And this very much involves embracing both the physical and spiritual challenges that are starting to arise within these weeks of my marathon training.
 
I trust in the Lord and even now, as we draw closer to Easter, the Divine Office (around which my life will someday revolve) is presenting us with psalms and readings about perseverance. The spiritual challenges that are arising don’t really stem from any fear about my vocation or doubt about anything that God has planned for me. Rather He is granting me the grace of compassion for those who send me prayer requests about some very difficult situations. It seems like I am gaining more and more assurance of my vocation to a life of prayer, through receiving the prayer requests of people who so desperately need and desire the mercy of our Lord.  Your prayer requests touch my heart, my friends. I am honored and humbled that you share them with me – and the very act of your requesting prayers moves me to try to run as perfectly as I can, especially during those moments when I feel like I am about to run out of energy. Some things can only be accomplished through prayer and fasting – and physical sacrifice. The prophet Simeon told Our Lady that a sword would pierce her heart too. She suffered at the sight of her Son on the cross. But she did this quietly, because she knew it was His purpose. She knew it was for the glory of God, and that He commanded it to happen for the sake of our salvation. In the same way, I pray that the Lord will give me the grace to continue moving forward on this journey of running a marathon in thanksgiving, and in petition for the things that you need in your life.
 
This past weekend my parents accompanied me to the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph for the first time. For me, it was a beautiful and joyful 24 hours, wherein they had a chance to meet Mother Mary Augustine and a few of the canonesses. We also took a few young ladies from my home parish so that they could get a little taste of the contemplative life. They had an opportunity for a Q&A session with one a couple of the sisters, and it was so lovely to see them and my parents interacting with my future community. Mother Mary Augustine even took us on a tour of the new monastery building! I was excited that my parents had the chance to see where I will be living and spending my days, before the sisters officially move in and it becomes cloistered.
 
Mother Mary Augustine giving us a tour of the new monastery building and the grounds outside.
 

 
This morning I had my last run before Easter. 7mi around my town with all of your prayer requests, and especially for all the poor and suffering, as well as those who feel like they are alone in this world. Now it is time to give my tired feet a rest, while I spend the rest of Holy Week meditating on how my tiny blisters and little bit of soreness are absolutely microscopic pains compared to how much Christ suffered for my sins. In a few hours I will be heading back there to spend the rest of Holy Week with the canonesses. I thank God for this opportunity to rest and recover, in preparation for the next 5.5 weeks of training before race day on May 5th. I will be taking all of your prayer requests with me and presenting them to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament throughout the next few days. Please continue to share my story and my cause with your friends and family. Some exciting things are coming up for me with Litany Run after Easter… so stay tuned, and please pray for me!

 

May the Lord bless you abundantly, and I am praying that you will become a saint!

 

AMDG

Totus Tuus

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE!!!


Happy Solemnity of St. Joseph my friends! Please say a special Hail Mary for my future sisters at the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph, on the community’s feast day!
I don’t have much time to update right now, but sponsorship have been coming in steadily throughout the week, and I prayed hard for you during my 16mi training run on Sunday. And thanks be to God, I have the most amazing friends in the world, who gave me an early birthday present… money for new running shoes, which I bought yesterday! Praise the Lord… I needed them so badly. Letting my toes heal for one more day, and then I will test them out on the road tomorrowmorning.
7 days left of my Birthday Challenge – to have at least one sponsor from each U.S. state by March 25th.  Read about my vocation at litanyrun.com, and sponsor at www.gofundme.com/litanyrun. I only need sponsors from 21 more states:  AK, AZ, AR, CT, HI, ID, IN, MA, ME, MD, MS, MT, NH, ND, NM, OR, RI, SD, UT, VT,  & WV. If you know anybody in any of these states who might have a heart to help me out with a small sponsorship, please pass the word along! God willing, by this time next week I will be praying for the specific intentions of people from all over the U.S.!! Please pray that the Lord will put it in the hearts of many Americans to help me through my Litany Run.
 
 
This has been a beautiful morning, starting with the amazing inaugural mass of our dear Holy Father. Please continue to keep him and our beloved Benedict XVI in your hearts and prayers. God bless you!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Acceptance Letter

Hello friends! Wow what an amazing week... toping out at just over $3,000. Only 51 days and $50,000 left to go :). Thank you thank you thank you! I am praying hard for you and all of your prayer requests. A more detailed update to come this weekend but, at the wonderful suggestion of one of my sponsors, I wanted to put up my official acceptance letter, which I received from Sr. Mary Norbert and Mother Mary Augustine, O.Praem. during my visit in February. Its come to my attention that many of the people I've contacted about Litany Run may have been skeptical about whether it was a legitimate cause, and its likely that many people have even deleted my emails without opening them... thinking that they're spam. That's okay... the Holy Spirit is still working!! But for your heart-settling convenience:

This is probably kind of difficult to read... but the original size it was too large! Zoom in maybe?

I hope that helps anyone who has questions about my entrance status. It's almost St. Patrick's day! And then the Feast of St. Joseph! Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Deo Gratias


HABEMUS PAPAM! Ave Maria! Let us now offer our purest and most thankful prayers for our new Pope Francis! May his reign be long, fruitful, humble and holy! Who ever imagined a Jesuit named Francis? This is just so amazingly beautiful. I feel a great love for him and allegiance to him already. More reflection on that to come. Wow what a crazy 24 hours it’s been! All glory and honor and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever.



Yesterday the Catholic News Agency / National Catholic Register / EWTN ran this story about me, my vocation and Litany Run. What an amazing blessing. In one day the financial gifts I’ve received on gofundme.com/litanyrun have jumped from $235 to over $2000. Thank you so much, my friends!

I am in the process of adding all of the prayer request I’ve received up until about 9am this morning to THE LITANY page on www.litanyrun.com... but the support is coming in too quickly for me to keep up! I’m assigning your prayer requests to specific miles… so hop over to that page soon and “Ctrl F” search for your initials… if you don’t want to scroll through the whole thing. You’ll be able to see the exact mile during which I’ll be praying for you!

How do I keep coming across these hilarious photos of Dominicans?
It has suddenly turned to a beautiful spring here in sunny central California. My normal routine on training days has been to run just after sunrise and wait until noon to hit daily mass (I attend 7am mass on days when I don’t run). But I woke up extra early today filled with such thankfulness for the generosity of my supporters, that I was able to run without even having my usual cup of coffee, and still make it to 7am mass on time J. My 4 miles this morning were offered for all of the prayer intentions I’ve received so far, and of course I continued to pray for our Cardinal Electors.

Some very inspiring messages were sent to me yesterday, and I thank God for the opportunity to pray for all of you! Other messages I received included some suggestions on how I might be able to spread the word about Litany Run even further, as well as some offers from people who’d like to help me do that. I am so humbled by the outpouring of support that has suddenly rushed in! I hope those whom I haven’t contacted personally yet can be patient with me... I do intend to contact you each individually!

This evening I celebrated our newly beloved Papa Francisco with some of my best friends... who also happen to be discerning religious life and the priesthood :). It was a wonderful time of discussing the day's hi-lights and toasting to the future of our Holy Mother Church. 

Tomorrow will be my weekly mid-length run at 7mi. Please pray that I don’t push too hard and aggravate the little blisters which haven’t completely healed yet. God willing, I will be able to take better care of my toes on this upcoming Sunday’s long run.

The Lord is so present and merciful!

I’m praying for you all to become saints!

AMDG

Monday, March 11, 2013

Today a priest called me "teacher." ... That was new.





“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…” Philippians 2:3



One of my Top 10 favorite memories of all time was the final day I taught Voice & Shakespeare at the Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance. As I was bidding farewell and many broken legs to my students – the bright and shining future of British stage performance – a number of them expressed gratitude for their semester with me and their interest in private lessons, as I was not planning on returning to work at the school permanently. It was the culmination of a spring’s worth of teaching these actors-in-training to forget everything they ever thought they knew about speech – in order to re-learn the beauty of language and the power of articulation when it comes to communicating a thought or idea. Basically the nerdiest medium in the theatre world, and definitely the most fun. It’s been a few years since then, but I’ve always held in my heart that wonderful satisfaction of watching my students progress by leaps and bounds over the course of a few weeks.  And the joy I felt in those brilliant moments when I witnessed, firsthand, the little light bulbs going off in their brains. And suddenly they got it. And it changed everything. And they were growing.

When you do what you do not only because you love it, but also because at its core lies the simple intention to help another person become a better version of him or herself – the potential for fulfillment when the fruits of that intention are realized, is increased a hundredfold. I loved my time as a teacher in the UK and was admittedly disappointed when I came home to discover that there was essentially no job-market for someone my age in the field for which I had undergone an extensive amount of training. Of course these days I’m not complaining for one second that I didn’t move on to a career in voice/speech/theatre… for we all know that the Lord had other tres tres awesome plans for me J. But the handful of opportunities I’ve had since finishing grad school, to actually utilize what I studied in a professional context, have always been a source of momentary bursts of joy that… are just fun to encounter every once in a while.

So you might be able to imagine my delight at having recently taken up teaching phonetics and pronunciation to a couple of the priests at my home parish. These guys are already awesome, brilliant and give some pretty sweet homilies. But a bit more clarity in articulation is good for everyone, even us lazy ‘mericans who are often sloppy with our speech. So after receiving two new Rogationist priests whose native language is not English, over the last few months, I offered to help them out as much as I am able in the time I have left here at home. So far we’ve had a couple of classes and they are both making crazy progress. Go Holy Spirit go!

Thankfully we’ve started our lessons in the middle of Lent – which provides me with the oh-so-necessary reminder of the care I must take not to become proud of the work God is doing through me. I am so happy and humbled to be working with these good and holy men, but I will need to remember that whatever progress they make will never be to my credit. Rather all the glory belongs to the Lord Our God, and it is for Him that I have offered to help these priests – that they may be more well equipped to preach the Gospel and share His Good News with those who will listen. Please pray these men of God who are making the fantastic effort to improve their speech for the sake of the salvation of souls.

Humility, of course, has always been my greatest struggle. Yesterday’s run was my longest distance ever at 14.01 mi. And after a brief post-run prayer of thanksgiving, I found myself grumbling (at times inwardly and at other times not-so-inwardly) for much of the day, about my newly acquired blisters, instead of being thankful to share in the physical discomfort of those who suffer… not to mention Christ Himself. Oh what a long way I have to go. But since I am still so imperfect that I grumble about these little things, I am at least thankful for the grace to be able to recognize my sinfulness every once-in-a-while. More often these days I pray for the grace to first recognize the plank in my own eye. God answers my prayers in the affirmative more than I deserve, so I only hope that He will strengthen me enough to keep praying for this kind of purification for the rest of my life.


Tomorrow the conclave begins and, God willing, we will soon have a new pope. Beginning tonight I will join my brothers at St. Michael’s Abbey (in spirit) in their 24-Hour Day of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in intercession for the Cardinal Electors in Conclave. I am joyful in anticipation of our new pontiff, as are millions of Catholics around the world. But while most will have their prayers focused primarily on the outcome of the happenings in Vatican City, much of my focus will remain on our dear Pope Emeritus. My prayers are for his intercession through this conclave. God only knows the power of the prayers being offered up by this holy-beyond-all-reason former pope turned monk. I also continue to ask Our Lady to protect and strengthen him… that he may have many years left on earth to become a saint and intercede for us in the world!

God be with us.
Ave Maria. 



LOL... I'm not discerning Dominican life anymore, but finding this was pretty funny.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Turtle Power


 
 
 
 
Our God is SUCH an awesome God.


Today is the Day 1 of the 33-day preparation for Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, through the way of St. Louis de Montfort. That’s if you’re following this year’s liturgical calendar… which places the Feast of the Annunciation (consecration day) on April 8th. If you’ve never heard of this consecration, I encourage you to check it out with all my heart! Consecrating my life to the Lord through His Mother was the best decision I’ve ever made thus far, and I don’t think it’s going too far to say that if you decide to do so too… your life will change drastically for the better.  As I begin this month of preparation to renew my consecration, alongside some of my closest friends and thousands of others around the world, I am so humbled by the many blessings that are so evident at this important time in my life. I know that Our Lady’s arms are wrapped tightly around me, my family and my friends.
 
Sunday’s run was the toughest yet – just one mile short of my longest distance, which was the half marathon I ran almost one year ago. On top of the 12mi I ran, on what has now become a comfortably familiar loop around a park near my house, I also did this week’s long run blind. I’ve said elsewhere that I would like to spend one full day completely blind before I enter the monastery. Well, quite do this run without any sight at all… but pretty something pretty close…
 

This is what I see when I take off my glasses. Yes, really.
Yeah... I don't kow what that's a picture of either.
By the grace of God and through the help of some very special people, I have scheduled an appointment to have corrective surgery on my eyes on March 14th. This is such a blessing. Because I will eventually be taking a vow of poverty, I cannot continue wearing contact lenses once I enter – and because my prescription is incredibly high, wearing eyeglasses causes me to have some pretty severe headaches most of the time. After much deliberation about whether I should spend my life offering these headaches as an additional sacrifice for the salvation of souls, I’ve come to understand that it would be more wise of me to make every effort to not be distracted during prayer – and headaches would inevitably elicit distraction. So I will have my eyesight corrected in order to reduce the amount of time I’ll need to wear glasses once I enter (bearing in mind of course, that I will inevitably need reading glasses at some point in the future). And in preparation for my surgery in just over a week – on Friday the surgeon asked me to remove my contact lenses so that my eyes are in their most optimal condition by the 14th.
Watch out... Here I come!
Which means… I’m wearing glasses right now! They are rather uncomfortable, so I take them off whenever I can… rendering me legally blind but at least headache-free. This is what I did during my run on Sunday! Since I know the loop so well, I wasn’t afraid of tripping over anything. So I happily removed my glasses and ran my 12mi a bit out of focus. It was strangely liberating. The elimination of this second bodily sense – sight – along with the absence of sound – running without music – provided room for further withdrawal from the world during this run. Even while I’m praying during my runs, I usually find myself at least a little distracted by the beauty of nature that surrounds me. It’s a blessing to live in an area where I can run outdoors – but God’s lovely creations often momentarily steal my eyes and mind from concentration! It was a grace to draw more deeply into prayer for the world and for my sponsors, without a clear sense of sight this past Sunday. Next Sunday’s long run will be the same, and I will ask for your prayers as I attempt to surpass my longest distance. My first of two 14-milers is up next!
 

 
The last two days have been filled with prayer and fellowship with friends – new and old. And thanks to the modern miracle of Facebook – I heard about the universal call to prayer for the cardinals, which was scheduled for this morning at 8:00 PST. So after mass I went to a chapel I visit every day to join in prayer with my brothers and sisters of the Church Universal. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful church in the area – and sadly one of the least visited. I knew I would be alone, and so I took the opportunity (as I am doing more and more often lately) to chant the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin, in front of the Blessed Sacrament. To my pleasant surprise, the prayer book (with Gregorian notation!) that they were using in St. Peter’s Basilica at that exact my moment was available online. So I chanted Vespers at 8:00am for probably the first and last time in my life J. Moments of solidarity with the whole of God’s Church, like this morning’s, have been more prevalent over the last two weeks. Of course the situation that initiated this growing sense of unity was painful, and continues to be so as the loss of our Holy Father is still fresh in our hearts. But as the election of our new pope draws nearer, it’s beautiful to see catholic so united in prayer for our bright and glorious future!


Now that I’ve announced my entrance date to my family, friends and anybody who happens to bless me with their presence on this blog – word about my vocation has started to trickle out into my local community. The sweet old ladies at daily mass are hearing whispers about the young girl who wears the veil and giving me a different kind of warm smile during the peace offering. People are asking my parents if what they’ve heard is true. I get little messages here and there about how people are praying for me, and even a few about how others are starting to unplug during their morning jogs, and pray instead of listening to music! How beautiful! This is all so encouraging and I thank God for the blessing of such positive reactions toward my desire to follow Him into a life of prayer as a religious sister.
The fundraising itself is a bit slow-going, but I know I am still only a few weeks into this effort! Right now I am in the middle of contacting various Knights of Columbus councils throughout the country – notifying them about my desire to enter reiligous life, and about my BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE –  to get at least one sponsor from every state in the U.S. by March 25th. God willing, some of these brothers in Christ will respond and perhaps I will eventually be praying for KofC councils all over the country! Things are getting busier at work, and I’ve recently taken up some extra projects and prayer commitments. So promoting Litany Run is getting a bit tough and there haven’t been any new sponsorships at gofundme.com/litanrun.com in just over two weeks now. But I know that the Lord will provide me with a way to get new sponsors in His own perfect time. Right now I am praying, and ask you to join in prayer with me – for perseverance through this effort. And that the Lord will keep my heart strong even if the money doesn’t come in as quickly as I am hoping it will.

Not my will, O Lord, but Yours be done.



May the peace of Christ be with you, the Lord bless you abundantly, and the Holy Spirit guide you to become a saint.

 

AMDG
Totus Tuus