Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ordination, JP2, Mother Teresa & Frassati Time!

Whoa! Where have I been!? Recovering from a beautiful, holy weekend – that’s where. I hope everyone has been well!

I was blessed, once again, to visit St. Michael’s Abbey for Vespers and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Friday evening before attending the ordination of two new priests and a deacon on Saturday morning. The Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano was packed for the newly ordained Fr. Nathaniel, Fr. Alan and Deacon fr. David, and it was a beautiful celebration by Bishop Vann, Abbot Eugene Hayes and a great number of other priests from both inside and outside the Order.

The first two St. Michael's Abbey ordained priests (Fr. Leo and Fr. Robert) blessing the two last St. Michael's abbey ordained priests (Fr. Nathaniel and Fr. Alan). Photo by Rick Belcher Photography.

First blessing from Fr. Alan
First blessing from Fr. Nathaniel
After the mass I went to the reception and received first blessings from both of our new priests! I hadn’t met either of them before – but let them know that I would be entering the Order soon and that I would be praying for them. They were both so kind and I was humbled when they expressed gratitude for the sisters I will be joining. I even got to have a wonderful conversation about St. Faustina and vocations with the mother of another confrere (whose family was visiting all the way from Canada!) while we were in line for our blessings. I am so blessed to be entering this amazing Norbertine family. 

The on Sunday I went to the TLM here in Fresno for the first time in a few weeks – where Fr. Beaugrand, FSSP celebrated mass for us. He gave a beautiful homily on the importance of continually growing ever more deeply in love with Our Lord. We can never be satisfied with our faith and good works, my friends! Heaven forbid I ever consider that I am doing enough… not even for one moment. We are called to Christian perfection and we must strive for this unceasingly, lest we grow lukewarm. It is amazing that these priests travel all the way from Sacramento a few times a month to celebrate the traditional rite here in the valley. I am so thankful for them.

Mother Dolores Hart, OSB - Being interviewed by our
diocesan news station's Colin Dougherty at
Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fresno! 
Sunday night here in Fresno we were also graced with a visit from Mother Dolores Hart, OSB – who is currently out on tour doing book signings. It was beautiful to hear a bit of her story – how she made the transition from Hollywood to a cloistered monastery – and a little about what life has been like for her since her entrance. The life she lives in her convent is quite similar to the life that I will be living in mine, and most of what she said really hit home, but I knew it would. She is a beautiful soul and I hope the Lord will use her book as an instrument to bring about a small amount of awareness about monastic life and the beauty of committing one’s life to the Lord in prayer.

This is the final day of Leg 4 and asking St. Cecilia’s intercession during the 99-Day Novena Relay! She has been working hard for us in heaven and I’m sure she will continue to do so. But oh boy tomorrow we kick off Leg 5 and guess who’re coming to our assistance… Bl. John Paul the Great and Bl. Teresa of Calcutta! Deo Gratias! They really came through for me in the months leading up to my marathon and I know that they are going to intercede for you in amazing ways as well! Umm also, how amazing is this…

Today is Day 1 of the international novena to 
BL. PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI (Litany Run’s patron saint)! In 9 days it will be July 4th and his feast day. Wow! 

This post from Chris, who runs, really hit home for me today. Chris talks about the struggles and challenges of persevering in the FrassatiUSA ministry which was founded to provide support to young adults who want to foster faithful community the way Bl. Pier Giorgio did with his friends. These struggles deal mainly with finances – which of course is something that I understand. The tone of this blog post is one of all-too-familiar exhaustion, supported by a strong foundation of hope and trust in the Lord. It seems that while moral and prayerful support for FrassatiUSA is abundant, financial support is less than.
I know that I have written posts that sound similar to it over the past few months. Posts where I may sound like I am admitting defeat or losing hope at times. I pray I have been prudent in how much I share with you all about the spiritual struggles that come with the uncertainty of a financial pursuit such as Litany Run, and such as Chris’s effort to gain support for FrassatiUSA. To be honest, this pursuit is sometimes overwhelming and yes, moments of doubt do creep in. But I pray that the Lord will strengthen me and that, like the end of Chris’s post – I always leave you with the assurance that I trust in God’s plan and timing, and that hope always remains even when situations seem almost impossible. For me I suppose that is maybe a little dramatic. I know my loans will be paid off with time, even if it takes longer than I’d like. But for FrassatiUSA the very real possibility that the ministry may have to significantly cut back on available resources due to lack of funding… well that is something I will definitely be keeping deep in the heart of my prayers.

Because of this wonderful the Lord established a devotion to Bl. Pier Giorgio in the hearts of several of my friends and me, through this novena to him last fall. Since then he has grown to be such a friend to me and has become a very powerful presence on my journey to entering religious life. This patron saint of young people is a shining beacon of light for our generation and we can all learn so much from his short but holy life. He was fervently devoted to Our Lord in the Eucharist and settled for nothing less than living out his faith, proving himself to be a man of the beatitudes through every moment of his life. May we all desire for our love of God to be manifested through our charity toward His children the way Bl. Pier Giorgio’s was. Please join me in this novena to him as we prepare for his feast day on July 4th! I hear there are going to be fireworks and everything.

I’m sorry that I haven’t been as consistent with updating about my entrance/training/financial status. There has been much going on lately! Half marathon training is right on track and I’m halfway into Week 2 of my official training. Haha – my “long” run on Sunday was fun… 4mi and started at 7:30am. It’s a relief not to be training my body for a 5:30am start time anymore. God is good and he is making me stronger every day. Tomorrow is a recovery day and I’m really excited about it. During my last visit to the priory Mother Mary Augustine gave me a list of things I need to prepare to bring when I enter. I’d like to have all of these things prepared for August, even though at this point I still have a mountain of debt to overcome. I’ve set up a WISHLIST page on where you can email me if you’d like to receive a list of items I need. Maybe instead of donating to my student loans, you’d like to donate an item I will use for the rest of my life in the cloister (or at least for my first few years as a novice…)! In less than a month I will return to the priory for the dedication of the new house and poooossibly be meeting some of my future postulant sisters. As of right now it sounds like I am the only one set to enter in August (God willing) but there may be more joining later in the year. Please keep us all in your prayers! I am waiting for some loan payments to be put through and I will update you on my currently needed amount very soon! I am also trying to keep that number updated as regularly as possible on the homepage of 

Remember that you can always help me with a small gift like $5, $10 or $15 if the Lord moves your heart to do so at! 

I am praying for you! God bless you!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Calling on St. Cecilia

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the amazing men out there who have ever made a sacrifice for their children. Which is all dads of course. My own father has worked his patootie off my entire life to be able to give me and my brother everything that we need. I am so blessed to come from such an amazing family. Thank you St. Joseph for protecting us! Please keep my brother safe on his deployment so that he can come home and begin a family of his own. My parents need grandbabies! :).

My friends, my heart is so happy to share with you that a few days ago I relaunched It's got a new look and new information about my entrance status... and plans to run the Water to Wine Half Marathon in northern California on August 11th! Another opportunity to invoke the angels and saints for your prayer requests, to run for my vocation, and to give God glory through physical sacrifice for the salvation of souls. As of today my debt is down to $35,947. My 8-week training begins tomorrow! Deo gratias!

Tomorrow we also beging Leg 4 of the 99-Day Novena RELAY - praying for vocations and our own personal intentions. We're heading for 99 days toward the Feast of St. Augustine and my currently assigned entrance date! 73 days go to! Along with Our Lady of Fatima, St. Benedict, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati and St. Evermode, we will also ask the special intercession of St. Cecilia for the next 9 days.

I was blessed to spend five days with the Nashville Dominicans last summer. What a beautiful active community. The Order of Preachers will always hold a special place in my heart, as I felt called to join them for much of my discernment. My heart was set for a very long time on becoming a teaching sister and evangelizing the culture through making young people aware of the beauty of religious life through my being a living breathing example of one in love with and totally committed to God, in the world. But it was actually during my trip to Nashville that my heart was awakened to the possibility that I might not be called to active religious life.

As music played, Cecilia sang to God, 
"make my heart immaculate that I might not be put to shame." 
(Cantantibus Organis)

You see, for all the beauty of life as a Dominican, (and believe me... IT. IS. BEAUTIFUL...) for me there was still something missing. For five days I was surrounded with literally hundreds of the most passionately faithful women I have ever come across. Their love of God and desire to serve Him, each other, and the lay faithful - was inspiring to say the least. I admire the work they do and their fidelity to our Beloved. I actually went there with every intention to apply for entrance if I felt it was what the Lord was calling me to do. But after a weekend of prayer and fantastical times with many of the sisters, the vocations director felt it wasn't the best time for me to apply just yet. And while at the time I was a bit caught off guard by her advisement, in retrospect I view that week as one filled with beauty ... and yet one that was, for whatever reason, still a little unsettling and something not-quite-right. I remember feeling throughout the week that I always wished there was a little bit more time for prayer, or that I could stay in the church just a little bit longer, or that there was maybe just a little more time for silence. Don't get me wrong! They are VERY prayerful and spend A LOT of time with the Lord. I just found myself wanting even more of it, for some reason. To my own surprise, the grandeur of the gorgeous church and splendor of the grounds (which are, of course, meant to aid in the sisters' pursuit of quiet contemplation), were perhaps just a little overwhelming for me. I found myself meditating on my desire for poverty and simplicity during that weekend. Of course now we know it was because the Lord is calling me to the cloister. But maybe it took a visit to one of the most beautiful and wonderful active orders in America for me to realize that I am called to a quieter life.  

But St. Cecilia (the patroness of the Nashville Dominicans) remains close to my heart as she is the patron saint of musicians and, if you have been following my story, you might know that I went to school to be in musical theatre and have enjoyed being in church choirs all my life :). I love singing and can't wait to enter a life where I am singing the praises of the Lord for much of every day. 
Please pray through this blessed saint that all aspirants to the priesthood and religious life who are hoping to enter their communities this year will be provided with whatever they need to do so! That we may begin to sing a new song to the Lord with our while lives and entire beings. And pray for our peace of heart - that, should the Lord want us to wait a little longer, they will trust that He has great work for us to continue in the world for a while longer. 

God bless you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quick Update / Upcoming Announcement

Greetings brothers and sisters! Happy Feast of St. Anthony of Padua! Did you know that he was ordained as a Canon Regular before transferring to the order of Friars Minor? The prayer life he had to back up his awesome preaching must have been tres cool.

Are we really almost halfway through June already? Wow time flies. I spent this past weekend at the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph with my future sisters, (and some of my future brothers too… the Novices from St. Michael’s Abbey came for a day-visit!). I’m so happy to tell you that they’ve moved into their new building! Praise Jesus that they are finally out of the old trailers that were, according to Mother, quite run-down and not very good for their health. I had a beautiful weekend of peace, prayer, and too much feasting. Ok well really, I actually tried to practice a bit of temperance… but it was really lovely to have three Feast days in a row! Feast of St. Norbert on the 6th, then the Sacred Heart of Jesus, then the Immaculate Heart of Mary! What a blessing to be there and pray with the community for the whole weekend. Every time I go there, I go fully expecting not a whole lot to happen. But at the end of every visit I leave having experienced so much grace that I feel quite silly for underestimating Our Lord so much.

Friends, I am happy to tell you that even while my debt remains substantial in these last final few months, I think that the Lord is confirming for me – more and more through many graces and blessings – that the time to enter is at the end of August this year. I know that I still have a long way to go to pay off my loans, but I know that if He wants me in the convent this fall, He will make Himself known in the hearts of those who are able to assist me, and all will be resolved in time. I am so thankful for this peace He has given me about it all, and I pray that those who are in similar situations to me are at peace with His desire for their entrance date as well. But since I so strongly believe that August 28th is the day I am meant to enter, it’s time to plunge into my next and potentially final fundraising effort.

On Friday at 3pm I will announce my effort for the next two months, and launch my new/updated website. Please check back then for information on how you can help me (or spread the word if you’ve already helped) and please continue to keep me and all aspirants in your prayers. Especially the growing number of good men who have been accepted into St. Michael’s Abbey for postulancy in August!

May God bless you and keep you holy.