Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Most Joyous Occassion

What a beautiful and wonderful day!! Deo gratias! 

Friends, as we bring the final few hours of this two week donation matching challenge to a close – I want to thank you SO much for your generous support, especially to those angels who have donated multiple times over the last couple weeks. Just about 3.5 hours left until the challenge ends, and so far your gifts to be matched have reached a wonderful $6,470 (as of 8:15pm PST). WOW. :D.

L-R Fresno seminarians Jorge A. Cruz, Oscar Anaya, ME! and Lisa Hendey
Today I was a guest on KNXT’s Making the Grade talk show with the famous and wonderful Lisa Hendey – creator of We were joined by two of our seminarians for the Diocese of Fresno, and we discussed fostering vocations in the home. What a blessing! THEN I headed over to the St. Paul Newman Center for a lovely time being interview about my vocation for Newman News – for a segment they are doing on wrapping up World Youth Day. How amazing to get to share my vocation with a bit of a wider audience in Fresno!

Mother Mary Augustine giving Sr. Mary Magdalene a pin
just after her entrance. This is what we will look like for
the first year. We will (God willing) become novices on
June 6, 2014. Then we will have white habits & veils,
and new religious names :). Sr. Mary Something...
In the midst of all this I received a most joyous email from Mother Mary Augustine – she informed me that there will be another young woman entering with me on the 28th. I’ve met her twice and am so happy that she has answered God’s desire for her to enter on the Feast of St. Augustine! She had originally planned to enter after the beginning of next year. I don’t know what changed… but could it have anything to do with our dear St. Rita & St. Jude? I am so excited that I will have a postulant companion… its is quite imprudent but I can hardly contain myself! God is so good. 

On top of everything else, I started this morning off with the most beautiful run I have had in a long time, and came home to a message from a new television network set to launch this fall… that they are interested in doing a profile on me. By the time it airs I will have entered already, but to know that if it is God’s will for the interview to happen – that a great number of young people might be exposed to the idea of religious life, who might never have had that exposure before. Please pray with me, friends, that God’s will be made manifest in every moment of my life, especially now in these last 4 weeks leading up to my entrance date. And pray that the Lord will send me more generous souls, like you, to help pay down my loans as much as possible, and as soon as possible! God bless you and keep you, and make you into saints!  

Monday, July 29, 2013

3 DAYS LEFT of Donation Matching

3 DAYS LEFT, my friends! Until 11:59pm on Wednesday the 31st, all of the sponsorship money that comes in for my race is being matched (doubled) by an anonymous sponsor! I've just updated my online fundraising site to reflect the current number which has been raised during this donation matching period - which is $5,310 as of this morning. Praise the Lord! This means that since July 16th I have raised a total of $10,620!!! By your generosity and the grace of God I am now well over 57% to my goal while up until just this week I had been stuck below 50% for a long time! I am SO excited about what the Lord is doing.

Today I'm posting the reflection from St. Louis de Montfort's 34-Day Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary at the beginning of the day, so that you may have the whole day to meditate on these beautiful words, and hopefully join me in thanking God for the countless blessings He bestows on us. We don't even notice most of them as they come! Please God let my eyes and heart be opened wide to see You in everything and everyone.

God bless you all. Please keep praying for me, and become saints!

Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary - Week 1 Day 5

Imitation of Christ: Book 1, Chapter 24
Of Judgment, and the Punishment of Sinners

In all things look to the end; and how thou wilt stand before that strict Judge (Heb. 10:31) to whom nothing is hid, who is not appeased with gifts, nor admitteth excuses, but will judge according to right. O wretched and foolish sinner, who sometimes art in terror at the countenance of an angry man, what answer wilt thou make to God who knoweth all thy wickedness (Job 9:2)! Why dost thou not provide for thyself (Luke 16:9) against the day of judgement, when no man can be excused of defended by another, but every one shall be a sufficient burden for himself!

Luke 16:1—8
The Crafty Steward

And he said also to his disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship: for now thou canst be steward no longer. And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. Therefore calling together every one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: An hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: An hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The commission of the publican

Today was the 10th Sunday after Pentecost according to the Roman Missal of 1962 - which we follow in the Extraordinary Form of the mass. The gospel was from Luke 18:9-14 where Jesus speaks the parable of the Pharisee and the publican to some who trusted themselves as just, but despised others. This was particularly powerful today because of two items:

1. If you are renewing your consecration to Jesus through Mary on August 15th, during this time you are reflecting particularly on allowing God to enhance your self-knowledge and let you see what a great sinner you truly art. How in need of His Mercy you are, and how accessible that Mercy is to those who recognize how much they need it.

2. The Novus Ordo gospel for today showed us Christ instructing the Apostles to go out and make disciples of all nations.

How very amazing to have had mass in Rio available on live stream this morning, where this later gospel was read to over 3 million young catholics and was followed with a homily given by one of God's greatest manifestations of humility - our Holy Father Pope Francis. Here is the most powerful man in the world. One who, especially during this present time in salvation history, could very easily become a pharisee-esque hypocrite. Yet he is our greatest example of constant self-examination and ever increasing self-knowledge which brings out nothing but levels of humility that seem to run deeper and deeper as time goes on. May we all have the courage to continually search within ourselves just as our Supreme Pontiff does, and be always thankful that the Lord allows us short and shallow peeks into our true nature and our need for His unfathomable Mercy.

Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary - Week 1 Day 4

True Devotion To the Blessed Virgin Mary, No. 228
Preparatory Exercises

During the first week they should offer up all their prayers and acts of devotion to acquire knowledge of themselves and sorrow for their sins. Let them perform all their actions in a spirit of humility. With this end in view they may, if they wish, meditate on what I have said concerning our corrupted nature, and consider themselves during six days of the week as nothing but sails, slugs, toads, swine, snakes and goats. Or else they may meditate on the following three considerations of St. Bernard: "Remember what you were -corrupted seed; what you are - a body destined for decay; what you will be -food for worms." They will ask our Lord and the Holy Spirit to enlighten them saying, "Lord, that I may see," or "Lord, let me know myself," or the "Come, Holy Spirit". Every day they should say the Litany of the Holy Spirit, with the prayer that follows, as indicated in the first part of this work. They will turn to our Blessed Lady and beg her to obtain for them that great grace which is the foundation of all others, the grace of self-knowledge. For this intention they will say each day the Ave Maris Stella and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin.

Imitation of Christ: Book 2, Chapter 5
Of Self-consideration

We cannot trust over much to ourselves (Jer. 17:5), because grace oftentimes is wanting to us, and understanding also. Little light is there in us, and this we quickly lose by our negligence. Oftentimes too we perceive not our inward blindness how great it is. Oftentimes we do evil, and excuse it worse (Psalm 141:4). We are sometimes moved with passion, and we think it zeal. We reprehend small things in others, and pass over our own greater matters (Matt. 7:5). Quickly enough we feel and weigh what we suffer at the hands of others; but we mind not how much others suffer from us. He that well and rightly considereth his own works, will find little cause to judge hardly of another.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

And then there were none

It's almost Sunday!! And probably will be, by the time most of you read this. Happy day of the Lord, my friends! Today I am two weeks out from the Water to Wine Half Marathon, and only $8.00 away from passing the $25k mark in my fundraising, praise the Lord! I am SO excited to find out
who the Lord has chosen to be the person who pushes me over this milestone! A very great blessing it will be for both of us.

Indeed this week has been a tremendous blessing for so many young catholics. If you have been following the events in Rio de Janeiro, (which I'm sure you have), you know what I mean. Saturday afternoon I was in the middle of finishing up some online shopping - getting items I need for my entrance which I can't find in stores anywhere around here - when I realized they were in the middle of the vigil with Pope Francis at that very moment! I quickly clicked over to the live streaming and was able to participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and benediction with our Holy Father. This was such a grace for me, my friends! For it was this very event that I missed seeing in Madrid two years ago. While Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was inside Quatro Vientos Aerodrome telling close to two million young people how important it was that they be open to religious vocations, I was locked outside with my group and the Sisters of Life - singing vespers in the rain and receiving interior confirmation that the Lord did indeed wish for me to discern my vocation. To be able to participate in this World Youth Day's final adoration meant so much to me since it was, God willing, the last WYD I will ever have the chance to participate in at all. This does not make me sad, my brother and sisters! The Good Lord opened my heart to His will for me through this blessed event, and I am so thankful that I have been able to attend two World Youth Days (I went to Cologne in 2005). But throughout this day I have been reflecting on the intention I had to attend Rio and whether or not I regret not having been able to go. The answer is of course - not at all!
This has always been my favorite picture from WYD Madrid. The neon green umbrella, held by Fr. Vincent Druding, guided our group of pilgrims from the Archdiocese of New York and all of the Sisters of Life present at the event,
once we were finally allowed into the vigil site (supposedly crowded to capacity during our first attempts at the beginning of the evening) around 11pm after a night of singing and dancing and grubbing in a forest. We missed the vigil festivities and the Holy Father, but we found a place to set up camp right in front of an adoration tent, and stayed up all night with Jesus. 

There is such a true peace and excitement in my heart about the prospect of entering the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph in just 31 days... that I sincerely do not have any regrets about things I will not have experienced when I leave the world. Of course there are still countless things in the world that would be wonderful to experience and that I do desire very much. Of course it would have been amazing to go to Rio and once again stand among so many young people whose hearts are on fire for God and who are passionately embracing the New Evangelization. But The Lord gave me to be more than satisfied experiencing this event from my home. I honestly think I received joy just as abundantly as if I had been there - simply adoring Him from the screen of my computer, in my own little corner, in my own little room. Perhaps more.  

I am very thankful for this burden of my student debt, for it has given me now two years to grow in spiritual maturity (of which I still have only a miniscule amount - in fact barely any at all...). As I now place all my trust in the Lord and prepare to enter in exactly one month, even though my debt is still quite substantial, it is becoming increasingly clear how necessary it was for me to have these two years to detach from the world - enough that the life experiences I will never have I now embrace as opportunities to grow in virtue. It is amazing how preparing to leave all things familiar can open up your eyes to so much potential in present situations that will probably never be realized. But it is also amazing that gifts,  talents and love, offered and returned directly to the Lord from whom they come, will sanctify the sinner and lift the soul to greatest heights when this is done in secret. "But Mary treasured all these things, and pondered them in her heart." Contrary to popular belief, unrealized worldly potential may be just what the doctor ordered. For instance, have you ever walked past the baby cribs inside Target in search of laundry bags - simultaneously realizing that you will never shop for a baby crib and feeling surprisingly sad about it, wondering what your daughter might have looked like, wondering who the heck your husband would have been since you seem to be envisioning this product of the marital act inside your brains, and receiving from God the consolation that any peace and happiness you may have enjoyed in earthly motherhood will be exponentially increased as, with time, you allow Him to realize and make manifest your spiritual motherhood? I have. 

It is in moments like these - recognizing the goodness that God has given us in the world and the holiness that can come from it all, while at the same time being able to embrace that I have been invited to venture onto the straighter, narrower, more direct and more perfect path - that I am learning to find the greatest happiness, and highest degrees of both patience and anticipation for the day I will enter my community. People keep asking me what I want to DO during these final few weeks in the world and whether it might not be a better idea to wait another year. Or two years. Or become an active sister. Or... get married and have babies! Don't I want to travel? Go skydiving? See my favorite band in concert? I should spend every day for the rest of the month at all-you-can-eat buffets! Don't I regret never having gone to Rome or the Holy Land? Walking the Way of St. James? Won't I be sad about missing so many weddings and baptisms? Who is going to organize First Friday adoration from now on? What about the children??! 

The truth is, friends, that stuff is all awesome and you can become a saint through any and all of it. Ok well maybe the all-you-can-eat-buffet might not be the most sanctifying thing. But anyway, it is all just stuff and everything pales in comparison to the prospect of becoming one of Christ's chosen brides. Two years ago I would have been singing a different song and if I had entered a convent at that time I might have regretted not doing a lot of things in the world. Thank You God for giving me this time to begin understanding how much more You have planned for me in hidden life. 

Would it have been cool to be in Rio? Heck yes. But do I have any regrets? Not a one. 

Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary - Week 1 Day 3

Luke 13:1—5
Examples Inviting Repentance

And there were present, at that very time, some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answering, said to them: Think you that these Galileans were sinners above all the men of Galilee, because they suffered such things? No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell in Siloe, and slew them: think you, that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem? No, I say to you; but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish.

True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Nos. 81 and 82
We Need Mary in order to Die to Ourselves

Secondly, in order to empty ourselves of self, we must die daily to ourselves. This involves our renouncing what the powers of the soul and the senses of the body incline us to do. We must see as if we did not see, hear as if we did not hear and use the things of this world as if we did not use them. This is what St. Paul calls "dying daily". Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain and does not bear any good fruit. If we do not die to self and if our holiest devotions do not lead us to this necessary and fruitful death, we shall not bear fruit of any worth and our devotions will cease to be profitable. All our good works will be tainted by self-love and self-will so that our greatest sacrifices and our best actions will be unacceptable to God. Consequently when we come to die we shall find ourselves devoid of virtue and merit and discover that we do not possess even one spark of that pure love which God shares only with those who have died to themselves and whose life is hidden with Jesus Christ in him.
Thirdly, we must choose among all the devotions to the Blessed Virgin the one which will lead us more surely to this dying to self. This devotion will be the best and the most sanctifying for us.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Vigil night

In a few hours pilgrims will be waking up in Rio de Janeiro for the final events of World Youth Day. My prayers are that those who are called to discern religious life, as I was during this final day in Madrid two years ago, will go home with a renewed desire to evangelize the culture. I pray that they will respond positively to the Lord's invitation and obediently, actively discern what He may be asking of them.

Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary: Week 1 Day 2

Imitation of Christ: Book 3, Chapter 13
Of the Obedience of One in Humble Subjection,
After the Example of Jesus Christ

My son, he that endeavors to withdraw himself from obedience, withdraws himself from grace; and he who seeks for himself private benefit (Matt. 16:24), loses those which are common. He that does not cheerfully and freely submit himself to his superior, it is a sign that his flesh is not as yet perfectly obedient unto him, but oftentimes kicks and murmureth against him. Learn, therefore, quickly to submit yourself to your superior, if you desire to keep your own flesh under control. For more speedily is the outward enemy overcome, if the inward man be not laid waste. There is no worse nor more troublesome enemy to the soul than you are unto yourself, if you be not well in harmony with the Spirit. It is altogether necessary that you take up a true contempt for yourself, if you desire to prevail against flesh and blood. Because as yet you love yourself too inordinately, therefore you are afraid to resign yourself wholly to the will of others. And yet, what great matter is it, if you, who are but dust and nothing, subject yourself to a man for God's sake, when I, the Almighty and the Most Highest who created all things of nothing, humbly subjected Myself to man for your sake?
I became of all men the most humble and the most abject (Luke 2:7; John 13:14), that you might overcome your pride with My humility. O dust! learn to be obedient. Learn to humble yourself, you earth and clay, and to bow yourself down under the feet of all men. Learn to break thine own wishes, and to yield thyself to all subjection.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I will enter and give thanks

One of the things that made me think I would never return to California was the lack of fellowship and community I felt in my home town every time I'd visit from New York. Now, after having spent over a year here, I am excited to see communities springing up in little pockets of the Central Valley. Young people are yearning for truth and holiness. They are seeking each other out and building the foundations for a great revolution of love ... and an epic pursuit of sainthood. Shame on me for ever doubting that the Lord would make Himself known in the youth of my home community. He is there, and they are there, and everybody is ready. Rise up Young Church. Make your life be for Him.

“Do not be afraid. Open, I say open wide the doors for Christ.”

You can bet your sweet dollaz that if you build it, they will come.

Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary - Week 1 Day 1

Luke 11:1—10

And it came to pass, that as he was in a certain place praying, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him: Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.
And he said to them: Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and shall say to him: Friend, lend me three loaves, Because a friend of mine is come off his journey to me, and I have not what to set before him. And he from within should answer, and say: Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. Yet if he shall continue knocking, I say to you, although he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend; yet, because of his importunity, he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth.
And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

For us.

This is a little intense your second dose of the consecration but hey, the Lord's will be done...

Imitation of Christ: Book 1, Chapter 25 (continued)

But if thou observest any thing worthy of reproof, beware thou do not the same. And if at any time thou hast done it, labor quickly to amend thyself. As thine eye observeth others, so art thou by others noted again.
How sweet and pleasant a thing it is, to see brethren fervent and devout, obedient and well-disciplined! How sad and grievous a thing it is, to see them walk disorderly, not applying themselves to that for which they are called! How hurtful a thing it is, when they neglect the purpose of their calling and busy themselves in things not committed to their care!
Be mindful of the purpose thou hast embraced, and set always before thee the image of the Crucified. Good cause thou hast to be ashamed in looking upon the life of Jesus Christ, seeing thou hast not as yet endeavored to conform thyself more unto Him, though thou hast been a long time in the way of God. A religious person that exercizeth himself seriously and devoutly in the most holy life and passion of our Lord, shall there abundantly find whatsoever is profitable and necessary for him, neither shall he need to seek any better thing, besides Jesus. O if Jesus crucified would come into our hearts, how quickly and fully should we be. A man fervent and diligent is prepared for all things.
It is harder toil to resist vices and passions, than to sweat in bodily labors. He that avoideth not small faults, by little and little falleth into greater. Thou wilt always rejoice in the evening, if thou spend the day profitably. Be watchful over thyself, stir up thyself, warn thyself, and whatsoever becometh of others, neglect not thyself. The more violent thou uses against thyself, the more shalt thou progress. Amen.

The final line is not meant to suggest that we should do violence against ourselves. Quite the opposite - we should love our selves so much, in light of our being made in the image and likeness of God, that we strive to grow deeper in our self-knowledge and awareness with every passing moment. So that we might strive to be sufficiently equipped, with ever increasing understanding of the ways of the Lord, to continually examine our lives and consciences in pursuit of conformity to His will. The world tells us to be happy and satisfied with who we are. It tells us that we should be proud, stand our ground and let no one try to change us. But how can we grow if plant our feet firmly upon ground which the warmth of the sun never touches? We are comfortably rooted in the cool shade for a time, but eventually we wither and die from lack of sunlight - the nourishment we need to continue growing more beautiful and higher toward heaven.

Let us never be satisfied. With every moment let us grow in understanding of how completely undeserving we would be of God's Mercy, except that He Himself invites us to eternal satisfaction through acceptance of this Mercy. He did not come to call the righteous.

He came for us.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Just do the Consecration already, jeepers.

So okay, I’m not saying that you should start believing in miracles or anything but… yeah you should probably start believing in miracles. I’m am just saying.

… Not because, on this first day of our Novena through Sts. Jude & Rita (Patron saints of lost causes & desperate situations), I received a total of $3,100.00 in gifts toward my student loans. How can I ever express my gratitude for such generosity? No, my friends, it's not this inexpressibly amazing financial help which makes me marvel at God's Divine Mercy. The real miracle is you. The fact that you are even here reading this post. The fact that the Lord has called you – in one way or another – to be a part of my journey to religious life, that I may reach my goal and joyfully give my heart, soul, body and spirit to God for the building up of His Kingdom. I am so completely undeserving of the blessings He bestows upon me in bring holy people into my life, to walk with me on the path toward sainthood - however long or short our journey at each others’ sides may be. I didn’t need any more convincing, and yet I am continually amazed at the way Our Lady reveals the great power of her intercession our lives.

For almost exactly a year now God has periodically presented me with new young friends of my generation, whose obvious and enviable desire for holiness is contagious.  Without fail these people have each, in turn, revealed themselves to be devoted to our Blessed Mother in incredible ways – and inevitably each has eventually busted out with his/her Little Chains signifying consecration to Jesus through Mary. Even now as I prepare to leave my hometown behind, these soldiers and warriors for Christ keep entering my life, and our meetings are surely no coincidence - for the Lord makes clear His purposes in due time, especially when time is limited. 

Our Lady is building her Army, and it’s happening fast. Its no secret that we are fighting a daily battle of spirit - both on a broad scale as Christ's Church which maintains absolute Truth in a culture of relativity, and within our own hearts as we face full frontal attacks of evil on individual levels each and every day. Rise up young Church! Get educated on what it means to consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary, DO IT, and then tell others about it. It’s that simple. If your life doesn’t change for the better times ten (at least) well then you can curse me for having suggested such a waste of time. But at this point I would give my life if it meant that a single soul would recognize the necessity of this act and submit themselves to all the graces that come with it! Yes, I would. In fact hey - if you decide to do this consecration email me your mailing address... I would be humbled to make and send a rosary to anyone who does it.  

I have written about St. Louis de Montfort’s 34-DayConsecration before and now, as I finish up the last of the 12 Preliminary Days of casting off the spirit of the world and prepare to renew my consecration once more before I enter, I think it is only fitting that I urge you – with the greatest anticipation of your becoming saints, my brother and sisters – to consecrate yourselves to Jesus through Mary. The next start date is August 6th – in order to spend 33 days in preparation for consecration on September 8th – the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I highly encourage you read St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion right NOW and discern making this consecration. And as a little help, I will be posting here the meditations from this point on through the end of my consecration renewal on Aug. 15th. I encourage you to read them and spend a minute or two meditating on them each day, and how the Lord is calling you to renounce your self will for His glory. Here was today’s meditation:

Imitation of Christ: Book 1, Chapter 25
On the Fervent Amendment of our Whole Life

When a certain anxious person, who often times wavered between hope and fear, once overcome with sadness, threw himself upon the ground in prayer, before one of the altars in the Church and thinking these things in his mind, said "Oh, if I only knew how to persevere," that very instant he heard within him, this heavenly answer: "And if thou didst know this, what would thou do? Do now what you would do, and thou shall be perfectly secure." And immediately being consoled, and comforted, he committed himself to the Divine Will, and his anxious thoughts ceased. He no longer wished for curious things; searching to find out what would happen to him, but studied rather to learn what was the acceptable and perfect will of God for the beginning and the perfection of every good work.
"Hope in the Lord," said the Prophet, "And do all good, and inhabit the land, and thou shall be fed of the riches thereof." There is one thing that keeps many back from spiritual progress, and from fervor in amendment namely: the labor that is necessary for the struggle. And assuredly they especially advance beyond others in virtues, who strive the most manfully to overcome the very things which are the hardest and most contrary to them. For there a man does profit more and merit more abundant grace, when he does most to overcome himself and mortify his spirit. All have not, indeed, equal difficulties to overcome and mortify, but a diligent and zealous person will make a greater progress though he have more passions than another, who is well regulated but less fervent in the pursuit of virtues.


Also, just to give credit where credit is way overdue – Tonight I stayed out later than I have in I-don’t-know how long. I returned home to find my mom’s car was not in its usual parking space in the driveway. I wondered where the heck it was for a second, because I spoke with her only a few minutes before and knew that she was inside the house. Then I remembered, “Oh! It’s in the garage!” … parked in a space made vacant by the selling of the beautiful 1967 Stingray Corvette my that has been a part of our family since 1989. I was a bit shocked and totally proud to find that my dad had sold it while I was at the Priory this weekend – to help pay for my medical expenses & health insurance during my postulancy and novitiate. The community takes responsibility for health insurance after a sister has made first profession. This was such a selfless thing for my parents to do and I am so proud of them for giving up a thing of this world that gave them such joy – opting instead to help me give my life for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. The garage will never look the same without that royal blue beauty nestled in the sweetly on the left side. I just needed to take a minute to point out how ridiculously amazing my parents are, how they have helped me more than anyone will ever know, and the fact that I don’t give them nearly enough mention on this here webosphere – or anywhere else for that matter.

Become a saint. What else is there?

Milking Cows, 27 & the Patron Saints of Impossible Situations

God sure did have a fun idea in mind when he had me set St.Jude & St. Rita as the patron saints of the 99-Day Novena Relay’s 8th leg! I had no idea when I was choosing them, that they would be coming to our assistance smack dab in the middle of this two-weeksof donation matching. Are you excited to see what the Lord does for the next 9 days? I am ;). Five weeks to my entrance date, less than three weeks until my half marathon and a little over $31k left to raise. Anything is possible for those who love God, and so I ask you to pray with me through these saints! They’re experts at impossible causes and desperate situations… so I’m not worried. 

I was so blessed to spend this past weekend at the Priory – my final visit (God willing) before my entrance date. The Lord gave me to be present for Norbertine history – as the first Praemonstratensian monastery for canonesses in America was blessed by Father Abbot Eugene Hayes, O.Praem. – the superior of St. Michael’s Abbey. Mother asked me to process at the end of the line of sisters as we went through each different part of the building as Father Abbot blessed each room. Funny that this final visit should come just as World Youth Day was about to kick off in Rio. As I walked in line with my sisters for the first time, I found that I was the barrier between the religious and the laity who were blessed to attend. I joyfully recalled the moment when I felt the Lord asking me to discern becoming one of His brides – a moment at World Youth Day in Madrid where I stood in a circle as the barrier between my friends and the Sisters of Life, a beautiful religious community that I discerned joining directly thereafter.

It was a joy to be able to meet a few of the sisters I hadn’t previously met, and the reception that followed the blessing of the house. And a great privilege to get to speak once more with Father Abbot – who pointed out that I will be the 27th sister in the community, and that 3x3x3 is the perfect number. Wow. 27 is my dad’s favorite number too. And only yesterday as I was watching our Holy Father’s arrival in Rio with my mom, did I realize that I was called to religious life at the 27th WYD. I’ll be 27 years old when I receive the holy habit and my new name. God is incredible.

I ended the weekend by milking the cows and goats. I have been given a number of different tasks to do during community work hours during my previous visits. But I think milking was my favorite so far!  It was gross and awesome. Probably not very prudent of me to be writing this. But I think everyone should seek out the opportunity to milk farm animals at least once in your life! How funny God is in allowing such immense joy to be felt from doing things that once upon a time might have made us cringe just a little. 

After a few days off from training (during marathon training I discovered that it was not smart for this running amateur to try and train in the mountains…) I was back on the road yesterday with a 3mi warmup. A bit of a longer run tonight, and then increasing distances until this Sunday. I am continuing to pray for you all during each run, and your prayer requests are such an amazing motivation for me to keep running for the Lord, even as the hot summer of central California sometimes temps me to stop or slow down. Not that I’m very fast to begin with! But I love you, my friends. You have helped me so much and I am so humbled to give this small gift of my training to the Lord for your prayer intentions.

Please pray now, that the Lord will continue to do magnificent things in all of our lives. Pray especially for three of my best friends, who are also embarking upon new journeys in their vocation to holiness.

St. Jude & St. Rita, ora pro nobis!

"It is not that I have reached it yet, or have already finished my course; but I am racing to grasp the prize if possible, since I have been grasped by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not think of myself as having reached the finish line. I give no thought to what lies behind the push on to what is ahead. My entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize to which God calls me - life on high with Christ Jesus. All of us who are spiritually mature must have this attitude If you see it another way, God will clarify the difficulty for you. It is important that we continue on our course, no matter what stage we have reached."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


AMAZING news my friends! Someone has just come forward and offered to MATCH EVERY DOLLAR that is given for my vocation from today, July 17th, until the end of the month!!! That means that any amount given will count for twice as much. Praise Jesus! What a blessing. Thank you for already helping me out with gifts and prayers, now can you please help me spread the word to anyone who you think might be able to give over the next two weeks? Every little bit helps.

I’m now 25 days away from my half marathon and 42 days from my entrance date! This morning I had an absolutely beautiful 4mi jog. Tomorrow I will run 8 before I take a few days off, as I will head out to the Priory for my last visit (God willing) before entrance. The canonesses’ new house is being blessed this Saturday, and Mother Mary Augustine has invited me to attend with a few other aspirants. What a blessing to be invited to this dedication! They weren't able to invite many people since there isn't much space for large crowds inside the cloistered building. I will be praying for you all during my time there, Thursday evening to Sunday morning. Please message me with any specific prayer requests! 

Now is a crucial time my friends. Please pray that the Lord will continue to give me peace about doing His will in His timing. And pray that other souls will be moved to help me like you have, for the next two weeks especially. God bless you!

St. Faustina, ora pro nobis
St. Benedict, ora pro nobis
St. Evermode, ora pro nobis
St. Peter, ora pro nobis
St. Mary Magdalene, ora pro nobis

Become a saint! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

28 Days to Litany Run 2!!!

My dear friends, today we kicked off Leg 7 (lucky #7??) ofthe 99-Day Novena Relay leading up to the Feast of St. Augustine, and my entrance date – August 28th! I’ve had a number of wonderful people report the fruits that they are experiencing from this novena… and it is always such a blessing to receive message about how the Lord is working in your lives. He refuses nothing that is asked of Him with humble and contrite hearts. Deo gratias! In addition to the powerful intercession of Our Lady, St. Benedicts Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, and Sts. Norbert & Evermode – we are now also asking for the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Peter. It goes without saying how important these two disciples of the Lord are, and what a grace it is to pray through them with you!

As my next race draws nearer and time to get sponsorships before the middle of August runs short – I have been reflecting quite a lot lately on how generous He is to offer us Him mercy, no matter how badly we have offended Him and rejected His goodness. Our God is one of justice – yes, absolutely. But He is always ready to forgive those who truly seek forgiveness and a conversion of heart. We should all be striving for deeper conversion, always. Jesus said to be perfect because our heavenly Father is perfect, and we must never cease trying to reach this perfection! While we know we will only attain it in heaven, we are asked to do all that we can in this life to be humble and good as our Lord is. May we never grow lukewarm or satisfied with what we give back to Him – for He has given us everything. His very Son. His very life! 

How merciful the Lord was to Mary Magdalene. She was considered practically the scum of the earth, and yet He chose her to be one of His closest and most beloved followers. Christ could have resented St. Peter, for He knew that the Apostle would deny Him three times.  After all they had been through together! And yet our Lord chose Him as the one who would hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Oh what great hope we can take from these two beautiful heroes of our heritage! The God of justice calls the worst of sinners to be His greatest saints! 

Most of the reason I have not written in a few weeks is that I have been quite busy running around making preparations for entrance, and while this has included some logistical planning – most of this preparation has been spiritual. I’ll let you in on a little secret – St. Faustina’s Diary and all things Divine Mercy related have been enveloping my whole life over the last few months. Words cannot describe how close this saint has become to me – and I can’t believe I didn’t include her in the 99-Day Novena originally! She’s now alongside my confirmation saint – Maximilian Kolbe – in the 9 days before the final Novena through St. Augustine. The message of Divine Mercy that our Lord Jesus gave to St. Faustina is so important that I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to really learn anything about this devotion. I won’t even begin to go into details about how it is flipping my life 180 degrees in the direction of true sacrifice in view of holiness. But if you don’t know anything about the Divine Mercy – I beg you to begin finding out about it immediately! 

As far as fundraising goes – well its time to kick it back into high gear, folks. Thank you SO MUCH for your support thus far. If you have supported me either through finances, prayers, or sharing my story – be assured that I have kept you in my prayers every single day, and will continue to do so. If you have the means, I ask you to pray and consider giving perhaps one more time in the near future, and more than that – please please please share this as much as you can! As I continue training for the Water to Wine Half Marathon in Sonoma, CA on August 11th, I am also making every preparation for entrance on August 28th. I am putting my trust in the Lord – that He will direct many kind and generous hearts toward Litany Run in the next couple of weeks. As of this evening my debt is down to a beautiful $33,325.40! Still a long way to go, but I am excited to see what God is going to do over the next couple of weeks! I continue to pray with complete trust that His plan for me will be revealed in due time!

Sr. Mary Magdalene on her entrance day (a few years ago)
With Mother Mary Augustine, O.Praem.
A number of people have requested my WISHLIST – which I am happy to send out! Praise Jesus, this weekend I was able to purchase the main articles of clothing that will comprise my postulancy outfit – the skirt/shirts/jackets I will be wearing for the next nine months. Kind of intimidating to see myself dressed as a postulant for the first time (minus the veil and shoes). It all seems to become much more real when you look in the mirror and see one dressed in reverence and acceptance of the invitation to holy unity with the Creator of the universe.  

As my entrance date draws closer the reality that I am (God willing) leaving the “world” soon is beginning to set in. And with so much going on in the world it hardly seems possible that one would be able to die to it, to withdraw from all of its chaotic movement and settle into a quieter life of prayer. Yet some of us are called to this life and it is our responsibility to respond, to cooperate with God’s grace. What a blessing it has been to receive a number of messages/emails and even a few sponsorships from other people discerning religious life – both to the Norbertine order and other charisms! God is so generous with all He gives us, and it is so amazing to share with others as we embark upon our journeys to sainthood. This is what the Lord calls us ALL to! Sainthood! Whether He gives us an earthly spouse or calls us to Divine Espousal.

A friend posted this video on FB earlier today and I thought it was beautiful. My prayer is that someday, when I am old and gray, anyone will be able to look at me, and talk to me, and understand that I love God’s children with the same joy that this man has: