“Now let me tell you something about the sacrament of Penance.
To draw fruit from this sacrament,
it is not enough to go to confession frequently.
One must also honestly strive to not sin.
In general, go to confession once a month,
and not oftener than once a week,
unless your confessor advises it,
lest you make it hard for others to find time for confession.
As for Holy Communion, receive as often as you can,
according to your confessor’s advice,
whenever your conscience is free from sin.”
What a joyous day today is – it’s Mother’s Day! Take a moment to think about the woman who gave her life to raise you! Today is the day to be thankful for her presence in your life. Mother’s day has been around longer than you might imagine. It started out as “Mothering Day”. Its entire focus was on motherhood. When people came to the “new world” – the United States – “Mothering Day” fell to the wayside. Over time a mother and daughter team worked incredibly hard to give Mother’s Day – celebration of our mothers – a place in the calendar. And here we are!
Make sure you bring your mother FLOWERS!
There is something truly beautiful about flowers. The life, the breath, the smell, the colors…give your mother something beautiful today!
Do not forget, though, on this wonderful day, our heavenly mother, Mary. Pray to Mary and she will envelope you in her mantle. She is your mother, your mentor, and someone you can bring everything to.
A Prayer – not written by me!
Mary, on this day when we honor all mothers, we turn to you. We thank the Lord whom you serve for the great gift of motherhood. Never has it been known that anyone who sought your intercession was left unaided by grace. Dear Mother, thank you for your “Yes” to the invitation of the angel which brought heaven to earth and changed human history. You opened yourself to God’s word and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Dear mother, intercede for all of our mothers. Ask your Divine Son to give them the grace of surrendered love so that they could join with you in giving their own “Fiat.” May they find daily strength to say yes to the call to the sacrificial love- the very heart of the vocation of motherhood. May their love and witness be a source of great inspiration for all of us called to follow your Son.
On this Mothers day, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us who have recourse to you…
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I, Sr. Lou Ann was born on April 17, 1957 to Ludovico and Josephine in Atlantic City, NJ. This was before my seacoast home became a casino! My father had emigrated from Caltanissetta in Sicily, Italy. My mother was born and lived on a farm in Hammonton, NJ. I am the youngest of four children, and had the best of all possible attention from everyone. Charles was 17 years my senior, Phyllis, 16 years, and Antoinette, 13 years. I had the attention of the world around me, and I was satisfied, as well as able to use the attention to good purpose. However, in my family, even I couldn’t manipulate everything to suit me. My father and mother were the parents, and I, too, was enveloped in their love, their plans, and their constant wholesome care.
Of course, my parents were not too enthusiastic about this new decision. I was the youngest. Was this really what I wanted? Had I thought it through from every angle? Just as the Sisters had promised, once my parents saw that I was happy, they, too, were happy and at peace. The provincial was visiting nearby, and on January 24, 1976, I traveled to Haledon, NJ, to begin my initial formation. I fit in well with those young adults who were already enrolled in the program preparing to become Sisters.
I had the advantage of having known much about the Sisters from my Atlantic City experience, so I adapted without too much difficulty. Of course, I knew what I wanted to do for all my life. I loved the little people and felt that I knew everything there was know on the subject, having been one all my life. The spiritual life presented to us was what I had already heard from the Sisters at St. Michael’s. The professional preparation I found both interesting challenging. Before I knew it, two years of preparation passed quickly, and I officially became Sr. Lou Ann on August 5, 1980.
During these years of formation, Camp Auxilium in Newton, NJ, had already become a very important part of my ministry to youth. Every phase of it appealed to me. However, I still had to complete my preparation, so I went to Haledon as a newly minted Sister to finish my college get my teaching certificate. In the ensuing years, I taught in various elementary schools, always happy to be with the young people. To all those Sisters and lay staff members who have helped to make our ministries the special places they are, my prayer and thanks…!
Have no fear of moving into the unknown.
Simply step out fearlessly
knowing that I am with you,
therefore no harm can befall you;
all is very, very well.
Do this in complete faith and confidence.
Pope John Paul II
When I was a few years a Sister, I remember Fr. Ken Shaw, SDB, giving away the last turkey the Salesian priests had in their refrigerator to a woman who by all external appearances, was not really in need. All the priests were fine with having something else for Thanksgiving, but I remember being shocked. I asked him how and why he would do such a thing… He told me we are never wrong to do what is charitable. That thought has stayed with me for many years, and resurfaced when I received this lengthy, but well-worthwhile email. A good friend of mine sent it to me…and it really made me think. We never know the good that we do and how or when it will be returned to us. In the end, though, the kindness we show often comes back to us. We are never wrong to do what is charitable…
The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.
“Leave me alone,” he growled… To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling — her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows.
“Are you hungry?” she asked.
“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”
The woman’s smile became even broader.
Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. “What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I said to leave me alone.
Just then a policeman came up. “Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked..
“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”
The officer scratched his head. “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”
“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”
“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up.
“Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”
“This is a good deal for you, Jack,” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it.”
Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived.
The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked.”What is all this, is this man in trouble?”
“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.
“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business.”
Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”
The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. “Sir, are you familiar with Eddy andAssociates, the banking firm down the street?”
“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”
“And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?”
“What business is that of yours?”
I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”
The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.”
She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a laugh. “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”
“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”
“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”
“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”
The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”
The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said. “That was not my intent… Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.”
She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently.
“Jack, do you remember me?” Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. “I think so — I mean you do look familiar.”
“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”
“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.
“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”
Jack lit up with a smile. “Now I remember,” he said. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”
“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right.”
“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.
“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. “When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.”
She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always open to you.”
There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he asked.
“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus… He led me to you.”
Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. “Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.
“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And…And thank you for the coffee.”
If you have missed knowing me, you have missed nothing.
If you have missed some of my emails, you might have missed a laugh.
But, if you have missed knowing my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, you have missed everything in the world.
So, today, do something for someone in need. Reach out your hand and your heart to someone, and regardless of whether or not you understand how, know that God will adequately repay you!
Today is a big day for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. We celebrate the feast of our patroness, St. Teresa of Ávila! In particular, we turn to her to ask her intercession as we begin the novena which will prepare us for the election of our new Mother General. Please join us in prayer. You can say the prayer we have been saying to prepare for our whole General Chapter, or make one up yourself – here is our prayer:
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
you gave the world its true light, Jesus, your Son, the Son of God.
You abandoned yourself completely to God’s call
and thus became a wellspring of the goodness which flows forth from Him.
Show us Jesus, lead us to Him.
Help us to know and love Him,
so that we, too, can become capable of true love,
and be fountains of living water, in the midst of a thirsting world.
(written by Pope Benedict XVI)
Besides preparing for our election on the 24th of this month, and beginning that novena, St. Teresa is special to the Salesian Sisters because she was a woman who really could read the signs of her times, and was able to hear God’s urgings. Here are some of my favorite things she said or wrote:
Just as we cannot stop the movement of the heavens, revolving as they do with such speed, so we cannot restrain our thought.
Fourth Mansion – Ch. 1
How true is this? So often, we say, “Let’s quiet our minds and open ourselves to the presence of God.” I think St. Teresa was in touch with the impossibility of quieting our thoughts, and she was able to realize that our minds are more like spectators, so when I hear this phrase, I like to picture myself sitting at the edge of a stream, as life moves on, to see God present – the water making the stream flow…
We cannot know whether we love God, although there may be strong reason for thinking so; but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbor or not. Be sure that, in proportion as you advance in fraternal charity, you are increasing your love of God.
Fifth Mansion Ch. III
I can still hear Sr. Barbara Jane in the first grade saying “Actions speak louder than words.” So true – let’s love one another , especially those it is most difficult to love, so our love for God will be EVIDENT!
Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All thing pass; God never changes. Patience attains All that it strives for. He who has God Finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.
How true – in the end…for every religious, and for every human being, God alone must suffice, because He is our only and greatest prize. What we often forget is that in searching for Him, we often go astray, thinking one thing or another will bring us true happiness, but we all know that the feeling of longing returns until we belong totally to Him and can be found only on Him – this, friends, is true happiness! (And why I think some of the people I know who could absolutely LIGHT THE WORLD ON FIRE with their happiness belong totally to HIM!)