From Our Founder and Friends
Christmas, God’s gift to us, soon becomes January, a new year of grace. It is a time to begin anew, to give thanks for Light — the light of Christ, born among us, revealed to all people. Following the feast of Epiphany is our special feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, January 4.
From centuries ago and from our own time, words of wisdom and insight abound. We ask Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac to keep us focused on the radiant light of Christ.
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON
Go in spirit to the Manger…and make your profession of faith at the feet of your Infant savior — adore the Eternal Word in his silence, his almighty power in his weakness — the God of Heaven in a stable…
Our Lord tells us to pray continually — This is not as difficult as you imagine; you pray with your memory when you remember God, you pray with your mind when you think of him, you pray with your heart when you love him, you pray with your lips when you speak of him, and with your hands when you do your actions for him and in his divine presence.
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
The lights of grace, which the Sun of Justice spreads in our souls, reveal and penetrate to the very depths and most intimate part of our heart, which they stir up and prompt to produce marvelous things.
When God wants to communicate himself, He does it effortlessly, in a perceptible, very pleasant, gently, loving way; so let’s ask Him often and with great confidence for this gift….let’s pray to Him, but let’s do it with great confidence.
St. LOUISE DE MARILLAC
You will learn from Jesus, my dear Sisters, to practice solid virtue, as He did in His holy humanity, as soon as He came down upon earth. It is from the example of Jesus in His infancy that you will obtain all that you need to become true Christians.
Charity Wisdom from Our Friends
In switching on the light of the Nativity scene, we wish for the light of Christ to be in us. … Let there be light in the soul, in the heart; let there be forgiveness to others; let there be no hostilities…. Let there be the beautiful light of Jesus. This is my wish for all of you, when you turn on the light of the crib.” (Pope Francis)
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(From our Formation House in Guatemala, Sisters Nora Cunningham, Gloria DeArteaga, Rosenda Castañeda Gonzalez and Ceil Harriendorf share the tradition of “Posadas.”) Mary and Joseph once again knock on the doors of houses seeking shelter singing: En el nombre del cielo les pido posada; pues no puede andar mi esposa amada; no seas inhumano, tengan caridad. (In the name of heaven I ask for shelter; my beloved wife is not able to walk; do not be inhuman, have charity towards us.)
Certainly, we hear the knocking at our doors of the modern day migrants, so near – those leaving Guatemala — and so far — those in Syria. Charity, more so in an atmosphere of terrorism, remains challenging. But the Christmas message brings HOPE: “The people that have walked in darkness have seen a great light.”
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This is not a time for the faint-hearted.
It is a time to know the immeasurable love of our God in our very hearts and bones.
It is a time to unite with the yes of Mary for the Word to become flesh and live among us. It is a time to speak this yes together as a community. What we have received as gift we are challenged to give as gift. Take courage! — Our God is with us.
Sisters, Associates and Companions, our sisters and brothers throughout the world are hungry for these gifts.
May our voices continue to speak the reality of Emmanuel’s presence among us.
May we be light that helps dispel the darkness of these our times.
(Sr. Jane Iannucelli in her welcome on Congregation Day, 12/12/15)
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“Say to the faint of heart: Be strong, fear not. Behold our God will save us. The Lord God is in your midst.”…. So we are called to rejoice in the Lord, to recognize and be grateful for all the gifts given to each one of us:
– the gift of this magnificent earth we call home….
– the gift of a sunrise; the wonder and beauty of the setting sun….
– the gift of family and friends, both here in time and those who cheer us on from the other side of the veil;
– the extraordinary gift of the celebration of the Eucharist together….
– the gift of vowed life, reminding us that we are not alone, that our God is with us;
– the wonderful gift of ministry, where we are privileged to give and receive so much abundance.
(Sr. Ellen Rose O’Connell in her reflection on Congregation Day, 12/12/15)
Guatemalan Nativity and Guatemalan Holy Family images by Brother John Giuliani, OSB