What is a Sister? A religious sister is a woman who has been consecrated to God through the Church, responding to His invitation of love through vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Each religious sister belongs to a particular religious community, serving God and the Church and world in a distinct way. A religious sister is truly a bride of Jesus Christ the greatest Lover and a spiritual mother of an enormous family–over 6.8 billion worldwide!
Do young women still become sisters? The answer is yes . . . but, why? Simple: they have fallen in love! A religious sister is a bride and a mother who has uncovered the deepest desire of her heart: to follow Christ in a life-long adventure for the Glory of God and the Salvation of Souls!
The 8th of August is the feast day of Australia’s first saint.
Prayer to St Mary
Ever generous God,
You inspired Saint Mary MacKillop
To live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ
and constant in bringing hope and encouragement
to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.
With confidence in your generous providence
and through the intercession of Saint Mary MacKillop
We ask that you grant our request……………….
We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit
so that we too, like Mary MacKillop, may live with courage, trust and openness.
Ever generous God hear our prayer.
We ask this through Jesus Christ.
Friday March 30, 2012
It was a fantastic day to visit the Stations of the Cross near Bacchus Marsh Melways ref: Map 334 H8. Each station has a beautiful large stone depiction of Christ’s suffering. There is also a chapel at the top of the hill. On the way back down to the car park we could view the numerous shrines that have been erected from different countries around the world.
Afterwards, we visited Maddingley Park in Bacchus Marsh for a picnic — there is a fantastic wooden adventure playground at the park! Melways ref: Map 333 H9. Everyone had a great day.
This is an article from the Catholic Home Educators of Victoria Newsletter Term 1 for 2012.
By Samuel Rebbechi
Last August I was privileged to attend the 2011 World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid, Spain. The event was made all the more special for the great privilege I was given, along with another Australian, Ben Winkels, to personally welcome Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of Australia and walk with the Holy Father through the Puerta De Alcala, the traditional gateway to the city of Madrid.
Blessed John Paul II initiated WYD in 1985 to bring young people together to share and strengthen their faith and through this to strengthen the Church. He saw the urgency of preparing young people for the challenges that would be presented to their faith in a modern world, by an antagonistic culture.
“Young people … of the world, listen to what Christ the Redeemer is saying to you! ‘To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.’ The World Youth Day challenges you to be fully conscious of who you are as God’s dearly beloved sons and daughters” (John Paul II, Denver, 1993).
Since 1987 every WYD has had a motto taken from the Gospels. The motto of WYD 2011 was, “Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (Col 12:7).
On the evening of the Papal arrival for WYD Pope Benedict spoke to us on this Gospel: “There are words which serve only to amuse, as fleeting as an empty breeze, while others to an extent inform us. Those of Jesus, on the other hand, must reach our hearts, take root and bloom there all our lives. If not they remain empty and become ephemeral.”
Through these words the Pope had given us a challenge: we must resist becoming absorbed in the temporal needs and distractions of this world and rather fix our gaze on the eternal, opening our hearts to Christ, and building our lives on Him.
It is always surprising how WYD transforms a city. Local families with whom we stayed remarked that the feeling of the city was almost unrecognisable with the spirit the youth brought to Madrid. Their solidarity and happiness brought out an air of generosity of which every local seemed to want to be a part. In stark contrast with the scenes of the London riots, where young people, whose contempt and disregard for authority was the big news topic of the day, Madrid was a city filled by youth with a positive, edifying direction and purpose in their lives.
Many pilgrims, one way or another, experience a conversion at WYD. Yet the question always is whether these conversions will transfer back to the spiritual health of a parish, a diocese or the Church as a whole. One indicator has been that after each WYD there has always been a rise in priestly and religious vocations, such as occurred in Australia after WYD Sydney in 2008. The pilgrims’ experiences build up their faith and, for some, open their eyes to Christ’s message for the first time in their lives.
WYD is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. It has strengthened my faith and, in line with Blessed John Paul II’s challenge, has enabled me to become more conscious of who I am as one of God’s children to take up the daily challenge, not only of practising, but also spreading the faith of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
A photo from the newsletter: Australian pilgrim Samuel Rebbechi welcomes Pope Benedict WI to Madrid.
Samuel Rebbechi has been home-educated for 12 years and will commence his Yr 12 studies in 2012. This article frst appeared in AD2000 via World Youth Day: Becoming sons and daughters of Christ.
If you would like to subscribe to Catholic Home Educators of Victoria Newsletter Contact Us for details.
This story fits perfectly with this post from last year What do the Catholic Youth of Today want?
Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
It’s important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived “by the power of the Holy Spirit,” in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what “immaculate” means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.
When discussing the Immaculate Conception, an implicit reference may be found in the angel’s greeting to Mary. The angel Gabriel said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). The phrase “full of grace” is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. It therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary.
The traditional translation, “full of grace,” is better than the one found in many recent versions of the New Testament, which give something along the lines of “highly favored daughter.” Mary was indeed a highly favored daughter of God, but the Greek implies more than that (and it never mentions the word for “daughter”). The grace given to Mary is at once permanent and of a unique kind.Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning “to fill or endow with grace.” Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates that Mary was graced in the past but with continuing effects in the present. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angel’s visit. In fact, Catholics hold, it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.
“Ask your parents and teachers to enroll you in the ‘School’ of Our Lady’, so that she can teach you to be like the Little Shepherds, who tried to do whatever she asked them.” (Pope John Paul II – Beatification of the Little Shepherds)
Children of the Eucharist Clergy, Principals, Teachers and Parents, Children of the Eucharist is a spiritual program for the children and young people of your parish, school or family. It is a program which focuses on the message of Our Lady of Fatima, a message that is more relevant today than when it took place in 1917. It invites all to help enroll the children of the world into the “School of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” This school is not new. It is a ‘spiritual school’ of the saints “To Jesus through Mary.” IT ‘S AN EASY TO INTRODUCE AND EASY TO LIVE MESSAGE!
We have developed a program that will transform the souls of the children in your care with 5 simple steps! These steps can be easily implemented into the everyday lives of your students, in schools, religious educations progams, and families. It is a program for children, but also for family members of all ages, to join in and ‘answer the call’ of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to help transform our world into a place of peace and hope for all.
Step 1 – MORNING OFFERING
Step 2 -VISITS TO JESUS IN THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT
Step 3 – ENTRUSTMENT PRAYER TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Step 4 – WEAR A SIGN OF YOUR ENTRUSTMENT
Step 5 – PRAY THE ROSARY
Mary was born to be the mother of the Savior of the world, the spiritual mother of all men, and the holiest of God’screatures. Because of her Son’s infinite merits, she was conceived and born immaculate and full of grace. Through her, Queen of heaven and of earth, all grace is given to men. Through her, by the will of the Trinity, the unbelieving receive the gift of faith; the afflicted are tendered the works of mercy; and the members of Christ grow in likeness of their Head. In Mary all human nature is exalted. We rejoice in her birthday, as the Church has done from the earliest times. This is one of the three birthdays in the Church Calendar — the Birth of Jesus (December 25), the Birth of John the Baptist (June 24) and the Birthday of Mary. All three were born without original sin, although Mary and Jesus were conceived without sin, and St. John was cleansed of original sin while in the womb at the Visitation of Mary.
Birth of Mary
On Our Lady’s birthday the Church celebrates the first dawning of redemption with the appearance in the world of the Savior’s mother, Mary. The Blessed Virgin occupies a unique place in the history of salvation, and she has the highest mission ever commended to any creature. We rejoice that the Mother of God is our Mother, too. Let us often call upon the Blessed Virgin as “Cause of our joy”, one of the most beautiful titles in her litany.
Since September 8 marks the end of summer and beginning of fall, this day has many thanksgiving celebrations and customs attached to it. In the Old Roman Ritual there is a blessing of the summer harvest and fall planting seeds for this day.
The winegrowers in France called this feast “Our Lady of the Grape Harvest”. The best grapes are brought to the local church to be blessed and then some bunches are attached to hands of the statue of Mary. A festive meal which includes the new grapes is part of this day.
In the Alps section of Austria this day is “Drive-Down Day” during which the cattle and sheep are led from their summer pastures in the slopes and brought to their winter quarters in the valleys. This was usually a large caravan, with all the finery, decorations, and festivity. In some parts of Austria, milk from this day and all the leftover food are given to the poor in honor of Our Lady’s Nativity.
Excerpted from The Holyday Book by Fr. Francis Weiser, SJ
Patron: All people named Mary, in any form.
Symbols: bruised serpent, sometimes encircling a globe; the lily; fleur de lis; virgin’s monogram; pierced heart; crescent moon; sun and moon; starry crown; Mater Dei; rose; flowering almond; gilly flower; snow drop; hawthorn; the star; the balsam; the Ark of the Covenant; the mirror or speculum; apple; myrtle; palm, cypress and olive; closed gate; book of Wisdom; sealed book; rod of Jesse; lily of the valley; house of gold; city of God; vessel of honor; seat of wisdom.
Things to Do:
- Learn prayers to Mary, such as the Angelus, Litany of Loreto, Memorare, Hail Mary, and Hail Holy Queen.
- Learn and sing various hymns to Mary, such as the Salve Regina, Immaculate Mary, Hail Holy Queen. See top bar for list of suggested hymns.
- Start researching and planning a Mary Garden, or a special plant or flower for each feast day of Mary. This can be for next spring, but if some bulbs are to be included, this is the time to plant them!
- Contemplate on how all the feasts of Mary point to the mysteries of Christ and our salvation history. Biblical readings: Proverbs 8:22-35 and Matthew 1:1-16 (this points to the appreciation of the heritage and family of Jesus).
- Have a birthday party for Mary, with a specially decorated birthday cake and birthday decorations. Blue is the traditional color of Mary’s mantle, so incorporating blue into the decor and food is quite appropriate. Try making an all white cake symbolizing Mary’s purity, or cookies with white icing. White meringue cookies (or kisses) would also remind one of Mary’s sinlessness. Birthday parties don’t need special explanations for children. Have each child present a “gift” to their Mother Mary, such as spiritual bouquets, faults or virtues to work on, corporal works of mercy, etc. Learn to make string knot rosaries to give as “favors.”
- Decorate the house, family table or family altar with flowers or special Marian decor.
- Eat some form of blueberries on this day, particularly in the morning — blueberry muffins or blueberry pancakes, blueberry pie or just fresh blueberries on your cereal. The blue is symbolic of Mary’s blue mantle.
- Find out about the devotion to “Maria Bambina” or “Baby Mary.”
- Women for Faith and Family have some wonderful ideas for this feastday.
- The Birth of Mary (onecatholicnews.wordpress.com)