Monday, April 24, 2017

An Earth Week Invitation

You are invited to join the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, the Academy of Saint Elizabeth and the College of Saint Elizabeth to celebrate "Earth Week 2017."  Click here to view an invitation to their Earth Day Prayer Service on Tuesday, April 25 at 11:30 am.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Earth Day

On this Earth Day, perhaps we can review the Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si ("On Care for our Common Home"), promulgated by Pope Francis in 2015.  Perhaps, too, we could pray and share the prayers Pope Francis offers at the end of the Encyclical:

A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.


A Christian prayer in union with creation
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
Amen.

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt in 2017, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016),  the history of the Congregation of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC (translated into English by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC).

"In September 1944, many refugees came from the occupied areas in the West, as well as evacuees from Aachen, Cologne and the Ruhr area.  Various persons and groups found shelter in the Motherhouse:  three siblings of Mother Anselmis, who had lost their house in Aachen, 13 Sisters of Divine Providence, 16 Cellitines from Düren, 11 Aachen Franciscans, a Benedictine nun from Bonn-Endenich, two Sisters and 23 girls from St. Agnes Stift in Bonn, where the situation was becoming increasingly threatening.  All were happy to help with the great workload in the Motherhouse and the Military Hospital.  Individual missions that were able to also sheltered the homeless.  From August 30, 1944 until April 1945, Wiedenbrück housed the interned Cardinal Augustin Hlond, Archbishop of Posen-Gnesen and his secretary.  Bonn sheltered six caregivers with 39 children from a Home in Füssenich, as well as 38 small children and their caregivers from the Marienheim in Bonn.  Wanzleben hosted 22 children and two Sisters of Our Lady from Geldern.  The Marienschule in Brilon was used as temporary housing for evacuees, who arrived day and night.

During this time of great need, the Sisters also experienced joy-filled days: the Investing of two Postulants on February 11 and the Final Profession of seven Sisters.  Despite her absence, the golden jubilee of other Anselmis Nickes was celebrated in May and in September, that of Sister Carita Becker."

Reflection:  What do you find most interesting about this excerpt?  Perhaps you could share this with someone today.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Christ is Alive: No More Sterile Pessimism!

In his homily at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening, Pope Francis said,

"In the resurrection, Christ rolled back the stone of the tomb, but he wants also to break down all the walls that keep us locked in our sterile pessimism, in our carefully constructed ivory towers that isolate us from life, in our compulsive need for security and in boundless ambition that can make us compromise the dignity of others. . . . The Lord is alive!  He is living and he wants to rise again in all those faces that have buried hope, buried dreams, buried dignity.  If we cannot let the Spirit lead us on this road, then we are not Christians."

Click here to read the homily in its entirety.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Drink From New Wineskins: Chrism Mass Homily

At today's Chrism Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis urged priests to "drink from three new wineskins . . . 'contagious fullness' which Our Lady radiates with her whole being, the 'inclusive concreteness' of the story of the Samaritan woman, and the 'utter meekness' whereby the Holy Spirit ceaselessly wells up and flows forth from the pierced heart of Jesus our Lord."  Click here to read the entire homily.

Good Friday with Pax Christi

Pax Christi Metro New York will host its 35th annual Good Friday Way of the Cross tomorrow, beginning at 8:30.  Click here for more information.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt in 2017, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016),  the history of the Congregation of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC (translated into English by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC).

[Note:  This post wanders from the chronological order of previous and future posts.  However, its significance to Holy Week seems to direct us to present it at this time.]

"In comparison to other cities, Paderborn was spared from heavy attacks until 1945, despite frequent alarms and minimal local bombing.  On January 17 and on March 22 and 27, the city experienced frightful attacks. . . . On March 27, Tuesday in Holy Week, the sirens howled at 5:00 pm.  'We couldn't get to the cellar fast enough.  In great haste, driven by the fear for their lives, crowds of people came to us:  our neighbors . . . travelers from the Casselertor train station where the train had just arrived, pedestrians from the street.'  Groups of heavy bombers flew low over Paderborn and dropped aerial mines, phosphor canisters, incendiary and high-explosive bombs on the defenseless city.  The hail of bombs poured out over the Motherhouse.  The people who were crowded into the corridors in the cellar could hear and feel the floors of the building above them collapse.  No one even thought about rescue. 'Suddenly, a nerve-shattering shock. The ground beneath us rocked under our feet, the walls buckled doors and windows sprang out of their frames. . . . We covered ourselves with coats and blankets and held each other tight.' A high-explosive bomb had landed near the chapel, about 10 meters from the group.  Finally, after a 28 minute hail of bombs, there was a pause.  Shortly after, one of the soldiers in the military hospital called out in a loud voice: 'The entire house is burning.  Everybody out of the cellar!'  All found a way out and there was no loss of life.  A horrifying sight awaited them outside: the Motherhouse, the Retreat House and the non-residential building were one huge conflagration, with flames coming out of almost all the windows.  Even the trees, bushes and shrubs were like blazing torches.  The other foundations in Paderborn were also destroyed: St. Joseph House, the School for the Blind, the Leokonvikt (Sister Coleta Pennekamp lost her life here), Priests' Seminary, Minor Seminary, Archbishop's Palais.  In all, 255 Professed Sisters, 6 Novices and 5 Postulants were homeless.  Most of them, like the other inhabitants of Paderborn, fled out of the burning city to the surrounding farming communities or to families at the edge of the city whose houses were still standing, and found refuge there.  Among them were two Sisters who had rescued the Blessed Sacrament in the portable tabernacle from the cellar.  The willingness to help was evident everywhere.  The flight was especially difficult for the old, sick and helpless Sisters like critically ill Sister Carita Becker.  Archbishop Lorenz Jäger, who had also lost everything, tried to help wherever and however he could.  He himself went to Dörenhagen by bike to find lodging for the Sisters and even obtained a commercial vehicle to convey the sick.  Even though the people there had already filled all available places with evacuees from the large cities, 60 Sisters still found temporary shelter there.  The stress of the flight proved too much for Sister Carita.  She died on Good Friday, March 30.  With great difficulty, her body was brought to Paderborn a few days later in a handcart and buried in the Sisters' Cemetery to the right of St. Conrad's Chapel."

Reflection:  What do you find most interesting about this excerpt?  Perhaps you could share this with someone today.