Mother Abbess at Vichtorchiano
If you are wanting to hear more from me about my 3 months in Rome then why don’t you take a peek at our website: colwichabbey.org.uk on the what’s new page and read this year’s Colwich Chronicle and my write up ‘Journey to Rome’…..
Enjoy reading !
So here we are again, Its the 1st Sunday of Advent and allows us the time and space to prepare properly for Christmas!
The 4 candles on the Advent wreath represent the 4 weeks traditionally known for Advent although in time past there were 6 weeks in preparation for Christmas and the season was treated like Lent….40 days of fasting and penance……
Have a wonderfully Blessed Advent and I hope that you prepare well in order to receive the Christ child into your hearts with love, joy and peace at Christmas time!
A photo of some of us in Assisi just before we left on our way home! The women in the group – Benedictine & Cistercian !
We looked at a passage of scripture from St. John’s Gospel this afternoon….JN 1:35 cf……. Where Jesus calls his first disciples…
‘The next day as John stood there with two of his disciples , Jesus went past, and Joghn looked towards him and said, ‘Look there is the lamb of God.’ And the disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned round saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘ Rabbi – which means teacher, – ‘where do your live?’ He replied ‘Come & See,’ so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.
So what did we get out of this passage in our discussions….?
How Jesus is daily inviting us to not only follow him but also to answer his daily invitation of ‘What do you want?’ So what is it we want from Jesus daily?
Come & see is Jesus’ reply to where do you live.
The end of the passage was found to be showing of the Glory of God.
Nathanael’s question of ‘How do you know me? shows that Jesus knew him before hand, he was also the first to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God….
and many more thoughts came to light.
Perhaps also including the fact that this is Jesus’ first community being called followed by 3 yrs instruction, that there was 2 sets of brothers in that group representing a family idea within a community and lots more………
As I was wondering what to talk about for this year’s Come & See weekend I placed it into Our Lord’s hands, and what keeps popping into my mind has been Vocations and vocation discernment.
As we are all aware and know fully, the word vocation comes from the latin word vocare which means ‘to call’. This call is placed as a seed within our hearts and we sometimes need to follow this up which can be quite daunting and challenging especially these days. We live in a society where everything is disposable or if you’re not satisfied you go after something else. The only thing that can truly satisfy our lives is living to the fullest the will of God whatever that may turn out to be. A vocation is more often than not depicted as a vocation to the priesthood or religious life but that is no so, it could mean a person’s job, marital status – I think that sometimes we forget that married life and the single life are just as much a vocation as priesthood and religious life. For the Christian a vocation is not just something that God calls us to do, it is also the person God calls us to be. When Jesus called his first disciples by the lake of Galilee it wasn’t just so that they could help him in his work, it was so that their lives could be transformed through his friendship and love. We have been called to follow Christ, the Son of God who came to save us and to lead us back to heaven with him. He has sent his Holy Spirit so that we can share in his divine life even now, and express that life by trying to love him and to love our neighbour.
However, I am not going to go on and try and persuade you to follow the first two vocations, but I do want to try and say something to help you over this long weekend to think about a religious vocation whether it be here at Colwich as a contemplative Benedictine Nun or in some other community.
So where shall I start, it is here that each and everyone of us has a vocation and that is to the call of holiness, we might say that holiness is not something for us but how wrong we can be on this matter it has everything to do with us and it is not un-reachable. It is sought after in the day to day circumstances of our lives no matter what that may be, in our monastery that obviously is through our life of prayer both private and communal (that is with the recitation of the divine office). But it goes a lot deeper than that, it is also through our daily manual labour which St. Benedict asks us to do – as he quotes from scripture that ‘idleness is the enemy of the soul’. As Benedictines we don’t take the evangelical counsels as our vows, but take rather : STABILITY, CONVERSION OF LIFE, AND OBEDIENCE.
Discernment is very much a word which is used now with regards a vocation and it is one in which is described as ‘listening to God’, so it is kind of ironic really that you are here this weekend and the opening words of St. Benedict in his Rule at the prologue are: LISTEN MY CHILD TO THE WORDS OF YOUR FATHER.
We can usually say something like: ‘I think God is calling me to do ……..’, sometimes it does mean that God is speaking directly to us via someone else or through circumstances or perhaps through scripture or other reading, it may be clear and dramatic, but it may also not be so.
O COME BLESS THE LORD,
ALL YOU WHO SERVE THE LORD,
WHO STAND IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD,
IN THE COURTS OF THE HOUSE OF OUR GOD.
LIFT UP YOUR HANDS TO THE HOLY PLACE
AND BLESS THE LORD THROUGH THE NIGHT.
MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU FROM ZION,
HE WHO MADE BOTH HEAVEN AND EARTH.
Holy Thursday,celebrates deep signs of God’s Love.
In the washing of the feet and the giving of His body and His blood we find “signs of Jesus”service and love.
His invention is to allow him to serve us,and to receive His Body and Blood.
Maybe in our prayers today we can imagine Him washing our feet,allowing this intimacy as He touches us in service and care.
He wants to be close to us like this,He invites us to be open to Him in love as He is tous.
We could give thanks for the service of anyone who has brought us close to God,.Al.low your hearts be thankful to God and speak your feelings as one trusted friend to another.
Mass at San Pietro’s
Inauguration mass of Papa Francesco
What an amazing day it has been. Today is the Feast of St. Joseph and it’s Tues 2013 and our new Papa Francesco has been installed as the new Bishop of Rome!
After having got up early to be on time we had breakfast at 6.30 and were to leave promptly at 7am, however we could if we wished leave on our own before hand and I took up this for although I still left at 6.45 there were plenty of people lining up to catch the Metro which incidently was proclaimed a day of free travel on the Metro and I guess the bus too because the tickets work for both… well between 5.30 & 2.30pm anyhow! I’m glad I went when I did ‘cause the street from the Occtaviero (don’t know the correct spelling) to San Pietro’s was packed and even we had to wait a few mins before being allowed to continue down the street. People were handing out pictures of our new Papa and going through security wasn’t too bad considering. It was standing room only as the Piazza was already half full and all chairs were taken but being there at 7.30 in the morning and standing was truly an experience especially being in St. Peter’s – and it still feels surreal and isn’t sinking in properly yet. Most people had books but I don’t seem to have had one and could find where they would be and I certainly wasn’t going to move I wanted to try and get the best view possible and wasn’t going to let it go! Just before Mass started and Pope Francis came in his Popemobile giving his blessing to the people was just so moving especially when kissing the babies and reaching out to the whole world…..I haven’t looked at the translation of his Homily yet but got snippets of it I think from certain words, about St. Joseph being the foster father of our Lord and was chosen to look after him, how we need to look after the poor, sick and lonely, about how he had chosen his name after St. Francis of Assisi……and much more. The weather has been so glorious for us today as well and the Lord is truly watching over us all you can get the sense of Grace being poured out not only on the people of Rome and its visitors but on the whole church. Another thing which strikes me is how the people of Rome accept all of us ‘foreigners’ and share ‘their Bishop’ with us. There was even a Cardinal in the streets signing photos afterwards…. I could go on and on about this and probably will when I get back, but this is all for now….
I’m trying to make a post while here in Rome….here is something about yesterday’s exciting news….
Well where do I actually begin at this historic moment in the life of the Church!
Being in Rome at this time is really amazing and it is something which I never thought I would be doing, if anyone had asked me 20yrs or so ago if I would like to go to Rome I probably would have said no – and so when entering the monastery I knew that it would never happen now. But here I am – here in the heart of the life of the Church and witnessing one of the most spectacular moments in history.
As I am part of a group doing a Monastic Formation Program we decided on Tues evening to have a change of schedule so instead of having our mass together with lauds on Wednesday morning we decided to take a unplanned trip to see where St. Peter’s Bascillica was and to join in with mass at 5pm in Italian. Just to walk inside was fantastic but when it came to the mass the last line of the Gospel reading meant a lot to me and I had wondered if this was the holy spirit giving me an indication of something for it read, ‘…I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me…’ from John 5. For that was very instrumental in my own life a few years previous and still is very much.
Anyhow, despite the pouring rain St. Peter’s Square was already filling up at 5.30pm and brollies were very much in evidence……. So once we had to leave the Basillica for it was shutting, at 6.30 we made our way down the side steps and just waited – there was an immense atmosphere which is really undescribable but just after 7pm when the smoke came out the roar said it all for where our little group stood in one way couldn’t have been more perfect we couldn’t see the smoke as it was round the corner – but we were right next to the bell and about 70ft or so away from the balcony it was something! When the bells started to ring we all tried to ring through to people but after many failed attempts on my part I gave up because the signal had been blocked! When the announcement came with the famous words .’ Habemus Papem’ then everyone just was exstatic emotions were high indeed.
Truly I tell you ,today you will be with me in Paradise..
When the criminal being crucified next to Our Lord confessed his sins,Jesus responded with a promise of Paradise..
What is this quote telling us when he says”Today you will be with me in Paradise.”Not someday ,but today,we are comforted with the knowledge to ,that Paradise with God is open to us all right now!
Today because of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross.
I thank you today and everyday for opening the Way to Heaven for us.
I just want to let you know that I am leaving you in good hands with Sr. Scholastica at the helm with this Blog for the moment because I am making an unprecedented journey overseas to the Eternal City of Rome and Assisi for a few months to do a course. Please pray for me and for the community who will have to cope without me – it will be hard on both sides for them as well as for me but it is God’s will that I go.
But what a brilliant time to be in Rome – to experience the atmosphere during a Conclave – I wonder if the Holy Spirit will have guided his choice during my first weeks in Rome and hopefully no doubt we all will get the chance to go to the Inauguration Mass!!! or if it will be while I’m in Assisi ….??????
The course I’m doing if you’re interested is the Monastic Formator’s Program which is open to all Benedictine and Cistercian monks and nuns throughout the world, there are I think 25 of us on it this year – it will be amazing and if I get time will write when I get back on the experience! THAT IS IF YOU WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT????
So for now good bye and God Bless you all ………………… BON VOYAGE !
PS… The new Header image is one from a sunset theme from our Terrace
Throughout the day this divine call is the sound of bells that call us to prayer, and spiritual activities,
Our last bell in the evening is the Angelus and vespers, keeping watch. The Lord tells us I am coming at the moment you had least expect.
We keep vigil, fastening in our hearts in joyful anticipation of the Lord’s return.
Everyday we have time set for reading and meditating on the Word of God (Lecio Divina).
The source of our life as a community – the mystery of the Mass in which we, together with the whole church celebrate our unity in faith as the Body of Christ.
4 times a day we interupt our activities and gather in chapel,
sing praise to the Creator and listen prayfully to the Word of God
Just a little reminder that the Lenten season starts next week with Ash Wednesday.
A time of preparation, how can we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death in the resurrection at Easter if we have not walked with His passion to the Cross.
Lent is a time of Spiritual spring cleaning, here at the Abbey we also begin our house spring cleaning,a busy time also for us to get the house in order.
During this week the sisters will all be called individually to meet up with Mother Abbess to chat and discuss our intentions for Lent.Sisters will each choose a book to read for their spiritual reading during this time,the book should last the full course of Lent. A book should be chosen best suitable for her with Mother Abbess’ approval.
The sisters each notify Mother of her Lenten penances,being a first year novice Mother Abbess and Mother prioress will choose a suitable book for me .
I shall check the blog occasionally and if possble will write a couple of times.
I am still waiting to hear your ideas ,maybe your favourite Psalm or hymn.
Please keep us all in your prayers ,assuring you of our prayers .
In His service and peace.
Sadly the Christmas Season has ended,but for us it continues in our .hearts,our minds and our souls
May I wish you all a Happy and peaceful new year and that peace will spread across our beautiful world.
Mother Abbess has asked me to help out as she has so much to do at the moment,so could I ask you to give me some ideas and suggest some topics to start the year off.
I shall try to write on a regular basis,but ,I am just a learner so don’t have many computer skills so please excuse any mistakes that I make.I am a novice in more ways than one.
Please keep us in your prayers,we shall be also pray for you and yours.
Yours in the Light of Christ.
February 2nd is universally known as the Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. And this year I would like to do a little something extra to pray for this intention. Among some suggestions for Religious to do are:
to pray for discerners – ask the parish priest to promote this intention – invite people over for a day and talk to them – and many other ideas…………
But I would like to take up this opportunity to INVITE ALL CATHOLIC WOMEN DISCERNERS to come along from 10.30am for the DAY ONLY on the 2nd Feb — to meet us, share in our midday prayer and learn something of our monastic way of life through the ‘Lived Experience’ as it is totally different from just reading and hearing about what we do.
If possible could I ask you to let me know if you would like to come or if it isn’t possible for you to let me know just now —- please let me know the night before if you intend to come along for a few hours or so, and PLEASE BRING A PACKED LUNCH WITH YOU !