Sunday, December 31, 2006

Holy Family

I want to wish a special Happy New Year to all the members of the Holy Family Institute. The Institute was the last gift of Blessed James Alberione to the Church. HFI members are married men and women. They may belong as either individuals or couples. My sister Theresa and her husband Bob made their final vows in the Institute in September of 2005.

I was able to attend the three day conference and mini-retreat for the more than 250 members.Children of all ages were also present, so it was truly a "family" atmosphere. Meal times were very "real" with high chairs, and moms and dads tending to tiny tots and all ages. Teenagers had a track for themselves while their parents attended talks given by Father Jeffrey Mickler, SSP. Father Tom Fogarty, SSP has been working for several years to form the members according to the Pauline Spirit. Last year, Sr. Maureen George and I also brought a display of Pauline editions for the group. On one of the days I gave a Power Point presentation on "Pauline Reparation." Being with this enthusiastic group of laity was a real treat.

The Holy Family Institute

When I wished you all a Happy Feast of the Holy Family I was thinking especially of the numerous members of the Holy Family Institute. The last group founded by Blessed James Alberione in the Pauline Family, the Institute is for married couples, or the widowed. Last year in September of 2005, I witnessed the final vows of my sister Theresa and of her husband Bob as Holy Family members.

It was a joy to see about 250 men and women and their numerous children enjoyed a three day mini-retreat at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, Ohio. the Society of St. Paul has a large monastery in Canfield, Ohio just minutes away from the Shrine. Father Tom Fogarty, SSP has been shepherding the Holy Family members in their various stages of formation. They take three vows as we Sisters do: obedience, chastity and poverty. Their chastity is a vow to remain faithful in their marriage to their spouses and to grow more deeply in love for one another. If I can get the photos uploaded, I will share some pictures with you. One of the neatest events besides the profession ceremonies, was the renewal of marriage vows. That was such a joyous moment to see these couples of all ages renew their vows. For my sister and brother-in-law it was extra special, since they had just celebrated their silver wedding anniversary.
In the photos at the top left, that is myself and some of the children whom we entertained with a DVD on Joseph from the Bible; the photo on the right is of Theresa and Bob as they pronounced their final vows with their daughter Rebbecca, myself, and (hidden from full view) our sister Frances; the bottom photo was taken just after the couples renewed their marriage vows.

Holy Family

To all those who read this who are married, or widowed, or parents--Happy Feast of the Happy Family. In a special way I greet all the Holy Family members. These are married men and women--in most cases--couples who belong to the Institute of the Holy Family--the last group founded by Blessed James Alberione in his marvelous "Pauline Family."
Folks in the Holy Family Institute profess the vows of obedience, chastity and poverty within the context of married life. Their chastity is not celibacy but a deeper commitment to each other as married couples. My own sister Theresa Osthoff and her husband Bob made their perpetual profession of vows in September of 2005. I was able to be there in Ohio to witness their vows. Here is a photo taken of Theresa and Bob as they pronounced their vows. I was standing behind them. My niece Rebbecca, their daughter is to my right, my sister Frances is also there but hidden.

Happy New Year

It's New Year's Eve, and also the Feast of the Holy Family. Today's Gospel has the story of 12 year old Jesus being surprised that Mary and Joseph spent three days looking for him. As the priest at Mass pointed out, at 12 Jesus knew who his "real" Father was. He said, "I must be about my Father's business." As holy as Mary was, she reminded Jesus that "your father and I are worried" about you. Imagine the anxiety of not finding your child after three days! So even the Holy Family experienced tension--a very human factor.
Today is also a day for giving thanks for all the good we received in the last year. When this year started, I was in Boston, thinking little if at all, of Canada. Now I am north of the border, and thinking a lot about Canada! This has been a year of surprises for me. Some of them have been very pleasant. Like St. Ignatius says, "I don't think I could live without certain consolations." So God has sent some consolations too. Knowing good friends is one of the biggest consolations I have.
Some of these friends keep in touch via email, some by letter, some by phone.
Of course, the biggest Friend is Jesus who keeps in touch in lots of ways. Only at times I know I did not recognize his presence.
I pray for all those who read my blog. Today I am "on retreat" enjoying a day of prayer and silence. For us Paulines New Year's Eve marks the beginning of our existence over 100 years ago when our Founder--then just a 16 year old seminarian--received the inspiration to start "something new in the church" with the press and other media.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Hello to all my readers, and a very Merry Christmas to you! Since there are 12 "Days of Christmas" enjoy them all. When we went to Mass last night which was preceded by Christmas singing, I noticed a very joyful crowd of people of all ages. Folks were hugging, shaking hands and happy to see one another. There was a hum of excitement in the air.
What I noticed the most was an air of hope and of joy! Despite the sorrows of life, the bills, the pressures and pains, folks were joyful. They knew that Christ has come to save us from all this, and from our own weaknesses and sins. That's news to make us rejoice.
I pray for all of you who read this. May you experience the deep peace and joy that only Christ can bring.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Third Sunday of Advent

I skipped a whole two weeks. Well, here I am starting with you the last full week of Advent. This year Advent is the shortest it can be. The Fourth Sunday is the last Advent day, since it is also Christmas Eve!

Today the priest who celebrated the 11:00 AM Mass at St. Charles parish in Toronto gave a homily that was -- at least for me -- very good. He pointed out how so many people come to Canada, and work, work, work--leaving no time for God, or for decent relaxation and then all of a sudden their company moves away--and they are left empty, spiritually and financially. People are looking, even in their frenetic work-a-day lives--for that "something else", that craving inside for "the one thing more" which is God. How or what is God asking for in this season? So many times God says, "Give to the one in need;" "Give to the poor;" "Give a cup of cold water;" give as God is always giving to us. The one thing he gives to each one is his personal love for you and me.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent Monday

Today I lit my miniature Advent wreath in my office, and while I made my Eucharistic adoration I lit the first candle on our chapel's Advent wreath. The candle seems so appropriate on this blustery winter day, especially when snow clouds block out the sunshine. Christ is the Light that penetrates our darkness. Regards for a good Advent--a time of waiting for the Lord with joyful expectation.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

From Sister Rose in Los Angeles

Here's something from our Hollywood correspondent nun: Sister Rose Pacatte:

Dear friends, family, and colleagues,

Please check out my blog and get thyself to the movies now!!


December Countdown

After Mass today, I took some evergreen from our backyard for my mini-Advent wreath. It looks pretty good. The Advent candle lights have lots of meaning: they symbolize the hope of a Savior coming into the world; the light of Christ penetrating the darkness of our sinfulness; the centuries before Christ when people were awaiting a Messiah. Advent candles are supposed to be lit in succession one week at a time. That bit of discipline reminds us of the waiting that comes with the spiritual life and our human life. We all have to wait for God to act in his good time.
I went to the 11:00 AM Italian Mass at St. Charles Church. Father Donato preached a good homily on living in the present moment--not worrying so much about the past or the future--but living the "now" God allows us to the full. Those thoughts remind me of Michael Card's song, "Let Me Know You in the Now."
Last night as I mentioned in my last blog entry, we went to see The Nativity Story movie. I enjoyed it especially as a great way to ease into Advent. I felt a bit disappointed at how few people were in that very large theater for this movie. People were out and about last night in the Yorkdale Mall which is close to us. I hope more people go to see it today. After all it needs to be a success at the box office for the producers to be encouraged to keep on making quality films with themes taken from the Bible or built on gospel principles.
For American Catholics this week will mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. As Father Donato said this morning, "This is a big day for the Italians." He does not know perhaps that The Immaculate Conception--Mary--is the Patroness of the USA.
I would like to use this free day to prepare my Christmas greetings but there are two other things I need to write in order to meet a deadline or two.... My nephew John Al and my brother-in-law Dennis also celebrate birthdays on that day. Happy Birthday ahead of time to to them!
I forgot to mention that Sr. Marie Paul, myself and Marilyn Elphick were on Radio Maria here in Toronto this past Thursday. I may be on Omni News Italian version this week. They want to discuss the The Nativity Story movie.
I know I can talk in Italian for 15 minutes straight, but I am not sure of my accuracy in Italian grammar!
Have a great beginning of Advent. God bless you all! Sister Mary Peter

Advent Update

It's been a long time since I updated this blog. Sorry to all of you who have been waiting for news. Life has been busy for me and my community. When I volunteered to help coordinate screenings for "The Nativity Story" movie I had no idea what a roller coaster adventure that would entail. I had been told that a company in California would arrange a screening of the movie for us here in Toronto. We would provide email addresses, and they would send them for us. They also would rent a theater, etc. In the meantime a Canadian distributor contacted us, and we hesitated to work with them because of the Los Angeles connection. In the end, the LA firm realized that in Canada we had to deal with the local (or national in this case) distributor: Alliance Atlantis. This company had hired two Christan men: Jeff Thiessen who runs a TV PR company and who is experienced in Christian media; and Deacon Bill Kokesh who lives near Montreal. Jeff was extremely helpful in introducing us to what all this meant. We met him finally at a screening which we partially helped to arrange at a downtown theater.
Then we were offered two screenings: one on Nov. 22 and another on Nov. 27. After we had sent out 500 emails, we were told, "No. The theater is not available on the 22nd since that is the eve of American Thanksgiving. Three new movies are released that date, so no space. Change to the 23rd. " That entailed many emails, and phone calls. Part of our screenings included a duo of Sr. Marie Paul Curley, FSP and Ms. Marilyn Ephick who contributed chapters to the book "The Nativity Story: Contemplating Mary's Journey of Faith." After the film screening the two invited comments from the audience and then told of their involvement with the film, especially with the script, and how that happened.
As of tonight, I have seen The Nativity Story 4 times. This evening after we closed our book center--after having about 300 or more children, their parents, grandparents and others come to our Birthday Party for Baby Jesus, we headed off for the theater closest to us in the Yorkdale Mall and saw it for the 4th time. This time we paid for the tickets in order to support the film finacially. Films are usually gauged by how much they bring in at the box office during their first few days of release. We wanted New Line Cinema to be encouraged to keep doing this type of good movie. For Sr. Marie Paul it was the 5th time. She had seen a first cut of the movie when it was screened at the City of Angels Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Our last screening for the film included among the close to 300 attendees, about 40 to 50 Christians of various denominations. They all seemed very positive in their reactions. I personally see it as a "meditation" on the journeys in the spiritual realm and in the material, physical world for Mary and Joseph. It also starkly shows the harsh surroundings and difficult political world into which Jesus was born.
I will say more about this later.

These pictues show some of the Baby Jesus Birthday Party activities. Sister Marlyn took all the Polaroid photos. Sr. Donna headed up the face painting area, and Sister Hosea coordinated the ehole affair, while Sr. M. Paul was in charge of the costume area. I was upstairs greeting the folks and helping the grown ups find books.
Here are a couple of pictures of the Party for kids today. New Line Cinema also provided, via Alliance Atlantis, for a nice Advent Calendar with pictures from the film to be given to each child.
Have a blessed beginning of Advent.
By the way, the weather this morning was our first steady snowfall for Toronto. However it cleared up and the children kept coming. For many families this Baby Jesus Party has become a yearly tradition. Besides getting a picture taken with Baby Jesus; there are birthday cakes; crafts and gifts for every child (and grown ups too.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Advent Reflection

(A pictue of Blessed Alberione)
I found time to pull out my tiny Advent candle set to light tomorrow morning. Last year Pope Benedict wrote this about Advent: "The hope of Christians is directed to the future, but it always remains rooted in an event from the past.
"We are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide, and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart."
The Nativity Story film is a great way to begin Advent. See it and support it. I found it a beautiful rendition of the reality of the Incarnation.
Here's a prayer taken in part from tomorrow's liturgy: God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory...Amen.
Here's advice from our Founder, Blessed Alberione: Let us make our resolutions to spend this Advent well. Let us especially ask for humility, for hatred for sin, and for the desire to have Jesus be born in our hearts and transform us into him. Let us ask for the desire to enter his school: the School of Nazareth.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A PR Moment

Well, as you see, my blog name is P R Woman for Christ. In the last few days I have been involved in PR: working on the promotion of the new movie, The Nativity Story, put out by New Line Cinema. Of course, New Line Cinema does not need my help to promote the movie. However, a caveat is this: we Daughters of St. Paul have published a film guide for Catholics on The Nativity Story; and a book on reflections about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, called also "The Nativity Story." I began by phoning the Archdiocesan Catholic paper, The Catholic Register. The publisher put me in touch with a reporter who is doing a story on the film and Catholics, etc. The young woman seems to take a rather negative attitude. She did interview Sr. Marie Paul who lives here, and contributed an article to the book. She called Sister Rose Pacatte author of the film guide and editor of the book who lives near Los Angeles. I hope that her article is a lot more upbeat. She seemed to think that the Catholic and Christian backing for the film is nothing more than a marketing ploy. That marketing is involved is definite. However marketing is not a bad thing. It depends on what is being marketed. Our Founder, Blessed Alberione, always wanted us to promote the good things that are in the media. This movie is definitely very good. Rather than condemn bad media, we want to positively promote good media such as The Nativity Story. There will always be parts some will not like. Artistry has its subjective side too. Sister Marie Paul saw the movie last week at the City of Angels Film Festival in Los Angeles. She thinks it a good family film--not for small kids, but for those 10 on up, and for adults. Of course, each family has to judge for itself the maturity level of their own children.
We are trying to arrange a screening for Catholics in Toronto before the opening date of Dec. 1.
Keep this project in your prayers. I will let you know more later.
If you want to email me try: Please do not put "hey" or "hi" in the subject line. I almost always immediatley zap any emails with such greetings from strangers, since they have always proved to be spam--usually unsavory.
Good night and God bless you! I prefer the God bless you greeting to "Good Luck!"

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jubilees and Movies

On Sunday, October 29, three of us from our community attended Mass at 9:30 AM at St. Bernard's Parish Church on West Lawrence Avenue in Toronto. The parish was hosting the Mass for the 25th anniversary of religious profession for two Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, Sister Mary Emmanuel from the Philippines, and Sister John Paula from Poland. The Sister Disciples (or Pious Disciples as they are officially called) operate a large Liturgical Apostolate Center on Pine Street near Lawrence. They have an extensive selection of religious art and statues, religious pictures, rosaries and many other things, besides clerical vestments. The Disciples profess a special devotion to Jesus Master in the Holy Eucharist, to service to the priesthood and to the promotion of the liturgy. Some of the Sisters also help to train the children in the parish for sacramental preparation. The Disciples are one of our "sister" Congregations. The Founder, Blessed James Alberione, wanted the Sister Disciples to be a spiritual powerhouse praying on our behalf while we Daughters of St. Paul are busy about the communications' ministry. The Sisters also offer prayers in reparation for the evil caused by the misuse of the media. While we Daughters of St. Paul have a daily hour of Eucharistic adoration, the Sister Disciples spend two hours of adoration before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day. The Founder felt that the media ministry which we perform is so necessary and so urgent that more prayer is required to make all our work spiritually and materially fruitful.
I hope the Sisters will email us some photos so I can post them for you to see. Both Sisters were radiant with happiness on that jubilee day. During the homily, Father Paul (Raj--not sure how to spell his last name) asked the Sisters to say just a couple of words to describe how they felt. Both Sister Emmanuel and Sr. John Paula said "Jesus makes us happy!" That looked so obviously true.
The Sisters hosted a very nice reception at their convent which is above the Liturgical Apostolate Center. The Sister Disciples produce some very beautiful vestments and high quality altar cloths, etc.
Then on Monday night we had our October Movie--Faith and Film night. Sister Hosea Marie used the movie "Holes" as the discussion starter. She related the movie to a passage from St. John's gospel. We had about 50 people who came to see the film. It was nice to see a really wide variety of age groups present. The November movie will be "Ladder 49."
Have you seen any posters about the movie "The Nativity?" In case you haven't, the movie will be released in the USA (and probably Canada) on December 1. Our Sisters at our publishing house, Pauline Books & Media in Boston, worked closely with the film producers to publish two Catholic accompaniments to the film: a Nativity Film Guide, and a book on Mary. One of our Toronto Sisters, Sister Marie Paul Curley, has an article in the Mary book. A lay Pauline Cooperator, Marilyn, also contributed an article to the Marian title. (I forgot how to spell Marilyn's last name.) Be sure to see the movie!
When I get some more photos and information on the movies, I will be adding them to the blog.
Have a blessed day--Happy All Hallow's Eve, and Happy All Saints Day!

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Very Busy Week

This past week has been a very busy one. Last Thursday's talk had a nice turnout. People seemed very interested in knowing more about the Apostle Paul and the idea of his "living today" through our lives. As soon as I get some photos I will post them for you.
Our book center (centre is the Canadian way to spell it) is a very busy place. People have a thirst for good reading, and they know where to find it here on Dufferin Street. This has been a full week, and it is not over yet! Usually Saturdays are very busy. I take care of the Italian section of books and a/v's in our centre. We just received a large shipment of titles from Italy. I have been calling people whose Italian orders have finally arrived. Sometimes I watch Italian TV, news or other programs to keep my Italian "aggiornata"--up-to-date. Toronto has a big number of Italian immigrants and Catholic parishes which have Italian Masses and other Italian services. One website says that Italian is the unofficial second language of Canada. French, of course, is the "first" and official second language. In Quebec it is the first for many people. As soon as we drove into the Province of Quebec we noticed the street names were different. French is first there.
Toronto is a very cosmopolitan city. The transit system offers help in about 90 different languages. On the bus or subway one can hear all kinds of languages being spoken: Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Spanish and English! I think St. Paul would have enjoyed working in such a "global" city as Toronto. God bless you! Thanks for reading this news.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More on St. Paul

As I prepare for my talk on St. Paul Living Today, I am getting to know more about Saint Paul, and others too. Sister Martha lent me a copy of a small book on the life of Sister Nazarena Mornado. She was the novice mistress of the Daughters of St. Paul in Rome for many years. Sister was also one of the first writers and editors among the Daughters of St. Paul. As you may or may not know, the Daughters of St. Paul were founded in 1915 to "Be St. Paul Living Today" by spreading the Gospel message with the media of today. The first modern media was the printing press. Johann Gutenburg never dreamed of the revolution he began back in the late 1400's with his moveable type printing press. In the early days of our founding, Italy was flooded with lots of newspapers and magazines that we would call today "The Yellow Press." (At least that's the name given to the phenomena by one of my history teachers.) The Founder Blessed James Alberione wanted to offset the harm done by sensationist and anti-clerical papers and magazines. He wanted people to have the best of news in front of them. His idea was not to picket and condemn media and journals, but to provide reading that would be wholesome and attractive.
Sister Nazarena grasped the idea of Alberione and ran with it. She also understood the spiritual foundation that sustained this work of "the Good Press" as it was called in the early days.
She said that the "Pauline Spirit" was really dedicating one's whole being to Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life. She said that we need to know, imitate and life the Divine Master Jesus Christ following the footsteps of St. Paul the Apostle and under the gaze of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.
On another topic, a priest friend showed me a nice, peaceful website which has meditation photos and musical accompaniment. Check it out (even though the words of in French it is still lovely):

Monday, October 16, 2006

October in Toronto

Today was the beginning of another busy week. Sister Mary Martha who came from Boston held some meetings with our little community of five Sisters. We talked especially about communication styles among us. We are a group ranging from 36 to 64. That is a bit of a difference in age. But, usually it is not a problem. Sister Martha is a native of Louisiana, so we enjoy her Cajun good sense of humor too.
Sister Martha among other things is the person entrusted with the formation of our Sisters who are called juniors. A junior professed is one who has not yet made her perpetual vows. Sister Marlyn is one of our juniors, professed almost two years ago. (After the tim eof "juniorate" a Sister makes final vows--that is for life.
Tomorrow Sr. Marie Paul leaves for the City of Angels Film Festival in Los Angeles. She has a busy schedule there. Sister does some screen writing among her many duties.
I am trying to put the final touches on a lecture I will give on Thursday evening on "St. Paul Living Today." I will let you know more about this topic after I give the presentation! Here's a picture of St. Paul traveling with the gospel.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Paulines in Montreal

Here I am admiring the beautiful fixtures and the vast array of titles in Montreal.
Here's a glimpse of the book store's cafe.
This is Cardinal Turcotte speaking to the crowd.
I just realized one of the reasons I did not post much in September (zero posts) was that I made a trip with Sister Hosea to Montreal. Our Sisters have been in that city for more than 50 years. They recently had to move from their former address on St. Denis. They found a nice place on Masson. It has a kindergarten on the second floor. It's a whole new kind of neigborhood than the St. Denis locations. Although neither of us English-speaking Americans could handle French we ventured there for the grand opening of their new center -- or to spell it the Canadian way --centre. The place is very attractive--a bookaholic paradise! There is even a mini-cafe comploete with a chef to feed the body as well as the soul. There are computers throughout the store where the staff can check for a title's availability. About 150 or more people squeezed in to be there to cheer on the Sisters. They strive to evangelize the culture by having a very wide selection of books and music, both sacred and secular. If you are there in Montreal, stop in on Blvd. Masson near D'Iberville. (I hope I am spelling it right.)

Sr Anne Joan

I forgot to say that in September Sister Anne Joan flew in from Chicago to give a talk on Pauline Spirituality--specifically on the spirituality taught by our Founder, Blessed James Alberione. Sister Anne Joan has been in Rome for studies also. She gave a great presentation and used some power point slides to help us all remember her message.

Niagara Falls

Well, my last posting missed the Niagara Falls photo. This is a second try at the picture. Enjoy!

Hello I'm Still Here!

Here is a picture I took of Niagara Falls from "under the Falls." That was on my birthday in September. It happened to be a really beautiful clear Sunday. The other photo is of our Founder Blesseed James Alberione and of his assistant of many years, now Blessed, Timothy Giaccardo. During the past week's monthly Pauline Cooperator meeting, I explained with a power point something about the life of Giaccardo. He was the first young man ordained a priest in our Pauline Family's first order: the Society of St. Paul.
After I spoke, I handed the floor to Sarah who spent a week in our Metairie, Louisiana Convent in July 2006. She and two other young women are discerning a vocation to religious life--specifically to my community, the Daughters of St. Paul. The three young women along with Sister Margaret Michael, our vocation directress, wanted to do some kind of out reach with our media apostolate to the folks of the 9th Ward area. As you know from newscasts, that area of New Orleans is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The young women and Sister discerned that they could reach out to some of the residents in a couple of the shelters run by Catholic Sisters, as well as to the neighbors in the vicinty. They used song, photo slides and music to bring a message of hope to the people. In orer to advertise the events, they had to go door-to-door to hand out flyers. In some places mail service is not yet working, so the personal "on your doorstep" approach worked. Sarah had some songs from The Lion King musical which were just the right thing to accompany the pictures. All of us lisetening were very impressed at how three young women who had never before met worked so well together.
This week I am going to give a lecture or talk on a topic dear to my hear: "St. Paul Living Today." If you are in Toronto on Thursday night, Oct. 19, do come. I have a lot to share.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday on Dufferin Street

Today in our Centre on Dufferin Street, we were open from 9:30 until 5:00 PM. Since it is the birthday of one of our Saturday employees, four of us Sisters were on duty to help the many people who came in. When I pushed the gate open, there was a priest wwaiting to enter. There was a steady stream of people all day: couples who browsed for at least an hour; moms and dads with their kids; young adults searching for music and books; parish workers searching for materials to help; Latino, Asian, Italian, Jamaican and Indian--people of every hue and color. An Indian couple remeber the Daughters of St. Paul visiting their homes with good reading in their home country. A student from Venezuela remembers visiting our Centres in his native country. What a "catholic," universal, city this is. He said, "I was so happy to find "Las Paulinas" here in Tronto too.
One gentleman came in around 2:00 PM and purchased two small black rosaries. He noticed the sign for our chapel and asked if he could go and pray. As he was leaving he stopped and thanked me. "I hope I can hear what he is saying." I answered, "He is always speaking to us. We are the ones who have to try to listen." Obviously under some sort of burden, he continued, "Those words really struck me." "Ah, yes," I replied, "Our Founder heard those words years ago when he was experiencing some really difficult times. Jesus seemed to be standing next to the tabernacle in a chapel. He was pointing to the tabernacle saying: 'Do not be afraid. I am with you. From here (the Eucharistic tabernacle) I want to enlighten.' " The man told me, "My father is dying. I really need those words today." I assured him that we will pray for him and for his father. Amid the busy-ness of the phone calls and people coming and going, our Lord was waiting to console this person who came to our Centre and our chapel. Our quiet chapel holds him who is "The Word." May The Word enlighten and console that son who is trying his best to "be strong" for his father.
In between taking care of our many patrons and praying in the chapel for an hour and a half, plus a break for lunch, there was not a whole lot of time to focus on anything else except the people and their needs.
Our Mother General sent us a letter of best wishes for our 50th anniversary. In it, she says she prays that our Center will be a beacon shining the light of Christ on thousands of people thorugh the media of communication. May all the people who came into 3022 Dufferin Street today feel the consoling warmth of that light on themselves and on all their loved ones.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Movie Night at the Convent

Last night, Thursday August 24, we began our new series of Movie Nights at the Pauline Books and Media Center. We have a very nice hall with a projector, screen and speakers that accommodate large audiences.
Last night five of us sisters were present along with 22 guests. We watched the film, Marvin's Room. Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DiNiro and other big names were in the film. Sister Hosea Marie introduced the film and handed out a small guide for reflection. After the film viewing and a break we gathered into three discussion groups. Most of us had counted off before hand to try and watch the film through the eyes of one of the four main characters. That made for lively applications of the film to real life and to Christian and basic human family values. Here are some photos showing the hall before most of the folks arrived; Sister Hosea introducing the evening; and Sister Marlyn starting a discussion group.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Here are some clips of our Mariachi friends who "made our day" so special with their song and music. Juan Carlos chats with Sister Marlyn and Sister Carla.


Here are Sisters Marlyn Evangelina and Marie Paul during Sunday's celebration.

The Crowd

I'd like you see a glimpse of the size of the crowd that came to celebrate with us on Sunday, August 20.


Today, August 23, is the "real" 50th anniversary of the Daughters of St. Paul in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I resized some of the photos from Sunday's celebration. I will try including them in today's post.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Where to find some photos.

I forgot to add that my flickr address is srmpmfsp. Thanks and God bless your week!


I think the JPEG files were too large.
Otherwise, check out my photo page on flickr.

Another Try at Photos

Here's try number three. I'm not sure why the photos did not show up.

Pictures from our Jubilee

Here's try number two for an attempt to put up photos from today's event.
One is a photo of the crowd which came to our hall.
Sister Donna worked hard to serve the cake with our friend Nancy.
Sisters Marlyn and Marie-Paul were busy all day.
Here are two of the Mariachi's.
The happy crowd danced and clapped with the Mariachi's.
Here are most of the Daughters of St. Paul who were present posing with a lady friend.

A 50th Anniversary Celebration

Today we Daughters of St. Paul in Toronto celebrated our community's 50 year presence in the city and Archdiocese of Toronto. We celebrated first with a joyous Mass at our parish Church of St. Charles Borromeo at the corner of West Lawrence and Dufferin in Toronto. Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic was the main celebrant with four other priests and two deacons present. Sister Hosea Maria cantored for the Mass. A few other of our Sisters joined the choir especially for the Communion hymns.
The church was packed. Two Daughters of St. Paul from Montreal joined us as well as our provincial superior, Sister Margaret Christopher Meagher and one of her councilors, Sister Mary Martha Moss.
Many lay people and Sisters from other communities came to celebrate in the reception held after Mass in our hall under our book center. The crowd was definitely multi-cultural, and very happy. It was a joy to see so many people coming from many parts of Canada to support us in our mission of media evangelization. Lots of folks who are weekly, some even daily visitors to our Centre were present.
An unexpected but very welcome surprise occured during the party with the arrival of three authentic "Mariachi's" from Mexico. With two guitars and a small accordian and great voices, the gentlemen with the broad-brimmed sombreros played for more than an hour. Sisters and laity joined hands and danced to their music. There were definitley a "hit."
I will try to upload a few seconds of video so you can see them.
Today is also the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the congregation of priests and brothers called The Society of St. Paul. Since they were the first of the Pauline Family, in one way it is also a double anniversary for us.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Retreat House

Here are some pictures of St.Thecla's Retreat House. By the way we pronounce "Thecla" as if there were a "k" instead of a "c", and a "t" instead of "th." It is like the "tech" in technical.
The top picture is a shrine of the Sorrowful Mother, sometimes called the Pieta'. It is along a pathway on the retreat house grounds.
The middle photo is an outside front view of St. Thecla's. The house is built in a square shape with an inner court yard.
The bottom photo shows Sister Laura meditating during her annual retreat.

A Retreat

Tomorrow, Saturday August 5, I will be at our St. Thecla Retreat House. A Sister from Colombia, Sr. Bernarda Cadavid, will be conducting an 8 day retreat in Italian. I will be translating for her morning and evening prayers, as well as for her two talks each day. The retreat topic is taken from St. Paul to the Galatians 4:19: "Until Christ be formed in you." I took part in the retreat which often uses the Latin title "Donec Formetur" in 2003 in the USA and in 2004 in Rome. Both retreats were given in Italian. The retreat participants keep strict silence during the eight days so they can pray better and listen to the inspirations of the Lord. Since our Internet connection there is an analog line, I may not be able to keep in touch with you all until I get back to Toronto. We will see what happens.
Tonight our postulants--the young women who are in the initial stages of becoming a Sister--led our evening prayer service with Power Point presentations and a beautiful song. Theirs was a farewell prayer service, since tomorrow morning they will fly to St. Louis, Missouri to continue their postulancy program. In St. Louis they will be living with a smaller Daughters of St. Paul community. The Daughters of St. Paul operate a Pauline Books & Media book center on a very busy road in the Brentwood section of St. Louis. I am sure that the youngest members of our Pauline community will find many opportunities to use media to evangelize.
Keep them and me in your prayers too!
On August 15, three other postulants will make another step ahead in their journey toward becoming full-fledged Daughters of St. Paul. They will become novices. Novitiate is a two year period during which the young women study more deeply what it means to be a Daughter of St. Paul; they study themselves to see if this life is truly for them; the formation team follows them closely to guide them and see also if this person offers the qualifications to become a good religious Sister and Pauline missionary. During the second year of novitiate, there is a time of what we call "apostolic experience" when the novice goes to a smaller community to experience first hand what life might be like after she has committed hersef with vows. When I was a novice in the last century, ours was only a one year, but very intense, novitiate.
Our former Novice Mistress, Sister Concetta, will be 90 years old in September.
Originally from Italy, Sister Concetta still has mostly black hair, and smooth skin. She certainly does not look her age! We love to remind Sister Concedtta how strict she was. She has a wry smile and replies, "I could not have been so bad. You all made profession and you are still here."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Yesterday, Monday, I was able to visit a friend who lives in a lovely Maine coastal town. The sea was a marvelous blue green. As the waves came in and washed over us I felt a great peace. There is a song about the Holy Spirit which describes his gifts as "pleasant coolness in the heat." I was enjoying that "pleasant coolness." The mystical writer, St. Catherine of Siena, called Jesus Christ "A Sea of Peace." Looking at the immensity of the ocean, it was easy to think of Jesus that Sea of Peace. When we returned to the house my friend said, "Oh, I'm so glad I went. I feel so relaxed now." At the beach I find it very esy to make analogies to the spiritual life, to God's power, majesty, and immensity. I wish all my readers could enjoy this peace to.
There were Canadian folks as well as Americans there in addition to many mothers with children of all ages. Sitting with our feet on the hot sand, everyone looked equal. There were no double breasted business suits, no designer jeans or tennis shoes, if there were i-pods they were not intrusive. It was truly a day of the best weather and good spirits. Families seemed to be truly enjoying one antoher
I soaked in the peacefulness of it all.
I hope your week is peaceful and blessed. Have a good one! Sister Mary Peter, FSP
PS I forgot to mention that I took one of our Sisters to the airport in Boston. She was flying to Rome. She has family in Italy.
While there, an African friend came up to see me. She and her family were on their way to Nigeria for a wedding. That couple are members of another secular institute Blessed James Alberione founded for married couples. The Intitute for married couples would be a great place to visit.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, he wanted to make sure that no walk of life was left out of the attainment of sanctity and good work. I saw a cartoon recentlly which showed its young character snuggled under his sheeots. I loved the punch line: "Getting up in the morning is a matter of mind over mattress!" How I can affirm that statement!
Have a cool rest of the week. We in Boston are getting our dose of hot weather. As a priest mentioned many years ago: If is better to smoke (or burn) here than hearafter!
God bless you!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some History

Two years ago I returned from an intense year of study in Rome. That included almost two months of class with a tutor who came to the convent to school us in the language from 2:00 PM till 6:00 every weekday. The lady prepared our small group for interactive learning. The course I took required not only listening to Italian, but also reading it and interacting with both the professors and our fellow students. Our year of study is called the Course on the Charism of the Pauline Family. The priest who started my order, the Daughters of St. Paul, really founded 10 religious groups in the Catholic Church. He wanted to have everyone involved in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. He especially wanted to use the media of communications for good. Instead of condemning movies, or media programs, he wanted to replace the reprehensible with the wholesome. The Founder now called "Blessed" James Alberione lived between 1884 and 1971. You'd be surprised to see a time-line of his life. There were so many explosions of creativity going on in the world. Inventions from the bicycle to the atom bomb all happened within his lifetime. There were upheavals in society: the many "isms" rose to prominence--such as Communism; and socialism; along with materialism and others. As World War I started he quietly began the Society of St. Paul, a group of priests and brothers, consecrated to using the media for God. That was back in 1914. A year later he started a group of young women under the patronage of St. Paul the Apostle who would eventually be called Daughters of St. Paul. Their first Superior General was Teresa Merlo. She became known as Mother Thecla Merlo of the Daughters of St. Paul.
During the year of our Course on the Charism, 28 Paulines (as the men and women of the various Institutes are called) took part in the program. We hailed from many different nations: Italy, USA, Korea, Congo, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Western Samoa, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, the Philippines, and India, and France. There are probably more countries which were represented which I have forgotten. One of our group who is now in France had served 15 years in Toronto, Canada.
We spent our first week of class together at a retreat house on the Mediterranean Sea. In that atmostphere we prayed, studied, ate and recreated together. We also learned about each other's countries, customs and also difficulties in carrying out each one's particular work. We "bonded" as a group, and as a religious family united in the same ideals.
After the initial week we moved our classes to Rome. The Sister Disciples of the Divine Master have a state-of-the-art conference center where we met for class each day. Our classroom was adjacent to the Church of the Divine Master on Via Portuense in Rome. If you ever go to Rome, visit this imposing and modern church.
I'll tell you more about our "Course" in another blog. Another Sister returned from Rome in June after completing the same Course. We still have to exhange notes on how it went for her. Everyone that I know who took the Course found it enriching in many ways.
Have a blessed week. Sister Mary Peter

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Here's another photo

Since I have known Marlene for ten years, I was happy to be present when she made the big step of pronouncing final vows as a member of the Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation. The women sometimes refer to their group with the initials: IOLA for short. Marlene had been a member of the lay associate group called "Pauline Cooperators." She was seeking an even deeper commitment to Christ. As an IOLA member she would take the three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to dedicate herself to an ongoing following of Jesus Christ in her daily life.
Here is a picture of myself with Marlene.

A Recap of the Week

Last Sunday, in our Boston chapel, we hosted a small group of consecrated women called the Annunciationists. The longer title of the group is the Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation. These women take three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. They live "in the world," so in a sense, they are a "secular" institute. In this case "secular" means living at home, not in a convent. One women is from the Boston area, the other from Louisiana. Each have busy jobs. Yet every day these women spend time in prayer and meditation. They seek to witness to Christian values by their example first of all. When necessary they witness with words too. That Mass was a good start of the week--reminding me of my consecrated life as a religious Sister--a Daughter of St. Paul. The priest who presdied at teh Mass is Father Matthew Roehrig of the Society of St. Paul. Father Matt is assigned to the Dearborn, Michigan Center of the Society of St. Paul.
In the photo on the left Marlene is pronouncing her vows with two Daughters of St. Paul serving as witnesses, and a prepetually professed member of the Institute (the lady in red.) The lady in red, Santi, lives in Virginia. In the next photo, Marlene and Gretchen pose with Father Roehrig.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tomorrow's Events

Tomorrow, Sunday, July 23, two women will be making their vows in our chapel here in Boston. One is from Massachusetts (the Boston area), the other from Louisiana. These ladies are "consecrated laity." This means that they live at home, they hold regular jobs, and they profess the same religious vows that we Sisters do who live in a convent. The two women have just complete more than seven years of preparation: a year of postulancy (postulant is from the Latin word "to ask". That is, they ask to be admitted to the Institute.) Then they have at leas ta year of novitiate (from novice: again from the Latin word for "new," someone who is "new" at religious life.) Then the women take vows of obedience to a superior, poverty--that is to live simply, frugally, and thus "freely." Poverty frees a person from being overly concerned about material things to be free to work for God. Chastity frees a person to be totally dedicated to loving God in Christ. This is a sacrifice of marriage in order to be free to love Christ, and all one;s brothers and sisters in Christ. Chastity may seem a negative value to some people today. Yet seen in the light of the love of Christ, it frees a person from erotic love to love with the love of "agape." There has to be the fire of a passionate love for God which is shown in prayer and in deeds of real Christian service. The two women are members of the Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation. At the Annunciation the Angel Gabriel told Mary to rejoice since she was chosen to be the Mother of Christ. The Annunciationists are called to bring joy to the world by living the Gospel, the Good News of Christ, at home and in the work place. As Mary did after the Angel left her, the Annunciationist after saying "yes" to the Lord through her acceptance of God's will, brings Jesus with her through her silent witness to the goodness of God.
I hope to post some photos of the Mass and ceremony tomorrow.
The Annunciationists take vows to a member of the Society of St. Paul--priests dedicated to using the media for Christ. One of the priests serves as the ultimate superior to whom the woman refer to for major decisions regarding finances and other important life decisions.
We will find out more about the group whose inititals are IOLA as we make more postings.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Intro Blog from Sister Mary

To all you bloggers out there, I am happy to join you. I wanted to comment on Father Jeffrey Mickler's blog and videos. Since I had to be a blogger to comment, so be it!
I am a Catholic Sister, a member of the congregation called "Daughters of St. Paul." If St. Paul the Apostle were alive today, we can easily imagine him being a blogger, a TV talking head, a radio, TV, and film producer--a P R man for Christ with the media. We who call ourselves Daughters of St. Paul use media--books, radio, audio/visuals, the Internet, music and more to let people know just how real and how cool it is to believe in and live in Christ Jesus. Have a Jesus filled day!