Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On Friday evening of February 1st, the Vigil of the Feast of the Presentation, Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares celebrated a Candlemas for the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life to honor the Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests of the Diocese of Phoenix. Sixty-five Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests gathered with the lay faithful. The Mass was very well attended with about 200 in the congregation that first gathered outdoors at the foot of the Cross in front of the Cathedral for the Blessing of the Candles.
Bishop Eduardo Nevares, assisted by Deacon Tony Smith and the altar servers, blessed the candles that would be lit for the procession into the completely dark Cathedral.
Sr. Mary Jordan, OP, Sr. Mary Brigid, OP, Sr. Mary Gertrude, OP and Sr. Regina Ann, OP, (Nashville Dominicans) the new leadership of St. John Paul II Catholic High School in Avondale.
After the glorious Mass, we all gathered for a reception in newly renovated Smith Hall.
All of us had a wonderful time celebrating Our Lord and Consecrated Life in Phoenix.
On January 11, 2019, Bishop Olmsted was the main celebrant for the Mass and First Profession of Vows of Sr. Viviana de la Inmaculada Lopez, Missionary Carmelite Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus from Puebla, Mexico. The First Profession of Vows took place at Saint Daniel the Prophet Parish in Scottsdale, AZ, where the US Novitiate is located. Here are pictures from this wonderful and joyous occasion:
Sr. Viviana de la Inmaculada Lopez makes her First Profession of Vows:
What a joy it was for me attend this celebration of Sr. Viviana’s vocation and vowed life! God bless you! He rewards us a hundredfold!
On Sunday, January 20, 2019, in the evening, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur celebrated the Solemn Vows of Sr. Sarah Cieplinski, a vocation from Phoenix, while on a visit with her family. The celebration took place at the Crosier’s Priory in South Phoenix. Sr. Sarah made her Final Profession of Vows at their Convent in Cincinnati, Ohio.
God bless you, Sr. Sarah and all the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur! Thank you!
Happy Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese woman who was a slave, a trafficked woman and virgin who gained her freedom consecrating herself to Our Lord. Her story inspires us all as we follow Christ with lamps lit giving great hope in this dark world.
In 1869, a little girl was born in Sudan in Africa. As a child she was kidnapped into slavery. This experience was so frightening that she could not even remember her name. So, her kidnappers named her Bakhita. The name Bakhita means “fortunate.”
An Italian official, Callisto Legnani, purchased Bakhita. For the first time since she had been kidnapped, she was treated with care, rather than being beaten. When the time came for the Italian consul to return to Italy, he brought Bakhita with him. Once there, Legnani left Bakhita with Augusto Michieli and his wife. When the Michieli’s daughter, Mimmina, was born, Bakhita became her caretaker and friend.
When the Michielis went to Suakin to run their large hotel, they left both Mimmina and Bakhita with the Canossian Sisters at a convent in Venice. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God. When the Michielis returned, Bakhita asked to remain at the convent with the Sisters. She became a Catholic and was given the name “Josephine.”
On December 8, 1896, Josephine Bakhita became a Sister at the convent and committed her life to God forever. For the next 50 years, she served the Schio convent community by cooking, sewing, and attending to the door. When she was on duty at the door, her friendly, sweet voice was pleasing to children, comforting to the poor, and encouraging to others.
As she grew older, Mother Bakhita suffered greatly in sickness. She died on February 8, 1947, at the Canossian convent in Schio, surrounded by the other Sisters. She was named a saint of the Church on October 1, 2000, by Pope John Paul II.
May this merciful virgin Saint teach us to forgive and be compassionate!
With prayers for you and your communities, I am
Your Sister in Christ,
Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM
Director of the Office of Consecrated Life
Diocese of Phoenix