Triptych with the Crucifixion by Cornelis Engebrechtsz (1520) currently located at the National Gallery in Prague
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Blessed Holy Week! From March 9-11, we had the Spring Convocation for Religious at the Franciscan Renewal Center with the theme of “Mercy, Forgiveness and Healing” featuring Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS and Sr. Esther Mary Nickel, RSM as speakers. It was a blessed time of prayer and retreat as we had Eucharistic Adoration throughout the weekend coinciding with Pope Francis’ call for “24 Hours for the Lord” of continuous Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Confession. It was a prayerful weekend with the blessing of Mass with Bishop Olmsted accompanied by Deacons and wives who were on a formation retreat that weekend. The group of Sisters that attended took this opportunity to make a spiritual retreat.
Communities in this photo: Sisters of Loreto, Sisters of the Divine Savior, Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa, Missionary Carmelites of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Lovers of the Holy Cross of Saigon, Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Servants of the Plan of God, Congregation of St. Agnes, and Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, MI.
What a great group we had! Others included, the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity, the Consolata Missionaries, the Daughters of Charity and Sr. John Mary, ESEH.
Both talks were marvelous! Sister Esther Mary gave a wonderful talk from a Sacramental theological perspective on mercy, forgiveness and healing of Penance. Father Ignatius spoke about the process of forgiveness which is the beginning of the process of the healing of the heart.
Here are the complete notes from his talk for us:
Copy of Fr. Ignatius’ Talk
We had wonderful weather throughout the weekend, and it even rained!
Sr. Anthony Mary Diago (left) and Sr. Esther Mary Nickel (right).
The Franciscan Renewal Center, affectionately known as “The Casa” is a very nice place to make a retreat. A new church, Our Lady, Queen of Angels, was built there with beautiful stained glass windows, made in Germany:
Our Lady, Queen of Angels
The Word became flesh in MARY and dwelt amongst us.
Christ is the light of the world.
There is a new Sister who came to the Convocation who I would like you to meet: Sister Isabel de la Santísima Trinidad a novice of the Missionary Carmelites of St. Therese of the Child Jesus from Puebla in Mexico.
On November 21, 2017, on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, I attended her entrance into the Novitiate at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which she was invested in the Carmelite habit of her Religious Community at St. Daniel the Prophet Parish in Scottsdale. Bishop Olmsted, Fr. McGuire, the Pastor, Fr. Loeffler and Fr. Fita were present to witness the investiture of Sr. Isabel by her Mother General.
Sr. Isabel de la Santísima Trinidad Hernandez with her Mother General, Madre Virginia.
Sister Isabel shares her reflection of this wonderful experience with you:
“I am very grateful with God and St Therese of the Child Jesus because by her intercession she has helped me to recognize my vocation and pursue religious life. God has granted me many blessings one of them was getting the opportunity to know the sisters. I met the sisters at Saint Anne’s Parish in Gilbert, AZ in 2012, it was through them that I began to wonder what it was like to live like them. Who knew that God had already chosen me to follow Him? In December of 2016, I had the opportunity to go to Puebla, MX for an experience. Seeing so many young sisters willing to give their life to God, affirmed my willingness to be part of this religious life. I received the habit in the congregation of Carmelite Missionaries St Therese of the Child Jesus on November 21st of 2017. The memorable mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and Rev. McGuire, Rev. Loeffler, Rev. Lorig, and Rev. Sergio as the co-celebrants. It was very exciting as well as nerve-wracking because I was taking a much bigger step. There were a lot of things that were scaring me because I was taking a decision that would change my life. Interiorly, I was afraid of what my family members and friends would think, but once I was in mass, seeing Jesus on the cross I realized that if Jesus had died for me. Why not me give my life to him?
I have been a novice for two months already and I can assure that it has not always been easy living in the community with the sisters, but I can say that it has been worth everything. I am glad that God placed in me the curiosity of wanting to know more of how the Religious Life was like. Even though at the beginning I was not sure I was called to be a Religious Sister, with the help of God through the Scriptures I was able to discern the will of God. I recognize that I still have a long way to walk in this pilgrimage, I wish to continue following Jesus and help others find happiness like I did.”
Sister Maria Isabel de la Santísima Trinidad Hernandez Guardado, MCSTNJ
~~~~~~~~~~Translation in Spanish~~~~~~~~Traducción en Español~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Estoy muy agradecida con Dios quien por gracia me ha llamado y Sta. Teresa del Niño Jesús, porque por su intercesión me han ayudado a reconocer mi vocación y seguir al Señor en la vida religiosa. Dios me ha concedido muchas bendiciones a lo largo de mi vida una de ellas fue el tener la oportunidad de conocer a las hermanas.
Conocí a las hermanas Misioneras Carmelita de Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús en la parroquia de Santa Ana en Gilbert, AZ el 2012, fue a través de ellas que me empecé a preguntar qué era vivir como ellas. ¿Quién se imaginaba que Dios ya me había elegido para seguirle? En diciembre de 2016, tuve la oportunidad de ir a Puebla, Mex., para hacer una experiencia y conocerlas mejor. El ver tantas hermanas jóvenes dispuestas a dar su vida a Dios, afirmó mi vocación y el deseo de abrazar la vida religiosa. Regrese a la Diócesis de Phoenix para continuar mi vocación, recibi el Hábito en la Congregación de Misioneras Carmelita de Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús el 21 de noviembre de 2017.
La memorable Misa fue celebrada por el Obispo Thomas J. Olmstead y concelebrantes los Reverendos Padres McGuire, Loeffler, Lorig y Sergio Fita. La misa fue muy emocionante y estresante a la vez, porque estaba dando un paso más. Había muchas cosas que me estaban asustando porque estaba tomando una decisión que sabia que iba a cambiar mi vida. Interiormente, tenía miedo de lo que podrían pensar mis familiares y amigos. Pero una vez estando en la Misa y viendo a Jesús en la cruz. Me pregunté ¿Por qué no me darle mi vida a él?
Ahora llevo ya dos meses de novicia, y puedo asegurar que no siempre ha sido fácil vivir en la comunidad con las hermanas, pero puedo decir también que ha valido la pena. Me alegro de que Dios haya puesto en mí la curiosidad de querer saber más de cómo es la vida religiosa. Aunque al principio no estaba segura de que estaba llamada a ser una hermana religiosa, con la ayuda de Dios, a través de las escrituras puedo ir descubriendo la voluntad de Dios cada día. Reconozco que todavía tengo un largo camino que recorrer en esta peregrinación, deseo continuar siguiendo a Jesús y ayudar a otros a encontrar la felicidad al igual que yo lo voy logrando continuamente.
Hermana Maria Isabel de la Santísima Trinidad Hernandez Guardado, MCSTNJ
Thank you, Sr. Isabel. It is a special gift that you shared your entrance into Novitiate. Muchas gracias, Hermana Isabel. Que Dios la bendiga. God bless you.
As we take time to listen to the Lord in His Passion and suffering this Holy Triduum, let us rejoice in His victory over death for our salvation and citizenship in Heaven!
Blessed Holy Triduum and Happy Easter!
With prayers, I am
Your Sister in Christ,
Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM
Director of the Office of Consecrated Life
Diocese of Phoenix