Happy New Year! Welcome to the new blog of the Office of Consecrated Life which will bring us together with a renewed sense of communion and sincere gratitude for all Consecrated people. Every week this blog will be a means for me to communicate and share with you the stories of my precious visits with the various Religious Communities of the Diocese of Phoenix. It gives me much joy to witness to you the beauty of Religious life with its charisms and apostolates serving to build up the Church and bring God’s children into a deeper relationship with the Holy Trinity.
Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter to all Consecrated People on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life, asks that we “look to the past with gratitude, live the present with passion and embrace the future with hope.” This is a time for all Consecrated men and women to appreciate the dignity of his or her vocation, to draw closer to God in confidence and to be in communion with one another. The diversity of the various charisms of Religious Orders is a great gift that enriches the Church, brings the light of Christ to the world and is in service to all of mankind for the highest good of eternal salvation.
In a mysterious way, Consecrated Life manifests the love of Jesus Christ to all peoples and brings true joy. The Holy Father asks us to “wake up the world” and to be “experts in communion.” This requires all Religious men and women to live with deep faith, hope and love and to evangelize. He says, “Come out of yourselves and go forth to the existential peripheries.” This graced Year has been given to us to become more self-aware of the need to go out and become Saints. It is a time to become more oriented to serving Jesus to meet the needs of the Church and the people who need to encounter the Merciful Christ, the Savior Who loves them.
On November 16, 2014, I accompanied Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted to visit the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity at St. Peter’s Mission School and Church in Bapchule on the Gila River Reservation where they have served the Gila people for the past 80 years since 1935. It has been recently renovated (in June) adding new pre-school classrooms, a kitchen, food pantry, computer lab, playgrounds, and basketball courts which give hope to the children and their families. Here are some photos of this amazing mission:
On December 13, 2014, I accompanied Fr. Fred Adamson, V.G. to visit the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Tonopah, affectionately known as “The Desert Nuns.” They established this young foundation 9 years ago, and since then have been stewards of a newly built church and monastery that remind me of the structures in Assisi, Italy. St. Francis and St. Clare would be proud! Depending completely on the providence of God, these contemplative Sisters lead a life totally dedicated to contemplative prayer which includes all hours of the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharistic Adoration. Below are pictures of the incredible beauty of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery:
On December, 17th, 2014, I had a delightful visit with The Loreto Sisters at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral Convent on 27th Avenue in Phoenix. Some of the Sisters in this local community are the original native Irish Sisters that established this foundation 60 years ago since 1954 when an Irish Missionary invited them come to teach at Ss. Simon and Jude Catholic School which became the Cathedral School. With warm hospitality and an Irish spirit these Sisters touched my heart:
Last but not least, I want to share my visit on December 18th, 2014 with the Missionaries of Charity at the “Gift of Mary Home” at Our Lady of Fatima Mission in Phoenix founded by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta 25 years ago in 1990. These Sisters serve “the poorest of the poor” with a food pantry and kitchen, women’s shelter and men’s shelter as well as a shelter for both women and children who are homeless. They depend completely upon God’s providence as they observe radical poverty and live among the poor. Their simple life dedicated to serving Christ disguised in the poor is a gift for God:
How blessed we are to witness God’s love made visible in these Sisters!
Until next time, God bless you all.