Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Blessed Feast of Our Lady of Fatima! As we come before the Eucharistic Lord with deeper devotion in adoration and love, I would like to share the story of the 1916 apparitions of the Guardian Angel of Portugal to the children of Fatima.
In the first apparition in the Spring of 1916, the Angel spoke: “Do not be afraid. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” He invited the children to pray a new prayer, the Pardon Prayer: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you.” When we pray this prayer, we are asking for faith, hope and charity to be renewed in this world. It invokes graces to keep faith by believing, to worship by adoring the Lord, to trust Him by hoping and to love Him by loving others. It also asks God to pardon those who are who are not doing these which is justice to God. (Fatima for Today by Apostoli, 24)
The children were intensely impacted by the visit of this Angel, so much so they experienced the presence of God in their souls, they were in ecstasy, hardly aware of themselves, and they experienced an overwhelming feeling that made them almost unable to speak. They did not speak about this among themselves, and they kept it secret. Although this apparition made such a strong impact on them, they needed to be reminded to pray the Pardon Prayer more fervently, resulting in another 2 visits by the Angel of Peace. Each of these visits provided a prayer for the children to pray. The message the Angel of Peace gave to the children on the second visit in the summer of 1916:
“Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission, the suffering which the Lord will send you.” (Apostoli, 27) You can see that this statement of the Angel has some of the most important and basic elements of the Fatima message.
In October 1916, the Angel appeared to the children a third time, with a powerful lesson in Eucharistic devotion which would instill in the young children a very ardent devotion to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. This is the prayer that the Angel taught the children during this third apparition:
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.” (Apostoli, 35)
The Angel gave the children Holy Communion and said to them, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” Then the Angel bowed down to the ground profoundly, repeating three times the prayer he had just taught the children. From Lucia’s memoirs, we are told that the three children were so overwhelmed by the supernatural that they also prostrated themselves and repeated the prayer 3 times.
These intense experiences of receiving 3 visits by the Angel of Peace prepared Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco for the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to them the following year. Evidently, it was necessary for them to receive the apparitions from the Angel of Peace to prepare them and give them the graces they would need to be attentive to the Our Lady of Fatima and her message. Our Lady would ask the children to pray the Rosary every day and to return on the 13th of the following month with a plea for prayer and sacrifice. On August 13th, she said, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” (Apostoli, 107)
Like these children who were simple and pure of heart, let us trust in the prophetic message of Our Lady of Fatima and heed to her plea for prayers and sacrifice for the salvation of souls and the conversion of sinners for our world in such need of graces, purification and sanctification.
Congratulations to our Jubilarians!
Celebrating 80 years of Religious Life: Sr. Augustine Dempsey, IBVM who entered on September 12, 1941!
Celebrating 70 years of Religious Life: Sr. Mary Thomas Fullem, IBVM who entered on September 8, 1951!
Celebrating 65 years of Religious Life: Sr. Dympna Doran, IBVM who entered Religious Life October 2, 1956!
“I was born in a small town in the lush green midlands of Ireland, one of a family of fourteen, 7 boys and 7 girls! I had a wonderful childhood and happy memories of climbing trees in the woods nearby and swimming in either one of the two lakes just a few miles outside of our town. The love of nature and outdoor beauty is in my bones!
I entered the Loreto Convent, in Navan, County Meath in 1956 and was missioned to Arizona in 1959. I found a remarkable contrast of landscape and culture here in Arizona, but nonetheless, beautiful and wonderful! I am fortunate to be deeply rooted here in Arizona, having first served for ten years under the Diocese of Tucson, and then seen the beginnings and the blossoming and growth of our Phoenix Diocese. I am grateful for my 65 years of Religious Life — 62 of them spent here in Arizona. God has blessed me abundantly!”
Celebrating 65 years of Religious Life: Sister Anne Fitzsimons, IBVM who entered on October 30, 1955!
I’m wishing myself a “ Very Happy 65th” as I celebrate my 65 years of living my vocation in the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also called Loreto Sisters. I am truly very grateful to God for this calling. My ministries have enabled me to use the gifts and talents God has given me. Education is the foundational focus of our order as we follow our foundress, Venerable Mary Ward, who was following her radical call in 1609 to found an Apostolic Order for Women focused on the education of girls. I became the Director of Religious Education for SS. Simon and Jude Parish in 1969 and until my semi-retirement in 2007 my main ministry has been Sacramental Preparation for children and their parents. One story I remember from those days is hearing a child say when leaving the confessional in tears, “He told me to say 3 Hail Marys and I only know 1.” Another memorable saying I heard from a child who looked at me and said very seriously, ”Was your mother surprised when you were born a nun”??? (That would have been very handy!!)
As well as working with children and parents I have found great joy in my spiritual ministry with “Persons with Special Needs”. They have taught me a lot. Once I asked this question as we talked about The Workers in the Vineyard, “Rachel, How would you feel if you worked all day and Michael worked only 1 hour but Brad (their boss) paid you $20.00 and, also, paid Michael $20.00.” With a big smile on her face she said “I would be so happy that Michael got $20.00”. What a great lesson for all of us.
Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is my special love at this time when justice issues are coming to the fore and our bishops have emphasized the “Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching”. Two recent encyclicals of Pope Francis, Laudato Si and Fratelli Tutti have been our focus this year.
We are an International Order and for my Golden Jubilee Sabbatical Year 2005/06 I was able to take a Missionary Trip and visit the countries where our IBVM Houses were established in the 1800’s and 1900’s, India, Australia, South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Peru, Canada. More recently I was in Mauritius for a two-week program where I met 20 sisters from these different countries. As missionaries in all these countries we need to become inculturated and be vitally aware of the evolving needs in this time of globalization.
We have the Spirituality of St. Ignatius and we see this phrase of his as very important in our Religious Life, “ Community is for Mission”.
I cannot finish without mentioning our “Signature” event called “An Irish Hooley”. This involves singing, dancing, and most of all stories and jokes. Fr. Michael O’ Grady was our main character and gave great joy to us and to many, many others. The main reason for the “Hooley” was our effort at fundraising so that our sisters missioned in poorer countries would have the extra finances to take a vacation. It was called C.A.L.M. “Community Aid to Loreto Missions”.
Celebrating 65 years of Religious Life: Sr. Marian Abing, SSSF (the School Sisters of St. Francis) who entered in 1956! (No photo.)
Celebrating 60 years: Sr. Anne Marie Smith, OSF at Resurrection Parish who entered August 10, 1960!
Celebrating 60 years: Sr. Barbara Jean Butler, OSF at St. Peter Mission who Professed on August 15, 1961!
I have been blessed to serve in many communities throughout the Midwest
and in Arizona. And during these past 60 years I have been touched by the
hundreds of wonderful people who have ‘walked through my life’, and many
who have stayed for years.
It is impossible to pinpoint ‘one favorite’ experience as a Franciscan Sister…
when there have literally been thousands. But to summarize simply I would say…
that the opportunity as a classroom teacher and as a catchiest to prepare children
to meet Jesus in the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist and
Confirmation has been a blessing. Working with families, who are the primary
teachers of faith, has been a powerful example of ‘family faith’ for me.
In looking in ‘the rear view mirror’ of my life I am filled with GREAT GRATITUDE
for the many people I have served and those with whom I have served. God
continues to bless us all.
Teaching young children has always been a JOY and filled with SURPRISES.
While teaching a class of First Graders and training them to be responsible
in completing their assignments, I asked a 6 year old boy who was ‘roaming’
around the classroom if he had completed his assignments. His response was
serious and matter of fact and I was roaring with laughter INSIDE only as he
stated: “Sister, I haven’t actually completed a thing! But Sister, I never promised
you a rose garden.”
Trust me, I walked him to his place and by recess he had completed all his work.
Children are a blessing!
Celebrating 60 years: Sr. Nancy Wellmeier, SNDdN who entered on September 8, 1960! (No Photo)
Celebrating 55 years: Sr. Patricia Gehling, SSND at Christ the King Parish who professed on July 17, 1966!
Celebrating 50 years: Sr. Colleen Braun, CSA from St. Benedict’s Parish who professed on June 16, 1971!
Celebrating 50 years of Profession: Sr. Josephine Galbusera, MC who professed on May 22, 1970!
I was born in a small village (Casatenovo, Como) North of Italy and entered the Consolata Missionary Sisters Congregation in 1967. I made my First Profession on May 22, 1970. In March 1980 I was assigned to the United States Region and served in Belmont, Michigan in the teaching ministry at Assumption B.V.M. (1988-1997); in Eutaw, Alabama with the Afro-Americans (1997-2015) and in Sacaton, Arizona (2016-2021) where presently I am offering my service among the Native Americans (Pima) in the Gila River Indian Community.
My gratitude to God for who I am today thanks to my family, especially to my dad from whom I have remarkably inherited the traits of being a calm, simple, honest, precise, hardworking, and sensitive person. By embracing religious life as a Consolata Missionary Sister these gifts continued to mark my spiritual growth and ministry. My spirituality is in appreciating, reflecting, learning from, and working with whatever happens in my everyday life, in meeting God in the people and in the now, in believing and embracing my inner nature and wisdom, in experiencing life as an ongoing journey, as an unfolding story of endings and new beginnings, as a way to a religious-missionary life that is really worth living.
May Our Lady Consolata continue to Bless me and my Religious Family and Keep us in Her care.
Celebrating 50 years: Sr. Crispina, MC (Missionary of Charity) who professed in 1970! (No Photo)
Celebrating 25 years: Sr. Marie St. Paul, PCPA at Our Lady of Solitude Monastery who professed August 22, 1997!
Celebrating 25 years: Sr. Bibiana Martinez Herrera, MMSCJ at St. Matthew Parish, Phoenix who professed in 1996!
Celebrating 25 years Professed: Beatrice Bempke, SIM (Secular Institute of Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ)!
We thank all our Jubilarians for their faithfulness to the Vowed Religious Life and for their spiritual motherhood as they have dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ and His Church in prayer, penance and service. Thank you for your witness!
As we await to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, let us turn to our Blessed Mother on this Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and be united with her, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Let us call upon the Holy Spirit to breathe in us, strengthen us, enlighten, guide and console us as strive to grow in love of God and love of neighbor. Come, Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Divine Love, the Spirit of Truth. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Savior, pray for us!
In the Peace of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our King,
Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM
Director of the Office of Consecrated Life