Dear Friends in Christ,
As we give thanks to God for our vocations, on this Feast of the Visitation, like Our Blessed Mother to Elizabeth, we rejoice and celebrate the Jubilee Anniversaries of our Religious of the Diocese of Phoenix! Two Sisters of each community share this anniversary of the same of number of years! This is a most unusual, rare, providential occasion! We have two PCPA celebrating 25 years of Vows, two Daughters of Charity celebrating 60 years of Religious Life and two Sisters of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrating 55 years of Religious Life! Today is the 25th Anniversary of First Profession of Vows of Sr. Faustina Marie, PCPA of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration at Our Lady of Solitude Monastry in Tonopah, AZ. Happy Anniversary, Sister Faustina Marie! Thank you for your fidelity as a Bride of Christ. Enjoy below her beautiful life story:
Born: March 21, 1975
Grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa
Entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Birmingham, AL in 1994
First Religious Profession: May 31, 1997- Feast of the Visitation of our Lady
Solemn Profession: May 19, 2002 Solemnity of the Pentecost
I have always loved the expression, “God writes straight with crooked lines!” Time and time again throughout my life, I have seen God’s mysterious plan unfold before my eyes. Indeed, He is full of surprises!
One of those surprises came in 2004, two years after I made my Solemn Profession. Long story short, the first Monastery of our Order of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, founded in Troyes, France, had closed in 1997, due to elderly sisters with poor health and a lack of vocations. A letter had been sent to all our monasteries throughout the world- United States, India, Bangladesh, Poland, Austria, Germany- asking if Sisters could be sent to France to help re-open it. I felt a tugging in my heart and the next thing I knew, I found myself flying across the ocean to a country where I did not even speak the language. Lord, are you sure about this?! (I remember a homily in which a priest spoke about Faith, using it as an acronym- Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him!)
The next 15 years proved to be quite an adventure- one of learning a new language, adapting to a different culture, living in an international community of Sisters that I had never met before. There were joys and sorrows, lots of hurdles to overcome but in the end God worked wonders! The Chapel and Monastery that we found empty and dilapidated were gradually transformed into a living and life-giving oasis of prayer for ourselves and for the faithful in the diocese of Troyes, France. I was grateful to be a part of this re-foundation which was a blessing for not only our Order, but for the Church and our Order as well.
Around the same time that I headed to France in 2005, Mother Marie Andre and a group of Sisters were founding a new Monastery in the Phoenix diocese. While we were an ocean apart, we were spiritually united before the Blessed Sacrament. Yet, my adventure in faith was not over! God surprised me once again, and through a turn of events, I found myself in the heart (and heat!) of the desert at Our Lady of Solitude Monastery. I have been in the diocese of Phoenix almost two years now- have seen my share of rattle snakes and scorpions- and look forward to each new day, to see how He will continue “writing straight with crooked lines” in my life!
This past Saturday, May 28th, a special Mass was celebrated for Sr. Faustina Marie’s 25th, “Silver Jubilee” Anniversary at Our Lady of Solitude Monastery Chapel in Tonopah which was very well attended. Here are captivating photos from this joyful occasion which are such a gift that I can share with all of you:
Mother Marie Andre, PCPA, Abbess of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery celebrates her 25th Anniversary on August 22, the Queenship of Mary! Here is her unique and inspiring story which she shares with us:
I am the third of four daughters. I had a wonderful life growing up all over California, in Northern Virginia and overseas in England and France because of my dad’s military duty. I give thanks daily for my parents and siblings, my friends and my religious Sisters in community and for all the opportunities that were given so generously to me. My youngest sister is also a Poor Clare nun and we are blessed to be together in our religious life. From the moment I arrived here in the Valley of the Sun on Foundation back in 2005 I have experienced daily God’s providence and protection in my life and in those of my Sisters in marvelous ways (most recently the construction and completion of our monastery). Because I have lived in so many different locales over my lifetime (even as a contemplative nun!) I have a special love for each place with Arizona at the top of the list, of course. I like what Bishop Olmsted said recently when he wrote in the diocesan magazine: ‘when God created the desert of Arizona, He was painting a parable of what it’s like to love Jesus faithfully.’ What a privilege and a blessing to live so intimately with the Lord in the consecrated life and in such an amazing place as this desert sanctuary where His Eucharistic Presence is enthroned and adored.
Sister Cabrini and Sister Mary Loretta of the Daughters of Charity at St. Vincent de Paul Parish and School are celebrating 60 years of Religious Life! Below are their photos and stories of their lives given to Christ:
Please find Sr. Cabrini and Sr. Mary Loretta’s stories in the file below:
Sr. Lynn Winsor, BVM and Sr. Joan Nuckols, BVM of Xavier Catholic Prep. School are celebrating 55 years! Thank you, Sisters, for your faithfulness and inspiring lives as Religious Sisters reflecting the love of Christ!
On Saturday, April 22, the West Valley Serra Club hosted the Serra Religious Appreciation Dinner to honor our Jubilarians at St. John Paul II Catholic High School in Avondale, AZ. It was a blessed event! Below, I would like to share the beautiful pictures of this momentous and joyful celebration:
Searching For and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Philippe
As we are facing so many challenges in our world today, I suggest this book that brings consolation. Peace of heart is what we all need and great confidence in God’s providence and will for our daily lives. Father Jacques Philippe gives us this advice and spiritual direction:
“And how does one grow in this total confidence in God; how can we maintain and nourish it ourselves? Certainly not only by intellectual speculation and theological considerations. They will never withstand the moments of trial. But by a contemplative gaze on Jesus.
To contemplate Jesus Who gives His life for us, nourishes us with “too great a love” that He expresses on the cross; that is what really inspires confidence. Would not the supreme proof of love – Greater love than this no man has than to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13) – untiringly contemplated and captured in a gaze of love and faith, fortify our hearts little by little in an unshakable confidence?” (p.34)
As we live each day with faith, hope and love, let us abandon ourselves to God’s providential care.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, Director of the Office of Consecrated Life
Diocese of Phoenix