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News Blog page 2                                                click on pictures to enlarge    

11.5.12.


Sister Susan Marie, from our monastery of Brooklyn, New York, who is the Second Federation President of the Visitation Order in the United States, was live on E.W.T.N. on May 9th. Interviewed by Fr. Mitch Pacwa S.J. sister spoke on the history & spirituality of our Order. Click opposite to hear the interview.
 





 





Sr. Susan Marie's interview
     

10.5.12.

On Wednesday Our Mother & Sr. Clare Chantal visited the Poor Clare monastery in Arundel to attend a Zither course for the day. They had a very early start to arrive in time for Lauds. It was attended by other Poor Clare sisters & Benedictine sisters. Actually called a Psalterium the zither gives a beautiful sound to accompany our Divine Office.
 



 
   



  


6.5.12.

It's a good year for ducks! Yesterday Dilly Duck hatched 12 baby ducklings in our
kitchen garden, a 'bumper crop'! She had
sat on them safely & protected in a nest
in the herb bed.They were a joy to see as they filed behind Dilly, in complete trust.
Thank you Lord for all your creatures
& for the gift of new life.
             







 















   

3.5.12.

Do we see a glass half full or half empty?  There are always 2 ways of looking at things. If it's a bad day for us then perhaps we find it hard to be positive & the glass will definitely be half empty. Having a positive attitude can really help us in life, it can change our perspective, make us see things in a completely different way. May is the month of Mary, the Mother of God. She always remained positive, accepting of God's will, unquestionably knowing that nothing could ever separate her from God's love, even during the greatest of sorrows. Oscar Wilde once wrote:
"Where there is sorrow there is holy ground."

 




click on the flower
to read a
Chinese Story


       



1.5.12.

See what we were up to on Good Shepherd Sunday.
 




 





Good Shepherd Sunday
   

30.4.12.

Last Thursday Mother Rita Elizabeth, a sister of the Anglican Order of the Sisters of Bethany, came for her annual retreat; we were pleased to welcome her again. The Sisters of Bethany were founded on the spirit of Our Holy Founder, St Francis de Sales, their
Rule adapted from our Rule & Spiritual Directory & so they are part of our extended family. Sister brought with her Sr. Elizabeth Pio & for over an hour she &
Sr. Mary Blogarina shared a very 'Bloggy' conversation! It's always good to swop ideas; how to do's, & how not to do's, with another. Each Blog is unique & personal but there's so much to learn from each other. The sharing was 'bloggerific' & great fun. Sr. Elizabeth Pio is hoping to start a blog on their website, check it out, click here -    Sisters of Bethany
 








       

29.4.12.

It's Good Shepherd Sunday, when we remember
all those who 'shepherd' others. For us it's a day
for thanking Our Mother for all she does for us
in so many ways. It's also a day to pray for
vocations, especially to the priesthood. Our
Parish Priest, Fr. Stephen brought Simon with
him for Mass this morning. Simon is one
of our Diocesan seminarians, in his final
year before being ordained, & as he shared
his vocation journey with us, we could feel
his enthusiam & joy.

Click opposite to read some thoughts
Our Mother shared with us yesterday.
 






 








to share
Our Mother's thoughts
click here
   




27.4.12.

45 years ago today Britain's Abortion Act
was passed in Parliament.
 








 

"You are the one 
who put me together
 in my mother's womb,
and I praise you
because of the wonderful way
 you created me.
My soul knows it very well.
Everything you do is marvellous
of this I have no doubt.
Nothing about me
is hidden from you,
I was secretly woven together
in the earth below....."
                         Psalm 139
   

23.4.12.

Today is the feast of St George, Patron Saint of England. It is also the birthday of Shakespeare,
who was born in 1564. In the plays of
Shakespeare there are many lines of
wisdom that we can ponder on & pray about.

In his play 'Richard 11'
"1 count myself in nothing else so happy
as a soul remembering my good friends."

In King Henry V1th
"O Lord that lends me life, lend me
a heart replete with thankfulness."

In Hamlet
"To thine own self be true
and it must follow, as the night the day,
thou canst not then be false to any man."












 













     

18.4.12.

On this day in 1955 Albert Einstein died. He is acknowledged as one of the worlds greatest scientists, yet as a young man he was turned
down when he applied for college in Munich
because it was said he 'showed no promise.'
He had a great sense of imagination &
creativity which enriched his scientific
knowledge. He once said "Only a life lived
for others is worthwhile."
May we always use the gifts, great or
small, that we have been given for the
glory of God & the benefit of others.











 







     

15.4.12

Fr Daniel O'Leary says "Words transform us.
Beautiful words redeem our spirit. They find
their way into places of hurt within us & heal
them. They slip past the sentries of the mind.
They are the kisses of the soul. They enter
our bodies like Holy Communion, & then they
do their fertile work. We live our days differently
when we carry living words inside us."

Using words we can become different people,
we can go to places otherwise impossible to
reach, transcend our limitations. Jesus is the
Word of God, all these weeks He has been
saying to us "Do not fear." Now as we put
ourselves in the place of Mary Magdalene &
He calls us by name, let us respond with the
words of St. Thomas, "My Lord & my God."


















         








14.4.12.

WE HAVE TWINS!
Our gentle God has given us the gift of 
new-born twin lambs this Easter week.
Is there anything more beautiful &
Spring-like than frisking lambs?
New life is all around us as we chant our Alleluias.







 








 
     


12.4.12.

Easter is the colour of Joy, the colour of Light,
the light of the risen Christ in our lives. This is
the season of Joy, the season of Alleluia!
The cuckoo has arrived, almost 3 weeks early,
singing at the top of his voice, giving us
the promise of Spring.
Let us, during these next 50 days before
Pentecost, spread a little of the Joy, a
little of the Light to those whom we meet,
because it's not ours to keep, but to give
& share with others.






click on picture to share joy







         

 







8.4.12.
   Easter

ALLELUIA!


Easter Blessings
to you all
& to those you hold in your hearts.











 






click here
to see our
 Easter preparations



click below to see the blessing of the
Easter fire
& Easter candle


Vigil 1


Vigil 2
     

6.4.12.   Good Friday

"What was our Lord doing during those three
hours on the cross?  He was offering sacrifices
of praise .... O God! How many loving tears He
shed during those three hours ... how many
and what kinds of pains pierced through
the Sacred Heart of my Saviour?"
                                               St Francis de Sales





 





click here to read
 Fr. Lou Fiorelli's sermon
for today
     

5.4.12.   Maundy Thursday

"In the Holy Eucharist Our Lord abases Himself
- if we may so express it - and changes Himself
into food, so that He may penetrate our souls
& unite Himself more intimately to the heart
& body of His faithful."
                                                          St Francis de Sales



   



Sr. Clare Chantal gave us a display at the back of Choir.  
    
click here to see it
   

3.4.12.

"The death  & passion of Our Lord  is the
sweetest & most constraining motive that
can animate our hearts in the mortal life."
                                               St Francis de Sales




           


2.4.12.

"Turn aside for a while from your daily
employment, escape for a moment from
the tumult of your thoughts;
put aside your weighty cares.
Let your burdensome distractions wait,
free yourself a while for God & rest in Him.
Enter into the inner chamber of your soul.
Shut out everything except God
& that which can help you in seeking Him.
And when you have shut the door, seek Him.
Then with your whole heart, say to God:
'I seek your face Lord, it is your face that I seek'
          '
I SEEK YOUR FACE LORD
           iT IS YOUR FACE I SEEK.'

                                             
St Anselm








    click on picture to read
    Fr. Jim's Homily yesterday


    


           

PALM SUNDAY

This week of Love . .

People in biblical times honoured the donkey.
The donkey was an animal of peace as opposed
to the horse; which was an animal of war,
 carrying soldiers into battle.

Jesus' act of riding on a donkey into Jerusalem,
 on an animal of peace, says that an important
 part of the Messiah's mission would not be to
rally people to the cause of driving
the Romans out of Palestine.

Jesus was not going to be a warrior king to
sit on a throne & to be served by the conquering Romans. Instead, He came to kneel on the floor
 & wash the feet of His subjects. Jesus didn't come
 to do battle. He wasn't riding on a horse.

He had come to rally his followers behind Him
 to do battle against poverty, hunger, hatred
& all forms of injustice & proclaim that
the kingdom of God was at hand.

Jesus hadn't come to condem people. He had
come to forgive them. Jesus hadn't come
to destroy peoples dreams. He had come to
 fulfil them in the most unimaginable way. It is this Jesus whom we greet today: Christ our King














        


             



31.3.12.


As we approach the most sacred days in the Church's year, as we prepare to walk with Jesus in His suffering, degradation & humiliation, we enter into retreat, we give ourselves extra time for prayer. We unite ourselves with the sufferings of Jesus in our anguished world.
As we stand before the Cross may our prayer change us, may it convert our hearts.




 



    

     

       

"This Congregation was founded spiritually on Mount Calvary, for the service of Jesus Christ crucified, in imitation of whom all the sisters must crucify their senses, passions & aversions for the love of their
Heavenly Father."
             St Francis de Sales


 click here to read a conversion story
       




28.3.12.

March 26th was the birthday of Robert Frost
1874 - 1963, an American poet, well-known for his depictions of rural life in New England. He wrote a beautiful poem about Spring that lifts our hearts.






In our grounds Spring is bursting forth, there are patches of primroses & daffodils everywhere. It's definitely the 'yellow season'. Sr. Paul Miryam was thrilled to find the first violets popping up on the paths, these flowers are very special to our Order, as this is the flower that St Francis de Sales wanted us to imitate; little, lowly & insignicent, yet when stepped on they give a beautiful perfume.

  "To those who love God it is always Springtime."
                                                               Cure of Ars



                        click here to see
                  our burst of Springtime
 









              






         



       

A Prayer in Spring


Oh give us the pleasure
in the flowers today;
and give us not to think
so far away.
As the uncertain harvest;
 keep us here
all simply in the springing
of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure
 in the orchard white
Like nothing else by day,
 like ghosts by night;
And make us happy
 in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating
 round the perfect trees.

And make us happy
 in the darting bird
That suddenly above
 the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts
 in with needle bill,
and off a blossom
 in mid air stands still.

For this is love, & nothing
else is love,
the which it is reserved
 for God above
To sanctify to what far
 ends He will,
but which it only needs
that we fulfill.
                     Robert Frost


       







26.3.12.
   Feast of the Annunciation

St Francis de Sales tells us "Oh how supremely did this young maiden love the Divine Spouse. And how supremely was she loved by Him, for at the same time that she gave herself to Him ... immediately He descended into her chaste womb & became the Son of her who called herself His servant."
Mary heard the Word, she received the Word & she responded to the Word.
Let that be our prayer today; that we respond with open hands & open hearts to all the Lord
asks of us.

       










        
 


" She feels the future
 stir within her womb
And gently weighs the promise
in her hands.
No more words now.

An angel stands beside
the chesnut fence,
the lawn of ordinary daisies.
You are here where she is
as you reach the highest stair
she welcomes you
 into her cell of prayer
the door, the window
& the listening ear.

She has swept out
all clutter from her mind
in an intense & still expectancy.
She waits, possessing
 such simplicity
that anyone that truly seeks
can find.
For anything can happen
 in this place -
The Lord is with you:
you are full of grace."
                           Fra Angelico
 
25.3.12.

We all try to do our best & sometimes we succeed but sometimes we are caught off guard & act, in retrospect, as we wished we hadn't. If we looked for the face of Jesus in all those we come in contact with then this world of ours would be a much gentler & joy-filled place. Mahatma Ghandi once said "If we don't find God in the very next person we meet, it is a waste of time looking for Him further." Click on the picture to read about Queen Victoria's experience.
       







     
22.3.12.

We never know the influence we have on the lives of others, but one of the best ways of evangelising, of spreading the Good News, is to be who we are, & as our Holy Founder says "And to be that well". Today three priests came to visit our dear Sr. Mary Catherine. Before she entered Sister was an Infants teacher & two of these priests were her 'little boys' whom she taught over 55 years ago, Fr. John, who is now a Canon at Southwark Cathedral & Fr. Francis O.Carm. with Fr. Geoff S.J. who was a teaching student with her. They all said Sister had influenced their young lives very much. As you can imagine there were many stories remembered & a great deal of laughter. Many years ago I read in a Readers Digest magazine some lines that have always stayed with me; that in this life we are as though in a bag of marbles. Marbles are round so they don't fit neatly together, edge to edge, they are free & brush against each other, rub up against each other, & in doing this they make each other shine. In this life we 'brush up' against so many people we meet each day. We may not speak, we may smile, we may give a helping hand but we'll never know until we reach Heaven how many lives we have changed because of that short encounter.

       













     

20.3.12.

Each week, during Lent we sing the Stabat Mater. This is a 13th century latin hymn which was introduced into the Liturgy gradually untill 1727 when it was prescribed as a Sequence in the Mass of Our Lady of Sorrows celebrated on September 15th. It is very beautiful & very solemn consisting of 20 verses describing the sorrows of Our Lady standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus. It has been performed by many artists with settings by many composers. Click on the picture opposite to hear Vivaldi's Stabat. If we feel anquish & suffering in our lives perhaps we too can stand at the foot of the cross with Mary.
       



Simeon blessed them & said to Mary His Mother "Behold this child is destined for the fall & rise of many in Israel & to be a sign that will be contradicted & you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed".
                    Luke 2:34-35


Click here to read
the Stabat Mater in English
 



    





 




17.3.12.
    Feast of St. Patrick.

Faith is a gift from God, & during these weeks of Lent we pray especially for all those who will be received into the Church this Easter. Today we had the privilege & great joy of welcoming Jane at our Mass this morning. She was received into the Church by Fr. Jim, made her First Holy Communion & received the sacrament of Confirmation. Her husband John, daughter Danielle & grandson Dillon were with her. What a wonderful celebration, what rejoicing there will be in Heaven. We wish her & all her family many blessings as she begins this new stage in her life-journey. God be praised!

         
















 
12.3.12.

Already our Sister Gardener, Sr. Josephine Margaret has begun to sow her seeds for the year. She does this task with great patience & faith, that the tiny, shrivelled seeds she places in the soil or in the seed boxes will grow & become what the picture on the packet shows. It's not an easy job; it sometimes requires re-planting, placing in a different soil, a more fertile ground, at the right time. And then she has to wait - perhaps that's the hardest part, just waiting.  She has dates for the best time for sowing, March 1st for the indoor tomatoes, March 15th for the outdoor ones etc. And so it is with us, we're all familiar with the quote from Ecclesiastes Ch.3. 'There is a season for everything.' Within Natures season of sowing & planting there is a parable for us.

The season of Lent invites us to sow seeds of conversion & repentance in good soil, to nourish them, to ask God to water them with His grace, & then to be patient with ourselves & wait as they develop & grow.

 

         











click here to see
a beginners lesson
in sowing lettuce seeds

   


















 


11.3.12.

Today we had the joy of welcoming some of our Daughters of St Francis de Sales for their monthly meeting. It was a beautiful Spring day, the sun shone & the birds sang as we shared together. God be praised for the gift of friendship, mutual support & love.
         





       
9.3.12.

At our Profession we each receive a silver cross. It is enscribed with various emblems. On one side is a large MA, the first two letters of the name of Mary. There are 3 flames around  the MA, these symbolize faith, hope & charity. At the bottom of the cross is a mountain, symbolising Mount Sinai; representing the old covenant & the olive branch springing from the mountain is a symbol of God's peace & mercy.

On the other side of the cross are the first 3 letters of the name of Jesus in Greek, IHS. The double cross above the H symbolizes union; our union with Christ & His union with the Church. The 2 flames on either side of the IHS represents the living fire of love which animates our lives. The 3 nails represent the 3 vows of Poverty, Chastity & Obedience which we make at Profession. Again the olive branch is there reminding us daily of God's peace & mercy.

Inside the cross are small compartments in which are placed relics of Our Holy Founders, St Margaret Mary & the Martyrs.
So you see the cross we wear is very symbolic. They have been passed down from sister to sister in each of our monasteries for over 400 years, since the time of our Holy Founders.

 
                           






'The everlasting God has, in His wisdom, forseen from eterrnity the cross He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost Heart'.
        St Francis de Sales






                    
         
3.3.12.

'There's music in the sighing of a reed;
there's music in the gushing of a rill;
there's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.'
                                                       Lord Byron

Music is a great joy to many, whether they listen to it, play it or sing. Here, in our monastery music is a very important part of our daily life. Singing the Liturgy, chanting the Divine Office, we praise God from our hearts.
On the 3rd March 1802 Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' was published. Click opposite to read the story of its composition.
   







 







                                       
                
Moonlight Sonata
 


27.2.12.


Our Mother shared these reflective thoughts with us as we journey into this first week of Lent. I wonder do we realize how much we reflect God to others?
           'And we, who with unveiled faces
                 all reflect the Lord's glory,
       are being transformed into His likeness
       with ever-increasing glory, which comes
             from the Lord, who is the Spirit.'
                                                  2 Corinthians 3:18
   



"Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world."
                 Hans Margolus


 







click here to read
Our Mothers reflections
 


26.2.12.

In recent years there has been more emphasis of 'taking on' rather than 'giving up' during these weeks of Lent. It was once said that we need to 'live attentively'. The Buddists have a practise called 'mindfullness'; to be aware of all life, to hear the silence, feel the cracks in the earth, look into each others eyes & to be conscious of each moment. Let's pray that Lent for us will be a place of deep stillness & attentiveness where we shall meet God.
   








 







click here to read
Fr. Ronald Rolheiser for Lent
 





23.2.12.


After a cold, dull day yesterday, today dawned bright & sunny. At recreation we went to see the snowdrops, now out in full glory. It was so warm, the birds were singing & the promise of Spring is just around the corner.
   








   








     

22.2.12.
   Ash Wednesday

Today we begin the season of Lent. This Lenten journey is also a symbol of our Christian pilgrimage through life, especially here in the monastery. We are called to contemplation, prayer & penance, to leave all behind, to follow Christ. In Lent, as well as our personal sacrifices, we leave behind some of the Liturgical rituals, the Alleluias, the Gloria, the Te Deum, all our festive chants. In some ways we become more grave - but with joy, & as within our religious life, we shall find that all we have given up will be returned to us a hundredfold.

In several of his Lenten sermons, our Holy Founder, St. Francis de Sales encourages us to fast from all that would lead us away from God; many of the little things in our daily lives. To embrace life in the desert so that 'He may speak to our hearts'. The desert may be for us a sign of deprivation, but God is never outdone in generosity & on our pathway through these weeks we shall still meet Him in His beauty, His gentleness & His love. In the story of Peter Pan, the children see Peter fly & they ask him to tell them how they too can fly. His answer comes "Think lovely thoughts." They do & they fly. As we fly through these Lenten weeks may we too have the grace to 'think lovely thoughts'.


   











click on picture to
'think lovely thoughts'



   








"These forty days symbolize the life of a Christian, of each one of us. If we do not struggle we shall not be victorious. And let us not entertain the vain hope of becoming saints in three months! Let us also shun spiritual avarice & the ambition which occasions so much disorder in our hearts.
May God be blessed. Amen."
         St. Francis de Sales
18.2.12.

On this day in 1654 Michelangelo Buonarroti died. He was one of the greatest artists, architects & sculptors that ever lived. Renowned for so many masterpieces he thought of himself primarily as a sculptor, one of his most famous pieces being 'The Pieta'. Michelangelo often saw potential in things that others could not see, once he was studying a large block of marble so intently that someone asked him what he was doing? He was looking at the grain of the marble & its strengths, & he said "I can see an angel imprisoned in the marble, & I must set it free."

How many things do we look at during our lives & some of us see beauty & potential & others see nothing?



     



















     
17.2.12.

Did you know that last week was 'Friendship week'? Did you hug someone? The good things about hugs are:

There's no such thing as a bad hug - only good ones & great ones. They're not fattening & they don't cause illness or tooth decay. They're all - natural - with no preservatives, artificial ingredients or pesticides. They're cholestral-free, naturally sweet, 100% wholesome. And they're a completely renewable natural source. They don't require batteries & are energy efficient. They're safe in all kinds of weather; in fact they're especially good for cold or rainy days. They're exceptionally effective in treating problems like bad dreams  or the Monday blues.
The moral is - never wait until tomorrow to hug someone you could hug today.
     









 
       



15.2.12.

Today we celebrate the feast of St Claude de la Columbiere. He was the spiritual director of one of our sisters, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque & it was to him that she revealed her revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


                             click here
                  to read about the life of
                St Claude de la Columbiere




     








 




     
12.2.12.

Do you ever sign your letters 'yours sincerely'? Do you ever talk about being 'sincere' about something? Over 2,000 years ago wealthy people would have a statue or a bust carved of themselves from marble or stone. It would take a long time & a lot of effort to complete the carving, chipping at the marble or stone, being very careful not to damage the work in progress, it would only take a second for the chisel to slip. But this did sometimes happen & rather than throw the damaged statue away after so much hard work, some sculptors would melt wax & mould it into where the damage was.

When buying the finished article the customer wouldn't be able to see the wax without looking very closely & carefully. In the warmth of their house, in the sunshine, sometimes the wax would begin to melt! A genuine statue would be without wax. The latin for 'without wax' is 'sine cera' - giving us the English word 'sincere'. A statue that was the real thing, genuine, would be without wax, sincere.

Perhaps sometimes how we seem isn't really who we are, perhaps sometimes we try to patch up bits of ourselves? Let's try to live 'sincerely', one day at a time.

 
     













   











'You are the Potter
we are the clay . . .



     
11.2.12.

On this feast of Our Lady of Lourdes we have to look back & see what's been happening over the past 2 weeks? On the 26th January we had the great joy of welcoming Lorraine & Eric Stamp as affiliated members of our Order. They have been friends of the community for many years, helping us in so many different ways. At the end of Mass we had a little ceremony at which they were presented with their crosses of Affiliation. May God bless them always.

After the whole country was threatened by very bad weather, blizzards & snow storms, we woke, last Sunday 5th February, to find we had deep snow, everywhere was muted by this very beautiful, white blanket. It's still on the ground as I write but we are gradually thawing out. The sun is shining making the snow glisten over the numerous animal tracks.

 

         













       


10.2.12.

The computer has been in intensive care for the past two weeks, having undergone a brain transplant. ie. a new hard disc. Some of the Data was irretrievable, so please be patient as we try to sort the website out. Have you missed us? We have missed you.



   






       
24.1.12.

In the preface to our Constitutions, Our Holy Founder, St. Francis de Sales tells us " Be valiant, firm, constant, unalterable, & so abide that nothing may separate you from the Heavenly Spouse who has united you together, nor from that union which can keep you united to Himself; so that having all but one heart & one soul, He Himself may be your only soul & heart."

Today we celebrate, with our sisters all over the world, the feast of St. Francis de Sales. Together, we give thanks for our vocation within the Church, we ask Our Holy Founder to bless our communities that we may each 'Live Jesus' where He has called us to be, & to enfold within that calling all those who journey with us in love & faith.
   











 


 and turn up sound


   







click on picture
to join in saying the Litany
with us

 
19.1.12.

I'm sure each one of us knows someone, a member of our community, a close friend, a family member, a work colleague who is suffering from cancer. When someone we love suffers, we suffer too. We bring them before the Lord in our prayer, we think of them throughout the day. Sometimes we ask that their pain be taken away, that we share in their discomfort, that they be given strength & courage to face each new day with whatever it brings.

We are making a Novena to St Francis de Sales - as we do every year - in these days preceding his feastday. We place specially into his loving Fatherly care all those we hold in our hearts & who, at this time have great need of healing.
       

14.1.12.

'Community is always poised between two poles: solitude & togetherness. Without togetherness community disperses; without solitude community collapses into a mass, a crowd. But solitude & togetherness are not mutually antagonistic; on the contrary, they make each other possible.

Solitude without togetherness deteriorates into loneliness. One needs strong roots in togetherness to be solitary rather than lonely when one is alone. Aloneness is neutral; loneliness is aloneness which is cut off from togetherness; solitude is aloneness supported by togetherness, blessed solitude.'
                     Bro. David Steindl-Rast O.S.B.

   












     

12.1.12.

The birds are singing as though it's Spring because the weather is so mild, & we had a go at singing yesterday when our good friends from the village, the 'Waldron Handbell Players' came to give us a Christmas recital, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon. It's a real art playing the handbells, but because of the pitch of the bells it's almost impossible to sing in tune with them! Still we had a go, click below to hear the results.

First carol

While shepherds watched their flocks


Good King Wenceslas

God bless you merry gentlemen

We three Kings


   























   

10.1.12.

The lace is off the altar, the Christmas decorations are down & packed away for another year, & we're back into 'ordinary' time. Ordinary time for the Churches year, children have returned to school & people have gone back to work. Here too in the monastery we have returned to the ordinary everyday tasks which each day brings. But in our hearts we try to retain some of the 'glow' which our visit to the crib brought us. Some of the wonder & awe of the Incarnation. We follow our star, praying that as well as guiding us throughout this coming year, it may shine brightly to guide others who walk with us our journey of faith & love.
   









     

8.1.12.
Feast of the Epiphany

Today we are celebrating the feast of the Epiphany. In his letter to the Ephesians St Ignatius (who died about 117) wrote:"A star shone forth in Heaven more brightly than words can tell, & it's strange appearance caused perplexity. And all the other stars formed themselves into a band about the star. But the star itself surpassed them all in it's brightness."

The first scientist to study this constellation was the German astronomer Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630.

We may become complacent about our faith & not think of the real challenges that becoming a disciple will demand of us. The wise men came to see Jesus & they 'returned home by another way.' Their lives had been changed & the old ways no longer worked for them. We don't know what those changes were but they must have been life-transforming. For us too the events of Christmas should be life-transforming. Once we've said our 'Yes' to Jesus, & affirmed our belief in Him, following Him, our lives also will be turned around, sometimes even turned upside down! We will need to travel our daily life's journey by a different route, as we learn to be witnesses to the Gospel message.                                                                                                                                                             

       




















                             





                           













2.1.12.

As the sun sets on 2011 we realize that the New Year will be a challenging time for many peope in many different ways, financially, health wise, in our homes, in family life & in the work place. Most of us make at least one New Year's resolution, whether we manage to keep it or not is another matter! But that's life isn't it - failing, falling, getting up & starting again. It's not the succeeding, it's the trying. Some may succeed: the majority remain 'tryers', and God loves 'tryers'. We recognise our weaknesses but don't give up.

In this New Year we wish you many things - all of them good - click on the picture opposite to see these New Year's wishes for you.

     












                       










 click here to read
 our Mother's reflections
on the last day of the year.
       
1.1.12.
Solemnity of the Mother of God

I asked the New Year for some motto sweet
some rule of life with which to guide my feet;
I asked & paused, He answered soft & low:
"God's will to know."

"Will knowledge then suffice, New Year?" I cried,
and ere the question into silence died
the answer came, "Nay but remember too,
God's will to do."

Once more I asked: "Is there no more to tell?"
and once again the answer softly fell:
"Yes this one thing
all other things above
God's will to love."

 


"The greatest title
that can be given
to the  Virgin Mary
is to name her
Mother of God."
    
St Francis de Sales







On January 1st 1612
- 400 years ago -
St Francis de Sales wrote
to St Jane de Chantal:
"May we live this year
that it may serve
as a foundation for eternity."



We wish you, your families
& all those you
hold in your hearts
many blessings
for the New Year.
   
28.12.11
Feast of The Holy Innocents

During this Octave of Christmas the Church celebrates the memory of the small children, two years & under, that were put to death by Herod around the neighbourhood of Bethlehem. Our world of today is unsafe for millions of children in many different ways. May we truly value all human life as God's gift, upholding its dignity in love & respect.

                                                
       








click picture to read
 Fr. Jim's sermon at Mass today



   





26.12.11.

Click opposite to share part
of our Christmas with us.
         


click on picture




to toast your toes
click here




click here
to hear Our Mother
practising a Carol for Mass



click here to share our
Christmas moments

turn sound up


click here to read Fr. Jim's
special Christmas Bidding prayers
   





25.12.11. 


   CHRISTMAS DAY

May your Christmas be blessed
with Joy, Peace & Love.
     





VENITE ADORAMUS








"This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard
& angels sing:
come greet the Infant Lord,
the Babe, the Son of Mary."

   
23.12.11.

This is the season of giving, of exchanging gifts with those we love. As we spend time wrapping up presents perhaps we could also spare some time to think about the gift we'll be bringing to Jesus in the manger. We all have something to offer, it doesn't have to be large. As we prepare to celebrate this great mystery of the Incarnation let's search our hearts to find that 'special something'. Many of us find it easier to give than to receive. Let us think of all we have received from God & how much more He still wants to give us - if we allow Him. We're in retreat for these three days before Christmas, it's a busy retreat, with so many to think of & pray for in our world.
       










'What can I give Him
poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,
yet what I can I give Him
give my heart.'












"What we are
is God's gift to us
what we become
is our gift to God."
                     Eleanor Powell

21.12.11.


       'God's finger touched her & she slept.'
                                         Alfred Lord Tennyson

Today we said our goodbyes to our dear Sr. Francis de Sales. We had a beautiful concelebrated funeral Mass & afterwards as Sisters & friends met for refreshments it was a time for shared memories & moments, still fresh in our hearts & in our minds about her. Opposite is Fr. Jim's sermon, the beautiful words given by our Mother during  the Mass & an article written in 1982 by the Daily Express newspaper which gives you an insight into who our Sister was. Serious, wise, humerous & witty, holy, earthy & open, with a twinkle in very blue eyes. A true Daughter of St. Francis de Sales, under whose patronage she placed herself & her life so long ago.

     Go softly dear Sister into God's gentleness.

   

































click here to read
 Fr. Jim's sermon


click here to read
Our Mother's words



click here to read the
Daily Express article



   
19.12.11.

During these 'almost Christmas' days some of us are in a mad frantic bustle. Things to do, things to buy, people to visit, presents to wrap. Some are planning 'get away holidays', others storing up for a few 'stay at home days'. It is a busy time - even in a monastery, but these days are precious, the Liturgy we sing five times each day is so very beautiful; it tells a story of expectancy, of hope & of promise. It declares that we are getting ready, we are preparing, & we beg the Lord not to delay, "Come Lord Jesus come! Maranatha." We too are busy in the kitchen making mince-pies, Christmas cakes & all the extra 'goodies' for the festive season. But we too need to claim some extra 'gentle time', to wait with Mary in faith & in love.
     








    







'Touch us gently, Time!
We've not proud
nor soaring wings:
Our ambition, our content,
Lies in simple things.
Humble voyagers are We,
O'er life's dim unsounded sea,
Seeking only some calm clime;
Touch us gently gentle time!'
              Barry Cornwall
                        aka B.W. Procter
18.12.11.

See how the Virgin waits for Him;
Mary in wonder waits for Him.
Shake off your slumber; come all full of wonder.
Jesus is coming as the Prince of Peace.

Gently she hears the distant breeze
swaying the silver olive trees.
What is she thinking as the sun is sinking,
waiting the birthday of her first-born son?

Now a new pattern on the loom;
now a new presence in the room.
Waking or sleeping, all her love she's keeping,
waiting the coming of the Son of God.












     

14.12.11.


On Sunday December 11th, at 5.40.pm our dear Sister Francis de Sales slipped into the embrace of God's eternal love. The sisters had prayed the Rosary, Litany & prayers for the dying around her bed & she peacefully slipped away.

Born in Adelaide, Australia, sister went, after the war, to work in the displacement camps in Germany coming over to England to work as a Social Worker in London, having previously trained as a nurse in Australia. She entered the Waldron Visitation aged 49yrs & was for many years Novice Mistress, Superior & Infirmarian. She loved working in the kitchen garden & especially cutting the grass on the sit-on mower.
Our dear Sister was very wise especially in her old age & was very much loved. She will be greatly missed.  May she rest in peace.
Her funeral in on December 21st at 11am.


       


























"When someone you love
becomes a memory,
the memory becomes
a treasure.
"



Click here to meet our
Sister Francis de Sales
   
11.12.11.

Cardinal Basil Hume once wrote "Everyone I meet tells me a little more about God - because everyone is made in His image."

This is what community is like, my sisters show me the face of God. Everyday I meet Him in them; what a marvellous gift that is for each one of us. On this 3rd Sunday of Advent our dear Sister Francis de Sales is very poorly, at 97 she is very frail, needing constant care & love. She calls forth in each one of us our 'God-given' gifts. We have been blessed over many years with her presence in our community, as she begins this last journey will you join us in saying a little prayer for her?
       
















" Love knows nothing about judgement,
is beyond reason and is
incapable of moderation."

              St. Peter Chrysologus


6.12.11.

We can all make a difference. When we choose to change ourselves, we never stand alone; all around us becomes changed too. In this season of preparation we are invited to change, to repent, to stand awake & alert; to make a difference & to create a space within ourselves & around ourselves so that there may be room to welcome Jesus into our daily lives. When we make a difference our world is changed, for the present & for the future. Click on the picture to read how one person made a difference.

 

       









 

3.12.11.


"People of Sion,
the Lord will come to save all nations,
& your hearts will exult
to hear His Majestic voice.
The people of God will sing songs of  joy,
like songs in the night,
they will have gladness of heart.
On every high mountain, streams will flow
& there will be light,
for you are healed by the Lord.
Yes, on every high mountain
streams will flow & there will be joy,
for you are loved by the Lord."
                                          Carmel Brett
       









To be comforted
is to be filled
with God's strength
& to be consoled
is to be filled
with God's light.

 









"Take comfort my people,
& cast aside all fear.
Rejoice amidst your waiting
for the Prince of Peace is near.
Bring a word of light resplendant
let our faith increase.
Take comfort my people
& sing a song of peace."

26.11.11.

This evening we welcomed in the beautiful season of Advent. As with every year, before 1st Vespers, we had a short liturgy with music, readings & a poem before lighting the first candle of our Advent wreath. We listened to the words of an inspiring poem, written by Sr. Peronne Marie Thibert from our monastery of St. Paul, Minnesota.     (click opposite to read it).

Somebody once said "To be a Christian is not to know all the answers but to begin to live in the part of the self where the question was born..." This is what Mary did, she certainly didn't have all the answers but she immersed herself in the moment. Her 'fiat' became for us the beginning of hope. Perhaps we can bring a little hope into someone's life today, tomorrow & during these special weeks ahead.

         








"Come Lord Jesus come, Maranatha."





 












Sr. Peronne Marie's poem



   
24.11.11.

I remember when I was only four,
Mother would bring me 'round to the store
and just outside of the church she'd stand,
"Come in", she'd say, reaching down for my hand.

And then when I started going to school,
she'd bring me down everyday as a rule,
but first the steps of the church we'd climb,
and she'd say "We'll go in, you've always got time".

Then I got real big, I mean seven years old
and I went by myself, but was always told,
when you're passing the church, don't forget to call
and tell Our Lord about lessons and all.

Sometimes I ran most of the way,
or met some guys & we'd stop to play,
but I managed to squeeze out time enough
to make the church, where I'd pant & puff.

And now it's sort of a habit I've got,
in the evening coming from Casey's lot,
though it takes me out of my way a bit
to slip into church with my bat & mitt.

But sometimes I see the other fellows
standing around, & I go yellow,
I pass by the door, but a voice within
seems to say, real sad "So you wouldn't come in?"

There are things inside of me, bad & good,
that nobody knows & nobody could,
excepting Our Lord & I like Him to know
and He helps me when for a visit I go.

He finds it lonesome when nobody comes
(there are hours upon hours when nobody comes)
and He's pleased when anybody passing by
stops in (though it's only a little guy).

I know what happens when people die,
but I won't be scared, & I'll tell you why,
when Our Lord is judging my soul, I feel
He'll remember the times I went to kneel.
                                         Fr. Patrick O'Connor


























                                       

 

 

21.11.11

Each year, on this day, we unite ourselves with our Sisters all over the world, when, after three days of retreat & Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament we each renew our vows publicly during Mass.                  

  God be praised!    

         

 

In his sermon for the feast of the Presentation, Nov 21st 1620, St Francis de Sales said “We ourselves have two tabernacles: one, exterior, which is the body & the other interior, which is the soul by which we live.  On this feast Mary came to offer & consecrate herself to the service of the temple. She was inspired to leave her parents house, to go to the temple, there to serve God more perfectly. This is indeed a great feast that we celebrate today. It is not so new; the Greeks mentioned it & Pope Sixtus V re-established it. It is for you, my dear Sisters, a very solemn day, inasmuch as on it you come to offer yourselves to the Divine Majesty in imitation of the glorious Virgin Mary, or rather to renew your offering that you have already made.

By the renewal of vows, my dear daughters, you are going to gain strength & bind yourselves again to the service & good pleasure of Our Lord. For certainly for as long as we live we shall have need of renewing ourselves & of beginning over.  Make your renewal then, with a great fervour of spirit, a profound humility, & an ardent charity. Accompany this glorious Virgin; place your hearts & your vows between her hands, & she will present them to her Son, who will receive them & offer them to His Eternal Father, who with Him & the Holy Sprit will bless you.”

 

       

16.11.11.

As the surrounding countryside surrenders itself to the changing face of the year & the trees change their clothes, so it is with some of us, in the autumn days of our lives. With long years we may have grown a little less upright, our branches become a little more bent & our leaves may have changed colour & become a little drier. We may be sad that the first green suppleness has passed, but there is such a deep beauty to autumn. Look  around where you live & see the landscape, aglow with golds, bronzes & red hues. Such richness ablaze before our eyes. And so it is with our autumn years; we have a crispness in our lives, we have a wisdom of ‘being,’ of experience & of knowledge not found in books but in life itself. As we approach Advent it is a good time to belong to the ‘autumn years brigade,’ to wait with Mary in patience for the weeks ahead. To know that our God will still surprise us, will continue to paint His colour in our lives that we may become part of the glorious landscape of life.

   




click here to view
God's handiwork




















'Autumn is the second Spring
when every leaf is a flower.
'
   

 

12.11.11.

'Do not be afraid about what might happen tomorrow, the same loving Father who takes care of you today will take care of you tomorrow & everyday. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then & put aside all anxious thoughts & imaginations.'

                                           St. Francis de Sales

   





     

9.11.11. 

We often get asked "What do you do all day, what is your work?" Of course our first work is PRAYER, this is our 'raison d'être'. But we also do the same work as do millions of other people in our world. Ordinary everyday work; cooking, washing up, cleaning, washing, ironing, sewing, gardening, office work etc. In fact anything we are asked to do. It's all part of community life, it encompasses our vows. We also enjoy a creative side to our work ethos, for some that may be sitting in front of a computer, for others, music, liturgy, writing, soap-making, baking, card-making or knitting. We offer our work as a living prayer.

     









Click here to see
'The work of our hands'








           
                               
   
         





"The sisters value every task
whether it be working
with hands or minds, that
is done for the needs
 of the community or to
provide it with resources.
So they share the condition
of so many men & women
who bear the weight of labour
that is often monotonous
& heavy but is necessry
for the life of humanity.

Constitutions.
   

6.11.11. 

In our daily lives how fortunate we are if we have someone who thinks of us, remembers us, and prays for us. Do we then realize the richness of this blessing if it happens after we have died, after we have journeyed into the eternity of God’s love? Prayer is so powerful & it is what will get us all to Heaven. Empathy is your pain in my heart. We can empathize with all those who need our prayers to help them reach their Heavenly home. How simple it is throughout the day to whisper a little prayer for those who have died & have no-one to pray for them. How easy to have compassion and to walk with them on their journey to God. Join us today in saying a little prayer for the Holy Souls.         

 

 





‘Life is eternal, love is immortal, & death is only a horizon … & a horizon is nothing but the limit of our earthly sight.'

     
                                       

3.11.11.

Last Saturday 6 of us went to Worth Abbey, a large Benedictine monastery & prestigious boy's school in West Sussex, where we attended a day for the Religious of our Diocese with our Bishop. This usually happens twice a year, &  the theme this time was 'What our lives say'. The speaker was Angela Graham, a journalist, television producer & university lecturer on journalism & documentary-making among other things. It was well attended, & it was good to see 'old' friends from many different religious congregations. Angela's talk was wonderful; inspired & prayerful. Click opposite to see a mini-précis.

   


























click here
 & ask yourself the questions
   
31.10.11.

Life has become so fast, our days have become so full. We rush here & there, try to pack so much into each day. Here are some words of wisdom Sr. Mary Joseph has remembered from when she was young!

'I have only just a minute,
only 60 seconds in it.
Forced upon me, can't refuse it,
didn't want it, didn't choose it,
but it's up to me to use it.
give account if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute
but Eternity is in it!'


   












         
22.10.11.

Yesterday we had a full house. Fr. Lou Fiorelli, an Oblate father of St. Francis de Sales flew in from America on his way with Mike Moran, a Son of St. Francis de Sales, to give a workshop in Rome to the S.M.M.I. sisters. They stayed overnight & yesterday 10 of our Daughters of St. Francis de Sales joined us for the day. Father gave us a talk in the afternoon & Fr. Jim & Lorraine joined us for that. It was a wonderful & inspiring 24 hours. Renewing friendships of many years & sharing the richness of our Salesian spirituality. God be praised!
     

















click here
to see more
Salesian smiles

         
16.10.11.

Isn't the Providence of God wonderful? Each day we have proof of His presence in our lives in so many small ways. Often it's easier to see this in retrospect, to look back over the years & recognise His loving care. Last week we welcomed Fr. Jim Hurley as our Chaplain, & for us he is a gift from God. A priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, we've known Father Jim over many years & so it is  a great joy for us to welcome him to Waldron. He has also been appointed as Vicar for Religious for the Southwark diocese.
     




           

4.10.11.



Today our dear Sr Josephine Margaret celebrated her 80th birthday. Sister is our gardener & spends many happy hours among the weeds, vegetables & flowers. With her green fingers she is always busy & likes nothing better than to don her long waterproof trousers, wellies & gardening gloves & set to work. Paulette knitted her a hat for the garden!
     











         
30.9.11.

Tomorrow Fr. Antonino leaves us to return to his native Italy, where he is studying for a Ph.D. He has been with us for a month, celebrating Mass each day. It has been a joy to meet him & our prayers go with him for his studies & future apostolates.


Also tomorrow evening Sr. Mary Blog-arina begin her annual retreat, so please keep her in prayer & - watch this space!
     







             
25.9.11.

It's very much the fashion nowadays to be 'into' Genealogy. It seems as though everyone is looking for their roots, searching their past, finding their links. There is a great thirst in our world to 'belong', to be part of something larger than ourselves. We have family trees, where we can see at a glance in which direction our family expands. In religious life, we too, have a family tree where we can see the grace of God working throughout the branches, spreading the charism of our Order into the lives of others, & they in turn do the same. There were many Congregations originating from the 19th Century that were founded on the the Spirit of St Francis de Sales. Click opposite to see.
     







                                   
     
                        
                 
20.9.11.

Our Holy Founder, St. Francis de Sales, gave our Order the name 'The Visitation of Holy Mary' & so the mystery that is ours is that of Our Lady, forgetful of self, hurrying to visit her cousin, bringing Jesus to St Elizabeth. We are all called to do this, to bring Jesus to those whom we meet each day, whether we know them or not. It is our apostolate to be ministers of these 'Eucharistic' moments. Because of these 'Eucharistic encounters' lives can be changed, we can become channels of God's love & benediction in so many small ways.
     

click on picture
             
14.9.11.

How big is your heart? I remember being told in nursing school that if you put your two fists together that's the size of your own heart. The Sacred Heart of Jesus encompasses the whole of creation. Are you willing to let your heart grow? Click on the puppy opposite to read about a little girls dilemma with size.
                     
11.9.11.

Today we light a candle in our hearts for all those who suffered & died in the terrorist attack on America on September 11th 2001.

We light a candle & remember those who still live & suffer & whose lives are changed forever because of the events of that day.

We light a candle & remember all those who selflessly risked their lives for others on that day.

We light a candle for all those who wake today with violence in their hearts, that they may have a conversion.
       



click candle
           
9.9.11.

Yesterday evening we had a Rosary service in honour of Our Lady. Then very early this morning our dear Sister Anne Jacqueline left us to return to her monastery of Boulogne. It has been a joy having her with us & her English is very much improved. We hope she will visit again next year.
       
























   
8.9.11.

Today is the feast of the Birthday of Our Lady. Celebrated since the 6th century, it was formally declared by Pope Pius IXth in 1854 that Mary was conceived without sin as a special grace because she was chosen to be the Mother of God. Every human birth brings new hope to our world, every child can be a channel of love & peace, a source of great joy. Our Blessed Lady has many titles, lovingly given to her, click the icon opposite to read some of them.
       


turn sound up










"A privilege which Mary
 had above all creatures
is that no one else ever
gave himself so perfectly
or so absolutely to the
Divine Majesty as she did.
She was more perfectly
 obedient to the word of
God than any other creature."
                  St. Francis de Sales
   
2.9.11.

A quiet, gentle flame, flickering in the darkness. Sometimes close to going out but then it gives a little leap & the flame becomes strong again. Put it on the windowsill & it will give light to passersby. It gives witness of presence, just a very small, simple thing, a flickering flame. Is this what our prayer is like within the Church, flickering, sometimes stronger than others, but always there, continuous? Allowing us & others to touch the divine, to know the presence of Jesus? Because our prayer is a response to Jesus' invitation to us, it becomes blessing, this small spark becomes divine.
       



click on candle
           
1.9.11.

The first day of September & last night at recreation we were in the kitchen preparing beans while Sr Ann Jacqueline entertained us with an African religious song, in french. Click opposite to see it
                     
29.8.11.

Did you ever play marbles when you were young? Even if you didn't perhaps you had some, swopped some, admired the way the light reflected through the glass? At one time they used to be a little boys prized possession. The 'red marbles' story opposite is full of goodness & kindness , goodness expressed during hard times & something for us to think about.
Click on the marbles to read.
                   

25.8.11.


"Prayer .... is a simple conversation in which the soul lovingly speaks with God concerning His most loving goodness so as to be united & joined to that goodness."
                                     St Francis de Sales

"Prayer is a hidden manna, neither known nor valued save by those to whom it is given, & the more we taste it the more does our appetite for it grow."
                         St. Jane Frances de Chantal

By vocation we are called to contemplative prayer, it is the centre of our existance here in the monastery. We are fortunate to have places of beauty, hidden places within our garden where we can make our prayer surrounded by the awesomeness of Gods creation; we can unite ourselves to Him in an endless song of praise & thanksgiving.

Would you like to join us for a few hours, for a day, for a week or for life?




       





click on picture &
 turn sound up


           
15.8.11. 

Each day we open our newspapers & find headlines which disturb & distress. Good news seldom makes the front pages, it is perhaps more often found tucked away, a small column towards the back of the paper. But the more we search for it the more likely we will find it, & sometimes in the most unlikely places. It's the same with beauty, it's there before our eyes if we just look. Everything in life can be a beatitude. Our minds & hearts just have to be 'tuned in' to receive these blessings, to recognise them & to enable the beauty of them to nourish our souls.
        click on picture


           
12.8.11.

United with our Sisters all over the world, today we we celebrate the feast of Our Holy Mother, St. Jane Frances de Chantal. Together with St Francis de Sales she founded our Order of the Visitation in 1610. Before her death in 1641, she had founded 74 monasteries. Wife, mother, widow & religious, she is a role model for so many today.

                  click here to read
           St Jane Frances de Chantal

   



"We have no other tomorrow
than that of
Divine Providence."

St Jane Frances de Chantal














'... she became a true servant
of the covenant.
 And so Jeanne took the road
that led to these mountains,
 in the same spirit as
the Virgin of the Annunciation
 who went to Elizabeth:
 submissive to the Word,
 wrapped in adoration
of the Incarnate Word.'
           Blessed John Paul II

     


6.8.11.


Today we spent over 6 hours  in America!
We joined with our sisters, friends & Associates in the United States, via video-link, for the 29th Salesian Conference on the spirituality of Sts. Francis de Sales & Jane de Chantal. A wonderful simulcast Presentation given in Wilmington Delaware, by Fr. Eunan McDonnell, a Salesian of Dom Bosco, & good friend of our community. We shared the day with them, via the internet & our projector.

Father's Presentation was headed -
                       'God
desires you'
 with sub headings of -
'The Human Heart',
'Heart speaking to heart',
'The Heart of God',
'The Heart of Jesus',
& 'A Communion of hearts'. 
The simulcast was linked live to 8 other locations in the U.S.A.


     






























     
1.8.11.

Last night at recreation we went for a walk around the grounds, we ended up in the kitchen garden where some of us did some work & some of us just had fun!
     















click below


evening recreation
     
31.7.11.

Today we heard that in the early hours of this morning our dear Monsignor Terry Stonehill died. For many years the Vicar for Religious in our Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, he was a very good friend to our community & to so many. He had a tremendous love of Our Lady, & over the years led many pilgrimages to Marian shrines, he also had a great devotion to St. Therese of Liseux & led a special pilgramage to Liseux each year. May Our Lady & all the Saints & Angels welcome him to his Heavenly home. May he rest in peace.
                     
30.7.11.

Today dawned warm & sunny, as we kept our summer recreation day which we have each year around the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16th. Because normally we have all our meals in the refectory in silence, on days like this we eat 'al fresco'. And to save any of the sisters having to cook, this year we had a MacDonalds day!
It was great fun, made even more so because the staff at McDonalds, on hearing we were having a fun day gave us balloons, which we launched into the sky as you can see opposite.
         










Click below


 McDonalds day


Balloon launch
turn up sound
         
29.7.11.

St Francis de Sales says " Never think that distance of place can ever separate souls which God has united by the ties of His love. The children of the world are all separated one from another because their hearts are in different places; but the children of God, having their heart where their treasure is, & all having only one treasure which is the same God are consequently always joined & united together. O how good it is to love on earth as they love in Heaven, & to learn to cherish one another in this world as we shall do eternally in the next."
                                    St Francis de Sales
          click below


friendship
           
25.7.11.

Last night we watched a wonderful DVD 'Of Gods & Men' by Xavier Beauvois. It was based on the true story of the lives & maryrdom of 8 Cistercian monks of Tibhirine, Algeria in 1996. It was very moving.

Afterwards as we closed the windows the night sky was magnificant - & in it we really could 'behold the splendour of God'.
Click opposite
                     
24.7.11.

Our Mother gave us a beautiful talk on 'The Sacrament of the Present Moment'. To share it click opposite.
                     
22.7.11.

Do you remember last September's picture of a heart-shaped potato that Sister Josephine Margaret dug up in the kitchen garden? Two days ago she dug up a 'hugging carrot'! Or perhaps you think it looks more like a mother with her child. I wonder what else is going on under the soil in our kitchen garden? Watch this space!
         


           
17.7.11.


Do you know the beautiful piece of light, classical music 'In a Monastery Garden'? Composed by Albert Ketelbey in 1915, after a visit to a real monastery garden.

Click opposite to find out what happens in our monastery garden & grounds.
       












 










What goes on in our
monastery garden

 
Part 1


Part 2
         

13.7.11.


It's been a busy few days. On Sunday we welcomed back Sr. Ann Jacqueline from our monastery of Boulogne, for a 2 month stay to improve her English. Sister visited last year so it didn't take long for her to feel at home again. Then on Monday we welcomed Sr. Mary Aniela from our monastery of Marclaz in France. She has come for 10 days to celebrate her Ruby Jubilee today, with us & with her family. The sun shone & it was a day full of blessings & great joy for Sister, her family & for our community.

       






Click below

Sr. Mary Aniela's Day
















Click below

Renewing Vows

Bidding Prayers

Offertory

Ave Maria on the zither

Magnificat
         
9.7.11.

It is said that a weed is just a flower in the wrong place. Tisha, one of our retreatants, worked very hard last week during her stay, to clear some of the brambles away from the borders around the front lawn. They have large thorns, go deep & have many runners so it's a challenging job. After Tisha left we found she had composed this 'Prayer for the Diligent Bramble'.
Click on picture .
                       
5.7.11.

"We learn to welcome in depth those moments of grace which come through daily events & encounters."                   Mission & Spirit of the Order
                                             
There's always work to be done, both in the garden & in the monastery. The vegetables & fruit are pouring in, we have abundant crops this year, despite a water shortage. Our retreatants sometimes like to join us in helping, & it's always a joy to include them in our daily life in so many little ways.
       













 




















           
             




















 
















Click below

U.S.A. Gathering
           
25.6.11.

We are made in the image & likeness of God. Do you ever look at the faces of strangers, those who you may never meet again? Sometimes within those faces we may catch a glimpse of another dimension, we may really meet the 'face of God.'

Click on picture opposite
                   
21.6.11.

"When my mother is up on the roof frantically telling me to beware of humans with cameras, & at the same time I can see she has a tasty titbit in her beak for me, what's a chap to do except hide behind a dustbin! She's been trying to get me to fly for days, my brothers & sisters have flown the nest, but I haven't got that much courage yet. So I'll just sit here for a bit longer & then . . . . . "
       


























         


19.6.11.

Trinity Sunday.

It was on Trinity Sunday 1610 that we were founded. Two of the shortest prayers we say everyday are in honour of the Blessed Trinity. We make the sign of the cross & say:

    In the name of the Father & the Son
                  & the Holy Spirit

               Glory be to the Father
                      & to the Son
                 & to the Holy Spirit

We often say them at the beginning & the end of our prayers.  But they are each a prayer in themselves, & invoking the Blessed Trinity makes them powerful prayers. So simple to remember, so easy to say as a mantra. In thinking what we are doing either as we make the sign of the cross or as we bow at the Glory be we are able to unite ourselves with the Holy Trinity.

       























Litany of the Blessed Trinity
     
14.6.11.

In a few days Fr. Martin will be leaving us, he arrived from Poland for his first visit to England 4 weeks ago. Ordained in 2005 Father is studying for his Ph.D & will have his final exams a couple of days after he returns home to Lublin. In the Autumn he goes to the Holy Land to study for 3 years. We have been grateful for his prayerful presence, celebrating Mass for us each day & we'll miss his smiling face.
       























 To see Fr. Martins goodbye
click here
& turn volume up
         

 

11.6.11.     EVE OF  PENTECOST 

The Easter season is almost over, the many Alleluias have been sung. But in our lives we need to still be 'Easter people', to spread the fire of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim His Good News to all whom we meet & to be witnesses in our world to the fact that Jesus is risen & here among us now.

We have been in retreat for 3 days preparing for this great feast of Pentecost. Asking God to send us the Holy Spirit, that with Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety & Fear of the Lord we may be able to live our Consecrated lives better. We ask these gifts for all of you who are reading this, our 'Blog community.' We are happy to welcome our group of Daughters of St Francis de Sales for the day, to join us in Adoration, Liturgy, recreation & dinner. It's also another day for Billets. See opposite for a few words from Fr. Michael Murray, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales.

 

       
































Pentecost sermon





         

6.6.11.

Today has been a special day for us. In joy & with grateful hearts we have been celebrating the anniversary of our first three sisters who made their Consecration in 'La Gallerie', Annecy, 400 years ago, 6.6.1611. Srs. Jane Frances de Chantal, Marie Jacqueline Favre & Jeanne Charlotte de Brechard were the 'first fruits' of our Order, after which so very many were to follow. We thank God for their faithfullness, courage & holiness which enabled the Visitation to flourish throughout the world.
We had a beautiful sung Mass, an exhibition at the back of the Choir & Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament all day.
Click opposite to read an account by Elizabeth Stopp of that special day so long ago.



       































6th June 1611.
         
31.5.11.
Feast of the Visitation

Today our whole Order celebrates the feast of the Visitation. We unite ourselves with our sisters all over the world as we thank God for our vocation, continuing to say our 'Yes - Fiat' daily, & place our world under the maternal care of Mary our Mother.  The mystery of the Visitation takes place for all of us every day as we encounter each other, as we bring the Jesus within us to our neighbour, by our words & actions. So we too, can say with Mary, the words of the Magnificat, praising God for all He does in our lives. Click opposite to read an extract taken from Caryll Houselander
       




"My soul glorifies the Lord
& my spirit exalts
 in God my Saviour.
He has looked
on the lowliness
of His handmaid,
 from this day forward
all generations
will call me blessed".

















click below for

Visitation article
         
25.5.11.

Today we had a gardening day. The sun shone, & there was a breeze in a cloudless blue sky. Just the weather for being outdoors. Some weeding, path clearing, & watering got done, also a bonfire. It's a long time since we had a good shower of rain so the soil is very hard. But we all enjoyed it & had a Barb-b-q dinner in the kitchen garden. It was a good day to praise the Lord for many things, for laughter, community, & the beauty of all His creation.
       


























click here
 for gardening day
         
20.5.11.

In the last 24 hours the ducklings in the kitchen garden have hatched.  We have 7 beautiful ducklings & 1 proud mother.
       
























         
19.5.11.

On the 13th April you met some of our French sisters. Here are the rest. Click on the picture opposite & turn the sound up.
       











           
18.5.11

"When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open, and love steps forth to heal everything in sight."
                                                       Michael Bridge
       


Click on picture
           
       




our sisters part 1


our sisters part 2














                                   

17.5.11.


Click opposite to meet
 our Spanish sisters.
Turn sound up.














                                     
 
















           








15.5.11.


Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. It doesn't seem a whole year since I last wrote that as one of the first blogs on this website.  We always celebrate this Sunday, which gives us the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, as a special day when we say 'Thank you' to Our Mother for her care of our community. We garland a shepherds crook with flowers from the garden, we sing & we draw billets. Billets are small slips of paper on which are short sayings. We have them for various feasts throughout the year. The ones for today were painted many years ago by one of our sisters & are beautifully done.  On the front are different lambs & on the back a saying relevant to the lamb.












       




































     
13.5.11

In 1610 Our Holy Founder, St. Francis de Sales gave us the name of 'Daughters of Holy Mary'. Three times each day we recite an Anthem to Our Lady.  As it's Eastertide now we say the Regina Coeli. At 6.30am. 12.30. & 6.30pm Sister rings the gong & wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we stop & unite ourselves for those few seconds with Mary.

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, when we remember, in Portugal, Our Lady appearing to three small shepherd children in 1917. Today we ask her to be specially with all those who have need of a mother, who awake this day in distress & worry, in sorrow & despair. We ask Mary of the Visitation to be a Mother to all who call on her today.
       














Regina Coeli


O Queen of Heaven rejoice,   
  Alleluia!
Because He whom you
 were chosen to bear,
Alleluia!
Has risen as He said,
Alleluia!
Pray for us to God,
Alleluia!
For the Lord has truly risen,
Alleluia.
       







10.5.11.

When you begin to knit something do you always know what it's going to turn out to be - hopefully? Sr. Clare Chantal is knitting a 'mystery'. Last night at recreation she told us she knew what it wasn't - it wasn't a hat or a tea cosy, but what it is?

Any suggestions please?

Then it began raining & we went rainbow-hunting & found a truly beautiful bow bathed in evening light which faded just as we went to Compline.

























       





















       
                     

9.5.11.

To meet some of our sisters of northern Italy click opposite. Turn sound up.























our sisters