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31.3.13.
                     Easter Sunday

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! It's great to be able to sing this joyful phrase again. Our Divine Office & Liturgy resounds with it at every opportunity, as though making up for 6 weeks of Lent!
                     We wish you & all your loved ones
                       many blessings this Easter-tide.
         


click picture &
turn sound up
  click here
to read
 Fr. Jim's sermon 
 
28.3.13.


Today is the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Francis de Sales tells us "Jesus comes to us - this beloved of our souls  - & finds our hearts all full of desires, affections & petty wishes. This is not what he seeks, for He hopes to find them empty, that He may make Himself their Master & Ruler."

               



     
  24.3.13.

We are in retreat for the whole of this week. Time for extra prayer, & amid the hustle & bustle of all that's going on in our lives right now, time to enter a still place & in gentleness & quiet to unite ourselves & all the sufferings of our world with our suffering Lord.
               

     
 


23.3.13.

As we watched the Holy Father's Inauguration Mass on the feast of St Joseph, his words reminded me of the prophet Micah's words, giving us the 3 qualities necessary to live a good life; simple words that speak volumes, "To act justly,to love tenderly & to walk humbly with our God." As we approach this last week of Lent - Holy Week, perhaps it is a good time to really digest the Pope Francis's words words. He called us to take on the role of protectors "Today, amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope. To be men & women who bring hope to others, to protect creation, to protect eveyone & look upon them with tenderness & love. To open up a horizon of hope, to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds." He stressed that we must not be afraid of goodness & tenderness & must protect with love, all that God has given us. A beautiful challenge for these very special days as we begin the journey of Jesus' passion.




               










     
  18.3.13.

Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of St Joseph & we have the Inauguration of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis. What a wonderful day of celebration for us all. How excited our sisters in Argentina must be. We have a monastery in Pilar, near Buenos Aires, (our Holy Father's recent Bishopric) & in Rio Cuarto.
     




click here to hear
Joseph's song
 
  13.3.13.

HABEMUS PAPAM

Praise the Lord!
         




       
 
10.3.13
.

Bat-ing-ham Palace is almost finished, the workmen ran out of cladding, so once this is remedied, plus fitting the doors & gutters, hopefully by mid-week, all will be ready. Click 'We're Moving' then 'The Future' to see the progress.
         






       
  6.3.13.

Our grounds are full of snowdrops, they are the first flowers to make an appearance at this time of the year, & a welcome sight after the winter barreness. They even make an appearance through the snow, the fragile white bells blooming from the cold earth, ringing to waken nature from it's winter sleep. Their latin name 'Galanthus' comes from 'gala', milk, & 'anthus', flower. I found 3 small legends about them. Firstly when Adam & Eve were expelled from paradise it was during a heavy snowstorm & it was very cold. A few snowflakes, while watching Eve, became frozen & decided to turn into snowdrop flowers to end the long winter. So the Snowdrop is a flower of hope. The 2nd legend says the godess Flora gave a carnival costume to all flowers, Snowdrop received the white one which he shared with Snow, they played & danced together & enjoyed each others company so much that now every Spring they are together. Lastly there is a Russian legend that once apon a time Grandmother Winter & Grandfather Wind & Cold decided not to let Lady Spring come to earth. All the flowers became scared of Winter & wilted. Snowdrop was the only brave flower to straighten up & show it's petals. As a result Father Sun noticed it, warmed the earth & let Lady Spring arrive.


 



















     
 


1.3.13.


We live through the seasons of life just as we live through the seasons of the year, and like nature's seasons they are continually changing, challenging, unpredictable & often surprising. So these early days of Lent have proved with the Holy Father's news.  Every Thursday, before the first Friday of the month we have a Holy Hour. Last night we had a special one, a time before the Blessed Sacrament, when we held the Holy Father in prayer. We enfolded him in love & gratitude as he laid down his Office. Our prayers continue for him as he embarks on this new & different chapter in his life's journey. On February 2nd this year, the Feast of the Purification, & a special day of prayer for Religious, Pope Benedict gave a beautiful homily, part of which can be read if you click the picture opposite.




       



















 
 
27.2.13.

'Almighty & everlasting God,
who has given your faithful servant Benedict
grace to maintain his faith & hope in you
amid the labours of his apostolic ministry;
graciously bestow upon him, we pray,
the consolations of your Holy Spirit
and uphold him in serenity of life.
Through Christ Our Lord.'
                                         Amen     
Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI at the conclusion of
his ministry as Bishop of Rome & Supreme Pontiff.
     


         





 
 
24.2.13.


             "I will lead her into the desert
                 and speak to her heart."

                                         Hosea.

In Lent God leads us into the desert. In this lonely, barren place we are able to see things more clearly because there are fewer distractions, so be sure you have your eyes, & the eyes of your heart, opened wide.
             





click on picture

 
  20.2.13.

Lent is also known as a 'little springtime.' Isn't that lovely? Spring is the season of newness, the new birth of much of nature, we find buds on the barren trees, we see the spring bulbs just about popping their heads above an often frozen soil. We hear the birds singing, it won't be long before they'll be nest-building & egg-laying. For us too Lent can be a time of new life, bursting forth from our winter barreness. A time of renewal, of casting aside our 'yesterdays' & building on our tomorrows while living today.
         


















The Snowdrop

Many many welcomes,
February fair-maid!
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the colt time,
Prophet of the gay-time,
Prophet of the May-time,
Prophet of the roses.
Many Many welcomes,
February fair-maid.
           Lord Alfred Tennyson





  17.2.13.

We went to see how the work was progressing down at St Josephs today. Go into the 'The Future ' of 'We're Moving' to see what we found.
               




click on picture

 
 
12.2.13.
   Ash Wednesday

Today we remember who we are & who God is, & what He has done for us. The ashes we received this morning are a sign of  humble thanks for the new life we have in Christ. Yesterday we enjoyed pancakes, today we 'enjoy' ashes. Everyday this Lent let us 'enjoy' something, be it a gift we receive or a gift we offer to the Lord.

           



click on picture to read
Fr Jim's Lenten sermon
from last Sunday


 
 
11.2.13.


"If the Lord does not build the house, then in vain do its builders labour." Team work, tenacity & Mother Nature make for a wonderful team. Click on the picture opposite & turn up sound to marvel at God's handiwork.

I omitted 3 pages from Eric's funeral sermon which are now below, please read again - sorry!
           







The Oven bird is a native of Mexico, Central & S. America. It has a unique song & builds its nest with clay, mud & a mixture of fibre, hair & straw. Baked in the hot sun it becomes rock hard & a safe haven.
  10.2.13.

To read Eric's funeral sermon
please click here.
           



 



            

 6.2.13.

Tomorrow we shall have Eric's funeral. A very sad day for many, & also a time to celebrate his life, to remember him & to thank God for his presence in our lives.
           
           







'Let life be as beautiful
as summer flowers,
and death as beautiful
as Autumn leaves.'
           
Rabindranath Tagore










  "In His mercy
may He give us safe lodging,
and a holy rest
and peace at the last."

                                   Bl. John Henry Newman
 
           
 


3.2.13.

And we thought we had trouble with our 15-19 bat population! The bat loft is growing amid huge mud turrets, & due to the heavy rain, not ideal working conditions. But Luke, Matthew, Mark, John, James, Simon & Aaron are plodding on. It's almost like having the twelve apostles down there! Now we are just waiting for Jesus!
     











 

30.1.13.

Death is such an awesome mystery, we cannot control it or delay it, we must learn to embrace & welcome it, knowing that, as Cardinal Hume once said, when we meet God face to face, "we are as little children climbing onto a loving father's lap & whispering our life's story into His ear," as He welcomes us into eternal life. Our dear friend Eric Stamp has gone to God. He died at home last Friday, surrounded by his loving family. Eric was affiliated to our Order, as is his wife Lorraine, they have lived next to the Monastery for many years, helping us in so many ways. He was our Estate Manager & Our Mother's brother-in-law. The power of prayer had enveloped them over many months & now will continue to do so for Lorraine & the family in their grief.
                                         
     







Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord &
let perpetual light shine upon him,
 may he rest in peace.
 






Life is eternal,
Love is immortal.
& death is only
an horizon
& an horizon is nothing but the limit
of our earthly sight.

 
24.1.13.      Feast of St. Francis de Sales

" Let us go forward full of courage to do what we are called to do, but let us go with simplicity. God alone is the consoler of our hearts, He alone calms souls of good will, those who hope in Him. Happy are they who walk in the way of God's love, their hearts are changed forever".
                                             St. Francis de Sales
                               
                   


       
 
21.1.13.

Click on the picture opposite to take a walk through our winter wonderland. The pond is frozen solid, the trees are beautifully 'dressed' & the sheep seem unperturbed by the sudden change of landscape.

                   


       
 

20.1.13.

Like most of the country, here at Wadron it's been snowing all day. Everywhere is very beautiful, hushed & muted in some kind of magic. The poor birds are scavaging for food & titbits & I haven't seen a fox or a rabbit for several days. Usually they are regulars on our front lawn. Hopefully they're warm & snug 'below ground'. Each day we are making the Novena to our Holy Founder, St. Francis de Sales, who's feastday is on the 24th. You & all all your intentions are remembered in our prayers.

                    click here to hear our opening hymn
                      at Mass today. 'Jesus, come to us.'    
       










   












16.1.13.

A little news re-moving. Check on on our
'We're moving' page, the Future. We will keep you updated.
             


 

14.1.13.

Every morning when we come out of choir, after Lauds, we turn to the sister behind us & break the 'Great Silence' with the greeting, "God be praised, good morning dear sister." This happens in all our monasteries throughout the world. They are the first spoken words of our day, and what better way to begin it? Greetings & good wishes are very important, they can point out for us the way our day may go. They can lift our hearts, strengthen our spirits, make us feel warm inside, even put a smile on our face. Click on the picture opposite to see greetings I received this week.
             










 

10.1.13.

We had our Epiphany recreation today & sat round our open log fire. We'll miss this when we move to St. Josephs. If you're cold & fancy toasting your toes click on the picture opposite.
               



 


6.1.13.    The Epiphany

The word Epiphany means a moment of sudden understanding or revelation, an 'Ah' or 'Wow' moment. The presence of the Wise men before the baby Jesus was a 'wow' moment, an immediate realisation of God's plan, manifested in ordinary lives. We live these moments everyday. Our gentle, gracious God showers us with gifts & we don't always recognise them. It sometimes takes seeing it in others that opens our eyes & our hearts. Click on the picture opposite & turn the sound up.

           






 


4.1.13.

Winter nights have a magic of their own. On
these crisp, cold nights, being in the middle
of the countryside, we can look up & gaze
at a star-studded sky in awe; knowing that
it has the promise of frost & that we'll probably
need to put on an extra layer in the morning.
There's an old Inuit or Eskimo tradition that
stars aren't stars  -  rather they are holes
in the sky where the love of our departed
ones shines through to show us how happy
they are. A nice thought for the day.

           






'The heavens proclaim the glory of God'
                                       Pslam19:1.3.


1.1.13.
    The Holy Mother of God

                     'Memory is the place
             where all our yesterdays gather
.'


As one year ends & another begins we all inevitably look back over our experiences of the past 12 months, as well as looking to the future. What miracles will God offer us this coming year? What blessings & challenges will be ours? Yesterday Our Mother shared some 'end of year' thoughts with us, click on the picture to read them.
May this New Year be for you all, one of hope, blessing & abandonment to God's will. On this feast of the Mother of God, let's ask for the grace, like her, to 'ponder' deep in our hearts all the gifts we have received.

       






"For all that has been, thanks;
for all that shall be, yes."
                      Dag Hammaskjold






 



28.12.12.


It's almost at the end of the year & it's
still raining! We had a lovely Christmas
celebration beginning with a candle-lit
service of carols, readings & music leading
into the Mass of Midnight. We remembered
you all in prayer.  To share part of our
Christmas day click on the picture opposite.
     




click here to see
 the last carol of Midnight Mass


 
 


27.12.12.

The firm 'Thomas Cook' does tours of the
Greek Islands, tours of the Lake District. So we
now invite you to take a tour of the monastery cribs!
As you will see there are several around the house.
Click on the picture opposite 
     





 
 
 


 


25.12.12.   CHRISTMAS DAY

"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
I give Him my heart."
                                          Christina Rossetti

Christmas Blessings & great Joy to you all
as we remember you before the crib.



 
                      

 
   

 

23.12.12.

All year we've been saying we'd like to start to make soap, it's a very monastic occupation. These past few weeks Our Mother has actually begun, & very successfully too. I wish I knew how, if there was a way, to put a 'scratch & sniff' onto the web page so you could share the different fragrances of lavender, lemon balm, jasmine & rose, to name a few! Click on the picture opposite to see these first attempts - & inhale deeply!

                   click here to read Fr. Jim's sermon for today
 
 


 
 
 


22.12.12.

BE CAREFUL -
of the Advent Virus.        It is very prevalent in the run up to Christmas. Be alert to it's symptoms such as hope, peace, joy & love. So many could be exposed to this virus & if the conditions are right it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. Some of it's signs & symptoms could be the following: an unmistakeable ability to enjoy each moment, a loss of interest in judging other people, a loss in the ability to worry which can often be a serious symptom. One will notice frequent episodes of appreciation with contented feelings of connectedness with others & nature. Other signs are frequent attacks of smiling & an increased tendency to let things happen rather than frustratingly trying to make them happen. There is an increased susceptibility to the love extended by others, as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

We are now in retreat till Christmas day, we keep
you, your intentions & all those you hold in your
hearts in prayer.

 











 

21.12.12.

'I am waiting for a green shoot
to come out of my stump one morning
in this unseasonable springtime.
December's leaf & blossom, winter's bird.
Joy waits with me & I can feel it's seepage
into my day & night.
My bones sing & I hear an unknown music
from that one place where, by old reverence stirred,
the vowels drain from a word.
I think of the marvellous flower that is to come
and how the light will hover over it.
Now & again though is the message blurred
by brief uncertainties:
I fear that by my rude excess of watching
the green may be deterred
or that I have miscalculated seasons
or given far too personal a meaning
to glorious promises Isaiah heard.

Yet who am I to minimize the worth
of what a stump is likely to bring forth?'
                                                          Jessica Powers
   









 


20.12.12.

'I live my Advent in the womb of Mary.
And on one night when a great star swings free
from its high mooring and walks down the sky
to be the dot above the Christus i,
I shall be born of her by blessed grace.
I wait in Mary-darkness, faith's walled place,
with hope's expectance of nativity.

I knew for long she carried me and fed me,
guarded and loved me, though I could not see.
But only now, with inward jubilee,
I come upon earths most amazing knowledge:
someone is hidden in this dark with me.'
                                                        Jessica Powers

 







"Speak the word and receive the Word; offer what is yours and conceive what is of God; give what is temporal,
 & embrace what is eternal"







 



19.12.12.

Just a few days to go before Christmas, so yesterday at recreation we began to sort out decorations & cribs for the community room & other areas of the monastery. It's good fun unpacking the boxes put away since last year & discovering all the treasures so carefully wrapped.
     






           




 





18.12.12.


The O Antiphons, one of the oldest liturgical rituals in the church, are prayed around the world during Vespers in these final days of Advent. They've been described as 'a unique work of art & a special ornament of the pre-Christmas Liturgy.' Each antiphon begins with an invocation of the expected Messiah, followed by praise of Him under one of His particular titles. Each ends with a petition for God's people & the cry for Him to 'Come!' 

 
           





 
16.12.12.

Some words of wisdom for us all:

Prayer is not a 'spare wheel' that you pull out when
in trouble, it's a 'steering wheel' that directs the right
path throughout.
Why is a car's windscreen so large & the rear view
mirror so small? Because our past is not as important
as our future. So look ahead & move on.
Friendship is like a book. It takes a few seconds to burn,
but it takes years to write.
All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it, they
will not last forever. If going wrong, don't worry, they
can't last forever either.
Old friends are gold! New friends are diamond. If you
get a diamond, don't forget the gold. Because to hold
a diamond, you always need a base of gold.
Often when we lose hope & think 'This is the end', God
smiles from above & says "Relax, My Child, it's just a bend,
not the end."
When God solves your problems, you have faith in His
abilities; when God doesn't solve your problems He has
faith in your abilities.
A blind person asked St. Anthony "Can there be anything
worse that losing your eyesight?" He replied:"Yes, losing
your vision."
When you pray for others, God listens to you & blesses
them, & the times when you are safe & happy, it means
that someone has prayed for you.
Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles;
it takes away today's peace.
         














 


13.12.12.

Today the church commemorates St Lucy.  Lucia means light & so this is a feast of light. Lucy is the patron saint of those whose eyes need healing & was a virgin martyr during the reign of Diocletion. This feast celebrated in many countries has different traditions. In Italy there are torchlight processions & bonfires. In Sweden the oldest daughter of the family dresses in white & wears a green wreath of lighted candles. St. Lucy was a 'light' for her people during a time of persecution. During the hustle & bustle of preparations for Christmas, may we be witnessess to something brighter, pointing out the way to the Light which is coming.

           





 
 

10.12.12.

We are all called to a special task during these last weeks of Advent: those who will listen, those who will ask the question "What can I do?" We are all called to 'Prepare the way.' We live in the desert of today's world, today's society. It may not be the same environment that John the Baptist knew, but nevertheless for us it may still sometimes be a desert. Bereft of God, parched with not having Jesus in our daily lives. How will you & I 'prepare the way?' What will we do? It may not be much, but as someone once said ' If we all do a little it adds up to a lot.' In the solitude & barreness of our hearts let's search for what we each need to get ready for the coming of Jesus this Christmas. Like John the Baptist let us wait in readiness, in patience & in love.

           







 


6.12.12.

Some thoughts for you on this cold, frosty December day. 'Life is a constant Advent season: we are constantly waiting to become, to discover, to complete, to fulfill.  Hope, struggle, fear, expectation & fulfilment are all part of our Advent experience. The world is not as just, not as loving, not as whole, as we know it could & should be. But the coming of Christ & His presence among us - as one of us - gives us reasons to live in hope: that light will shatter the darkness, that we can be liberated from our fears & prejudices, that we are never alone or abandoned. May this Advent be a time for bringing hope, transformation & fulfilment into the Advent of our lives.'
                                                           Connections

           








 


4.12.12.

At the Annunciation Mary did not understand the words that were said to her by the Angel Gabriel: "How can this be?" she replied to his message. Eventually she uttered three words that changed her life & the course of human history,"Let it be." These words full of faith, abandonment, trust & love, were her 'Yes', her 'Fiat' to God's Will for her. Do you remember the song the Beatles wrote:

        'When I find myself in times of trouble,
                  Mother Mary comes to me.
                 Speaking words of wisdom.
                        Let it be, let it be ...'

These words 'Let it be' are challenging, they remind us that that God working within us is not something we bring about, it's pure gift. Something we, like Our Lady, receive, accept and let happen.



           







The Beatles - Let It Be

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2.12.12.   1st Sunday of Advent

Advent begins. The season of 'waiting' commences. In the Gospels some were very good at waiting. Zechariah & Elizabeth, Anna & Simeon, Mary.  Something wonderful was going to happen & they were all patiently waiting in expectation. They were all actively waiting, fully present to the moment, fully confident that something was changing within each of them. As we too join them, let's do so, not passively, but actively, preparing for the promise to be fulfilled in each one of us. Our journey has begun, the first candle is lit to show us the way. Let's support each other along the path . . .
             'Come Lord Jesus come, Maranatha'.



           





'Live fully in the present moment.'
                         St. Francis de Sales
 


25.11.12     Christ the King

As we've said before, our Holy Founder, St Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists. There are many different kinds of journalists, newspaper reporters, magazine columnists, TV news readers, researchers, to name but a few. Are bloggers journalists? It's a debateable question. If he was here with us today, our Holy Founder would probably have a blog, a daily 'input' of words of great wisdom. When he was a priest in the Chablais he copied, by hand, many of his sermons and slipped them under the doors of those who had left the faith. These sermons were called 'The Controversies'. His creativity earned him a renowned reputation among the journalistic world of his day, perhaps we could call him a ' blogger' of his day. So we dedicate our simple blog to him, ask him to sit here & guide the hand & heart of Sr. Mary Blog-erina, as she shares with you the musings of the day.

Today is the feast of Christ the King. We are coming to the end of the Churches Liturgical year, the end of 'Ordinary time', & the beginning of Advent, a special season for the preparation of Christmas. Ordinary means, not exceptional, average. Fifty five years before being elected Pope & one year before being ordained a priest, Angelo Roncalli (Pope John XXIII) wrote the following on January 29th, the former feast of St. Francis de Sales: "Today was the perfect feast, I spent it in the company of St. Francis de Sales, gentlest of saints. What a magnificent figure of a man, priest & bishop. If I were like him, I would not mind even if they were to make me pope!... My life, so the Lord tells me, must be a perfect copy of that of St. Francis de Sales, if I wish to bear good fruit. There is nothing extraordinary in me or my behaviour, except my way of doing ordinary things,... 'all ordinary things but done in no ordinary way'."


       



















 
 


21.11.12. 

On this beautiful feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, we unite, with our sisters all over the world, in the public renewal of our vows at mass. We give thanks to God for our vocation to serve Him as Daughters of Prayer in the Church.
Our Tridium retreat, given by Fr. Paul Addison O.S.M. was a journey of discovery & insight. Among the pearls of wisdom Father shared with us were these wonderful words by Nelson Mandela, & for us it echoes the sentiments of Our Holy Founder, St. Francis de Sales to:
       "Be who you are, and be that well."
 









Fr. Paul Addison O.S.M.
 


'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
                                     Nelson Mandela


17.11.12.

Tomorrow is 'Prisoner's Sunday,' a day when we pray for all those imprisoned in our world, their families & loved ones. Although we think particularly of those within our prison systems, there are other kinds of prisoners, & possibly we all fit into one of the catogories. Those deprived of their freedom, their identity, their rights, their human dignity, their freedom of speech. Those who are 'imprisoned' by illness, physical & psychological, by home or work situations, by relationships and loneliness. Those deprived of the 'ordinary' things in life that perhaps we take for granted. Some folk seem to have a rough deal in life. We have a strong weapon - prayer. Let's use it's power today.

     








Beginning this evening,
we are in retreat for three days.
 Please hold us in prayer.
                    
 
     


14.11.12.

On a beautiful sunny morning we walked down to St Joseph's to see the results of our hard work, & using our imagination, tried to mark out some of the rooms. The sunshine beamed through onto a much clearer space than a few months ago.
At our last meeting with the Daughters of St Francis de Sales Christine shared this beautiful prayer with us. When you feel stressed, harrassed, when you want to still your mind, place yourself in the presence of God & say this slowly:
                        
                          'Be silent.
                            Be still.
                             Alone.
                             Empty.
                     Before your God.
                         Say nothing.
                         Ask nothing.
                           Be silent.
                             Be still.

                        Let your God
                       Look upon you.
                           That is all.
                          God knows,
                     God understands.
                        God loves you
                 with an enormous love.
                       and only wants
                      to look upon you
                        with that love.
                              Quiet.
                                still.
                                 be.

                          Let your God
                             love you.'
                                           Edwina Gatey

 
         















 





















   


11.11.12.
   Remembrance Sunday

In Flanders field the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row.
That mark our place; and in the sky
the larks, so bravely singing, fly,
scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved, and were loved and now we lie,
in Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe,
to you from failing hands we throw
the torch; be yours to hold it high
if ye break faith with us who die
we shall not sleep, though poppies grow
in Flanders fields.
                                                 John McCrae


   

 



'They shall not grow old
as we who are left grow old,
age shall not weary them
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning,
we shall remember them.'




       


7.11.12.

In 1913 on this day Albert Camus was born.
He became a well known French writer & philosopher, reflecting on the meaning of life. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 & it was he who wrote:
   'Don't walk in front of me - I may not follow,
       Don't walk behind me - I may not lead,
      Just walk beside me - and be my friend.'
This gives us some food for thought today.
   






   


2.11.12.  All Souls

Long November days prompt us to gather our thoughts to especially remember those who
have died. Perhaps our own relatives & friends,
our collegues & work companions or those who
have no-one to pray for them. It can be a
time of sadness but also one of hope, of trust
& expectation. God has redeemed us 
promised us eternal life. One day we will
hope someone, somewhere is praying for &
remembering us.
Click on the picture opposite.



 


Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord
 & let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen


   


28.10.12.   30th Sunday of Ordinary time

'Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus & His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard it was Jesus of Nazareth he began to shout " Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." Many rebuked him & told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David have mercy on me." Jesus stopped & said  "Call him." So they said "Here, on your feet, He's calling you." Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet & came to Jesus. "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said "Rabbi, I want to see." "Go," said Jesus, "Your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight & followed Jesus along the road.'                                                      Mark 10:46-52






click here to read
Fr. Jim's sermon for today







   

26.10.12.

During his visit to England, Blessed John Paul II said
" We are only pilgrims on this earth, making our way towards that Heavenly Kingdom promised to us as God's children. Beloved Brethren in Christ, for the future, can we not make that pilgrimage together hand-in-hand doing all we can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds us together. This would surely bring down upon us the blessing of God our Father on our pilgrim way."

We unite ourselves in love & prayer with our Anglican brothers & sisters as they, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, meet to discern & choose a new Archbishop of Canterbury. 
  






 
       

 
   

23.10.12.

Our lives at the moment seems to be a series of surveys! Bat survey, soil survey, tree survey, pond survey, building survey. Before our building plans can get underway the experts have come and spent hours looking, taking specimens, measuring, counting, digging & discussing. They were all passionate about what they do. The bat surveyists came several times & through the night sat watching for bats flying in & out & under the eaves of the roof of St Josephs, they got really excited about the bat droppings & different kinds of bats, & went home triumphant with their specimens! Now we have to build a new home for the bats, a bat loft, & as they are a protected species they will be re-housed before work on St Josephs begins. Any big project needs preparation & prayer. Because we share our lives with much of God's nature & beauty, this too has to be preserved, respected & looked after in a very special way. We are the custodians of creation on many different levels.








              

19.10.12.

Do you remember the song 'Catch a falling star & put it in your pocket'? Sung by Perry Como, it hit the charts in 1957. Whether we have the good fortune to see a shooting star out of our window or not we all have, in our lives, shooting stars. Moments of wonder, experiences of awe that we would love to capture, to hold onto - put in our pockets, either to share with others later or to hold as something precious to be be able to look at from time to time. God's Love is like a shooting star darting into our lives each moment of each day. Let's make sure we see it, recognise it , capture it - & as the song says 'never let it fade away'.
 





 

Shooting star taken from
our Monastery window.
   

16.10.12.  Feast of St. Margaret Mary

Back from the desert & trying to catch up. Firstly Sr. M. Catherine's Ruby Jubilee. A wonderful day for Sister & for all of us, celebrating 40 years of Religious Consecration. Our beautiful Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Francis Kemsley O. Carm. (Sr. M. Catherine had taught him when he was a little boy) & our own Fr. Jim, followed by a buffet lunch - click picture opposite. It's always good to share a celebration, to give praise & thanks to God together, & also to enjoy one another's company on these very special days.





   

 2.10.12.

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Sr. M. Catherine's Ruby Jubilee. Mass is at 11am, followed by a buffet lunch. In the evening Sr. Mary Blog-erina goes into retreat, so Jubilee news will be deferred until her return. Please pray for them both and - watch this space!

click picture


   

26.9.12.

As we are moving, relocating, on a journey - so many ways to express what lies ahead - it's good to look at the road. We know it won't be straight, it will have twists & turns, it may have diversions & backroads, it will have speed limitations & bumps along the way. We may need to stop in the lay-by & re-evaluate where we are going. But what we do know is that we begin this venture in good faith, clinging to the God who has called us & brought us thus far. He will never desert us or let us down. It is a journey of excitement, of trust & of thanksgiving.




click on picture

   

23.9.12.  Harvest Thanksgiving

              'God of Harvest, gardiner supreme,
                      You place us at the centre,
         feed us, equip us, & having provided for us,
                     look to a different harvest.
                         A fruitfulness of lives
                    in service to You & others.
       God of harvest, feed us, prune us, harvest us,
            that our lives may bring glory to to You.'







click here to read
 Fr. Jim's Harvest sermon
   




22.9.12.


Yesterday eight of us went to Aylesford Priory in Kent, joining the Southwark Diocesan Day of Prayer for Religious. Our Chaplain, Fr. Jim is the Vicar for Religious for Southwark. We had an early start for the journey, but the sun made an appearance & it was a great day. Sr. Gemma Simmonds C.J. gave us two very thought provoking conferences on the theme 'A future full of Hope'. It was so good to visit this beautiful shrine of Our Lady and to meet all the Sisters & Brothers. It's many years since some of us had previously visited Aylesford, prior to our entering the monastery. There were between 80-100 religious sisters & brothers present & Archbishop Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark, concelebrated the Mass. We were a very tired but happy band of nuns that made the long journey home.






















   







17.9.12.

Last week Our Mother, Sr. Mary Joseph & Sr. Clare Chantal spent 4 days in Leeds at Hinsley Hall, attending Conferences organised by the Association of British Contemplatives. The theme was 'Transition'. It was well attended by sisters from the Carmelites, Poor Clares, Augustinians, Redemptoristines,  Bernadines & some Anglican sisters. Fr. Ronnie McAinsh C.Ss.R. gave the talks. Our sisters enjoyed it very much, meeting the different sisters & sharing experiences.



click on the picture
 to meet the group


15.9.12.

In Moulin, France there is a Museum dedicated to the Visitation Order. It was created in 1990 by a friend of our monastery in Moulin, M. Gerard Picaud & is supported by our Monasteries all over the world. We loan the Museum different items of historical interest, vestments, portraits, churchware, objects of devotion, textiles & paintings, dating from the early seventeenth century to this present day. We, ourselves have lent several items which are on display. The monastery in Moulin was on the verge of closing & M. Picaud promised the then Superior, Mother Francoise Bernadette, that he would try & retain the memory of the Visitation in Moulin. The Monastery did not close and the Museum thrived. Do visit the Museum by clicking on the link opposite, on the Home Page you are able to translate the site into English.






click here to see
a short video of the Museum.
Turn sound up.




Click here to follow the link
to the Visitation Museum


13.9.12.

We all need silence in our lives. We live in a very noisy world, surrounded by busyness & bustle. Sometimes it seems imposssible to 'catch' a few moments of silence, to find a restful space. It's not always possible to remove ourselves from the present situation to a gentler place, so we need to have that 'quiet place' within ourselves. John O'Donohue said that "Nature is always wrapped in seamless prayer. That she knows how to calm our minds & still our very being."



click on the picture
to share a restful space.
8.9.12.

Today we celebrate Our Lady's Birthday & the Church celebrates the first dawning of redemption. Mary, our mother & 'Cause of our joy' was given to us, & was entrusted with the mission of becoming the Mother of God. Her 'Yes' to the Angel Gabriel was extraordinary. Let's ponder on the 'yes's' we are called to make in our daily lives, very ordinary yes's, ordinary challenges, but ones that can become sources of grace for others that we may never know.
Since Setember 8th marks the end of summer & the beginning of Autumn, this day has many thanksgiving celebrations & customs attached to it. In the old Roman Ritual there is the blessing of the summer harvest & planting of the seeds of Autumn. The winegrowers in France called this feast 'Our Lady of the Grape Harvest'. The best grapes are brought to the local church to be blessed & then some bunches are attached to the hands on the statue of Mary. Then a festive meal is enjoyed, which includes the new grapes. In the Alps of Austria this day is 'Drive Down Day'. The cattle & sheep are led from their summer pastures on the slopes & brought to their winter quarters in the valleys.  In some parts of Austria, milk from this day & all the left-over food are given to the poor in honour of Our Lady's Nativity.
   

"A privilege which Mary had above all creatures is that no-one else gave themselves so perfectly 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
4.9.12.

We are made up of many layers, like an onion. We were perhaps born with some of these layers, others we may have created ourselves, for different reasons. Each layer has a purpose, each layer has a different texture & in the middle perhaps we will find our soul.
Click opposite on the picture to read a poem I want to share with you.

         
27.8.12.

Today is the feast of St Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. It's also the birthday of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who was born in 1910, & who worked with & served the poor of India. A journalist once asked her why she bothered working with the poor in Calcutta because it was just a drop in the ocean, there being millions of poor people in India. Mother Teresa said in reply that she was not concerned with a big way of doing things - she was concerned with individuals. "This person," she said, pointing to one of the poor,"thinks it makes all the difference." What can we do to make a difference to someone's life in our part of the world today?

         
19.8.12.

'The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible!'
                                              George Burns

   



Click hear to read
Fr. Jim's sermon for today

     
17.8.12.

"Ask for nothing, refuse nothing."
                        St Francis de Sales

St Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists, so when, a couple of days ago a young reporter asked if she could come from a local newspaper to do an article on the Monastery, we said 'Yes'. To read it please click on the picture opposite.
   



     

16.8.12.

           
             'I am the Way....'
We have a Sat. Nav. called Matilde. When she's plugged in we spend most of our time arguing & disagreeing with her about the route in which she directs us. We know a better & quicker way!  Isn't it the same in life? Although God is with us showing us the way we still often think we know better. If we've chosen God as our Guide, then let's do it 'His Way.'


 
         
12.8.12.

Last night we had a Vigil in honour of Our Holy Mother, St Jane Frances de Chantal, who's feast we keep today. Prayers, music, readings & reflections focused us on our great Feast, & gave us reason for much joy, gratitude & celebration. Today we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament all day & we will remember you & all those you hold in your heart before the Lord.
   



"Our hearts desire
is only that His will
 is accomplished in us."
             St Jane de Chantal
   



7.8.12.

Yesterday the Olympics came to Waldron, and 'Team Visitation' were in good form. After months of practise they were out to win gold - & they did!
 It was very very windy, but bright & sunny. All the games were played with 'Waldron Rules' which left a little to be desired! But great fun was enjoyed by all & we were in union with all our great athletes, who are doing us proud at the Games.
 

           






Click picture to view our
'Olympic Games'
& turn up sound.





                     
5.8.12.

A group of students were asked to list the
Seven Wonders of the World.
After some deliberation they came up
with the usual list:
1. The Pyramids of Egypt.
2. The Taj Mahal.
3. The Grand Canyon.
4. The Panama Canal.
5. The Empire State building.
6. St Peters Basilica.
7. The Great Wall of China.
One young girl seemed to be having trouble
making up her list, she said "There are so many." But eventually she said, "I think the seven
Wonders of the World are   -   see opposite.
For us in the Monastery, one of the Wonders
of our Visitation world is Our Holy Mother,
St. Jane Francis de Chantal. We keep her
feast next Sunday. For us and for our
sisters all over the world she is a daily
inspiration, example and blessing.





To see


To hear


To feel


To love




 
















To touch



To laugh



To taste
1.8.12.

We don't have to look the same
to be friends

   


27.7.12.


Tonight is the official opening of the Olympic Games here in Great Britain. As London welcomes the world it's a time to take pride in our country & in all those who represent us in the Games. The athletes from all over the world are poised to give of their best, to compete with pride & enthusiasm: to be an inspiration to us all in their dedication & hard work.
We pray for for unity & safety for all.
This morning at 8.12.am bells were rung in unison throughout our country   to celebrate the Olympic Games.
See opposite Our Mother joining in.







































Click on picture below
to hear our 'Olympic bells.'


26.7.12.

Yesterday morning we had the pleasure of a visit from our Fr. Jim's nephew, Bishop Stephen Conway, who is the Anglican Bishop of Ely. It was lovely to meet him & hear about his diocese & his work. He is also the Anglican Bishop accompanying the L'Arche communities in this country.

                       

22.7.12.

To receive the gift of faith is a great grace & blessing. Yesterday at Mass we welcomed our good friend Eric Stamp into full communion with the Catholic Church. It was such a joy for Eric, Lorraine, the family & our community. In this special 'Year of Faith'  Eric has embarked on this journey of discovery. May he know peace of heart, joy of spirit & gentleness of soul.


                   




                             

'May you listen
to your longings to be free,
May the frames of your belonging
be large enough
for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day
 with a voice of blessing
whispering in your heart,
that something good
is going to happen to you.
May you find a harmony
 between your soul & your life.
May there be kindness in your gaze
 when you look within.
May you allow the wild beauty
 of the invisible world
to gather you, mind you
& embrace you in longing.'
                       John O'Donague





19.7.12.

Today we celebrate the Anniversary of the Dedication of our chapel. On this special day, 44 years ago, it was dedicated by Bishop Cashman. Since then we have had the joy & privilege of daily Mass, singing the Divine Office, celebrating the First & Final Professions of our sisters, & so many other wonderful occasions. How many prayers have sped Heavenward from this sacred place over the years. How many people have joined us for prayer in this chapel. Together we have been the 'People of God', together we have been able to say with joy,
        'Lord it is good for us to be here.'  
As we celebrate again this anniversary we remember in prayer our many benefactors & friends, the priests who have faithfully served us over the years, our departed sisters and our present community.

 
 

 





   




Our chapel 1968





              On this house your blessing Lord
On this house your grace bestow.
On this house your blessing Lord
May it come and never go.
Bringing peace and joy and happiness,
Bringing love that knows no end.
On this house your blessing Lord
On this house your blessing send.
 

16.7.12.


The Olympic competitors begin to arrive today in Great Britain, there is a spirit of great excitement both among them & among the millions who wish them well. After months, if not years of training & sheer focused discipline - their time is NOW! It's a bit like the Religious life, a life of new challenges, training, learning, trying out new skills, discovering skills we didn't know we had & learning to live & work as part of a team, a community.
The Athletes at the Olympics have their goals set on Gold, Silver & Bronze medals for the glory of their countries. We have our goals set on Heaven, for God's glory & of beginning that Heaven here on earth.


















                     
13.7.12.

You will see we have now 'opened' an online shop. It's only small, please take a look & tell us what you think.

                     
12.7.12.

A lady drove into a shopping centre, smiling to herself at the good news she'd received about her son. After shopping she drove out of the car park & handed in her parking ticket at the kiosk, ready to pay the standard charge of 1. She opened her purse, smiled, & handed over three 1 coins, saying, "This is to pay for the next two cars as well." Then she drove off.
Only a small gesture, but that kind thought was like a pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples caused spreading goodwill & kindness. John Vanier calls it the 'Circle of Gratuity.' We aren't all called to do something 'big'. But we are called to look out for small opportunities, as Mother Teresa said, "To do something small, but with a lot of love." What could you do today?

 
6.7.12.

Sisters Mary Joseph & Mary Catherine are beginning their annual retreats. Sisters Clare Chantal & Mary Dorothy have just finished theirs. Some find it strange that as enclosed, contemplative nuns we have the need to withdraw even more for a specific time each year.

This invitation to the desert, to a place of stillness & 'apartness', is very special. We live full, busy lives. Our horarium provides a daily structure which calls us to prayer, work, recreation, creativity & hospitality. The call to retreat is a withdrawal from this 'norm'; a time to enter more deeply into ourselves in order to unite ourselves more fully with our God.

These are days of space, days of blessings & quiet, days of waiting & listening, as God encircles us within Himself.

Please pray for our Sisters in retreat.





"I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart".
                         Hosea 2:14
 
1.7.12.

"... a willingness to share generously and joyfully in the life of the community, united in the love of Christ."

"People enter community to be happy,they stay when they find happiness comes from making others happy."                                    Jean Vanier.



 
27.6.12.

Everyday we receive phone calls, letters & emails from those who are sick or have loved ones that are suffering, asking for our prayers, which we are privileged to give, to offer in their name. Today is the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.

One year after being shot & seriously wounded Blessed John Paul 11, during his visit to Great Britain said: "I myself have had a share in suffering, & known the physical weakness that comes with injury & sickness. It is precisely because I have experienced suffering that I am able to confirm with ever greater conviction that nothing at all can ever separate us from the love of God. No disease, injury or infirmity can ever deprive you of your dignity as children of God. We often find in the Gospels the bonds of affection between Jesus & the sick or disabled. We believe in Christ's healing love, & we reaffirm that nothing will separate us from that love. Surely Jesus wishes to say: 'Be clean; be healed; be strong; be saved."

May Our Lady of Perpetual Succour interceed for us, & place before her Son all those we hold in our hearts.
    
    
24.6.12.

Whose feet will you wash today?
Jean Vanier tells us "To wash one anothers feet is a prayer. It reveals our desire to forgive and be forgiven. To be, in humility,
of service. This act is a symbol & prophecy of the kingdom of God." What service have
I offered my brothers & sisters today, however small & insignificant, in love?
Before we sleep tonight we could all
ask ourselves "Whose feet have I washed today?"


   






20.6.12
.

If Our Holy Founder, St Francis de Sales were here today, he would be Twittering  and Blogging! He is the Patron Saint of Journalists, so was strong on communication and no doubt would be using the modern means available to us today. Our friends, the Anglican Sisters of Bethany, who take their Spirit and Rule from St Francis de Sales, have just had an article printed in a local paper about their 'Tweets'. Sr. Elizabeth Pio is their 'chief Tweeter', and finds it an excellent way to spread the 'Good News' and 'keep in touch'. Click on the picture opposite to read the article.

                             

17.6.12.


We are all precious. None of us are worthless. God has created each one of us in His own image & likeness and therefore we are priceless. From the moment of our conception we share, first the womb of our mothers, then the life of our parents, and so it goes on. By God's grace we are all capable of sharing, we all have something to share:

"A wise woman who was travelling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveller who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveller saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveller left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was valuable enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."

       










click on picture


 


15.6.12.    Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

On Friday 11th June 1611, St Francis de Sales sent a letter to our first three sisters, St. Jane Francis de Chantal, Sr. Jeanne Charlotte de Brechard and Sr. Ann Jacqueline Favre. He told them about an inspiration he had had about a coat of arms for the Visitation Order. He suggested a heart pierced by two arrows, surrounded by a crown of thorns. This inspiration became the design for the seal of every monastery of the Visitation.

More than 50 years later one of our sisters, St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, received revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at our monastery of Paray-le-Monial.
 
In the letter about our coat of arms, Our Holy Founder said "Our little Congregation is the work of the hearts of Jesus and Mary. The dying Saviour gave birth to us through the wounds of His Sacred Heart."



 








   





 

"This Divine Heart is an
abyss filled with all blessings
and into it the poor should submerge all their needs.
It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss of love to meet our every need."
             St Margaret Mary
                                                       
                                        
                     
                             




7.6.12.

What a wonderful weekend we have just shared with the whole of Great Britain,
and around the world. The weather didn't prevent people waiting for hours to catch
a glimpse of the Queen passing by. The Pageantry, splendour, colourful flags and
warm-hearted crowds all made it an  unforgettable occasion. We had our flags
& bunting up too and amid the festivities
we offered many prayers for our dear
Queen and for all the Royal Family.
We feel proud to be British.
     















click here to take our Diamond Jubilee Tour
   



4.6.12.

Aged 23 years, Queen Elizabeth ll
made a vow to serve her people
and her country all her days.
See opposite. On this Jubilee weekend she renewed those vows.
     







        
     
1.6.12.

During the next few days we shall be
joining millions of people all over the
world in celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. What an example of dedication
and service she has been for us, what an inspiration to so many. We ask God's
blessing on her and all the Royal family and continue to pray the words of our National Anthem, "Happy & Glorious, long to reign over us, God save the Queen."

So we may meet you on the Royal Barge during the Thames Pageant, at the Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace or in St Pauls Cathedral. Watch this space to find out what we got up to . . . .

                 

                 
                                             
                                                       

31.5.12.
   Feast of the Visitation

Today, throughout our Order we keep
the Solemnity of the Visitation of Mary.
We have Exposition of the Blessed
Sacrament all day, as we praise & thank
God for our holy Order, for our individual vocations & for the many blessings we
have each received. We hold before God, through the intercession of Mary his Mother,
all those we have in our hearts, all those
who have asked our prayers.

     









27.5.12.
  Pentecost

"To receive the Holy Spirit you must be still,
you must ask for Him, desire Him. On this
Feast of Love may this fire come into our
hearts to set us on fire."         St Jane de Chantal

"It is a wonderful thing that this Divine Spirit does not hesitate to dwell in us, therefore
we must be simple & ingenuous if we wish
the Holy Spirit to come to us." St Francis de Sales



   







click below to hear

the Sequence for Pentecost



The Psalm
at our Mass today


click here to hear
the Veni Creator
24.5.12.

It is with great joy that today, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have re-elected our dear Mother Jane Margaret as Superior for this next triennial. May God bless her & our community as we journey forward in love & hope, in joy & prayer.


     




 
22.5.12.

Click opposite to share a beautiful May morning here at the monastery. Can you recognise the bird-song? The cuckoo must have a sore throat as he is singing non-stop! The wind was rather strong.
Turn the sound up high.
     



click below


A  beautiful morning

Hear the cuckoo





20.5.12.


Very early on Saturday morning we said goodbye to our dear friends Sheila & her daughter Tara. They had come from the United States to make a weeks retreat with us in the monastery. It was a great joy to meet up with them again & to renew the bonds of friendship.
                                               
     






                         
                                       

18.5.12.


Dreams make you who you are. They're not about the outside world, they're about your contact with the universe, your contact with your real self. We capture our dreams, that 'special place' where we go, we search & we discover another realm of being. Some of us 'daydream', all of us dream at night though we may not remember it. Every dream is important, it is your hopes & dreams that shape you, shape your future & the road you will take in life.  Click on the picture opposite.
     





                         


15.5.12.


As you will see we have now added a Vocation Page to the Website. Many are searching to find their vocation in life; some to see if the stirrings of their heart could be the Lord's invitation to follow Him more closely in the Monastic Religious Life. Ask Our Lady during this month of May to 'make a secret visitation to your heart.'