SUA: Community - Villa Madonna in Tampa, Florida, USA
YESTERDAY: The Sisters are grateful to all who came before us and began the local and province ministries. We are grateful to the first missionary Sisters who left their loved one and their life and country. We are grateful for the Sisters of our province who willingly embraced their obedience and opened up new works across the USA. We are grateful to the lay people who walked with us in the mission throughout the years, even in the midst of difficulty.
TODAY: Signs of faith growing in our world today are evident in people's love for the Holy Father. It is evident that people feel drawn to Pope Francis, his love for the people, his love to be among the people, his humility, his simplicity and his love of poverty. Parents choosing a Catholic education for their children is a sign of faith and dedication to the Church and her teachings. Various Youth Movements around the world are also signs that faith is alive and growing in our young people.
TOMORROW: We pray that we may always be open and flexible to our constantly changing society and world. We pray that we too have a willingness to change and can be inspired by the Holy Spirit to be creative in answering the needs of the time. We ask the Lord to increase our ardor of our proclamation of Christ, for we know we can not do it alone - All things are possible with God!
These witnesses of our faith from the past can teach us that even with minimal resources and personnel, with the grace of God faith can be strengthened and spread. Models like Bishop Oscar Romero, FMA past pupil from New Jersey, Jillian Gorman, Venerable Fulton Sheen, and our family members.
Some of the signs of faith that we see today are in the openness of the young people in the United States and their longing to connect with God. The warm reception given to Pope Francis by the world has been inspiring, for his simplicity and gentleness seems to be attracting many people. We see faith alive and growing in our young people through their thirst for prayer, authentic moments of silence, their questions about God and the meaning of existence, and their spirit of service. We can respond to the longings of our collaborators and parents through doing more frequent family Masses and opportunities to come together.
We can increase the ardor of our proclamation of Christ through a greater spirit of prayer and reflectiveness. Our lives do not make sense without God, so we must take the time to develop that relationship with God. For us, there are not really "new" ways of bringing others to Christ, but we can use the old ways in "new ways" by focusing more in personal relationships, person-to-person contact. We can employ technology such as websites and social networks to augment that reality, but we cannot simply stop there, our contact must somehow become personal, intimate and authentic.
Community of Sacred Heart Center/Novitiate – Newton, NJ (SUA)
We shared on the seeds of faith planted in our province by our first Sisters. They teach us how to live and hand on the faith through their witness. Their faith had the following characteristics: willingness to sacrifice, courage and perseverance, hope, joy, fearlessness in the face of difficulties, flexibility and adaptability. They were centered in Jesus and had a clear focus and purpose. We also recognized the role of our parents and other family members, parish community, catechists and youth ministers who inspired and nurtured our faith.
Our culture presents many challenges to faith in a society which has become more and more secularized, materialistic and has drifted away from Christian values. However, we also see many reasons for hope as we continue on the road of the “new evangelization”. Many people are thirsting for God – there is a real desire and hunger for the things of God. The election of Pope Francis and this first month of his papacy have been followed with great interest and hope. Many adults are joining Bible study, faith sharing and adult faith formation groups. Young people are very open to knowing more about their faith – they are open to prayer and, especially, to Eucharistic Adoration and to various Catholic youth gatherings and organizations. There are many young people who volunteer to give service in their parishes, as youth leaders, and to help the needy. This has led to an increasing need for retreat ministry both for adults and for young people. In our country we have been experiencing a growth in the number of young people discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. All of these signs of hope encourage us in our retreat and catechetical ministries.
We can increase the ardor of our proclamation of Christ by continually allowing ourselves to be evangelized as we prepare personally and as a community for GC XXIII. We need to keep Jesus at the center and witness to our faith by our lives, spreading joy by who we are and the way we relate to one another and to all we meet in our various ministries. One area of special effort needs to be our outreach to the parents of the children and young people we meet in our catechetical ministries, using whatever means possible: family catechesis, encouraging parental involvement in sacramental preparation and in the ongoing catechesis of children and young people, using the new technologies, and whatever means we can to proclaim the Good News of God’s love.
Reflections of Immaculate Conception Community, Marrero, SUA Yesterday
The first FMA that came to the United States continue to inspire us. They did not know the language, had no money, and had no real housing. Yet, they relied on God alone.
They arrived in Paterson, New Jersey, and soon thereafter, some of the Sisters crossed the country to begin works in California. The journey from New Jersey to California was a huge as that of Italy to the United States. It was a second uprooting from all that had become familiar in New Jersey. They did it all to bring Christ to the young and the young to Christ.
These women of faith stir us to be apostles of the new evangelization among the young.
There has been a resurgence of faith among young people, especially college-age young adults. The papacy of Blessed John Paul II and the election of Pope Francis I have helped young people see the presence of a God in their lives and their call to service.
Young people today exhibit devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. They incorporate prayer and adoration into their service trips. The Salesian Gospel Roads program, a service-orientated retreat, as well as Leadership Retreats and retreats sponsored by the local Church have been major factors in the development of this devotion.
The collaborators with whom we work are deeply rooted in Christ and in the Church. They desire to serve in the Church and support the Church in spite of difficulties. Their families are faith-filled, practicing Catholics, and they spread the values of our faith to the young with whom they come in contact. Some faith-filled business and political leaders in the community also work with us to further the charism and our educational mission.
Pope Francis I has already been a model of simplicity and service. He is a sign and expression of Christ’s love inaction, works, and judgment. We must proclaim Christ as he does and seize the moment in bringing him to the young as a model.
The Door of Faith (Acts 14:27)
Reflection for the celebration of the Feast of Gratitude for Mother Yvonne
YESTERDAY...The seeds of Faith were sown by the first explorers and prospectors to the New World as they prayed their way across the ocean and planted crosses when at last they reached land. The faith was brought across the lands by martyrs like St. Isaac Jogues and apostles like Junipero Serra, Mother Cabrini, and by our own sisters.
What can these witnesses of faith in our land teach us today? Who has inspired your faith during your life?
The witnesses of faith in our land have taught us:
• courage and faith
• a spirit of obedience
Our faith has been inspired by:
• the lives of the Saints
• our own missionary Sisters in this Province
• our own Sisters, especially:
Sr. Michelle Corrado, Sr. Theresa Franco, Sr. Jean Erickson, Sr. Anna Ragogna, Sr. Frances Vegetabile, Sr. Louise Vallese, Sr. Marie Therese LaBranche, and many, many others.
TODAY… What signs do we see of faith growing in our world today? How do we see faith alive and growing in our young people? How can we respond to the longings of faith in our collaborators and parents?
Some of the signs we see of faith growing in our world today are:
• daily Mass attendees
• stories of our
young people at
the University of Illinois
• the faith reflections of young people in the internet, Facebook, etc.
• Generation Life
We see faith alive and growing in our young people through their responses to prayer moments (eg., Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament), and through informal conversations with them.
We can respond to the longings of faith in our collaborators and parents by giving them opportunities for faith development, such as, “Family Gatherings”, Family Mass, Adoration, and through our availability and presence walking the journey with them.
TOMORROW… The New Evangelization is new in its ardor, in its methods, and expression.
How can I increase the ardor of my proclamation of Christ? How can we do so as community? What new ways might we as members of the Church bring Christ to others?
I can increase the ardor of my proclamation of Christ by:
• having the right intention
• focusing on the WHY
• taking time to be personally reflective
• through the joyous living of what I have promised
We can do so as a community by:
• being WITH our people
• greeting one another
• open, honest communication
• everything above
We can bring others to Christ through our PRESENCE, implementing the Oratory Criteria, Catholic Underground
With love and gratitude
Corpus Christi Community
Port Chester, New York (SUA)
What a blessing and joy for us to celebrate "Gratitude Day" as a whole Institute gathered as one. In our community we took time to reflect on our Faith yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Yesterday - we are deeply grateful for the first explorers and prospectors to the New World who brought Christian faith and values to our land. America is founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, one nation, under God. We are especially grateful for our first FMA who cme as missionaries to our land with tremendous courage and true Salesian spirit, which enabled our Charism to grow among the immigrants in our country. America has been the home of countless nations, and Evangelization is at the heart of our growth as a nation and an Institute.
Today - we see great signs of faith growing in our world. We serve at the Catholic Newman Center on a secular campus at the University of Illinois. St. John's maintains a strong Catholic identity and the young adult students are vibrant leaders of the Gospel. They practice their faith, not only with Mass on Sundays, but even on weekedays. They spend time in Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, They frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They are actively involved in Bible studies, RCIA, Koinonia retreats, social justice outreach, Knights of Columbus, Ladies Auxiliary to the Knights, sacristans, lectors and Eucharistic ministers. They foster strong friendships based on Christian values. They are true leaders among their Catholic peers and in interfaith and secular environments. They love Jesus, Mary and our Holy Father, and strive to be joyful witnesses of the Gospel. It is a true family atmosphere centered in Christ within a secular college campus. They give us great hope for the faith in society and in the Church.
Tomorrow - We are well aware that in order to evangelize we must be evangelized ourselves. We are deeply grateful for Mother Yvonne, for her guidance and love through her monthly circulars. They are always so in tune with the mind and heart of the Church. They constantly draw us to live our Charism more authentically and faithfully. They challenge us to pass on to future generations what we have come to know for ourselves, the proclamation of the Kingdom of Christ. We remember with great gratitude Mother's visits to our Province, and both our lives and our young people's continue to be influenced by the witrness of her life.
We assure Mother Yvonne of our great love and prayers and we rejoice with gratitude that we share our Charism as Daughters of Maty Help of Christians!
Gratefully with much love,
Sr. Loretta DeDomenicis with Sr. Mary Arciga, Sr. Theresa Lee and Sr. Maryann Schaefer
at St. John Bosco Convent at the University of Illinois, SUA
ST. THERESA COMMUNITY SHARING ON
“THE DOOR OF FAITH”
FEAST OF GRATITUDE FOR MOTHER GENERAL
Those who have gone before us sowed seeds of faith by:
• Depending totally on the Lord and recognized Him as their Supreme Being.
• Focusing on Jesus Christ and the spreading of His Word
• Living with the assurance that the Lord goes before us always
Today we see seeds of faith sown by:
• Those who experience disasters and keep their hope in the Lord
• The leaders of nations who also turn to God and encourage us to do so as a nation
• The honest search for God in the questions and discussions we have with the young people and those with whom we work
As FMA we respond to the longings of faith by:
• Living with fidelity our own Christian, religious life and our experience of the Word of God
We can live with ardor the proclamation of Christ by:
• Keeping our rapport with Christ as central
• Embracing ourselves with love and living with conviction that we are loved by Christ in our own brokenness
• Living and believing that “Christ is my enough”
Report of the Community Gatherings as a Response to the Door of Faith Project
We of St. Joseph Center met three times in the space of three weeks to discuss the proposed topics. These are the results of the lively, well-particpated discussions.
Yesterday: We are grateful for the Sisters who have gone before us and inspired us by their loving, faithful kindness in all things. In their simplicity they were models of faith and examples of fidelity to the FMA Religious life.
Today-We see signs of the faith that is alive and growing in our young people by their participation in actual in various instances where they have shown responsibility in standing up for their faith. Their Catholic prayer life is authentic, tested by its results in openness to discussion and discovery. Young people want to grow spiritually and be a light to their peers and others.
Tomorrow-We can increase the ardor of our proclamation of Christ by a heightened aware ness of the presence of God, nourishing our faith through Eucharistic adoration, frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament, choosing Salesian and Church literature and bringing the fruits of this spirituality to others.
As a community we can continue to bear witness by giving good example, upholding one another and growing in that positive attitude that allows other to change, feel better accepted and gain greater confidence through that witness which energizes. We will become more comfortable in speaking of Christ among ourselves . This concern and respect for one another will keep evangelization alive and extend our efforts among the laity and our collaborators.
The new ways we can continue to employ in bringing Christ to others will be to better utilize programs for young adults and various media possibilities (Internet) to propagate Authentic Church teaching.. We can also encourage the energy among our collaborators and young people who are attentive and proactive in meeting the challenges of our shared convictions in reaching out to others whose faith has dimmed. We understand that evangelization, like faith, is an ongoing task and requires visible witness to the faith, the joy of simple holiness (as demonstrated by Pope Francis) and the constant awareness of God’s presence in our lives.
Dear Mother Yvonne,
With grateful hearts we thank you for carrying on the humble spirit of Mother Mazzarello with your joyful witness and gentle guidance. You are continually in our hearts and prayers.
With sincere gratitude and love,
Your little daughters,
The Aspirants of the Eastern United States
Chelsea Schuster, Shannon Sulick, Kristen Gawlik, Katie Flanagan and April Hoffman
FMA Day of Gratitude
We are grateful to God for His Divine Providence in leading us to be faith filled, giving us saintly founders and holy Sisters who were the first pioneers coming to the USA. They laid down the foundation down for us to follow and have given us the impetus to follow.
Faith is a daily witness that we here in the Midwest live among the people of the parish we serve. We are edified by their example in prayer, service and love. Although we are few in various ministries, efforts are daily made among the young people we serve to strengthen their faith and make our presence one of joy among them. We also reach to adults and their families, bringing them the Word, and helping them make a personal relationship with Jesus. Finally we have all been inspired by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, with his humility and sincerity and not being afraid to show love. We also want to imitate him in our daily journey of faith.
We thank God for the young who assimilate our Salesian Spirit, the young adults and families who little by little are getting acquainted with our charism and are appreciative as they learn more. We pray to be women of deep faith, following Jesus, being attached to our Salesian Charism, being devoted daughters of Mary and upholding our Holy Father and the Church.
Happy Feastday, Mother Yvonne!
Community of St. Patrick’s
Saint Charles, IL USA
Sr. Liz Ryan, FMA
Sr. Carmen Morales, FMA
Sr. Isabel Garza, FMA
Sr. Betty Ann Martinez, FMA