Saturday, April 30, 2016

St. Marie of the Incarnation: Mother, Mystic and Missionary

 “My dearest Jesus, through the holiness of Your actions, sanctify mine. I ardently wish them to depend upon You and to be performed for You alone, O my Jesus.”                               ~Marie of the Incarnation

Today, we celebrate the Feast of Marie Guyart of the Incarnation, an Ursuline nun from France who came to the New World to establish a community and school for Indian girls.  Marie Guyart was born on Oct. 28, 1599 in Tours, she grew up strong in faith, adventuresome, confident and full of joy. At the age of 14 she desired to enter the convent but her parents chose instead to engage their daughter to marry Claude Martin, a young manufacturer. Claude was an honest man and Marie admitted she was beginning to love him “very much.” The couple soon welcomed a son, named Claude after his father. Their joy as a family came to an end six months later when Marie’s husband Claude died in 1919, leaving behind his 20-year-old widow and baby son.

At the age of 30 she again felt the urgency of entering the religious life. In consultation with her spiritual advisor, she entered the Ursulines, feeling the desire to teach the young. Her sister took charge of young Claude and raised him as her own son. This decision was not easy for Marie, who was torn by the heartbreaking decision to leave her son. In the convent she was given the name Marie of the Incarnation.  She came to Canada to serve the young Indian girls and learned the Algonquin, Huron and Iroquois languages and wrote dictionaries and catechisms for her students. Marie endured fires and many difficult days but remained steadfast in her mission.

Let us pray this day for the ability to keep faithful to our hopes and dreams and to do everything for the love and glory of God.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, April 28, 2016

In the Name of Love

As I was praying this morning the song, “In the Name of Love” kept coming to mind.  The song begins “Do you remember the call? When did you hear your name out loud? Can you remember the vision, the dream, and the courage to love for life?”  The song goes on to encourage one to live in the love of our God.  Our God’s love is real and is a true gift for us.  Imagine for a few moments God’s tender love embracing you and holding you gently.  Take a few moments to pour out your heart to God.  Tell God all your joys and sorrows, the things you are grateful for and those you would love to leave behind.  As the spring flowers continue to blossom allow God’s love to blossom anew in you.  Let the brightness of the flowers illuminate your heart so that you glow with the beauty of that inner garden.  Let your love shine before all so that seeing the good works you do they may also be inspired to do the same.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Jesus' Gift of Peace

Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give it to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.  You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’  If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.  I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming.  He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”  (John 14:  27 – 31)

Goodbyes can be so bittersweet. When loved ones pass away, we find some comfort in knowing they are with the Lord and that their suffering has ended, yet the passing leaves a void in our hearts and our daily routines. I attended the funeral of my uncle today and this reading was present to me in a new way.  As I said the prayers at his grave I was aware of how the disciples must have felt when Jesus when Jesus left them.

Imagine, then, the confusion of the apostles at the Last Supper. What joy were they to find in their friend leaving, and what did he mean that he would be back? So many of the things he had said were difficult to understand.

But Jesus was faithful to his promise. He did return. And as we face the goodbyes in our own lives, may we always be confident that while our earthly lives always will be filled with change, we have the Lord as a constant.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, April 25, 2016


Yesterday while reading Pope Francis' encyclical on mercy I was so struck by the phrase, "His name is mercy."  We have heard this phrase frequently during this year of mercy and it struck me forcibly yesterday.  Say it slowly - His name is mercy - in a meditative way - almost like a mantra.  Say it over and over again just to yourself and feel the peace and harmony that comes into the center of your being.

Can I be mercy for others?  Can I treat others as God would treat them? Can I swallow the snide remark or control the raising of my eyebrows when I don't agree with someone or that person doesn't meet my standards?

His name is mercy and we are all called to that same mercy in our dealings with each other.

KM Dononue, OSU

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Love One Another

Pope Francis presided over a Jubilee Mass for Teens in St Peter's Square and told them "the true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love that shines forth in their way of life." “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

Dear young friends, what an enormous responsibility the Lord gives us today!  He tells us that the world will recognize the disciples of Jesus by the way they love one another.  Love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card, the only valid “document” identifying us as Christians.  If this card expires and is not constantly renewed, we stop being witnesses of the Master.  So I ask you: Do you wish to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to be his disciples?  Do you wish to be his faithful friends?  The true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love that shines forth in their way of life.  Do you want to experience his love?  Let us learn from him, for his words are a school of life, a school where we learn to love.

Before all else, love is beautiful, it is the path to happiness.  But it is not an easy path.  It is demanding and it requires effort.  He also told them that although love is the path to happiness, it is not an easy one and requires effort. He also said, happiness has no price.  "It cannot be bought: it is not an app that you can download on your phones nor will the latest update bring you freedom and grandeur in love."  Think, for example, of when we receive a gift.  It makes us happy, but receiving a gift means that someone generous has invested time and effort; by their gift they also give us a bit of themselves, a sacrifice they have made.  To love means to give, not only something material, but also something of one’s self: one’s own time, one’s friendship, and one’s own abilities.  Look to the Lord, who is never outdone in generosity.  We receive so many gifts from him, and every day we should thank him… 

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, April 22, 2016

Passover & Earth Day

Today is a stand up day.  It is the day when our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the feast of Passover, that day when the Jewish people were delivered from their enemies. It is a very special day and we rejoice with Jewish people all over the world as they celebrate their deliverance by Yahweh, their God.

Today we celebrate Earth Day as well.  We stand for the deliverance of the earth from it's slavery to the damage being done by our modern living.  It is a stand up day to support freedom of people to live and practice their religion and a day to stand up in support of saving our earth for future generations.

KM Donohue, OSU

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Living in Christ's Abundant Love

The prophet Micah tells us that, “This is what Yahweh asks of you only this, that you act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God!”  This seems to be a rather simple mandate.  But is it?  How often do we find ourselves living this mandate to the fullest?  Are we able to live this each day?  Some days I do believe that it is easy to follow and then other times I wonder.  Our world is in the midst of recovering from many natural disasters, there is violence and loss of life, and we sometimes lose sight of what is of the utmost importance.  Let us take time today to remember what we are truly called to do and remember that no matter what our God loves us as we are.  Our God accepts us and allows us to grow in our own way.  God gently guides us along and continues to invite us to keep on keeping on.  We are called to love one another and to be Christ for one another.  Let us live this day in the peace of Christ’s abundant love for us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Jesus, the Light of the World

I have always loved the image of Jesus as the “light of the world.”  The reality of Jesus inviting us into the light is a rather profound invitation.  Jesus invites us into the light not only so that we will not remain in the darkness but also to help guide our decisions, our thoughts and the longings of our hearts.  In doing so Jesus reminds us not to be worried about things – He invites us to trust.  Trust is so difficult for us to do at times yet Jesus keeps on inviting us to do so.  Jesus promises to be with us always and this is where we need to allow our faith to keep us strong.  We need to remember that Jesus doesn’t ask us if we are worthy and we need not worry we just need to be assured of His love for us.  Let us remember that Jesus is the light of the world and it is in His light and truth we must trust.  Each day let us allow this light to shine brightly before the whole world to see.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Jesus, the Shepherd

Since I was a small child, I have always loved the story of the Good Shepherd and have a real old fashioned picture of the Good Shepherd in both my bedroom and on my desk here in school. Jesus has the most tender look on His face as he cuddles the sheep in His arms. The reality of cuddling a sheep became clear to me when I visited the family farm in Ireland and watched my cousin caring for his sheep.  It is true that he knew them and they knew him and came running toward him when he arrived in their field.  But, by no means, were they animals that were clean and ones to be cuddled!  And it is the same with us.  We have times when we are not cuddly nor presentable and yet, Jesus continues to embrace us with His love, He gently calls us back to Him when we are lost, and He promises that He will give us eternal life if we follow His commands.

Do not be afraid to look for His embrace as you go through your day.

KM Donohue, OSU

Monday, April 18, 2016

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

In today’s Gospel, Jesus shares the Good Shepherd story with us.  In fact, it tells us that “He calls his own sheep by name.”  This image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd has always comforted me.  To look at Jesus as a gentle guide who will hold me when I can’t carry myself any longer.  Looking at Jesus as a care-giver is an awesome image.  He calls each one of us by name and is always there for us.

Being called by name is a tremendously personal matter.  When Jesus calls us each by name and welcomes us he also promises never to lead us astray.  How often in life do we feel that no one truly knows our name?  Who has ever felt alone and that no one cares for us?  As we recognize the voice of Jesus calling us how can we do anything but respond in gratitude for all that he has done for us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Good Shepherd Sunday

Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday which in 1963 Pope Paul VI designated as “World Day of Prayer for Vocations”. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, protects us as his flock and promises us the gift of eternal life. The Church invites us to honor the vocation of all Christians given at baptism. May we who have dedicated our lives to God through the vocation of marriage, priesthood, diaconate, consecrated life, and the single life remain faithful to our commitments. May those who are discerning their life’s vocation listen to the grace of God to guide them. The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publicly fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). “.  Let us pray for all who are discerning their vocation in life at this time that they may follow the Lord’s call to them and respond in generosity and happiness.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Christ Has No Hands

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
This prayer by St. Teresa of Avila is one that often comes to mind for me.  It is a true call for all of us to reflect on and make a core of our beliefs.  Let us live this day and every day knowing that we are truly called to be Christ for one another.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, April 15, 2016

Global Concerns Day

Today we celebrate our Global Concerns Symposium with guest speakers who are helping to open our eyes to the modern concerns of trying to save our earth for the future.

Like St. Paul whose message was to proclaim Jesus to the world and to preserve His message, by learning about the environment, we are given the task to proclaim the message that we must be mindful of preserving the earth for our own and for future generations.

What lessons can I learn from these two examples?  What lesson can I learn from St. Paul who had his eyes opened and received a direction for his life to take? What lesson can I learn from this Global Concerns day about the direction I must take to join in the effort to care for our beautiful earth?

KM Donohue, OSU

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Be at Peace

What a gift we have this morning with the wonderful breeze and delicious sunlight!

And what a difference in our attitude and mental outlook we have with this gift of sunlight!.  Jesus has told us He is the light of the world and we should look to Him for life.  How can we say no to that request?  If we long for natural light and know how much better we feel when it is sunny, then let us ask Jesus in His mercy to fill us with the light of His love each day.

A word from St. Mark, "Be at peace with one another."  Mark 9:50.

KM Donohue, OSU

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pope francis' Message

During his general audience today, Pope Francis recalled the election of Matthew, one of the twelve apostles. He said that Christ does not look at people based on their past, their social status or their appearances. God loves everyone.  However, he pointed out that the love of Jesus can only be reciprocated by those who are humble. Those who think they are better, the proud and arrogant, he said, feel no need for God's mercy, and therefore, they cannot see or accept Him.  May all of us, acknowledging our sins, respond more generously to the Lord’s invitation to sit at table with him, and with one another, with immense gratitude for his infinite mercy and saving love.  Let us remember this day and every day to reach out to others with mercy and compassion.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, April 11, 2016


Faith is defined as a gift of God that helps us to believe in Him.  We profess our faith in the Creed, celebrate it in the sacraments, live by it through our good conduct of loving God and our neighbor, and express it in prayer.  It is a personal adherence of the whole person to God, who has revealed Himself to us through words and actions throughout history.  I once read that “God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”  Our faith tells us that our God is always there for us all we have to do is reach out.  Let us reach out this day and every day to help bring others along the journey of Easter faith.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Third Sunday of Easter

In our Scriptures today we continue to look at the experience of the disciples as they encounter Jesus.  The readings speak of the meaning of discipleship both in our internal attitudes and in our relationships with other people. The Gospel speaks of recognizing the presence of God and of Jesus in our daily life while the Second Reading calls us to witness to our faith with consistency and courage. One flows from the other. To be a genuine disciple of Jesus, it is not enough just to be “holy”, to be good but to have the courage, when the call comes, to do difficult things.  In our relationships we are called to be Christ for one another – to see the face of God in others.  As we live this day and every day let us always remember the words of St. Angela to, “Live in harmony, one heart one will, search for it, long for it, embrace it with all your strength.”  In this way we will surely be open to the presence of God in our lives.

Sr. Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family

The Vatican on Friday published Pope Francis’ eagerly-awaited Apostolic Exhortation: The Joy of Love:  On Love in the Family.  This important document will guide the Church for years to come in its care and concern for the family, drawing together almost three years of consultations with Catholics in countries around the world.
The lengthy document, entitled ‘Amoris Laetitia’, or The Joy of Love, affirms the Church’s teaching that stable families are the building blocks of a healthy society and a place where children learn to love, respect and interact with others.

"If we accept that God’s love is unconditional, that the Father’s love cannot be bought or sold, then we will become capable of showing boundless love and forgiving others even if they have wronged us."  —Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, 108
Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Divine Love

In the gospel, we hear that Jesus was sent into the world because of the Father’s great love for his creation and that salvation awaits those who believe in him. We are called on to have belief in the Lord just as Peter and the apostles had but also to let that faith be seen by those with whom we come into contact.

The ultimate miracle of Divine Love is this that the life of the Risen Lord is given to us to give to one another.  It is to be lived at home, at work, in any place, in any circumstances.  It is to be lived through our relationships.  It is through his Risen life in us that Christ sends his love to the ends of the earth.  We are called to be ambassadors of Christ.

St. Angela promised her daughters to be united with them for all time.  In her promise to always be with us, Angela gives us the courage and strength to remain united in her loving care.  Let us remain united in one heart and one will.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

One Heart, One Will

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we hear, “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they had everything in common.”   We hear something similar in the writings of St. Angela, “Live in harmony, one heart, one will, long for it, search for it, embrace it with all your strength.”  This is truly the way we should seek to live our lives each day.  We should look for the common good and not be so concerned with our own comfort.  As we live this day let us remember that we are called to see the good in every situation and in one another.  Take time today to compliment someone, to help someone, to listen to someone and be that example of Christ that we are called to be.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, April 4, 2016

Feast of the Annunciation

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation, the day on which we mark the announcement by the Angel Gabriel to Mary that she was to be the Mother of the Messiah.  Now, Mary was a young girl, a girl who never in her wildest moments, dreamed she would be chosen by God to be the Mother of His Son.  She was just going about her ordinary day when suddenly, she found herself in the presence of this heavenly being.  Astonished, she held back, but eventually agreed to the angel's request.  We too, can sometimes be surprised by a visit or an inspiration that our God has a special request for us.  Think carefully about saying no, for if we do, there may not be anyone else to do the deed or to reach out to someone in need.
The Feast was moved to today because it is traditionally celebrated on March 25th which was during Holy Week this year so it could not be celebrated then.
Sr. KM Donohue, OSU

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday

The readings for this Second Sunday of Easter are about mercy, trust and the forgiveness of sins.  In the opening prayer we hear God addressed as the "God of everlasting Mercy." The readings this day also illustrate God’s mercy in action.  How does God reveal His mercy?  He reveals his mercy first and foremost by sending his Son to become our Savior.  Last week we celebrated Easter – Jesus’ resurrection from death to life.  In the early Church Jesus’ Apostles showed mercy in their preaching and healing.  Their ministry was not easy but their resolve was tremendous.  They continued to preach, teach and heal in the face of many obstacles.  Today’s gospel recounts for us Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples in the locked upper room when Thomas was not present.  Just like Thomas we are called to believe without seeing and to surrender our lives to the risen Lord of mercy.  During this special year of Mercy let us ask our loving God to open our hearts so that we may receive his Mercy in the form of His Holy Spirit and share it with all those we meet. 

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, April 1, 2016

Practicing the Presence of God

Today is April Fool’s Day – the day when people often engage in practical jokes to see how many people they can fool.  As we live this day let us remember that   Jesus wants us to know Him and to have a personal relationship with us.  If people can see Jesus’ love in action through us, they’ll get a glimpse of who he is—and that glimpse will make them want to find out more.

Just think when you are out today as you look around that Jesus loves every person you see.  Some may be hurting; some may be sad; some are happy; and some are seeing signs of hope.  As we go through this day rather than playing practical jokes let us take the time to compliment others, have conversations with others, and be truly present to others.  Perhaps it is a good day to put down your phone and focus on those you are with.  You never know what will happen if you “practice the presence of God!”

Pat Schifini, OSU