Sunday, November 28, 2021

Happy Foundation Day and FIrst Sunday of Advent

Happy Feast Day! Today, November 28th, is the day the Roman Union of Ursuline Sisters was founded.

The Ursuline Sisters of the Eastern Province, who administer and sponsor the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, Bronx, NY, The Ursuline School, New Rochelle, NY and Ursuline Academy, Wilmington, DE all belong to the Roman Union of Ursuline Sisters. This is an international group of Ursuline sisters that joined together in 1900 at the invitation of Pope Leo XIII, because he envisioned a united institute created from smaller, independent Ursuline communities. The purpose was for the Ursuline communities to collaborate and work together. 

The international group which took the name of the Roman Union of the Order of St. Ursula has its headquarters in Rome and all follow a common Constitution. The Roman Union Order of St. Ursula has found strength in unity, living out Angela’s vision that crosses nationalities, cultures, and ethnicity.

Today, the Roman Union of the Order of St. Ursula can be found in these different countries.

Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa

The Americas: Barbados, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Guyana, Mexico, Peru, United States, Venezuela 

Asia/Pacifica: Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech-Moravia, England, France, Greece, ngary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine, and Wales

All our schools follow the SERVIAM motto. In the picture below, you see the Soli Deo Gloria-Ursuline shield standing for Glory to God along and the Ursuline crucifix. 

There are other independent groups of Ursuline sisters in the United States and Canada, such as those in Kentucky, Ohio, New York, and the Canadian provinces. All the North American Ursuline Sisters and groups are in communication through meetings and shared initiatives. 

All connected to the Ursuline family work to bring Angela’s vision and the Ursuline charism of service, care for all creation, strengthening of family unity, and the importance of women leadership to all parts of our world.

Today we also celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” The Advent season is an invitation to set your mind off the stresses of the year. We can take our focus off the crazy hustle that can be associated with the Christmas season that often threatens to produce more hassle than delight. Advent is a chance to focus our thoughts on the gift God has given us in his son Jesus who stepped down from Heaven and took the form of a man so that we might believe.

The tradition for the first Sunday of Advent includes lighting the candle of hope. This candle of hope symbolizes promises delivered through the prophets from God as well as the hope we have in Christ. A good friend of mine use Hang On Peace Emerges as an anacronym for hope.  I often find myself using this when life gets too stressful.

This first Sunday of Advent we read, pray, and reflect on the hope God’s plan gives us (foretold by the prophets and fulfilled by the life and death of Christ), and we meditate on the promise of Christ’s coming glory-filled return.  Let us always trust that if we hang on peace will emerge.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Foundation Day & Happy Thanksgiving Day


Happy Foundation Day of the Company of St. Ursula! 

486 years ago today, on November 25, 1535, St. Angela Merici founded the Company of St. Ursula which became the Ursuline sisters.

On this feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Angela Merici gathered with the first 28 members of the Company of St. Ursula to sign the book of the Company, thereby making their commitment to a life of virginity, service, and love for all people. They lived in the midst of family, workplace, and local community. The group would meet regularly for prayer and would be visited by the local leaders in the Company.

Happy Feast Day who all who claim Angela as their Foundress. May this day be filled with many blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all too!  We have much to be grateful for this day.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Solemnity of Christ the King


On the last Sunday of each liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, or Christ the King. 

Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 with his encyclical Quas primas (“In the first”) to respond to growing secularism and atheism.  He recognized that attempting to “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law” out of public life would result in continuing discord among people and nations. This solemnity reminds us that while governments come and go, Christ reigns as King forever.


A poem for the Feast of Christ the King

See how this infant boy
lifted himself down
into his humble crèche
and laid his tender glove of skin
against splintered wood—
found refuge in a rack
of straw—home
that chilly dawn,
in sweetest silage,
those shriven stalks.

This outcast king lifted
himself high upon his savage cross,
extended the regal banner
of his bones, draping himself
upon his throne—his battered feet,
his wounded hands not fastened
there by nails but sewn
by the strictest thorn of love.

Pamela Cranston © 2019

Sunday, November 14, 2021

World Day of the Poor


Sunday, November 14, marks the fifth celebration of the World Day of the Poor. The Day was instituted by Pope Francis to urge the Church and the faithful to ‘go out’ to encounter poverty in the various ways it manifests itself in the modern world and to reach out to those most in need. This year the motto chosen to promote the Day comes from Saint Mark's Gospel: “The poor you will always have with you” (Mark 14:7).


Because the cry of the poor and the cry of Earth are inextricably bound, Pope Francis has chosen to launch the Laudato Sí Action Platform (LSAP) on the World Day of the Poor.  Pope Francis asks us, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are growing up?” (LS 160).  This challenge of Pope Francis leads us to respond to the call for transformation set forth in Laudato Si.  The tasks are great, seemingly never-ending.  Our invitation to all – communities and individuals – is that we consider all of our actions through the lens of Integral Ecology.

This year, Pope Francis has invited us to be part of a seven-year journey to Integral Ecology as the new paradigm of justice. Integral Ecology is a concept that reflects the many relationships that keep a system intact, whole, and healthy. It looks at a comprehensive picture of reality and is essential to our understanding the interconnectedness of the whole. This paradigm respects our unique place as human beings in this world as well as our relationship to all which surrounds us. No issue is an isolated event but is part of the web of relationships.  Let us embrace Pope Francis’ call and join in the efforts to preserve our common home.




Sunday, November 7, 2021

We Remember


This week had been about remembering.  On Monday we celebrated the Feast of All Saints and on Tuesday the Feast of all Souls.  Yesterday we celebrated our Mass of Remembrance for fifteen Ursuline Sisters and eight Ursuline Associates who died since November of 2019.   We had a Mass of Remembrance scheduled for December of 2020 but had to postpone it due to Covid restrictions in place at the time.  The celebration took place at Holy Family Church and was live streamed for those who were unable to be present.  It was truly a beautiful celebration of the incredible women who gave their all-in service, commitment, and fidelity.  The blessing of technology made it possible for family members and friends to watch the Mass in the comfort of their homes.  The comments keep coming in from those who watched virtually.

It struck me this morning when listening to the Suscipe by John Foley, SJ,

Take, Lord, receive all my liberty.  My memory, understanding, my entire will!  Give me only your love, and your grace, that's enough for me! Your love and your grace are enough for me!

Take Lord, receive, all I have and possess.  You have given unto me, now I return it. Give me only your love, and your grace, that's enough for me!  Your love and your grace are enough for me!

Take Lord receive, all is yours now.  Dispose of it, wholly according to your will.  Give me only your love, and your grace, that's enough for me!  Your love and your grace are enough for me!

That this is what these women (and all who have gone before us) have done.  They have given their all-in love and fidelity.  Responding to God’s call is what motivated them in life, and they remain models for us today.  May we always remember to celebrate what we believe.