Sunday, December 25, 2022

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Fourth Sunday of Advent


As Advent moves along, and our celebration of Christmas nears, we are happy to share with you some ponderings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Special thanks to Thomas Trunkle, the director of the Ursuline Centre in Great Falls, MT, for his sharing!

My Advent reflection focuses more on perspective in one’s own life.  Realizing that no matter how dark, unfair or negative we view our own lives, in most cases more often than not, someone else inevitably has it worse. Allowing ourselves the opportunity to take time out and to reflect on how good we have it (even the simplest of blessings), the more apt we are to reach out to those who are suffering and in a more challenging position than ourselves. I believe that  focusing outward towards others centers and matures us in ways unrealized.

                                                                                          —Thomas Trunkle 


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Third Sunday of Advent

Our Third Sunday of Advent was written by Sr. Pascal Conforti, osu.  Sr. Pascal is a member of the Eastern Province and we are grateful for her reflection.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Second Sunday of Advent



1st Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10 
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72
2nd Reading: Romans 15:4-9 
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12

For me, the phrase "waiting in joyful hope" is the perfect description of Advent.  The concepts of “waiting in joyful hope” is the perfect description of Advent. The concepts of "waiting” and “hope” are rich in imagery and meaning when rooted in faith. The waiting is not simply a waste of time, or a source of frustration. The hope is not limited to something that will satisfy for only a time. No, the waiting of Advent is a fruitful and exciting time, and the hope is for something far greater than our limited imaginations could ever conjure!

The waiting of Advent is an active waiting. One part of waiting is watching, being on the lookout for something important. Isaiah gives a beautiful image: “A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse” (11:1). I think of time-lapse photography where the wonders of nature are caught on a video! That new life can grow from just the stump, the remains of a tree, is truly a miracle. It reminds me that God-given life is irrepressible; it keeps coming back no matter what has been suffered. Isaiah then describes the “bud” that will blossom from the roots of the tree. This person will be endowed with many gifts for leading the people, especially “fear of the Lord,” which shows awe and reverence for God. All the other gifts are rooted in this one, so that everything this person does is founded in God’s divine plan. This will help set the world right, establishing justice everywhere. How blessed are we to be waiting for such a person!

Another part of waiting is preparing. John the Baptist reminds his listeners rather forcefully of what should be done to prepare for the coming of this wonderful leader. Everyone has a responsibility to take stock of his/her way of living and make changes to align with God’s way of living. In Matthew’s gospel, this conversion is symbolized by the people being baptized by John in the Jordan River, renouncing their sins and being born to a new life. Like Isaiah, John also uses the imagery of things that grow in nature when he tells the people they must “produce good fruit as evidence of [their] repentance” (3:8). This extends to us today as well. Advent is a time for personal conversion that leads naturally to social transformation. We begin by committing to “make straight” the “crooked” parts of our own individual lives, but our work doesn’t end there. We must work to eliminate injustice in our communities, one piece at a time. This is not easy or quick work, but when we rely on our faith strengthened by prayer, we can be confident that God is with us in all our experiences.

Advent is also filled with extraordinary hope. Isaiah describes this hope most beautifully with another image from nature, this time of the animals of the world living in harmony. What a glorious world it will be when even predator and prey can live together with no fear or conflict! Like the perfection that God created at the beginning, this world of harmony and peace is a thing of beauty. Ruling this perfect world will be the perfect king, described earlier as the one who will establish justice everywhere. This king is also described in Psalm 72 as one who will care for the poor and vulnerable, bringing peace and happiness. Such a reality may seem impossible, but it is the great hope of Advent. As we know from the story of the Annunciation, nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). Come Lord Jesus! We are waiting in joyful hope!!
—Yvonne Racine
Holliston, MA

Sunday, November 27, 2022

First Sunday of Advent

From our Heart to Heart publication.  We are happy to share with you reflections for each Sunday of Advent and for Christmas 2022. We are grateful to Sr. Chabanel Mathison, a Roman Union Ursuline of the USA Central Province, for inviting us into prayer and reflection for the 1st Sunday of Advent.

 A blessed Advent season to each of you!

1ˢᵗ Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5 

2ⁿᵈ Reading: Romans 13:11-14

Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44

“It is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.”  (Romans 13:11)

Some people spring right out of bed every morning just glad to be alive, grateful for another day of chances and choices. Others of us pull the covers over our heads and hope that we’ve  just imagined it’s time to get up. Just another hour, another ten minutes, we plead with the clock. But time is an unforgiving monitor, and finally we are obliged to put on our slippers and get on with another day.

Paul says in the second reading for this first Sunday of Advent liturgy that we all know when it’s time to wake up. Advent is a powerful wake-up call. But many of us still like to pretend that it’s really not as late as all that. Maybe there’s a loophole as yet unexplored, a second opinion we might consult. We want to keep our eyes closed to the many fresh choices that are being offered to us with this season of Advent and a whole new liturgical year. It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the fire of the Spirit at Pentecost, and next the Church  opens the door to Advent and beckons us inside to a whole world of spiritual opportunity. Maybe it isn’t time yet for us to see if we can make a difference for just that one person who needs our help in some way. We’ve noticed her and her struggle for quite some time, and there is something we could do to help, but we just need a little more time before we get involved. Perhaps we could wait another month before we respond to the invitation we feel inside us to set aside a little quiet time in our day to listen for the voice of the Spirit in our lives. It can’t be time yet for us to reconcile and forgive that issue with a co-worker. Can’t we just sleep on a little longer and pretend it’s still night?

The start of a new Church year invites us to begin at the beginning and walk into the light with fresh hearts. The signature prophet for the season is Isaiah. In today’s first reading he offers remarkable vision of a united world, anxious for instruction in the ways of justice and peace. Can we see that world from where we’re sitting? Are we ready to wake up and help make it happen, one small choice at a time?

Chabanel Mathison, OSU

St. Louis, MO

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Feast 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. 

Today as a Church, we conclude our liturgical year and celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. The Gospel we proclaim shows the great mystery of our faith: In the moment of his crucifixion, Jesus is shown to be King and Savior of all.

Throughout this liturgical year we have listened to Luke's Gospel which has been loaded with surprises: the poor are rich, sinners find salvation, the Kingdom of God is found in our midst. Here we see the greatest surprise of all. We are confronted with the crucified Jesus, whom faith tells us is King and Savior of all. The irony is that the inscription placed on the cross, perhaps in mockery, contains the profoundest of truth. As the leaders’ jeer, the thief crucified by his side recognizes Jesus as Messiah and King and finds salvation.

Jesus is King, but not the kind of king we might have imagined or expected. His kingship was hidden from many of his contemporaries, but those who had the eyes of faith were able to see. As modern disciples of Jesus, we, too, struggle at times to recognize Jesus as King. Today's Gospel invites us to make our own judgment. With eyes of faith, we, too, recognize that Jesus, the crucified One, is indeed King and Savior of all.

This week we gather to celebrate the gift of Thanksgiving on Thursday and next Sunday will be the First Sunday of Advent.  May we do all things this week to honor Jesus.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

World Day of the Poor


World Day of the Poor

Pope Francis has declared Sunday, November 13, 2022 to be the sixth World Day of the poor, with the theme of “For your sakes Christ became poor” (2 Cor 8:9).s 

In his message for this World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis reflects on the words of St. Paul to the Church in Corinth and invites Christians to greater solidarity and responsibility for the poor."

Pope Francis notes that the year comes “as a healthy challenge, helping us to reflect on our style of life and on the many forms of poverty all around us.”

In his message for this year’s World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis said that no Christian is exempt from helping those with fewer resources than ourselves.  The worst thing that can happen to a Christian community is to be “dazzled by the idol of wealth, which ends up chaining us to an ephemeral and bankrupt vision of life,” he said. “Where the poor are concerned, it is not talk that matters; what matters is rolling up our sleeves and putting our faith into practice through a direct involvement, one that cannot be delegated.”

Before his general audience on Nov. 9, Pope Francis blessed a new sculpture by the Catholic artist Timothy Schmalz.  The life-size bronze work, called “Sheltering,” depicts a flying dove pulling a blanket over the naked body of a sleeping homeless person.  This work, which he described as "a call to action," is meant to make "visible," the poor who are "so often invisible.”

What can you do?

On this day we are invited to offer friendship, solidarity and welcome to the poorest of our sisters and brothers. As we reach out with love and support, let us hold all members of our global family in our prayers. 




Sunday, November 6, 2022

Election Day Prayer

As we prepare for Election Day 2022, let us pray for those seeking office as well as those who are voting.  May God guide our choices and bless the USA.

Prayer Before An Election

Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city/state/country, and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.

We ask for eyes that are free from blindness so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, one and equal in dignity, especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.

We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned, Men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.  We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.

We pray for discernment so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

- Author Unknown

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Zacchaeus, Come Down


In today’s gospel we hear the familiar story of Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector.  Due to his position, he was not popular with the people.  Zacchaeus saw a crowd and wanted to know what is going on, trying to get close to Jesus, he climbs a sycamore tree to see Jesus.  Jesus calls him down and tells him he is going to host a dinner for Him.  Hospitality is so important in Zacchaeus’ time as well as in our own times.  God calls us, comes to us, and encourages us to change anything that is keeping us from following.  Jesus comes and invites us to be His friend, welcomes us, knows what we are about and gives us countless chances to welcome Him into our hearts, all we have to do is accept the invitation.

What keeps us from accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow?  There are many reasons why we shy away from accepting Jesus’ invitation.  We are fearful, anxious, burdened by the needs of our times, and concerned about what will people think of me.  Jesus recognizes the faith of this tax collector exhibited in his search for salvation and calls him down from the tree. In the hospitality he extends to Jesus and in his conversion of heart, Zacchaeus is raised up by Jesus as a model of salvation.  We, too, can experience what Zacchaeus did if we open our hearts to humility and accept Jesus’ call to follow in faith and hope.  Jesus only wants what is good for us.  He wants us to be happy, to care for one another, and follow Him unreservedly.  We are called not to a certitude of the mind but a certitude of the heart.  Let us be like Zacchaeus open to Jesus’ invitation to follow with hearts full of love and joy.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Celebrating St. Ursula

On Friday, October 21st, for the first time in two years we were able to have an in person prayer service for the Feast of St. Ursula.  It was a lovely gathering that in many ways mirrored the original company founded by St. Angela in 1535.  There were about 28 of us present and we gathered in the context of prayer and shared a meal together.  The prayer service we used was prepared by one of our Ursuline sisters from our Central Province and was perfect for the occasion.

The legend of St. Ursula, flourished 4th century, she was the legendary leader of 11 or 11,000 virgins reputedly martyred at Cologne, now in Germany, by the Huns, 4th-century nomadic invaders of southeastern Europe. The story is based on a 4th- or 5th-century inscription from St. Ursula’s Church, Cologne, stating that an ancient basilica had been restored on the site where some holy virgins were killed. Her story was that she was to be married to a pagan ruler and she asked to go on a pilgrimage.  There she met her fate.

Our prayer began with listening to the song Standing on the Shoulders by Earth Mama.  In this song we recall that we stand on the shoulders of the ones who came before us.  During our prayer we were able to name those whose shoulders we stand on.  It was very powerful to listen to the names of those whose shoulders our province stands on.  Our evening concluded with a festive dinner together.

I invite you to listen to the song and think about those whose shoulders you stand on.  

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Glory of God's Creation


This past weekend I had the opportunity to drive up to Malone, New York for a meeting with our Associates there.  It was an incredible drive filled with so much beauty and recalling fond memories.  As we drove north, I keep seeing trees in various stages of change.  The colors varied from green, yellow, orange, and red.  The further north the deeper the color changes.  It was a moment of awe and wonder in the glory of God.

During the drive I kept thinking of Marty Haugen’s song, the Canticle of the Sun.

           The heavens are telling the glory of God,         

           And all creation is shouting for joy!

           Come, dance in the forest, come, play in the field,

           And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord!


Praise for the sun, the bringer of day,

He carries the light of the Lord in his rays;

The moon and the stars who light up the way unto your throne!


Praise for the wind that blows through the trees,

The seas' mighty storms, the gentlest breeze;

They blow where they will

They blow where they please to please the Lord!


Praise for the rain that waters our fields,

And blesses our crops so all the earth yields;

From death unto life her mystery revealed

Springs forth in joy!


Praise for the earth,

Who makes life grow

The creatures you made to let your life show;

The flowers and trees that help us to know

The heart of love


As we drove through the mountains, I kept recalling this song and simply enjoyed the beauty surrounding me.  During this fall season take some time to enjoy the beautiful gift of the change of seasons.


Sunday, October 9, 2022



In our readings today we are invited to reflect on gratitude.  St. Teresa of Ávila once said, “In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.”  We are reminded to be grateful for the many blessings our God has showered upon us each day.  As I thought about gratitude, I came across the poem by Rumi.  May we always have hearts full of gratitude.


Guest House

An Inspiring Poem About Gratitude

Written by 13th Century Persian poet, Rumi


This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


Sunday, October 2, 2022

Season of Creation Concludes


The 2022 Season of Creation closes with the celebration of the feast of 

St. Francis of Assisi on October 4th.  The prayer/reflection below was 

prepared by Mary Ann Dooling and Pat Harris from UrsulineAcademy

in St. Louis.  


                                                The Season of Creation/Service of Commitment


As followers of Angela, we share her Franciscan roots and her love of 

all creation. Angela, who found beauty and strength in the world around

her, calls us to be lovers and stewards of the world God has entrusted 

to us.


Opening Song: Canticle of the Sun


Reading: The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence,

there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail,

in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face. The ideal is not only to pass 

from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the

soul, but also to discover God in all things. Saint Bonaventure teaches 

us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s

grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in

creatures outside ourselves.” Laudato Si #233.


Response of Gratitude


For the galaxies, the stars, the solar system which ignited into the 

wonder, the beauty,vand ecstasy of the Universe.  We Thank You.


For all creatures, may they open our ears and move our hearts and 

teach us to contemplate and listen to the voice of each as they declare 

your glory. We Thank You.


For the cries and pleas of indigenous people, women and the whole 

bioverse; let us listen and hear their voices and laments; let us be 

grateful for their continuing care of the earth. We Thank You.


For the Voice that is telling us what to do; the time spent in reflection 

on the vastness of creation: and the gratitude for our ability to continue

to stand on this holy ground. We Thank You.


For the determination to imitate the Creator's love and care for creation 

as a "brother", a "sister", a “neighbor" as we live out our growing 

convictions. We Thank You.


For the resolve to promise direction and hope, commitment, and love for 

the Earth and Humankind. We Thank You.


Reflection: I Will Be a Hummingbird



Have hope and firm faith in God, for God will help you in everything.

St.  Angela


As a follower of Angela and member of the Ursuline family, I promise:

~ to advocate for those who lack the power to advocate for themselves

~ to recognize all of God’s creation as gift and worthy of care

~ to live simply and not adopt a consumerist mentality

~ to learn more about the true costs and advantages of the          

   “green economy”

~ to engage with others in specific action to improve our local 


~ to investigate more about the impact of my actions on climate change

~ to spend time in nature celebrating the wonder of creation.

Closing Prayer: God of all life, guide and strengthen us that we may truly be 

co-creators and cosustainers with you. Grant us the insights and energy 

to fulfill your call to us to respect, repair and renew your precious of 

creation.  We pray in the name of our brother Jesus and through the

intercession of Saint Angela. Amen.