September 28, 2015


               My wedding day was not something I would have pictured years ago.  Images of walking up the aisle in a white dress with a colorful bouquet with my father was replaced with solemnly processing up the aisle with a candle, in a veil and habit, and with nine other women all making different steps in religious life.  Wow- what an amazing gift!  In a word… joy.
                I am given a privilege to be the bride of Christ.  In my weakness and unworthiness God called me to be with Him.  There is a sense of renewal and awareness of all the tiny and also significant moments that I have come to know my Spouse over the years.  In that time, really from the moment of my conception, He has been preparing me.  He has been pouring His grace upon me so I could say yes, a continual yes, for this moment.
                It has been a couple of weeks since my profession and I am grateful that I still have moments of amazement gazing on Christ in the tabernacle that He called me.  He loves me so much that He called me out of the world to be with Him.  How amazing is our God!  All praise and glory is due to Him who called me out of the depths to be His own.

 - Sister Maria Christi, FSGM

September 25, 2015

A Self-Emptying Gift

     “Love led Christ to the gift of self, even to the supreme sacrifice of the cross” (Vita Consecrata 42).  Since receiving the habit a few weeks ago, the Lord has continually been bringing the self-emptying gift of Christ’s love to my mind and heart.  The habit serves as a reminder that it is ‘no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’ (Gal 2:20).  It is an invitation from God to be emptied of myself so that He can present Himself as a gift to oth
ers through me.  Humanity’s very existence, our being, is a pure gift which has its source from the overflowing love within the Holy Trinity.  But He doesn’t stop there!  He then calls us to enter into the gift of Himself for eternity.  Religious life is the ‘already and not yet’ living out of that gift, so that our very being is completely taken up in love with He who is Love itself.

     Being as gift was a central theme to Pope St. John Paul II’s spirituality and writings. In one of his poems, reflecting in the Sistine Chapel on the creation of man, he writes, “God bestowed upon them a gift and a task.”  The same is true for every religious.  The religious vocation is very much a gift while at the same time an invitation from God to take part in a mission. Having received the gift of being named after Pope St. John Paul II, I hope to carry on his mission to build a culture of life and civilization of love in gratitude for the many graces the Lord has shared with me through him.  By opening himself to the Holy Spirit, St. John Paul II made a sincere gift of himself to the Lord and the Church “making the world more human.” It was love alone that led St. John Paul II to give himself in this way and I pray that it will be love alone that continues to guide my religious life, that I may live a life hidden in Christ as a self-emptying gift.

Sister John Mary, FSGM

September 23, 2015

"Daughter of Light"

        A few weeks have passed by since I received my habit, veil, and religious name. I still remember being excited, nervous, but mostly joyful as I walked down the aisle in the beginning of Mass. It was beautiful to see all our families, friends, priests, and Sisters together to join us in celebrating our next step in religious life. A moment I will always remember was when Bishop Paprocki said: “You received the name Krystle on the day of your Baptism. Becoming a member of this community you receive the name Sister Mary Philomena.” When he said those words I saw him as my Beloved Jesus Christ smiling, thanking me for trusting Him with my life, and being a light for the world.
          Saint Philomena, the saint I took my religious name after, actually means “Daughter of Light.” Her perseverance and fidelity to God while in the hands of the Emperor Diocletian struck me. Though she was imprisoned for thirty-seven days, stripped, scourged, thrown into the Tiber River with an anchor around her neck, shot with flaming arrows, and finally beheaded, she never wavered from her faith in God. Like Saint Philomena, I pray that I may be a witness of God’s light in these dark times in which we live. Through the intercession of my patroness, may I remain steadfast and faithful to God’s will.

Sister M. Philomena, FSGM

September 21, 2015

A Grateful Heart

      As the Feast Day approached, I wondered what the day would be like. Would I be nervous? Excited? Both? Who would be there? Will I remember my lines? While all of those questions bounced around in my head leading up to the Feast Day, the only thing I could think and pray as I walked out of St. Mary’s at the end of the Mass was “Thank You”. My heart was full of gratitude for the gift of my vocation and all those who had made the Feast Day possible. I was also incredibly grateful for the support of my family, friends and Sisters.
                While all the support from them was much needed and appreciated, I was also grateful for my patron’s intercession. The more I have gotten to know St. Joseph, the more I appreciate him and his pure, humble spirit. Not a word of what St. Joseph said is recorded in Scripture, although angels did visit him in dreams three different times. Each time the angel was making God’s will known to him. While St. Joseph did not always understand God’s plan for him and his family, he did trust. His humble obedience to the will of God is one of his many virtues that I strive to imitate. While it was not always easy, his obedience shows the peace that comes with following God’s plan. It was the same peace I experienced on the Feast Day, knowing and trusting that I was doing God’s will. May St. Joseph intercede for each of us as we strive to do the will of God in our lives. St. Joseph, pray for us!

Sister Mary Joseph, FSGM

September 19, 2015

Welcome Gretchen!

My name is Gretchen Gotz and I am from Wisconsin.  Go Packers!  I taught grades PK – 7th in Wisconsin, Alaska, and Georgia.  My hobbies are fishing, baking, biking, painting, and spending time with friends and family.  I met two of the Sisters from our community while I was teaching in Green Bay, WI, and was attracted to the Sisters’ joy and beautiful presence.  After spending time with them, I began to discern religious life as a possibility for me.  My advice to anyone considering religious life would be to spend time with our Lord in adoration.  It is there He will lead you to where you are meant to be.  Be assured of my prayers for you!

September 17, 2015

Meet Shannon!

           Hello, my name is Shannon.  I am 28 years old and was born and raised in Connecticut.  I studied chemistry and biochemistry at Western Connecticut State University, where I also played on the women’s varsity soccer team.  I also spent a year at the University of Notre Dame where I earned a master’s degree in global health and watched the football team go undefeated at home and play for the national championship.  Go Irish! 
            Before entering, I worked as an entry level scientist at Pfizer, Inc. in Groton, CT.  I enjoy watching and participating in almost any sport but my favorites are croquet and gymnastics.  I also really enjoy coaching gymnastics, which I did for many years.
            The devotion to Christ crucified and the humility and simplicity with which the Sisters lived really attracted me to our community.  I was also drawn by the joy within the community and the devotion that each Sister had to our Lord.  For those of you in the midst of discernment, I would first recommend spending time in silence with the Lord and open your heart to His voice.  And when you hear His voice, do not be afraid to follow where He leads, for His plans are so much better than our own.  May Christ always hold you close to His heart.

September 15, 2015

Welcome Molly!

Oh…hello!  I didn’t see you there!  I’m glad you found this blog!  My name is Molly.  I have moved around my entire life, but just a few days ago, I found myself moving here from Iowa… home of the Quaker Oats!
            Before arriving here, I was a youth minister for middle and high school youth.  I also taught high school theology to the juniors.  Oh, what a fun time we had!
            Working with youth, I had a little free time before I entered, but the free time I had was filled with naps, watching college sports (Cheer Cheer for Ol’ Notre Dame, and my KU Jayhawks!).  I also enjoy being outside and I absolutely love a good joke!
            The charism of this community attracted me.  I have a great love for the Divine Mercy and St. Faustina.  Even more so, I was drawn here by Our Lady of Cuba and Our Lady of Aparecida (Our Lady of Brazil).  They sought me out during my year in the missions of Central America.  On my first visit to our Provincial House, I learned that this community has missions in both of those countries, and statues of both of these Marian images in the hallway by the chapel!
             For those of you reading this (yes, that means even you right now!), I have five simple words of advice:  Jesus, I trust in You!  Let Him lead you and love you!  Live the Faith!  Believe it.  It is real!