October 20, 2015

Veni Si Amas Retreat - October 16-18, 2015

Twenty-one women from across the country gathered at St. Francis Convent in Alton, IL to encounter the love of Jesus.  Responding to the invitation to ponder His Word, like Mary, these women entered into deepening their relationship with Christ.  The days together included time spent with the Sisters in prayer, recreation, listening to talks, meals and sacraments.  It was a joy to be with these women! Please keep them in prayer as they seek the Will of the Father for their lives.

See pictures from the weekend.

October 15, 2015

Joy radiated from Sister M. Christine throughout the day as she renewed her vows and asked for the grace of a jubilee. Sisters throughout the country came together to celebrate the gift of Sister M. Christine's vocation and fidelity for 50 years. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki joined us on October 10, 2015 for the occasion of the Holy Mass. Many family and friends attended to pray and rejoice with Sister M. Christine. It was a beautiful day!  God bless you Sister M. Christine!

See pictures from the Golden Jubilee

October 5, 2015

Living in the Truth

"The Universal Church" This is a saying that I have heard many times. While I have experienced the fullness of the Church many times, none of my experiences have touched me in the way my trip to Philadelphia to see the Pope did. I was asked the question by a woman while I was in Philadelphia, "How does the Pope being here affect you as a religious?" The only answer that comes to my mind is: He brings us together! And he does, at least 1-2 million of us! As head of the Universal Church he not only leads us and guides us, he reminds us that we are part of something that is much bigger than ourselves. As religious, we are daughters of the Church and the Holy Father is a member of our family, the head of our family. 

Each of us has a thirst for truth whether we realize it or not. The Holy Father is known as a spiritual leader by Christians and non-Christians alike. The whole world listens to what he says. Hearing him and seeing him brings home that desire to live in the truth and be the person you know you should be. For me personally, this experience was a reminder of what I am called to as a consecrated religious.  I am called to be a witness to the world of what truth looks like.  I talked to another woman in Philadelphia.  She was there as a reporter and was a fallen away Catholic. During the course of our conversation she shared with me how seeing the Holy Father and listening to him has given her the desire to come back to the Church and to have her two children baptized.  I believe that it was the feeling that the pope has made Catholicism "real" to her that allowed her to take this step.

In 1993, when John Paul II came to Denver for World Youth Day, I was living near Denver at the time and the Pope's motorcade went right by me.  I was only about 20 feet away. Sadly, at the time I was not Catholic and had only a vague understanding of who the Pope was. It was only after my conversion that I realized what an opportunity I had missed. World Youth Day was in my backyard and I missed it! In some ways my time in Philadelphia was the redemption of the chance I missed in Denver.

I was stationed in Philadelphia 2010-2011.  While it is a beautiful city with a very rich history, it was not as friendly as a small town in the Midwest would be. While on this pilgrimage, many natives to the city remarked to me that there was a different spirit in the city since the pilgrims and the Holy Father had arrived. To quote one woman selling Pope buttons on the side of the road, "The peace has come and I hope it stays."

The trip to Philadelphia from La Crosse, WI where I am currently stationed, was 24 hours by bus. It was long and exhausting, a true pilgrimage. But while walking around the city of brotherly love I truly felt that it had all been worth it. The memories, and hopefully the intention to be the person I should be, will last far longer than the discomforts of a long bus ride.

- Sister M. Judith, FSGM

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