Wednesday, January 30, 2013

St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti

Here is another saint for the day, who shows us that sometimes it takes someone else to tell us that we are not living like God intended. An outside perspective helps us to make sure that we are living our lives out as children of God. Therefore, it is always a good idea to go to confession or just talk to a priest about any problems that you might be having.

Nevertheless, St. Hyacintha began her life in as a loyal servant of God, but would grow up to become more and more frivolous, having no attention for all the gifts that God had given her. When she turned 20, she was all set to marry Marquess Capizucchi. However, to her dismay, he chose Hyacintha's younger sister over her. Therefore, to mask her anger and betrayal, she entered the monastery where she had been previously educated. The intention she had for joining the monastery was anything but sincere, for she simply wanted to mask her anger and not give up her daily luxuries. She would store extra food and wear a habit made of very fine material. This was all done while Hyacintha's other sister were living out lives of mortification.

Even thought she did not exude humility, Hyacintha still retained a lively spiritual life. However, Hyacintha would become sick, and, while a priest came to bring her Communion, he would see the luxuries, and tell her to rethink her way of life. This caused an epiphany for Hyacintha, and she decided to replace her habit with an old tunic, start going barefoot, dine on only bread and water, and chastise her body with scouragings. Some of these mortifications were so severe that it was considered a miracle that she remained living during them. She also started serving and caring for the sick.

Finally, Hyacintha would go on to found two groups that were called the Oblates of Mary. The first group specialized in caring for the sick, those too ashamed to beg, and prisoners. The second one found housing for the elderly.

St. Hyacintha is a perfect example of the epiphany that many of the saints have, turning from their sinful ways to lead a life of holiness. This also shows that true dedication that the saints had for caring for the sick and poor. We could all learn something from St. Hyacintha.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013


This week, I am again reflecting on one of Henri Nouwen’s quotes because 1) they are really thought-provoking, and 2) I want all of you to come on retreat! In case you still haven’t heard anything about it yet: there is a Metanoia retreat for students happening this weekend and it’s going to be awesome so you should all sign up! Seriously, though, Henri Nouwen has some great quotes. They really get you thinking, and I recommend everyone take some time just browsing through his wisdom.

The quote I chose for this week is: “A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”

I am not a very patient person. I don’t like being late, I like getting things done in advance, and when these things don’t happen, I get stressed out. In the bigger picture, trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life is an even bigger mystery that I want figured out now. I get anxious thinking about if I’m making the right decisions, where I’m supposed to be headed, what my future should look like, and I often times find myself telling God, “Please, just let me know now what I’m supposed to be doing.” I think a lot of college students feel this way. We’re sent off to college after years of being told what to do in school, and at the young age of 18, are supposed to decide our career path and get started. The decisions we make can affect the rest of our lives, and for me at least that’s a pretty heavy weight on my shoulders. This quote, though, is reminding me to be patient. I’m always telling myself to let go of my worries and just let God take control, but that’s a lot easier said than done and I always find myself stressing anyways. Henri Nouwen is saying that we can’t just sit there, stressing about our lives. We need to trust God completely and let Him take control. And in the meantime, while waiting for His plan for us to unfold, we shouldn’t just be in limbo. Patience goes beyond waiting; we have to be open to God in our lives, and look for His signs and direction. We need to make the most of every situation, and be optimistic about everything.  He can speak to us in many ways, and it’s important that we open our hearts and minds. If we go out being the best child of God we can be, one day He will reveal something to us that makes everything click. Maybe we’ll see that the life we’ve been living is the path we were meant to take, or maybe He will nudge us in a certain direction. Whatever happens, in the meantime we need to live our life for Christ and trust God, and everything will work out. Have patience! 

God bless, 

P.S.-I again stole Mel's spot, so read below for her post! 

The Body of Christ

I caught a sign from God.  I think I almost always miss them, so it feels good to catch one.  For some reason, I woke up very stressed on Sunday.  I don't stress out that easily...I always believe in doing the very best I can and letting God take care of making that enough.  So when I woke up stressed and started my day, I stopped and asked myself what calms me down?  Singing.  Okay, great.  As I finished getting ready, I kept singing this particular Christian song in my head over and over.  And then the coolest thing happened: as I was driving to the top of my street, that song came on over the radio!  Of all the stations I could have been listening to and of all the songs that station could be playing, the timing was something more than perfect.  Thanks, God =)

This weekend at the mass I went to, the priest talked about the Body of in, the Christian community.  It's a really cool gift if you think about it.  We are the Body of Christ.  We are all working on our relationship with Christ and sometimes for me this is more prevalent and other times it's a struggle.  In times of struggle it's nice to see someone elses faith to renew my own and in times of joy (like when I catch a sign), it's nice to share it with someone who gets it.  We are not meant to do this alone.  When you're having a sad moment or a down day or maybe your faith is running a little low...we are here.  We are the Body of Christ.  That's what's kind of cool about going to mass...that we can see others (with all our faults and all our sinfulness but with all our hope) who are striving to have a relationship with Christ too.  We are not alone!  In fact, we are in a room full of people who believe that a relationship with Christ is important.  Their faith can renew ours.

So at mass next weekend, stop and look around.  It's truly a gift to have such wonderful people join you in praising a fantastic God.

Until next time,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Live and Learn

Today’s responsorial Psalm is, “Here I am Lord, I come to do Your will.”  We all know it is best that we follow the Lord’s will.  But sometimes when His will conflicts with our will, we don’t always do what is right.  

Sometimes I make choices based on what I want without too much consideration to what God wants.  And at the time, I do not see how His choice would be any better than mine.  But with time and age we begin to realize that His will trumps our will every time.  I am not saying I have it all figured out and always know or choose the right answers, but I can look back and see improvement; that’s encouraging!  

So I continue my life, day after day, making new decisions and learning from the mistakes I happen to make.  One of my favorite quick prayers to pray throughout my day is simply, “Lord, help me to choose Your will and to make Your will also my will.”

“To do Your will is my delight; my God, Your law is in my heart!”    - Psalm 40:9


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saint Marianne Cope

I haven't done a post about a saint in a while, so I thought why not. I don't know what it is about the saints that interests me so much. I guess I just like to admire all the great things that people have done throughout the years. It gives me an example each and every day of how to live my life in the name of God.

Today is the feast day of St. Marianne Cope, a relatively new saint. She was canonized only 95 days ago by Pope Benedict XVI alongside Kateri Tekawitha. She is also only the eleventh American citizen to be canonized.

During the 19th century, Hawaii was a feared land, for it was infested with leprosy. However, it did not scare off Marianne Cope. On this day, 175 years ago, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. Two years later, the family emigrated to America to settle in Utica, New York. Young Barbara, which is Marianne's birth name, started working in a factory when she was in eight grade in order to support her family, since her father had become ill. Barbara's father died in 1862, and she was old enough where she decided to leave her family to enter the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis. Barbara took her new name after one year of formation, and started teaching at Assumption parish.

St. Marianne was a natural leader, serving in positions that allowed her to open the first two Catholic Hospitals in Central New York. She would go on to serve as superior general of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would serve her well in Hawaii. As if that was not enough, Marianne also played a role in the establishment of the Geneva Medical College. 

In 1883, Marianne, who, by then, was Superior General of her congregation was asked by King Kalākaua if the congregation could help with caring for the lepers. More than fifty religious orders in America and Canada were also asked, but they all declined the plea. Marianne and six other sisters agreed and took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu. They also opened the first hospital and a school for girls on Maui. For her accomplishments, King Kalākaua bestowed on Mother Marianne the Cross of a Companion of the Royal Order of Kapiolani.

In 1888, Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for “unprotected women and girls” there.  They also went to take care of Saint Damien, SS.CC., Marianne's counterpart, who was known as "the Apostle of Lepers." She would take over his projects when he contracted leprosy. Saint Damien and Saint Marianne are the only two people to have been canonized for working in Hawaii.

I find it a breath of fresh air to hear of a saint who has been alive relatively recently (as in not longer than 500 years ago). Don't get me wrong, I definitely enjoy learning about all the saints,  but the ones that have been alive more recently, I feel, are sometimes easier to connect to in our society. I enjoyed learning about Saint Marianne Cope and the amazing deeds she has accomplished. It just goes to show the lengths that some people will go to to please God. Saint Marianne is someone who we can all look up to and attempt to exemplify.


Monday, January 21, 2013

You Are Beloved

     We all have trials, down times, and insecurities in our lives, but for every one of these there is a turning point that takes you right back up. The following quotes from Henri Nouwen’s “Life of the Beloved” show that recognizing that you are ‘beloved’ is a very important aspect of your life and faith.
      ‘There is little or no neutral territory between the land of the blessed and the land of the cursed. You have to choose where it is that you want to live, and that choice is one that you have to keep making from moment to moment ... I must tell you that claiming your own blessedness always leads to a deep desire to bless others.’
      You can’t spend your life struggling with the good and the bad. People have to accept that there are going to be hard times, but that life has so much good in it and that is what you have to focus on. Trials are lessons for improvement; finding the good is going to help you have less stress and more joy in your life. When you begin to struggle with the bad parts of life and focus on what goes wrong, that is when you start heading down the wrong path. Appreciating the positives (which there are more than negatives, even if it’s hard to see it that way at times) will lead to a much happier and fulfilled life. It is difficult to do, Nouwen says that it is a moment-to-moment choice to live in the land of the blessed, but it is possible when you keep yourself focused. You are a blessed child of God. God loves you and cares about you. He is going to see you through those hard times, so don’t overly worry about them or let them consume you.
     ‘Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved”. Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our experience.’
      Blessedness is even more than seeing how much God loves you; it’s about realizing that you are worth that love. A lot of people feel detached or far away from God, like He is a power that cares about much bigger issues than little me. But in actuality, God loves each and every person. He made you just the way you were meant to be and you are loved for being you. Nouwen says that self-rejection is the worst thing you can do in being ‘beloved’. By rejecting yourself, you are in a way rejecting Him and His love. Accepting and living as the ‘beloved’ is truly accepting God and faith. You are at one with Him and your spirituality which will help you attain a satisfying and joyous life. And, as expressed in the first quote, once you reach a state of blessedness, you will be able to help others reach theirs. Ultimately, this is a huge goal in and part of life, to be happy and to help others.
     So I challenge you to think about bad parts of your life, your past, your present trials, and your worries about the future, and reanalyze them looking at what positive they can actually bring you. What lessons they have taught. What kind of person they make you for dealing with them. How they help you look at life differently. See the good in everything. Remember that God is working for you and for good, never the opposite. You are His ‘beloved’ and there is reason for that. He loves you because you’re worth being that loved.

Now go out and see the good in the world and help others too!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blessed to Be

Earlier this week, I was flying around getting ready for an early shift at work.  Of course I snoozed my alarm one too many times.  Consequently, I found myself hurrying myself out the door so that I could swing by McDonalds to get my morning dose of caffeine; a caramel mocha (my treat to myself when I have to wake up that early).  When I was finally on my way in my car my mind began racing a million miles per hour thinking did I unplug my straightener? Did I remember my books?  Will I be ready for this exam later on that day?  What I haven’t I done that I need to get done?  So I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled up to pay, the nice gentleman told me to “have a blessed day.”

It is so funny how one little phrase can completely change the pace of my day.  I mean the phrase, “have a great day” is so well known to our everyday language.   Being a customer service representative, I could not even begin to count how many times I use that phrase a day.  But, “have a blessed day” just really caught me off guard, in a good way.

It was a nice nudge to remind me to say good morning to sweet Jesus, to thank Him for a new day, a new chance to learn, and a full day of opportunities to know God better.   I find myself all too often getting bogged down by checking things off my to-do list that I forget easily what needs to be the center of my thoughts, words, and actions.   But, when I think of things in blessings, the to-do list kind of takes care of itself and the stress that usually goes along with it is magically absent.
So, as you read this, I hope you are having a blessed day too!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

You're Gonna Miss This

The closing lines of the new episode of Modern Family this week read:  “There are all kinds of milestones in life.  The kind you expect to live through; first kiss, birthdays, and graduations.  If you’re lucky a wedding or two.  Or ever a new edition to the family.  Then there’s the kind you’d never dreamed you’d get to live through again.  That’s the best kind of all.”

Life is full of great and exciting moments that sometimes we just skip right over.  Young people always look ahead and older people always look back.  For us as young people we need to live in the here and now.  We are presented a very special and unique situation as student that we will probably never have a chance to experience again.  I constantly catch myself thinking that I can’t wait to graduate and get into the real world.  The fact is I need to appreciate where I am right now, because one day I am going to miss this.

Take some time today to think about how lucky you are to be a student and to be living the life you have.  Take some time to appreciate the unique opportunities student life presents to you.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Today's Gospel reading shows Jesus's true healing power, which was not only spiritual, but also physical. However, Jesus's true mission is spiritual, and yet he hears the cries  of need by the people in Capernaum, and he is not able to simply ignore them. Another factor that adds to this dilemma is the fact that Jesus is becoming very popular, very quickly, so people are coming from everywhere for his help.

It seems as though, after Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law, the whole village rushed to flood Jesus with numerous requests of their own. Even though he knows that this is not his true purpose, he still chooses to heal each and every one of them. People were continuing to focus on Jesus's amazing deeds, rather than his words, which are as important, if not more important than his actions.

In the remainder of the Gospel, Jesus will continue to be requested to perform his miracles on people, and he will do it with compassion. He will do it when no one is looking, like with Simon's mother in law, and he will do it when every one is watching. He will not rest when there is someone in need of his help. Most importantly, he will do it simply with basic, true methods, avoiding magic and occult, which can even be seen today in famous examples of exorcism. Jesus does not need magic or occult to assist him in helping others, and neither do we. 

Much like Jesus, we must learn to help other in their time of need. We must also learn that we must help others even when no one is around to notice or congratulate us. We are not helping others for the right reasons if we are merely doing it for the popularity or recognition.

Another way of looking at Simon's request is that he, and the rest of the disciples, were finally starting to trust Jesus with their problems, their lives. However, on the other hand, we must not always ask for material possessions or help in our prayers, for then we are just like the crowds, who used Jesus. We must pray and remember God not only in our times of need, but all the time.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Paths

For this week’s blog, I decided to reflect upon a quote by Henri Nouwen in honor of the upcoming Metanoia Retreat St. Monica-St. George is putting on for students. Which, by the way, you should all sign up for because it’s going to be AWESOME! There’s a link to the registration form on the facebook event page; if you’re not invited on facebook, comment here and we’ll invite you or send you the information. But seriously, it’s going to be a great, refreshing weekend. Anyways, the quote I chose is this: “…every time there are losses there are choices to be made. You choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression and resentment, or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, and deeper.” –Henri Nouwen

This quote is about letting go of anger, bitterness, and hurt. I know I’ve talked about it before, but it’s something that I still struggle with and this quote really spoke to me. You can’t hold on to those negative emotions. I know it’s so much easier said than done, but if you want to grow as a person and grow in your faith, you have to let them go. God doesn’t want us to hurt; He doesn’t want those emotions to control our lives. If we let Him take control, He will help us through it. He can’t prevent bad things from happening, but He is constantly there to help us through them. If we hand over to Him all of our worries, hurt, and anger, He will replace them with peace, hope, and love, and show us where to go. He helps us pick up the pieces and either continue on our way or take a different path.

That brings me back to the quote above. It shows that bad times and hurtful experiences can be transformed into something great. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and every experience shapes us into the person we were meant to become. If you dwell on the negatives, you get stuck on your path and it’s difficult to move forward and grow as a person and in your faith. Letting go and walking away from our bitterness and sadness allows us to see the other paths and adventures we can embark upon. Maybe we needed that negative experience so God could open our eyes to something better, or maybe we needed that to teach us an important life lesson. Remember that God is guiding our path, and if we open up and let go of negativity, He will always be there to direct our steps and carry us if we fall.

God bless,

P.S.-I kind of stole Mel's day, so don't forget to read her great post right below mine! 

The Internal Candle

I don't remember much from growing up.  I went to mass every weekend with my family and I can honestly say that only one lesson has ever stood out in all those years.  To this day, I almost always think about it when I'm sitting in mass.  I remember the priest explaining that coming to mass was like lighting your candle back up.  He said that when we go to mass, we get our candles lit and then throughout the week when we sin, or forget to pray, or are not the best version of ourselves our candle diminishes a little bit at a time until they eventually are extinguished.  One of the blessings of going to mass is that our candles become lit once again.

I very much love this message because I think it's a cool and different picture of what grace is.  No matter what we have done that week or how quickly we extinguished our candles, they are lit again at mass.  We are renewed and refreshed as we come to worship the God who loves us with more love than we could ever know.

Until next time,

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Secret to Life

Welcome back everyone!! And we are off to a new and exciting semester of learning and new experiences.  I for one cannot believe how jammed packed the weeks have already become with class, work, and homework.   As I receive my syllabus for every class, I am already stressed about the upcoming assignments and exams.  And I must say I was not too thrilled when there was a surprise assignment on the first day of classes. Granted, it was only a two page reflection paper on a 20 minute video clip.  But, it was just not something that I had planned to do.  Even though I know flexibility is something necessary in life, it has never been my strong suit.  

This assignment was entitled “How to live to be 100.”  I can honestly say, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I would learn about myself and how much I would enjoy this assignment.  In the video this gentleman talks about the secret to living to be 100 is not a magical cream or diet.  Rather, it is comprised small discrete lifestyle choices such as plant based diet and taking the stairs regularly.  Two of the main secrets to living a long life was taking time to downshift and being involved in a faith based community.  It was surprising how universal these themes were when he compared multiple “long living” communities around the world.  Furthermore, he said that these individuals lived a long life because they took on the values and norms of the community around them, resulting in a positive peer pressure.  

After reflecting upon this, I was amazed just how easy the secret to living a long happy life was; pray and go to church.  The rest will take care of itself.  We know that our faith community will continue to pray for us and challenge us to grow deeper in our faith.   And it even turns out it is good for your health =)