Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tender Hearted Love

       Not long ago our chaplain made the comment: “The Church celebrates a feast in which we celebrate the Sacred Heart. Have you noticed there are no feasts that celebrate the sacred brain or the sacred gut?!” The heart is seen as the center of love.
       In the reading today from St. Peter’s letter, we are exhorted to “love one another intensely from a pure heart.” Peter knew something about having a pure heart. Through Peter’s many encounters with Jesus, some of them quite intense he learned about the meaning of love.
      I think particularly of the encounter between Jesus and Peter occurring post resurrection. The scene took place “following breakfast.” Jesus asks Peter directly and deliberately three times “Do you love me?” Asking three times perhaps is a reminder to Peter of his recent betrayal. Jesus’ response to Peter, however,  was not a reprimand but one of wanting him to take action – a doing of the word. The first and third time Jesus said “Feed my sheep” and the second time “Tend my sheep” – behaviors that demonstrate Jesus’ tender hearted love.               Acting with kindness, compassion, patience, doing of the corporal works of mercy are deeds that reveal one having a pure heart that leads one to greater love of the Sacred Heart.
        Sr. Aileen Bankemper, OSB

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Sense of Past and Future

For everything there is a season…God has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds…Ecclesiastes 8:3; 11.

       Our founding sisters came to Covington in 1859 and by 1890 they had erected St. Walburg Monastery and Academy. 1903 the community bought property in what is now Villa Hills, KY where we built Villa Madonna Academy and our present monastery. Between 1922 and 1947 we bought neighboring farms, and we ran a full farm until 1967. During the years between 1964 and 2016 we opened Villa Madonna Montessori (’72) in the old dairy barn, developed Madonna Manor (’64). In 2008 we transferred the Manor to the Sylvania Franciscans in order to further its mission and service to the elderly. 
      During the past four years, with the help of the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), the community has engaged in future planning. Today our plans call us to sell some of our land to secure our community’s continued presence, service and outreach in our neighborhood and in the Church. Selling isn’t easy for us as you might imagine, but we know what we need to do. 

       Decision making in a Benedictine community is very serious business. In our monastery we meet, talk, meet, talk, meet and talk until we are ready to decide. Collaborating, working together, takes time and bears good fruit. During this time of decision making we have also been blessed with the help of the staff of the Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) and the administrators of the City of Villa Hills who respect our planning process. 
      We appreciate the interest and concerns of our friends, the citizens of Villa Hills, the new acquaintances we are making during this process and those who have offered to help us as we move into the future. We will keep all of you in our prayers and pray that God will bless you for your support and friendship..

      Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup, OSB

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Prayer for Renewal Pentecost, 2016

                                                Spirit of Jesus,
Lord of our lives…
Come, dwell
within us  anew.

Open our eyes
help us to see
in your presence,
our blindness
and your vision.

our stumbling gait,
our faltering will,
that we might
serve you still

through our dying

and our rising,

hand in hand,
heart to heart,
with you.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Sr. Sharon Portwood, OSB

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An Unrealized Prejudice

        Once in a while we read or hear something that makes us take notice in a special way. It jars us into an awakening  It forces us to examine ourselves and our beliefs. Sometimes the memory sticks with us and keeps coming to the foreground in quiet moments.
        A recent article from America magazine (March 28, 2016) has done just that.  I have to admit to having given Jesus a Hollywood appearance. The holy cards of my youth had a big influence and I realize that I have not up-dated my image. So when Brian Doyle (p 26) describes Jesus as a “gaunt Arab Jew, speaking Aramaic and Hebrew, copper-skinned, short, slight of build, skilled only in carpentry and scholarly analysis of the Torah,  . . . ” my brain skidded to a halt. I’m okay with the Arab Jew, the language and probably his skin color, but what is this gaunt, short, slight of build? I want to say “not MY Jesus.” I realized it was especially the “short” that bugged me. How could a short person command the attention of so many people, the crowds so often described?  (So this is why he helped out Zacchias!) 
       And then I realized that I have a prejudice that has gone undetected by me all these many years.  I am afraid that I have not given full credit to short people.  A bit of self disclosure, I have lost six inches to scoliosis and have to buy in the petite department but this has not changed my attitude toward myself. I tend to say that others have just gotten taller. I think I still have my gifts, talents, and ”short” comings. Even our language has put a derogatory on short! So now I know I have some work to do. I need to be more open, to change my attitude. I am wondering and looking for what other prejudices are lingering within me. Say a prayer that I get straightened out.
        Sr. Mary Rabe, OSB