Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent- Christmas Poem Dedicated to Sister Marge OSC

Watching the evening news-
commercials breaking in
after tragic tales
we are told the meaning of Joy-
Always with a song for Happy Holidays -
never Christ's-Christmas-coming.

Settling in for Night Prayer
the dusk filling the chapel panes-
enveloping the quiet space -
a door -
enlightening the Joy within.

For He is Creator and Gift,
The Shepherd and the Lamb-
He is the Son and the Babe of Bethlehm-
always God's Son and always Son of Mary.
He is the Story and the Song-
The Melody and the Notes-
But always the Song
He sings through us,
Played out once in time
for us to learn.

He is Hope and Love,
Always Love.
He is Peace and Joy,
always His Joy.
Open the doors of our hearts.
He is doing something new.
Happy Holidays ???
It is never Happy Holidays,
Always Christ-for-the-masses,
Our Christmas Joy

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sister Margaret (Marge) McGowan OSC died December 2, 2010

Our Sister Marge, died December 2, 2010 at 1:00PM at St. Joseph's Center in Morris Hall , Lawrenceville, NJ. Sister Miriam and the Sisters were present with Marge as she went home to the Good Shepherd whom she loved with all her heart.

Born in Summit, NJ, Sister Marge was a vice-president of a banking corporation for many years before entering the Poor Clares in Bordentown, NJ. Sister Marge was very instrumental in helping with the finances that helped build our new Monastery in Chesterfield, NJ. Mr Harry Hill, our lawyer at the time and Bill Taylor our construction person found Marge an asset to the building process.

The Sisters will miss Marge for many reasons not to speak of her wonderful Irish Wit.
We know Marge will intercede for us and send us vocations and maybe a dog.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Friar Ron Pecci and the three new Postulants visit the Monastery

The Three Postulants, Pedro, John and Jeff came for Mass and dinner and then shared with us their vocation story.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Sister Barbara leaves for Bolivia, South America

Sister Barbara, from our Monastery and Sister Ann from the Monastery
in Langhorne, PA
left for a visitation of our Monastery in Corico, Bolivia after a prayer service and blessing from the Community. We founded the Bolivia monastery around 1959 or so and now that it has all women from Bolivia we continue to be aware of them and wish to know that all is well with them- hence a visit from the USA Clares. Sister Jane from our Monastery in Montana and our Religious Assistant Friar Tom Hartle OFM, also went on the trip. The latter two are not in the picture.

Murray Bodo OFM gives the Poor Clares in Chesterfield , a day of Poetry Reading

Murray Bodo, OFM
Murray Bodo is one writer who, in this age of deconstruction and cynicism, resolutely believes that literature and life are deeply entwined. Perhaps that’s not surprising for a Franciscan friar and the author of best-selling books about St. Francis and St. Clare. But for Fr. Bodo, the essence of good writing is not preaching, but the adumbration of mystery. From his own poetry and creative non-fiction to his literary tributes to kindred spirits like Thomas Merton and Denise Levertov, Fr. Bodo invites us to find the meditative space where grace can make us whole. Unlike most religious writers, Fr. Bodo’s language never smacks of mere piety—which is probably why he’s one of our most popular Christian writers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Visit of the famous photographer Lu-Nan and his humble friend, photographer, Nicholas Fan

Documenting ‘hidden’ subjects – photographer Lu Nan and his philosophy
July 16, 2009 Filed under Center Stage
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By Han Manman

Lu Nan creates documentaries like none other. His work focuses on people who exist outside the mainstream, or who have slipped through its cracks. His subjects are lost and forgotten in a society of materialist elites.

Since he decided to be a documentary photographer some 20 years ago, he has lived like a monk, believing the “good stuff” comes from a simple and restrained life.

Lu-Nan has three photographic books: one on Mental Patienst, one on the Catholic Church in China and one on life in Tibet

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Retreat Time

The Martha/Mary Retreat, here at the Monastery, is similar to St. Francis' idea of some of the brothers spending all their time in prayer without doing any work while the "Mothers" as Francis called them, would do the necessary work as needed - cooking meals etc.

Some spent their time down by our creek. (pictures below).

This little quote below from Jan Karon's book A Continual Feast brought a big smile to my face.

From Gary Barnes' little paper, Over the Mountain:

How to keep a healthy level of Sanity:

Take time to sit by a flowing stream (mine)
As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
Sing along at the opera.
When money comes out of the ATM, yell"I won! I won!
Page yourself over the intercom-don't disguise your voice.
Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with it.
Specify that your drive-through order is "to go".

Martha/Mary RetreatSeptember 19 to 25

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Sisters Worked on What Contemplative Accompanniment meant to them during the Workshop

Contemplation as Accompaniment

We, as Poor Clares, reflected on the idea of ,Contemplation as Accompaniment, and we came to realize that this truth is a reality that we do daily almost without realizing it. It is simply an accompanying Jesus on theWay with my Sisters by following in the footprints of Clare and Francis. This entails the whole gamut of walking with others, with Creation and all of life. Our relationships with our sisters and others lead to our sensing the Divine Presence in every unfolding moment and being in tune with the Spirit. We are in mutuality most but not all of the time, continuing to stand with them. We allow one another to grow letting others be different but at the same time not losing the sense of self.
As we come to know the other we become more sensitive to their needs and are able to listen and hear what the other is truly saying. We allow them to make their needs known freely because of our comfortable presence and our respect of their dignity and of our own. We give the support and encouragement they need whether concrete or quietly as the situation necessitates.
A relationship with others is intrinsic to our relationship with God. As Scripture says, “If you cannot love your brother or sister that you can see how can you love the God whom you cannot see?” All communication is furthered by honesty but the honesty has to be compassionate. Compassionate honesty is necessary for trust.
Much of our contemplative accompaniment has to be in for the long haul, with the virtue of tenacity and patient endurance part of our responding to others. By our caring presence we bring to others, peace, hope and joy.
As music needs notes, we are the individual notes to the Melody of God which He is composing in our being, as our hearts expand to the dance of LIFE.


New Draft
We, as Poor Clares, reflected on the idea of ,Contemplation as Accompaniment, and we came to realize that this truth is a reality that we do daily almost without realizing it. It is simply recognizing Jesus as theWAY with my Sisters after the example of Clare and Francis. This entails the whole gamut of walking with others, with Creation and all of life. Our relationships with our sisters and others lead to our sensing the Divine Presence in every unfolding moment and being in tune with the Spirit.
A relationship with others is intrinsic to our relationship with God.
Much of our contemplative accompaniment has to be in for the long haul, with the virtue of tenacity and patient endurance. By our presence we bring to others, peace, hope and joy.
As music needs notes, we are the individual notes to the Melody of God which He is composing in our being, as our hearts expand to the dance of LIFE.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Franciscorps to work in Costa Rica and Syracuse

The group is composed of young women and men who have just graduated from college and want to take a year off from graduate school or new positions to give a year of service to the poor and needy. Some of the group will be going to Costa Rica and others to Syracuse, NY to work.

Friar Jim Moore, OFM Conventual, brought the Franciscorps group to our Monastery

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Father Martin Padovani, a Divine Word Missionary, celebrates his 50th Anniversary of Priesthood with us.

A festive meal was enjoyed by Father Martin and the Sisters after the beautiful celebration of the Eucharistic Mass on August 25, 2010. It is wonderful to witness to the love of the priesthood that Father Martin has and his continued faithfulness and service to God's people and to us. Congratulations and our promise of prayers always.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Friars Michael Lasky of Franciscans International and Friar Michael Duffy of the Missions in Jamacia OFM Convs & Friar Walter OFM visit!

Friar Frank Walter OFM of the Minister General's Council in Rome visited us on August 14th and 15th and celebrated Mass with us. Sister Miriam, our Abbess is pictured here with Friar Frank

Friar Michael Lasky OFM Conventual of Franciscans International and Friar Michale Duffy OFM Conventual of the Jamaica Missions visit us and share their experiences with us.
Michael Duffy

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Feast of Saint Clare -August 11-2010

Friar David Moczulski OFM preceded over the Transitus of Saint Clare on August 10th and celebrated the Evening Mass August 11th. Both of these nights the Chapel was full to capacity. Friar David gave two beautiful homilies each night which were very down to earth and meaningful for the people who attended.
We thank all the people who came and are grateful for their goodness to us throughtout the year.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Feast of Saint Clare

The Transitus
The Passover of our holy Mother Clare to eternal life

The text is variously taken from Clare's writings, the Acts of Canonization, the Legenda Sanctae Clara virginis, the Lives of St Francis by Thomas of Celano, the Latin text of her sung Transitus, the Legenda versificata, the contemporary letter from the protomonastery to other houses recounting her passover and Innocent IV’s Bull, Solet annuere, 9 August 1253 that confirms Clare’s rule.

We have retained here the narrative form which we ourselves usually share after the first Vespers of her feast day. It requires nine voices: Narrator, Clare, Innocent IV, Agnes, Rainaldo, Philippa, Angelo, Amata & Benvenuta

Divine Providence now hastened to fulfil its plan in regard to Clare, and Christ himself hastened to call the Poor Pilgrim to the palace of the eternal kingdom, she who longed to be dissolved from this body of death and see reigning in the celestial mansion Him whose holy poverty she, a poor little one, had followed on earth.

23 - 25 July 1253

The Lord Pope Innocent together with the Cardinals made haste to visit the handmaid of Christ. Approaching her bed, the Holy Father extended his hand to the lips of the holy virgin for her to kiss.

I beg and beseech you, Most Holy Father, humbly permit me also to kiss your feet.

The Holy Father humbly standing on a small stool, charitably extended his foot, and the Lady Clare kissed it reverently both above and below.

Most Holy Father, I beg you to absolve me from my sins.

Innocent IV
Would to God, my child, that I had as little need of forgiveness as you.

And he blessed her and gave her absolution.

Innocent IV
May the Lord absolve you from all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


She begged the Holy Father to confirm her Rule and the privilege of most Holy Poverty.

After the Supreme Pontiff and his court had left, the Provincial Minister came and brought her Holy Communion. Then Clare lifted up her eyes to heaven and joining her hands towards God, said:

Praise the Lord, my little chidren, that in this day Christ has given me so great a favour, that heaven and earth would not suffice to repay it.

What is that, dear Mother?

This day I have merited to receive the Most High Lord himself and to behold his Vicar.

5 - 9 August 1253

The daughters of Clare stood about her bed and their hearts were moved with great anguish.

O Mother, and most dear sister, do not depart from us, do not leave us orphans!

It is pleasing to God, Agnes my dearest sister, that I go hence. But weep no more, for you shall come to the Lord very soon after me, and before I leave you, our Lord will grant you a great consolation.

Clare’s mind turned ever to the fate of her Rule and the future of her Order.

If I could but kiss the seal of the Bull approving our holy Rule, I would be well content.

In her dying Clare was visited by many Cardinals and prelates, and she was in great agony and, in total, had passed seventeen days unable to eat. Yet she did not break into complaints, nor open her mouth in lamentation. The more powerfully she was stung by the barbs of suffering so much more did she bringing her song of praise to the Lord.

Psalm 115(116b)

I trusted, even when I said:
‘I am sorely afflicted,’
and when I said in my alarm
‘No man can be trusted.’

How can I repay the Lord
for his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the Lord’s name.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people,
O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.

Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
you have loosened my bonds.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make:
I will call on the Lord’s name.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now
and will be forever. Amen

That kindly man, Brother Rainaldo, visiting her, said:

Have patience, mother and daughter and bride of Christ, for great and terrible are your sufferings and long indeed is this martyrdom and unbearable this anguish.

Dearest Brother, since I have known the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ through his servant Francis, no suffering has troubled me, no penance has seemed too hard, no anguish too much to bear.

Clare turned to the priests and friars that were there, saying:

I beg you, dearest Fathers and Brothers, to assist me and to read to me, I pray, the most holy Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and his comforting words.

After they had done this, Brother Juniper, who often uttered fiery words of God, appeared among them, and Clare was filled with new joy.

Brother Juniper, give me I beg you, some new word from Our Lord.

At that, Juniper opened his mouth and sent forth sparks of such fiery words from the furnace of his burning heart that the virgin of God was greatly comforted. Then turning to all her sisters, she recalled with praise the blessings of God and entrusted them to the poverty of the Lord

My daughters, observe always the most holy life and poverty of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born poor, who died for us on the cross of privation and humiliation, who was laid in a borrowed tomb, embraced Poverty as his bride and took her with him to heaven.

She encouraged them to have joy and to bear with the poverty of our life for the love of God.

Bear with cheerfulness, bear with patience, the burden of Poverty. Bear humbly the burden of deprivation. The perseverance that grows from this will obtain, for those who continue in it for the sake of contemplating God, the joys of Paradise and the riches of eternal life.

And she said many other things, speaking of the Most Holy Trinity with such depth that the sisters could not well understand her. Sister Philippa said to Sister Francesca:

You have a good memory, remember what our Mother says.

But Clare replied:

You will remember what I am now saying as far as He allows it, who now causes me to speak.

Then she blessed all who had been kind to her, both men and women and invoked God’s blessing on her sisters who were present and those who were to come.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He show his face to you and have mercy on you. May He turn his countenance to you and give you peace.

And I, Clare, the handmaid of Christ though unworthy, the little plant of Saint Francis, and the sister and Mother of you and of all the other Poor Sisters, beseech our Lord Jesus Christ, through his mercy, and through the intercession of his most holy mother Mary, and of blessed Michael the Archangel, and of all God’s holy angels and of all his saints, that He who is our heavenly Father would bestow on you this most holy blessing, and confirm it both in heaven and on earth; on earth by enriching you in his grace and virtues among his servants and handmaids in the Church militant, and in heaven by exalting and glorifying you among his saints in the Church triumphant.

I give you my blessing now while living, and after my death, in as far as I may; nay, even more than I may, I call down on you all the blessings that the Father of mercies has bestowed and continues to bestow on his spiritual sons and daughters both in heaven and on earth. Amen.

Let us be comforted in the Lord, beloved, for He who has given us such great grace and holy example through our blessed Mother will not leave us orphans in this valley of tears.

And Leo, kneeling, kissed the bed of the dying saint. Amidst their tears and silent lamentation, the saint said quietly to her soul:

Go forth, without fear, for you have a good escort for your journey. Go forth, for He who created you has redeemed you and has placed in you his Holy Spirit and cherished you always and loves you with a tender love as a mother loves her child. Blessed are you, O Lord, who has created me.

Dear Mother, to whom do you speak?

I am speaking to my blessed soul.

She turned to Sister Amata who knelt beside her, saying:

O daughter, do you see the King of glory whom I behold?

Silent pause

10 August 1253

Then, at last, on the tenth day of the month, a friar came from the most holy Father Innocent, bringing the long-awaited confirmation of her Rule, and although she was not far from death, the Lady Clare took the parchment reverently in her hands and kissed it many times.

Innocent IV
We confirm by our apostolic authority this form of life, according to which you should live together in unity of mind and heart, in the profession of the highest poverty. To you and all that will succeed you.... So be it!

Sister Benvenuta had sat with the other sisters near the bed of Clare and she had begun to reflect with joy on her great and wonderful holiness, it seemed to her as if the heavenly court must be preparing to receive her. While she was lost in these thoughts, she said she saw them unfold.

I saw, coming and entering into the room many virgins clothed in white with golden crowns on their heads, and there walked among them one more resplendent than the rest, from whose crown, which was like a windowed thurible, such splendour shone forth in the house as to change night to day. She advanced to the bed where the spouse of her Son lay, and bending over her, lovingly embraced her. An exquisitely beautiful mantle was then brought forth by the virgins, who clothed Clare with it and adorned her bed.

It was thus, on the day after that of Blessed Laurence, this most holy soul passed away to be crowned with everlasting rewards, and the temple of the flesh being laid aside, her spirit soared heavenward in bliss.

Blessed is that passing from this valley of tears that became for her the gateway to eternal life.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Women of Spirt through the courtesy of Sister Felicia Mann of the Sisters of St. Joseph

Please click on picture to enlarge:

Sister Felicia graciously provided these pictures after her sixth visit to the exhibit. courtesey
The exhibition is of the work of the sisters in the United States who were the pioneers in education and medicine and were immigrants themselves who came to help the poor of the United States.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dr. BJ McNeill and her Son Brent gave a grave marker for our dog, Maggie . They brought it over and a few of the Sisters were there

to place it on the grave site. We are grateful for all the good care that Dr. McNeill gave to our Maggie and we thank her son, Brent, who does the business end of the vet's business for his concern for Miss Maggie. We could never have had a better vet. We thank them both for the beautiful grave maker but much more for their kindness and concern for Maggie and for us. We promise our prayers for them.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flowers around the Monastery

Although the weather is hot and humid the flowers are blooming fast and furious this summer. We enjoy walking around the gardens and sharing in the beauty that our good and gracious God provides for us with the help of our gardeners, Sisters Barbara, Etta, Karen and Nelia. Sister Florence dabbles in it a little bit and lets everyone know her contributions. No humility on her part.
Dabble according to Webster's Dictionary means to work or involve oneself without serious effort. This is true for Sister Florence.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A tribute to our Maggie- Born a dog, August 20,2002 -Died a Princess, June 8, 2010

We thank our good and gracious God, Friar Richard McFeely OFM, Fr. Martin Padovani and Father Lennon SVD Dr. BJ McNeills, Dr. James Clinton and Grace and Sue, Joe Mosner and all at Golden Grange, Pat and Bernie McClain, Fred Corbett, and his aunt Lois, Marie O'Brien and Clare Shaltis, the staff at North-Star Clarksberg, NJ and all who were so very good to our Magnificat(aka Maggie) Thank You. Many more that need a thank you- so if you are not mentioned know that it was human imperfection and God knows who you are and we do too but we are just a little spacey at this time -we thank you from the bottom of our heart.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Eddie Foley, an Eagle Scout, arranged to have this prayer garden made and to have it blessed by Father Michael Burns of St. Mary Church in Bordentown,

Eddiie and his family and friends all turned out for the blessing of the garden and ice cream was served by "Sunday , Girls on the Go" which is Debbie Kinsley's catering service.
Eddie Foley worked hard to arrange all of this. Thank You, Eddie.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mothers Incarnation and Rita visit our Monastery

Our Sisters Miriam, Mary Frances, Barbara and Donna attended the Federation Meeting of Poor Clares in Milford , Ohio. When they returned that brought Mothers Incarnation and Rita, who also attended the meeting. The two sisters are from the Philippines and they wanted to see our Poor Clare Monastery in Chesterfield, NJ.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Preparations for The Easter Vigil with Friar Michael Lasky : To view the group picture completely click on picture so you can see all the Sisters

Easter Sunday Morning we had an Easter morning brunch so Friar Michael Lasky OFM Conventual could drive to Maryland and be with his family.
The Easter Tridium was so peaceful and contemplative.
Thank You Friar Mike.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Peace to You

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Have a Blessed Easter

Holy Thursday April 1, 2010

Each Holy Thursday we celebrate a festive dinner as Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His friends before He died on Good Friday.
Friar Michael Laskey OFM conventual, joined us as he will preside over the 3 days of the Easter Tridium.
The pictures are , the preparation of the meal and the prayers before the meal.
The Holy Thursday Eucharist was celebrated at 7:00PM and all night adoration followed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Friar Steve Kluge gives us a Talk on the Eucharist

Friar Steve said that our Eucharist is not a private function- It is a Holy work stemming from our Baptism. We are a royal Priesthood and we remember who we are. Our baptism gives us an identity and a mission. When is the church must Church. The answer is at Sunday Mass.

Friar Steve gave us much to ponder during this Lenten Season which begins with being attentive at Mass.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

New Picture of our Community with new members

Last row: Left to right

Sisters Etta,Shirley, Mary Frances,Pat,Claire Andre, Frances and Barbara

Second Row:
Sisters Natalie, Agnes, Miriam(our Abbess) Donna

First row:
Sisters Florence,Karen(former lawyer) Nelia(former nurse)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 10, 2010- Winter Storm

The Monastery Grounds looked so beautiful that we needed to share with you the beauty.

We have been aware of all the people without electricity and power along with the people who are still struggling in Haiti. so our prayers are with them daily. We also pray for the homeless and those struggling financially. All these intentions we hold close to our heart.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The big event for February was Sister Frances Vass coming to our Monastery for a period of discernment. Welcome and Congratulations, Sister Fran.

Pictures also of our February Snowfall

and of course Maggie and her new bed Which she received for Christmas.

February Events

Will Malarcher, our liturgical consultant, came to give us input on our chapel arrangement.

Sister Karen Stapleton's parish of Saint John the Apostle gave the community a cirborium in the event of Karen's entrance to our Community on January 17th.

Pictures of our first Snowfall for February.

Sister Frances Vass is being blessed by our Abbess, Sister Miriam, as she begins her discernment with us. Welcome and Congratulations, Sister Fran.

And oh yes, Maggie received a new bed for Christmas.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Karen Stapleton enters the Monastery of Saint Clare in Chesterfield, NJ on January 17, 2010

Karen Stapleton, a lawyer by profession, entered our Monastery two days after our newest postulant, Nelia Acuna, entered. Now we have a nurse and a lawyer but beyond that two fine women who are seeking to give their whole life to God and to the Community of Poor Clares.
Welcome and we promise our prayers and support for you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nelia Acuna's Reception into the Order of Saint Clare at the Monastery of Saint Clare, Chesterfield, NJ.

Father Julian celebrated Mass with 15 friends of Nelia's and with the Sisters of the Monastery follwed by coffee and snacks. After getting to know Nelia's friends the Entrance Service for Nelia began.
Sister Miriam, the Abbess of the Monastery, received Nelia, gave her the Breviary ( our prayer book of the hours of the office), a San Damiano Cross for her room and a Tau cross to wear during her Postulancy.
All the Sisters gave Nelia the exchange of Peace and welcomed her into the Community.

Pope Francis visits Sister in Umbria