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Late last month Sr. Virginia and I had the opportunity to visit the 2nd graders at St. Jude Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia. (My alma mater.) They were incredibly polite and inquisitive. It is such an honor to share about the joys of religious life to a captive audience. Evidently we left a favorable impression on them as they’ve posted our picture on their blog. Thanks for the great hospitality!

Photo credit is all theirs:

Visit to St. Jude 2nd grade

SOURCE: http://saintjude2a.weebly.com/2b-photos.html

Boats are a theme in my life of late.

To celebrate the Year of Faith, I created a craft for my second grade classes. This served as as my introductory lesson in explaining church years (ex. Marian Year, Year of the Family, Jubilee Year, Year of the Priest) to my students.

Here’s a photo of our finished product displayed on our prayer table:

The second grader’s classroom prayer table proudly displays their work.

The inspiration came from the Holy Spirit 100%. I simply used the resources I had available in the faculty room. Mostly colored paper and an AccuCut machine.Each child received their pieces in an envelope and arranged their display for me to review before gluing it all together. The hardest distinction was to have both the “H” and the cross in one. Here my “H” is an “I” and a “t.”

The background of each “poster” is actually a manila envelope. In it I included the explanation of the logo found here. My hope is that they’ll keep handouts and other materials about the Year of Faith in there all year long!

True stories from teaching elementary school…

The other day I wore a lapel pin of our Congregational crest/seal. Upon spotting this on my sweater, a first grade student of mine inquired, “Sr. Katie, why are you wearing a pirate ship?”

Startled as I was, and trying to regain my composure, I was very impressed with her observation skills. In explaining that she was correct to see that I was wearing a boat, but that it was not in fact a pirate ship, she continued, “But it has one of those things that a pirate ship has.”

(At this point I’m uncertain if she was talking of the sail or the chi-rho on the sail–which, from afar, could resemble a skull and cross bones).

The Love of Christ Impels Us

All this talk of boats prompted a more essential question: Why do we use the image of a boat to talk about the Church? (You may remember from my last post that a BOAT is a key component of the Year of Faith logo.)

The barque (or bark) of Peter is a common phrase/image from early Christian history in reference to the Church. Originally referring to a tall ship with masts and sails, a boat is a deeply scriptural image (Noah’s ark and the disciples tossed in their boat on the Sea of Galilee come to mind.)  Just as God saved Noah in the ark and Jesus calmed the stormy seas, so too does God look after and keep the Church of today safe from harm.

Artists throughout history have also depicted many saints such as St. Peter, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Ursula with boats.

The ship on the lower portion of the ASCJ shield represents the Church and the dove represents the religious sister traveling on the seas of life bearing the olive branch of peace. Each Saturday the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus worldwide pray the Ave Maris Stella (Hail, Bright Star of Ocean) prayer for the Holy Father and all bishops who steer the bark of Peter, as well as all those exposed to danger.

Here is a beautiful photo of our Congregation seals throughout the Province.

For more pictures like it, please check out (or better yet, friend) the Apostle Facebook page.

Year of Faith

Today is a great day for anniversaries!

50 years ago the opening session of the Second Vatican Council took place in Rome.
20 years ago, Pope John Paul II gave us the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI named today as the opening day of the Year of Faith. Popes throughout the ages have named “years” as a way of helping the faithful throughout the world enter more deeply into the mysteries of what we believe.

Here are a few resources that may be of interest to you–please “comment” if you have others.

Also, please check back on the 11th of every month for posts about the Year of Faith. God bless!

Periodically Sr. Colleen Therese Smith, ASCJ (from our vocation office) publishes the “Women of the Heart” newsletter. It’s a little snapshot into Apostle life and frequently focuses on our sisters in formation. The September edition recaps much of the excitement held on and around August 4, 2012–entrance into the novitiate, first profession and renewal of vows.

Check it out to see pictures too.

Archived newsletters from earlier this year and previous years can be found here.

Hello friends! Today marks the one month anniversary of my first profession of vows as an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Congratulations also to the sisters in my group- Sr. Cara Grace and Sr. Carolyn.

You can see the video of the beautiful day here:

There are also pictures from the day here:

Photos from First Profession

Please come back and visit again as I work to update my blog and resume posting on a semi-regular basis.

God Bless!!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Peace and thank you for all your prayers! On August 6, I received my habit and entered the novitiate. The picture above was taken after our investiture where many of our sisters came to support us and celebrate our special day.

From our provincial website (http://www.ascjus.org/called_to_be_an_apostle/formation.asp)

The Novitiate consists of a two year period. The Canonical year is dedicated to the religious and spiritual formation of the novice. During the Canonical year the novice will experience the consecrated life through study and internalization of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The Canonical year is completed at Mount Sacred Heart. The Apostolic year is a year of practical experience when the novice is assigned to an Apostle community to experience the many dimensions of religious life and share in that community’s life and ministry. The Novitiate period is a continuation of the journey towards holiness, by means of a deeper experience of God.

This year I will be an apostolic novice teaching and ministering at our schools in Bronx, NY. I am looking forward to living and working alongside my Apostle sisters and learning from my students!

As a novice, I will no longer be updating my blog. However, you can follow me and the new group of pre-postulants on our website: www.ascjus.org. If you have prayer requests and/or would like to receive an occasional email with updates, please email me kpress (at) ascjus (dot) org and I will add you to the list.

In His Sacred Heart,
Sr. Katie

PS- Lastly here’s a shout out to Michele, a fellow Apostle-discerner. Many prayers for her as she works to eradicate her debt. Michele’s blog: http://shelltonsblog.blogspot.com

Happy July! I mentioned in my June post, that life here at Mount Sacred Heart was busy. In the past three weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to have great reasons to celebrate– first the jubilees of our sisters celebrating 80, 75, 65, and 60 years of religious profession. Then another party for a 50th Jubilee–it’s kind of a big deal. And then after a wonderful week-long retreat, saw three of our sisters renew vows and then witnessed Sr. Angela Gertsema, ASCJ profess perpetual vows. One of Sr. Angela’s former students traveled from New York to come and sing, and Sr. Angela herself composed the final song of the liturgy. Beautiful celebrations.

Please take a moment and look at both the photo gallery and video gallery (vows are at the very top of the page) of the Congregational website as they are all updated.

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart!

I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God.
Ezekiel 34:15

“There’s nothing sadder than a life without love. But even in those seasons when we feel most alone and uncherished, how dearly beloved we are! When in doubt, look to that blazing Sacred Heart on fire with yearning for your joy and fulfillment. Every good thing under heaven is offered to you in the benevolent gaze of Jesus Christ. Trust this.

Written by Alice Camille

It’s quite the celebration here in Connecticut. Today we gather with sisters from all up and down the east coast in one of the largest gatherings of the year. At our Mass this evening we will honor eight sisters celebrating over 500 years of religious profession (80th, 75th, 65th, and 60th Jubilees). They’re an inspiring witness to the fidelity of their vocation. Do stay tuned to our website as pictures will likely be posted this week.

Please also know that today we remember all of our benefactors and supporters in a special way in our prayers. May the Sacred Heart bless each of you and inflame your heart anew.

A snapshot of life in the convent. The other weekend, we postulants were fortunate enough to have a weekend off to spend at our lake/retreat house tucked in the woods of central Connecticut. The weather was agreeable so we christened the paddle boat for its first ride of the season to the island. As you can tell, it’s early spring and the grass isn’t quite green yet. But we had a great time nonetheless. Can’t wait until it’s warm enough to picnic and go swimming.

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