Poor Clares

God's Keyhole

For the past seven weeks we have had a sister from the Czech Republic staying with us. Do you know where that is? Sr Klára came to see how we live out our vocation as Poor Clare sisters. It was wonderful to have her with us and I even managed to pick up some Cesky (Czech language).

I think it is so wonderful that there are Poor Clare sisters throughout the world, all living under the umbrella of St Clare. From Australia to Africa, Canada to the Czech Republic, with France, USA and the Philippines in between. So many houses, with so many sisters, springing from one young girl in Assisi who dared to say ‘yes’ to God.

Sister Klára’s visit here in Hawarden has taught me that it doesn’t matter that St Clare lived 800 years ago, or that she lived far away in Italy. God continues to call people from every country and century to give their lives to Him.
You know, it has also shown me that all people, boys, girls, men, and women, African, Asian and European are all very much the same. Why? Because we are all, yes, every one of us, are made in the 'image and likeness of God'. Does this mean that God has blonde hair as well as black, brown and red? No! It means that we are made in His likeness, not He in ours. It means that we are all made good, because, God is all Goodness!

In the bible at the beginning it says God made all things well, it is written, God said, “It is good, yes, it is very good.” Isn’t it wonderful to be made in the image of God? Our soul (which is what really makes us, us)looks more like God than our faces look like our parents. Have you ever looked at your mum and thought you have the same nose? Or your dad and wondered if your eyes are exactly same colour? 

Well, it’s the same with God, our soul is a mirror of God and can show and does show, even in (what we may think) the meanest of people, a little of the goodness of God. Imagine now, you are looking through a tiny little keyhole in a door. When you look through it you can’t see everything that is on the other side, you can only see a little. If you were to look thought another keyhole you would see another little bit. Well, so it is with our soul and God. Each soul is a keyhole and allows us to see a different part of God, though never the whole of Him. We will have to wait for that wonderful sight until we reach heaven and what a wonder that sight will be.

It was in Sr Klára that I discovered a new aspect of God, she for me was another keyhole. So this week, let’s try to look at those around us as keyhole, ways of seeing a little of God. And remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.

Princess Saint!

Every little girl has, at some point in her life, dreamed of being a princess. But have you ever known of a princess who dreamed of being poor? Well I have! Her name is St Anežka of Bohemia, better known as Agnes of Prague, and her feast day is on the 19th January. It is my great honour to tell you about this beautiful saint, who happens to be my namesake and patron saint.

St Anežka was a princess who lived in the 1200’s. She had everything she wanted or needed and it was arranged for her to marry the Emperor and become the most important, powerful and well known woman in the world, but she wanted none of it.

Anežka instead dreamed of being a Poor Clare. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of the great Lamb of God, Jesus, who gave up His royal throne in heaven to become a humble babe in Bethlehem. Anežka followed her dreams, she sold everything she had, which included gold mines and castles and went off to become a Poor Clare nun in Prague.
What St Anežka of Bohemia teaches us is that we all need to follow our dreams. I remember when I first read the letters St Clare wrote to St Anežka, I was filled with wonder and wanted to be just like her, little knowing that my dream would come true and that one day I would even be named after this great saint.

Do you have dreams? Maybe you wish to be a Vet or a Doctor or do some great deed for the world? You might even dream of being a saint. Well St Anežka shows us that we shouldn’t give up on our dreams and that if we pray and work hard we can achieve anything with the help of God. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing, is impossible with God. Maybe today you should think about those great dreams you have, you might like to pray to St Anežka and ask her to help you to stay strong and on course. Our great Lamb of God, had the biggest dream of all, Jesus dreamt of taking us all to heaven. Pray to Jesus today, so that we all can achieve our dreams and His too. And remember we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.

If you are interested in St Clare’s letters to St Anežka why don’t you check out the 1st letter on Kid’s Cloister?

Autumn Fair

Next Saturday is our ‘Autumn Fair’, a very busy and joyful time here at Ty Mam Duw.

Every October we have a Fair. You have probably all been to a school fair or market day. In New Zealand we often call it a Gala, but for us it’s an Autumn Fair. We have made everything you need to keep warm this winter and with Christmas coming up there are lots of gifts to put under the Christmas tree.

Boys and girls come to get the perfect present for their mums and grandmas. There are woollen hats, scarves, mittens, jumpers and ponchos. Toys, aprons and kids things, Christmas cards, cribs and tree decorations. Plus lots of lovely books on saints and saints saying, this is always nice.

There are jams, jellies and mince slices, fruit cakes and banana cakes. You can eat hot chips and chicken and sandwiches galore. You can get a plant or some jumble and raffle tickets. It’s always exciting to see if it will be you that wins the 1st prize.

So with all these wonderful things to make, for you and your families, we your little sisters are busy stirring pots of jam and baking crumbles. It’s a lot of fun and hard work for us but, most especially it is nice for us to be able to make things for you. All throughout the year people are so kind and generous to us, giving us what we need, without them we couldn’t live our life, praying for you and the world. So it is lovely for us to be able to say ‘thank you’ by putting on this Fair for you to enjoy.

If you live near and have never been to see us, now is a great time to come and say hello. If you don’t live near enough then I hope you have a Fair near you, that you can go to, we will be thinking of you on the day.

Our Nežkits are famous around these parts, they are much more than a biscuit and depending on how you make them they can be as big as your hand. Here is my secret recipe for you to try out with a parent or grandparent. The main ingredient is FUN, so I hope you have a lot of it when making and sharing your Nežkits.

You will need:

100grams  Butter (soft)
100grams Sugar
beat these together in a bowl with a wooden spoon or use a mixer, until creamed.
Then add one egg into the creamed mixture.

Sieve 150 grams of Self-raising Flour into mixture slowly until the mixture become smooth.

Now is the fun part! Find around the house a bar of your favourite chocolate. You can use white or milk or mars bars, snickers anything you like, you could even use M+M’s,  Smarties or Chocolate Drops (if you can’t eat chocolate you can use a handful of dried fruit and 1/3  a teaspoon of cinnamon). You will need about 1 or 2 bars of Chocolate or  75grams. Cut or break up your bars and mix into your cookie mixture.
With a tablespoon put on a lined baking tray. Make sure your tablespoon amounts are about 5-7cms away from each other. Bake in oven on about 190’C (this depends on which type of oven you have, fan or gas and how hot your oven gets). Be careful to watch your cookies and lower heat if need be. Bake for 10-15 minutes until Nežkits are Golden in colour but still soft.

Take out of the oven and place in a cool place for a few minutes before removing from baking paper. Wait about 10 minutes before eating them warm or put on a cooling rack till cold. Most importantly have fun!

I am baking these Nežkit cookies for the Fair so we can be united in our work and the joy of creating. When you create you are sharing in God’s work because God is always creating. He created the world in the beginning, he created you and me and so when you and I create we are sharing in His Spirit. God loves busy hands. So get creating today!

See you one the 1st November when I will be telling you more about what happens within these walls. Explore more of the world with in the walls with me. Sr Anežka.

Pots and Pans.

Do you have a favourite saint? Or a favourite quote from a saint? Some of you are probably named after a saint or know the saint’s name of the church that you go to. I love a lot of saints but one of my favourite sayings comes from St Teresa of Avila. Her feast day is on the 15th of October. She said to her sisters ‘you can find Jesus between the pots and pans’.

I just love this saying, it tells me a lot about Jesus and a lot about prayer.
What is Prayer? Do you think it is just something you do at night on your knees by your bed? Do you think it is just saying the Rosary or going to Mass? Do you think it’s something done alone and in silence?

Yes, it’s all these things, but let me tell you a little secret, just between you and me. Prayer can be something much more. Prayer can actually be real fun and special, and that is what St Teresa is talking about. Finding Jesus, anywhere and everywhere and at all times.

How? Well, guess what! God is so big and so great that He is everywhere. He is in church, He is in the garden, He is on the street and in your home, He is everywhere. God is not only to be found at certain times like when you are praying on your knees. No, He is there when you are watching TV, digging the garden, eating your dinner, playing with your friends. You name it, God’s there!

This is exciting stuff. You could be watching TV with God, and actually you could be reading this blog right now with Him. Cool isn’t it?!

So how do we do this? What’s the difference between watching TV and watching TV with God?

Well, let me tell you a little story to help show you what I mean.

When I was a novice (that means I had a white veil, and had only been a sister in this community for about a year). I was sent to dig the garden, so that we could plant our vegetables.
I didn’t like the garden, it was hot and the garden was messy. I would get soil in my gumboots and under my fingernails. No! I didn’t like it. I went, but, I went thinking about all these things, I did it with a bad heart. Now, I ask you, was I with Jesus? No, I was not. Jesus was in the garden waiting to be found by me, but do you think I found Him? No! No, I was so busy thinking all these thoughts, that I didn’t see Him. Jesus was there, but I wasn’t with Him in the garden. So you see, this wasn’t prayer.

Well, one day, I was back in the garden, still thinking ‘I don’t like this’. I was planting seeds, I had a big handful of seeds and I looked at them, and I realized, seeds are amazing things. I looked with wonder at them, just one of these seeds I had in my hands would grow into a plant and that plant, produce vegetables, and those vegetables more seeds and those seeds even more plants, and so I saw that inside these seeds, that looked so dead and lifeless, like dust, there was so much life. Like worlds inside worlds. 
I was stunned and amazed by God’s creation and His handiwork. I said ‘Wow! God this is great. You are so amazing.’ I felt like I was exploring these seeds, these worlds, with the child Jesus, and I wanted to show Him what I had found. Now, do you think I had found Jesus? Yes! I had found Him. I was open to His presence around me and I discovered Him in the world about me. So, was this prayer? Yes!

You see, if you are open to Jesus and open to Him touching your everyday life, like He touched my life in the garden, you can actually pray all day long. Sometimes using prayers like the Our Father or Hail Mary and sometimes saying prayers that come from your heart that begin with Dear Jesus... And sometimes saying nothing but just being aware that God is with you. Wherever you are, you can try to be with Jesus in your everyday world. This is how you will find Him between the ‘pots and pans,’ just as St Teresa of Avila did.

Hello and Welcome.

Hello and Welcome to this Ty Mam Duw children’s Blog.

I am Sr Anežka and I will be writing here each week to tell you about Jesus, our Franciscan way of life and a little bit about my own personal journey. 

I hope you will join me on this voyage to discovering Jesus and growing in love of Him. I am very happy to be able to share with you my thoughts and I hope that over the weeks we can get to know each other and Jesus a little better. 

This blog can be used in any way that you wish. Read by kids and kids at hearts. Read by parents and grandparents to children as bed time reading. My only wish is that, you will have fun and in having fun get to know more about Jesus. 

As I said, my name is Sr Anežka, I’m a Poor Clare Colettine sister at Ty Mam Duw (this is Welsh meaning ‘the house of the Mother of God’) I’m not Welsh, I’m actually from New Zealand. Do you know where that is? It’s a whole world away from Wales and the UK. I came all the way from little New Zealand to little Wales so that I could love Jesus in the best way that I knew how. I wanted to be Jesus’ bride, and belong totally to him. 

I live in a little monastery with 13 sisters, two puppies and a dog. Squirrels, moles, birds and the occasional bunny, come as go in our garden as they please. 

We live here loving Jesus and praying for the world, which means we pray for you, your family and friends. We also do fun things like grow our own vegetables, bake cakes and make jam from our fruit which we grow in the garden. We do lots of others craft things which we put into our little craft room. People can come to see us, and they can come to hear Holy Mass and best of all they visit Jesus in our chapel. I hope that you will tune in here to explore the world within the walls of our cloister with me, bye for now and remember Jesus loves you and we are praying for you. 

Sr Anežka.