Religious life

Sr Gianna

This is Sr Gianna.


She is a Nun.

A Nun is a sister who spends her life living in a monastery, praying for the world and all its needs. She is a contemplative, this means, she doesn’t do jobs like teaching or nursing, instead does different tasks within the monastery grounds while keeping a prayerful attitude, bringing to God all the needs of the people of the world.

Sr Gianna is a solemnly professed sister, this means she is in solemn vows. Solemn vows are like the vows mums and dads take when they get married. The vows say that Sr Gianna will stay faithful and true to her calling in her community of sisters.

Sr Gianna will not move from community to community but will stay in one monastery for the whole of her life, only leaving to go to the doctor’s or dentist or some other really important event, like when the Pope came to her country. Then the whole community went to a big stadium filled with people, to hear him speak.


When Sr Gianna was a little girl she wanted to have a big family. She was an only child and so wanted lots of brothers and sisters. God answered that desire, but not in the way she thought. Instead of giving her an earthly husband and children, He gave her Himself as her husband and lots and lots of sisters. Sr Gianna is now never lonely as she was when she was a child.

Each morning in the chapter room Sr Gianna’s Mother Abbess gives out the labour (the work that is to be done) that day. Each sister is asked to do something different. Someone will need to go and answer the door when people come to ask for prayers, another might be asked to clean or go to the laundry, someone else is sent to the garden, another might be asked to do church work like making vestments, Holy Communion dresses or altar linen.


Usually Sr Gianna is asked to go to the kitchen to make the midday meal. Sr Gianna is a great cook and enjoys cooking for the community. The sisters only eat one full meal a day so Sr Gianna needs to make it very nutritious for the sisters. It is quite a task to feed such a large community, Sr Gianna will need to make sure she makes enough. 4 or 5 potatoes might be enough for your family but Sr Gianna will need to slice up about 20 or 25. The most important part of the task is doing it with a loving heart and praying in her mind, and seeing Jesus between the pots and pans.

Sr Gianna loves to get up a midnight to pray the office of matins, she thinks and prays for all the people on the other side of the world who are beginning their new day. This helps to bring a lot of meaning to the office for her.

Sr Gianna also really enjoys it when the whole community gather together to pray the Rosary in the afternoon and have recreation.  They bring sewing, knitting or crochet and sit in a circle to pray and sew together. For Sr Gianna the community is one big family of God.


Sr Gianna loves to think of herself as the spouse of Jesus, being Jesus’ bride is very important to her. She thinks about this often as she adores her king and bridegroom in the Blessed Sacrament. She thinks of the precious little Host as a mirror. In Jesus she can see the love He has for His world and for her soul. This helps her to love her sisters and the world with the love of Christ.



So now you have met Sr Gianna. Next week we will meet another friend, Fr Michael, who is a diocesan Priest. Do you know how he lives his life? Until then remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.

Brother Leo


This is Brother Leo.


He is a Franciscan Friar.




This means that he is a follower of St Francis. You can always tell a follower of St Francis by the cord around his or her waist. It is an important clue to watch out for in finding out what community someone belongs to.

When Br Leo was a teenager he met some friars on the streets helping the poor. He was so struck by their kindness that he decided then and there that he wanted to be just like them. He prayed and prayed and his heart became totally centred on God until one day he was ready to enter the order.





Br Leo lives in a friary with a small community of brothers, they spend their evening here and pray together but during the day they are out and about.


Br Leo is an active religious brother, this means he spends his day actively in the world spreading God’s kingdom by looking after the poor and speaking to them about Jesus.

 Br Leo works on the streets helping the homeless and in a soup kitchen making sure they get something to eat. In loving the poor Br Leo knows he is really showing his love for Jesus, because, he remembers it says in the Gospel ‘whatever you do to the least of these you do to me.’



Br Leo is still a novice in his community, he is in formation, this means he has a novice master who teachers him how to live as a religious brother and live out the vows he will make. Br Leo is very excited about becoming a professed brother and he is praying that he will become a true follower of St Francis, by being obedient, poor and loving towards God and neighbour.

Br Leo has been in this friary for two years, as a member of an active religious order, this means that he can be asked by his Father Superior to move to any friary at anytime. This is part of his vow of poverty, calling no place his home. He could be asked to move to New York, London, Canada Australia or even New Zealand, and he would willingly leave everything and go because he knows that God’s will is made known to him through his Superior.

As well as working with the poor, an important part of Br Leo’s day is Holy Mass and the saying of the Divine Office. It is at Holy Mass that Br Leo receives Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Consecrated Host, this is where he gets all his energy from, the energy he needs to spread God’s Good News in the world each day. 
It is like going to the service station and filling up the car with fuel so that you can drive for miles and miles, from London to Scotland if you wish. Br Leo fills up on Christ to help him spread ‘The Good News’ the whole day long.


So now you know Br Leo. This week is Holy Week and I pray that you will have a very holy week thinking about Jesus and all He has done for us. 

Have a joyful Easter and I will see you back here in two weeks time to introduce you to Sr Charity. Can you guess what community she is from? 







Until then, remember we are praying for you. Sr Anežka. 

Br Teilo the Monk!


This is Brother Teilo.

He is a Monk.









When Br Teilo was young he heard the voice of God in his heart, calling him to live a very special life of prayer and to love Jesus with all his heart.

Br Teilo lives in a monastery, it is a walled area which encloses his home, chapel and grounds, it is made like this so that Br Teilo and his brother can concentrate on God and prayer.


Br Teilo works in the garden of the monastery, he tries to be very prayerful while he works, and puts great love into all he does. The garden flourishes under his care.



Br Teilo has left the monastery only once in the 10 years that he has been there. It was when he had to go to hospital after he broke his arm falling of the garden ladder. Br Teilo doesn’t go home to his parents for holidays or go to the movies at the weekend, he spends his whole life living, working and praying in the monastery.


Br Teilo has a beautiful singing voice which he uses for the glory of God. He sings the divine office in choir with his brother monks. (Psalms and prayers said 7 times a day.)




Br Teilo is also a priest and has the privilege of celebrating mass each day at a little altar in the monastery church.


Br Teilo gets very sleepy when he gets up at midnight to pray with his brothers but he knows that it is worth it because he is asking God to help all the people throughout the world who are in need.

Being a brother in a community of brothers, makes Br Teilo part of one great big family. They all try to love and care for each other even though they come from many different countries and backgrounds. They know that in trying to live in harmony together they help to bring a little more peace into the world. Br Teilo is from Australia and has left his country to be part of this community.


Br Teilo has taken solemn vows, this means he has promised God that he will remain in this community for the rest of his life. Br Teilo has promised to live the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience forever.




So, now that you know Br Teilo and understand a bit about his life as a monk, maybe you would like to meet his friend Br Leo, the Friar. Come back next week to hear about what Brother Leo gets up to all day. Until then, remember we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.

Consecrated life.

We discovered last week that we, as baptised people are a Consecrated people, belonging to God. Belonging not just anybody but to God. Yes, this is a very reassuring thought isn’t it? So what then is Consecrated Life?

Well, consecrated life is when you live your life for God, well that’s easy, anyone can do that! But, in a very special way Priests, Brothers, Sisters, Monks and Nuns live their lives for God. To these consecrated people, God is everything, Jesus is their one goal in life and doing Jesus’ will is their only aim. We must remember though that all Priests, Sisters and Brothers are still human and can make mistakes. We all are striving for sainthood and holiness together. 

Consecrated people are made over to the services of God and neighbour, their lives are centred on Jesus. They make three vows Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, they tell the world, like St Paul, “It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me.”


This means that the Consecrated person tries to live, being constantly aware of the presence of Jesus within them.

  • ·      Being poor, does not always means going hungry, but trusting that God will provide for all their needs.
  • ·      Being chaste, means having one’s mind centred on God. This also means that they, for the sake of God’s kingdom and His Glory remain single, taking neither husband nor wife and have no children.
  • ·      Being obedient, does not mean that the Consecrated person acts as a robot, doing what they are told, No! It is that they allow God’s will for their lives to be made known to them through their Abbess, Abbot, Bishop or Superior.

The Consecrated try to carry out all for the Glory of Jesus’ name. We can all do this but a Mum or Dad and even you will probably need to think about more worldly things, like your family and school. A Consecrated Life, a Religious Life is centred on Jesus and this enables them to see our world in the light of Jesus. 


Each one of us is called to live a special life and live it for Jesus and with Jesus. It may be in Marriage, Religious Life, Priesthood or Single Life, whatever it is, Jesus should be at the centre, so that we can grow in love daily and not be selfish. Jesus should be our all.

In this year of Consecrated Life, let’s remember especially all those who live the vows of Poverty Chastity and Obedience.



Next week we will meet Br Teilo the monk, and see how he lives his Consecrated Life. Until then, remember we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.

Year of Consecrated Life

Consecrated Life 2015 


Did you know that this year has been dedicated by our holy father Pope Francis to the Consecrated Life? So I thought that over the next few weeks we could look at this. Here are some subjects of interest.
·      What does it means to have a year dedicated to a certain subject?
·     What is Consecrated Life?
·      Who are the Consecrated?
·      Monks
·      Brothers/friars
·      Sisters/Nuns
·      Priests
·      Monasteries and convents. What’s the difference?
·      Different Religious Orders in the Catholic Church and their saints.
·      What is a Charism?
Hopefully when we are finished we will all understand a little more about this year, and the people Pope Francis wishes us to pray for.

What is a Year?
Well, in the world the year starts on the 1st January, the clocks tick over and we go from being 2014 to 2015. You might have celebrated the New Year with a party or a Mass and I am sure you realised that it is a holiday when no one works or goes to school. Well the year of the Catholic Church is a little different, it doesn’t start on the 1st January and finish on the 31st December instead we herald the new liturgical (Catholic Calendar) year in on the 1st Sunday of Advent. Everything is made new as we wait with Mary for the birth of her Son our Lord Jesus, at Christmas, and the year then finishes with the celebration of the great feast of Christ the King.

So, why have a year?
When the Pope, any Pope calls for a year to be celebrated for a certain purpose, he is asking the faithful (that’s us) to pray for this subject or these people. For example Pope Benedict called for a year for priests in 2009, so in that year we were all asked to pray for priests.
When Pope Benedict gave a talk to people he would often speak about the priesthood and offer his advice and encouragement. So in this year of Consecrated Life Pope Francis will offer messages and talks on this subject, celebrate Mass for this intention, wishing to affirm the consecrated people in their lives. He will pray at Holy Mass and at vigils asking God’s grace for these people. So you see it is important to know what a year is all about, to stay tuned and awake to what the Catholic Church is saying.


Stay tuned for next week when I will share with you who the Consecrated are. You may be surprised! If you have any questions about anything then please ask and I will try to answer you as soon as possible. And remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.

A Martin Girl!

I would like to tell you about someone whom I deeply admire. She is not a Blessed or a Saint (though I believe she is in heaven) her name is Celine Martin, she is the sister of the great St Thésèse of Lisieux.


Celine Martin or Sr Genevieve of the Holy Face, as she was known in religion, is my ‘pin-up’. Some of you may have a picture of a movie star, or football player or pop singer pinned up on your bedroom wall or stuck in your school books. You may even have a picture or statue of your favourite saint in your home. Well Celine/Sr Genevieve is my ‘pin-up’ and she is ‘pinned-up’ on my heart.


Celine was born on the 28th April 1869, she was nearly 4 years older than her sister St Thésèse, ‘the little flower’. As little girls they were inseparable, they did everything together. When Celine was very young she surprised everyone by announcing that she was going to be a nun. When Celine grew up she knew that she loved Jesus very much and wanted to give her life to Him.


What makes me, love her so much? Well, it is this, when Celine was 19 years old and at the right age to enter the Carmelite community and Thésèse was 15 Thésèse told Celine of her desire to be a nun. Thésèse at 15 was too young to enter, yet Celine, loving her little sister very much helped Thésèse to overcome the obstacle of her age and enter the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux.

“But what about Papa?” cried Thésèse to Celine, “it will break his heart.”  “Do not worry, I will stay with him” Celine answered. Though Celine herself had such a great desire to be a nun, she thought of others. Thésèse entered with Carmelites Lisieux at the age of 15 and left Celine to look after her dear Papa alone. All four of Celine’s sisters were now in religious life, Marie, Pauline and Thésèse with the Carmelites and Leonie with the Visitation sisters.


Celine faithfully cared for her Papa until he died and went to heaven. Less than two months later Celine entered her beloved Carmelite community. On that first night when she entered her cell (bedroom) she found a poem on her pillow that had been placed there by her sister Thésèse, which her Papa had written for Celine before his death.

“Come to us, little girl!
My crown lacks one bright pearl.
The Lord said to us, and we are all here.
To pluck you from the world
on our wings of white,
like birds on the branches pluck a flower bright.
Oh, come to us! Come to us, dear!”


I couldn’t imagine putting aside my dream so that another could live theirs, but this is what Celine did, isn’t that really true love? Sr Genevieve, as Celine was known in Religious life then followed her younger sisters ‘The Little Way.’ (Check out ‘St Thésèse’ on Saint of the Month, on kid’s Cloister to find out more) Some might find it embarrassing to follow their little sister, and to have their little sister known as a great saint, but not Sr Genevieve, she humbly and lovingly followed St Thésèse, thinking that she Thésèse, was much greater than herself.


Sr Genevieve worked for the spreading of St Thésèse’s ‘The Little Way’ up until her death on the 25th of February 1959, she was then 90 years old. Sr Genevieve was always content to be known as ‘the Saint’s sister’. I love her for her deep humility and love and I consider her to be a true saint, though she is not proclaimed one by the Catholic Church Yet!
It is my great desire to see her made a saint in my life time.
Maybe you would like to pray with me today the prayer for her beatification, and ask her to intercede for you at throne of God.


Oh Eternal Father,
graciously hear my humble prayer
Thank you for the grace you gave your daughter,
Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face.
Be pleased to grant me, according to your will,
the grace of ... (make your request) through Sister Genevieve
I pray that she may soon be numbered among your saints,
so that she may be glorified by your Church here on earth.
I humbly pray in Jesus’ name. Amen