Sr Amata's Vocation Story

This is Sr Amata
She is one of our Portress'.
Lets hear what she has to tell us.

Since I became a religious sister I have learnt the value of humility, which is recognising the truth about myself. I am journeying with Jesus, I am in His loving presence, I try to please Him, and I trust that He will take care of me. 
All that I do throughout the day, when done for the glory of God, is life giving to the world. It doesn’t matter what task I am doing, whether I am performing the simple tasks of cleaning, washing up or whether I am praising God in the chapel. 

As I journey with God I carry others with me in spirit and I can share in their suffering as well as their joys, through prayer. Truth has to be born and nurtured on many levels and this involves a suffering which is life giving. I am called to live a life of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.

My motto of life: Jesus - our Life.

Sr Pia's vocation story

Life is a learning process and Community life has taught me a lot about giving and receiving. Jesus sometimes asks us to step into the background and allow another sister to shine. When one creates and shares something with another it may not end up as one envisaged it, but in entering into someone else’s ideas and encouraging them, both of you grow. Jesus must be the centre and this is a way of giving all for Jesus.

 My motto of life is: All for Jesus

Sr Beatrix's Vocation Story

This is Sr Mary Beatrix of the Holy Cross

She is one of our Portress'. 
You may have meet her at our door. 
Let's listen to what sister has to tell us about her journey to God.

Most of our work is quite ordinary but sometimes we meet a new challenge.

Mother had thought about keeping bees when a gardener told her that our garden was ideal for the purpose.  At the time I volunteered to look after them, if Mother thought it was a good idea.  I did not know the first thing about bees but I was not afraid of the little creatures.

Shortly after, we were offered two hives complete with bees so this was taken as an indication that we were meant to start beekeeping.

The hives arrived late one evening and were set in position at the end of the garden. 

Some time later that summer I removed a Super from the hive, put it on the wheelbarrow, and walked towards the Monastery and then to the other side of the building.  The bees wanted their honey and followed me, but as they fly in straight lines they thought they would take a short cut through the cloister.  Fortunately the windows were closed but they tried hard to enter.  The only way to persuade them to return home was to collect the wheelbarrow and return the super to the bottom of the garden and the bees followed.

Much later that evening when it was dark and the bees were in their hive, I was able to collect the Super and take it to the other side of the Monastery to extract the honey. 

Sometimes one has to learn the hard way.

My motto of life is: “Through the Cross to the Light”.

Sr Elizabeth's vocation story

This is Sr Elizabeth.

She is the Vicaress of our community

  • My life before God found me was pretty much without direction or purpose. I was very young and I had never known anything even resembling normal family life. My school life – such as it was – was a misery and I didn’t really learn anything.

  • When I entered the Poor Clare Order as a postulant it was like stepping into another universe, but not always an easy one. Not being used to applying myself, I found a life regulated by bells hard and I felt I constantly had to get up and go somewhere else which I found trying. The hours of prayers were long, and, to me, tedious. I think the greatest challenge was work – especially working in the garden. Sent out to weed or dig I longed for someone to call me in, but mostly no one did. Monday morning, after a restful Sunday I dreaded – and even the word ‘work’ made me feel as if I was on my way to martyrdom. However, I struggled on, but have always felt that the garden did more for me than I did for it.

  • Even now I have to struggle to face up to the challenges of everyday life, but I have learned that fulfilment and real happiness and even joy comes not from dodging challenges but facing them, even though I often fail in this.

  • My motto for life is:

Mother Damian's vocation story

We are Poor Clare sisters. We were founded by St Clare of Assisi over 800 years ago. We are a cloistered community, living a Gospel life, that is, putting prayer into our world.

Mother Damian is our Abbess, here at Ty Mam Duw. We are a community of 13 sisters.

When I entered I found life very different to the life I lived in the world. At first it was not easy,  postulants has many ups and downs. My first down was when I was sent to the laundry to help. The sisters started to pray the rosary and they asked me for a prayer intention and to start the next decade of the rosary. I was not use to praying with people and felt very out of place so I ran away, back to the noviciate, where I felt safe. 

Praying with other people was something I had to learn. Each of us when called has to learn something new. Even though I have had many experiences like this one, I have never thought of exchanging this life for another. My life here at Ty Mam Duw is one of daily service in very ordinary things.

My motto for life is:  Look up to heaven dear one, which calls us forward, for all things will be well in Jesus.

May you find a life that you would not exchange for all the gold in the world.

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.

Sister Charity

This is Sister Charity

She is an active sister.

This doesn’t mean that she is always on the run but that she spends her life actively spreading the Good News of Jesus in the world.
How do they do this? By doing lots of different jobs, some are nurses, others teachers, and others counsellors. Some give retreats and talks on certain subjects like prolife issues or theology. You may see them working as chaplains in universities, schools or hospitals and many, many other occupations and missionary works in the world.

Sister Charity is a teacher. She spends her day teaching children in her local school. As well as teaching the ordinary subjects of maths and grammar, she teachers the children about Jesus. To Sr Charity it is most important that the children grow up to be God loving people. Sr Charity teaches by her words but she knows that the children learn more through her actions, the way she smiles and her kindness to others. This is being a witness for Jesus.
She Charity tries to live so that people will see Jesus living in her. When Sr Charity gets home to her convent each night she prays vespers with her sisters.

A convent is not an enclosed space like a monastery but a place where people can come and visit the sisters, stay and share with them.

Every year in the summer Sr Charity goes back to her parent’s house to spend a week or two with them. They all love being with each other, this is a time for Sr Charity to catch up with all her friends and family.

Sr Charity belongs to a Religious Order that is worldwide, this means that they have sisters all over the world and Sr Charity could be asked by her Superior General to go to any convent in any part of the world. Sr Charity is originally from the USA but her parents were born in Africa. This is helpful because it means that Sr Charity speaks more than one language, which is useful on her different missions around the world.

Sr Charity was a teacher before she entered religious life, but she knew that God was calling her to something more. He wanted her to teach children about the faith of the Catholic Church and how to live out the Christian vocation.

Sr Charity rises each morning a 630am, in time to say Morning Prayer with her sisters before setting out for the local school. It is important to Sr Charity and her sisters that they spend time together in prayer, this helps them build strong friendships with each other, which is very important when you live in community.

Sr Charity is the superior of her convent. This means that she needs to look after the other sisters as a mother, making sure they are provided for and that they have all they need. Sr Charity also needs to be aware of the running of the convent, looking after the building and getting plumbers in when the water pipes burst. She has a General Superior in the USA whom she consults about things that are really important but otherwise she has the responsibility of looking after the sisters. She is elected to be the superior by the General Council of the Order. Sr Charity knows that God is the one who is really in charge and she tries to listen to His voice within her telling her what to do.

So now you know Sr Charity. Next week we will meet an enclosed nun, can you guess what that means? 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. 

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