Dear Blog readers.
I am so sorry that I have been unable to write this last couple of weeks.
Life in the monastery at the moment is CRAZY!
We are have some building done and so, we are all living out a boxes while the work is done.
I will, please God, be returning to you in a few weeks time, and will introduce you, finially, to Fr Michael.
Please pray that all the work goes well for us. Remember we keep you all in your prayers.

God bless and keep you.
Sr Anezka

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. 

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.

You - Consecrated!

Consecrated – is a very big word and also a bit of a mouth full, so what does this complicated word actually mean?
Well the dictionary tells us that to consecrate is to make or declare something or someone sacred. This means, that it/they are consecrated to God and need to be treated as holy, that is, very special.

A church is a consecrated building, because it is God’s house, God’s home. When you go into your church do you treat it like your own bedroom or worse a football ground, pushing and shouting? No! When we go into a church we prepare ourselves, we put on our nice clothes, brush our hair, wash our face and walk into church quietly, knowing that God is there. We bless ourselves with the Holy water and genuflect or kneel before we sit down in a pew to pray.

Well, just as we can consecrate a building and say, “this room, this area, these four walls are for God and God’s use only”, we can consecrate people too. When a building is consecrated as a church a Bishop, Cardinal or Pope will pray over the building and bless it with Holy Water, thus making it ‘Holy’ to God. Well, Guess what? This same Holy Water is used when we are baptised and became part of God’s family, God’s people! When we are baptised we are made over to God. So, we, the baptised, are consecrated and belong to God just as much as a Church. Isn’t that wonderful?

Are you baptised? It you don’t know maybe you should ask your mum or dad to tell you. There is a saying “your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.” What this is really saying is “You are a church of God.” When you are baptised, God comes to dwell in you like He does in a church. I think that is so breathtaking, don’t you?

So who are the Consecrated? WE ARE! Can I hear you shout it out loud and proud with me                 
                       WE ARE!!!!!

Now that we know that we are consecrated people we can look at what consecrated life is. Be sure to tune in next week to discover what consecrated life is all about. 

Until then bask in the beauty of your own soul, knowing that your ARE holy and wholly belong to God, and 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

Road to Sainthood.

The 20th February is the feast day of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto. So what is so special about these two children, why are they called Blessed in the Catholic Church?
When Francisco was 9 and Jacinta was 7, Our Lady appeared to them while they were tending their sheep with their cousin Lucia. Our Lady, Mother Mary asked them to ‘learn how to read and write and pray the Rosary.’ Our Lady of Fatima, as we now know her, appeared many times to these three young children.

So are they called Blessed in the Catholic Church because they were lucky enough to see the Blessed Virgin? No! This is not the reason. So, what makes them so special? Well, it was their ordinariness. Yes, they were just like you and I. They didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, what they did was live their lives well, praying for the peace of the world. Any time that they were upset over something or someone hurt them, they would offer this to Jesus for the conversion of the world. Well, guess what? We can all do this too.

When I was younger and something happened that I didn’t like. Say, a boy pulled my hair or my cousin teased me, instead of getting angry I would think to myself ‘Jesus knows my pain’ and I would say ‘offer it up for the souls in purgatory!’ I knew that all these things I was suffering would help souls go to heaven.

Well Jacinta and Francisco offered up all their hurts, for the peace of the world. So they didn’t do anything that we can’t do, did they? Couldn’t you be just like Jacinta and Francisco? We all have the chance to be like them and win for ourselves the crown of Blessedness in heaven. We do it by living each day well, doing what we are asked to do and offering up our hurts and sorrows to Jesus for the peace of the world. This is all we have to do to become like these two Blessed.
When Francisco was on his way to heaven Jacinta joyfully said to him “give my love to our Lord and our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of hearts.”

So today let us be joyful like the Blesseds, knowing holiness and heaven are very near to us. We all have a chance to win a crown in heaven, let's make steps towards it today.

Lent starts on the 18th February, Ash Wednesday. Let’s give Jesus our hurts and our pains as well as our sweets and goodies. Let this time of Lent be a time of joyful peace, and remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.


It was on the 11th February 1858 that a beautiful Lady first appeared to a young girl called Bernadette. It was at the entrance to a cave in a little town in France called Lourdes. This beautiful Lady we now know is ‘The Immaculate Conception’ and truly is our Mother in heaven, Mary Mother of God. She wore a white dress and a light blue sash around her waist, there were two lovely golden roses on her feet and a white flowing veil covered her head. Hanging from her hands was a Rosary and the beautiful Lady encouraged Bernadette to pray the Rosary with her. This she did and the Lady asked Bernadette to pray for the world and tell others to pray for the world too.

On another day when she appeared to Bernadette Our Mother Mary pointed to a spot near where Bernadette was kneeling and told her to scratch at the ground which she did. From this spot gushed a spring of water which is still flowing today. People drink, bathe and bless themselves with this water. Many have been cured from all types of illnesses through this very water and Mother Mary’s prayers. More important than being healed in body is being healed in spirit, many have been brought back to the faith and come to know Jesus through Our Lady of Lourdes prayers and these waters.

Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother Mary, asks us to pray, to do penance and to believe in Jesus, her Son.

Let us learn from St Bernadette’s example and do all that Our Lady of Lourdes asks of us, praying for the world and coming closer to Jesus. Maybe today you could ask someone to pray the Rosary with you. Hail Mary of Grace, bring us to Jesus. Amen. Know that we are praying the Rosary for you today. Sr Anežka

St Colette

This coming Saturday is the feast of our Holy Mother St Colette, the 7th February Being a Poor Clare Colettine community it is a very important feast for us and it is also a day of great grace.
On the feast of St Colette each year we invite people to come here, to Ty Mam Duw, to receive a blessing with the relic of St Colette’s veil during Holy Mass.

When St Colette was alive a man came to her begging that she pray for his baby who had died, he was very sad because the baby had died before she could be baptised. St Colette wrapped the little baby girl in her veil and prayed, and the little baby came back to life. That little baby girl years later entered the religious house of St Colette and became a nun in St Colette’s community. Well, that very same veil has been handed down from generation to generation of Poor Clare’s and we are very lucky to have a piece of that veil here.

So around this great feast people come to have the veil containing the relic placed on their heads and our own dear Mother Damian will pray a blessing over them and their intentions, She will pray using the same words that St Colette prayed “May the Father in His mercy, the Son by His passion and the Holy Spirit the fountain of peace, sweetness and love, come down upon you and remain with you always.” 

Many people have been made well through the help of St Colette’s prayers, she is also the patron saint of mothers and babies, a lot of babies have been born through the prayers of St Colette. If you have any intentions you want St Colette’s help with, you could email us, and we will remember you at our Mass and put your name and intention under the veil of St Colette. If you live nearby you are most welcome to come to get your blessing in person. If you are unable to come, why don’t you ask someone in your family to lay their hands gently on your head and pray the Prayer of St Colette over you. St Colette is a mighty saint and prayer warrior, we are all safe within her arms.

Wherever and whoever you are she can help you and remember, we your little Poor Clare Colettines sisters are praying for you. Sr Anežka.

Surprise the World!

St Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day is the 28th January, must be the most well known Doctor of the Church. As a famous thinker he has had many churches, schools, colleges and universities named after him. A man of great learning, he wrote volumes about Angels, so much so that he is called the ‘Angelic Doctor’.

He wrote lots about heaven, earth, and God and his relationships with His people. He had something to say about most matters, yet at the end of his life he said, pointing to his hundreds of books “it is all rubbish, compared to the beauty of God!” It is amazing to think that at school they called him ‘the dumb slow ox!’ Thomas was so humble and gentle he didn’t try to prove them wrong, instead he kept his wonderful thoughts to himself and prayed and often talked to God.

You know, you can never judge a book by its cover, I am sure those class mates of his felt pretty stupid when they saw what Thomas grew up to be, the great thinker of the church and of the world.

I have a cousin, who when he was little didn’t enjoy school, the teachers and kids called him stupid and told him he would get nowhere in life. He was teased because he had a stutter, but, underneath all that they saw and heard there was a great mind. He found the school work boring, because he wanted more. He is now very successful, loves his career and is the ‘face of success’ for his university.

So! You see, you shouldn’t let others tell you who or what you are. Hidden inside you could be the next great mind of the church or the next big star. God alone knows how important you are to Him and to His world. He made you and created you for some great purpose that you and no other can fulfil.

So let us today thank God for the gift of ourselves, however small we may be, knowing how important we are to God, and try to hold on to that great truth. Hidden inside all of us is a person of great beauty. If today you are called a slow dumb ox, or something of that sort, remember the great St Thomas and smile, knowing you too can surprise the world.

Go be someone beautiful for 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?

Jesus' birthday party!

“Ding Dong merrily on high.” Oh don’t you just  love Christmas? The lights, the colours and the tree. The songs, the carols and of course the Christmas smell of sweets and treats and cooking. But mostly don’t we all love Christmas for what it means? Christ-mass, truly Jesus is the reason for the season and each year we put on a big party, a birthday party for Him. We remember the most wonderful day that has ever been, the day Jesus came down to visit us.

Do you want to know something very sad though? A lot of people have forgotten that Christmas is all about Jesus, they have forgotten or have never known that it is His birthday. Isn’t that so very, very sad?

Could you imagine someone coming to your birthday party and never saying happy birthday to you, not even knowing that it’s your birthday. It’s your party and that you were the reason for the party, they might even pretend that you’re not there, wouldn’t that hurt you? So what do you think we, that is you and I, should do about this? This is Jesus birthday party, do you think we should let people know? How can we do that? Well, let’s try and put Christ (Jesus) back into Christmas!

To do this we first need to remember ourselves, that it’s not about how many gifts we get, but how many gifts we give Jesus. Yes, that’s right we need to give Jesus gifts. So how can we give Jesus a gift? Well that’s easy, when we are nice to others, friendly and kind, this makes Jesus so happy, it puts a smile on baby Jesus’ face. When you have done your good deed you could run right then and there and tell baby Jesus what you have done. You could go to the crib under your Christmas tree and tell Him or if you have a picture of Jesus in your house you could go to the picture and tell Him. Maybe you could write down the good things you have done and wrap in up to give to Jesus as a gift on Christmas day, wouldn’t that be such a nice gift for baby Jesus to receive, all your love, wrapped up in a little parcel.

Once you have remembered that it is Jesus’ party you can then tell others. Tell everyone you meet about Jesus and the fact that He was born and that it’s His birthday party, that we are celebrating. This way you are being little missionaries and Pope Francis want us all to be missionaries, telling people about Jesus’ love.

You could also ask your mum, dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle to read you the Christmas story from the Bible, this will help you remember the sweet baby Jesus who was born to say ‘I Love You’.

So have a Happy and Merry Christmas on the 25th December and remember Jesus and His love for each and every one of you.

See you in two weeks time, and until then keep safe and remember, we are praying for you. You might like to read St Clare's 1st letter to St Anezka during your Christmas Hols.
 Sr Anežka

St Lucy

The 13th December is the feast of St Lucy (if you are interested in her Story check out December’s Saint of the month on Kid’s Cloister) It is traditionally a day of festival, the festival of lights. Lucy means light. It is a beautiful feast, and is very special to me because it is my clothing day.

Each year on the feast of St Lucy, we here at Ty Mam Duw celebrate. One sister is chosen to be St Lucy and another is Mistress Winter. The St Lucy sister is dressed in white with a crown of candles on her head and the Mistress Winter sister is dressed in black. Then as they say, ‘let the battle begin.’ 6 sisters behind St Lucy with candles in hand march forward, while St Lucy sings, wishing for light to win. The other 6 sisters are behind Mistress Winter and they are not to be out done, carrying evergreen and ivy braches in hand. Mistress Winter does not want her reign of darkness to cease and sings for winter to last forever.

But her battle is doomed for we all know that Christ is our light and the darkness has already lost. From this day onwards (traditionally) the days get a little longer until finally the spell is broken and summer is once more upon us. Mistress Winter admits defeat and joins the light side with her troops and we all sing “Christ is our light” down the Cloister towards the community room where we have refreshments after our wearisome battle for victory.

As I said this day is very special to me, as on this day 4 years ago I was clothed as a Poor Clare sister and received my new name. We Poor Clares are dressed as a bride on our clothing day, because this is like our wedding day. We are Jesus’ bride and are being given to Him, as a bride to her husband.
As a sign of this union we receive a new name, like your mum would have taken your dads last name on their wedding day, it is a sign of togetherness and newness.

So I would no longer known as Rebekah Gielen but now called ‘Sr Maria Anežka of the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple’. In being clothed in my religious habit, I accepted Jesus as my light. He is the light of my world and in following Him I too become a little light in the world, like St Lucy.

I exchanged my beautiful bride’s dress for the Poor Clare habit and white veil of a novice. And let me tell you I have never been happier. It’s wonderful to follow Jesus and to give your life into His hands.

Why don’t you light a candle on the feast of St Lucy and feel the warmth the light gives. Know that Jesus’ warmth fills your heart and His warmth tell’s you He loves you. Tell Jesus you love Him too and try to be a light in the world, like St Lucy.
Until next week, remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka

HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas!

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas! We are all familiar with the large jolly man in red, holding his tummy as he jingles with laughter, sack on his back and a bearded face. Yes we all know Santa Claus, but do you know the history of Santa Claus? Do you know he was actually a Catholic Bishop and priest? His real name is Saint Nicholas. Santa is Latin for Saint and Claus is from the cholas of Nicholas, his feast is on the 6th December and I am here to give you the low down on him.

Saint Nicholas was a good and holy Bishop, he lived around the year 350AD and was the Bishop in Myra, Lycia. So how did this Bishop become the Santa Claus of our day? Well the story goes that he was left a lot of money by his parents and he decided to give his money away secretly to the poor. One old man didn’t have enough money to give his daughters a dowry. In those days a girl could not get married or enter a monastery without a dowry. 
So when Bishop Nicholas heard about this he decided to do something for them. One night the bishop went to the old man’s house with three bags of gold and not wishing the family to know it was him who gave the money, threw the three bags of gold through the window and disappeared. The next morning the old mans and his three daughters found the bags and the father was so glad that he could now give his daughters in marriage to three very kind men, and they all lived happily ever after.

Over time we have exchanged the window for a chimney but the effect is the same, sacks of gifts on Christmas day from Santa Claus. And why the red outfit? Well, that’s the colour bishops wore back then. You may see that the Cardinals in Rome still wear a red sash around their waists, and our St Nicholas was a Bishop and a Cardinal. It has always been traditional in Holland and Germany to celebrate this day and give presents on the 6th December not the 25th

We love this feast here at Ty Mam Duw. Our Sr Elizabeth dresses up as St Nic, she has a red robe and mitre and staff in her hand. She comes to tell us each in turn how naughty or nice we have been. St Nicholas has made his list in heaven and has checked it twice and as a gift for all the good and nice deeds we have done through the year. She presents us each with a chocolate image of himself, which we eat slowly over the Advent period until Christmas day finally arrives to gladden the hearts of all.

So a Ho! Ho! Ho! and a happy St Nicholas feast to you all. I hope you have all been nice and maybe St Nic will visit you and tell you of all your good deeds too. Remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.

Where do you live?

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to meet Jesus? What about if you were the first person to follow Him? St Andrew knew what this felt like. He is the patron saint of Scotland and his feast is on the 30th November.

Andrew was at first a follower of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin. Andrew was obviously looking for the truth and wanted to follow God. When he heard John the Baptist say “ behold the Lamb of God” (referring to Jesus), Andrew got up and ran after Jesus, asking, “where do you live?”
I have often thought and pondered over this question, ‘where do you live?’ Have you ever thought that where a person lives tells you a lot about the person. I live in a monastery, this can tell you a lot about me. It tells you that I am a nun and that I am a Poor Clare. When someone lives on a farm or in a house or on the 10th floor of a city apartment, this tells you a bit about them and their lives.

So you can understand that Andrew is trying to figure out who Jesus is. How does Jesus respond to Andrews’s question? He says “Come and see.” Jesus isn’t going to tell Andrew who He is, Andrew has to see and decide for himself who Jesus is and what Jesus means to him. We too are told to ‘come and see’, to see who Jesus is and decide who He is to us. Does He show Himself to you to be kind, loving, the Lamb on the throne, the meek one, the King? It’s an interesting thought to think about.

This day is special for me, because it is the day I entered Religious Life. On this day, 5 years ago, I arrived at an English airport from New Zealand, to start my new life as a Poor Clare. When I came I was coming to see, trying to discover who Jesus was for me. What did I find? I found that He is the Lamb and I follow Him, I am His bride.

Without knowing it at the time, I was asking Jesus like St Andrew did “where do you live?” and Jesus didn’t say ‘here’ or ‘there’ or anything but, I knew the answer and could say ‘it is here that you live.’ We all need to discover where Jesus is waiting for us. He is waiting for you in a very special place, just for you to discover. No one else can find Him where you can. It could be in the garden, in a friend, in a game, or, for someone, He could be waiting, like He was waiting for me, in a Religious house, in Religious Life. Maybe He is waiting here, for you at Ty Mam Duw
Where are you going to find Jesus today? Why don’t you ask, with St Andrew, ‘where do you live?’
See you next week for our first Advent blog, and with Christmas just around the corner I think it is time for a story about St Nic. Until then remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka

Music Lovers

Do you like Music? Can you play an instrument? When I was at school we all had to have a go at learning the recorder, but I am afraid that I never got any further then playing ‘three blind mice’.

All your little sisters play an instrument, some play the guitar, some play a flute or recorder or piano and one sister even plays a little harp. Music is a wonderful thing, it can lift your heart to God, make your spirit fly and fill you with joy.

St Cecilia is the patron saint of music and her feast day is the 22nd November. She is an early Roman martyr who lived just a few hundred years after Jesus did. Imagine that, that means she lived about 1800 years ago. It’s hard to imagine someone from 20 years ago liking the same things as we do now, But St Cecilia from hundreds of years ago has something in common with us, she loved Jesus and she loved music.

St Cecilia was a young girl in Rome, which at that time was not a Christian city. Cecilia loved Jesus very much and when the people found out that she was a Christian they told her to renounce her faith. “Say, in front of the whole city, that you don’t believe in Jesus, and we will spare your life.” 
But St Cecilia couldn’t do that “I won’t, I won’t I won’t, I love Jesus with all my heart, He is more real to me than anything else on earth and the most important thing in the whole world. You can take my life, but you cannot take me from Him and His love. They were so mad with her for saying all this that they killed her then and there. It is said that as she left this world for heaven she could hear the heavenly choirs singing and playing music. 
The angels and saints welcomed her into heaven with beautiful music because she had given witness to Jesus, that is, she told others what Jesus meant to her.  Have you ever wondered what sort of music they might play in heaven? Will they be playing ‘if you’re happy and you know it’? Or maybe Bach or Beethoven? Who knows, we will have to wait and see. I think the reason why music can have such an effect on us, that is -making us feel so happy, is that music (which we all love) is one of the things we have in common with those in heaven.

I play the guitar. Each Monday morning Sr Yolanda Bakhita and I play music as the rest of the sisters sing along joyfully. We have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament ( that is, Jesus in the little white round Host).  We enthrone Jesus on a pillar in the middle of our choir and surround Him with candles, and we form a circle around Him and sing to Him, showing Him our love by worshipping Him with our music, like they do in heaven.
We join with the saints and all the angels of heaven singing God’s praises. It’s pretty cool to think that when we sing to Jesus we are united with heaven and all the thousands of millions of people who throughout the thousands of years of history have sung His praises and who will sing His praises in the future. We are all one big choir singing aloud with one voice “Jesus we love you, you are our King, we worship and adore you now and always.”

Maybe you could join us, today, right now wherever you are and sing your praises to God. Tell Jesus of your love through music and join the choir, tell Him of your heart today, and be like St Cecilia, a witness to Jesus.

See you next week and remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka

St Elizabeth of Hungary

Let me tell you a story about a very special saint, a saint of the Franciscan Order. She was a princess and the cousin of my saint, St Anežka of Bohemia. She is St Elizabeth of Hungary, her feast day is the 17th November and an important day for us as one of our sisters is named after her and she is as humble as her name sake, but that is getting ahead of myself I will start at the beginning.

St Elizabeth was born in Hungary and when she was only four years old was sent to live in Thuringia, Germany, so that she could marry Prince Ludwig. When they grew up they were married and were very much in love, but Ludwig’s family did not like Elizabeth, they thought her odd and strange. You see, when the family went to Holy Mass they all got into their grandest clothes and put on their biggest and best crowns and would sit in the front pews, not bowing, not kneeling, but sitting very proudly to show how important they were.
When Elizabeth went with them she put on a plain but beautiful dress and would take off her crown and kneel humbly before her Lord. “What are you doing?” Queen Sophia would ask her angrily, “You are a princess, don’t do that, put your crown back on her head.”  “I’m very sorry” Elizabeth would say “but how can I sit and be grand and proud when Our Lord is here? How can I keep on my golden crown when He had only a crown of thorns? He is much more important than you or I. We are only people, even if we are princesses and queens.”
This made Queen Sophia very mad and she went red with embarrassment. Queen Sophia grew to dislike Elizabeth because Elizabeth made her feel ashamed.

Elizabeth tried to do good to the poor and be kind to the downhearted all for the sake of Jesus. She remembered where it is said in the Gospel ‘as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.’ One day Elizabeth was in the city making her way home to the castle after helping feed the poor in the market square when she saw an old man who was very sick lying under a bush. “what shall I do?” thought Elizabeth ‘if I take him home he could make my children sick, but I can’t possibly leave him here, he is ill, he should be in bed, and since he doesn’t have a bed of his own I will have to give him one. So she took him back to the castle secretly and put him in Prince Ludwig’s bed. ‘He will have to sleep here’ she thought ‘because the servants will not share their beds with him, they would be afraid of catching his illness.’

She had gone to get him some hot soup from the kitchen when Queen Sophia went into Prince Ludwig’s room and found the sick man in the Princes bed. “What are you doing in my son’s bed?” She yelled at the poor man. “Princess Elizabeth said I could sleep here in this bed because I have no bed of my own. Isn’t she so very kind?” the sick man replied. Queen Sophia was so angry she ran and got the prince. “Look, look at what Elizabeth had gone and done now” Queen Sophia cried out. “She doesn’t even care if you get sick, she gives your bed to this beggar.”
Prince Ludwig looked down at the poor man “It’s our Lord Himself” he said quietly, and the sick man at once disappeared. Our Lord sometimes pretends to be someone else to the people who love Him lots, to see if they are really as kind to others as they say they are. If they knew it was the Lord, of course they would do anything for Him, but sometimes we can’t be bothered to do kind things for ordinary people even though Jesus said that doing things for them was the same as doing them for Him.

So Elizabeth had shown God her love by loving others. She was a very good princess, a loving wife and a kind mother.

Would you give your bed to someone in need? What about your lunch to someone who was hungry or money you were going to spend on ice cream to the poor? Remember St Elizabeth and her good example, in the face of all these people there is God.

May St Elizabeth guide us all to love Jesus more. Maybe you could remember our Sr Elizabeth in your prayers on this day. Sr Anežka