Sr. Marie St. Paul receiving Holy Communion on the Solemnity of Our Holy Mother Clare
Pilgrims who came for the St. Clare Mass and Indulgence
Reception after Mass by Ladies of Solitude (THANK YOU!)

Friends and Family of our candidate Tara came out to celebrate St. Clare with us.
Sr. Marie Andre spending some time with one of our oldest AZ friends – Rob!

August rushes by with incredible speed – and yet not without abundant opportunities for graces!  August is replete with wonderful feast days.  Among these feasts stands the Solemnity of Our Holy Mother Clare which was celebrated with much joy and many guests.  We hope you enjoy the photos from this beautiful day!

Sr. John-Mark enjoying some quiet time with the Lord in our new Choir Stalls

In the recent publication from the Institute on Religious Life, there was an article from Cardinal George on St. Clare.  The Sisters and I have been ruminating on it during our lesson time…and receiving so much grace.  The Cardinal makes several striking points, but there is one that we are currently discussing with such delight!  It is the idea that the contemplative enclosed life is to be a permanent sabbath.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word Sabbath?  For me, it is rest.  And yet, Cardinal George asserts that above all the Sabbath is not just about rest but about listening to God.  Doesn’t this put a twist on things?  I love it!  To spend our Sunday – our Sabbath – listening, resting, delighting in God.  Listening necessitates a degree of silence.  Yet not the type of silence that a 6 year old demonstrates when she doesn’t get her own way.  Rather, it’s the type of silence that is full of expectation and activity.  It’s not a gloomy state, really! Silence allows us to hear not only with our ears but with the deepest level of our hearts.

According to Cardinal George, the enclosed contemplative life is a permanent Sabbath.  Therefore contemplatives begin now to live what all the blessed souls in Heaven live for all eternity.  Granted, we don’t live that perfectly.  Rather in our earthly bodies – with all of our faults and foibles – we STRIVE to live that blessed eternal Sabbath, that endless day of adoration.  Our life becomes, in the words of the great Carmelite Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Praise of Glory.

Now, although, the majority of mankind is not called to the contemplative life nor to this permanent Sabbath on earth, each of us – regardless of our state in life – is called to celebrate the Sabbath each Sunday.  For just one day a week, to really enjoy the Lord, delight in Him, listen to Him, rejoice in Him, spend time with Him and be renewed by Him.  The witness of the contemplative is to stir in the hearts of all the faithful a desire to ‘taste and see the goodness of the Lord’, to stir in them a desire to live the Sabbath.

On a side note: We are living in a day when we find our religious freedom at risk by a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to truth and beauty and good…and God.  Here’s an interesting move in the the right direction:  Pope Benedict XVI recently was quoted saying that ‘by defending Sunday we defend man’s freedom.’

We are all grasping to find ways to preserve our RIGHT to religious freedom – AS WE SHOULD.  Well here’s an idea, let’s start defending Sunday (living the Sabbath) as a means of maintaining our freedom, our freedom as children of God.  From this will flow the strength and courage to defend the right of religious freedom in all facets of life.  Being renewed each Sunday both from within (in our relationship with God) and from without (in our relationship with family and loved ones), our week will unfold then in the light of God, imbued with the hope of hearing Him say “I love you” in a million different ways.

The choir stalls in the Mass Choir were recently installed.  Awesome!!
And the choir stalls for the Cloistered Adoration Choir were installed as well.  Doubly Awesome!
We have had our fair share of Monsoon rains this year!  Here you see the retention basins doing their duty!  Kudos to Sr. John-Mark, our creative photographer, who caught the reflection of the chapel in the water 🙂