Our Faith Journey
Welcome to “Our Faith Journey” Blog.
This blog is an opportunity to share with our Ursuline School community that which is most important to us -- our faith journey. Each of us is on a journey and we hope that you enjoy reading the reflections of our faculty, staff and students.
Jesus said to his disciples: "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. "I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do, I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, 'I am going away, and I will come back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe." John 14: 23 – 29
In today’s Gospel reading, it appears that Jesus is preparing the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The disciples were uneasy and unsettled especially when Jesus talked about leaving them. Jesus did everything to reassure them that everything would be alright. First, He tells them that, once He leaves, if they keep His Word, then His Father “will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” God promised to always be with them. Jesus assured them that the Holy Spirit would teach them everything they will need to know. They would be preaching the Good News. Ultimately Jesus gave the disciples the gift and assurance of peace. Let us continue the Easter journey let us relish the great and wondrous things our God has given to us.
Today was a gorgeous day. I had the opportunity to spend some time at the beach today with some friends. It was so nice, and the water was beautiful – crystal clear and calm. Watching the families with children was heartwarming. Everyone was just taking the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful day on the beach. I love the beach. I very often refer to it as my happy place. When I go to the beach or have the opportunity sit by the water, I find that I no longer have a care in the world. There is something so relaxing about being by water. I find it calming and refreshing. When I left the beach today, I felt so much more relaxed and renewed. I thank God for the gift of this day and am so grateful for the opportunity to have gone to the beach.
President Eileen Davidson H'12 gave a wonderful commencement address this morning. She shared the unique individuality of the 180 members of the Class of 2019 and the outstanding accomplishments this class has achieved during their time as students of The Ursuline School.
Mrs. Davidson assured the graduates that "you are ready to leave here and take on the world. You have been encouraged to fully participate, to have an educated opinion, to develop empathy through global awareness, and to recognize the importance of grit and resilience...Remember the words of St. Angela Merici, "Do something. Get moving. Be confident. Risk new things. Stick with it. Then be ready for big surprises. St. Angela, watch over us all our days. St. Ursula, protect our future."
Congratulations to our newest alumnae!
“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for fullness not of woe, to give you a future full of hope.”
These words by the prophet Jeremiah were the ones that were used as the focal point of your senior retreat in September. Time has flown by rather quickly since then and tonight we gather to praise our God and to honor the Class of 2019’s approaching graduation.
Graduation is a time for reflection on the labors of the past, the accomplishments of the present and the possibilities for the future. For our graduating students, their families, friends, and teachers, this is a time for celebration. Successful completion of the course of study and the reception of a diploma from The Ursuline School is an extraordinary accomplishment and should be savored.
As we gather to pray tonight let us pray in thanksgiving for all they have done individually and as a class for The Ursuline School, their local communities and our global community. They have done a great deal to make our world a better place by sharing their time, talent and love.
May they always remember to keep that love alive in their hearts and to always share it with others.
St. Angela instructed her followers to “Do something. Get moving. Be confident. Risk new things. Stick with it. Then be ready for big surprises.” We pray along with St. Angela that they may always be willing to risk and show their confidence.
Mother Teresa, once said, “When we see God in each other, we will love one another as God loves us all.” Loving can be one of the most vulnerable and, at the same time, one of the most fulfilling of experiences. Today’s Gospel asks us to open the door of our hearts to loving others, for it is in doing so that we come to see God. When we love one another we are fulfilling what our loving God calls us to. Sometimes it is not easy to follow this mandate. Fortunately, we are able to continually choose to love. As we go through these very busy days let us remember that no matter what our God loves us more than we can ask or imagine! We are made in the image and likeness of God so the next time you may feel unloved remember how precious you are in God’s eyes.
Today I attended a meeting on communications. As we started our meeting we prayer the following prayer. I share it with you as communication is such an important part of our lives.
Holy Spirit, you blessed the first disciples with the power to spread God’s love throughout the world. Give us a new power to proclaim your word through our own unique gifts and through the channels of clear communication. Make us willing to receive that word as it enters our daily lives.
Bless all who use their talents in the field of communications. Guide those who send out the message and those who receive it, so that all people may come to know your truth and be renewed by your love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen
Today I attended the Memorial Celebration of Life for my cousin, Rosemary, who died in November after a valiant batted with cancer. It was held in a beautiful garden setting in Maryland. There were many guests from every aspect of her life. She was a little over a month younger than me and at the gathering I was the one who knew her the longest. Rosemary’s life began in Brooklyn, NY and she spent her final days surrounded by family and friends in Maryland. She was a woman of integrity, tenacity and loved to travel. Her adventures took her to visit many exotic places. A lover of nature she had a special place in her heart for all animals. It was wonderful to see so many pictures and videos of her dancing with her dogs. Everyone spoke so highly of her and each story was filled with laughter as well as tears. As I heard each testimony I could not help but think how differently our life paths were. I choosing to enter religious life and she sharing her love of nature, music and life with all. Having just driven five hours I am so happy that I was able to be present as today was a gift for me.
Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14: 1 – 6)
Today’s gospel reading is one that is very familiar to us. It is one where Jesus is with His disciples having their final meal together. He knows that His death is near and the time will come when He will no longer be with them. Jesus knows that the disciples are anxious and perhaps a little confused. He takes the time to remind them of who they are and to whom they belong. In a very real way Jesus gives them the confidence to trust in all that they have learned.
Jesus makes the same promise to us when He invites us into a deeper relationship with Him and God. In order to achieve this relationship, we need to take the time to be still and listen for the voice of Jesus knowing that He will give us all we need. Today let us pray that we have the ability to recognize the faith that we have been given. We, too, know to whom we belong. May we never fear being true witnesses to this reality and share Jesus’ love, compassion and kindness with all those we encounter.
I came across this poem today and with the sun shining so brightly it reminded me of the true hope that spring brings.
The Hope of Spring
God, thank you for Spring and the hope of warmer, longer, brighter days.
Thank you for the coming of growth and life and birth.
Thank you that things are coming awake in the world.
This is what our calendar says, and we do see some signs that it is real.
But we also still struggle with the residual layover of winter.
Now we ask that you bring into reality all that belongs in this season. Your word says that we will have provision, and hope, and joy, and health and loving relationships here and now in this life.
We ask that what belongs in this season would become actual in our practical lives.
We hope in you and in your promises. We hope in your gift of Spring.
- Author Unknown
Today we commemorate the appearance of Our Lady to the three children in Fatima. On May 13, 1917 she appeared to the three children for the first time to share with them her message. Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco took their flock of sheep to a natural hollow in the ground known as the Cova da Iria to graze, just outside the town of Fatima in Portugal.
On Sunday May 13th, 1917 the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning. Frightened by the flash, the children looked around at the sky that was clear and bright without the least spot of a cloud. No breeze stirred, the sun was strong, and there was no hint anywhere of a storm that might be responsible for a flash of lightning. The children, however, thought that they had better head home in case it might start raining. As they descended the hill. Another flash of lightning took them by surprise. Panicky with fear, they took a few steps and looked towards the right. There, standing over the foliage was "a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun". The lady spoke to them and said: "Fear not! I will not harm you." "Where are you from?" the children asked. "I am from heaven" the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon. "What do you want of me?", Lucia asked. "I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again a seventh time." Lucia said: "Do you come from heaven...and will I go to heaven?" " Yes, you'll go". "And Jacinta?" "As well" " And Francisco?" "Him too, but he will have to say many rosaries". In the end Our Lady asked : "Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?" "Yes, we do." said the children. "You will have to suffer a lot, but the grace of God will be your comfort. "Then she opened her hands with a loving gesture of a mother who offers her heart. From it an intense light departed that seemed to go through them. The vision vanished telling them: "Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war." And She disappeared.
The month of May has traditionally been set aside to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. During this month let us make the extra effort to pray the rosary daily and pray for peace in our world, our homes and our hearts.
Today we celebrate Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world. The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day traditionally involves presenting moms with flowers, cards and other gifts. Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” However you celebrate today let us take a few moments to pray for our mother’s both living and deceased as well as those who have always modeled motherhood for us. May all mothers be blessed if a very special way this day and every day for the love they continually show their children.
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6: 60 – 69)
When I first read this Gospel I must admit I was rather shocked by Jesus’ questions. The scene is one that shows Jesus’ humanity. Many of Jesus’ followers were not able to continue following him after he asked them the questions. Peter is asked if he wanted to leave too. His response was one of total affirmation of their relationship. Following Jesus was something that changed Peter in so many ways and he was not about to change his belief and trust in Jesus. We are called to do the same. As followers of Jesus we are asked to step out in faith and trust what Jesus says, no matter how difficult it might seem. In these days of questioning and doubt let us renew our desire to go to Jesus rather than leave him.
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6: 52 -59)
Whenever I read this Gospel passage, I immediately recall my own First Holy Communion that happened many years ago. When we practiced everyday for what seemed like forever, we were ready to receive Jesus at last. Since then I imagine that I have received many times. For me receiving the Eucharist fills me with great joy and a real sense of peace. I know that there have been times when I haven’t felt as close to Jesus as I did that very first day when I wore my beautiful white dress and veil. Each time I receive I know that Jesus’ promise is fulfilled that He is always with me and will always guide me along life’s path. Perhaps as we prepare for Mother’s Day it is a good time to take a few moments to recall your own First Holy Communion and remember that as long as we remain in Jesus He will remain in us.
Last night we celebrated with members of the Class of 2022 and 2023 who were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society NHS & NJHS at a Candlelight Investiture Ceremony. Membership into the National Junior Honor Society is based on the criteria of scholarship, service, character, and leadership. Our students spoke so beautifully about each of the characteristics encouraging their peers to continue to strive to reach them in all that they do. It was heartwarming to hear several of the students speak of the importance of their faith. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Simply put, the biblical definition of faith is “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.” Last night our young women described faith in an eloquent way and articulated how important faith was to them. As we continue the Easter journey let us take to heart Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse and remember that Jesus promises to always be with us and will be at all times.
On this National Day of Celebration of nurses we thank our God for the gift of the many nurses in our lives. May they be blessed for all that they do.
Let Us Pray for Our School Nurse
Holy God, we pray that today's nurses be gifted with the strength and courage needed to be fully present to all they meet. May their compassion be deepened. May they continue to touch lives and hearts by their healing words and soothing touch. We know that healing and restoration is your will, O Lord. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Today we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Day. National Teacher Appreciation Day, also known as National Teacher Day, is observed on the Tuesday of the first full week in May. This day is part of Teacher Appreciation Week, which is the first full week in May of each year.
The National Education Association describes National Teacher Day “as a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives.” Teachers play a critical role in educating and shaping our children: the future leaders of our country. They are kind, patient, hard-working, dedicated and understanding professionals that mold our children’s lives in a positive direction. We entrust our children with the teachers, and they affect their lives on a daily basis.
Today is a good day to take some time to pray for those who have helped to educate you. It is a way of saying thank you for the many hours that have been spent on helping you to become the best person you can be. May all teachers feel that they are valued and loved today and everyday!
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal." So they said to him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God that you believe in the one he sent." John 6: 22 – 29
This Gospel story marks the beginning of Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse. As He taught the disciples it was clear that they were just not getting it at first but then it happened the moment of enlightenment. The moment that it began to become clearer to His closest followers. I believe that most of us can relate to this story as it seems so easy to grasp yet it has an extremely challenging side. As we walk along the Easter journey we need to remember that Jesus continually invites and we are left to respond. Jesus has invited each one of us to commit our lives to following Him and believing that He will never abandon us.
Everyone listening to Jesus recalls the story passed down from generation to generation about manna sent from heaven to nourish their ancestors as they fled from Egypt. Perhaps Jesus is talking about providing more manna? Yet now Jesus is offering a bread that will being eternal life as well as nourish the soul. This bread will ultimately become the Eucharist which is the food that endures for eternal life. Let us remember Jesus call to, “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” This is the call that endures forever and is so desperately needed for our time.
At that time, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "we also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught." So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come, have breakfast." And none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead. (John 21: 1 - 14)
In today’s Gospel, Peter went back to his profession as a fisherman and Jesus appeared to His disciples for the third time. In the story Peter recognizes Jesus and is very excited to get to shore to welcome Jesus. When he arrived he saw that Jesus had already prepared some breakfast and sat down to share a meal with Jesus. The disciples trusted in what they had seen and had come to know. Their recognition of Jesus was easy as they knew that they loved Him. Today as we ponder Jesus’ love for us let us respond with a joy filled “yes, Lord, I love you today and everyday.”
Today the Ursuline Sisters celebrated our Province Jubilee Celebration, thirteen sisters will mark some 710 years of Religious Profession. Each of these women responded to Jesus’ invitation to “Come and See.” They responded not knowing fully where the journey would lead them. With an eagerness of heart and a sense of awe they came and stayed. Over the years they have been principals, educators, councilors, authors, pastoral care ministers, midwives, missionaries and working with the poor. They have served in Province Leadership and International Leadership. Each one brought her unique set of gifts with her and shared them unconditionally. As we celebrate today we thank our loving God for the gift you have been to us. Thank you Barbara, Beth, Brenda, Celestine, Claire, Fran, Julia, Mary, Mary Beth, Maryellen, Maureen, Pascal, and Pat for your loving fidelity to God and God's people. Ad multos annos!
Today we took our sixth graders to the Passionist Monastery in Jamaica, Queens for the taping of the Sunday Mass. They were invited to be the congregation for this valuable ministry. The Passionists of the St. Paul of the Cross Province began their television ministry in New York in December of 1970. From the first broadcast, The Sunday Mass was enthusiastically received by the home bound and the infirm. Today, hundreds of thousands now join in the celebration of The Sunday Mass nationwide as well as worldwide. The experience they had was most wonderful as they were happy to experience the taping and get the behind the scenes look at what goes into producing a television Mass. Many commented on how nice it was to be there and to be able to help others by being in the congregation. Their Masses will appear on September 1 and September 8. It was truly a spiritually uplifting experience.
Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker…
Joseph, by the work of your hands and the sweat of your brow, you supported Jesus and Mary, and had the Son of God as your fellow worker. Teach me to work as you did, with patience and perseverance, for God and for those whom God has given me to support. Teach me to see in my fellow workers the Christ who desires to be in them, that I may always be charitable and forbearing towards all. Grant me to look upon work with the eyes of faith, so that I shall recognize in it my share in God’s own creative activity. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
A little history and prayer written by Sr. Barbara Calamari, osu, AMSU’s former Spanish teacher, Principal and current Mission Effectiveness and Serviam Leaders Moderator with some additions from Leonardo Soliman, current AMSU Religion Chairperson and teacher.
Today, April 30th, is the Feast Day of the Saint Marie of the Incarnation, an Ursuline Sister who was born in Tours, France in the 16th century. God’s graces inspired her to go beyond her borders of the French Ursuline monastery and venture forth to Canada, New France in 1639 to educate the young Indian and French-Canadian girls. She respected their culture and customs and attained mastery of their languages: Algonquin, Iroquois, Huron and Montagnais. Marie even composed grammars and dictionaries in these languages.
Her work began 370 years ago and flourishes today as the Ursuline Monastery in Quebec and numerous Ursuline schools throughout Canada and Japan. She is the first Ursuline missionary and was declared a saint by his Holiness Pope Francis on April 3, 2014. Marie was crucial in the spread of Catholicism in New France. She is credited with founding the first girls’ school in the New World. Due to her work the Catholic Church declared her a saint and even the Anglican Church of Canada celebrates her with a feast day.
Let us pray,
Loving God, you led St. Marie of the Incarnation to follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to go outside her borders of France to North America to spread the Gospel of Jesus to native Canadian Children and their families. May we be inspired to follow in her spirit of Serviam to serve others and be messengers of God’s love and mercy. This we ask through Our Lord Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Pope Francis tweeted today, “God searches for you, even if you do not seek Him. God loves you, even if you have forgotten Him. God looks for beauty in you, even if you think you have squandered all your talents.”
When I read this tweet I was struck by a sense of warmth and intense love. For me it was a perfect reminder that God’s love is always there for us and we need to believe that in our innermost core. God has certainly proven time again that He is there for us and only wants what is good for us. These days have been filled with so much darkness, hate and tragedy. There have been shootings, bombings, accidents, natural disasters and tremendous fear. Each of these emotions provoke a sense of defeat and further pushes us away from God. As we continue the Easter Resurrection let us remember that God will never abandon us and will only treat us with love and compassion. May our desire to be kind to others bring alive in us a sense of God’s love.
Another senseless shooting has taken place in California. Yesterday a shooting took place in a Jewish synagogue, Congregation Chabad, on the last day of Passover. Some six months after the Pittsburgh attack at the Tree of Life Congregation another gunman has targeted people based on their religious beliefs. As the gunman opened fire, the woman who was killed stepped in front of the Rabbi shielding him from greater harm. He continued his sermon telling everyone to be strong and calm. These senseless attacks continue and security at worship places has been increased. Is this truly how our loving, compassionate God wants us to live? I find it difficult to understand that people can be so inhumane to one another. How can anyone go into a worship space and open fire? A place where nonviolence is preached and love is encouraged is no place for such cruelty. May we take to heart Jesus’ message on this Divine Mercy Sunday to love one another, show mercy toward one another and live in peace.
Today two heroes were honored in New York. One in Westchester County and one in New York City. Both served in our military one a hero of World War II and the other killed while on duty with the National Guard. The one in Westchester died in a nursing home and had no family. A young woman who volunteered at the nursing home where he spent his final days made sure that he had the proper funeral with full military honors. Her desire to honor his service and memory touched many people and his funeral was more than she could ever imagine. Many people turned out to celebrate the life of a decorated veteran. The most touching part was when the flag that draped his coffin was given to the young volunteer. In the city the young father of three was celebrated with full military and fire department honors and will be laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery. Each of these men served their country with honor and remind us of the importance of looking outside ourselves and reaching out to others. Let us take time to embrace the call that is greater than ourselves and always try to “do unto others as you would want done to you.”
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