Be Holy, Be Happy!

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Today, February 1, is my mom's birthday. Happy birthday mom!!!

As I reflect on Mary being a woman of understanding it is so easy for me to believe because my own mother has always been such a wonderful example of that. Whenever I have a question or a problem or just need some advice, I can call her and she'll know exactly what to do.

Her wisdom and understanding have never steered me wrong. Whenever I run out of patience for a particular person or situation, she reminds me to be more understanding of others, and try to see things from their point of view

We can look at Mary in the same way. If our own mothers, as frail as they are, are such wonderful means of assistance and love, how much more will Mary, the mother of God himself who has so much more of His divine nature come to our assistance when we call upon her.

The last words spoken by Mary in Scripture were those at the Wedding in Cana, "do whatever he tells you". Her deep understanding will always lead us closer to her Son.

Thank you, Father God and Mother Mary for blessing us with such wonderful women in our lives and for always being there when we call upon you


DAY SIX: Woman of Wisdom

Woman of Wisdom
by Giuliana Spigone, A.O.
Our newest member in heaven!

“O most noble mother of the Redeemer…” is the marian antiphon .... It is a most sweet antiphon that opens the heart to hope, to awe, to the certainty that we have a “star” who guards our steps over the immensity of waters, symbol of instability and danger. The deep wisdom of this antiphon gives us a glimpse of the heavens, which, one day, will be our beatitude.

Therefore, with the joy that comes from above, and with wisdom of heart, we pause to contemplate, together, the mystery of salvation that the Lord worked for each of us, and for the entire humanity. He did this by making Mary a marvelous instrument in His hands; “He predestined her to be the mediatrix of grace, and model of holiness for his people.”

Through Mary, the divine world enters into the fragile world affected by human condition. “Blessed is she who obeyed.” Mary is the model of full adherence to the plan of God. Yet, every time we say “yes” to the Lord, we too become more like the Immaculate, more like the One who welcomed the will of the Father. Through Mary, our obedience is no longer ruled by fear but by love.

Mary defines herself “servant”; she recognizes her humility, and perceives herself to be the good soil chosen by God through which salvation will blossom. Mary sings her Magnificat, because the Almighty “has done great things” in her. Like Mary, we too should be more humble, more like “servants,” signs of purity of heart, and fire of love in a world cold with hatred and division, in order to manifest God’s love to all. Not an easy journey, but Mary, the “all holy, “ will enlighten our steps.

In prayer, and in trust-filled surrender, let us turn to Mary’s maternal love; let us walk the road, difficult as it may be, that leads to God, and to the encounter with one another – a journey that makes us stronger and more united.

Susie comments....

I just read your novena to Our Lady of Trust this morning for only the 2nd time. I'm not very good at novenas, obviously. Lent is my favorite time in the Liturgical year. I hope to gather with Pro Sanctity members 'sometime' in the not too distant future. Please keep me in prayer as I long to draw closer to Christ and Our Mama Most Holy (as St Gerard called our Mother) this Lent. I desire to grow in holiness and just read Papa Benedict's Lenten Reflection. What a way to start the season, than with this profound and yet so easy to read pre-Lent lesson for us all!PAX~ susie

(This comment was posted for December lst, thought maybe it should be "updated"!)

Hi Susie, and all!

Novenas are like a nine day vacation with the Lord, Mary and the Saints. Every day for nine days we have the opportunity to sit at the kitchen table over a steaming cup of coffee and share personal desires and deep thoughts about things that are important. Daily our heart swells a little more with love for the Beloved, grows in trust and assurance that with God, great things happen! It takes discipline to make the time to sit at the table and enjoy coffee and holy company, but mostly it is a joy and a great opportunity to grow in love and trust. Try it! Once you have a taste for a "reflective novena" like Mary in the upper room (where the first novena happened) you will want to do one EVERY nine days!
Love and prayers, Teresa

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

DAY FIVE: Woman of Contemplation

Mary: Woman of Contemplation
by Kay Parlor, Local Board President, Nebraska

Mary: Woman of Contemplation

As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Lk. 2:19)
His mother stored up all these things in her heart. (Lk. 2:51)

Over the years I’ve been exposed to a variety of books on prayer, workshops, etc. that somehow seem to make contemplation seem so unattainable. It is often conveyed as a lofty level of prayer that is purview of the great mystics but not the likes of a housewife in Nebraska.

I was delighted when I came upon a simple definition of contemplation from the Dominican theologian, Jordan Aumann, who synthesized the work of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross to describe contemplation as “an intuitive, loving knowledge of God”.

When I pray the passages from St. Luke’s gospel that describe Mary as a woman of contemplation, I get a glimpse of how a busy wife and mother can become a contemplative. Mary, a simple, poor woman of her time, did not have hours to spend in temple while in mystical reverie. She never attended workshops to help her determine if she was moving from meditation to contemplation in prayer. She just had great faith. I like the word “treasured” that is in the translation used above; one treasures what one loves. Mary demonstrates to us that having an “intuitive, loving knowledge of God” is actually not complicated at all; it is a simple, gentle awareness of Our Lord.

My heart can be attentive to the presence of God as I sweep the floor, peel potatoes, drop off the dry cleaning, etc. It is that inward gaze to the heart where My Lord dwells within me.

It is interesting that as we view the painting of our patron, Our Lady of Trust, we see that Jesus is pointing to her heart. The founder of Pro Sanctity, Bishop Giaquinta, had an artist paint in the finger of the child Jesus pointing to Mary’s heart. What is it about the heart of Mary that we should understand? Pray the Scripture passages above and gaze upon the image of Our Lady of Trust. Let Mary be your guide to becoming a person of contemplation.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FOURTH DAY: Woman of Faith

Mary - Woman of Faith


Years ago, the beautiful book The Reed of God made a deep impression on me. The English spiritual writer Carryl Houselander wrote of Mary and the emptiness of her life. It was not a hollow emptiness, not barren or void. But it was emptiness prepared to receive something wonderful. It was emptiness like that of a nest, prepared to receive new life, or like a flute, prepared to receive the breath passing through it. This captures so well Mary's life of faith.For much of life, faith fills you. It gives purpose and direction, light in the darkness and something to hold on to when things get rough. But a part of faith is also emptiness. It is putting yourself in the hands of God and being open to whatever God is ready to give you. You cannot know all that the next day, or even the next hour, will bring. The flute does not know what tune the musician will play next. But if it could know anything at all, the flute could be sure that the flautist would make the flute sound as beautiful as possible.Each note of life taken alone may not sound so appealing. But when played together, you can hear the symphony that God is composing. And if you let him finish, you will see the masterpiece he has written with yours.Mary was that Reed of God. She was the one "who believed that the Lord's promises to her would be fulfilled." And with the breath of the Holy Spirit, God piped the most beautiful music. God pressed her close to his lips. And his song filled creation


Monday, January 28, 2008

DAY THREE: Model of Mercy

Poem by the Founder, translated by Franca Salvo with help from Rita Hejkal

The picture is one of the earliest versions of Our Lady of Trust!


O gentle woman
of the journey of life,
O lady of many faces
and all ages,
I offer you a mimosa.

I come close to you
with trepidation,
and ask for your forgiveness:
At times human lust
considers you a thing,
Your beauty is never spoiled.

Even when you have been violated,
You never lose the essence of a tender, delicate
mother, sister,
or spouse.

I come close to you to thank you,
O vibrant note of Divine Love,
ever-living reflection
of God’s tender care.

William Giaquinta
* The mimosa is a delicate, tropical flower, sensitive to touch and light.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

DAY TWO: Model of risk

by Servant of God, Bishop Giaquinta

Risk is the theme of our second day, and Mary is the model of Trust on whom we will meditate. She is the model of trust because she knew how to risk and risk everything out of love for Jesus. And so we turn to Mary and we ask her to whisper that sacred word in our hearts, trust -- repeat it often Mary until we become saints!

Many of us think that when the Blessed Virgin gave her "Fiat, be it done to me" that she already had the clear vision of what of what her life would become. This is not true. Our Lady lived with a certain amount of understanding of salvation, but she also lived by faith. There were many things she did not know. She did know one thing for sure, how to accept with love the risk of faith.

Risk in faith is a participation in the unconditional love of Jesus for the Father and all persons: this is the real motive for which we accept it, rather, choose and love it. Mary said it and accepted it first: " it done to me as you say."

Risk in faith is proof of our love for the Lord. Mary did not know what was going to happen to her but she said yes anyway, this was her act of love for the Lord: for love she faced the greatest of risks, the loss of her integrity before others.

There was no "earthly" security in Mary’s life that would assure her that everything would turn out all right. Mary had to trust and in order to trust she had to draw the strength from deep within her being. She dug deep and responded peacefully and positively to the Lord.

Mary risked everything in order to be obedient to the Lord’s request. She renounced her own will, judgment, vision and experience in order to immerse herself in the reality of faith and the mystery of trust.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

DAY ONE: Woman, centered in God

Let's Get Ready to Begin a New Season!
by Teresa Monaghen

Christmas is just past and we are already moving on to Lent! I am a bit miffed. I have not even had time to open and appreciate all my gifts from Christmas (spiritual and material) let alone get ready for the arduous forty days of Lent! I must remember thata the Feast of our Lady of Trust always comes the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and this Novena is meant ot help us journey with trust into a new and holy season. Lady of Trust help us "ready up" our interior rooms for Lent!

The first thing Mary invites me to do is to ponder the past, that is, hold in my heart the gifts and treasures of the Christmas weeks gone by and pay attention to the gifts given by the Holy Spirit. Invariably there are one or two gifts that have gone unnoticed. I think of the times we have opened gifts at our Center where packages got moved behind the tree or hidden by clouds of Christmas paper floating all over the floor. One year I accidentally threw a few gifts away because I was not paying attention! When I ponder on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I feel that the same phenomena happens. Very often I miss the gift! I miss the inner strength, light and graces that the Spirit through Baptism has given me and wants me to use. I act as a pauper when in reality I am heir to the Kingdom. I am the adopted daughter of the Father and have a share in the great patrimony of my heavenly Father yet I act like an orphan with no place to live and nothing to sustain me.

Dear Mary,
The Holy Spirit hovered over you and poured into you gifts of abundance. Teach us to open our hearts to receive the marvelous light the Lord wishes to shine on us and within us for our world. The light of Christ, shining in us, brings serenity and peace to a dark and troubled place. May we keep our eyes pealed on Him, giver of all good gifts, giver of strength, especially the gift of availability to the needs of others. Give us trust to live a full and holy Lent following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Woman, centered in God, pray for us. Amen.



NOVENA – Pray each day with one of these invocations! Write your own prayer, share your thoughts with another person, offer your special intentions and then recite each day the Prayer to Our Lady of Trust.

DAY ONE: Woman, centered in God
DAY TWO: Model of risk
DAY THREE: Woman of mercy
DAY FOUR: Woman of faith
DAY FIVE: Woman of contemplation
DAY SIX: Woman of wisdom
DAY SEVEN: Woman of understanding
DAY EIGHT: Woman, pregnant with hope
DAY NINE: Model of Trust

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Please support this celebration!!

Mary Hildman, External Apostolic Oblate. She made her first profession of vows May 2007!

Saturday, February 2, 2008 -

Celebration of World Day for
Consecrated Life!

We are so excited, because a dear friend, holy priest and great vocation promoter is coming to town to help us with this day. Fr. Dave Hulshof is from the Springfield/Cape Girardeau Diocese in Missouri. He will be our key-note speaker and Archbishop Curtiss is our main celebrant for the Mass. Please invite, invite, invite! You may come to all our part of the day.

Schedule for the Day
Come to all our part of the day!

1:00 p.m. Sharing Information and Inspiration
for Vocation Promoters
For those who promote vocations for their community and in the Archdiocese.

2:00 p.m. - Gathering and Refreshments
Meet and greet Fr. Hulshof
2:30-4:30 p.m. - Presentation by
Fr. Dave Hulshof
Cultivating Vocations: A Plentiful Harvest
Fr. David is from the Springfield/Cape Girardeau Diocese
Follow up plans by Teresa Monaghen, A.O. and Team



4:30 p.m. - Vespers and Preparation for Mass

5:30 p.m. - Mass with
Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss

Open to everyone. Please support this day!! Come to all our part of it!
Reception to follow sponsored by Serra

Day is hosted by:
St. Leo Catholic Church
1920 N. 102nd St. Omaha, NE 68114
Call the parish and ask for Sr. Ann Marie 402-397-0407
or Fr. Ralph O'Donnell in the Vocation Office - 558-3100


Pope John Paul II
The World Day of Consecrated Life celebrated on the 2nd of February "is intended to help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels and, at the same time, is intended to be a suitable occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord." (John Paul II,6 January 1997)

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI said on 02-02-2006: " is an appropriate occasion to praise the Lord and thank him for the precious gift represented by the consecrated life in its different forms; at the same time it is an incentive to encourage in all the People of God knowledge and esteem for those who are totally consecrated to God."

Celebrate Consecrated Vocations!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Reflection on the Omaha local board Retreat

On Sat., Bernadette Esposito gave a wonderful morning retreat to the members of the Omaha local board. Her theme was fear and how real spiritual fears can debilitate us. How often do we act like Adam and Eve who thought they could hide from God in His own garden?

I often talk to my junior high students about this, I see their adolescent fears on a daily basis. Here's a prayer that I shared with them to help them out, those of you who are fans of Dune may recognize where I got it from:

Blessed Mother Mary,
Fear, fear is the the mind-killer
Help me to face my fears
and let them pass through me.
And when they are gone
may there be nothing
except the Love of Christ,
your Son, My Lord. Amen.

I teach the kids to repeat it like a mantra, inviting Mary, who has now conquered all fear and is always ready to help us, to be that light in the darkness of fear.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pro Sanctity in Sunny California

My Mother, My Confidence!

Hi everyone,

Franca Salvo and I are in sunny California - thought not always sunny! Keep us in prayer. We just finished a wonderful evening with Pro Sanctity Members and friends on what it means to be an "apostle of holiness'. We had a full house and the attentiveness betrayed the great desire this group has to work for the Lord and to extend His Kingdom.
Pray for us!
Teresa Monaghen, Pro Sanctity National Director
Thought for the day ... Pope Benedict XVI
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Follow the star…

(Picture submitted by Pro Sanctity member Peg, from Wichita Kansas.)

By Giuliana Spigone

Duc in altum: let us take to the sea, let us go into the deep, let the Word guide us, and not be afraid to share the fatigue of the catch: the Master, Peter, and Padre Guglielmo are with us.

Let us begin again with Christ, let us go back to Jesus who accompanies us on the road making himself know in the “breaking of the bread.” Let us be vigilant, and attentive. With hearts filled with hope, let us recognize Him, his gestures, his Face, and then let us bring to our brothers and sisters the great news: “We have seen the Lord!” With Christ, let us climb the Mount of the Beatitudes: “blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek, the persecuted…” and experience peace in our hearts. At the center of this journey there is Christ, the perfect image of God and of man.

Let us be aware of our shared discipleship with the Master, and know that to be disciples means to look at Him, to live in Him, and to participate in his life. Here are the three verbs: to look, to live in, and to participate – let us carry their meaning in our hearts. To look at Him: contemplation; to live in Him: transformation into Him; to participate in his life in order to live like Him, to love as He loved, and to find the reason and “high measure “ of living as He did.

Let us entrust to Him our fears, our expectations and difficulties. Let us take shelter in his Heart - in this way we shall not only go into the deep, but will walk the path of life with Him. From the beautiful scene of the sea, of the Duc in altum, we now return to the image of the eagle: we leave the water to return to the shore.

Let us make this passage by recalling a charming eastern legend: to tie the rudder of the plow to a star. The plow, symbol of our labor on earth, will excavate deep trenches, like wounds, which will be filled with seeds of renewed generosity and renewed oblation. The power and light of the star is stronger that the weight of the soil. The star is Christ.

To Him, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to our “father/founder” we entrust our vocation and our walk of holiness.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Pro Sanctity in Wichita, Kansas!

Please pray for the Pro Sanctity Group in Wichita!
On Saturday, January 5th the members will spend a day in prayer to prepare themselves to be apostles of holiness, carriers of the Lord's light to others! It was great desire of our Founder, Bishop Giaquinta, that Members spend time in prayer and then share the fruits of their prayer with others. Below is the introduction that Teresa Pauls, Local Board President in Wichita will share with her members on Saturday.
Authentic prayer both transcends and unfolds all human realities: it becomes confidence, humility, deep faith, and poverty acting on behalf of our brothers and sisters. (Servant of God, Bishop William Giaquinta)

This is the season of light when the Word incarnate came down from heaven and became man to bring faith, hope, and love into the world and we have come together in Christ and His Mother Mary to be that light into the world.

The challenge for each human being is how to be Christ light into the world that seems to be drifting deeper and deeper into darkness.

It is so easy in today’s world to succumb to the pressures of worldly things and events, which can have detrimental affects on the soul.

In order to be Christ’s light in the world, we must first discover Him from within. This must first begin with prayer. The key to successful prayer is that we cannot do it alone. Going it alone places our egos above God and gives the indication that we can handle it ourselves. This usually has disastrous results with someone making themselves and those around them truly miserable.

Teresa Pauls, Wichita, Kansas