Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

A Christmas Reflection by Jane Leung, SND Postulant

This past Tuesday I joined Sisters Valerie Marie and Shawn Marie at South Central LAMP (Los Angeles Area Ministry Project), to volunteer for the Christmas party event for the children who are enrolled in the school’s enrichment programs. I had never volunteered there before, but the Sisters have a longstanding relationship with LAMP and currently Sister Cristina Marie sits on their board. It was raining while driving to Los Angeles but we were all in good spirits, looking forward to helping out and meeting the children and their parents. We also met up with our friends Ruby and her children Corina and Jacob. Ruby and Corina had volunteered for the Stretch Your Heart program this past July with Sister Val. We also brought along with us Monika, a young woman who was staying with us at Villa Regina for a Come and See experience.

Sister Cristina Marie organized the activity rooms so well. We set up various games for the children as well as the craft tables. Sister Shawn showed some of the volunteers how to make snowflakes and we hung them up before the children arrived. Sister Val and I helped to set up the game room. We weren’t sure how the heavy rains would affect the turnout for the party but we need not have feared. The rooms were soon filled with children and their parents who came to wait their turn to see Santa. We had so much fun playing games, and I must say that it’s been a long time since I played with children! One little girl took to me right away. Her name is Ruby, and she wore a pink bow in her hair. After she saw Santa, she came and showed me the brightly-wrapped package that she held in her hands, her eyes sparkling with joy and her smile so wide. I cannot tell you how much my heart felt for these children and their parents. It reminded me that Christmas is for children and for those who are children at heart.

The spirit of giving and of love was felt by all, from the Los Angeles SWAT team members who helped to collect the donated gifts for the children, to the generosity of the volunteers and staff. Wonder is something that we adults sometimes forget to have during the Christmas season when we are distracted by too much to do. The wonder that the little girl Ruby had that day will stay with me forever. I can imagine how Mary must have felt holding baby Jesus on the night he was born. I wish everyone a glorious and wonder-filled Christmas!



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Last week I attended an informal memorial for a friend who died of cancer at the age of fifty four, leaving his mother, siblings, wife, co-workers and many friends. Those who came to the celebration of Kent’s life brought casseroles, drinks, flowers, and fond memories of Kent. We could enjoy a viewing of photos taken from the time of his wedding to the recent shots showingthe unusual fact that when the chemo affected his hair it took just the dark strands. His head and beard sported white hair only.

We rejoiced in the shared happenings and the many kindnesses Kent had shown us, the pictures of him working with a neighbor to install a fish pond, playing with his dogs, enjoying a vacation surrounded by mountains and the beauties of nature. We love Kent and keep him alive in our memories.

God loves Kent and keeps him with Him in heaven.

Teaching a high school religion class, I learned a special lesson from my students. I had purchased modeling clay so the girls could make original “animal”. The girls worked quietly atcreating a new animal God had not imagined. They then introduced their creatures, taking pride in their work. It was almost time for the bell to ring to end the class, so I suggested the clay could be rolled up again and… but a furor erupted: “NO! We love these!” And suddenly I was the learner as my class taught me that God loves His creatures and wants to keep each one of us. Each student loved the product of her creativity, not depending on another person to judge the creature as beautiful or nicely fashioned.

God loves us because He made us.

How could we be afraid of death when it means stepping into the arms of the God who made us? He loves us more than our friends do. When we come to be judged, we will just be watching what some call “the big movie show in the sky” and as we view that replay of our lives. We will sit next to God who will rejoice and even laugh with us.


Blessings to you on the Feast of All Souls,

Sister Mary Sheila

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“To become saints means to fulfill completely what we already are, raised to the dignity of God’s adopted children in Christ Jesus… The saints bring to light in creative fashion quite new human potentialities… The saints are themselves the living spaces into which one can turn… There is no isolation in heaven. It is the open society of the saints and, consequently, also the fulfillment of all human togetherness… One might say that the saints are, so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected. Their light, coming from God, enables us to know better the interior richness of God’s great light… Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible.”

Pope Benedict XVI

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to all you ghosts and goblins out there!

We here at Providence house look forward every year to our neighborhood Halloween party, where we can catch up on the happenings in our neighbors lives, and watch the parade of princesses, pirates and ghosts go by from the porch. We take turns visiting with the grownups, sharing snacks and cider, and handing out candy at the convent. What a treat it is to celebrate All Hallows Eve amid the company of neighbors, sisters and little ones, who each year delight us with their imaginative costumes!

Have a safe, wonderful Halloween!

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photo by Zoe Pollock

I observed a wonderful encounter this morning while I was working in my office. My office is across the hall from the copier so I often hear the conversations that take place in the copy room. One of the women who is a contract accountant for our community said to one of our sisters, “I was worried about you on Tuesday, because I noticed you did not seem to be feeling very well.”

It really touched me that she took the time to express her genuine concern for this Sister.The Sister deeply appreciated her concern and thoughtfulness. This was a reminder to me to remember to ask myself the question each day, how am I being in the midst of my doing? It is so easy to get focused on the tasks we are performing that we are not aware of those around us.

Jesus is the perfect example of being present to those around him. He even acknowledged the woman who merely touched him in a crowd. Jesus modeled being a “human being”, not just a “human doing”.


Sister Val

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“Seek Him in all souls, good or bad, wise and foolish, attractive and unattractive; in the depths of each there is God”

Hazrat Inayat Khan

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VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2010 (VIS) – Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for September is: “That in less developed parts of the world the proclamation of the Word of God may renew people’s hearts, encouraging them to work actively toward authentic social progress”.

His mission intention is: “That by opening our hearts to love we may put an end to the numerous wars and conflicts which continue to bloody our world”.

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Deep within us all there is an inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center a speaking Voice to which we may continually return.
Thomas Kelly

Last evening 29 of my Sisters here in Thousand Oaks began a retreat which will last for eight days. Quiet pervades the house as they devote themselves to prayer and reflection, even taking their meals in silence. It is a time when we religious women remember the old saying, “Why hast thou come hither?” In the business of life we, too, can forget the “one thing necessary.” This graced period is a wonderful time for us to wake up and focus on what has been blurred by the pace of life.

Having made my retreat earlier in the year, I am observer, sensing the presence of God overflowing in our convent as I wait for my broken limbs to heal. The divine presence is alway samong us, in us, around us. Unfortunately, most of us walk around with “spiritual amnesia.” The great work of the sabbath, of a retreat, is to REMEMBER.

We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. He walks everywhere incognito. Ane the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.
C.S. Lewis

Can you find time for a “mini retreat” today? If possible, try to schedule even fifteen minutes is your bust schedule for a pause that remembers.

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Tomorrow, Wednesday June 16th, is the last of our Upper Room series with Sr. Kathleen Burns SND at St. Cornelius Church in Long Beach. This last class is on the Beatitudes and it’s going to be a good one (well, they’ve all been good IMHO), so if you can make it, please join us!

St. Cornelius Catholic Church / Large Hall

5500 Wardlow Ave. Long Beach, CA 90808

7:30 pm

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Theology on Tap (TOT) for Young Adults 18-39: Sister Kathleen and Sister Val are promoting and participating in TOT this summer at St. Cornelius in Long Beach and Dominic Savio in Bellflower.  TOT is a great young adult speaker series.  Sr. Kathleen will be the guest speaker for the opening series on July 3rd.  Please share this information at your parishes and with young adults you are in contact with.  To access the various TOT offerings available for young adults this summer to go the following website: http://www.archdiocese.la/mya

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