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Sorry for the strange "quote only" post above. For whatever reason, the Quote function wouldn't let me add my own words below the quote.  Oh well.

 

Your comments on all the times you are saying "This is the last time I will.........", made me think of "In this House of Brede" by Rumer Godden. (I love this book so much that my copy fell apart and I had to buy a new one.)

 

In the book, Sister (later Dame) Phillipa goes up to the Monastery tower in her first weeks of postulancy and says with sadness, "I shall never see the sea again."  Then, as time goes by, she continues to say "I shall never see the sea again," but she says it with contentment, because of how happy she is at Brede.

 

Then, at the end of the book, God shows his love of the ironic. The last time we hear of Phillipa she is flying over the sea. For those who know the story, Dame Phillipa leaves Brede (to her regret)--but not religious life or the Benedictines--because she is moving to Japan with a number of her Sisters to become the Prioress of a new Benedictine Community in Japan that Brede has sponsored.  

 

You WILL see your parents again and God undoubtedly has a number of wonderful surprises in store for you.

 

 

Thank you Ignatius! Ah, I love Brede as well..though I cannot say the book has wear and tear from my constant reading (it is so long!) I completely forgot about the part you quoted, but then after reading what you wrote I remembered reading it and remembering how poignant it was reading Phillipa's (sp?) thoughts, especially about the sea as you mentioned. Wonderful!

 

Emma,

 

Because you asked for them, I'll give you my own thoughts/memories very quickly about the days before entering.   I was in my mid-20's, had been working and living on my own when I was finishing those last days.  I had the fun (not!) of leaving work, closing and apartment, saying good bye to friends and family AND entering the convent all at the same time.  I don't recommend that... really I don't! 

 

As far as the leaving... the lasts are tough.   Leaving the stuff and leaving the people. 

 

I had 'sold' the contents of my apartment to friends a few months earlier; most of them got incredible deals my stuff... but the deal was they put stickers on what was 'theirs' and they had to bring their own boxes and harvest their own stuff three weeks before I entered.   (They knew I needd the $$$ for the last of my entrance expenses... so people were OK with paying... and with me using 'their' stuff until I entered.)  

 

(I remember one guy bought the entire contents of my kitchen cabinets for $50.   He selected all the cans, boxes, spices and kitchen equipment so his sister could set up her kitchen in her new apartment.  He thought he'd bought her a deal (he had--saved her hundreds of dollars!) but I was thrilled --- he were paying ME to pack up the junk in my kitchen.  He said to me later on it was the worst deal he had ever made!  We both laughed hysterically.... rotfl rotfl )  

 

However...  that last day when all the stuff was being packed and carried out.. .was a pretty scary moment.  GULP!   What am I doing, was all I could think....   That left me with an apartment to clean and a cat.... and my stuff for the convent.   My landlord finally took my dear cat when I couldn't find anyone else... and that last quiet night without him was very tough.  Lots of moments for second thoughts in an empty, reverberating apartment....

 

I was entering on the 20th, and had to be out of my apartment by the 1st....So after the big clean-up (UGG!) I found myself on the sidewalk in front of the now clean and empty apartment--surrounded by a few boxes & suitcases and a guitar--waiting for my dad to pick me up.  Struck me forcibly that I felt like Maria in the Sound of Music in reverse.... and I hummed "I Have Convidence in Me!' while I waited for him.. but really... it was whistling in the dark 'cause I sure didn't feel so confident right then.   It felt right, but I was PRETTY scared..... OK, it felt MAD!!!!

 

The last few days before entering where a whirlwind of goodbyes.  Those are tough and emotional.   Be sure to give yourself enough time to 'process' the feelings as counselors put it.... time to think and cry and laugh between the visits and phone calls.   But it is normal to feel the pushed in two directions feeling.... it is the same as pre-wedding jitters, and for good reasons!!!!

 

My mom and I made the choice to take the last few days to go alone to a cabin in the mountains that belonged to one of my uncles. BEST decision I ever made. It let us get away to just be alone at a quiet place where we could just relax. Was such a wonderful investment... in my own sanity. So if you can block a little space to just escape, just do it.   One final suggestion -- do NOT start a murder mystery novel that you will NOT be able to get finished before you enter.  Not knowing the ending will drive you nuts.   ;)

 

As far as the leaving the convent fears... don't worry about them.  More likely than not, you won't have to worry about it anyway...   If it should happen,  just as you are responding to a 'call' now -- you'll be responding to a 'call' if God asks you to move on.  It isn't a giving up... it is a response to the voice of the Beloved.  

 

I don't have my copy of The Perfect Joy of St. Francis right now -- someone else is reading it... but I found the story of Francis and his dream about the poor girl (the one that made him go off to war as a soldier) very poignant... and I totally identified with the second half of his dream -- when she comes back and says to him, you misunderstood the dream... go back.   This is how the call to leave the convent was framed to me -- God made it clear to me that it was not that I was wrong or bad, but that He had another plan for me.... I had misunderstood the dream, in all good faith.   Being there was part of the Plan He had... I would not be doing what I am doing now nor have been able to help/be helped by the people in my life if I had not given myself to Him and radically followed His call... both too and from.   God recycles EVERYTHING, so no time, no experience, no relationship is lost.  

 

So don't fear -- it is the Lord!   RUN to him!!!!

 

Hope this wasn't too long! 

 

 

Wow. I just cannot thank you enough for sharing this, AnneLine. Is it crazy that on VS, where most everyone has A) been in religious life, or B) hopes to enter religious/consecrated life, there are times when you can feel like you are the only person who feels the way you are feeling? I tell you, I looked in the mirror after a good long cry last night* and thought: "No one else has ever felt this way before entering the Monastery, I am sure of it!" It is such a reassurance to realize that this is normal. Thank you for your story! I love the last paragraph especially.. One of the first things I will have on my mind when I am in the cloister is finding out whether they have The Perfect Joy of St. Francis in the library!

 

*I was crying because I was writing letters for all my loved ones who will be present at my entrance. A very generous VSer gave me the idea to write letters for my family to read after I enter, and I am so grateful! So far I plan to give out letters at the entrance, one for my mom when she gets home from dropping me off, a letter for Lent when there is no correspondence, Easter, a letter for my mom to read on my birthday in May, and a letter for Thanksgiving, my mom's birthday, and Christmas (which all occur in the Franciscan Advent, when there is no correspondence). I really recommend for everyone who enters to write these letters. It will mean the world to your parents and loved ones, and much like the audiobook I recorded for them, be my "voice" when they feel low and are missing it. (If I were them, I would not miss my annoying Texan accent! :P)

 

Of course, it could be that I will be back home for these holidays, but that is the irony of entering religious life.. You have to prepare as if you are leaving forever, even though you don't know for certain. But it is better to write all these letters as if I won't come back then to not write them because of the chance that I will.

 

 

I spoke with Mother Angela today after calling the Monastery for a prayer request (a lot of tragedy in my extended family lately). It was so good to hear from her. Not much longer until I am there!  :bounce:

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+ Praised be Jesus Christ! + In about* 3 and a half months I will be entering the Roswell Poor Clares! I beg your prayers in these next months. I will be spending less time on VS for the obvious

[quote name='emmaberry101' timestamp='1351907312' post='2503271'] [color=#222222][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)]I will not lie, I am aching to be back at the Monastery. Literally aching. I

I entered on this day, 22 years ago! I love the Epiphany! I flew here from MA because my parents didn't want to come (they thought it was a phase, even though I had been a novice for 2 years in an act

So AnneLine.. I am curious as to the journey you encountered coming back into the world without any STUFF to start your new life on the outside with. That is something I am wrestling with in my thoughts. I'd give my residence and STUFF over to my son ( even though I rent..I just pass the lease over to him) yet... While knowing I should be taking only one step at a time..this "what if" thought wont stop bugging me. Sorry.. I didn't mean to hijack this thread. Emma.. You have your family and friends no matter what. Not everyone does. Middle aged women with little or no family reentering the outside world without STUFF needed to reset up a household for themselves, plus being out of the work force for any length of time is a big consideration. So either way...I consider you are indeed blessed,

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So AnneLine.. I am curious as to the journey you encountered coming back into the world without any STUFF to start your new life on the outside with. That is something I am wrestling with in my thoughts. I'd give my residence and STUFF over to my son ( even though I rent..I just pass the lease over to him) yet... While knowing I should be taking only one step at a time..this "what if" thought wont stop bugging me. Sorry.. I didn't mean to hijack this thread. Emma.. You have your family and friends no matter what. Not everyone does. Middle aged women with little or no family reentering the outside world without STUFF needed to reset up a household for themselves, plus being out of the work force for any length of time is a big consideration. So either way...I consider you are indeed blessed,

I completely agree, Nikita! I am very lucky to have a room in my parents' house and to have them be so generous with letting me keep everything there until final vows. It is much harder to "up and leave" when you have a place of your own and an established life. AnneLine's story is very inspiring, especially after she came back with nothing. I know she has shared this on other parts of VS, but I cannot remember where they are or I would link them.. Hopefully she will share again!

 

Emma, 

 

Mother Angela....is she the "contact person: Sister Angela" who used to live in Brenham, Texas? (See: http://www.franciscanpoorclares.org/contact.html)

 

Did they move to Roswell...or is Sister Angela in Brenham a different person?

 

I don't know if the supposed convent in Brenham is even still open. 

No, she is the Abbess of the Roswell PCCs. She has been there for her whole religious life, so she is definitely not from the Brenham PCCs!

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As farasI know, Sr Angela is still at the Brenham Poor Clares

http://franciscanpoorclares.org/index.html

 

Contact Us

Monastery of St. Clare
P.O. Box 2284
Brenham Texas 77834
USA

phone: 979-836-2444
contact person: Sister Angela
E-mail us
 
 
And Emma, what you are experiencing is perfectly normal. By now, my goodbyes are a lot less emotional but my sister and I still had some teary moments this time. I also second the idea of finishing off any books etc. I managed to read ALL of the books of a couple of my favorites authors before I left, and that made me feel good. There wasn't a movie I wanted to see or I would have done that too.
And do spend time with those you love before you enter. You will see them again if they visit you but it will never be quite the same again. You will havemany blessings of course but there will still be a little nostalgia for the way things were for awhile.
And keep posting- I am sure it helps so many just to share here.
 
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As farasI know, Sr Angela is still at the Brenham Poor Clares

http://franciscanpoorclares.org/index.html

 

Contact Us

 

Thank you, nunsense, for clearing that up. I should have clarified in my last post that I meant Mother Angela! :P Sister Angela, with the Brenham Poor Clares, is still there, I am sure. I don't know these Poor Clares at all.. It is great that they are in Texas, I had no idea!

 

Thank you for the advice as well. I could not get it to quote (I'm still so incompetent when it comes to using VS), but I appreciate it!

 

Thank you for keeping us up to date on your entrance, it was really nice to be able to read what you were thinking and feeling while I am going though my own pre-entrance jitters. On your advice, I may block off some time to go read Pride and Prejudice one last time.. :like:

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Fioretti

 

CHAPTER XVI


How St. Francis received the counsel of St. Clare, and of the holy Friar Sylvester, that he ought by preaching to convert much folk; and how he founded the Third Order and preached to the birds and made the swallows keep silence.

 

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SHORTLY after his conversion, the humble servant of Christ, St. Francis, having already gathered many companions and received them into the Order, stood in great anxiety and in great doubt as to that which he ought to do; whether to devote himself wholly to prayer or sometimes also to preaching; and touching that matter he desired greatly to know the will of God; and because the holy humility which was in him suffered him not to trust to himself nor to his own prayers, he bethought him to inquire of the Divine will through the prayers of others; wherefore he called Friar Masseo and said: "Go thou to Sister Clare and tell her in my name that, together with certain of the most spiritual of her companions, she should devoutly pray God that He may vouchsafe to show me whether it be better that I give myself to preaching or to prayer alone. And thereafter go to Friar Sylvester and tell him to do the like."

 

Now, in the world, this had been that Messer Sylvester who had seen a cross of gold proceeding out of the mouth of St. Francis, the which was high even unto heaven and wide even unto the ends of the earth; and this Friar Sylvester was of so great devotion and of so great sanctity that by prayer he prevailed with God and all that he asked was granted him, and ofttimes he talked with God; and therefore St. Francis had great devotion toward him. Friar Masseo departed and, according to the bidding of St. Francis, did his embassage first to St. Clare and thereafter to Friar Sylvester; who, as soon as he had received it, forthwith gat himself to prayer, and while he was yet praying he obtained the Divine answer, and turned him to Friar Masseo and said: "Thus doth God bid thee say to Friar Francis; that God hath not called him to this estate for himself alone, but that he may have much fruit of souls, and that many through him may be saved". And when he had heard this, Friar Masseo returned to St. Clare, to know what answer she had received from God; and she replied that she and the other companions had had the self same answer from God which Friar Sylvester had had.

 

Therewith Friar Masseo returned to St. Francis; and St. Francis welcomed him with very great charity, washing his feet and setting food before him. And when he had eaten, St. Francis called Masseo into the wood; and there he kneeled down before him, and drew back his cowl, and making a cross of his arms, asked him: "What doth my Lord Jesus Christ bid me do?" Friar Masseo made answer: "To Friar Sylvester as to Sister Clare and to her companion, Christ hath made answer and revealed that His will is that thou go through the world to preach, because He hath not chosen thee for thyself alone but also for the salvation of others".

 

Then St. Francis, when he had had this answer and knew thereby the will of Jesus Christ, rose up with exceeding great fervour and said: "Let us go in the name of God"; and he took as his companions Friar Masseo and Friar Agnolo, holy men. And going with impetuosity of spirit, taking thought neither of way nor path, they came to a walled place which is called Savurniano; and St. Francis began to preach; but first he bade the swallows which were twittering to keep silence until such time as he should finish preaching; and the swallows obeyed him; and there he preached with so great fervour that for devotion all the men and women of that town were minded to follow him and to abandon the town; but St. Francis suffered them not, saying: "Be not over hasty to depart; and I will ordain that which it behoves you to do for the salvation of your souls"; and then he bethought him to institute the Third Order for the universal salvation of all men: and so, leaving them greatly comforted and with minds turned to repentance, he gat him thence and came betwixt Cannaio and Bevagno.

 

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And passing on, full of fervour, he lifted up his eyes and saw certain trees hard by the road, whereupon was an almost infinite number of birds; whereat St. Francis marvelled, and said to his companions: "Ye shall await me here on the road, and I will go and preach to the birds my sisters"; and he went into the field and began to preach to the birds which were upon the ground; and anon those which were in the trees came to him, and all of them stood still together until St. Francis finished preaching; and even then they departed not until he gave them his blessing; and according to that which Friar Masseo afterward related to Friar James of Massa, when St. Francis went about among them touching them with his mantle, none of them moved therefor.

 

Now the preaching of St. Francis was on this wise: "My sisters the birds, much are ye beholden unto God your creator, and alway and in every place ought ye to praise Him, because He hath given you liberty to fly wheresoever ye will, and hath clothed you on with twofold and threefold raiment. Moreover, He preserved your seed in the ark of Noah that your race might not be destroyed. Again, ye are beholden unto Him for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you; furthermore, ye sow not neither do ye reap; yet God feedeth you and giveth you rivers and fountains wherefrom to drink; He giveth you mountains and valleys for your refuge, and high trees wherein to build your nests; and, in that ye know not how to sew nor spin, God clotheth you and your little ones; wherefore doth your Creator love you seeing that He giveth you so many benefits. Guard yourselves, therefore, my sisters the birds, from the sin of ingratitude and be ye ever mindful to give praise to God."

 

And, as St. Francis spake these words unto them, all those birds began to open their beaks, and to stretch out their necks, and to open their wings, and reverently to bow their heads even unto the ground, and to show by their motions and by their songs that the holy father gave them very great delight: and St. Francis rejoiced with them and was glad and marvelled much at so great a multitude of birds, and at the most beautiful diversity of them, and at their attention and fearlessness; for which cause he devoutly praised the Creator in them.

 

Finally, when he had made an end of preaching, St. Francis made over them the sign of the Cross and gave them leave to depart; whereupon all those birds rose into the air with wondrous songs; and thereafter, according to the form of the Cross which St. Francis had made over them, they divided themselves into four bands; and one band flew towards the East, and one towards the West, and one towards the South and the fourth towards the North, and each company went singing marvellous songs; signifying thereby that, even as St. Francis, the Standard-bearer of the Cross, had preached to them, and made over them the sign of the Cross, according whereunto they separated themselves toward the four quarters of the world, so the preaching of the Cross of Christ, renewed by St. Francis, was about to be carried through all the world by him and by his friars; the which friars, like unto the birds, possess nothing of their own in this world but commit their lives wholly to the providence of God.

 

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Late-I know, but I thought I would post this from the Roswell Poor Clares:

 

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God reward you Emmaberry for the poems and readings that you've been posting here! The pictures are beautiful too. I also like keeping up with how everything is and what you've been doing as you get so close now to entering. I'm praying for you, and please say a little prayer for me too. :)

 

 

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God reward you Emmaberry for the poems and readings that you've been posting here! The pictures are beautiful too. I also like keeping up with how everything is and what you've been doing as you get so close now to entering. I'm praying for you, and please say a little prayer for me too. :)

 

VeniJesu: Thank you so much, I really need the pham's prayers (and pray for nunsense too, as I am sure you are!) Approaching entrance (edit: and I am sure the act of actually entering) is much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. Your encouragement means a lot.  :flowers:

 

 

Christmas In the Cloister, continued:

 

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New Postulant (Mary) for the Barhamsville Poor Clares:

 

 

"The family embracing her before she enters:"

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"A view from the extern chapel into the cloister choir as we present Mary to the Lord:"

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"Mary at the entrance to the enclosure asking to enter:"

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Poem of the Day

 

This is a special day, as far as the little posting of these poems go, because today marks the day when all of Mother Francis' specifically Franciscan poems will begin to be posted. There are only a few of these poems, so I know this means entrance is getting close!

 

No Myth for Clare

 

Because you are light,

I looked for a haze of dawn

Pearling my sorrows over,

Kept careful vigil

For warmth and wonder

To scatter persistent night.

 

Only you came,

No spatter of dawn on sky,

But pitiless light

To show the rose's thorns,

Beacon to point

The bramble on the way.

 

Break on my heart, then,

Your fantastic light!

Clean with your flame the dinginess unfit

For light to look on.

 

What droll masquerade

Has made you, woman of light, a tender myth

On tapestry pale-lovely and remote?

No! I will shout your true identity.

Unmask you to the world, sweet lady of light,

Of light that rescues soul from shadow's comfort,

Of light plunged, swordwise, deep into the heart.

 

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ChristinaTherese

Christmas in the Cloister is beautiful!

 

I have to think how hard some of entering must be. I find myself, now, with a while before I even may enter, sometimes hugging my mother extra tight or putting a hand on my grandmother's shoulder and trying to almost breath love into her or something, just thinking of how hard it will be for them if/when I do enter. I'll try to remember to pray for you extra these last eleven days.

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Those pictures of Mary's entrance are breathtaking. I'm on the verge of tears, so verklempt!!

 

I do hope that pictures of you will be posted on here at your entrance, Emma! We would love to see them if possible!

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Those pictures of Mary's entrance are breathtaking. I'm on the verge of tears, so verklempt!!
 
I do hope that pictures of you will be posted on here at your entrance, Emma! We would love to see them if possible!

Verklempt? :idontknow: You learn a new word every day I guess! :P Yes, the pictures are wonderful! This Monastery has so many vocations-so encouraging in this Year of Faith among so much tragedy in our society..
 
I cannot say whether pictures will be posted here. The Barhamsville Poor Clares are more online than the Roswell nuns, so I don't think a picture taken with any nuns in it will be allowed to be posted online. If the nuns give us the OK though, I will put my parents right on it!
 

Christmas in the Cloister is beautiful!
 
I have to think how hard some of entering must be. I find myself, now, with a while before I even may enter, sometimes hugging my mother extra tight or putting a hand on my grandmother's shoulder and trying to almost breath love into her or something, just thinking of how hard it will be for them if/when I do enter. I'll try to remember to pray for you extra these last eleven days.

:like: Yes, Christina Therese, love them while you can still give them your affection, if you are called to the cloister at least.


 

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The Fioretti

 

Chapter XXV

 

How St. Francis miraculously healed one who was a leper both in soul and body; and that which the soul said unto him as it went into heaven
 
THE true disciple of Christ, Messer St. Francis, while he lived in this miserable life, sought with all his strength to follow Christ, the perfect Master; whence it ofttimes befel, through Divine operation, that, in the selfsame hour that he healed men's bodies, their souls were healed by God, even as we read of Christ. And, inasmuch as he not only himself willingly served lepers, but, furthermore, had commanded that the friars of his Order, wheresoever they went or sojourned throughout the world, should serve lepers for the love of Christ, who for our sake willed to be accounted leprous; it came to pass upon a time, that, in a certain Place, near to that wherein St. Francis then dwelt, the friars served the lepers and the sick in a hospital; wherein was a leper so impatient and so intolerable and so forward, that every one believed most certainly that he was possessed of the devil, and so in truth he was; for not only did he revile and shamefully belabour whomsoever served him, but (what is far worse) he blasphemously railed upon Christ the blessed and His most holy Mother the Virgin Mary, so that on nowise could any one be found who was able or willing to serve him.

 

And albeit the friars strove to endure patiently the insults and injuries to themselves, that they might increase the merit of patience; nevertheless, because their consciences were unable to bear those which were uttered against Christ and His Mother, they resolved to abandon the said leper altogether; but they were unwilling to do so until they had duly given notice to St. Francis, who was then dwelling in a Place near at hand. And when they had told him thereof, St. Francis betook himself to this perverse leper, and coming unto him saluted him, saying: "God give thee peace, my dearest brother". The leper made answer: "What peace can I have from God, who hath taken from me peace and every good thing, and hath made me all rotten and stinking?" And St. Francis said: "Son, have patience; for the infirmities of our bodies are given us of God, in this world, for the salvation of our souls, because they are of great merit when they are borne with patience". 

 

The sick man answered: "And how can I bear patiently the continual pain which torments me day and night? And not only am I afflicted by my sickness, but yet worse by the friars whom thou gayest me that they might serve me, for they do not serve me as they ought." Then St. Francis, knowing by revelation that this leper was possessed by an evil spirit, departed and betook himself to prayer and devoutly besought God for him. And when he had done praying he returned and spake thus: "Son, I would serve thee myself, since thou art not satisfied with the others". "I am content," said the sick man, "but what canst thou do for me more than the others?"

 

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Said St. Francis: "That which thou desirest I will do". Said the leper: "I desire that thou wash me all over because I stink so greatly that I cannot endure my own self". Then St. Francis forthwith caused water to be heated with many sweet-smelling herbs; thereafter he undressed him and began to wash him with his own hands, while another friar poured on the water; and by Divine miracle, where St. Francis touched him with his holy hands, the leprosy departed and the flesh remained perfectly sound. And even as the flesh began to heal, so the soul began to heal also; wherefore the leper, seeing that he was beginning to be made whole, began to feel great remorse and repentance for his sins, and to weep very bitterly; so that, while the body was cleansed outwardly of the leprosy by washing of water, so the soul was cleansed inwardly of sin by amendment and by tears. 

 

And when he was completely cured, both in body and in soul, he humbly confessed his fault and said, weeping aloud: "Woe is me, for I am worthy of hell for the injuries and revilings which I have done and spoken against the friars, and for my impatience against God and the blasphemies which I have uttered"; wherefore, for fifteen days he continued to weep bitterly for his sins, beseeching mercy of God, and confessing himself wholly to a priest. And St. Francis beholding so clear a miracle, which God had wrought by his hands, gave thanks to God and gat him thence, going to countries very far away; because by reason of humility he desired to flee every glory, and in all his works sought only the honour and glory of God and not his own.

 

Afterward, as it pleased God, the said leper, healed in body and soul, after his fifteen days of penance, fell sick of another sickness, and fortified with the sacraments of the Church, died a holy death; and, as his soul went into paradise, it appeared in the air to St. Francis, who was praying in a wood, and said unto him: "Knowest thou me?" "Who art thou?" said St. Francis.

 

"I am that leper whom Christ the blessed healed through thy merits, and today I go to eternal life; wherefore I give thanks to God and to thee. Blessed be thy soul and thy body, and blessed thy holy words and works; because through thee many souls shall be saved in the world; and know that there is no day in the world, whereon the holy angels and the other saints thank not God for the holy fruits which thou and thy Order bring forth in divers parts of the world; and therefore do thou take comfort and thank God, abiding alway in His benediction." 

And when he had said these words he went into heaven; and St. Francis remained much consoled.

 

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I love reading these fioretti here everyday, Emma, but what I would really love is for you to read them out loud, in that weird old-fashioned English in your Texan accent. :) <-- need a smiley with a cowgirl hat

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Poem of the Day

 

 

Song for A Frustrate Anchoress-

St. Colette of Corbie

 

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(St. Colette, a Poor Clare of the 15th century,

was called from her anchorhold of prayer to

restore the Primitive Rule of St. Clare where

it had lapsed into mediocrity or collapsed into ruin.)

 

Where is there anathema, I wonder,

Worthy for such a tragedy as made

The Lady Poverty dully shear her gleaming

Hair, and hush her singing? Who has lent

The dancing bride of Francis heavy feet?

 

If Clare in her beatitude is shaken,

Tasting the salt of mortal tears again,

Where shall we find a scourge to fit the makers

Of ruin? See the little nests all broken,

Swaying among the dark, foreboding trees.

And Poverty walks lonely with her lantern

Seeking a lover, weeping all in vain.

 

But while we talk in curses, search for scourges,

The gentle Clare is bargaining on bliss-

All the peace of Heaven sweetly troubled

With her insistence! Not so easily

Will Clare who broke the rocky walls of Pontiffs

Suffer erosion to find her beautiful dream!

 

So, sigh, my little anchoress, in your stronghold

Of quiet . . . it is frail, if Clare is strong!

Nor tears nor cries shall move her for your pity

Till God be bribed with her seraphic love

To seal your ears, Colette, to steal your seeing.

 

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Meek Clare and fragile Francis make demands

On God  with love that shakes the floors of Heaven.

With love that humbles stars, deflates the clouds,

And moves the Everlasting Arms to wrench you

Out of your lovely night, Colette, to day.

 

Yours be the holy curse of Clare and Francis:

Threat of the cruel road and talk and strife,

Yours be the always-going out of haven,

Yours be the terrible martyr of reclaim.

 

But if you buy back our dark in the harsh daylight,

Ransom our silence with your persistent pleas,

if you give back to Poverty her singing,

Rebuild the broken nests to the first pure folly.

 

After you drift to dust, exonerating

Your solitude at last, poor anchoress,

Gone long-road wandering, we shall call you, Mother,

Forever. And Clare will claim you like a crown.

 

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Mad props to Chiquitunga for the booklet Shall I Be A Nun? by the great Father Daniel A. Lord, available here (you can also click on any of the beginning pages pictured below). Following it is a great look into the life of a Poor Clare by a Sister of the Rockford Poor Clares:

 

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I love reading these fioretti here everyday, Emma, but what I would really love is for you to read them out loud, in that weird old-fashioned English in your Texan accent. :) <-- need a smiley with a cowgirl hat

 

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You better watch it-you are giving me IDEAS!

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Edited by emmaberry101
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Well, here it is, my last Friday night to go out and party hard. :P
Next Friday night will be spent packing and making last minute preparations, so this is it.
Wait-what am I doing here? Off to paint the town red! 

 

 

Poem of the Day

 

Memorandum For Our Father Francis: April 16

 

"Come and help me in the building of this Monastery of Saint 

Damien; for, in time to come, there will dwell therein ladies, by

whose marvelous and holy living the Lord will be glorified thr-

oughout His Holy Church." (Words of Saint Francis as told in the 

Testament of Saint Clare).

 

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Because a curious dream ruined your heart

And your ambition melted into songs,

We shall all take up candles

Today, and love like clouds.

 

The day Christ gashed your hands and feet and side,

We stirred in deep folds of eternity;

And down some secret avenue of Being,

Our uncreated voices called you: Father!

 

We rouse the night with antiphons, and blame

Our sleep with psalmody. Because you wept

Your own eyes pure as blindness, we shall keep

An everlasting vigil of your dreams,

 

Intruding on your glory for a witness

How, when you dragged protesting stones one season,

Talking of ladies and of holy living,

Our cloister sprang up on the floor of Heaven.

 

What unremembered bird, I wonder, listened

Down seven centuries the day your vows

Robbed Lucifer's throne of loneliness, and heard us

Singing, by rumor, here among these trees.

 

 

Lovely statue resting on the road to San Damiano in Assisi (St Francis meditating on nature.)

 

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Fioretti

 

Chapter XXIV


How St. Francis converted the Soldan of Babylon to the faith

 

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ST. FRANCIS, urged thereto by zeal for the faith of Christ, and by the desire of martyrdom, went once across the seas with his twelve most holy companions, to betake himself straight to the Soldan of Babylon; and being come unto a country of the Saracens, where the passes were guarded by certain cruel men to the end that no Christian who went thereby might be able to escape death; they, as it pleased God, were not slain, but taken, beaten and bound, and so led into the presence of the Soldan.

 

And being in his presence, St. Francis, taught by the Holy Ghost, preached so divinely of the faith of Christ, that for that faith he even wished to enter into the fire. Wherefore the Soldan began to have very great devotion toward him, alike for the constancy of his faith and for the contempt of the world which he saw in him (inasmuch as he would receive no gift from him, albeit he was exceeding poor), and also for the zeal of martyrdom which he saw in him.

 

From thenceforward the Soldan heard him gladly and prayed him that he would often return to him; granting, to him and to his companions, leave to preach wheresoever they pleased; and he gave them a token to the end that they might not be offended by any man. [Having this leave then, St. Francis sent his chosen companions, two by two, into divers regions of the Saracens to preach faith Christ. and he, with one them, chose a street And, arriving thereat, entered an inn rest himself. there he found woman, most beautiful body but foul soul, which accursed tempted him sin. said: "I accept, let us bed," she led chamber. Then "Come me"; conducted her very great fire was burning in that chamber; fervour spirit stripped himself naked cast down beside fire, on hot hearthstone; invited go undress herself lie downy bed. when had thus lain for long time, cheerful face without being burned or singed at all, terrified so miracle pricked heart, not only repented sin evil intent, also turned perfectly Christ, became sanctity that, through her, many souls were saved those lands.]

 

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At last St. Francis, seeing that he could have no more fruit in those parts, prepared, by Divine revelation, to return with all his companions to the land of the faithful; and, having gathered them all together, he returned to the Soldan and took leave of him. Then the Soldan said unto him: "Friar Francis, I would willingly be converted to the faith of Christ, but I fear to be so now, because, if these heard thereof, they would slay both thee and me, with all thy companions: and seeing that thou canst yet do much good and that I have certain matters of great moment to conclude, I would not now bring about thy death and mine; but do thou teach me how I may save myself; I am ready to do that which thou mayest lay upon me".

 

Then St. Francis said: "Sir, I now go from thee; but after I shall be come into my own country and, through the grace of God, shall have ascended into heaven, after my death, according as it shall please God, I will send thee two of my friars from whom thou mayest receive the holy baptism of Christ, and thou shalt be saved, as my Lord Jesus Christ hath revealed unto me. And do thou, in the meantime, free thyself from every hindrance, to the end that, when the grace of God shall come unto thee, it may find thee prepared to faith and to devotion." And this he promised to do, and so did he.

 

Now when this was done, St. Francis returned with that venerable college of his holy companions; and after certain years, St. Francis by bodily death rendered his soul to God. And the Soldan, falling sick, awaited the fulfilment of the promise of St. Francis, and set guards at certain passes and ordered that, if two friars should appear in the habit of St. Francis, they should immediately be brought to him.

 

At that time St. Francis appeared to two friars, and commanded them to go without delay to the Soldan to provide for his salvation, according as he had promised him; the which friars set out immediately, and crossing the sea, were led before the Soldan by the aforesaid guard; and when the Soldan saw them, he was exceeding glad and said: "Now know I of a truth that God hath sent me His servants for my salvation, according to the promise which St Francis made me by Divine revelation." And, when he had been instructed in the faith of Christ and baptised by the said friars, thus born again in Christ, he died of that sickness and his soul was saved through the merits and prayers of St. Francis.

 

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Edited by emmaberry101
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