A Day of Fiat Camp

Two of our Sisters had the pleasure of speaking at the 2015 FIAT Days discernment camp at the beautiful Mount St Mary’s Seminary last Friday.  They were only able to spend one day with these lovely, lively girls from both the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Washington.

The girls give up three days from their summer to detach from cell phones,texting, tweeting and all the other things young people regularly do – in order to spend time with Jesus and some of His servants.  On the Mount they make new friends, live in a real time world filled with prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours, Mass, the Rosary, and time for outdoors play.  They also listened to speakers addressing themes such as Mary’s Yes and Ours, Marriage as a Vocation, Women as World Changers and of course our Holy Father’s theme of Setting the World on Fire.

The only regret our two Sisters heard from the girls was that the Fiat Camp was too SHORT this year!  Some expressed to our All Saints Sisters a desire for an experience of Silent Retreat – for teens.  Hum.  We took  note!

 A Picture of the Front of the Program Booklet

Meet Our Observer

IMG_0713 AWe are pleased to introduce Virginia Patton, our new Observer, who is exploring the Religious Life as it is lived here at All Saints Priory.  Virginia will be with us for one month, living, worshiping, and working alongside the Community under the guidance of Sister Christina, who has many years experience in Formation work.

When asked if she would write a little piece about herself for Thoughts from the Hilltop she eagerly responded with the following comments.

My Observatory Experience at All Saints Convent

I started visiting All Saints in June of 2012.  Since then I’ve come 2 – 3 times each year to retreat and meet with our Lord.  I have grown to love this Convent and the community here.  It has deeply enriched my relationship with God.  Prior to my first visit to All Saints, I’ve wondered if God could be calling me to the religious life. I’m still trying to discern his call.

Two months ago I was worshiping at mass at the parish in my neighborhood, and I suddenly got the idea to come to All Saints for a long month visit.  I considered visiting for an extended stay for awhile but hadn’t gained the courage to step forward.  I prayed and sought the Lord about the idea, and the next day I contacted Sister Christina and Mother Emily Ann asking if I could come.

Sister Christina responded right away saying YES! 

I was both excited and terrified but decided to take the leap and visit All Saints for a more extended stay.

Since then, I resigned from my job where I’d been working as a fundraiser and event planner for 2.5 years, sublet the room I rent in the townhouse where I reside, and put the rest of my life “on hold” so I can commune with the Lord in a more meaningful, focused way to ask for his guidance and direction for the next steps in my life.  I’m lifting everything up to heaven, trusting he will reveal his plans.

My visit has been absolutely delightful.  I’m so thankful for All Saints.  It is indeed holy ground and I’m learning to listen to God’s voice more attentively since arriving.  The time I spend in prayer, silence, contemplation, and in community with the sisters is deeply enriching my life. 

I will forever look back on this season and give praise and glory to God for this month observatory experience at All Saints.  I’m so thankful he’s led me here!

Virginia Patton 

Please pray for Virginia as she continues to discern her call from God.  She is a real joy, enters into the life fully, loves the Lord, and has brought new energy into our Community.

Guess Who Turned 100?

Those of you who know our Mother Emeritus, Mother Virginia Marshall, will not be surprised to learn she celebrated her 100th birthday on July 13th.  She is quite remarkable and were it not for her macular degeneration, would still be playing the organ and getting into mischief.

Mother Virginia didn’t want a big celebration so we hosted an afternoon birthday tea from 2 pm to 4 pm on Saturday July 18th.  Our good friend, Charles Gugliotta, who just happens to bake and decorate exquisite cakes, provided a beauty for the party.  Many of her friends were able to attend and the steady flow of people in and out enable Mother Virginia to visit with each and everyone.  A good time was had by all, so much so, that we just celebrated right up to Vespers at 5 pm!

The celebration was continued on Friday July 24th when six of us escorted Mother to the Joseph Myerhoff Symphony Hall for an evening of spectacular entertainment by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.  The program, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, was chosen in advance because it just happens to be one of Mother’s favorites.  Jonathan Carney, leader and violin Concertmaster came into the audience and greeted Mother Virginia personally.  “You have quite a grip,” Mr. Carney remarked to Mother and said he would probably have to exercise his hand before playing;  then wishing her a Happy Birthday he left to prepare to go on stage.  Wow.  Needless to say, Mother Virginia was thrilled with her birthday gift from the Community and we were thrilled to see how much she enjoyed it.

Now the question is, what do we do for the next 100th?IMG_0669 A BIMG_0666 A

If Anyone Has Been Wondering….

If anyone has been wondering:  We are still here on the Hilltop; Easter really did follow Lent and Paschal tide followed Easter; and yes, we made it to Ordinary Time despite the banner on our home page announcing the coming of Ash Wednesday!  So while it appeared we were stuck in time, I can assure we were not.

Life changed a bit for us, but especially for Sr. Mary Charles when she underwent surgery for an aneurysm on March 20 and suffered an apparent stroke sometime during or after the procedure.  At the appointed time Sister transferred to rehab and while there contracted an infection which turned septic and almost took her home to her eternal reward.  After weeks in the University of Maryland Neurology ICU, the decision was made to bypass another round of rehab and instead opt for palliative care at Joseph Richey Hospice.  We are hopeful that her stay there will enable her to gain enough strength to be able to try for rehab again.  She is doing well despite her setback.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the rest of us, the website, which was being kept up by Sr. Mary Charles had been left in limbo at the beginning of Ash Wednesday.  Once that was discovered you would have thought we would have scrambled to find out how to edit the website.  Well, we thought about it and talked about it, but no one really had the time to act  on it.  So there it was, perpetual Ash Wednesday.

The retreat work at St. Gabriel’s kept us busy throughout the winter and spring.  We hosted our Open House in February and then in May we agreed be a part of the Catonsville Historical Society’s Home and Garden Tour.  Having endured the February Open House, we came up with a more workable tour plan and on May 16th greeted around 245 visitors.  The event was scheduled from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  By 1:30 pm I was wondering why my feet hurt and was surprised to find I had been giving tours of the chapel non-stop for 41/2 hours!  Sr. Margaret’s speech began to slur and Sr. Christina was hungry and was trying to find ways so we could take a lunch break!   Despite how tired we were by the end of the day, we all agreed it had been fun and so worthwhile as we met so many wonderful people whom we hope will now count themselves our friends.

Sr. Mary Joan, who has been battling a rare form of cancer, received a good report at the completion of her 3 rounds of chemo.  She is enjoying a break from treatment until September and is back on limited duty.

One of the issues we faced during June and half of July was the loss of our website.  Cr Media’s server crashed and took our website with it.  This has been a real challenge with which to deal and there are still some issues to address.  But, as you can see, the website is up and running, I have taken the bull by the horns and figured out how to rid our banner of Ash Wednesday and even figured out how to update this blog.  Not bad.

Anyway, we welcome our friends back and all newcomers.  Look for some additions and changes as we aim to improve our presence.

Mother Emily Ann, Prioress