Happy Feast of All Saints

November 1st is a pretty big day for us.  To begin with it is our Patronal Feast Day as All Saints Sisters dedicated to all the Saints.

The Feast of All Saints or All Saints Day originally honored the martyrs of the early Church.  In those tumultuous days, Christians were not free to worship and so they were hunted and persecuted.  Many of those early Christians suffered martyrdom as a result of their steadfast faith in Jesus Christ.  The Church’s desire was to honor those Christians, known and unknown, as persecution intensified and more lives were taken.  As martyrdom was recognized as a path to sanctity, this celebration ensured that all martyrs would be properly honored.  It was only much later when Christians were granted the freedom to worship, that the Church, in acknowledging other paths to sanctity, broadened the celebration to include those who had attained to sainthood outside of martyrdom.

All Saints Day is also significant for us because on November 1, 2011 our Community was erected by decree as a Priory Sui iuris of Diocesan Right by then Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, now Cardinal O’Brien.   That to which we had been aspiring, had finally been attained.

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Then Archbishop O’Brien with the Community after our erection as a Priory.

So we have two reasons to celebrate this great Feast!  In our Community our celebrations are centered on the Liturgy and the Feast of All Saints is no exception.  We may be few in number, but we do the best we can and we even try to sing as much of Mass as we are able.

IMG_0784 +MG choir practiceWe also celebrate by inviting our guests and other friends to share a festive dinner and supper with us.  We might even have some entertainment if Sisters start feeling creative.  Who knows what will happen tomorrow, but one thing is certain, we will be honoring all the saints and giving thanks for those in our own Community who have gone on before us.

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ANGEL UMBRELLAS?

Guardian Angels in Art

Guardian Angels in Western Art

Blessed feast of the Guardian Angels!

While they won’t shield us from the persistent, cold rain in the Eastern USA, they shield us from much else. Sometimes I think I have two of them. However, the given tradition is that we each have one. We won’t go into the speculative theology of all this! The Catholic Church does not place angels into an article of the Faith; however the belief in benevolent heavenly beings is quite ancient. In the Eastern Church tradition they are called, Bodiless Powers – or at least that is how it comes out in the English language.

Angel guardians appear several times in Scripture both old and new covenants. St Jerome, St Hilary and St Augustine mention these beings in their writings. There is someone – we think it may have been Pope St. John the 23rd who had a simple and profound faith in his own angelic guard. When faced with a particularly contentious meeting with other persons or groups, he would ask his angel to go to their angel(s) and work on smoothing out the issues so the meeting would be more helpful to all. Apparently it worked!

Here is a lovely old prayer to your Angel Guardian:

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits to me here,
be ever present at my side
to light, to guard, to rule, to guide.

From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their (the angels) watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God.
– from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 336.

MAY HE GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU!

Icon of the Guardian Angel

Icon of the Guardian Angel