SOLT Attends the Texas Rally for Life

TxRally4Life1As young people traveled from all over the United States, braving the blizzard of 2016 to stand up and let their voices be heard in Washington, D.C., Catholics from South Texas journeyed to Austin for the same reason, to lend their voices to the voiceless victims of abortion.

Members of the St. Anthony’s Pro-Life Group in Robstown and the St. John’s parish in Robstown attended along with other members from the Diocese of Corpus Christi, including Saint John Paul II High School and Bishop Garriga Middle Prep School. Sister Mary Elizabeth Albers and Sister Mary Mediatrix Patterson rode up with the JPII High School students.TxRally4Life3

“It was beautiful to see so many people from all over the state. People even traveled from Louisiana to join us in the rally. The experience was very positive and peaceful. People were singing and praising God for the gift of life,” Sister Mediatrix recalled.

The rally began with a mile walk through downtown Austin around the Texas Capital building. Bishop Daniel Garcia opened the presentation on the Capital steps with a prayer of benediction. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and speakers from the Texas Alliance for Life and the Texas House of Representatives followed, and the keynote address was given by abortion survivor Melissa Ohden.

TxRally4Life9“We are a movement that isn’t just pro-life or pro-child we are pro-women, we are also pro-love,” Melissa Ohdem said in her speech. It was a statement that encapsulated the spirit of the gathering that day.

 

SOLT Hosts CMSWR Regional Workshop

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SOLT Sisters from around the country came to Our Lady of Corpus Christi to retreat in silence in the Christmas season. They were joined by religious sisters from the local area, as this occasion also provided an opportunity to participate in a regional workshop for the CMSWR (Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious), the association of religious with which our SOLT Sisters are affiliated.

Included among seventeen SOLT Sisters from Corpus Christi, Arizona, New Mexico, and Kansas City were sisters from the local communities of Pax Christi, Dominicans, and one of the Sisters of St. Ann. Father Dan Estes, SOLT, provided spiritual reflection as the Retreat Master.

Sister Mary Elizabeth Albers, SOLT, remarked that “even though it was a silent retreat, there is something very powerful about taking time with other sisters to be with our Lord. It reminds us that there’s a depth to communion that goes beyond words.”

Sister Megan Mary Thibodeau, General Sister Servant of SOLT, was just recently appointed to the board of CMSWR and extended the invitation to participate in this regional workshop through the collaboration of the council which holds fidelity to the Magisterium, Marian devotion, commitment to revitalization of religious life, and spirituality of communion in high esteem.

In partnership with CMSWR, SOLT was able to provide an opportunity for religious sisters to end the year in contemplation and begin a new year renewed in the Holy Spirit.

“It was fitting to end the year and enter a new one focusing on God. Taking that special time to retreat is something we’re called to do once a year as religious sisters and something that really everyone should do to recharge and refocus their relationship with Christ,” said Sister Mary Elizabeth.

Bell Blessed at Our Lady of Corpus Christi

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A much anticipated “bong” rang out from the bell tower at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Chapel during the dark evening hour of seven o’clock on Tuesday, December 14, 2015. Its blessing preceded the celebratory sound that signaled the completion of this world-class chapel of adoration that serves as the spiritual epicenter for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

Father Peter Elizardo presided as Bishop Michael Mulvey’s official diocesan representative for the blessed event which included Exposition, Adoration, Recitation of the Holy Rosary, and Benediction. The event was open to the public, and members from the greater Corpus Christi Texas area attended along with members of SOLT.

Father James Kelleher, SOLT, provided historical commentary about the very beginning of the Shrine, its vision, and the donors who generously provided for all the building costs. The Blessing of the Bell signals the conclusion of the building project portion of the adoration chapel, which, in addition to being the spiritual home of SOLT, is open to all spiritual pilgrims throughout the world.

For more information about Our Lady of Corpus Christi Adoration Chapel, please visit ourladyofcc.org.

In Remembrance of Sister Mary of the Incarnation

One of the original SOLT Sisters, Sister Mary of the Incarnation, peacefully passed away today at age 100 at her residence in Bosque, New Mexico. She was surrounded by her sisters and the mission work she loved.

Sister Mary of the Incarnation was born in Boston in 1915. She recalled, in a 2010 account of her life story, that one of her earliest memories was a statue of Mary she often admired in her parents’ bedroom. “I remember I would go into that room to look at a lovely little statue of the Blessed Mother…in that bright, sunny room upstairs.” This beautiful sacramental within her home captured her attention and devotion even as a small child and perhaps planted a seed for her future vocation.

Prayer and devotion permeated Sister’s family. Each day her family prayed the Rosary. Priests were frequent guests at family meals. Her family attended every parish mission, and her mother sent her on errands to request Masses to be said for dying family members. She attended Catholic schools taught by the Notre Dame Sisters. These experiences cultivated her love for Christ in her formative years.

During her college years, Sister decided to work towards her teaching degree and followed that with her Master’s degree in education. Upon completion, she was hired by the state college to train teachers. It was during this time that she attended retreats and felt the call of God to serve Him as a religious sister. Her introduction to Father Flanagan in 1953 began this journey towards becoming a part of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, which Father Flanagan was then working to establish.

She entered the postulancy for the Society on May 24, 1959 with the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom in Litchfield, Connecticut. As a congregation founded by St. Louis Marie de Montfort, the Daughters of Wisdom provided her with the essential tools for her work as a SOLT sister.

The Daughters of Wisdom received her into full profession as a religious sister, and her final profession was later celebrated at a Solemn High Mass on December 12 in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Holman, New Mexico. She was appointed Superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and served four years in that position.

Sister Mary of the Incarnation’s life was testimony to her enduring faith to Our Lord through his Holy Mother and the service that devotion compelled her to seek. She assisted in various SOLT mission sites in the United States and Mexico. Her example of faith and service was exemplary of the SOLT Sisters’ charism, living out the discipleship of Jesus through Mary in Trinitarian communion while serving those in deepest apostolic need.

May her soul find its eternal rest in the perpetual light of Christ in union with our Blessed Mother and all His angels and saints.

Father Paul Dou Makes His Perpetual Promises

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Faith runs deep in Father Paul Dou’s family. For about four hundred years, Catholicism has permeated through the generations of his ancestors in China, producing many religious and priestly vocations. Father Dou is one of those beneficiaries of this abiding faith in Christ and His Beloved Church.

After attending the seminary in Beijing, China, Father Dou came to the United States to study philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary for a year. During that time, he encountered SOLT seminarians studying for the priesthood, the Blount brothers, Jim and Tony, who would later be ordained for the Society. He kept in contact with them after that year when he went to work for the Archdiocese of New York.

In New York, Father Dou ministered to the Chinese community, helping people with immigration issues, teaching catechism classes, and preparing couples for marriage as well as assisting in the daily sacramental life of the parishes. Providentially, all the parishes he served were named in honor of Our Lady. He became convinced that God was leading him to one day join a congregation devoted to the Blessed Mother.

After twelve years of working in the city, Father Dou made the decision to join SOLT as a novice priest. He has been a part of the Society since then, serving in various mission sites. Nine years of formation in SOLT has prepared Father Paul Dou, now stationed in Bosque, New Mexico, to make his perpetual promises as a member of this community steeped in Marian devotion with a charism for mission work. This celebration of his promises took place at Holy Mass on Sunday, November 1. Please remember to pray for Father Dou and all our priests whose faith and dedication to the Church continues to nourish Her members with the sacramental love of Christ.

SOLT Celebrates Pope Francis’ Historic U.S. Visit

All this past week, members of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity commemorated Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Some members traveled to Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. for an up-close look, while others followed the events through many different media sources.

 

IMG_1848For the students at Most Holy Trinity School in Phoenix, AZ, Pope Francis’ visit inspired a creative presentation. “Pope Francis came to Most Holy Trinity today!” exclaimed Sister Mary Claire Strasser. She explained that the student council had created a skit to educate their fellow students about the Pope’s visit to the Americas.

 

 

While some enjoyed this “upfront” encounter with tIMG_10451he Holy Father, others were surprised by last minute tickets to papal events. Sister Megan, General Sister Servant received a ticket for the Canonization Mass of Saint Junipero Serra in Washington, D.C. She shared her pictures from outside of the Basilica National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Joining Sister Megan for this event was Sister Mary Elizabeth Albers, who had started her journey in Philadephia at the World Meeting of Families and detoured down to D.C. for the Mass. Her video messages have been shared through SOLT’s Facebook page. “I saw Pope Francis in the flesh!” Though she was a distance away, she recounted, “I was close enough to smell the incense.”

 

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Father Brady Williams accompanied two of the men’s novitiate members to Philadelphia and joined Sister Mary Elizabeth on her journey from to D.C. While there, they found Father Peter Marsalek, General Priest Servant of SOLT and Sister Megan. The event of the Canonization Mass particularly drew members of the SOLT community, as the charism of SOLT is rooted in Christ’s work in the missions.

 

Meanwhile, Sister Miriam James Heidland remained in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. She spoke at the Youth Congress and was interviewed by Ascension Press. “When you come to events like this and you see that the Church is vibrant and alive…it really gives your faith a boost.”

SOLT Mission Schools: Faith in Action

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SOLT serves a variety of different mission areas, many of which include schools. These schools provide structure and formation to children who might not otherwise have access to Catholic education. Priests, brothers, sisters, lay members and volunteers of SOLT continue to assist in this important endeavor.

Sister Kateri Marie has been teaching at St. Ann’s grade school in Belcourt, North Dakota for the past five years. As the summer nears its end, she prepares lesson plans and makes her classroom ready to instruct and inspire her young pupils who live on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. Her experience as a teacher at St. Ann’s grooms her for a new year with unique challenges and opportunities to grow in faith. She says her students inspire her with their faith.

“The students at St. Ann’s absorb and soak up the faith. They get excited when they are asked to lead prayers. They then go and share what they have learned with their family. Their enthusiasm to serve at Mass and to learn about Christ inspires me. They show Christian leadership at such a remarkable age.”

Sister Mary Claire teaches 5th-8th grade Social Studies at Most Holy Trinity School in Phoenix, Arizona. In four years, the school has doubled in size, and recently underwent some much needed renovations with thanks to a generous donation by the Shea Foundation. Sister Claire said the renovations have given everyone “a fresh start.”

“Serving in a school is challenging and busy, but I can’t think of any other apostolate where I have a chance to bring 75 children to an encounter with Christ and to help form them each day. It’s a gift and a privilege.”

“Home of the Trinity” Under Construction in Iowa

Areas of deepest apostolic need are not always visible to the naked eye. Spiritual needs can sometimes be difficult to realize for a missionary disciple. For Sister Marie Hesed, that need has been identified and remedied by a vision for the future in the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa.

Before she joined SOLT, Sister Marie Hesed belonged to the Missionaries of Charity. Her work among the poorest of the poor led her to cultivate a shared garden where learning and working became intertwined with the practicality of providing food for the hungry. Of course, lessons about God’s abundant banquet of everlasting love complemented the work that was sustaining them physically. Sister Hesed’s little gardening project, and the inspiration that grew from it, provided a foundation for a big idea that was yet to bear fruit.

Sister Hesed has described the call that led to her entrance into SOLT in 2003 as a “call within a call.” Her commitment to this call brought her to Iowa where 31 acres of donated land brought the vision into clearer focus. Domus Trinitatis, or “Home of the Trinity” was envisioned with a strategic plan that would gain momentum in the following years.

Since 2012, local volunteers, inspired by Sister Hesed’s dream, have worked to fundraise, donate, pray, and support the efforts of SOLT through their dedication to this project. Because of their countless hours of work and admirable organization, the first phase of the building project, the convent, began this past spring.

The following excerpts are taken from the Domus Trinitatis website:

“Domus Trinitatis will be a place where missionaries can come between assignments to be renewed and learn about sustainable agriculture to take back on their missions, but it will also be a place for Priests, Sisters, couples, single people and families to come to spend time in creation, learn, and be renewed. Domus Trinitatis is unique because there will be no charge for retreats, thereby allowing anyone to attend. Just as from the start, we will sustain Domus Trinitatis by donations, cottage industries, God’s will, and the support of those who faithfully believe in giving everyone a place to find renewal.”

“There will eventually be hermitages (small houses for people attend a retreat to stay in), a stand-alone Chapel, a home for a SOLT Priest to live on site, a Rosary walk, coffee shop, orchards, gardens, greenhouses, a pond, barns, and more.”

With gratitude, we offer our prayers of thanksgiving for the efforts of the people of Iowa. Their spirit of service and sacrifice is humbling to witness. It is a call for all of us to respond to God’s work in our lives with generosity and joy. May God abundantly bless the efforts of all involved in the Domus Trinitatis project.

An Occasion of Celebration and Remembrance

sister-99thOne of the original SOLT Sisters, Sister Mary of the Incarnation, celebrated her 100th birthday on July 19, 2015. A milestone such as this calls to mind a precious piece of history, the early days of SOLT, in which men and women responded to the call to serve in areas of deepest need in union Jesus and through the intercession of Mary.

As a fledgling movement, Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne of the Diocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, established the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity as a Pious Society. Sister Mary Incarnation entered the postulancy for the Society on May 24, 1959 with the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom in Litchfield, Connecticut. As a congregation founded by St. Louis Marie de Montfort, the Daughters of Wisdom provided Sr. Mary of the Incarnation with the essential tools for her work as a SOLT sister.

SIster Mary of the Incarnation was professed into full religious life in 1960 at the Daughters of Wisdom Novitiate in Litchfield, Connecticut and later at a celebration Solemn High Mass on December 12 in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Holman, New Mexico. She was appointed Superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and served four years in that position.

In 1964, SOLT was welcomed into the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph and quickly spread into many different mission outreach sites throughout the world including Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, Haiti, Russia, England, Italy, China, as well as many other mission sites throughout the United States.

Sister Mary of the Incarnation worked to establish many of these mission sites and continues to inspire us with her history of service and her unwavering faith in Our Lord and devotion to His Blessed Mother.

To Wake Up the World

2015 year of consecrated life logoPreparations are underway for the 2015 American Region Assembly of SOLT members. It is a highly anticipated event in which members come together to renew friendships, enjoy each others’ company, learn about the progress of the missions, and revitalize our shared charism so that we return reinvigorated to our various areas of service to “Wake Up the World,” as Pope Francis has called for in this year’s motto for consecrated life.

Inspired by the vision of Pope Francis, our theme this year is entitled, To Wake Up the World: The Missionary Dimension of Discipleship and SOLT. The dates have been set for July 13-17. The assembly begins on Monday afternoon at 1 pm with registration and welcome. Events are still being finalized for the week, but some of the highlights will include the Mass with lay renewal of commitment on Tuesday evening, Mass with Brothers’ and Sisters’ renewal of promises on Wednesday evening, and Mass with Sisters’ first profession of vows on Thursday night.

Also on Thursday night, expect to be entertained and amazed as some of our own SOLT members demonstrate their talent on stage following a Family Night BBQ. It is a night to celebrate as family the friendship and love of Christ and His Church.

The week promises to be an event full of the joy of Our Lady, as she contemplates the communion of the Trinity and intercedes for us as her precious children. To Jesus through Mary!