SOLT Sisters Speak: Vocations

Sister Laudem Gloriae Dolan and Sister Mary Rachel Craig traveled to the Diocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul this past Saturday, Feb. 18th, to share their message about recognizing God’s call to the consecrated life.

Forty women from throughout the diocese were in attendance to listen to the testimonies of the speakers. Nine institutes of consecrated women were represented to reach out to those who might be discerning a call to dedicate their lives solely to Christ.

Please pray for these young women to respond generously to God’s call in their lives,whether it be to the consecrated life or to another vocation. It’s inspiring to see their witness to God’s love for all of us working through their lives.

Lay Member, Geriann Henry, Enters Eternal Life

Please remember in your prayer the repose of the soul of Geraldine Ann Henry, 74, of Kansas City, MO. She passed away Thursday, February 16, 2017 at her home surrounded by family and loved ones. The funeral arrangements are as follows:

Vigil and Rosary: February 19, 2017 from 5 pm to 7 pm with the Rosary recited at 5pm at McGilley & Sheil Funeral Home Sunday

Funeral Mass: Monday, February 20, 2017 at 9 am at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 3934 Washington, Kansas City, MO.

Burial: Following Funeral Mass at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Geraldine’s obituary excerpted from Dignity Memorial:

Geraldine was born September 5, 1942 in Seneca, KS to Omer and Lucille (Noll) Haug. Geraldine was a homemaker and her life was her husband, children and grandchildren. She home schooled all five of her children at a time when it was not common practice. She enjoyed music and played both the piano and the organ. Geraldine was a 45+ year member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

Geraldine is preceded in death by her parents, three sisters and two brothers. She is survived by her husband of 46 years, Ron; her children: Mary Lucille Ahmad (Naseer), Bernard Henry, Dominic Henry (Erin), Joseph Henry, Mary Grace Ward (Chris); two brothers, seven sisters; grandchildren: Nabil, Helen, Rose, Amira, Emilia, James, Mary and Robert.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to The Village Hospice and especially Carol, our family angel. Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 3846 W. 75 St, Prairie Village, KS 66208 or SOLT Development Office, P.O. Box 4116, Corpus Christi, TX 78469. Online condolences to www.mcgilleysheil.com. Arr: McGilley & Sheil Chapel, 11924 E. 47th St., Kansas City, MO 64133, 64133, 816-353-6555.

 

New Postulants Received into SOLT

Two young aspirants made the transition into postulancy on Jan 11, 2017 at St. Alphonsus Parish in Seattle, WA. Amanda Ross and Lauren Adderly were welcomed into this new step in their religious discernment at a Mass celebrated by Fr. Shane McKee. Sister Mary Aloyisius Kim, Postulant Servant, was there to receive them into their postulancy.

Each of the new postulants shared their journey that has led them to discern a vocation to SOLT.

 

Lauren Adderly

I grew up in southern New Jersey, close to Philadelphia. I don’t have siblings, but my grandparents, cousins, and stepfamily were always nearby and my family never felt small. Church always felt like home, but my faith didn’t become real to me until I attended a Catholic high school. In high school, I started thinking that Jesus might be asking me to be a sister. For college, I went to Villanova University on a scholarship to study Biology and Theology. I loved the natural world, I wanted to travel, I was curious about my faith, but I had mostly tucked away the thought of being a sister.

The summer after my sophomore year, though, I went to the SOLT mission in Belcourt, North Dakota to serve at a summer camp for kids on the Turtle Mountain reservation. My experiences of prayer, service, and friendships there brought me alive in a way that I had never experienced before. I went back to serve at summer camp for two more summers after that first one. There was a growing sense in my heart that Jesus was asking me to be “all His” as a missionary and as a sister.

After graduating college in 2012 and volunteering in Houston for a year at a women’s shelter and at a farm, I moved back home to New Jersey and worked full-time as a middle school religion teacher. In the years that I spent teaching the most fantastic kids about Jesus and His Church, Jesus was gently teaching me to fall in love with Him and with His people.  I started aspirancy with the SOLT sisters on September 8, 2016 back in North Dakota, and I arrived in Seattle on January 8, 2017 to begin postulancy. I can’t wait to see what adventures God has in store for me next!

 

Amanda Ross

I first felt called to be a missionary when I was about 8 years old in my Lutheran grade school, after having watched a documentary on missionaries in Africa. My actual call to the religious life, however, came to me after I became Catholic at age 16. I was so happy and grateful to be Catholic and to be able to receive the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. As a consequence, I asked our Lady in prayer: “What can I give back to God for all that He has given to me?” Surprisingly, I heard our Lady’s voice who responded instantaneously: “Become a Sister.” This is how my search for a religious vocation all started.

I heard about SOLT through the mother of Father Scott Braathan, SOLT, who goes to the same Parish as my sister, Linda Davis, in Detroit, Michigan. This was a little over 2 years ago. What has attracted me most about SOLT is their strong Marian spirit; their contemplative, missionary life; and their working together in ecclesial teams.

We welcome these young women as they continue to discern their God’s call for them in their lives.

Sr. Mary of the Trinity Enters Into Eternal Life

Please remember in your prayers the repose of the soul of Sister Mary of the Trinity Vaughan who entered eternal life on January 10, 2017, in Hythe, England. She was comforted by the prayers of her fellow SOLT sisters and brother SOLT priests, family, and friends who kept vigil at her bedside.

Sister Mary of the Trinity Vaughan was born in Leigh, Lancashire England on August 7, 1950.  She is the daughter of Gladys and Fred Harrison (both deceased) and sister of Stephen (Ann), Christopher (deceased) and Catherine Evans, all of England.

Sister was baptized as an infant in the Anglican Church and was received into full communion with the Catholic Church in 1974.  She professed her first vows on July 16, 1979 with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) in the Diocese of Kansas City, Missouri and later professed perpetual vows on December 14, 1994 while working in the Philippines.

As a founding member of the SOLT Philippine Mission, Sister served from 1979 until 2000 when she was elected as the General Sister Servant and moved to Italy. At the end of her term in 2003, Sister was sent to her beloved homeland of Great Britain.  She served in London, Wales and most recently in Hythe. Sister has offered all of her sufferings for the conversion of England.

May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Br. David Brokke Receives Ministry of Lector

14479701_1297383576973587_5559512585730791910_n

On Sept 23 in the Sacred Heart Major Seminary chapel, Br. Dave Brokke, SOLT seminarian in Year-II Theology, received the minor order of lector. Bishop Donald Hanchon, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, celebrated the mass and installed Br. Dave along with 3 other classmates as lectors.

This step is one of several formal steps in preparation for ordination and reception of holy orders. With it Br. Dave moves deliberately forward in his vocational journey. The Church, for her part, also affirms in a particular way, her joy and willingness at receiving Br. Dave’s “yes” to the Lord.

The event was attended by the 5 brothers living and studying at the SOLT House of Studies, located at Holy Redeemer parish in Detroit. A small reception followed the mass.

Br. Dave recognized the importance of the Ministry of Lector entrusted to him by the church. The symbolic placing of the Word of God in his hands during the rite brought with it a powerful reminder of the call to interiorize the word, allowing it to actualize its transformative power in him, that he might be a true bearer of the Gospel.

Upon being asked how he felt during the ceremony, Br. Dave replied with honestly, “I hope I can be less nervous at my ordination, so that I can enjoy and absorb it more!”

Article and pictures submitted by Fr. Mark Wendling, SOLT Gray Robes Vocations Director

 

Migrant Ministry: Then and Now

20160914_195454_resizedFather Vincent Albano, who has been serving the needs of the migrant farm workers for over four decades, recently shared information about his current mission. He is wrapping up his season of service in the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana with the assistance of three SOLT sisters. Since SOLT has been a part of the migrant ministry from its inception, the opportunity to look back into history presented itself with this story that was recounted in Father Albano’s own words. The historical passages were excerpted from The Original Communion, a collection of autobiographical accounts of original members of SOLT, and the final paragraph is Father Albano’s update.

Ministry to the migrant farm workers and their families was an apostolic work of SOLT from its very beginning. Called to serve the poorest of the poor and recognizing their great needs, our founder, Father James Flanagan, sent sister and lay members of SOLT to the migrant fields and camps in Rocky Ford, Colorado when the SOLT was still in New Mexico.

SOLT’s migrant ministry branched out to Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska by the time I was assigned to this ministry. Besides serving the migrant farm workers, we were asked to reach out to the many Spanish speaking local people who were residents in those areas and who were lacking pastoral care in their own language. They too benefited greatly from the migrant team’s presence and were helped to develop leadership skills and abilities to serve alongside the members of the migrant team.

20160918_190208The migrant worker team visited the migrants in the fields, ranches and local camps, taught catechesis, prepared children and young people for their First Holy Communion and Confirmation, baptized, married, prepared the Liturgy, celebrated the Eucharist and witnessed the presence of the Church among their brothers and sisters “on the move.” These experiences helped the local people as well as our migrant farm workers, recognizing that they too were given by God with gifts and talents to share with their brothers and sisters and are called to be the Church and to build up the Church in their parishes as well as keep the ministry to Hispanic and migrant people alive and growing with the migrant team was no longer there.

20160911_073803_resizedPresently, I am with three of our Sisters ( Srs Maria de Jesus, Maria Marta and Maria Asuncion) serving in Migrant Farmworker Ministry in the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana from August to September. We will have a Despedida (farewell) Mass for the families on September 24 with Bishop Timothy Doherty and some of the children and young people will receive their First Holy Communion and Confirmation. The local parish St Mary’s in Alexandria, hosts the Mass and provides a special fiesta meal afterwards for all the migrant workers who come. We bless the cars and the pick-up trucks that the families come in for their safe travels home to Texas, Florida or other places!

 

 

 

Belize City Residents Recover from Hurricane Earl

image4 web

Belize City – In the aftermath of Hurricane Earl, the residents of Belize City are grateful to have survived, but many are still struggling to repair their homes that were damaged or destroyed by the powerful storm.

Sister Mary Peter Roos, SOLT, was recently assigned to help out with the mission site in Belize City, and she was able to put together a list of basic needs. This urgent appeal includes open invitations for people to come to Belize and help with the rebuilding efforts as well as a list of materials and a request for funds to help contribute to this work.

Click here to donate to SOLT’s Hurricane Earl Relief Efforts in Belize City. Please Indicate that your donation will support this urgent need.

“In our parish a lot of the homes of the poor were badly damaged in Hurricane Earl,” wrote Sister Mary Peter. “We have a whole list of names of families who came asking for assistance, and we would like to help provide 84 mattresses and 242 sheets of metal roofing.”

Sister Mary Peter went out to take pictures of the homes that were most badly damaged. Though the work appeared daunting, spirits were high with hope as she was able to reach out to the families who were without shelter.

image web

Sister Mary Peter with some of the children on one of the plank walkways leading to the homes in the neighborhood called Holy Emmanuel.

image2 web

Sister Mary Peter with the owner of a home that totally collapsed during Hurricane Earl.

image3 web

Another home that collapsed during the hurricane, which belonged to a family of eight. Sister Mary Peter is are standing with some of the members of the family on the steps that used to lead up to their home.

Sister Mary of Holy Hope Makes Her Final Profession

IMG_6190 web

This past Monday, on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Sister Mary of Holy Hope Cheng made her final profession of vows as a consecrated sister in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey presided over Mass, assisted by Father Peter Marsalek, General Priest Servant of SOLT and other priests from the Society and the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

Sister Mary Holy Hope was born in 1978 and raised in Canada. She attended Catholic schools throughout her childhood. Her parents had emigrated from China into Canada before they were married and their two daughters were born, and they appreciated all the opportunities their new country provided for their family.

Sister Holy Hope said that though her family was not accustomed to practicing the faith when she was growing up, her attendance at Catholic school presented her with the possibility of living a consecrated life. “Our priest would always ask us to pray for more vocations to the priesthood and the religious life,” said Sister Holy Hope. “When I was twelve years old, I just woke up one morning and knew that I wanted to be a sister. God always finds a way to call,” she said.

In her young adult life, Sister Holy Hope was introduced to the religious order, Companions of the Cross, in Canada. She made a Marian Consecration and became interested in joining an order with a deep marian spirituality. One of the members of the Companions of the Cross suggested she look into SOLT.

Along with Sister Holy Hope’s early call to the religious life, she came to SOLT with many other gifts. She attended graduate school in Canada, earning her Ph.D. in Chemistry and had two years of teaching experience as a tenure-track assistant professor before joining SOLT. She also is an accomplished musician, having had musical training in piano from the age of five and continuing to learn various musical instruments including violin, harp, viola and organ.

In 2011, Sister Holy Hope took her first vows. She began working as a classroom aide and music teacher at the preschool SOLT operates in Kansas City, Kansas. She has also worked as the staff organist at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Missouri. Each year, Sister Holy Hope and the other members of the Kansas City ecclesial family team organize a sacred music concert each to raise money for the preschool that serves the Kansas City community with quality early childhood care and educational development.

Sister Holy Hope is excited to continue her work in Kansas City as a fully professed sister with SOLT.

IMG_6145 web

 

IMG_6146 web

 

IMG_6173 web

 

IMG_6194 web

 

IMG_6181 web

Experiencing God’s Merciful Love at World Youth Day

Sister Mary Elizabeth Albers recently returned to the United States from her pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. She accompanied the St. Ann’s Mission youth group from Belcourt, North Dakota along with Sister Kateri Marie Benedicta of the Cross Burbee. The following article chronicles her journey and highlights some of the amazing experiences their group had throughout the week.

IMG_28711In his final words to the roughly 1.5 million pilgrims attending the closing Mass at Campus Misericordiae on the outskirts of Krakow, Poland, Pope Francis expressed a theme that ran like a golden thread through the World Youth Day experience for so many: “How much [the Lord] wants his word to be able to speak to you day after day, so that you can make his Gospel your own, so that it can serve as a [GPS] for you on the highways of life!” Those of us who had traveled from the SOLT mission on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota listened to the English translation of the Holy Father’s words—coming through a loud speaker owned by a very prayerful and boisterous group from Los Angeles—with particular attention and gratitude.

Each morning of the nine-day pilgrimage, our group of 14 would rise with only one clear expectation for the day: the Lord was to be our “tour guide” during this entire experience, and as much as we strove to do our part in the planning, inevitably his Providence was the only thing upon which we could depend.

P1170149 webThis theme began to take shape for us when a six-hour bus ride from Prague to Krakow turned into a nine-hour scenic tour through the Czech Republic.  Upon arriving in Krakow on Monday evening, we were immediately introduced to what an influx of almost one million pilgrims would mean in a city with a population of 760,000.  Buses and trams were re-routed at the last minute, and clinging to the backpack of the person in front of you was oftentimes the only way to keep the group together amidst the large-scale crowds at papal events.  Yet the words we consistently heard from the youth in our group—and the elders as well—was how wonderful it was to be here, together, in the “city of saints,” as a part of the vibrant and joyful and almost incomprehensibly peaceful Body of Christ.

One of the great graces of a time of pilgrimage is that the Lord will often “pull back the veil,” so to speak, on his mysterious designs, making it easier to glimpse the degree to which he holds all people and situations in his hands, despite what might appear to be insurmountable obstacles.  On Wednesday, a last-minute side trip to Wawel Cathedral—the place where St. P1170169 webJohn Paul II celebrated his first Mass as a priest, where he was ordained a bishop and where he served as Archbishop of Krakow from 1967 until his election to the papacy in 1978—turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  As we exited the tram near Wawel, we were hopeful that the crowds would be lighter at the Cathedral since this was the first day that Catechesis was being offered.  But seeing more people than usual lined up against barriers on the street, we soon discovered that Pope Francis would be traveling by in the “popemobile” within the hour.  One of the elders in our group was overcome with emotion; seeing the Holy Father in person was the sole desire she had for herself on the pilgrimage.  After Pope Francis passed by, she remarked, “It seemed like time slowed down during those few moments.  I could get on the plane to go home right now, I’m so happy!”

On Thursday, we traveled to Auschwitz, where nearly 1.1 million people were killed during World War II, and Wadowice, the birthplace of St. John Paul II.  On the bus ride, Sister Kateri told the story of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), giving her as an example of one who embraced the plan of God, uniting herself with the sufferings of Christ, even to the point of death in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. And although it had been sunny and warm up until that day, the rain began to pour as we waited to enter Auschwitz I, where St. Maximilian Kolbe had offered his life so that a Polish army sergeant with a wife and children would not suffer the same fate as so many who were murdered there.

P1170170 webThe group was markedly quieter on the ride from Auschwitz to Wadowice, recognizing how little can be said in the face of such evil.  The Lord, in his tender mercy, gave us sunshine on the drive, and by the time we reached the birthplace of perhaps one of the greatest saints in history, a sense of hope began to emerge.  As we stood amidst singing pilgrims in the square in front of St. John Paul II’s childhood home and toured the beautiful little church not 20 feet away and pressed our rosaries to the baptismal font where Karol Wojtyla had received the gift of new life in Christ, we experienced a new closeness with the man who had embraced the grace of God amid tremendous personal suffering and experiences of evil, such that he was open to encounter the Lord in any and all circumstances.

The witness of St. John Paul II inspired us to a deeper trust in the Lord and in the intercession of the Blessed Mother throughout our pilgrimage.  A line which we later learned lasted for two hours to enter the Cathedral where Mass would be celebrated in five minutes became an opportunity to experience the power of prayer and the mercy of the Father as our group was whisked past the ropes and ushered into a tiny side-chapel for 13612162_916129975165853_6722394847030421975_nMass.  One of the youth in our group was especially touched by this Mass—sung entirely in Polish—and listed it as his highlight for the day.  An hour-long trip to the Divine Mercy Sanctuary located on the grounds of the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, where St. Faustina became the “Apostle of Mercy,” only to find the buildings closed, provided the chance to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet in the courtyard between statues of Jesus and St. Faustina, as if in that original dialogue.  Being shut out of a premier event and concert at the arena for Catechesis facilitated an encounter with a group of lively Scottish pilgrims leading songs on the tram ride home, which most of our youth were still talking about days later.  The “chance” encounter of Sr. Mary Peter and Sr. Mary Rachel with Fr. James Kelleher and Deacon John Purk led to Mass at the Carmelite Church of the Visitation, bringing together 45 pilgrims from six different SOLT missions.

By the time we began hiking to the site of the closing Mass, there was a sense of expectation as to how we would encounter the Lord along the P1170176 webway.  Even when our group was kept from entering our assigned section because it had been deemed full, several of the youth and adults shifted into prayer mode, quietly praying “Memorares” until we were inexplicably allowed to enter amidst a larger Polish group.  Our faith was tested when a two-hour wait for the sacks containing all the food we would need for the next 24 hours yielded nothing.  But we were surprised and humbled when the Chilean pilgrims camped next to us gave us more than enough sausages and bread to sustain the hike back.

In the quiet moments of prayer between events—which were relatively few!—the overwhelming sentiment in my heart was one of gratitude.  At the core team meeting in Belcourt the day before departing, our prayer had been that each one of the pilgrims in our group would encounter Jesus in whatever way he desired to meet them.  And although we also prayed to be free of the desire to witness those encounters firsthand, the Lord in P1170164 webhis mercy gave us plenty of opportunities to see his love for each person in our group, ourselves included.  In his homily at the closing Mass, Pope Francis put it so simply: “Dear young people, you have come to Krakow to meet Jesus.”  Thank you, Jesus, for calling us to meet you there!

Father Paul Hu Remembered for Heroic Dedication to the Faith

Fr. Paul Hu, SOLTPlease remember in your intentions the repose of the soul of Father Paul (Yongian) Hu.

Father Hu was born in Beijing, China to his parents Mingjian Hu and Ruijai Wang. He attended seminary under a time of severe religious persecution in China. Persevering in the midst of these conditions, Father Hu was ordained to the diaconate in 1986 for the Diocese of Beijing and to the priesthood in 1994. Shortly afterwards, Father Paul was forced to flee his homeland.

Father Hu arrived in the United States in 1994 and was introduced to SOLT. He continued studies and formation in SOLT at Holy Apostles Seminary in Connecticut and made his perpetual promises in 1998.

One of Father Hu’s first assignments as a SOLT priest was at Our Lady of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he served as a teacher and counselor. After seven years, he was reassigned to be the Parochial Vicar at St. Ann’s Parish in Belcourt, North Dakota in 2011. His final years were spent serving the people of the Diocese of Corpus Christi out of Casa San Jose until his health prevented him from continuing to work.

This past month of June 2016, after serving as a missionary priest in the United States for over two decades, Father Hu was granted U.S. citizenship. His mission to spread the faith had been welcomed in a country where freedom of religion gives opportunity to those who seek to follow the evangelical command of Christ: “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”

Father Jerry Drolshagen, Regional Priest Servant, remembered him as “very heroic in his dedication to the faith.” Father Hu’s bishop from Beijing also paid tribute to him in a letter of recommendation written years ago: “Father Paul Hu is a priest with extreme deep faith and outstanding in his strong leadership quality.”

Father Paul Hu passed into eternal life late Saturday evening, July 16, 2016, on the anniversary of the day SOLT was founded, which coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. May he be welcomed home by the words of the Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”