Sacred Tradition: honoring 140 years of prayer
On Aug. 1, "More than 100 FSPA and lay prayer partners gathered at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse for the reverential ceremony, prayer service and Mass [celebrating 140 years of perpetual adoration]. The tradition traces to the prayer of Mother Antonia Herb in 1865, when the FSPAs overcrowded the cramped space in their small Maria Angelorum Chapel: “Dear Lord, if you will bless us … we will build as beautiful chapel as our means will allow.”
Read La Crosse Tribune's Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration celebrate 140 years of constant prayer in La Crosse
Quoting an invocation that describes prayer as “a furnace of divine love,” Sister Sarah Hennessey said, “I always think that is what we have here. At the heart of us, beyond what we do in other services, is a beating heart of prayer.”
More than 30,000 prayer requests rolled in last year from all parts of the globe — by mail, phone calls, email and these days, even via texts.
Read La Crosse Tribune's FSPAs generate 'beating heart of prayer,' as 'furnace of divine love'
May God continue to be the resounding bell in our hearts, guiding us in prayer and action in our world.
Read (and watch) Show me a sign's Sounding the bell for 140 years of 24/7 prayer
Now that I am “out on mission” and ministering hours away from the Adoration Chapel, the rhythms of this prayer happening in the background of my community life remains a grounding force that enlivens my service and motivates me to be bread unto others. Praying in our chapel when I am home in La Crosse is a touchstone for me, a sacred communion that helps me steadily respond to God’s constant invitation to love.
Read Messy Jesus Business, by Sister Julia Walsh, Praying onward, with more longing
"We haven't found another community that's done it longer than 140 years" in the United States, Sister Hennessey said. "It's the body of Christ praying for the body of Christ in the presence of the body of Christ."
Read Global Catholic Sisters Report's 140 years of perpetual adoration are unbroken by fire, flood or war