Catholic - Related Content

World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

Thursday, February 2nd 2017 2:56 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA



Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Katie Mitchell and Laurie Sullivan share their "Called" experiences.

Around the world today the Catholic church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It’s also the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. In the time of Jesus, infants were presented in the temple and a traditional sacrifice was made on their behalf. This action marked their consecration to God and welcomed them as members of the faith community. Today's Gospel recounts the story of Jesus presented by Mary and Joseph. In our times it is through the sacrament of baptism that we become members of the Catholic church.

As a pastoral associate working in two rural Wisconsin parishes one of my favorite ministries was preparing parents for the baptism of their child. The goal of the meetings was to discuss the commitment they were making on behalf of their child. I would also ask what dreams they had for the child, and how they planned to share the Catholic faith with their son or daughter as they grew. These were inspiring conversations as the love they had for their child was so strong, even if the baby was just a few weeks old. They were already dreaming of school concerts, dance recitals and far-away wedding days for their infant. It was amazing to see the hope and pride the parents had, holding their baby as the priest poured the blessed baptismal water over the child's head in the name of the Trinity. Some enjoyed the water and others cried. I always thought that was symbolic as experiencing the call of the Gospel contains moments of joy and moments of startling revelation, just like the cold water trickling over their heads. At the end of each baptism the priest would hold the baby up high, proclaiming an introduction to the gathered faith community. Applause would erupt from the congregation and the proud parents, godparents and family members beamed with joy. In that moment many dreams came to fruition and many more—as to who the little child would be—began to take shape in their hearts.

If we listen to the ritual language of baptism we hear that we are all called to a life of service. Discerning religious life comes from the very root of the first sacrament you received—baptism. Choosing to make religious profession is an intensification of baptismal commitment. It is to dedicate all of your life to the service of others and to share the good news of the Gospel in service of the church and the world. It’s choosing to fully consecrate your life to God. It’s making God your primary relationship and commitment. It’s a joy-filled choice.

How does your baptism shape how you live your life?

Will you be a part of the next generation of consecrated life?

Live into this World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life with FSPA's "Called: the future of religious life" and National Religious Vocation Conference's "Why We Love Our Vocation."

New Ministry in Yaguaru

Monday, September 5th 2022 2:03 pm

I have started a new ministry in the small town of Yaguarú over the last month or so. You might remember me talking about being invited to dance at the end of Carnaval -- that was in Yaguarú. I am spending Thursday afternoon until early Monday morning there in addition to my time at the nutrition center.

It's a beautiful place next to some extensive wetlands. Like many mission pueblos here, there is a central plaza that is popular for sitting and talking, or walking and talking -- especially after services at the church. The "Mary -- Undoer of Knots" that I had a reflection on is also here in Yaguarú.

My new ministry is simple. With another sister and the help of a friend in Yaguarú, we are spending time meeting the different families in town. Our purpose is to really listen to the people there, about their families, joys and struggles. What we are doing isn't quick -- getting to know people never is (even if speed dating was a popular thing -- is it still popular?) and it isn't always easy to hear of the hard times, especially when someone is still in them. Of course, as you might guess, language is a challenge as well, but as is the experience I've had here in Bolivia, people are patient and kind. Interestingly, with some of the abuelas and abuelos, we have needed additional help with language because they speak Guarayu, the indigenous language of the area. It seems to all work out in the end, and we have new friends in the town.

There are a few things that are missing from Yaguarú. There is no wifi at the convent. I hadn't really anticipated the impact that would have on my ability to respond to emails, but, as anyone who has emailed me in the last few weeks can account for, I have fallen behind on my correspondence as of late. My apologies to anyone who is waiting to hear from me.

The other is that they don't have a priest who is ministering here full-time. Unlike Ascension, where there is daily Mass every day and three Masses on Sunday, Mass is celebrated only on Saturday night here. It's when one of the priests from Ascencion can make the hour drive to come. The community still gathers daily with Celebrations of the Word and Eucharist full of music and prayers.

Next week, the town's grand fiesta will be happening. It is centered around the namesake of the church, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It begins on Saturday with a three-day novena at the church. On Tuesday, the Fiesta begins for the whole town and I hear that there will be wonderful Masses, processions, dancing and music. It concludes on Thursday. A priest who had spent some time in Yaguarú will be visiting, and I believe a bishop will be coming as well. As far as other fun, I guess I will have to wait to see!

Blessings to you all! I am still hoping to send an update every week, but there's a good chance I will be delayed at times. Es la vida! :)

Photo of the Week - Week 17

Thursday, May 5th 2022 7:21 am

Welcome to May!

In the culture here (and many other places too!) May is devoted to Mary. Here in Ascención, there is a large blue and yellow display with a beautiful statue depicting Mary.

I will be spending the next four days in Yaguarú, a special small town where the sisters minister Thursday - Sunday. I thought it fitting that I use the Mary I saw in the church there back when we went there for the end of Carnaval.

This is Mary, Undoer of Knots. I was excited to see it when I was there. The devotions to Mary, Undoer of Knots focus on asking for her intercession to help undo the knots in our lives. St. Irenaeus is quoted as saying that Mary undid the knot of original sin, and so a special devotion was born from that.

There is a novena connected to Mary, Undoer of Knots, but I tend to ask for help with things that have me tied up inside.

If you're interested, the start of the novena begins...
Dearest Holy Mother, Most Holy Mary, you undo the knots that suffocate your children, extend your merciful hands to me. I entrust to You today this knot and all the negative consequences that it provokes in my life.

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Following the light

Thursday, November 10th 2016 3:10 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


Photo credit:

This week has brought opportunity for morning risers to awaken to a new pattern of light. The sun has begun (on its best days) to ascend earlier and rouse reluctant sleepers with sunbeams pushing through our bedroom curtains.

Many of us, though, won’t count such a blessing until it’s overshadowed by the dark of early winter mornings. Submerged into grayness our hearts will pine for what we feel we have lost. We may already hear complaints of the dark to come even when the sun is still shining.

Being in the present moment—those we appreciate and those we don’t—is a valuable tool in discernment. Such presence of thought can help you identify enjoyment and displeasure; allow you to tap into your natural inclinations; enlighten you and challenge you and help guide you as you gradually move through the light and the dark to tomorrow.

Very simply, it opens you up to examination of conscience: a method many Catholics are first taught when preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a prayerful practice of looking at the life choices you make in regards to sin). St. Ignatius of Loyola created an in-depth tool for such discernment—the Examen—which revolves around daily reflection.

For me the Examen works best in written form, when it’s tactile. Identifying what’s in your head and putting it to paper can allow for deeper contemplation of the themes you notice reoccurring daily, weekly or monthly. In discernment, entering into the method and routine of the Examen can bring clarity to questions that have been circling in your mind. Writing can make uncertainty real, but can also tell what is true for you. Give yourself time to sit in prayer with your thoughts; allowing curiosity, temporarily suspending judgment. Look where you're leaning—it will help you gravitate toward decision.  

Are you willing to explore a new way of assessing your experience?

What will such a daily practice as the Examen require of you?

To learn more about the Examen, including a five-step version for daily practice, visit

Kindness: we are all called to be Esther

Thursday, March 9th 2017 12:45 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


In a spirit of collaboration, we enter into the celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week (March 8 through 14). There are over 45,000 women religious in the United States, and FSPA is a member of one of the organization’s partnering groups—the Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. They have come together in a campaign called “Kindness: Get in the Habit.” Billboards and advertisements as well as a school curriculum for the week are all aimed at encouraging individuals to find ways to be kind to one another.


Kindness is a basic human value that’s often lost amid a world filled with competition and sometimes questionable motivation. As we walk through the second week of Lent we recall that the tenets of the Lenten season include prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Kindness easily supports each tenets. We are invited to open our eyes to our own actions and reflect on the ways in which we are attentive to the invitation of the season.

The readings placed before us today are like a glowing neon sign along the Lenten road of spiritual growth. The words flowing from the lips of Queen Esther are those of intercession on behalf of her people. Choosing to give voice to the concerns of her heart, she pleads for wisdom and courage to have eloquence of speech to persuade those who can protect and champion her cause.

How many times—in the defining moments of your life where everything is on the line and God is your advocate—have you prayed like Esther?



Eileen McKenzie, FSPA, deep in the tenet of prayer (image courtesy of Vendi Advertising).

There are many Esthers in our world today as prayers of refugees, immigrants and others displaced pray on behalf of their communities for safety, food, water and asylum from the horrors they have fled; to be heard in their suffering and feel the presence of caring from God and all of us who walk in humanity by their sides. What does the season (and not just during Lent) call us to but the obligations of being Catholic Christians?

Esther bows in prayer and supplication to God. She aligns her interior and exterior reality of life situation as queen, advocate, subject and co-creator. She has not walled herself into the security of the palace. She knows the struggles her people face as it was once her own experience. Her actions have a direct impact on others. She is accountable for what she chooses and she holds God accountable to guide her.

Esther is a model for all who discern. She exemplifies the courage, strength and perseverance that is indispensable to remain rooted in Gospel values as you make a choice for your own vocation. Challenges are a part of life, and how you choose to move through them speaks volumes of who you are.

How can the choices you make in your life alleviate the pain and sorrow of a hurting world?

How does your vocational discernment bring relevance to humanity at this time in our history? 

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