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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."

Photo of the Week - Week 27

Saturday, July 16th 2022 4:03 pm

Today is the Feast of Virgen del Carmen, the patroness of the country of Bolivia. I wondered about the impressive statue in the front of the church and Sister Yanira told me about this special representation of the Virgin Mary.

Our prayers today are filled with special attention to Mary, containing imagery of purity, motherly care and intercessions on our behalf. I am sure the Mass will have even more customs and traditions to mark the day.

I have been appreciating the faith of the people here in Ascención. Little gestures and big processions are outward representations of a deep faith that runs through the church here.

I witnessed this deep faith this week as the area had an "Encuentro" for five days with the children and teens. It was filled with excitement, relationships, learning and even some evangelization in the community. Bishops, priests, deacons and women religious all added their own energy to the encuentro. I wasn't a part of the days, but I heard from the sisters helping and a student I know about how inspiring and energizing it was.

I was able to attend most of the Masses, which were filled with enthusiasm, energy and lots of loud music. Although it probably was louder than some rock concerts in the US, it was so full of energy and singing youth that I couldn't help but be swept away by it. In the midst of it all, Mary stood, holding the colors of Bolivia in her hands.

I enjoyed imagining Mary in heaven laughing, clapping along with the songs during Mass and singing her heart out. I think she had a really good time.

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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! :)

Sister Romana's Six Word Story

Tuesday, January 10th 2017 10:00 am
Sister Romana Klaubauf, FSPA


What's your six word discernment story?

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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Listening, exploring and discerning like Francis

Friday, October 4th 2019 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


"God will be with you each step of the journey to guide, to listen and to offer continual inspiration ..."


Icon of St. Francis of Assisi by Sister Maryam Gossling

Today’s Gospel acclamation, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart,” is timely as we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. 

If you are familiar with the life of St. Francis of Assisi, you may recall that while he was out one day, roaming the countryside near Assisi, Italy, he stopped at a church to pray. Praying before the San Damiano Cross in a deteriorating church — Portiuncula — Francis heard God say to him “rebuild my church ...” 

After hearing these words, Francis had to decide whether or not he was going to listen to the request. It took him a while to figure out what exactly those powerful words meant. He didn’t understand what God was asking of him. Thinking it was a literal task, he gathered stones to rebuild by hand the crumbling chapel. In time, Francis realized the call was much deeper. His search for clarity led to conversations with his family, friends, the bishop, the pope, the local mayor, and many others. Men saw his joy and flocked to join his way of life, a pathway that lead to the establishment of a new religious community with a new rule of life approved by the pope. It all began with a few words he heard in prayer, his inclination to trust God and to begin searching. Francis was by no means perfect: he made mistakes and learned throughout his life journey. Conversion is one of the values of Franciscan tradition!

Like Francis, you may receive inspiration or a call from God in prayer. Moving from the idea of discernment to actually living into it requires motivation to discover its true meaning. For example, feeling called to religious life offers much to explore throughout religious communities: evangelical, apostolic or monastic orders, Franciscan, Dominican, Benedictine spirituality (among others), geographical locations and ministerial opportunities. Simultaneously delving into your own gifts and talents helps to discover where you feel a connection. The opinions of family and friends also provide fodder for reflection. Each new discovery leads to next steps and bigger questions. 

No matter where discernment takes you, carry today’s Gospel acclamation, Psalm 95:8, as you journey forth: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” God will be with you each step of the journey to guide, to listen and to offer continual inspiration, no matter where the exploration leads.  

Are you willing to listen and explore?

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link,, and join the conversation.

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