Monday, 30 January 2012

My Retreat

As promised, a post on my retreat.

I got to Saint Cecilia's on Friday afternoon. Honestly, at that stage I was feeling a bit down and I kind of expected to leave and still just be lost. That evening, I didn't really do much. The guest-mistress, Sister Clare, gave me a few books to take a look at, one on the Solesmes Congregation that had been written by one of their sisters (The Spirit of Solesmes - Sr Mary David Totah, OSB) and another book on monastic life (The Silent Life - Thomas Merton). I spent the evening mostly in my room of the guest house, reading and napping (I was exhausted).

The next morning, I went to Mass. They sing the psalms of Terce with the Mass so I got to hear that as well. They use the Novus Ordo but in Latin (except for the readings) which I was so excited to hear since I do love Latin but I prefer the form of the Novus Ordo and obviously that's quite a rare combination so it was a great experience. I absolutely loved it, it was so beautiful. I'd listened to their Gregorian Chant on their website (so can you if you click here) and it's even more beautiful in real life, I was totally taken aback by it. After Mass, Sister Clare came to the guest house and I had a chat with her about their life and my interest in joining them. She asked if I wanted to speak to the novice mistress and I said yes so she told me I should come to None and then I would meet with the Novice Mistress afterwards. None was again beautiful, the way they sing is incredible. Afterwards a woman came and led me to one of the parlour rooms and I met with the novice mistress, Sister Mary David. She was lovely and she was very helpful. Bizarrely, she is a friend of one of my mother's old work colleagues. I know the family very well, they are very devout Catholics and Sister Mary David said they've even been to the abbey to see her. It was so funny to find that we had acquaintances in common.

I left my meeting with Sr Mary David thinking 'this is it'. The feeling had grown in the time I'd spent there and I just had this overwhelming sense telling me 'this is where God wants me to be'. I can't even describe it, I can only say it came from God. Their liturgy is perfect for me, I love the Gregorian Chant, it just felt so right and so perfect. I was kneeling in my pew at None, sitting right at the front so I could look down the transept at the nuns (guests sit in the transept, the nuns are in the nave) and just thinking more than ever that I belong on the other side of that grille. My next stage would be to spend about 3 or 4 weeks having a live-in so I could truly experience their life. If I could, I'd honestly do it tomorrow but I realise I do also have to be realistic and sadly that probably won't happen until after I finish university. But I know now where I want to serve God with and for the whole of my life!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Another Update

Exactly a month ago, I posted that I had reached 100 views. I can now happily say I have now passed 2000! I've had almost 1000 views this month, I can't believe it! I find it quite interesting to look at the stats of my blog and it's amazing how I'm getting views from countries I've never been too and from web browsers I've never heard of (IceWeasel?).

I swear I will post about my retreat, I've just had a crazy day and never managed to find a moment to write about it as fully as I want to.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


I'm keeping this short and sweet since I have to go to sleep soon if I'm going to be up for Mass.

I think I've found the community I'm called to.

That's about all I'll say right now.

I will post more fully tomorrow.

Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians and namesake of the abbey, you were martyred for your love for Christ. Pray for us that we may find the same strength of faith and deepness of love as you had and that we too may sing in our hearts a song of joy and love to Christ. 

Thursday, 26 January 2012


So I'm of on my retreat tomorrow. I haven't been posting much recently, I had exams and then just wanted some time to relax before the next semester but strangely relaxing has kept me incredibly busy!

Do not worry, you will not be completely without my lovely postings (haha). I do have something scheduled (assuming it works) so that should come up sometime on Saturday. And on Monday I will be on to my new semester and back to blogger.

God Bless!

Ora Pro Nobis

My friend's mother is suffering from cancer and has taken a turn for the worse. Please keep her in your prayers. 
Dear Jesus, Divine Physician and Healer of the Sick, we turn to You in this time of illness. O dearest comforter of the troubled, alleviate our worry and sorrow with Your gentle love, and grant us the grace and strength to accept this burden.
Dear God, we place our worries in Your hands. We place our sick under Your care and humbly ask that You restore Your servant to health again.
Above all, grant us the grace to acknowledge Your holy will and know that whatsoever You do, You do for the love of us. Amen.

Grant we beseech Thee, O God, Our Lord, that these thy servants may enjoy enduring health of mind and body; and that, through the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, they may be freed from present sorrow and possess eternal joy, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Father, your Son accepted our sufferings to teach us the virtue of patience in human illness. Hear the prayers we offer for our sick brothers and sisters. May all who suffer pain, illness or disease realize that they are chosen to be saints, and know that they are joined to Christ in his suffering for the salvation of the world, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.   

Almighty and Eternal God, the everlasting Health of them that believe: hear us for Thy sick servant, for whom we implore the aid of Thy pitying mercy, that, with his (her) bodily health restored, he (she) may give thanks to Thee in Thy Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Peregrine, pray for us.

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty," "The Wonder Worker" because of the numerous miracles which you obtained from God for those who have turned to you in their need. For so many years, you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being. You turned to God when the power of human beings could do no more, and you were favoured with the vision of Jesus coming down from His cross to heal your affliction. I now ask God to heal these sick persons whom I entrust to you. Aided by your powerful intercession, I shall sing with Mary a hymn of gratitude to God for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Musings on a New Parish

Since I came to university I've attended the same parish, namely the city Cathedral.  In my old house that was easy because it was only 15 minutes away but now I'm about 35 minutes away. Adding in time to spend in prayer before and after Mass, it was taking almost three hours in total every Sunday. And if it was the only parish I could go to then I'd keep going but I realised that there's another parish that is less than 5 minutes from my house. I went to Mass there for the first time today and the service was slightly long but it still meant that I was home in about an hour and a half. It pretty much cut the time in half because I'm not having to travel so far to get there.

I'd known about the parish for a while but I'd always put off going there. The parish I attend when I am with my family has left me cautious of new parishes because I really don't like it there. I don't know why, there's nothing actually wrong with it as such but I just don't feel right there. I don't find it spiritually fulfilling being there and so I tend to be cautious of having the same problem when I go to new parishes. But I was really pleasantly surprised by this parish. I felt very at home there and it was fantastic. The priest was very warm and friendly, in his homily he had that perfect balance of presenting a serious message but still being accessible and easy to listen to. It wasn't a short homily but it was easy to pay attention to. I meant to introduce myself to the priest but he was meeting with the parents of the children beginning preparation for their first Holy Communion so I didn't get the chance. Next week I'll be at St Cecilia's but I think I will start going there on Sundays. I can still go to the Cathedral during the week, that's more convenient for Daily Mass with my class schedule but for Sunday's the new parish is just going to be so much easier. I have so much work this semester and even just that hour and a half I save from not having to go so far is invaluable.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Feast Day of Saint Agnes

Since today is the feast day of Saint Agnes, my all-time favourite saint, I decided to dedicate a post to her. I have already done one before but well I don't care! 

Foster-sister of Saint Emerentiana. At age 12 or 13 Agnes was ordered to sacrifice to pagan gods and lose her virginity by rape. She was taken to a Roman temple to Minerva (Athena), and when led to the altar, she made the Sign of the Cross. She was threatened, then tortured when she refused to turn against God. Several young men presented themselves, offering to marry her, whether from lust or pity is not known. She said that to do so would be an insult to her heavenly Spouse, that she would keep her consecrated virginity intact, accept death, and see Christ. Martyr. Mentioned in first Eucharistic prayer. On her feast day two lambs are blessed at her church in RomeItaly and then their wool is woven into the palliums (bands of white wool) which the pope confers on archbishops as symbol of their jurisdiction.

O glorious St. Agnes, you served God in humility and confidence on earth and are now in the enjoyment of His beatific Vision in heaven because you persevered till death and gained the crown of eternal life. Remember now the dangers that surround me in the vale of tears, and intercede for me in my needs and troubles. Amen. 

St. Agnes, although you were only a child, you believed that Jesus was always with you; help us to remember that he is also with us, and to remain true to his presence.
St. Agnes, you refused to give up your faith; help us to be proud of our faith, to love it, to be strong in it, and to give witness to it daily.
St. Agnes, patron saint of children, watch over the children of the world; keep them safe from harm; be with them in their hour of need; and always pray for them.

Let us gain courage for our own battle 
by honouring the martyrdom of the glorious virgin Agnes. 
St. Agnes, vessel of honour, 
flower of unfading fragrance, 
beloved of the choirs of Angels, 
you are an example to the worth of virtue and chastity. 
O you who wear a Martyr's palm 
and a virgin's wreath, 
pray for us that, 
though unworthy of a special crown, 
we may have our names written in the list of Saints. Alleluia. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

Change of Heart

As misleading as the title of this post might be, I have not changed my mind about discerning religious life. The change of heart is my decision not to go down the post-university path I had intended. I was planning to take a year out, get some relevant experience and then apply for a Masters degree and start that then in 2013. I was having some skepticism about this plan even before religious life crossed my mind. I planned to get married and then give up working to raise my children. I never cared about a career, I cared about being a good mother and a good wife and for me not working was the best way I could do that. Getting another unnecessary degree that would just incur more debt for me was really starting to seem like a dumb idea. I really thought about this last summer and I had basically decided I didn't want to do the Masters but I felt so pressured that I couldn't stand up and say that. My dream was to go to embroidery school. Sewing brings me a joy that academia just doesn't. I felt this was better for my future plans as well because sewing was something I could potentially earn money with, selling my work, but was still compatible with being a stay at home mother. And practicalities aside, I love sewing. I hate academics, so going back and doing a Masters just seems horrendous. I only just managed to convince myself to come back for my third year at all and that was only with the thought that it was only the last year and then I could leave and forget about it all.

For a few months I've been seeing one of my university counsellors. My problems aren't major, I just needed help. It's been difficult and dragged up a lot of stuff I don't like thinking about or talking about but it's helped me so much. I can feel it in the way I deal with things emotionally that I've changed in a really positive way. I've only got a few weeks left, the service can only run for eight weeks of sessions at a time, but at my last session I uncovered something I've never talked about before. I realised how much of my life has been spent jumping through hoops, trying to do what I thought was expected of me. I've spent my life trying to be the person my parents want me to be but that's not me. I've gotten to the stage where I can't be that person anymore. I've spent my life being the good daughter, I was never a crazy teenager, I never caused trouble, I got good grades and I went to church every Sunday. I was a model child, because I felt so pressured to be that person. My parent's love and affection was always conditional. Especially my mother, who treats you as if you are poisonous if you do something wrong or just disagree with her. But I can't keep trying to live up to this person my parents want me to be because that's not who I am and who I want to be. I can't live my life jumping through the hoops because those things aren't necessarily what I want. My mother told me that I wanted religious life to escape from life. Doing a Masters was a way of escaping life. It was a way of avoiding leaving university and having to go into the world where the hoops aren't as clear so as simply achievable. It was about avoidance and I always knew that.

People often say that you find yourself in university. I can't say I'm finding myself but I've found that I don't want to be the person I have been or the person I am on the road to becoming. I need to find who I am in myself, without those other ties holding me back. And I'm going to be honest, I'm terrified of that. I'm terrified of where it might lead me and I'm terrified of the reaction I will get to suddenly rebelling after twenty years of quiet submission. I've spent my life desperately trying to please people and being terrified of failing them. Again, it's like if I fail them then they won't love me. I suppose this is why I always had such difficulty with Confession, after failing I couldn't accept that God's love was still there because I couldn't grasp that love could be unconditional. (I feel like I'm really bashing on my parents here and I'm sure they do love me unconditionally but they do express love on a conditional basis.) I have this hideous fear of failure and my standards end up being set so high that I set myself up for it. I'm realising that this is a journey that I have to go down, no matter how scared I am. I have to do it for myself and not for anyone else. Then if I enter religious life or marry then I will know that it is truly my own choice and my own desire and I will finally be truly free.

This has actually been a really emotional post for me to write. But it's also very therapeutic. Writing about it may just help me eventually be able to face my fears.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

My Visit To Carmel

As I sat on the train to London to get to Carmel, I decided to blog as I went along my journey. Lacking in an internet connection at the time I can only post it now but these are my musings as I went to the way to Carmel.


I'm writing this as I sit on the train heading for Notting Hill. This morning I was terrified. All of a sudden everything was very real and I had this moment where I wondered 'what on earth and I doing?' But I got out of bed and got ready and when it was time I left the house and got on the train and now here I am. I've got about an hour and a half left of my journey.

It doesn't really feel real. I don't quite feel like it's really happening. I've got about half an hour left now. I suppose it'll hit me when I get there. I've got the instructions that Sister gave me so hopefully I'll find it without too much trouble.

I'm starting to feel excited now. I've got 15 minutes left now and I can't believe that I'm almost there. My meeting isn't for another hour but I need to top up my Oyster card* and and then navigate the tube. I did look up the journey and it's not too bad, just long. Anyway, low battery so that's it until I get home.

* For non-Londoners, it's a prepaid card that you use to travel on public transport in London.


Ever making a good first impression, I was late. I'd set my journey up so that I arrived in London 45 minutes before I my appointment, thinking that would be plenty of time but I didn't get to the station by the monastery until it was already the time of my appointment. And then the areas is just such a maze and there are three roads all with the same name in a row and I got the wrong one to start with. Eventually I found the right road and I made it about fifteen/twenty minutes after my appointment had been scheduled. They were very understanding, London can be so difficult to get through sometimes.

It was really lovely speaking with Sister. A really nice part of it was that this is the community my friend entered last week so it was nice to hear that she is settling in well as a postulant and that she is happy there. Sister said that if I go back for further discernment later on I can meet her, it was just too soon after her entrance at the moment which I agree it wouldn't have been really appropriate at this stage.

One thing I really realised was that it didn't feel as strange or uncomfortable. As I was going there I didn't feel as nervous as I expected. It didn't feel weird, it felt natural and that was actually quite a shock to me but I think is a really good sign. If I'd gone through the door and felt the urge to run away then that would be worrying! When I first got to the room Sister wasn't there yet, I assume it was the extern Sister who showed me in told me Sister would be there in a minute. As I waited for Sister to arrive I was looking at the grill and thinking that I was on the wrong side of it. It was two rooms, one on the cloister side and the other on the worldly side and the grill was like a wide window between the rooms. I was surprised that Sister actually opened the grill but it was nice.

It's made me even more excited for my visit to St. Cecilia's. I've kind of got an idea now of what I want to know about and once I've been to St. Cecilia's I'll be able to make those comparisons between the two communities much better.

Monday, 16 January 2012


I went to Mass yesterday evening I've been feeling a lot better. The wonder of the sacraments! It's still not quite all there, God doesn't feel as close as He has in the past but I don't feel that vast separation that I did before. He is still distant but more reachable and I have more hope than I did before. I'm realising that there will be times in my life, religious or otherwise, where I feel this distance from God. There will always be ups and downs in my spiritual life and for me I think this is the first 'down' where I haven't completely lost hope. So that on its own is a huge step for me and I feel very appreciative of that. It helps me to realise that even in times of spiritual dryness there is hope and that there are always opportunities for learning and growth. I've realised that even though it can be difficult, the experience is always what you make of it and if you are open to learning from the experience then you can always make it a positive experience. 

I haven't really posted that much about discernment recently, which is funny considered this is a discernment blog. I'm going to Carmel in a few days, just for a meeting with the Prioress and I'm quite excited about that because it'll be my first contact with any religious community in hopes of discerning so that's exciting on it's own. I'm feeling less of a draw to Carmel recently and more back towards St. Cecilia's, which was the first community I felt drawn to. I'm retreating there in a few weeks, sadly only for two days since I had to shorten it due to my new semester timetable. I'd also put Tyburn Convent on hold but they replied to my letter and sent me a load of stuff about them and now I'm feeling kind of stuck in the middle again. Hopefully my visits to Carmel and St. Cecilia's will help this, I know there is only so much I can think about and pray about and a huge part will be that feeling I get when I first make contact and as I get to know the community. I don't have the time to retreat at Tyburn before my new semester starts but I'm going to go with these two meetings I've got and if those don't feel right then Tyburn may be put back on the table, so to speak. I might put it back anyway to be honest. I suppose it may depend on how I feel about Carmel and St. Cecilia's. Obviously if one of them feels so completely right then the others will again be off the table. 

It's very strange thinking about visiting a community and thinking that this place may be my future home, these women may one day be my sisters and one day I may be making my solemn vows and binding myself to that community for ever. In some ways it feels very invasive because I feel like these communities have such a special bond and I'm coming as a stranger to them and asking to be considered to join them. Obviously that's the only way it can work but it does make it feel quite odd to me. I hope that as I find the community God is calling me that sense of awkwardness will go away. I am by nature quite a nervous person around new people, especially new groups of people and I do feel that same sense even when I'm around people who are established groups of friends and I'm new. I expect these communities will be expecting me to be nervous and they will have had the same experience as I am going through now. That is very reassuring and that makes me feel better about those nerves that go with the first contact. 

But overall I'm really excited to start this journey, with myself, God and my hopeful future community. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012


I haven't posted for a while aside from the online retreat I was doing. I had deadlines recently and so that cut into my blogging time.

The last week has been quite difficult for me. Over last weekend, I found out that a friend of my sister's had committed suicide. It wasn't a friend I knew but for some reason it affected me very deeply and I was really upset by it. Then on Monday a friend of mine entered Carmel, which on the one hand was lovely to hear about and was very exciting for all of us who knew her but but at the same time it was very sad and very emotional because she is very much missed and though I know it is fantastic to hear it is still very sad that she is no longer such a part of our lives are she was. It was both very exciting and very sad which is always a difficult position to be in. And then of course my deadlines, which is always a stressful time in itself so it has not been the easiest week for me.

I don't know if this is an effect of having been at home but I feel very spiritually empty at the moment. I don't find my home parish very spiritually fulfilling and with the difficulties I had with my vocation and my family it was a very trying time. But either way recently I've been feeling very far from God. Not in the sense that He is absent entirely but more of a sense that He is simply far away. It makes the whole discernment process very strange because though I still feel the draw to religious life it's a very different kind of draw. I'm hoping that as I start going to Daily Mass and Adoration more often again that things will improve. I know many saints experienced times of spiritual dryness and that does encourage me but it is still a difficult time. I went to the church today and I spent some time just standing before the tabernacle and I started crying because I felt so lost. I suppose it's even more frustrating because God doesn't feel absent but just far away and that is more frustrating because God is there but I just can't seem to access Him.

Day 8

What particularly stands out for you from these days?

One of the biggest things that stood out for me was reflecting on the sacrifices and blessings of religious life. 

Write or talk to God about what has stood out for you and about what you are feeling now.

Reflecting on the sacrifices that I would have to make to enter religious life made me realise how many distractions I have in my life but it also helped me appreciate the blessings of religious life. I realise how many things in my life are distracting me from Your service and how much I need to change those things in my life, whether I live as a religious or in the world. Even though thinking of the sacrifices was difficult and sad, reflecting on the blessings of religious life made me realise how much I desire that life and those blessings and that even though the sacrifices will be difficult I long to live that life of fuller and more dedicated service to You. 

Friday, 13 January 2012

Day 7

What would be the sacrifices that would touch you most deeply, either those from the list to the left or others not mentioned?Write or talk to God about these.

I know that for me the hardest sacrifice would be my things that I hold sentimental. I have been very blessed in my life and have seen more of the world in my 20 years than many people will in a lifetime. I have had experiences that many scarcely dream of and I have possessions that I gained from those parts of my life and I do hold them very dear to me. They are wonderful, irreplaceable objects that take me back to those wonderful experiences. There are things I have which I am incredibly lucky to have and giving those things up would be very painful for me. I am very attached to them and those memories that I then associate with them. I do overly attach to possessions and that is something I am working on but I am still saddened by the thought of giving up my sentimental objects. 

What do you imagine would be special blessings for you in religious life?Write or talk to God about these.

For me the greatest blessing of religious life would be the prayer. To be able to have a quiet, prayerful life would be wondrous. Being able to spend time truly in solitude with the Lord is a wonderful thing but being able to come together with the community and praise the Lord together is also a great blessing and religious life provides both those aspects of prayer. Another blessing would be that lack of distractions that comes from every day life. To be free of the gossip, of the frivolity, the expectations of a culture that has lost God. I long to be able to live with others and serve the Lord together without interruption and without interference. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Day 6

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant  does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last..." [John 15:12-16]

What drew you or appealed to you about the quotation you chose?

It appeals to me because I feel that Christian service comes from a place of love, love for God and love for our fellow man. It is a love of sacrifice for those you love. I was also drawn to that idea of Jesus being not just our master but our friend, because He has revealed all to us. 

Write the word or words that stood out for you. 

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." And Christ did just that, He laid down His life for us, His servants and His friends. 

Talk to God, or write a letter to God about what you have written. 

Jesus, You said to your disciples that love was the greatest commandment of them all and all the other commandments come from it. When I think of the great love You had for us, the love that led You to Your passion and death, I am overwhelmed by such a deep, pure, selfless love. Though we love You we are also tainted by sin and weakness and cannot fully love as You do. But Lord I trust that you hold us up in our weaknesses and make our offerings of love to You pure where we cannot. 

Monday, 9 January 2012

Litany of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. 
Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Mother of the Crucified, pray for us.
Sorrowful Mother, pray for us.
Mournful Mother, pray for us.
Sighing Mother, pray for us.
Afflicted Mother, pray for us.
Forsaken Mother, pray for us.
Desolate Mother, pray for us.
Mother most sad, pray for us.
Mother set around with anguish, pray for us.
Mother overwhelmed by grief, pray for us.
Mother transfixed by a sword, pray for us.
Mother crucified in thy heart, pray for us.
Mother bereaved of thy Son, pray for us.
Sighing Dove, pray for us.
Mother of Dolors, pray for us.
Fount of tears, pray for us.
Sea of bitterness, pray for us.
Field of tribulation, pray for us.
Mass of suffering, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Rock of constancy, pray for us.
Remedy in perplexity, pray for us.
Joy of the afflicted, pray for us.
Ark of the desolate, pray for us.
Refuge of the abandoned, pray for us.
Shield of the oppressed, pray for us.
Conqueror of the incredulous, pray for us.
Solace of the wretched, pray for us.
Medicine of the sick, pray for us.
Help of the faint, pray for us.
Strength of the weak, pray for us.
Protectress of those who fight, pray for us.
Haven of the shipwrecked, pray for us.
Calmer of tempests, pray for us.
Companion of the sorrowful, pray for us.
Retreat of those who groan, pray for us.
Terror of the treacherous, pray for us.
Standard-bearer of the Martyrs, pray for us.
Treasure of the Faithful, pray for us.
Light of Confessors, pray for us.
Pearl of Virgins, pray for us.
Comfort of Widows, pray for us.
Joy of all Saints, pray for us.
Queen of thy Servants, pray for us.
Holy Mary, who alone art unexampled, pray for us.

Pray for us, most Sorrowful Virgin, That we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray, --- O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of grief pierced through the most sweet soul of Thy glorious Blessed Virgin Mother Mary: grant that we, who celebrate the memory of her Seven Sorrows, may obtain the happy effect of Thy Passion, Who lives and reigns world without end, 

From EWTN - Litany of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows

Day 5

What is your favourite way of praying?

I have a particular fondness for litanies. I don't know why, perhaps it is just the format of them, but I find though I am saying and feeling the words they go deeper than that and it's not just those words that I'm praying but something much deeper but without words. They take on new life when I pray them and I love the simplicity of them. 

Pray for us, most sorrowful virgin, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ [Litany of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows]

I also love praying at Eucharistic Adoration. I have a great love for the sacrament of the Eucharist (and all sacraments really!) so praying at Adoration is particularly close to my heart. I feel so close to God there. 

What is your least favourite way of praying?

Oh wow. Um. It's not my least favourite but I do struggle with it a lot and that would be the rosary. I find myself very easily distracted and I get kind of lost in the repetition and don't feel very focused. 

What are you longing for in your prayer life? Talk to God, or write a letter to God about your desires for prayer.

I long to be able to make even my simple actions in everyday life more prayerful. Mostly my mind just wanders randomly but I want to make those actions more prayerful because I feel like just thinking about nothing is wasted but if I pray then I can make that time beautiful. 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Day 4

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.Romans 8:26

What drew you or appealed to you about the quotation you chose?

I love that idea of the Spirit filling in those places where we are weak and imperfect. Though we are imperfect in our prayer the Spirit is our help and is the healer of those imperfections. Even as we pray, God is working with us and guiding us. 

Write the word or words that stood out for you.

"With sighs too deep for words." 

Ponder what you have written. Talk to God, or write a letter to God about what you have written. 

I know often in prayer I stumble and cannot find the words to say what I mean. My prayers are far from perfect but I offer them to You in the hope and confidence that You will make what is imperfect in me perfect in You. You know my heart and my soul better than I ever could, I trust that though my offerings are imperfect You know my intentions and my need for Your help and Your grace. 

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Day 3

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

Do I feel drawn to life in community? 

I do feel drawn to life in community, I have a deep desire to share that walk to holiness with others and be able to support one another on that walk. 

Am I willing and able to enter into both the joys and sorrows of community, even when community life fails to live up to the ideal?

The joys of the community would be wonderful to be a part of and to journey in. Sorrows are of course not wonderful in that way but I also feel they are an inevitable part of life. Whether in community or in family there will be sorrows but with those around you to share your sorrow with it becomes a lighter cross to bear and working through sorrows can be exceptionally joyous. 

Friday, 6 January 2012

Day 2

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. (Psalm 139:13-14)

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them..."
(Romans 12:6)

What stands out for you in the scripture passages cited [above]?  Write in the space below (or in your off-line journal) any words or phrases that particularly strike you. 

What stands out for me is the recognition of God's individual creation of us, that He has moulded and formed us as a great work of His glory and given us the gifts and talents we have to use for His service and glory and to spread His love and mercy to all those we meet. The phrase "you knit me together" particularly struck me because it really shows just how intimately God knows us and how carefully and closely He created us. He formed us entirely as who we are and we are a wonderful work of His hand. 

What are the gifts and talents you recognise in yourself?

I do recognise that I have a gift for learning and for knowledge. It's not a gift I have historically been particularly fond of or comfortable having but I am starting to acknowledge that it is a gift from God and I should try to use it for His glory.

What are the gifts you would like to have?

I would like to be more patient, even-tempered and more sensitive to the emotions of others. I do often struggle to empathise with others (people have told me I lack emotional intelligence). 

What are the gifts you feel called to share?

I feel called to share my gifts of learning and knowledge with others. If I entered religious life, I would hope to one day teach in the novitiate. If I chose to enter apostolic religious life then teaching would be the ministry I would feel most called to. As a layperson, I would want to work with children and young adults as a catechist. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Day 1

One of my fellow Phatmass-ers posted this website up just now and it looks fantastic so I thought I'd look through it. It's basically an online discernment retreat, there are eight "days" and it has some wonderful questions and reflections. It does suggest keeping your responses to the questions as a kind of discernment journal so I thought I'd post them here since this is pretty much a discernment journal. 

What would I delight in doing? What does my heart long for? 

I would love to be able to spend plenty of time in prayer and focusing on God. I would love to be able to do this in connection with others. I would delight in being able to give something to others, even if they do not realise it. My heart longs to serve God with everything. I want every moment of my days to be of service to Him. I long to be free from the things that distract me from having that complete focus on God. 

Is there a passage from the Bible that has been with you for a long time, or that keeps coming back to you?  What is it?

My favourite quote is this one: 

I gazed into the visions of the night.
And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was lead into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.
Daniel 7:13-14

I heard it for the first time at Mass and it's just stuck with me.

When do you feel closest to God?

I feel closest to God when I receive the Eucharist and attend Adoration regularly. The sacrament of the Eucharist never fails to astound me, just the great wonder of such a gift that Christ has given us. 

When does God seem the most distant?

Aside from the obvious of sin, I feel most distant from God when I am in doubt. Not of God or of faith but of myself.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

My friend is entering Carmel!

My friend Faith Cecelia is entering Carmel, she arrived at the guesthouse today and enters next week.
I ask that you keep her in your prayers as she prepares for her full entrance and as she adjusts to her new life in Christ.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows
I just had to post it because I think this is an incredibly stunning and beautiful image of the Blessed Mother. 

New Pages

I've added two new pages to my blog. The first has actually been there for a while, the second is brand-new.

First is Vocation Resources. Pretty much does what is says on the tin. So far it's a very short list of websites I've found that have good resources on vocations and discernment. Some are British, some are American. Since I really don't have the time or inclination to seek out every vocation resource out there, if you know of one that I haven't included that you think it worth sharing then please send it to me and I'll add it on.

Second is Religious Communities. Again, does what it says on the tin. I'd come up with cooler names but I'm not that creative. Basically it's a list of links to various religious orders and communities. Again, I don't have them all on there but as before send me any you feel need adding on. At the moment it is limited to UK communities but I'll add a section for non-UK communities later on.

So that's pretty much it. I've got a crazy amount of work to do before I go back to university so I don't know how much I'll be blogging.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Saint Agnes

Saint Agnes, virgin-martyr, you chose to give your life rather than allow your chastity to be tainted. May those who now seek to live a life of chastity find a most holy model in you. Pray for us who desire to live chastely that we may find the strength and grace of God to persevere and resist the temptations that this world places before us. 

Sunday, 1 January 2012


For me, my faith has always filled a hole I felt in my life without it. The times I strayed I always felt that emptiness and that loss and only my faith could fill it. As I've discerned, I feel like religious life fills another emptiness.

I think of people I know and they want big houses, money, power, sex. There was a time when I wanted all those things because I thought that was what was expected and that was what would bring me joy and fulfilment. But I've realised how empty those things are and I simply don't desire them any more. What I want is a life of service to God. I want my entire life to be His, I want my life to a beacon of Christ's light to the world. More than anything I want to do the will of God. I cannot see that life for myself in the world. I feel so sure that God's will is for me to become a nun and I feel this impossible longing to follow that. It's like nothing I've ever experienced before, it comes from somewhere so deep inside my soul. I'm only 20 but I've become tired of the world I live in. Perhaps it's because I'm young but I doubt it changes with age. I have no interest in the frivolity of gossip or partying and I don't care for the shallow and trivial pursuits others seem to find so gripping. I can't see joy of fulfilment in life as would lead it in this world.

I need more time to discern, I think time is important to determine a true vocation, but I feel so strongly that I am called to religious life. It really is something that comes from God, not from within me.