Monday, 30 July 2012

I'm back!

So I am back from my live-in at St. Cecilia's. St. C's is wonderful. I love the community, I love the Office, I love the Latin, I love the work, I love everything about it. Their whole life just fit me like a glove. It was different to how I expected, in the most wonderful way because it was just so amazing. But then again I'm not really sure how I expected it to be. The sisters are all wonderful, though I didn't get to really meet all of them. The novitiate are just fabulous - Mother Mistress and Mother Zelatrix and amazing. They have two juniors, one made her first vows not long before my arrival, and a brand-new postulant who has only been there six weeks. The postulant had actually read my blog and send me an email but we expected to just miss meeting each other since she wasn't supposed to enter for another few months but ended up coming early so it was fantastic to meet her. Anyone who thinks nuns are unhappy should be sent straight to St. C's - their joy just shines out of them. At recreation we're always laughing right up to the bell for the next Office! There were times when I was walking down the cloister to Compline still giggling to myself. And the silence! Oh the silence. I never thought of it as silence but more as quiet, a beautiful calm stillness. The Great Silence lasts until Mass so you get a wonderful few hours in the morning of just quiet, punctuated only by the Office. And the lessons were always so interesting, even in just the short while I learnt so much. I loved the host-making, but I was surprised I actually liked gardening a lot and I'm well known for claiming an allergy to nature of all kinds. And of course I wasn't exempt from having to clean! But even that could be enjoyable if you took the right attitude to it. 

One of my most profound moments there was one Sunday at recreation. I sat next to one of the older sisters, a very sweet lady I became very fond of. The sister on the other side of her said "Tell Emily how long you've been here." The elderly sister looked at me and said "I've been here for 63 years." And then she paused and after a moment she said to me, with a fierce determination in her little voice, "And you know what, I haven't regretted a second." In this sweet little elderly sister, with the quiet gentle voice, she said this with such passion and determination, it was incredible. 

Mother Mistress and Mother Abbess want me to go back for a second visit, hopefully in January. At first I was a bit cautious about it, I was worried this was a round-about way of saying "no". But MM assured me it's good and that most people make several visits, especially since I've got a year of university left it would be good to make another visit just to be sure I still feel it's the right place. But I could be looking at an entrance in about September 2013! 

I'll write more fully about it soon, at the moment I'm lacking a computer so this is being posted from an iPod touch and it's difficult to write with. 

Saturday, 28 July 2012


There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church - which is, of course, quite a different thing. 

          Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

I know it'll have been a while since this happened when this goes up but I was so excited to hear that Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been declared Venerable. He is seriously like awesome. I watch his shows on EWTN and he is actually like the coolest person ever. So yeah, I am so totally excited about him being declared Venerable and hopefully soon he will be officially a Saint. 

Venerable Fulton Sheen, pray for us! 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Litany of God the Father

This is a litany I composed in honour of God the Father. It's not very long, since I really lack the creativity to write anything longer. The intention here is that the seven verses are representative of the seven days of creation, which is why the seventh verse representing the day where God rested is different from the other verses. Similarly, each verse has seven lines, with the last line being different to form the "rest". 

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

Father most high, thanks to You.
Father most majestic, thanks to You.
Father most glorious, thanks to You.
Father most almighty, thanks to You.
Father most wondrous, thanks to You.
Father most exalted, thanks to You.
Thanks to you, oh God our Father.

Creator of all things, glory to You.
Lord of heaven and earth, glory to You.
Author of life, glory to You.
King of angels, glory to You.
Lord God of Hosts, glory to You.
Ruler of all men, glory to You.
Glory to You, oh God our Father.

Father most powerful, praise to You.
Father most omnipotent, praise to You.
Father most holy, praise to You.
Father most righteous, praise to You.
Father most just, praise to You.
Father most honourable, praise to You.
Praise to You, oh God our Father.

Refuge of the oppressed, grant us peace.
Shelter of the persecuted, grant us peace.
Healer of the sick, grant us peace.
Saviour of the penitent, grant us peace.
Comforter of the desolate, grant us peace.
Relief of the needy, grant us peace.
Grant us peace, oh God our Father.

Father most gracious, have mercy on us.
Father most nurturing, have mercy on us.
Father most living, haver mercy on us.
Father most generous, have mercy on us.
Father most kind, have mercy on us.
Father most forgiving, have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, oh God our Father.

Light of nations, hear our prayers.
Shepherd of men, hear our prayers.
King of kings, hear our prayers.
Bearer of truth, hear our prayers.
God of Israel, hear our prayers.
Master of creation, hear our prayers.
Hear our prayers, oh God our Father

Thanks to You, oh God our Father.
Glory to You, oh God our Father.
Praise to You, oh God our Father.
Grant us peace, oh God our Father.
Have mercy on us, oh God our Father.
Hear our prayers, oh God our Father.
Forsake us not, oh God our Father.

Oh God our Father, to You is due all praise, worship and glory. May we glorify You with every deed, actions and thought, May Your will be done in us and in all mankind. For those times when we fail to give you due glory and fail to follow Your divine will, we profess our deepest sorrow and regret and beg for mercy and forgiveness. May all the heavens and earth eternally give you praise and thanks. Amen.

NB: I'm not particularly talented at things like this so please be charitable!

Friday, 20 July 2012


"Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it." St. Augustine

I've mentioned before I have a great love of Eucharistic Adoration. The very first time I went to Adoration was at St. Peter's in Rome. I had heard about Adoration when I was in RCIA but my parish didn't offer it and I never sought it anywhere else. I suppose you don't miss what you've never had. After my first year of university my family and I went on vacation to Rome. They were more interested in the pizza and the old Roman stuff but I was into the churches. I love the churches in mainland Europe, they're all so beautiful and elaborate. And all for the glory of God! It's amazing. 
"Eucharistic worship is not so much worship of the inaccessible transcendence as worship of the divine condescension, and it is also the merciful and redeeming transformation of the world in the human heart," Bl. Pope John Paul II

England doesn't have the same culture because Catholicism isn't as prevalent and was historically oppressed so a lot of the great beauty was lost. That is not to say there aren't beautiful churches in England, they just tend not to be as ornate as those in Europe. So Rome was like paradise for me, I insisted in going into practically every church I came across. I was so excited to go to the Vatican City especially, and to go to St. Peter's. After all, St. Peter's is probably the most famous church in the world.
"O loving, tender Word of God, You tell me: ‘I have marked the path and opened the gate with My Blood; do not be negligent in following it, but take the same road which I, eternal Truth, have traced out with My Blood.’ Arise, my soul, and follow your Redeemer, for no one can go to the Father but by Him. O sweet Christ, Christ-Love, You are the way, and the door through which we must enter in order to reach the Father." St. Catherine of Siena

St. Peter's is amazing. It's possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. I was in complete awe, I was transfixed by it all. Just outside the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is a little sign telling people that the chapel is only for prayer, to separate it from the rest of the basilica. I remember thinking how much I wanted to be in that chapel. It's funny, even though I said you can't miss what you've never had I knew I wanted to be in that chapel. I sensed something there that moved me. 

"If we could comprehend all the good things contained in Holy Communion, nothing more would be wanting to content the heart of man. The miser would run no more after his treasures, or the ambitious after glory; each would shake off the dust of the earth, leave the world, and fly away towards heaven," St. John Vianney

From there on in I was hooked. I loved it, I couldn't wait to spend more and more time in Adoration. It strengthened my prayer, both when I was in Adoration and in the rest of my life. When I realised that my parish at university had Adoration every Friday I was ecstatic. There's the quiet and peace you normally get from praying in the cathedral but the added presence of the Lord just fills the whole cathedral. Even where from the entrance you can't see Him, you know He is there. 
"...In this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood." St. Francis of Assisi 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Mass at St. Cecilia's Abbey

Since I won't be able to post during my live-in, I've got some posts scheduled for the time I'm away since I wouldn't want the blog to just lie dormant for three weeks. 

If I've managed to somehow time this correctly, then I will be at Mass when this goes up on the blog. And this is where I will be - the church at St. Cecilia's! When I was there for my visit I went to Mass and it was so beautiful. St. Cecilia's have the Ordinary Form Mass but in Latin, except for the readings which are in English. 

You are all in my prayers and please keep me in yours. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Past self

Last week, I went clubbing. I know, it probably sounds very strange. It was a celebration for the 21st birthday of one of my close friends, who I also live with. At that point I don't think I'd been out like that since the beginning of the academic year. I don't like clubs and I never have done, but for my friend I was willing to put that aside and go out. It was okay in the end because since term has ended and most people have gone home for the summer it was pretty empty. My friends were pretty much the only people there, so it was much better than I expected it to be because one of the things I hate is all the crowded people.

Of course, I behaved myself. I drank but not too much, my skirt wasn't too short and I just generally behaved myself. But I was reminded there of a person I used to be, a person I once was in that very same nightclub. That was when I drank far too much and my skirt was far too short and I most certainly did not behave myself. It was a long time ago but I'd on some level forgotten being that person. I wasn't only reminded of what I was like all that time ago, but how far I've come and changed since then.

I had a good night for my friend's birthday, and I genuinely enjoyed myself - aside from being in pain from my high-heels. But it reminded me that I never want to be the person I used to be again.

Monday, 2 July 2012

It's been a weird day.

Today really has been a very weird day.

I'm in the process of moving house. I've moved into my new place but I've still got work to do over at my old place before I hand back the keys. I spend part of the afternoon there cleaning until I had to come back to my new place and help bake a birthday cake for one of my new housemates. In my new place I've barely unpacked, since I finished late last night and just couldn't be bothered. But I have unpacked one thing - my statue of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. I've strategically placed her on my bookcase so that anyone looking into my room from the outside can't help but see her. Earlier I saw my friend notice her. She didn't say anything, she just looked at it, but Our Lady is watching there and who knows, maybe my little statue will be a witness to someone if they keep seeing it. But all round I'm super happy to be in my new house, I love the people I'm living with and I already feel at home here. It's a little further from my parish than before but a little walk won't hurt me.

But something super weird happened today at Mass that happened before once. The first occasion must have been a few months ago since I haven't been at my home parish in a while. It was a Sunday Mass and I went up to receive the Eucharist, nothing unusual there. Went up to the priest, bowed, "the Body of Christ", "Amen", received. Y'all know the drill. Went up to the EMHC who was holding the chalice, bowed . . . silence. She didn't say "the Blood of Christ", just shook her head at me and pulled the chalice closer to her. I was baffled, since it had been a gap since the last recipient so she'd have had time to notice if the chalice was empty. No, this was purely in response to me. I just kind of looked at her, I was so shocked. I just kind of went "Amen?" wondering if she'd said it while I was bowing or something and I'd missed it. She just looked at me funny and reluctantly said "the Blood of Christ" and passed me the chalice. Then for the next recipients, she was normal as far as I could see. I tried not to think anything of it but I was really shocked and quite upset by the whole thing. I just tried to let it pass as a one time thing and to be honest I'd forgotten about it. 

But then I was back at my home parish this week for the first time in a while and the same thing happened again, with this same woman! I received His Body as normal and then went up to the EMHC, bowed, and she did the whole take-the-chalice-away and shake her head deal. I couldn't believe this was happening a second time! I didn't know what to do, I just looked at her with this kind of "hello?" expression because well, I wanted to receive His Blood! What else would I have been doing standing there? She asked me something but I couldn't hear her properly over the music (we were right next to it) so I just nodded and she conceded and let me receive. I watched her when I went back to my pew and she didn't do this to anyone else. I found it difficult to focus on my prayers and the rest of the Mass because I was so distracted and I've found it difficult to focus on my Sunday prayers and spiritual things because I'm so caught up in this. 

The only thing I can think of is that I wear a headcovering, the first time probably a silk scarf in a triangle like a mantilla and this time just a normal scarf over my head with the ends over my shoulders, but then she wears a hat (though I'm not sure if that's just a fashion thing or a covering thing, who knows). I've been really upset by this happening, not once but twice now! I'm trying to think as charitably as I can about it and not be angry but I've been really hurt by this. I'm concerned about who else this woman has been refusing Communion to because they may not have said. It is absolutely mortifying, I am not exaggerating, so I wouldn't be surprised if other people had the same experience and are just keeping quiet. I have been genuinely really hurt by this whole thing and it's really upset me. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it now and I'm kind of feeling scared to receive Communion now because I'm scared of being rejected again. 

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it. I posted about it on Phatmass and the general consensus seems to be I should speak to the woman and speak to my priest. I'm really scared to speak to this woman, but at the same time I do kind of feel I should speak to her before I speak to Father. I may go into the city tomorrow, I have to go to the doctor anyway, and see if I can speak to the priest there. I know Father Philip quite well, he's helped me with contacting St. Cecilia's in the past, and so I could get advice from him without going to Father S yet. I'm kinda bummed about this whole thing so hopefully Father P will be able to help me out with what to do.