hen St. Therese of Liseux was a young girl living at home, she read about a notorious murderer who had killed three people in Paris on the night of March 1920, 1887: Henri Pranzini. The newspapers insisted on his rebellious character, saying that he showed no remorse. Everyone in town was talking about the incident, and so young Therese decided to pray for him. She wrote, “Everything led me to the belief that he would die unrepentant. I wanted at any cost to prevent him from falling into hell.” She offered prayers and sacrifices to obtain his conversion and had a Mass celebrated for him. Although she was certain that Jesus would answer her, she asked Him to give her a sign of Pranzini’s genuine conversion. “Simply for my consolation,” she said to the Lord, “because he is my first child!”
the feast day of St. Bernardine of Siena, to be very significant. Looking back, however, we can see that it was a day full of meaning. St. Bernardine was one of the greatest preachers in history, attracting enormous crowds. For more than thirty years St. Bernardine preached all over Italy and played a great part in the renewal of the Faith.
he was jubilant to read in the September 1st edition of La Croix that at the last minute before his execution, Pranzini had asked the chaplain for his crucifix which he kissed twice. Her heart began to burn with the desire to save many souls in the cloister of the monastery. “I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. . . . In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love.”
often speak of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery (now in Hanceville) as the “heart” and the Eternal Word Television Network (now in its 31st year in Irondale) as the “Voice”. Both are necessary for effective evangelization. The “heart” prepares the soil of people’s hearts to receive the seed that is cast upon it by the “voice.”
hen the Church chose patrons for her missionary activity, she made the expected choice of St. Francis Xavier, whom many consider the greatest missionary after St. Paul. But activity is not enough to bring about a conversion of hearts, which are penetrated only by love. Thus, St. Therese was chosen by the Church as co-patroness of the Church’s missionary activity. In fact, Bl. Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church on World Mission Sunday 1997.
he Vatican II document on missionary activity states: “By their prayers, works of penance, and sufferings, contemplative
am doubly grateful for the 50th Anniversary of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery because I was one of those upon whom the seed fell, which sprouted and grew because of the spousal love and prayer of the nuns. Sensing God’s invitation to me to be part of this work, I traveled to Alabama where I, too, came to know and to love Jesus.
communities have a very great importance in the conversion of souls. For it is God who sends workers into His harvest when He is asked to do so (cf. Mt. 9:38), who opens the minds of non-Christians to hear the Gospel (cf. Acts 16:14), and who makes the word of salvation fruitful in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor. 3:7). In fact, these communities are urged to found houses in mission areas” (Ad Gentes, 40). ith this background, we can thus understand why God chose a cloistered nun to found a monastery in the mission territory of Alabama and later to begin a great work of evangelization there in founding the Eternal Word Television Network. When Our Lady of the Angels Monastery was dedicated fifty years ago, on May 20, 1962, few considered May 20th,
he second reason I am grateful is because I know that EWTN’s and the friar’s work as the “voice” has borne, and continues to bear, much fruit because of the prayers and sacrifices of the good sisters, who are the “heart”. Both the heart and the voice are needed. Together, we are changing hearts and raising new voices to praise Jesus, the Eternal Word. Congratulations, dear Sisters! Ad Multos Annos! For Many More Years!
Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA, is one of the founding members of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, which was founded by Mother Angelica 25 years ago on May 2, 1987. He is the Chaplain of the Eternal Word Television Network.
On May 20, 2012 we will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. This golden jubilee year is a celebration of our contemplative missionary activity as perpetual adorers of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. This year, May 20th is also World Communication Day, which seems providential considering the unique role Mother Angelica and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery have had in evangelization. Mother Angelica remains a hidden promoter of her work. Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) continues to extend our Catholic faith across the world as the largest international media enterprise. We praise God for the tangible surplus of graces that imbues the power of prayer, sacrifice, and the contemplative life. The nuns share their commitment to intercessory prayer, which supports the entire Church in her effort to spread God’s salvific Love.
hen the Israelites committed sin, the Lord was very angry at their stubbornness of heart, and He was ready to destroy them and start over again. But Moses stood before God and asked God to give them another chance. It’s similar with our cloistered vocation. We pray for people and intercede for their prayer requests. Although we are cloistered, we can intercede for people around the world through our prayers and loving sacrifices, small or big. We are also missionaries for Christ because everything we do is for the glory of God and His Kingdom. When I am sewing either holy habits or mending, etc, I pray that many souls will be converted and come closer to God and not run away from God and His holy Will. Whatever my work is, I always try to make my petitions for saving souls around the world. I also pray that all the souls in purgatory will get to Heaven, their future home, soon. Whatever we do, we always offer to God our labor. Sometimes it’s hard because we don’t feel good, but even in the midst of our sickness, that is when our offering is more valuable than we could ever imagine. We offer out loving sacrifices in season and out of season as a missionary for Christ throughout the world, even when we stay in the same place. Sr. Mary Gabriel of the Eternal Word
believe that our hidden life of prayer and sacrifice in union with the Heart of the Savior gains many graces for souls. Missionaries go out and preach the Word, but God alone can enlighten darkened minds and open hearts to His truth and love. Missionaries sow the seed, while contemplatives prepare the soil.
"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!" St. Catherine of Siena
see myself as a small mustard seed planted in the earth, hidden under
to grow tall before Him, a spiritual tree with many branches that will shade the whole earth’s humanity, dropping many fruits and blessings on all the lands to the ends of the earth. But still I’m rooted in the earth and keep producing from many small hidden roots. My Master (Jesus) will never grow hungry or thirsty because of that small mustard seed that He Himself planted. Sr. Mary Regina of the Holy Angels
issionary Contemplative? Really? How?? On a natural level, these two words seem to contradict one another. Kind of the same as when Jesus tells us that we can only save our lives by losing them! Once again, Our Lord works outside the box of our human understanding. I know my hidden life of prayer and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament is vital to the missionary life of the Church. Just as gasoline in a car can’t be seen working but gives ‘life’ to the car, so Jesus takes my prayers and those of all cloistered religious and brings life to those laboring and working in the mission field, wherever that may be! You can’t have one without the other. St. Thérèse, co-patroness of Missionaries… pray for us! Sr. Marie Saint John of the Obedient Heart of Mary
hile the Holy Spirit led Francis to choose for himself and his followers a way of life that closely unites prayer with the proclaiming of salvation, this same Spirit directed Clare to embrace for herself and her sisters an enclosed contemplative life. It is our role to support and make fruitful the apostolic activity of the Brotherhood and of the whole Church, by our life of prayer and penance. (PCPA Constitutions 14)
Bmissionary goes together! We have eing a contemplative adorer and a
Sr. Mary Agnes of Jesus
I my Eucharistic King’s watchful eyes. He waters me with love and graces
Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbors so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, His message of life and His saving gift of the fullness of love. Pope Benedict XVI
issionaries are heroes to me. God must have used a superior kind of clay when He created those noble souls to enable them to live the heroic kind of lives they live on the mission fields. I wasn’t called to lay down my life for sheep but to rise from sleep and pray for them. You could say that while missionaries are on the front lines fighting for souls, we are here losing sleep over them. Bishop Francis X. Ford, that great missionary to China, expressed a heartfelt prayer which, with a slight change, I have adopted as my own great desire: “Please God, someday may all the countries of the world wake up early and find themselves going to six o’clock Mass.” Sr. Mary Michael of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus
the ability by our deep and permanent union within Jesus’ Heart (the deeper we go into His Heart, the more powerful we become) to pour out ‘Jesus’ on the whole world. We pour His Oil of Gladness, healing, strength, peace, joy – knowing we are so very loved, yes even unto death. Jesus is the Answer to everything, all our problems etc. Our mission is to share His goodness. We contemplatives and adorers of the Most Blessed Sacrament go around the world, and light His candle in all hearts so they can glow with his loving presence also! Sr. Marie Emmanuel of the Mother of God
Tsustaining with prayer and sacrifice the Church
he sisters have the responsibility of continually
and the whole world, especially the Holy Father, all clergy and religious, civil servants, the missions and works of the Church, parents, relatives, benefactors, all the faithful departed, and the daily intentions recommended to them. (PCPA Constitutions 17)
We are all called –each in a different way- to go and bear fruit… the friendship offered by Jesus lies in the order of salvation, it is totally gratuitous. One who has entered into a relationship of love with Jesus is committed to being a faithful and active disciple. That is what is meant by bearing ‘fruit. Blessed John Paul II
I During our community rosary I pray especially for our country t gives me joy to know I’m helping people by my prayers.
and for those suffering tragedies in the world. I pray throughout the day - during work, recreation, and rest – this is my gift to the Church. I pray my consecrated life may assist in spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Sr. Mary Francis Sharbel of the Holy Eucharist
"In our holy Constitutions, in effect, we are told that we must not be content with our own sanctification, but we must make it our business to pray for the missionaries. All those who have the care of souls should be the object of our supplication" ~ Mother Marie St. Claire
Iwe are all called to holiness and t is incredible to think that
he contemplative missionary is one who lives in Christ and is animated by His burning desire for the salvation of souls. The entire world is the missionary field of the contemplative: we have zero restrictions to our efficacy since intercessory prayer touches every soul. It is our deep union with Christ, the infinite Source of Light and Love that fashions us into conduits of grace for others. This powerful paradox astounds us: God chooses the weak to participate in the propagation of His Kingdom. With our Lady, our work is to believe, remaining with her at the foot of the Cross until the end. The potential for great holiness, which each of us carries within, is too precious to be carelessly compromised. For that reason, the contemplative missionary, by her very witness of total dedication to God, draws humanity to consider our common destiny to live with God for all eternity. This hidden but active witness ignites hope in souls who ache for happiness, peace, truth, God. What a privilege it is to daily embrace a life that softens hearts for the Gospel! - Sr. Mary Jacinta of Our Lady of Fatima
created for friendship and union with God. A contemplative is completely dedicated to seeking this communion with the Trinity by the total surrender of self through prayer, the living of the vows, and the daily sacrifices of community life, which all flow together. In seeking to follow Christ unreservedly, we are taken up into His work, His mission, and His self-offering to the Father, so explicitly realized in the Eucharist. Here is where the ‘missionary activity’ takes full force. By being joined to the one sacrifice of Christ, the nun is able to draw others to Him in prayer and through her life. St. Edith Stein describes this missionary work in this way: “The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross. From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior. This extinguishes the flames of hell. Make your heart free by the faithful fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth… Do you hear the anguish of the dying? … Does the lament of the widows and orphans distress you? You would like to be an angel of mercy and help them. Look at the Crucified. If you are nuptially bound to him by the faithful observance of your holy vows, your being is precious blood. Bound to him, you are omnipresent as he is. You cannot help here or there like the physician, the nurse, the priest. You can be at all fronts, wherever there is grief, in the power of the cross.” - Sr. Mary Paschal of the Lamb of God
"[T]he call, the reason, how you responded, the purpose, the mission – you won’t know that until you get to heaven. That’s that blind act of faith that we have to have in this life." Mother Mary Angelica