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A Right to Be Merry
A Special Condensed Audio Version

Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe
809 East Nineteenth Street
Roswell, New Mexico 88201

+Peace and Blessings
Looking toward August 2017

Our dear Friends,

Allow us to begin with what may sound like an astonishing statement: we have decided the time has come to tell you all about our private revelations here in Roswell. In this centenary year of the appearances of Our Lady at Fatima, innumerable books and articles are being written on the subject of private revelations, and by now, millions of people all over the world are familiar with the famous apparitions in the Cova da Iria, in which the children saw Our Lady, spoke to her, and heard her voice. Half a world away from Portugal and exactly one hundred years later, we ourselves have experienced a different variety of “private revelations” of Our Lady’s love. These have consisted not of extraordinary visions, locutions, or ecstasies, but simply of discovering her motherly presence everywhere. Due to the fact that we also have no secrets, nor any heavenly admonition not to reveal the goodness of God to us, we have decided to reveal all to you, our dear friends, within the margins of the newsletter could you print something which you now hold in your hands. It is with great joy that we now recount to you all the ways in which Our Lady has truly revealed her love to us throughout all the events of the past year.

Last AUGUST’s unforgettable visit of Monsignor Eduardo Chavez, the world-renowned expert on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, brought us the first revelation of Our Lady’s love — and of one remarkable priest’s love of Our Lady. Invited by our Bishop Oscar Cantú to be a guest speaker at our diocese’s second annual Eucharistic Congress, Monsignor Chavez had also graciously agreed to visit and speak to us while he was in Roswell, and this true son of Mary was almost bursting with the joy of recounting Our Lady’s desire to reveal herself as our mother. Rarely, if ever, have we met a man so aflame with filial devotion, and as he spoke animatedly on his favorite subject, his limitless energy and enthusiasm caught us all up into the wonder of Mary’s miraculous presence on Juan Diego’s humble tilma. Drawing on his many years of careful study of the image and the original Nahuatl accounts of the apparitions, he related that the translation to which we are accustomed, “Don’t be afraid. I am your mother,” would be more accurately translated as, “Don’t be afraid. I have the honor and joy to be your mother.” This first revelation was a very humbling one — that the Holy Mother of God finds joy in having children such as ourselves.

Mary’s joy in being our mother does not, however, imply that we will be either coddled or pampered. Like every good mother, she knows her children need to grow, and that in order to grow, they need to be stretched, challenged, and sometimes given a little salutary “push out of the nest,” so to speak. This second aspect of her maternal love was revealed to us in SEPTEMBER when we learned of the urgent need of our Cleveland community for sisterly help. Our response was a unanimous, heartfelt “Yes!” — although it is never easy to part with loved sisters, even temporarily. When our Sister Maria Consolata departed for Cleveland as our missionary of mercy, her physical absence also provided us with new opportunities for growth here at home, with each sister striving to “fill in” as needed — and the well-proven fact that self-giving brings joy was again revealed to us all.

Mother Abbess always holds within her heart the name of each novice-to-be until that sister’s investiture day, and that day finally arrived for our Postulant Abigail on the lovely feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, OCTOBER 7. After Abigail had joyously exchanged her festive gown for the garments of the lowly, both she and the entire community leaned forward expectantly, awaiting the great revelatory moment with bated breath: “In the future, dear Abigail, you will be known as… Sister Marie Madeleine of Christ our Hope.” Mother was entrusting our newest Poor Clare to the loving patronage of the first witness of the Resurrection, St. Mary Magdalene, and she later revealed that she had chosen Sister Madeleine’s title, “of Christ our Hope,” specifically thinking of the many desperate situations throughout the world which cry out for the hope found only in Christ. The happiness of Sister Madeleine’s clothing day renewed our own hope in Our Lady’s powerful intercession as we continued our 54-day novena of rosaries prayed for our beloved country, while our national elections drew ever nearer.

Equally hope-inspiring was the solemn conclusion of the Year of Mercy on the feast of Christ the King, NOVEMBER 27. With hearts filled with gratitude for the many graces of the special jubilee year, our sung antiphon, “Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!” (“Christ conquers! Christ reigns! Christ rules!”) amply expressed the unflagging hope we have placed in our merciful Lord and King, under whose loving dominion the whole world will at last find eternal peace. As we were also already deep into our monastic Advent, a time in which we unite ourselves spiritually with Mary’s joyous expectancy, we were all the more aware of the presence of our merciful Mother, who forever leads us to the King of Peace. We will never fail to find mercy when prostrating ourselves in humility and trust before our merciful King and his most sweet Mother.

This humble trust is best learned through extra time spent in loving adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and DECEMBER found us re-initiating our custom of a community Holy Hour for vocations, now held on the eve of the First Friday of each month. As we kneel before our Eucharistic Lord, He speaks to us in the silence of the heart, that we may in turn respond more fully to Our Lady’s injunction in the Gospel, “Do whatever he tells you.” We pray these blessed hours of adoration may bring to many young hearts a personal revelation of God’s love, allowing them to fulfill in their lives the one command which the Gospels have preserved for us as coming from Our Lady herself.

Our love of Eucharistic adoration was deepened still further in JANUARY, when Mother Abbess began a new series of chapter conferences on what Sister Lucia, one of the seers to whom Our Lady appeared, termed “the calls of Fatima”. The angel taught the children to pray, “My God, I believe, I adore…” Mother reflected first on the call to faith in our New Year’s Eve chapter, following it with a pre-Epiphany conference on the call to adoration. “Daily and hourly,” she said, “we are called to bow down in adoration before the King, to acknowledge him as our God and our all. As we adore, we open our treasures, the treasure of our heart, of our life, to offer him gifts.” Each week of the new year has found us pondering and trying to incorporate more fully into our lives another aspect of the Fatima message, and Mother’s conferences have revealed Our Lady to be a most ardent teacher and guide in the spiritual life.

That which came closest to being a real “vision” of the Mother of God occurred at the beginning of FEBRUARY. Until then, a small ledge in our community room had served to display an exceptionally beautiful and rare statue of Our Lady of Fatima which has been in our safekeeping since the early years of our foundation. Mother Abbess had the happy thought of giving this statue a place of particular honor for this centenary year, and our on-site sister-carpenter enthusiastically set to work creating a lovely wooden wall-mounted shrine, complete with an overarching bough of evergreens and tiny white lights. At the beginning of recreation on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we carried Our Lady’s statue in procession from the community room to its new location, singing all the way. The plan had been that after placing the statue in the shrine, we would all return to the community room for recreation; but the sight of her was so entrancing, her sweet and tender gaze so real and inviting, that none of us wanted to leave! Her presence continues to be very warm and real as we pass her shrine multiple times each day on our way to choir, and often sisters are seen stopping before her for a moment of silent prayer.

Sometimes the actual depths of a mother’s love remains secret until fully revealed in her care for a sick child. Our Lady suddenly had twenty of them on her hands in MARCH, when, just before the close of our community retreat, all of us (with the enviable exception of three hale-and-hearty individuals) succumbed to a particularly virulent strain of influenza. With most voices gone and coughs prevailing, it took a parcel of ingenuity and planning on the part of Mother Abbess to arrange the schedule in such a way as to allow our main work of liturgical praise, the Divine Office, to continue. Chanting and singing had to be replaced by simple recitation for nearly two weeks — and we were still limited to this mode of existence when our federal abbess, Mother Maura, and first federal councilor, Mother Miriam, arrived for the federation council meeting held March 14-16. We had recovered enough to be able to appreciate fully the presence of our religious assistant, Father Larry Webber, O.F.M. Cap., throughout those grace-filled days, at the end of which Father shared how much he had enjoyed being with the community. With a broad smile, he told us, “In fact, I’m beginning to feel like a little Poor Clare myself!”

Our workmen, having been on Poor Clare territory longer than originally anticipated, might well be sharing Father Larry’s sentiments by now. Step by step, the new addition comes a little closer to being completed, but any list of what has been done so far would include a tedious repetition of the words “almost” and “not quite”. Since the end of APRIL, Mother Abbess has been in pilgrimage mode, moving all the contents of Ave Maria (our monastic name for the abbess’ office) to Gratia Plena (our monastic name for another work room very near Ave Maria). Ave Maria has been expanded because our contractor had the ingenious idea of utilizing what would have been an empty attic area over the new addition as an “annex” to the office. Mother Abbess’ present state of exile has not yet ended, but with Ave Maria “almost” ready, she remains hopeful that she will be able to move back in sometime before the revelation of the heavenly Jerusalem at the end of time!

The actual hundredth anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, MAY 13, was celebrated with a rosary procession which culminated in the crowning of Our Lady’s statue with a tiny wreath woven of fresh flowers, revealing her anew as Queen of our hearts and of our monastic home. That was not the end of the month’s jubilation, however, as our loved former provincial, Father Larry Dunham, O.F.M., arrived two weeks later to celebrate his golden jubilee of profession. The festive Mass followed by a special jubilee recreation in the parlor led him to say as he was leaving, “It’s going to be hard to get this smile off my face!” With the friars’ provincial chapter scheduled for the first week of JUNE, we rejoice to think he will be bringing that happiness to all of his Franciscan brothers. Now we look forward to welcoming another devoted son of Mary, Abbot Philip Anderson, O.S.B., from Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma, for a brief visit in JULY.

The AUGUST 11 solemnity of our Mother St. Clare, who was herself “a footprint of the Mother of God”, will be a day on which to thank God most especially for you, our dear friends, who make it possible for our cloister to be filled with “private revelations” every day of the year. For in truth do we see the maternal love of the Mother of God revealed in each of you, in the generous gifts that you send, in the faith-filled letters that you write entrusting to our prayers your most heartfelt needs and intentions, in your faithful friendship day after day. Throughout this centenary year and beyond, may Our Lady of Fatima reveal her love to you as every true mother does — by being present to her children in all their joys and sorrows, their sufferings and infirmities, and their moments of jubilation and glory as well. We pray that the graces of this centenary celebration may draw us all closer to our eternal home, where we will at last see her beauty and hear her voice, no longer in fleeting visions but in the perfect and unending revelation of heaven.

Gratefully and devotedly, in our Mother St. Clare,

For more information or prayer requests write to:

Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe
809 E. 19th Street
Roswell, New Mexico 88201-7599