posted on: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by: renaebauer
What will your new year's resolution be next
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
The end of another liturgical year is upon us! Where did
another year go? As we look back over the year, what will we
discover? How did we make use of the 365 days given to us by
At the close of each calendar year, many people make resolutions
that are soon tossed aside because they weren't practical. The
close of the liturgical year is an opportunity to make a leap of
faith, to do something transformative, with each day. We might ask
at the beginning of each day for the Holy Spirit's help to see
opportunities that need our compassion and mercy. We might choose
to pray at the end of the day to see how we used the day. How
much compassion and mercy was shared by us in our workplace, with
Pope Francis has said numerous times that our God is a God of
mercy. If we believe that to be true, wouldn't we be just a
bit more merciful to another and to ourselves? "Do unto others as
you would have them do unto you." Pope Francis is challenging our
Church and the world to spread mercy and love, not destruction and
There is a song that rings out: "Let there be peace on
earth and let it begin with me." May this song be in our hearts and
on our lips as we move closer to the beginning of a new liturgical
year, beginning the last Sunday of November.
posted on: Thursday, November 13, 2014 by: renaebauer
Day after day, we need to show up & be
ready for the Lord
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
From as far back as I can remember, baseball has been my
favorite sport. I've had several heroes in the game, but one
of my favorites is Cal Ripken Jr., who played for the Baltimore
Orioles. He wasn't a home run hitter and I don't think he
ever won a batting championship, but he did set a record. He
played in more consecutive games than any other player in baseball
history. He simply showed up, day after day after day.
In this Sunday's reading from Matthew's Gospel we hear the
parable of the talents. The servant who received the one
talent hid it, and was justly punished. He had failed to use
what was given to him. In the first reading, from the Book of
Proverbs, the worthy wife is praised. What does she do?
She does the ordinary things of daily life, reaches out her hands
to the poor, and is not deceived by charm or beauty. She
simply shows up, day after day after day.
The call for us in these readings is to assess our own gifts,
and to humbly share them, not seeking to win some kind of honor or
affirmation. We are to use our gifts because we have been
blessed with them. We just need to show up, day after day
after day. After all, we never know when the Lord will show
- What are your gifts?
- How can you use them on a daily basis?
posted on: Thursday, November 06, 2014 by: renaebauer
Our holiness comes from the Spirit of God
which dwells within
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
"The holy dwelling of the
Most High" (Psalm 46.5)
At the time of Jesus, the Temple was a most sacred place where
the presence of God was revealed. This Temple was being
turned into a marketplace and needed to be cleansed. Jesus
did just that and swept the Temple clean.
St. Paul reminds us that we are the "temple of God -- God's
building" -- where the Most High dwells! Imagine that -- WE
are God's temple! As God's dwelling place, we may need to be
swept clean at times. When we are not our best selves, Jesus
is with us to cleanse us and renew us. Jesus is with us to empower
us to reveal God's presence in words and actions of selfless love
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of
the Lateran Basilica. This basilica is the oldest and ranks first
among the four major basilicas of Rome. It is also the oldest
church in the West. It is the "pope's church" where he
presides. Since it is the cathedral of the Pope it ranks
above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St.
Peter's Basilica. The first structure was built in the 4th century
and remained the church where popes were consecrated until the 14th
As we celebrate this feast, may we remember that we are the
Church, the living Temple, constantly being made new by God's
posted on: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by: renaebauer
For National Vocation Awareness Week, may we
all listen to God's call
by Sister Laura Zelten
A young woman recently stated how clear the invitation to follow
God is in Sacred Scripture. When I asked her what she meant, she
said, "Samuel was awakened in the middle of the night, Paul was
knocked down and blinded on the road, and Mary had an angel come to
her. For them it seems so clear and direct. Why isn't it that way
I smiled in agreement. Sometimes the invitation to follow
Jesus can seem nebulous or inaudible. But maybe the people of
Scripture were listening intently and were open to God's call no
matter how it came.
To hear God we might be well served to silence the noise around
us. It is so easy for us to fill our days and nights with
activities. Connecting with the spiritual means a daily commitment
to quality prayer time. God does speak to us through Scripture,
Eucharist, nature, and the people and events in our lives. Can we
be like the people of Scripture and listen closely for God?
Through prayerful discernment we discover that God wants only what
is good for us -- what brings wholeness and leads to holiness.
posted on: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by: renaebauer
Today's "to-do" list: Love God and love
by Sister Francis Bangert
Today Jesus, the Master Teacher, responds to a trick question
put to him by a religious lawyer, "Which commandment in the law is
There were 600+ regulations in the law of Moses. Jesus narrows
them down to simply two: "You shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The second
is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." To do these
two is to carry out all the others.
So who is my neighbor, according to Jesus? To name just a
- the immigrant seeking a better life
- the homeless child facing tremendous odds
- the woman, man, or child trafficked right under our eyes
- the person released from incarceration, genuinely wanting to
- the elderly neighbor, isolated and lonely
How might Green Bay, Brown County, the state of Wisconsin, the
USA, our world look different if all who call themselves a follower
of Jesus would live these two laws ... both in word and in
posted on: Thursday, October 16, 2014 by: renaebauer
Though hidden, God comforts and loves us each
by Sister Mary Kabat
Have you had those experiences when for no reason at all you
remember something important you had forgotten, or you run into an
old friend you haven't seen in a long time and he/she says
something you needed to hear, or you hear a song on the car radio
that resonates with your life and brings a tear to your eye or a
smile to your heart?
If you think such moments are random or purely by chance, take
some time with the first reading for this Sunday from the Prophet
I, the Lord, have helped you, called you,
encouraged you, rescued you, loved you ... though you knew me
I believe God loves us beyond our comprehension and is near and
ready to give help or comfort whether we ask for it or not. Much of
the time we go through life unaware or weighed down by troubles and
sorrow. Let us walk through this day with a heightened awareness
that our God is with us and is blessing us with good from "the
rising to the setting of the sun."
posted on: Tuesday, October 07, 2014 by: renaebauer
Simple acts of kindness can ease affliction
by Sister Agnes Fischer
"You have done well to share with me in my affliction." (Phil. 4:14,
Sunday's second reading)
-- You paid for my prescription from the doctor.
-- You brought my family food when my husband was laid
-- You stood up for me when I was accused unjustly.
-- You visited me when I was sick.
-- You helped me find a job.
-- You gave me a ride to church and to the grocery
-- You found help for me to pay the gas bill.
-- You waited patiently until I could pay the rent.
-- You comforted me when my mother died.
-- You allowed me to work for you even though I had to bring
my child along.
-- You carried my groceries to the car.
-- You raked the leaves in my yard and kept my sidewalk clean
"... God, in return, will supply all your needs." (Phil
posted on: Monday, September 29, 2014 by: renaebauer
Like our fall harvest, we are to be the good
fruits of God's vineyard
by Sister Ann Rehrauer
The Parable of the Vineyard in Matthew is one in a series in
chapters 21 and 22, describing the Kingdom of God. It's a
perfect reading for this time of the year when all of us are
focused on harvesting the vegetables from our gardens, or
purchasing the fruits of others' labor at farmers' markets.
We know how hard we work to facilitate growth and how much we look
forward to the good things we've planted and nurtured. We
also know how disappointed we are if drought or birds or bugs
destroy our crops.
God planted a vineyard (Israel) and expected a fruitful harvest of
justice and care for the poor. Instead, the "tenants" of the
vineyard gave back little. When God sent the prophets and
finally his own Son to call the people to greater responsibility,
they treated the messengers badly and even killed some. So
God's promise and choice passed to a new people, the Church.
As members of this "new Israel," you and I are called to bring
forth the fruits enumerated by Paul in his letter to the
Philippians: being honorable, just and gracious -- doing what we
have learned and seen and heard from the Scriptures and from the
example of the apostles and all true believers.
This week as we enjoy fresh tomatoes, squash, and other garden
produce, may it remind us that we are called to be the harvest of
justice for God's Kingdom -- which includes graciously sharing what
we have and who we are with those in need.
posted on: Thursday, September 25, 2014 by: renaebauer
An open heart is the first step to
integrating God's ways
by Carla Schommer
St. Francis Convent Director
Jesus asks a question of faith, not one of social standing,
character or reputation: Which son did the will of the
Father? Openness and repentance are the keys that lead us to
the change of mind and heart drawing us ever closer to God. Which
of the two sons are you more like? We are all sinners and perhaps
we are a little bit like both. Often we can be like the first
brother, or like the tax collectors and prostitutes Jesus
references, and openly say no with both our words and our
ways. Then, like them, we have a change of mind and heart,
repent, and do the work God asks. Other times we can be
self-righteous like the second son, or the Pharisees, and pay
lip-service to God's call.
Like it or not, we argue with God. It is our human
struggle. We ask, "Lord, teach us your ways." We pray,
"Lord, Thy will be done." Yet, often our actions say, "Lord,
Thy will be changed!" because our words say "yes" but our lives say
"no." Our ways need to be God's ways. Our attitudes
need to be ones that exemplify the mind and heart of Jesus.
Our intimate self-interest is in loving others.
May our relationship with others be marked by unity, love,
humility and consideration for the interests of others. Peace
in our families, communities and world, and eternal life with our
God will be the fruits when our ways are God's ways.
posted on: Thursday, September 18, 2014 by: renaebauer
God's peace and generosity is offered to
by Sister Jacqueline Capelle
Today's Gospel tells us the story of a peaceful and generous
vineyard owner. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he went out
many times during the day to hire workers. At the end of the day he
paid all the workers the same amount. The people were overcome with
amazement. The owner of the vineyard was a generous and peaceful
Sunday is International Day of Peace. We are seeing more and
more violence in our world. To end this we start with ourselves --
each of us has to ask ourselves if we are leading a life of
violence. If we say "yes" then we must unlearn the ways of violence
and cultivate nonviolence. If we each do this, we can make steps to
change our violent world. On International Day of Peace, find one
way to bring nonviolence into your life, such as attending our Peace Vigil, and
encourage those you know or live with to do the same.
Universal Peace Prayer
Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill my heart, my world, my universe.