Thursday, May 9, 2013
Remembering the love of many women makes this
a special day
LOVE ONE ANOTHER: Sister Laura Zelten,
left, stands near the holy water font with Sisters Jeanne Jarvis,
Carlotta Ullmer and Mary Kabat. The font is near the entrance to
St. Francis Convent Chapel. The blue mosaic symbolizes God's
presence (gold tiles) in every aspect our lives (blue
by Sister Laura Zelten
As we celebrate Mother's Day, I like to think of the women who
have impacted my life in a positive way.
I always start with our Blessed Mother. She had such a profound
trust in God. I often pray the line that precedes the Magnificat, "Let it
be done unto me according to your word."
My grandmothers come next. Both Emma and Ella were
extraordinary women. They came from very different
backgrounds and were authentic in who they were and how they raised
their children. Both grandmothers were grounded in their
faith. Both taught me to trust in God and do the right thing
-- even when it was difficult. I will always remember them
for their lemon pie, red velvet cake and their love of faith and
Next on my list is my Mom. I have tears as I write this. She was
such a hope-filled and fun-loving person. I will always
remember her as someone who loved the simple things in life.
She, too, had a deep faith in God. Her love for St. Joseph
and her trips to St. Norbert Abbey's
National Shrine of St. Joseph to pray were examples of how to
root oneself in prayer. Plus, she and my aunts always enjoyed
being together. It was my first lesson in how to live
I can't forget my three sisters -- Amy, Jo and Meg. What
would we do without each other? They are women of compassion,
love and acceptance. We turn to one another in times of joy
and need. I feel so blessed to have them in my life.
The women who have made the biggest impact on my life are my
Sisters in Community. Because of them I have become the woman
I am today. They have taught me that sacrifice for the sake
of God's people is worth everything; that prayer is the center of
how we communicate with God and with each other; and that we can do
together what we cannot do alone.
I am so happy to be a Sister of St. Francis of the Holy Cross
and to walk with women who live compassion, uphold peace and
promote Gospel justice.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Celebrate your vocation today with a moment of prayer
April 21 is the 50th anniversary of World Day of
Prayer for Vocations. It was established by Pope Paul VI who
designated Good Shepherd Sunday for this day of prayer.
As you and I know, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He protects his
flock and he promises us the gift of eternal life. (John 10:11) As
his followers, we are asked to do the same for others. The Church
encourages us to serve the flock by living to the fullest our
respective vocation whether as priest, vowed religious, married or
More than ever, our world needs to know the love of the Good
Shepherd, to hear his voice, and to be led in his ways. Are we
willing to carry on the mission of Jesus and give our lives for
others? This call to serve is for every Christian. Today we pray
for the whole Church and ask God to bless each of us in our chosen
vocation. May each of us continue the work of the Good Shepherd
with our lives. Together may we foster vocations for the life of
I am the good shepherd. A good
shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. -- John 10:11
Friday, April 12, 2013
Like life, sacred moments will happen
by Sister Laura Zelten
Seeing all the posters advertising the "Walk to Mary" fund-raising
event for the Green Bay Area Catholic Education System (GRACE) got
me thinking about sacred spaces and points in between.
The walk (which we Sisters are supporting) will begin at the
National Shrine of St. Joseph at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere
and end with Mass at the Shrine
of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, two very holy places in
our area. My thoughts are not directly on the shrines
but on what will happen to the pilgrims as they walk 21 miles.
spiritual life is often an "in-between" event. We are born
and we know that one day we will die. But what happens in
between those two points is so significant. It makes me want to be
strategic on how I spend that "in-between" time. I hope that
I can use it according to God's plan.
- How do I form relationships with others?
- Do I spend time in prayer?
- Do I continue to educate myself on important life issues?
- Am I the face of Christ to others?
- And, most importantly, do I recognize those who walk with me as
sons and daughters of God?
Yes, the end points are very important in life's journey but the
in-between is significant on how happy the journey will be for all
those around me.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Gaze upon Christ, contemplate Christ, consider Christ, imitate
Today is Holy Thursday and we begin the Paschal
Triduum. A triduum is a three-day period of prayer, usually in
preparation for an important feast or in celebration of that feast.
This Triduum recalls the suffering, dying and rising of Christ
beginning Holy Thursday evening and concluding Easter Sunday.
The days are like a seamless garment of prayer. We begin with
the washing of feet and end with Mary Magdalene running to the
disciples announcing, "Jesus has risen." I love the fact that
I can take these holy days as a mini-retreat. They flow into each
other and the symbols are so strong. We use ordinary water, fire,
incense, a pitcher and towel, the cross and music to celebrate this
My prayer this Triduum is that, like St. Clare, each of us can
take time to gaze upon Christ, contemplate Christ, consider Christ
and imitate Christ, and live every day in the spirit of the
Resurrection. May we together grow during this time as Easter
Friday, March 15, 2013
Holy Father's simplicity, service to poor resonate with us
Sister Laura Zelten
As Franciscan women religious we rejoice with the rest of the
Church and world on the election of Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario
Bergoglio as our new Pope. As religious, we recognize that his
humility, simplicity, and commitment to the poor exemplify the
virtues of consecrated religious life.
We offer Pope Francis our prayerful best wishes and support as
he begins his papacy at a most historical time. We also pray for
the entire Church, that we all remain faithful to the mission of
the gospel given to us by Jesus Christ. May God bless and
strengthen our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
by Sister Laura Zelten
Returning to our hearts is often difficult for us. It's
too easy to get our hearts broken. But what if Lent is a time
to return to our hearts and find comfort, strength and solace
It is interesting that this year Valentine's Day is the second
day of Lent. For many of us, the word "Lent" connotes drab
days, giving up things and a long, long time waiting for
spring. Lent means many things, a time for repentance, a time
for sacrifice, a time for preparing for Easter.
We often overlook another meaning -- the idea that Lent is an
invitation to reconcile with God and with each other. Lent
calls us to look into our hearts and see what is there and act from
what we see. Lent is a season of the heart.
The Lenten scriptures, both the Hebrew Prophets and the New
Testament, are our guides for the Lenten journey. They make a
powerful point, one that our culture and society often
forgets: It is the heart that matters. What is in our
heart deeply influences our vision, our hearing and our
On Ash Wednesday Christians everywhere are called to remember,
repent and return. Through the symbol of ashes, we are asked
to remember that we are of the earth, created by another, and will
not walk the earth forever. We are asked to repent, to look
at ourselves, to recognize what keeps us apart from God, and to
return to the one who has created us.
Repentance, remembering, returning to God -- all of these begin
in our hearts. None of these is an intellectual
exercise. Returning to our hearts is often difficult for
us. It's too easy to get our hearts broken. But what if
Lent is a time to return to our hearts and find comfort, strength
and solace there? What if Lent is a time to return to our
souls and find our calling and our source of life? Is that
what happened to Jesus when he was in the desert for 40 days?
Can that happen to us during this season of Lent? Do we hear
God calling, "Come back to me with all your heart!"
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Magi story tells how faith draws you and me
to Our Savior
by Sister Laura Zelten
is one of my favorite Christmas symbols. We see stars on top
of Christmas trees, hung on houses and present in Nativity
The star in today's Gospel points the way to Jesus. The
story of the magi directs our attention to stargazers who looked
beyond themselves to the heavens. They found reason -- or better,
encouragement -- to leave their comfort zone to discover the Source
of all life and light. They encourage us to continue our
search for the One who draws us toward God. The magi read the
astral signs, recognized the true identity of the child, and
understood the message in a dream that told them to return home by
another route. Their openness brought them to the child, and
they did not go away disappointed.
The Feast of the Epiphany expresses God's will that all creation
come to know the God revealed in Jesus Christ, who continues to
shine forth in light and love. The promise of the feast is
that all of us are capable of absorbing and reflecting this light
so that the whole earth may walk from darkness into light.
- Do you see yourself at a reflector of God's light, as someone
with the desire to provide an epiphany for others?
- What helps you recognize the light of God in others?
Monday, October 29, 2012
Year of Faith is an invitation to open our
hearts and grow in God's love
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by Sister Laura Zelten
"The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always
open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and
offering entry into his Church."
With these words Pope Benedict XVI welcomes us to the Year of
Faith. The words from his letter "
Porta Fidei" in which he announced this season of
Doors are such an important part of our lives. Do you
remember the last door you opened? We go through our day
without even thinking about the movement of passing through the
space of our sometimes they even open automatically for us.
If we think of it, never does a day go by that we don't pass
through a doorway.
As we celebrate the Year of Faith the one door I think about
opening is the door of my heart. Am I open to allowing Jesus
to enter into my heart during this special time in the
Church. The Year of Faith gives us an opportunity to open our
lives and celebrate the gift of Jesus.
God is with us in all of life. Our purpose for opening the
door of our heart is to help us know who we are so we can live more
joyfully, serve others and know the love of Christ.
- What kind of door is the door of your heart?
- Is the door of your heart open to spiritual growth?
- Whose doors (hearts) are you invited to enter?
- Have you shut your door (heart) to anyone else?
Thursday, September 27, 2012
By Sister Laura Zelten
I was riding past a church recently and saw on its sign, "God
does not take a vacation." I thought about what if God did
take a vacation and how horrible it would be not to be in contact
with God. When I think of what goes on in the world in a
week, what if God was away in a remote location and not responding
to the needs of the world? What would the world be
like? My first feeling was I really don't want to know.
My next thought was, do I take a vacation from God in the summer?
Do I let my faith life slide into a more relaxed mode during
the summer months? For example, am I inclined to skip attending
church services, forgo helping those in need or less likely to be
patient or forgiving with my family or friends as I could be?
Now think about how our lives change as we transition from the
summer months to the winter months. One of the biggest
indicators of the change in season is back-to-school
preparations. You are probably feeling excited about the new
school year and maybe a little sad that summer is over. But it is
one thing for certain: A time for new beginnings. For many families
it means returning to a routine after months of a more relaxed
summer schedule. There are now set times for waking up,
after-school activities, dinner, homework and bedtime.
There is a rich association with new beginnings and the start of
a new school year. It can also be a time when we can start fresh
with God. We can put in check our relationship with our
Creator. During the fall season I can consider be more
mindful of attending church services. I can consider a new outreach
project with which to become involved. I can practice being
more aware of the needs around me in my family and community.
Remember, God does not take a vacation so maybe we can add God to
our lives in a more intentional manner as we look forward to the
new academic year.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
by Sister Laura Zelten
|Our chapel doors lead to our holy water font where we renew our
baptism each day.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second
Vatican Council (Oct. 11, 1962 to Dec. 8, 1965) we are reminded
that, by baptism, each of us is called -- each receives a
"vocation." Vocation means a call. Vatican II reminds
us that all are called to holiness. We are invited to respond
by loving and serving God and others in ways unique as each
person. Your vocation is "the place where your deep
gladness meets the world's deep need." (Frederick
Buechner). We all have choices in living out our Christian
How do we discover God's call in life?
Remember the scene in the Gospel where the rich young man asks
Jesus, "Master what is the greatest commandment of all?" Now here
is a young man who was really asking the right questions. He
was asking: What is the most important thing for you to do
with your life?
- What is the one thing that will give your life meaning and
- What is the one thing worth sacrificing everything else
Jesus' answer is very simple: "You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart, mind, and soul and you shall love
your neighbor as yourself." The most important task in life
is to learn to love. That is what a Christian Vocation is all