01 Aug August Letter
Praised be Jesus Christ and His holy Mother!
Dear families, friends and benefactors,
As we prepare to celebrate the glorious life and holy death of our Mother St. Clare, we recall the secret of her radiant joy even amidst the trails and tribulations of a life of extreme poverty and constant sickness: her grateful heart! St. Clare remained the little plant of her Father Francis to the very end, singing her own Canticle of Praise throughout life. Sr. Cristiana, a nun of the Monastery of San Damiano who lived with St. Clare, testified to this characteristic of our holy Mother during the canonical investigation that was part of the Process of Canonization. The official record states: “She also said Lady Clare, during the sickness from which she passed from this life, never stopped praising God…” Even as she lay dying, suffering in agony in the sweltering heat of August, St. Clare continued to praise God. “May You be praised, Lord, for having created me!”
Her clear shining light was the radiance of joy that overflowed from a heart brimming with gratitude. Our hearts, too, are filled with joy in being surrounded, supported, and blessed by so much goodness and beauty. Our debt of gratitude to the Father of Mercies and the many instruments of His loving providence can best be repaid in the only currency a Poor Clare has: prayer and sacrifice. These we offer joyfully for our friends and benefactors, as we go on singing our own Canticle of Praise in the spirit of our Holy Father Francis and our Holy Mother Clare bequeathed to us! “Laudato si, mi Signore!”
May You be praised, my Lord, for our brother priests! Our confessors and chaplain who provide us with the Sacraments have gone way beyond the call of duty again this year. F.r Jim Ciamitaro, O.F.M., Conv. agreed to preach our annual retreat during Lent on top of being the dedicated pastor of an active parish and our Confessor. Our chaplain, Fr. Nicholas Federspiel, in addition to his other assignments, is offering us excellent weekly classes on the spirituality of St. Thomas Aquinas and his Summa Theologica.
May You be praised, my Lord, for Seminarian Jack Reichardt, who volunteered his time and talent to update our website and give it a new look. His hard work and efforts to create a simple but beautiful website were crowned with success. We are also grateful for the collaboration of Joe Schneider of the Rockford Diocese Information Technology Department; Kyle Beckett, a professional artist and good friend of Jack’s who did he sketches for the website; Caroline Frame, another friend, who gave valuable advice and the patrons of the monastery for supporting the project.
May You be praised, my Lord, for the friendship and dedication of our sister Abbie Reese! Abbie got to know us around 2005 and became very interested in documenting our Poor Clare contemplative vocation. We were won over by her discreet and respectful manner and agreed to allow her to take some photographs and interview some of the sisters. As an award-winning writer, photographer and oral historian, her early projects included a traveling multimedia gallery exhibition called “Erased from the Landscape” and a book of collected oral histories entitled “Dedicated to God.” As Abbie expanded her field to include documentary and film making, she edited and produced “Chosen,” a documentary about the call to the contemplative life and the first steps in the monastic journey of one of our sisters. Abbie is currently working on several new enterprises and it is our sincere hope and fervent prayer that by means of Abbie’s endeavors people of all faiths and walks of life will get a little glimpse of God’s immense love for each of His children!
May You be praised, my Lord, for our brother Rock Budmayr, who willingly undertook the challenge of hanging the sliding doors on the cabinets in our laundry room, after the failed attempts of several sisters. At last, his generous patience and perseverance were rewarded with success and we dubbed him an honorary knight. May You be praised, my Lord, for George and Adam Parnello who came to install several new toilets paid for by the Knights of Columbus and who returned to assist with other plumbing problems as well.
May You be praised, my Lord, for our mechanic Ted who overhauled our pick-up truck this spring and for Mr. and Mrs. Russell Costello who donated many top quality tools for our workshop. May You be praised, my Lord, for Mr. Cody Sigmund who traveled all the way from Janesville, to service our industrial sewing machine and give us a lesson on how to use our industrial blind stitch hemmer, asking only for our prayers for his special intentions in return. May You be praised, my Lord, for Mr. Jerry Schindler who generously attends to our sound system and also came to fix our malfunctioning doorbell and house intercom. May You be praised, my Lord, for Mrs. Mary Golberti and Didier Greenhouses who have generously donated flowers and vegetables for our Fatima Shrine and garden. Although the space on this page is limited, our Canticle of Praise goes on and on in hearts that are filled with gratitude for each on of our dear friends and benefactors. With so much to be grateful for, how can we not be radiant with joy? May we all, with St. Clare, never stop praising God!