Our February Retreat just ended on Wednesday, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of Prayer for the Sick.
Retreat started with a snow storm but Father James Kubicki, SJ warmed our hearts. A quote he used as a main element of the retreat was from St. Diadochus. "The measure of your love for God depends on how deeply aware you are of God’s love for you."
Father has a deep and evident devotion the the Sacred Heart and is the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.
I'm afraid I don't have time to tell you much more. We are in the midst of getting ready for the big open house on Sunday. The Open House for the Year of Consecrated Life was actually put on the front page of the Peoria Journal Star last Sunday, so we really have no idea how many people may come. We're are preparing for a flood. :) And I have two visitors right now. (Special thank you to all those who are praying for vocations to our community. And thank you, Father, for your kind blog post.)
I hope to see many of you at the open house this weekend.
This is a very special year for our Sisters, The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, and for all Religious Communities around the world. Pope Francis has designated a “Year of Consecrated Life” that began on November 30, 2014 and extends to February 2, 2016. We are encouraged to open our doors and invite the public into our homes to share with them the Joy of living a life of consecration to God. It is from this essential foundation, of consecration to God that our Sisters serve in our sacred ministry of healthcare along with 15,000 plus individuals “in the Spirit of Christ and after the example of Francis of Assisi.”There are three aspects of this Open House across the nation. People of all ages and all religious affiliations are welcome.
On Sunday, February 15, 2015, we will have an Open House at our Motherhouse, on St. Francis Lane off Route # 116 from 1 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and we warmly invite the public to “Come and Meet with Us!” This will be an opportunity for you to speak with our Sisters, enjoy a guided tour of our home, learn about our life and our work in health care, hear Sisters’ personal vocation stories, and experience our Franciscan hospitality with refreshments.
Come and Serve with Us, Summer 2015:In the summer of 2015 we will be announcing an Open House for the public to “Come and Serve with Us” at our Motherhouse, and work along with our Sisters in a work of mercy. Come and Pray with Us, September 2015:Finally, in September 2015 we will have an Open House to invite the public to “Come and Pray with Us,” and join in our Community prayers with us at our Motherhouse.Watch for these special days and give our Sisters the joy of having you under our roof. We look to the past with gratitude, live in the present with passion and look to the future with hope.
Just come on down to the Motherhouse, 1175 St. Francis Lane, East Peoria, IL. (Off Illinois Route 116 on access road 14, just west of Germantown Hills.) Doors are open between 1:00PM and 4:00PM.
Hope to see you there. :)
"For I wish to do something that will recall to memory the little Child who was born in Bethlehem and set before our bodily eyes in some way the inconveniences of his infant needs, how he lay in a manager, how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he lay upon the hay where he had been placed." This, from the First Life of St. Francis by Thomas of Celano, was St. Francis' intention when he had the first live nativity scene set up in Greccio.
It wasn't with expensive little ceramic figures sitting near a Christmas tree, but actual farm animals, and hay, and a feeding trough up on a hill in Greccio, Italy. There, along with his friars and people from the surrounding area, they celebrated Christmas Midnight Mass.
They put before their eyes what they were having trouble imagining, to help them to meditate on the miracle of Christ's birth. Sometimes we get too used to things, too familiar, to see them clearly anymore. We can gain new perspective by looking outside of ourselves: seeing an image or icon, reading a book, listening to others, ...
St. Francis and those with him took the time and the effort to do that. They made preparations, they hiked up the hill at night, the celebrated Mass at night in the cold, to try to get a feeling for how it would have been for the Holy Family that first Christmas night.
And their efforts were rewarded! It was a time of consolation and renewed fervor. At least one man saw a vision of the Infant Jesus. The Lord worked miracles for mothers in child-birth and for animals through the straw that had been in the manger.
Perhaps if we made a similar effort, the Lord would work a miracle in our hearts.
Read more about St. Francis' Christmas at Greccio.
Read about and see pictures of Brother Bob's pilgrimage to Greccio.
Our OSF Saint Mary Medical Center in Galesburg, IL has been sorely in new of a bigger chapel for many years. This year on November 18, with some renovations and an lot of department shuffling, they finally have their new chapel. I took a few pictures of the dedication, but the ones they have on their Facebook page are much better, so I'll just send you over there to see them.
Chapel Dedication Photos
Thank you to everyone who made this year's Motherhouse Fall Bazaar such a success! It is Friday and Saturday of the weekend before Thanksgiving every year. On the first day, November 21, there was a large crowd waiting at the door to come in. I got a few pictures as people were starting to come in and look around. I was at the cash and really didn't even get a chance to look up again until about 11:30am. We raised more money than we have in many years. The proceeds go to our mission fund to support those in need.
The last picture is Sister Judith Ann reading at the Mass for the Diocesan opening of the Year of Consecrated Life. We started a week earlier here. :)
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Are you thinking about becoming a Sister or a Nun? Would you like to know more, discuss your discernment or arrange to come for a visit?
Contact our Vocation Director: Sister Rose Therese, O.S.F.phone: (309) 655-2645mail: The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis House of Formation 740 NE Glen Oak Avenue Peoria, IL 61603-3100Email
Are you trying to reach one of our Sisters or find out about an event at our motherhouse, like our annual bazaar?
Call or write: phone: (309) 699-7215mail: The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis Motherhouse 1175 St. Francis Lane East Peoria, IL 61611-1299
Don’t know who to talk to about a healthcare related issue?
Contact: The individual facility or service line, listed here: http://www.osfhealthcare.org/facilities/ Or, Billing and Charity Assistance: OSF Patient Accounts & Access Center at (309) 683-6750 or toll-free at (800) 421-5700 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.