Happy to be a Bride of Christ

Cloistered Nuns ~ Blogging?!

Why not? We thought this would be a wonderful way to make known the splendor of Passionist life.
God-willing more valiant women will join our monastic family through this peek into the cloister!

The Passionist Nuns vow to live in the light of the self-sacrificing love of Jesus. ~ Rule & Constitutions #12

Living under the gaze of His love...could God be calling you to dwell with us?

Passionist Nuns NEW Blog!

June 26th, 2014

That’s right – we’ve moved to a new blog!

Skip the temporary blog I mentioned in the last post and join us over at the NEW In the Shadow of His Wings.

Make sure you click the Follow button so you’ll get an email in your inbox every time we publish a new post.

Let us know what you think. Tell your friends about it.

This old blog served us well and most of all we are grateful for the new friends we’ve made these past 6 years. So, make sure you come on over and join us at the new blog.

The Lord bless you!

BIG news! We’re Moving!

May 26th, 2014


We’re in the process of moving – that is – to a new blog!

As you have noticed by now this blog is VERY slow…Therefore, we are working with a new blog theme.

Soooo…in the meantime I invite you to follow our temporary blog here.  It loads MUCH faster!

I won’t be posting blog posts on this old blog anymore. The wonderful comments left on this blog last night won’t be converted to the new blog – feel free to comment again here.

While you are at the new blog don’t forget to scroll down and press the “Follow” button.

The Lord bless you!

None Should Mow the Grass There

May 25th, 2014


Recently Sr. Rose Marie encountered a Robert Frost poem that captures the essence of springtime for our Sister-lawnmowers, who also happen to be our Sister-wildflower-lovers:

Rose Pogonias

A saturated meadow
Sun-shaped and jewel-small,
A circle scarcely wider
Than the trees around were tall;
Where winds were quite excluded,
And the air was stifling sweet
With the breath of many flowers–
A temple of the heat.

There we bowed us in the burning,
As the sun’s right worship is,
To pick where none could miss them
A thousand orchises;
For though the grass was scattered,
Yet every second spear
Seemed tipped with wings of color,
That tinged the atmosphere.

We raised a simple prayer
Before we left the spot,
That in the general mowing
That place might be forgot;
Or if not all so favored,
Obtain such grace of hours,
That none should mow the grass there
While so confused with flowers.


Needless to say, some of our sisters find in Frost a kindred spirit!  Alas! Meanwhile the grass is growing along with the flowers, and obedience calls.


The Lord giveth wildflowers, and the mower taketh away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!

(Perhaps Frost also wrote a eulogy for the wildflowers that did not obtain such grace of hours.)

Passionist Vocation Day

May 17th, 2014


Interested in Religious Life?
Wonder what it’s like to be a Nun?

We are hosting a Vocation Day here at the monastery called “Behold This Heart” and hope we can give you deeper insight into these questions.

See PDF flyer here.

WHEN:  Saturday, June 7

TIME:  Mass is at 8 a.m. but for those who can’t arrive this early arriving at 9 a.m. will do. Departure will be 3 p.m.

WHAT:  The vocation day will include Holy Mass, Sacrament of Reconciliation available after Mass, talks by Mother Catherine Marie and Sr. John Mary, silence, prayer time, games and hanging out with the nuns. We will close the day with a Consecration to Jesus through Mary.

WHERE: Passionist Nuns Monastery, Whitesville KY.

WHO:  Single, Catholic Women ages 15 – 25 years old

DRESS CODE:  No shorts


Please bring a sack lunch and drink.

If you are under 18 I need you to fill out a permission form. Please send me your address so I can mail one to you.

REGISTER at least by Monday, June 3.  The sooner we know you are attending the more helpful it is for us in preparing!

Register by contacting Sr. John Mary C. P.
or call (270) 315-0800

Please invite a friend and we hope to see you Saturday, June 7!


“Behold This Heart” is based on the words of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary speaking of how much He loves souls and longs to be loved by them – Behold the Heart which loves so much and is so little loved. Basically, Passionist life is about loving Jesus and helping many other souls to love him too. It’s about being Spiritual Mothers. We’d love to share more about our Passionist vocation with you and also about how you are called to great holiness no matter what your vocation in life.


Spiritual Motherhood Month

May 15th, 2014

May is the month devoted to our Blessed Mother and to all mothers really. Thanks to Sr. Cecilia Maria – on Sunday – Mother’s Day – each sister found at her place in the refectory a little bouquet of pinks and a note of love and appreciation.


That evening Nick Higdon, a seminarian for the Owensboro diocese, arrived for a little solitude retreat.


Here he is seen after a community visit posing with Sr. Mary Therese and Sr. Mary Dolores who are both celebrating 50 years of consecrated religious life this year. They have been “official spiritual mothers” of priests and seminarians for 100 years total! That’s amazing.

This afternoon we had our May Procession and Elizabeth (whose 22nd birthday is today!) crowned our Blessed Mother as queen of this monastery and of our hearts. Reminding her, as if she needed a reminding and not us, that she is to conform us into the image of her son and teach us fidelity from the Crib to the Cross to the Cenacle.


Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the procession we had in our courtyard but this photo was taken earlier this week. The clematis vines are in their glory! (and the rock garden is almost finished!)

To the Blessed Virgin Mary for May O most august and blessed Virgin Mary! Holy Mother of God! Glorious Queen of heaven and earth! Powerful protectress of those who love thee, and unfailing advocate of all who invoke thee! Look down, I beseech thee, from thy throne of glory on thy devoted child; accept the solemn offering I present thee of this month, specially dedicated to thee, and receive my ardent, humble desire, that by my love and fervor I could worthily honor thee, who, next to God, art deserving of all honor. Receive me, O Mother of Mercy, among thy best beloved children; extend to me thy maternal tenderness and solicitude; obtain for me a place in the Heart of Jesus, and a special share in the gifts of His grace. O deign, I beseech thee, to recognize my claims on thy protection, to watch over my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of all who are dear to me; to infuse into my soul the spirit of Christ, and to teach me thyself to become meek, humble, charitable, patient, and submissive to the will of God. May my heart burn with the love of thy Divine Son, and of thee, His blessed Mother, not for a month alone, but for time and eternity; may I thirst for the promotion of His honor and thine, and contribute, as far as I can, to its extension. Receive me, O Mary, the refuge of sinners! Grant me a Mother’s blessing and a Mother’s care, now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.

Blessed Easter Season!

May 10th, 2014

I know, I know…where has the time flown? I can’t believe I didn’t get an Easter post up.  Well, yes, I guess I can believe it. Thankfully Easter lasts 50 days so I have plenty of time to catch up.


Sisters have been working hard to spruce up the gardens.


These photos were taken during Holy Week.
The tulips were so tall this year!



Fr. Giuseppe Barbieri (Fr. Joe) joined us again this year for Holy Week and Easter celebrations. A true delight to have our Passionist brother with us!


Here we are during Easter recreation hanging out on the patio.

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Sr. Rose Marie steps aside from the group to watch the birds


Our five youngest sisters – Consecrated Life is alive and well!


Our desert on Divine Mercy Sunday -
8th and final day of the Easter Octave!
Note the candied mint leaves and purple violets.


Also this day brought us the glorious canonizations of St. John XXIII


 And St. John Paul II whom we love dearly!




Lent in our Passionist Monastery

April 16th, 2014


A few days ago we had our Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord procession in which we anticipated the victory of Jesus on the cross and in his glorious resurrection from the dead. Triumphing over Satan! Here in the monastery we are so blessed to have an environment in which to re-live profoundly this mystery of our salvation. Below is a summary of what our days are like this week here in the monastery.

Lent in the monastery is a very precious time of the year. We do have some additional forms of penance. Some of which are: we don’t eat meat throughout Lent and we fast daily except on Sundays and Solemnities. Our fasting is not a rigorous form but in moderation with no snacks in-between meals (unless one has a medical reason for it or is over the age-limit for fasting). We don’t watch recreational types of videos. Also we pray the Offerings of the Precious Blood (praying a prayer with arms outstretched for 4 minutes) one extra day per week.

We are also encouraged to use less time reading news or light reading and spending more time in Scripture, spiritual reading and solitude – being with the Beloved. For a new member, the novice directress always gives guidance as to how to use this time in a beneficial manner, not going to excesses nor letting the precious days slip away without time well-spent. We truly look on these days as 40 day retreat with the entire Church.

Passion Sunday evening we experienced our annual custom of being “Bethany” for Jesus. We bring in the small statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and place it at the head of the table in our refectory.  We fix a place setting for him with candles and flowers and also have a platter of goodies nearby as if it is our Lord offering them to us. It is a reminder that we as Passionists desire to be a Bethany for Jesus during this week – a place where he can find refreshment and consolation.


This photo was taken last year hence Elizabeth and Nora are not pictured.

We try to enter into the mind and heart of Jesus and Mary during those days, walking with him in his journey from death to LIFE! On Holy Thursday our community holds to the monastic tradition of the Mandatum – a sacred foot washing ceremony led by the Superior – during which she gives a ferverino to help us enter deeply into the Sacred Triduum – the time of being with Jesus, our Divine Bridegroom, in a special way.


We have the Holy Thursday Mass in the evening and then keep watch with Jesus taking turns staying with him before the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night until our 3 p.m. Good Friday service.

One of the hymns we sing a capella after receiving Holy Communion on Good Friday  is Popule Meus out of our St. Gregory Hymnal. It is written in Latin and Greek. It is quite haunting as it depicts our Lord crying out to his people from the cross. This is the English translation and a shortened version.

My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!

I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Saviour to the cross.

Holy is God!

Holy is God!

Holy and strong!

Holy and strong!

Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.

Holy immortal One, have mercy on us

These hours are very sacred and a time of truly comforting him in his Sacred Passion, Agony and Death. After this service we are free for a couple of hours to get outside, do some work outdoors, etc. Then we have a special time of prayer with our Lady of Sorrows on Friday evening.

Saturday is a day of quiet anticipation as we prepare for the glorious Easter Vigil and the Resurrection of our Savior! We have the Holy Vigil Mass around 8 p.m. and it lasts about 2 or more hours. After that Mass we have a treat of meats, sweets, wines as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. We also have Mass on Easter Sunday morning and time of community recreation in the afternoon – along with some free time to take a nap – which one really needs by then! Then we have the Easter Octave – 8 days of rejoicing with the Church and then the entire Easter Season is a grand liturgical celebration of joy closing with an 8 day novena leading up to Pentecost!

Passionist Fr. General Holy Week/Easter Message

April 14th, 2014


Superior General’s Easter Message – 2014

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends in the Passionist Family, Greetings to you in the Passion of Jesus!

As I pen these words, we are beginning Holy Week – a time which is so meaningful to us, Passionists, as we commemorate and accompany Jesus in the final hours of his Passion, leading to his Death and Resurrection. We enter this Week after having received the grace of Conversion – a renewal of mind and heart – during the period of Lent. Hopefully our response to this time has brought us more under the influence of Christ and leads us to see, understand and respond to all of life more clearly under the light of the Holy Spirit. Yes, each one of us is a NEW, or rather RENEWED person! This necessarily will have its impact on how I live my life and relationships as a disciple of Jesus today.

It is from this standpoint that we now enter into the experience of Holy Week, which is not simply a ‘remembering’ of the events that took place in the life of Jesus of Nazareth over 2000 years ago. Rather, through the liturgical (prayer & symbols) celebrations and listening to the accounts of the Passion of Jesus, we ‘re-live’ the memory once again and walk with Jesus, learning from the manner of his approach and response in his Passion.

While we must naturally appreciate the human pain and brutality suffered by Jesus as a consequence of his proclamation of the kingdom values and in obedience to the will of the Father, let us aim to contemplate the deeper mystery of the Passion which is given meaning in the light of the Resurrection. Our Founder, St Paul of the Cross, in his contemplation of the Crucified, came to appreciate the Passion of Jesus as “the greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love” and “the door to union with God”.

What is it that moves you as you contemplate the Passion? Fr. Richard Rohr says:

Those who “gaze upon” (John 19:37) the Crucified long enough with contemplative eyes are always healed at deep levels of pain, unforgiveness, aggressivity and victimhood. It demands no theological education at all, just an “inner exchange” by receiving the image within and offering one’s soul back in safe return.

He continues:

I believe we are invited to gaze upon the image of the Crucified to soften our hearts toward God, and to know that God’s heart has always been softened toward us, even and most especially in our suffering. This softens us toward ourselves and all others who suffer.

In these days of Holy Week, we will be challenged by some of the actions and responses of Jesus in the events leading to his death on the Cross:

  • his selflessness and obedience in desiring to please his Father….”Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.” (Lk 22:42)
  • his act of generous and humble service in washing the feet of the disciples….”…you also must wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you should also do as I have done to you.” (Jn 13:14-15)
  • his concern and focus on others, not on himself….”Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children.” (Lk 23:28)
  • his attitude and prayer of sincere forgiveness for his persecutors….”Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23:34)
  • his complete confidence and trust in the Father despite the silence to his question and seeming absence of God….”My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mk 15:34)
  • his complete surrender and total self-giving in love on the Cross….”Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Lk 23:46)

As we celebrate the Paschal Mystery – the saving Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus – in these days, let us allow our renewed minds and hearts to be so shaped as to reflect the actions and response of our Saviour whose Passion and Death continue in the world of today. As stated in Article #65 of our Constitutions (editor note: this is the Constitutions of the Passionist Men):

We Passionists make the Paschal Mystery the centre of our lives. This entails a loving commitment to follow Jesus Crucified, and a generous resolve to proclaim His Passion and death with faith and love. His Passion and death are no mere historical events. They are ever-present realities to people in the world of today, “crucified” as they are by injustice, by the lack of a deep respect for human life, and by a hungry yearning for peace, truth, and the fullness of human existence.

St Paul of the Cross said: “The world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus which are the miracle of miracles of the love of God. We must arouse the world from its slumber.”

As Passionists we have what it takes to show the world another way, and to present a different charter for life and relationships, i.e. the way of the Cross and a charter of suffering-love.

Let us not lose heart! Rather, may our participation in this Holy Week/Easter inspire and strengthen our hope to live and witness our Passionist vocation in union with the Crucified Lord and with a renewed commitment for ‘the crucified’ in our world.

I wish each one of you every blessing this Easter. May you know the joy of the presence of the Risen Lord!

May the PASSION of Jesus Christ be always within our minds and hearts; so the LIFE of Jesus too may be in us.


- Fr. Joachim Rego, C.P.


Monastic Lent 2014

April 11th, 2014

Greetings during this holiest time of the year! Well, I meant to share this with you long before now but where does the time go?!  Yes, even in the cloister, especially in the cloister, when so much time is devoted to prayer, Lectio Divina, etc. making time for work duties and blog posts can be a challenge.

During this Lent some of us are watching the life of Christ excerpts from The Bible TV Miniseries that came out in 2013. This year the directors took the sections about our Lord’s life, death and resurrection and created the movie The Son of God. We will watch the section on our Lord’s passion and death this Sunday afternoon which is Passion Sunday of Holy Week.

We are so graced to have so many good books at hand to help us enter into this rich season of penance, reparation and joyful anticipation of the Paschal Mystery.  For Christmas Mother Catherine Marie bought us the book by George Weigel on the Roman Catholic Station Church Pilgrimage.


 Each evening before supper Elizabeth and Nora are sharing with us about the martyr commemorated at each Station Church in Rome. This is a beautiful and ancient custom going back to the 300’s! Where the Pope, Bishops, priests and lay faithful of the city of Rome would walk to a different martyr shrine, say prayers, have Mass and have a meal (after fasting all day – fasting during Lent was quite different in the early Church – it was serious and I don’t know how they didn’t shrivel up to nothing!


Laetare Sunday brought us not only pink vestments, flowers and altar panels but also pink cupcakes in the refectory


Rejoice! Gaudete!





One Sunday afternoon also brought some nun -frisbee.


Passionist poverty?



Two sisters were assigned to “clean out the basement”.  Two cave-nuns have emerged after quite an exploration. Carts and carts of “stuff” were brought up for the Sisters to examine and see if any of us knew what it was. Materials were found for making sandals (which we did in quite amateur fashion back in the 1960′s) and ancient clock parts were also found. Even though we have only been in our Whitesville location since 1995 all the junk from the basement back in the 1946 foundation must have been transferred out here! Yes, the “cave lights” were added for the camera nun.



Lent has also brought us lots and lots of peanut butter, peanut butter and eggs (although not together – please don’t give the cook any ideas!)  How many different ways can one cook eggs? This is the question.  ‘

Our newest members announced that if the Passionist Nuns ever stopped abstaining from meat during Lent it would be a tragedy to the peanut butter industry! Above the table is set for our evening collation…peanut butter and applesauce are put out on this table.

Have a most grace-filled Holy Week!  We try to keep this week as prayerful as possible and set aside all unnecessary work but I do “hope” to get some more blog posts out before Easter. We shall see what the Lord permits to happen to my schedule. :)  Now I must retire for the evening as the 4:30 a.m. rising bell will be ringing sooner than later.

Letter to Aspiring Nun from Little Brother

April 6th, 2014

Recently our aspirant received a very important letter from her 5-year-old brother in anticipation of his 6th birthday.  Nora has one older brother who is a Franciscan Friar and 4 younger brothers. Matthew is the youngest. His letter was so humorous that we thought you would enjoy reading it as well.  Of course, we received permission from the author before posting it.


Not Dear Nora,

I’m not going to write. I don’t like sweet talk.  I’m not going to tell you that I got a real bow and $5.00 from Grandpa to buy arrows. I won’t tell you that “Frozen” came out on DVD today. I absolutely refuse to tell you that I got “Tangled” for my early birthday with Grandma and Grandpa. You’ll never hear from me that I also got “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and some clothes. I specifically don’t want to tell you about the bird jigsaw puzzle we are doing.

Don’t Love,


Not only does Nora have a special little brother but she also has some artistic talent which you can get a glimpse of below…


Can any one guess what this is depicting?


Well, it was the great feast of St. Joseph – the patron saint of our monastery – and in the afternoon we played a game that is a mix of hangman, charades and Wheel of Fortune.

The above drawing is a depiction of a line from the Litany to St. Joseph – St. Joseph the Terror of demons!

I hope to get another blog post out soon about our Lenten activities but thought that in the meantime I would share with you this anecdote.

The Holiest Week of the year is almost upon us! Blessings upon your Lenten journey.

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