Images for Lent

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One of our online initiatives at CYFM is a Ferverini, or a brief pious or spiritual thought, which is posted on our Facebook page a few times a week. While in part this is to keep an active online presence, it is also a part of caring for those who attend CYFM spiritually.

I really love preparing these short spiritual thoughts. Our director sets up a schedule every couple of months, and we are responsible for 3-4 of these fereverinis. We are asked to look at the readings for the day, and to come up with some sort of reflection, and maybe a question or reflect on. We then send our reflection to Father Fred to proof and to make sure that everything in the reflection is theologically sound.

Another thing that I like to do for my Ferverini posts is to make images on Canva. I’ve always loved the images that ministries like Lifeteen, Ascension Press, and Chastity Project post. I think that it’s a great way for a Ministry to catch the attention of those who follow it on social media. The problem is that I have no graphic design experience and I don’t have access to any programs that are used in that process. So about a year ago, I was doing some Pinterest research, and found that many blogs use a website called Canva to create their images and to make their blog posts more eye catching.

The great thing about websites like Canva is that there are so many free tools to use. All of the images above were made using free tools on Canva.

The first image appeared in a Ferverini and a CYFM blog post on Ash Wednesday for the beginning of Lent. The second image will appear in a Ferverini on the Fourth Sunday of Lent. And the third image will appear in a Ferverini on March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day.

Do you have any favorite programs that you like to use for blogging or social media?

Mary

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Esopus

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Last week the Cap Corps Volunteer community went on retreat to the Marist Brothers Center in Esopus, New York. A friar from the Province, Fr. Sam, gave the retreat to the five young adults.

The theme of this retreat was belonging. We explored contemplative prayer, poetry, and beauty. Our retreat began Tuesday evening and ended Friday afternoon. Each morning and night we had a “silent sit” or intentional quiet time. Our breakfasts and lunches were also had in silence. Each afternoon we had a couple of hours of free time, where we were allowed to relax, pray, or encounter Christ in reconciliation.  One of the most enjoyable parts of the retreat was our interaction with the full time volunteers at Esopus. During each of our meal times we were greeted with the same hospitality that we try to show our guests at CYFM. It was so nice to be on the receiving end of that grace though. The Marist volunteers have a blog too, you can check it out here.We had conversation at dinner, and some community time in the evening. We played games, had dessert, and tended to the fire in the living room.

Our introduction to contemplative prayer was through Thomas Keating and Centering Prayer. I found this practice particularly difficult. Although I am content with quiet, I often let my mind race and wander through parts of my day, my prayer life, and through past experiences. I usually end up taking one thing and thinking through it thoroughly, and not actually praying. This wasn’t really what we were supposed to be doing. And for some reason, I couldn’t actually focus on the point of centering prayer. Instead I thought about next year, and many other things.

To be honest, I probably should have taken the opportunity for “spiritual companionship” during free time. Rather, I took a shower, a brief nap, read for a bit, and took a walk down to the river.

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As I approached the Hudson River, I couldn’t get over the shards of ice that were floating along with the current, and getting left behind on the shore. It was kind of gloomy out. I say kind of because it was gray, but it was rather warm out, which made it bearable to walk around outside.

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I couldn’t get over how the ice resembled glass in appearance, but also in sound. The different pieces of ice clanked against each other, moving down the river, taking turns riding along with one another. It really was spectacular. On the way to dinner that night Fr. Sam and I spoke about how cool this was, but also serene and somewhat eerie. I think that this experience put me in a better place to reflect on beauty in the context of belonging.

We read poetry from Mary Oliver, Gerard Manley Hopkins, as well as others. I had never studied any of the poets that we read, but I was especially captivated by Hopkins use of language in As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —

Isn’t it beautiful?! I never had the chance to study Hopkins, so I may be looking into some of his collected works in the near future… or when I have a chance to read (probably next year).

I think that the combination of contemplation, poetry, beauty, and a sprinkle of Laudato Si was beneficial for these Cap Corps. We spend so much time reflecting as a group throughout our normal (as normal as it can be) schedule. The quiet, although difficult for some, was nice. It was nice to spend that time with the Lord, in a more structured and relaxed way.

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Mary

*This post originally appeared on the Cap Corps Volunteer blog on 2/25/16*

My Sisters the Saints, by Colleen Carroll Campbell

  1. My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell (to finish this book)
  2. Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell (to finish this book)
  3. Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
  4. Wife Mother & Mystic: Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi by Fr. Albert Bessieres
  5. Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette: Three saints who challenged my faith, gave me hope, and taught me how to love by Elizabeth Ficocelli
  6. Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
  7. St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton
  8. Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly
  9. Jesus a Pilgrimage by James Martin (to finish this book)

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We’re almost two months into 2016 and I have finally finished a book. My friend Britt gave me this book to read back in August when I moved to Beacon. So, it sat on my shelf as I adjusted to life as a full time volunteer. I barely read anything from August to December, which is pretty unlike me. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to incorporate more reading into my prayer life this year. I decided to start with this book because it was lent to me by a friend, and it is a spiritual memoir. So, it would be interesting (I hoped) and still fulfill the requirement of spiritual reading.

I started to read this book during the College Capuchin Outreach Program (College COP) in early January, where I had a few college students comment on how much they loved this book. So I started it before bed, and had a hard time putting it down. Campbell’s memoir was relatable to women in college, and beyond. Her spiritual journey starts as a little girl, but as a teenager she strays away. In college, she picks up a copy of St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography, and her life is transformed. (Don’t worry I’m not giving anything away, this is all on the back cover!) She writes of her father, and her profound respect for him and his faith, especially as his health declines later on in the book.

She writes of her prayer life, her journey with these incredible women saints (Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Faustina, Edith Stein, Teresa of Calcutta, and Mary), and her career. I think that many Catholic women can relate to Campbell’s journey and discernment to place her career or her internal desires first. She is a talented writer, which is displayed throughout this text, but also through her career as a correspondent and speech writer for the White House.

I found the text enjoyable to read, but also spiritually deep and enlightening. One of my favorite parts about this text was the intertwining of the lives of the Saints with the different stages of Colleen’s life. For me, it was reminder of the incredible lives of these women saints, whom I have journeyed with before. Although I have read about all of these women before, this memoir inspired me to learn more about Edith Stein and Faustina. This summer, I’m making a pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day. Both of these women will come up in my journey. I will be visiting the Convent where St. Faustina lived and received her visions. I will also be visiting Auschwitz, where Edith Stein and many others were martyred. Faustina has inspired me to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet more and Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) has inspired me to read more of her texts on women. I knew that Stein was a philosopher, but I had no idea what she had written or how it could be interesting to me.

I finished this book last week while on retreat in Esopus, NY. I was so pleased to have finally finished a book on my list! But, a spiritual companion, or Saintly Stalker as I sometimes call her, showed up at the end of the book. In the chapter on Mary, Campbell writes about her wedding, and how she and her husband knelt before an icon of none other than Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I wanted to laugh and show the paragraph to my community, but I was in a chapel where the Eucharist was exposed, so I kept it to myself until we retired to the living room. They laughed too.

I’m happy that I chose to read this book first. I now realize why my friend lent it to me, and why so many others have raved about it. (It even came up in a podcast that I was listening to yesterday!) For my next journey in the world of reading, I will be diving into Matthew Kelley’s Rediscover Jesus. Although it isn’t specifically for Lent, it can be used for this season, and is purple. So it works. I read Rediscover Catholicism this past summer and I really enjoyed it, but also found it as good preparation for this year of service. I also hope to read a bit of James Martin’s Jesus A Pilgrimage during breaks from Kelley’s book. I have been “reading” this book since it was published, but I usually only read  one chapter at a time, with months in between. But it works for me.

Mary

Life Lately in Pictures

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Winter has finally arrived in the Hudson Valley, and it seems as though it is on its way out already!

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We enjoyed our stay at the Esopus retreat center!

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One of my professors sent me a copy of her book! I’m excited to dive into it and feel like I’m back in her class!

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Visited Chelsea Market for a quick bite to eat and was intrigued by this cup! How crazy is that?!

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Ran a retreat in Dorchester, MA and found this beautiful image of JPII and Our Lady. Boston is a fun place for the CCVs to visit and work with the different parishes.

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Mount Beacon looked beautiful with just a bit of snow on it. This was a few weeks ago, now it’s almost 50 degrees and sunny!

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This isn’t the best picture but I recently noticed this cross in the kitchen at CYFM

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The three of us had the opportunity to see the Rachel Ray show in the city. This is us waiting on line.

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Lent is upon us.

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And the Chapel is still beautiful.

Until next time!

Lent

This post originally appeared on the Cap Corps Volunteer Blog

It’s that time of year again!  This Wednesday, Christians all over the world are reminded of their sinfulness and of their dependence on the Grace of God. The video above explains Lent and Ash Wednesday in two minutes… only two minutes! Take a couple of minutes, watch, and learn. Often enough, we as Catholics feel that we need to do some extraordinary acts during Lent to show that we are indeed, devout Catholics.

Don’t let your pride get in the way of letting yourself grow spiritually. The Church calls us to pray, fast, and to give alms. What is one thing that you can do to make your relationship with God better this Lent? What is one thing that is keeping you from God? Maybe its netflix, instagram, or checking your phone too much. Fast from it. How can you give of yourself? Whether it’s monetarily, or a giving of your gifts to someone else. Think about it. What would you like to do to share yourself with the world during these 40 days.

Fr. Mike Schmitz has some great advice for what we can do for Lent in this video:

Still not sure what you should do? Check out these resources:
Become a Missionary of Mercy this Lent.
As you know, Pope Francis declared this year a year of Mercy. The Capuchin Franciscans have been made special Missionaries of Mercy for this Jubilee Year. The Mass was Monday. Each Province sent a Friar to be present. Check out the pictures here!
Want more information on how to be a Missionary of Mercy? Check out these links:
Make this your best Lent yet. Prepare your heart for Easter, for the risen Christ by dying to self with Him for 40 days.

Garrison

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As I sat there, feeling down, looking at the blog of an acquaintance from my childhood, I started to feel jealous.

This girl, and others that I knew growing up are traveling around Europe as their post graduation life.

I opened up the main tab of the blog and realized how many places she had been. She wrote about how when she was young, all she wanted to do was travel. And I had this moment where I remembered that, that is all I wanted to do as an awkward middle schooler too. I kept a list of places that I wanted to go, and I would add to it each time I watched a program on the travel channel.

I became really discouraged in that moment. That I have only checked a handful of places off of my list. Sure, I studied abroad in Ireland. But what happened to studying abroad more than once like I had wanted to by the end of high school.

And then I kept reading. And she continued to write about what her dream is for her life. She loves to write. That makes sense since she’s a blogger. But then she said something, and it made me stop.

She wrote that she hopes to write things that touches people’s lives, people she will never meet.

And I was stopped in my tracks.

I had this moment where I remembered that I do that.

I have been published in a major magazine. People commented on the online version about how helpful my piece was.

I write talks about faith, and my faith journey and give them to middle school and high school students every week.

And my hope is, that something I say will touch them and bring them closer to Christ. Because that’s the real goal.

And I realized how silly my jealousy was. Because I am doing something worthwhile. I am giving a year of service to a ministry that touches lives. I have the chance to share my story with dozens of students each day.

I’ll have the rest of my life to travel, but I’ll only be in Garrison for one year.

Here’s to making the most of it!

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