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Category: Abbess love notes


Sister Thea Bowman ~ A Love from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, We are very excited to be hosting ValLimar Jansen this Friday for a mini-retreat. She is an extraordinary musician and performer and has a special love for Sister Thea Bowman, a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration and prophetic witness to the Black American Catholic experience who worked to break down racial and cultural barriers. ValLimar wrote a musical to celebrate Sister Thea’s life.  ValLimar shares this reflection with us that she wrote originally for Liguori Publications:  Sister Thea Bowman was a trailblazing African American Catholic religious sister. She was a powerful voice for social justice and a passionate

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Fasting and the Three Renunciations ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, This week begins our Lenten journey through the desert of our hearts. If you want to make an intentional pilgrimage with kindred spirits, we invite you to join our companion retreat to my book A Different Kind of Fast, where we explore different kinds of fasting including from speed and productivity and from craving certainty.  This is an excerpt from the introduction of the book: One of the early teachings of the Christian church I find helpful to understand fasting is from John Cassian who talks about three renunciations. Cassian, an early theologian in the Christian church, writes

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A Different Kind of Fast Lent Retreat ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, We have ten days until the start of Lent. How will you consecrate that holy season in the wilderness? We are hosting an online pilgrimage with a companion retreat to my book A Different Kind of Fast. Read on for an excerpt:  The forty days of Lent are a sacred journey through the wilderness which means there will be moments of challenge. Even if we live in the middle of the suburbs or in the heart of the city, the wilderness becomes a metaphor for those places we need to wrestle and ultimately soften toward ourselves, bring lavish compassion

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Imbolc and Brigid’s Mantle ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, February 1st-2nd marks a confluence of several feasts and occasions including: the Celtic feast of Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day, Candlemas, Feast of the Presentation, and Groundhog Day in the northern hemisphere! (Imbolc is August 1st in the southern hemisphere). Imbolc is a Celtic feast that is a cross-quarter day, meaning it is the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. The sun marks the four Quarter Days of the year (the Solstices and Equinoxes) and the midpoints are the cross-quarter days.  In some cultures, like Ireland, February 2nd is the official beginning of spring. As

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Ireland’s Mermaid Saint ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, Next Saturday is the Feast of St. Muirgen, Ireland’s very own mermaid saint. Her story was written down in the 6th century and is a powerful metaphor for our own journeys of loss, descent, grief, and then finding our own sacred song. I will be leading a mini-retreat on Friday (the eve of her feast day) inviting you to explore her wisdom for your own life.  I am blessed to live by the sea. I go often to the water to listen to her ancient rhythms and the primordial voice whispering in the waves. I go because it is

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Everyday Pilgrimage to Honor Saints and Ancestors ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, Tomorrow we begin our 14-week online companion journey through my book The Love of Thousands: How Angels, Saints, and Ancestors Walk With Us Toward Holiness. This journey together in community with kindred spirits will be a kind of pilgrimage you make from home. We can also go on pilgrimage to sacred sites connected to saints or our ancestors, but sometimes the transformative path is woven into the everyday of our lives. I wanted to share a couple of examples of how we might go on a physical pilgrimage in our own neighborhoods, which can also connect us

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Gratitude for Dancing Monks, Earth-Bound Angels, Self-Care, and the Contemplative Path

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Every four weeks I go to the hospital to receive an infusion of a biologic medication to keep my rheumatoid arthritis under control. Each time I go I am full of gratitude at the way modern medicine has allowed me to mostly keep my mobility 32 years after being first diagnosed. My mother, who also had RA, didn’t even live this long into her illness and was in a wheelchair the last several years of her life after several joint replacement surgeries.  As many of you know, autoimmune illness is challenging. I have several chronic

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