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Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Invitation


12:00 - 2:00 pm
2200 S. LEWIS AVE.
 (southwest corner of 21st St and Lewis Ave)
TULSA, OK 74114 



Friday, December 19, 2014



DECEMBER 17 – 23

The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. (USCCB)  It is a grace-filled time of anticipation and preparation, a time to also reflect on how Christ is present in our lives each day, most importantly, in the Blessed Sacrament.  He is also often present in hidden ways. In our time and society, the preparation all too often takes priority over the anticipation, the waiting with great expectation.  Our challenge as Catholic Christians – especially as Catholic Christian women – is to embrace the waiting and prolong as much as possible the preparation.

We think of Mary and Martha in Luke’s Gospel.  Martha was about preparation; Mary understood the idea of presence and anticipation.  Sometimes what we most need is that silent presence with our Lord – without activity, just being with him.
As we move through Advent the waiting and longing for Christ intensifies.  We experience this in the Scripture we hear at Mass.  We experience it in the season itself – as time grows short, the anticipation is almost palpable.  Those with young children awaiting all that Christmas Day will bring understand this well!  Our hearts yearn for Christ to come with even greater anticipation than little ones awaiting the appearance of Santa.

 We often miss daily opportunities to be aware of the presence of Christ in our life – in the many small ways, particularly.  These days of Advent are an open invitation to us to spend time with a heightened awareness of God among us.

The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas). (USCCB)

During these days, the Church gives us signposts that we are soon to behold the coming of Christ.  The Lectionary readings at Mass are specific to these days, allowing us to reflect on the passages in the Old Testament which point to the coming of our Savior.  Additionally during these final days of Advent, the Church gives us what we call the ‘O’ Antiphons.  These are prayed at Vespers each day just before the singing of Mary’s hymn, the Magnificat.  The words of these antiphons are also used in Mass each day in the verse of the Gospel Alleluia Acclamation.  The exact origin of the antiphons is unknown, but they date back to the 6th century.  The importance of the O Antiphons is twofold. First, each one is a title for the Messiah. Secondly, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. 

 The text of these antiphons appears in the hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and in other modern Advent songs (e.g., My Soul in Stillness Waits).

They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come!" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah. (USCCB)

 The original antiphons are, of course, in Latin.  We will look at the first word(s) of each in the Latin and then the English.

 So we begin on December 17th, the first of what are sometimes called the “Golden Nights.”

 English translations from USCCB

O Sapientia

O Wisdom, you came from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from end to end mightily
and loving disposing all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Wisdom is here personified, present with God at the beginning of creation.  This is a prefigurement of Jesus, the eternal Word of God, the "logos" John described in the opening of his gospel.  In our finite way of thinking, it is difficult to grasp the eternal nature of God – Wisdom reaching from “end to end.”  Wisdom is the foundation of fear of the Lord, of holiness, or right living: it is wisdom whom we bid to come and teach us prudence.  The cry "Come" will be repeated again and again, insistent and hope-filled. 

O Adonai

O Adonai and Leader of the House of Israel,
You appeared to Moses in the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come, with outstretched arm, redeem us.

 "Adonai" is Hebrew for "my Lord", and was substituted by devout Jews for the name "Yahweh", out of reverence.  With this second antiphon we progress from creation to the familiar story of God manifesting himself by name to Moses and giving his law to Israel as their way of life.  We are also reminded of the Israelites' deliverance from bondage under pharaoh - a foreshadowing of our own redemption from sin.  The image of God's arm outstretched in power to save his chosen people also brings to mind the later scene of Jesus with his arms outstretched for us on the cross. 

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse,
You are a sign for all the people,
Before you kings remain silent and to you the nations make supplication:
Come to deliver us and do not delay!

Isaiah prophesied a restoration of David's throne - a new branch budding out 
of the old root.  Christ is the root of Jesse in a two-fold sense: he is the descendant of David, who was the youngest son of Jesse, and he inherited the royal throne.  The angel foretold to Mary, "The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.  He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end" (Luke 1:32-33).

Our hearts more and more urgently cry out for God's reign to extend over all humanity: "Come, save us, and do not delay". 

 O Clavis David

O Key of David,
and scepter of the house of Israel,
You open and no one shuts,
You shut and no one opens:
Come, and free the prisoners sitting in darkness,
And in the shadow of death.

The key and scepter are traditional symbols of kingly power and authority. Christ, the anointed one, is the heir of David and possessor of the kingdom. Jesus himself also made use of this symbol, showing the prophetic relationship of the earthly kingdom of David to the kingdom of God.  All power and authority was given to him after the resurrection, and he entrusted this power to "bind and to loose" to Peter and the ministers of his church.

In the closing petition we look to Jesus to unlock the fetters of sin that keep us tightly chained.  It is he who frees us from our captivity.  We recall the deliverance proclaimed by the psalmist of old: "they dwelt in darkness and gloom, bondsmen in want and in chains,...and he led them forth fromdarkness and gloom and broke their bonds asunder" (Psalm 107: 10, 14).

 O Oriens

O Rising Sun, brightness of eternal Light
And Sun of Justice:
Come and enlighten those that sit in darkness
And in the shadow of death.

This title is variously translated "morning star", "Dayspring", "rising sun", "radiant dawn", "orient".  All beautifully express the idea of light shattering the darkness of night, of sin and death, of sickness and despair, with its brightness bringing healing and warmth to cold hearts.  Jesus is indeed the true light, the radiance of his Father's splendor. The church prays this petition daily in the Benedictus, joining in the words of Zechariah: "He, the Dayspring, shall visit us in his mercy to shine on those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death" (Luke 1:78-79).

O Rex Gentium

O King of the nations,
and their Desired,the Cornerstone,
you make all things one:
Come and save mankind whom You have formed out of clay.

The earlier antiphons have already alluded to the Messiah coming not only to Israel  but to convert the gentile nations and redeem them for his own. Now this sixth antiphon clearly addresses the savior as the king of the gentiles (Jer.10:7) and the Desired One of the nations.  The Messiah is the cornerstone on whom our spiritual foundations are laid, but on whom unbelievers stumble (Matt. 21:42).  This cornerstone unites and binds Jew and gentile into one, making peace between them.

The plea is that God save all humanity, all his creation that he formed from the dust of the earth (Gen.2:7).  We yearn for him once again to breathe the breath of his new life into us.

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
you are the Expected of nations and their savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

With this last antiphon our expectation finds joy now in the certainty of fulfillment.  We call Jesus by one of the most personal and intimate of his titles, Emmanuel, God-with-us.  We recall that in his birth from the Virgin Mary God takes on our very flesh and human nature: God coming nearer to us than we could have ever imagined!  Yet he is also to be exalted above us as our king, the lawgiver and judge, the one whom we honor and obey.  And he is our savior, long-expected by all creation.  The final cry rises from us urgent in our need for daily salvation and forgiveness of our sins, and confident that our God will not withhold himself from us.  

In Latin the initials of the titles make an acrostic which, when read backwards. means: "Tomorrow I will be there" ("Ero cras").  To the medieval mind this was clearly a reference to the approaching Christmas vigil.

 As we move ever closer to the celebration of Christmas, please know that you all are remembered in our prayer of the Christmas Novena.  May you and your loved ones be abundantly blessed these holy days.

Sister Christine


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Vespers Opening Year of Consecrated Life

Remember to include us in your Thanksgiving weekend plans! Vespers Saturday, 7:00 pm in Marian Chapel (St. Joseph Monastery, 2200 S. Lewis Ave, Tulsa, OK) to open the Year of Consecrated Life (and the season of Advent). Join us and please share!

Year of Consecrated Life

Friday, November 14, 2014


Our Monastic Moment Experience will be this weekend.  It is an opportunity for single, Catholic women open to Monastic life as an option to come and see what life at Saint Joseph Monastery looks like. It is a great opportunity for the women to come, meet and interact with our Sisters and for us to reflect on our life and the discernment process.

Please pray for the women attending that they will be open to God's direction in their lives and for our Community and Vocation Committee that we may truly be an inviting community.

Sister Catherine

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Heroes and Superheroes

Growing up heroes and superheroes were goals to aspire towards. These were the bigger than life personalities which covered my imagination with tales of amazing feats. While these characters were "superheroes," they were not fictional persons like Superman, Spiderman or Wonder Woman, they were actually men and women who had lived in former times yet still lived heroically.

These were a few of my superheroes:

  • Mary--a young peasant girl called by God to be the Mother of Jesus, our Savior;
  • Monica--a mother who prayed incessantly for the conversion of her son, Augustine (who later lived his own life in an extraordinary way);
  • Paul--a zealous defender of his Jewish heritage until he had personal encounter with Jesus;
  • Miguel Agustin Pro--a Mexican priest martyred during the religious persecutions of the 1920's in Mexico.
 As a young child, I heard the stories of these Christians and many others from my grandmother. These were the stories that she remembered from her own formative years.

As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls this weekend, let's take a few minutes to reflect on the influence of these men and women in our lives and in our faith.

How can we continue to inspire future generations with the memory of the lives of these heroic men and women?

Sr. Catherine

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Traditions and Celebrations

One of the best parts of autumn for me, other than the endless football games, the changing of the leaves and the evenings on the patio making s'mores, is the community traditions which all fall in October. 

One of those family celebrations is our annual Chicken Day.  While the rest of the universal Church celebrates St. Teresa of Avila on Oct 15, it is the day that we have fried chicken for dinner in honor of our founding generation of Sisters.

Here is the story, as I remember it (apologies in advance for any mistakes or omissions which may occur in this story).  When our Sisters were still living in Creston, IA, they were moving to a new, larger convent about 6 blocks away from St. Malachy's Church where they had originally resided. Our Sisters packed everything in crates including the chickens. Someone forgot to put air holes in the crates for the chickens. So at the end of the day after the long day of moving, the Sisters discovered that the chickens had all smothered in the crates. Being mindful never to waste anything, they fried the chickens that evening and used them as an evening snack.

Our Sisters love fried chicken and use any excuse available to have a celebration. So even more than 130 years later we still celebrate this event in our history.

This year we are also blessed to celebrate 135 years since our founding day on October 28. On this date we remember Mother Paula O'Reilly and her two companions who travelled from Pennsylvania to Iowa to start a new Benedictine foundation. May the spirit which enlivened these women continue to inspire us as we progress along the monastic way of life.

What are some family traditions that are important in your life?

Sr. Catherine

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An Invitation...and A Challenge

Do you know a single, Catholic woman between 18 and 35 who might be interested in a 24 hour monastic experience?

Do you know single, Catholic woman who is looking for something more in her life?

Is there a single woman in your family, parish, Newman Center, college dorm, workplace that might possibly benefit from our 24 Monastic Moment experience?

If the answer is yes (or even maybe) to any of these questions, feel free to direct them to our website for more information or give them the information provided below.

Studies tell us that many of the men and women who are currently priests or religious brothers or sisters first thought of it after a personal invitation. It could be as simple as the question: Have you ever thought about religious life? It is okay to ask even those that don't seem like likely candidates...God can work with all kinds of people.

When I was young, my parents were pretty confident that there was a potential vocation in our family. We have a history of religious vocations in our extended why not ours. My brother, John, proclaimed that he wanted to be a priest after he served his first Mass. My younger sister, Juli, could rattle off her prayers and bible verses before she was 4.  Then, there was me, the oldest who couldn't seem to sit still very well, loved to sing in the kid's choir and was always looking for the next adventure. Well, with two potential vocations--I guess I was okay. Oh, and I also proclaimed loud and long that I had no visions of religious life in my future.

When I was 18, one of our parish priests invited me to spend a weekend with some friends of his. He asked me not once but multiple times until I said: Okay, I'll go. That was about 35 years ago now. What I found in that weekend was that religious women could be fun and funny, intelligent and competent...and they even liked some of the things I liked. After that weekend I decided to give religious life a serious look. I entered St. Joseph Monastery 4 years later and have been here ever since.

That one invitation from that priest opened my mind and many doors for me.

Do you know a single, Catholic woman who might be ready for a change? Invite her to Monastic Moment.  For more information visit our website: or call (918)746-4203.

Sr. Catherine