Monday, August 21, 2006

August 2006

Dear Friends,

Welcome to August and our fourth e-letter to the Lilies of Saint Maria. Each month or as often as we can, we will post a free e-letter on our website, Lilies of Saint Maria, for all our visitors to read. Both Bernadette and I, Rebekah, will take turns writing the e-letter. We will try to include some inspiring words, any news from here or afar, magazine sneak peeks or updates, prayer requests, and/or anything else that we think would spark your interest. To make this letter more convenient to read, it will not only be available to those visiting our site, we will also send it to you via email after you sign up for it HERE.

Our audience is, of course, directed toward Catholic girls and teens, but hey, we invite everyone to share in this new endeavor.

Just a Few Thoughts . . .

Running a little behind schedule, huh? Sorry for coming in a little bit late for my turn to write this month's e-letter. August is a very important month for my family, it is harvest time and I feel that we are in the thick of it right now.

Yet, farm work does not tear me away from doing one of my favorite things and that is: reading. Right now I am enjoying myself by learning about Sister Faustina Kowlalska, who was canonized a saint on April 18th, 1993, through a book called Sister Faustina Kowalska - Her Life and Mission by Maria Tarnawska. I must say that I really didn't know anything about Saint Faustina before reading this book, and that is the main reason why I decided to pick it up.
For some background information on St. Faustina you can check out these websites for her biography:

One of many things that stand out in my mind in St. Faustina's life is her devotion and complete reliance on prayer. It seemed, when reading this book, that the things of this world were not on St. Faustina's mind frequently, she always thought of what was to come after her life on earth had ended. Many people who came in contact with this saint noted her habit of "never ceasing to pray."

As a helper in the convent's kitchen for a time, the Sister in charge immediately discovered St. Faustina's (then a postulant) special trait - her prayerfulness.

"During the day she sometimes asked me, "Sister, I should like to pay a visit to the chapel for a moment." The Sister in charge of the kitchen related after Sr. Faustina's death, "I did not always allow her to go, explaining that she was not yet a Religious and had no special duties. It was sufficient to visit the chapel morning and evening. Nevertheless she would ask permission to pay just a little visit. . ."

From Sr. Faustina's diary it appears as if she had a difficult time trying to learn that work is prayer, that it does not disturb contemplation, even from Jesus Himself. Yet she gradually came to understand the necessity of having a balanced life of prayer and work, having too much of either one will eventually result in the tipping of the scale.

Another facet of her prayer life was her complete reliance in Jesus. She knew that He would always be there for her, she relied on Him for assurance and her source of consolation. When her visions of Jesus became known to the congregation, the other sisters began to ponder her mental well-being. Was she hallucinating or experiencing hysteria? It was during this time until her death she leaned onto the Holy Shoulder of Christ. He told her that many people will stand in her way of proclaiming His message. . . His message of Mercy. As more and more people began to question her "so called" visions of Christ, she delved deeper and deeper into uncertainty. Perhaps these visions are not from God? Sr. Faustina was totally confused, she didn't know which way to turn. The doubt in her soul caused her to hesitate to do anything Jesus asked of her - perhaps it was all a trick from the devil?

". . .it seemed to my superior that these graces were unlikely," notes Sr. Faustina, "She told me that it was impossible that God should commune with His creatures in such a way: `I fear for you, Sister; isn't this an illusion of some sort! You'd better go and seek the advice of a priest.' "

She continues in her diary: "During meditation I asked of Jesus, 'If You who commune with me and talk to me are truly God, I beg You, O Lord, to make this ward (a student member of the convent's school) go this very day to confession; this sign will give me reassurance.' " At that very moment, the student asked to go to confession.

The Mother in charge of the class was surprised at this sudden change in her, but she undertook to call a priest immediately, and this person made her confession with great compunction. At the same time, I heard a voice within me say, 'Do you believe Me now?' And once again a strange power pervaded my soul, strengthening and reassuring me to such a degree that I myself was surprised that I had allowed myself to doubt even for a moment."

With the doubts vanished from her mind and soul, she set to work on spreading the word of Jesus' Divine Mercy. It is through her obedience and trust in Jesus that led to the commemoration of this essential devotion. It is a wonderful tool to see God's love for us through the two rays of Blood and Water, which pour forth from the very depths of His tender mercy. The Water which makes souls righteous and the Blood which is the life of souls.

One story in St. Faustina's life truly demonstrates her willingness to go to God even about the smallest matters. A fellow Sister narrates this significant happening:
"On one occasion, meat from an entire beef carcass was delivered from the town. There was a heat wave at the time and no suitable place to keep the meat, and we did not want it to spoil. The Sister Cook was ill; the Housekeeper Sister was busy with other urgent work. Sister Josepha, who kept the larder, did not want to know, having to finish some work to a deadline. Sister Faustina was left alone to cope with the carcass. I came to help. She told me, 'We will dish up lunch, and then we'll go to the chapel and pray. I'll ask Jesus' advice, I'll tell Him all about it, and He will give me the best advice on what to do.'

"After we had served lunch we did indeed go to the chapel. After a moment's prayer Sister Faustina came out as if overjoyed and filled with a new energy, and she said, 'I know what we'll do: the smaller pieces of meat will be for minced meat burgers, and we will sprinkle the large joints with vinegar and put them in the cellar wrapped in cloth.'

"We worked until late at night. We were able to keep the meat very well and nothing was spoiled. . . When Sister Cook came back to work after a few days, she praised Sister Faustina for having done so well. Seeing the state in which the meat was delivered, and recalling also the heat wave and lack of appropriate methods of preserving it, for there was only the cellar, without any ice, I think that for all that meat to keep without going bad was almost a miracle."

Sister Faustina's example of prayer undoubtedly can be applied to our lives. How she allowed prayer to cover every aspect of her daily life, how she learned to look at work as a form of prayer, how to looked towards Jesus as the source of consolation, how she sought out Jesus for His advice even about small matters, and how she put to action Jesus' wishes. It is doubtless to say that St. Faustina Kowalska must had believed with her whole heart the signature of Divine Mercy: Jesus, I Trust In You.

Help Us Spread the Word . . .
Become Sponsors of Saint Maria's Messenger
* Do you know of any generous Catholic people (or are you one?) who would be willing and able to become Sponsors for our apostolate? This means those people who have the time and means to promote St. Maria's Messenger.
* Can you be able to reach a large audience of Catholic girls and/or families?
* Can you be able to tell them about St. Maria's Messenger in its true form – honestly and with sincerity? (No car-salesman pitches.)
* Can you tell girls through ads, website(s), flyers, etc.?
* Are you able to do all this with the little we have to offer in return? (Prayers and an ad for your company/work on our website and in our magazine.) Note: We cannot supply sponsors with the money, supplies, and equipment needed to spread the word unless otherwise noted after contacting us.

We greatly look forward to your help in this matter. Please pray about this, do not just brush it aside as another one of "those." Thank you!

Also, another thing almost any one can do for us. Post flyers about our magazine in your Parish Church (permission needed first, of course). Just click HERE and up will pop a page you can print off and then distribute. Using colored paper (or ink) will help the flyer stand out better.

And one last idea to help us spread the word. We mentioned this before, but believe this to be a very rewarding method of getting the word out. If you are able to write up a press release or an article about our magazine and apostolate for Catholic newspapers or magazines, we would be so very grateful! Please email us if you have any questions about this.

Please Keep In Your Prayers . . .

1. Jacob: He is 16 years old and his heart is in critical condition.

2. Wright Family: A Catholic family of 11, three of whom were in a horrible car crash. One died and the rest are in serious condition.

3. Hanson Family: They are a new Catholic family singing group and would appreciate your prayers.

4. Leo: Health is declining.

5. Virginia: Passed away last year.

6. Sally: Who passed away last June.

7. Al: Who passed away last February.

8. Stephanie's aunt: For her health.

9. Carole: Health and well-being.

10. Christopher: For his vocation and ministry

11. Mrs. Egleston: For her health

12. Anne: For her vocation and new job

13. Justin and Family: Conversion of Justin.

14. Joshua and family: Death of little Joshua.

15. Erin: Our parish's current seminarian.

16. Elizabeth: Recovering from surgery.

If you have any prayer requests please let us know so we can add them to our prayer list!

Saint Maria's Messenger Sneak Peeks or Updates . . .

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To see our new way of subscribing, please click here.

SMM Catholic Reporter (home, national, or world news). . .

Home: We ended up having a little one day vacation this week. On August 15th, The Feast of the Assumption (a holyday of obligation), we closed up the stand and spent the day celebrating my younger sister Catherine's birthday. Her b-day is actually the 14th, but the fun and celebrating is done the next day, when we observe the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mass was beautiful, I wish they could select for the hymns, Immaculate Mary and Hail Holy Queen, Enthroned Above more often!

As I said at the beginning, we are in the thick of harvesting time at our farm. Lots of delicious, yummy sweet corn have been flooding our corn bin and hopefully the sweet ears have been creating lots of smiles for our customers!

Watermelon has made quite a scene this year. Having poor luck with them in recent years we are truly grateful to God for allowing such a remarkable watermelon crop. They too have been extraordinarily sweet, luscious, and "dripping to your elbow" juicy.

Yesterday, we brought a rare sight to our farm stand: bushels of peaches and plums. They sold in a flash and I absolutely can see why, there is nothing like them!

Please check out www.magiclandfarms.com to find out what we have been up to at our farm. Our Papa regularly updates the website, especially the Magicland Farm News section.

News from around the world:
Lots of news articles concerning Catholic teens can be found here:
Articles about singer, Charlotte Church:
Article concerning new Catholic colleges:

A Few Extras . . .
Thought you may want a little reminder for this month and the coming month concerning special feast days. So I listed feast days of Great Women Saints found in the months of August and September.

2 Our Lady of the Angels
9 Saint Edith Stein
11 St. Clare
15 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
18 St. Jane Frances de Chantal
21 Our Lady of Knock
22 Queenship of the Blessed Virgin
23 St. Rose of Lima
24 Our Lady Health of the Sick
26 Our Lady of Czestochowa
27 Saint Monica, Seven Joys of Mary

1 Saint Anna, Prophetess
2 Saint Ingrid of Sweden
4 St. Rose Viterbo
7 Saint Regina
8 Birth of the Blessed Virgin
12 Most Holy Name of Mary
15 Our Lady of Sorrows
19 Our Lady of LaSalette
24 Our Lady of Ransom

Have a Very Blessed Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

In Jesus and Mother Mary,

Bernadette and Rebekah Fox
Saint Maria's Messenger
A Catholic Magazine for Girls
5426 S. Gordon Ave.
Newaygo, MI 49337