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Newsletter - Spring, Vol. 24, No. 1

"Garments" for Lent:
Truth, Praise and Gratitude
By Hermit Sister Rebecca Mary


The liturgical color of purple reminds us that Lent is a season of sorrow, a time of penance and reflecting on the Passion and Death of Jesus.  It is an opportunity to approach Him with deep prayer and to surround Him with gratitude for His gift of life for us.  The Church traditionally offers us forty days for this inner journey of soul-searching, asking us to pray, fast, give alms, show mercy and charity to our brothers and sisters.

Lent is a time for the humility, which is truth.  Jesus says of Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  (Jn. 14:6)  Because Jesus IS truth, nothing contrary to truth is within Him.  We can confidently confirm our own inner truth with His in order to speak and act the truth of Jesus.  He says, “Anyone committed to the truth hears my voice.  ‘Truth,’ said Pilate.  ‘What is that?’”  (Jn. 18:38)  We may, at times, be tempted like Pilate to ask, “What is truth?”  Jesus did not answer him.  Perhaps it was because Pilate was avoiding the truth of his own conscience by allowing an innocent man to be condemned.

In his book, Images of Hope, (p. 26),  Pope Benedict XVI reminds us of how difficult it is to live in truth.  The former Cardinal Ratzinger comments: “Which of us could deny that truth has not sometimes been disturbing -- the truth about oneself, the truth about what we should do and let go of?   Which of us can maintain that he has never tried to steal past the truth, or to at least fashion it so that it becomes less painful?” 

Being truthful or hearing the truth may make us uncomfortable on occasion, but we instinctively know that truth frees us and leads us on the way to closer company with Jesus.  “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn. 8:32)

In the freedom of truth, we will quite spontaneously feel called to give praise and gratitude to God, even during the more somber days of Lent.  What greater gift can we give Him than our heartfelt praise and gratitude?  These will naturally flow into greater charity for others.  Penance, fasting and prayer should lead us to the happy state of praise of God.  When we walk the way of the cross during Lent, we can express our deep gratitude and praise to Our Lord for His profound gift of love for each one of us.

Adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist is a peaceful, heart-warming way to be present to His holy Presence.  (“Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.”)  We give thanks for such a privilege!  Receiving the two sacraments of confession and communion more frequently is not only a boost to our own spiritual lives, but gives God praise and gratitude for His precious gift of salvation.  What better path to conversion of heart?

May our Lent be a time of deepening truth that is full of joyous praise to Jesus, Who gave us so much.  For this, we give thanks!  May your Lent be full of His peace and your Easter overflowing with spiritual joy.

Community News
By Hermit Sister Mary Beverly

Sept. 22-28, 2006:   Father Casey Bailey, OCSO, from Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Monastery in Oregon, was here to give us a series of conferences on prayer.  Father Casey is the novice master for his community and it was a privilege and a joy to have him here for the first (and hopefully not the last) time to share his expertise.

Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2006:  Accompanied by our friend, Eberle Umbach, I drove to Sandpoint, Idaho to give a women’s retreat for the parish there.  It was a grace-filled event and a first experience for both of us:  for Eberle, who had never made a retreat before, and for me to be leading a retreat.  It was evidently a spiritual success, because I was invited back to give the retreat there in September, 2007.

Oct. 14 & 15, 2006:    We sold our wares at the newest parish in Boise, Risen Christ.  We try to do a sale once a month in a parish throughout our area.  We are grateful to the pastors, who are willing to host our efforts to support ourselves “by the labor of our hands” as the Rule of St. Benedict urges.

Father Robert Cook, Sister Rebecca Mary, HSM & Sister Mary Beverly

Sister Rebecca Mary, HSM, Father Robert Cook, and Sister Mary Beverly, HSM. We are grateful to Father rob for being our "good shepherd" while we are without a resident chaplain.

October 29, 2006:  Vince Brigante resigned from our Board of Directors.  We are deeply indebted to Vince for the many years he has generously supported us with his care, advice and interest in the day-to-day affairs of Marymount Hermitage, Inc.  God bless you, Vince! 

October 31, 2006:  Vic Haus, of Boise, agreed to serve now on the Board of Directors.  It is God’s providence that Vic said yes to helping us again, actually on the anniversary of the day in 1983, when we were incorporated in the State of Idaho and Vic served as the first member of our Board of Directors.  Welcome aboard again, Vic!

December 8, 2006:  We purchased a newer car with the generous help of Steve Dominguez of Hometown Toyota in Ontario, Oregon.  Steve sold this vehicle to us, under his cost, and had it serviced, so it was in “perfect shape.”  This is a 2001 Toyota RAV 4 and one year newer than our other car.  That had 124,000 miles on it, while the newer car has only 47,000.  We are grateful to have a good, reliable, four-wheel drive, so that long-distance medical trips in the winter time are not an added worry.

Dec. 13 - 23, 2006:   Sister Rebecca Mary was hospitalized twice for three and four days at a time at Holy Rosary in Ontario, Oregon.  Since then, she has been in more stable health and we feel the prayers of many have been answered with a new combination of medicines and diet to keep her feeling better.  God bless Dr. Andrew Peterson and Dr. Tony Tesnolidek for their care and diligence! 

While Sister Rebecca Mary was in the hospital, we were blessed with visits from Bishop Michael Driscoll, Bishop of Boise, and Father Robert Cook, our pastor in Weiser, who gave Sister the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.  Our faithful friends, Ron and Sherry Moore, visited Sister Rebecca Mary every day, if not twice a day, while she was hospitalized.

Our dear friends, Carleen and Bill Prouty, in Payette, gave me overnight hospitality, so I could be close to Sister Rebecca Mary and not have to travel long distances back and forth to the hospital each day.

Dec. 24, 2006:  Our neighbors could not bear the thought that we were unprepared for Christmas, so on the morning of Christmas Eve, Craig and Sandy Sova helped us decorate the tree in chapel, clean there and decorate the window ledges with candles and boughs. 

Then that afternoon, another husband-wife team, John Hayes and Eberle Umbach, helped us decorate the tree in our house, played and sang Christmas carols, prayed Vespers with us in chapel, and brought dinner for us to celebrate together.  All in all, it was a heart-warming and memorable preparation for the Birthday of the Lord.

Dec. 24-25, 2006:    Sister Rebecca Mary and I went to the parish Masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We discovered that it was our non-Catholic friends who most mourned the loss of Midnight Mass here at Marymount, which has become their treasured tradition.

Dec. 2006 - Jan. 2007:  The weather this winter has been a strange combination of severe cold temperatures and almost no snow.  This is the kind of weather which makes our oldest, modular buildings vulnerable to frozen pipes.  At one point recently, we had four buildings frozen up: two totally and two partially.  As of Jan. 21, all of them have thawed out, with only one broken pipe in my old hermitage.

January 22, 2007:    Sister Rebecca Mary, true to form, is in the midst of a new, creative endeavor.  She is completing a trilogy of children’s books, which she is also illustrating with pen and ink line drawings.  We hope, God willing, to publish the first book later this year.  The title is The Midnight Rose.  The books are written for children, ages 8 - 12.  They are appealing stories, with (as you would suspect) some hidden spiritual, mystical qualities, which make the reading interesting even for adults.

January, 2007:    I have been accepting invitations from local pastors to teach in parishes this year.  Topics for the adult education classes include prayer, spirituality, the documents of Vatican II and the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II, but I can also do classes for programs such as the RCIA. 

The stipend and mileage I earn by this work helps to support our little hermit community.  Both Sister Rebecca Mary and I have renewed our interest in Scripture by reading and studying it in a chronological, systematic way.  This has been very spiritually fruitful for us.  Some of the details which Sister Rebecca Mary knows from her study of Hebrew, I use in my classes to enrich the linguistic background of Scripture and theology.

Free Retreats for Catholic Priests

Are you a Catholic Priest looking for a quiet and peaceful retreat? Then look no further than Marymount for your spiritual haven. During this period when we have no resident Chaplain, we invite you to come visit us. See Retreats for more information and an application form.

Laity Retreats

Marymount is a beautiful place to spend a few days to recharge your spiritual battery. Come to the High Desert and spend some quiet time with God. See Retreats for more information and an application form.

Is God Calling You to the Religious Life?

Do you have a longing in your heart to do something more for God? Do you think you might have a calling to the life of a religious woman hermit? Please read our page concerning Vocations for more information.

Please write or email us to start your discernment process as to whether God is calling you to a Vocation in the Marymount community.

MARYMOUNT HERMITAGE NEWSLETTER is published by Marymount Hermitage, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation in the State of Idaho. The Hermit Sisters of Mary are a canonically approved Catholic community of women hermits following the Rule of St. Benedict. The newsletter is normally published three times a year and is free. The newsletter is sent to our relatives, friends and benefactors so that we might share the spirituality and material progress of Marymount Hermitage. Please pray that we may be faithful to our way of life in prayer and penance, solitude and silence. Any donations to Marymount Hermitage are sincerely appreciated and are tax-deductible.

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