Summer, 2009


“Day after day it is necessary to learn that I do not possess my life for myself... it means giving life, not taking it... in being useful, in being a person whom the world needs, our life becomes important and beautiful.”
-Pope Benedict XVI


Dearest Friends,

May the Lord give you His peace!

In this Year of the Priest, our Holy Father’s words about the Good Shepherd ring true for each and every priest who daily lays down his life for the faithful. Not only do their lives reflect the life of Christ, they are the only source of the Holy Eucharist - Jesus’ very Body and Blood on earth.

Our friend, who is a missionary priest in Ethiopia, is the only priest within 500 miles. Yet the fact that he’s there, makes possible the real presence of Christ for his people.

Our priests’ ministry is indispensible and most precious. We too are being called to be shepherds like Jesus in our own special ways. As religious sisters we have been called to be witnesses to the world of Christ’s life and the hope He brings.

May we all be given the grace to be good shepherds and “our brothers’ keepers,” and to know the joy which naturally follows such commitment. Let us continue to remember the most important shepherds in our midst - our beloved priests. May they know our loving support and prayers as never before!

Prayerfully yours in Jesus and Mary,

Sr. Lucille
and all your Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal


Sr Jacinta vows

How does one explain a call? How can an inspiration of the Holy Spirit be expressed? Sr. Jacinta Maria of Jesus, having heard the voice of her Maker, has chosen to follow Him all the days of her life in poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Franciscan Sister of the Renewal. As to the question of “Why?” - Love is the only possible answer.
To prepare God’s precious little ones for the life-giving sacraments of our Church has got to be the greatest joy our work of evangelization can bring. Sr. Mary Pieta and Sr. Elizabeth are pictured here with children from Our Lady Queen of Angels School, from our East Harlem neighborhood. They are splendidly dressed for the day of their Baptism and First Holy Communion.
Bishop Walsh visit
Sr Felicity serving
(above, left) “May those whose love has been such a gift to me, implore God’s mercy for me. May Mother Mary receive me. To be a priest of Jesus Christ is a tremendous joy and an awesome responsibility. Pray for me.” These are the words from the last will and testament of our beloved friend, Bishop Thomas Welsh of Allentown, PA. He went on to his eternal reward on February 19. This photo reflects a bit of the joy that it always was to be with him!

(right) There is no more immediate source of joy than serving another. Sr. Felicity is getting first hand experience of this at Father Solanus Kitchen, and a glimmer, even as a novice, of what life after vows will be like.

Fr. Robert -
joyful friar...
generous friar...
loving friar...
holy friar...

Until we meet again... please pray for us, as we pray for you. We love you and always will!


Fr. Robert Stanion, CFR
April 1, 1947 - March 23, 2009

Fr Robert Stanion, CFR


A room filled with 5 and 6-year-olds and plenty of paint is a good way to make memories (my habit itself is a memorial!). This experience from a few summers back has stayed with me. I felt a tug at my apron, “Sister Clare, Sister Clare,” came an insistent little voice. Benjamin was earnestly trying to capture my complete attention. “Will you help me pick up my cross?” he asked with a note of urgency. For a moment I thought I was being asked for spiritual direction by a 5-year-old until he took me by the hand and led me to his place where he had enthusiastically painted his cross to the table. He couldn’t get it to budge. “Yes, Benjamin, I will help you pick up your cross - that’s why I’m here,” I said.

I admit that the thought of giving up the possibility of Motherhood was a significant obstacle in surrendering to this vocation. Little did I know that the call to be a Sister is necessarily a call to be a Mother. To be espoused to Christ could never be without fruit. Jesus promises: “Everyone who gives up houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29-30)

Whether it’s a congregation at a Parish Mission with whom we share our stories of transformation by God’s grace, or whether it’s the thousands of young people we encounter at Youth 2000 Retreats around the country, or the hundreds that come to our door for food, there is no limit to the Motherhood of a Religious Sister. By no means does God ask us to give up Motherhood - what He does ask is for a boundless love and an unreserved openness to life, and to the lives of whomever He sends us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of all Mothers,
Pray for us!

Sr. Clare Matthiass, CFR


youth group
Sr Mairead

(above, left) Whether it’s the Youth 2000 retreats or our own weekly youth group meeting, nothing turns a Motherly heart to prayer faster than a teenager! Faced with so many challenges, yet called to greatness, our young people are eager for friendship with Jesus and Mary. What a privilege it is to point them to the Source of their hope.

(right) When the doorbell rings at 3 o’clock we know who to expect on our doorstep. To our delight, the trip from school to home includes a quick stop at the convent for a visit with the Sisters. Sr. Mairead is pictured here with a few of our “regulars.”

baking bread
three novices
(above, left) The work of feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty has to happen inside the convent if our works of mercy outside the convent are to mean anything. This photo shows the fruit of a morning spent learning how to make bread (our Postulants are looking forward to investiture and the beginning of Novitiate, August 15).

(right) “Dearest Sisters, the Church needs you, I place great hope in you. I pray you to be true Spiritual Mothers and Sisters to all persons, especially to the sick, to the suffering, to the abandoned, to the children, to the young people. Go out to meet them. Don’t wait for them to come to you.” These words of our beloved John Paul II have the power to stir the heart of every consecrated person and no less our three apostolic novices who are eager for the day of their consecration (Sept. 19) and the chance to live out this exhortation to the full.
Sr Maria Teresa

The hunger for companionship, for someone to listen, for someone to care that so many elderly experience can be easily satisfied with a short, joyful visit.

Sr. Maria Teresa is pictured here with our friend Elaine, a resident at the nursing home across the street from our convent.