Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Opera and the Word of God Witness

A word of thanks! When I first received your email I groaned: "72 pages of downloads! How can I ever get through that, when I have my opera to orchestrate (350 pages done, 450 pages to go, 5 hours a day, 7 days a week and all against a deadline)!" SEE side bar for St Paul Year downloads refered to here.

Well, when I finally took a moment after a hard day's work at my music to satisfy my curiosity I made an amazing discovery. After a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Christoph von Eschenbach of Bruckner's 6th Symphony, played at St. Paul's Outside the Walls to celebrate the Year of St. Paul - something as a Pauline Cooperator I have tried to participate in - the Pope was moved to compare St. Paul's teaching on the the Church - "just as the hand cannot say to the foot, etc." - to the role of the individual orchestral instruments within the one musical composition. It was exactly the principle I was constantly struggling to apply when arranging the piano score of my opera for orchestra. Who would have thought that the Pope, through you, would have had something to say to me about orchestration? How encouraging, and just what I needed.

Thanks, and keep those emails coming!


Jim Stepleton

p.s.: My opera THE AWAKENING, set in New Orleans, has been tentatively scheduled for its world premiere production by New Orleans Opera in Spring, 2011 - if I can get the orchestration done in time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Birthday of the Pauline Family

The Feast of St. Bernard is the official birthday of the Pauline Family.

This morning one of the novices recieved her habit to be worn as she pronounces first vows this Saturday - Feast of the Queenship of Mary. The Queenship feast is when I recieved my habit along with seven of my co-novices. Today what is the symbol of a habit? While Sr. Kelly's habit was blessed in a simple ceremony I realized that my original habit would be over 30 years old. On the Feast of St Bernard I am reminded of anniversaries and of the every day.

This day is like no other and yet is like every other. Our life in Christ grows silently in the seed that has been planted at our baptism. Once in a while we put on Christ in a symbol - such as the habit - to remind us that our life is in Him - in reality. We celebrate anniversaries to tell the story and we actually use the words: this day is like no other.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sneak Peek Pauline Cooperator Magazine Fall Issue

Pauline style of evangelization
Editorial (unedited)
There is a unique style of evangelization that may be called “Pauline.” In this issue you will encounter a member of the Pauline Institute of Jesus the Priest who found Blessed Alberione’s prophetic charism assisted him in his vocation as a diocesan priest. Fr. Bernardo found enrichment in the spirituality of St. Paul as he announced the gospel in Russia. Recently the Church opened his cause for Beatification.
Sr Mary Margaret explores Pauline evangelization as a Sister Disciple. Introducing us to a Lectio Divina approach to Sunday worship, she explores how the Internet is “a new forum” for proclamation.
A perfect article title by someone called “the happiest pessimist ever met” is “How Good is the Good News?” The author, Sr. Mary Lea Hill, also hosts the Twitter site CrabbiMystic. I can’t resist sharing her summary statement here: “The best way to give the Gospel is to be the Good News.”
In March of this year the Archdiocese of Boston invited Dr. Mary Healy to give a presentation for their Co-Workers in the Vineyard Conference. I was able to attend. The Spirit took me up during her presentation and set me down in front of her to request a copy of her talk. In order for our evangelization and ministry to be fruitful, she says, we must first put out into the deep and enter the heart of God. In this article Dr. Healy, associate professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, presents St. Paul’s recipe for church renewal.
Sr Rose Pacatte, Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, hoists up the flag for new media technology as gifts of God. This is the essence of Pauline outreach – putting love in the sometimes noisy gong of communication media.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Returning from Retreat

Just back from my annual retreat! August 15th two other sisters and I celebrated both the close of my retreat and the Feast of Mary's Assumption. We went to the Orthodox Monastery of Holy Transfiguration to pray before her icon. I have a story to tell about this - as I sign in later!
Sr Margaret

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Searching for Spiritual Mothers

Hello Dear Sr. Margaret and Pauline Family. My dear friend, Esther Gefroh, and I formed the Spiritual Mothers Apostolate in our diocese, Diocese of Honolulu. We started the formation in February of 2008. Below is an experience that I am sharing with you. I hope and pray that it will plant a seed or inspire many women to consider forming a similar apostolate in their own dioceses. Mahalo.

My encounter with women who have a devotion of praying for our priests is quite amazing. But before I would have such an experience, I'd first ask God to lead the way.

I'd look around the church -- mostly after Mass -- and approach a woman I am led to speak with. I'd look in her eyes, the window to her soul, as I ask her if she'd want to spiritually adopt a priest.

Oftentimes, I'd get this look of excitement and joy. Then she'd say, "What a great apostolate!" "Yes, count me in!" Or "I would love to pray for a priest daily." Unsurprisingly, most of them would say, "I have already been praying for this priest and that priest. Yes, give me one and I will include him on my list of priests to pray for." God never ceases to amaze me!

We have this one particular Spiritual Mother who is quite elegant looking; she always dresses so nicely yet looks somewhat aloof. I was a bit hesitant in approaching her, but the Holy Spirit prompted me to speak with her. So I did. She was distant and rather cautious. I said my hello, introduced myself, and informed her of our apostolate.

She asked me first if I would share her information with others -- she was referring to her phone number and some whereabouts. I said, "Of course not." "And oh," she said, "I see you at church sitting with ________ (she mentions a name of a dear friend of mine who has a title), so yes, I think I can adopt a priest." I said I would give her a packet that contains the name of her Spiritual Son and prayers to pray for him.

That was over a year ago. This lady faithfully prayed for the priest assigned to her. After having discerned that it would be alright to visit him, she did just that.

She was overjoyed! She called me right away and told me of her encounter with her priest. Unfortunately, that priest's stay with our diocese terminated and he had to go back to the mainland. But this Spiritual Mother continues to pray for her Spiritual Son.

Twice, she sent him a package full of goodies found only on our islands.

Amazing what our God can do for his anointed priests!

Easter A.