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  • Writer's pictureSisters of St. Francis

One lament that has been near constant here at the convent has been how much we miss having people around. We’ve been essentially shut down since mid-March, and we miss having people join us for Mass, we miss having people here on retreat, we just miss people!

We hope that you are doing well, that you are coping with things, and that your spiritual life has been okay through this time of trial and crisis. One thing that each of us knows – from long experience (or in my own case, short experience) – is the value of good books in bolstering us in the spiritual life. The Good News Book Shop has essentially been closed since Mid-March, but we still have all of the books... If you are interested in acquiring some new spiritual reading, you can shop our book store over the phone (816-252-1673) or by email ( As we still are not able to let you into the convent building, we will arrange curbside pickup at a time convenient for you.

If you want a new book (or just want to support our book store ministry) but aren’t sure what to get, consider some seasonal reading for Advent and Christmas. We have books of daily devotions for Advent and Christmas as well as a few titles that are not daily devotions but can still help you prepare for Christmas or enjoy some seasonal cheer! If you're looking for something different or would like advice on picking out books for yourself or for others, feel free to give me a call!

- Sr. Colette Marie

Daily Devotionals for Advent and Christmas (With their Publishers' marketing blurbs):

Advent and Christmas with Mary Cover

Advent and Christmas with Mary - Dr. Mary Amore


“Prepare for and celebrate Christ’s coming with brief daily meditations for the Advent and Christmas seasons. Scripture, personal reflection, a question to think about or act to consider, and a short prayer to Mary are sure to touch your heart and lead you to a deeper relationship with Jesus and his mother, Mary.”

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Welcome Baby Jesus - Sarah A. Reinhard


“Advent is a season almost forgotten by the secular world. With new toys and electronics available, why should we focus on this time of anticipation? Most everyone cannot wait for Christmas morning to arrive, but is it for the right reason? Sarah A. Reinhard designed Welcome Baby Jesus for you and your family to capture some of what's intended by the liturgical season of Advent. Each day has a Scripture quote from the Sunday gospel readings, a brief reflection, and an action to complete. With each passing Sunday, your Advent Wreath will grow brighter, your family's faith will grow stronger, and the true meaning of this season will be discovered.”

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Advent with the Saints - Greg Friedman OFM


Christians know that St. John the Baptist prepares the way of the Lord. Which other saints can accompany us during the four weeks of waiting for the birth of Jesus? Through insightful reflections, Greg Friedman, a pastor and radio personality, connects you to the lives of the saints and holy ones suggested by the Scriptural readings of Advent. Fr. Greg draws on his love for the saints to offer daily inspiration during this season of preparation. Each day of Advent until Christmas Day, find: brief reflections on each Advent lectionary reading saintly connections to each reading suggested actions for each day prayers to help you slow down and savor the season of waiting and hope

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Advent with St Francis - Diane M. Houdek


By pairing the words and deeds of St. Francis with the Scripture readings for Advent, Advent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections helps readers explore how they, too, can live the Gospel in the circumstances of their daily lives. It is written in a simple and engaging style that will draw readers in to the life of Francis as they grow in their faith and spiritual practice through the inspiration of this beloved saint.

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Let Us Adore Him - Richard N. Fragomeni


Let Us Adore Him will enhance your preparation for and celebration of Christmas. From the First Sunday of Advent through the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, you will find inspiration for your Advent and Christmas prayer time. Noted liturgist Fr. Richard Fragomeni weaves the Communion Antiphons from each day's liturgy into the daily seasonal liturgies and weaves them into a thoughtful, prayerful meditation.

Prepare Your Heart

Prepare Your Heart - Pope Francis


Prepare your heart for the birth of Jesus with the inspiring words of Pope Francis. This daily devotional includes scripture citations for each day of the season, a selection of the Holy Father's writings, reflection questions, and a prayer. It will be the perfect volume to remind you to slow down and breathe in God's spirit, no matter how busy you are!

Ideal for individuals or groups desiring greater spiritual awareness during this short but powerful season, Prepare Your Heart can also renew faith at the start of the liturgical year. For anyone seriously desiring to welcome Christ anew, this book can be wise, humble companion to help us put Jesus first during this special season to rediscover the joy that makes our lives complete.

Waiting for Christ - St. John Henry Newman*


Saint John Henry Newman was one of the most beloved and well-known preachers of his time. Originally an Anglican priest, Newman converted to Catholicism and became a Catholic priest and cardinal. Known for his beautiful prose and exultant preaching, Newman has long been a source of inspiration for those in the Church. In this new and compact compilation of his sermons, you’re invited to journey with St. John Henry Newman through Advent into Christmas and Epiphany, meditating on the coming of Christ and the Christian life. Newman’s masterful knowledge of the lives of the saints, Catholic doctrine, and, above all, Sacred Scripture, will help you immerse yourself in these liturgical seasons of waiting, wondering, and joy.

These beautiful meditations guide you through reflections on:

Preparing for the Lord’s coming at Christmas and the end of time / Our dependence upon the Lord’s goodness / What happens when we do not seek truth / Mary’s role in salvation history / God’s call for each and every one of us to holiness / Glorifying God in the world / True joy / Martyrdom, affliction, and consolation / Love as the one thing needful

Waiting for Christ, provides an opportunity to spend a few minutes with St. John Henry Newman and Christ every day of the Advent and Christmas seasons, preparing for the coming of the Lord.

*I read this book last Advent and thought it was wonderful!

Advent Journal : Mother of Life


"The one who has hope lives differently; the one who has hope has been granted the gift of a new life."(Pope Benedict XVI Spe Salvi, 2)

The season of Advent is a time of hope-filled anticipation for the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Mary, Mother of Life, is the first one to behold the Word, listen to the Word, ponder the Word in her heart and lived differently.

The Mother of Life Advent Journal is written to guide you through a prayerful reading of Scripture –lectio divina. By personally encountering the Word, you, too, will experience hope-filled anticipation and live differently as a joyful disciple of Christ.

This journal Includes the Sunday gospel readings for Liturgical Year A, B and C.

(Written and Compiled by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist)

Books for the season & for spreading cheer (Also with the Publishers' marketing blurbs):

Prayers around the Crib - Juliette Levivier


A joyful book for young children preparing for Christmas, which explains the meaning of the Advent season with its special calendar and wreath, the Christmas tree, the various figures of the Nativity scene including the angels, shepherds, the three Kings, Mary, Joseph, Jesus and more.

Each of these important Christmas symbols is explained with a little story followed by a simple, heartfelt prayer. Illustrated throughout with sweet four-color pictures.

Joy to the World - Scott Hahn


What could be more familiar than the Christmas story -- and yet what could be more extraordinary? The cast of characters is strange and exotic: shepherds and magicians, an emperor and a despot, angels, and a baby who is Almighty God. The strangeness calls for an explanation, and this book provides it by examining the characters and the story in light of the biblical and historical context. Bestselling author Scott Hahn who has written extensively on Scripture and the early Church, brings evidence to light, dispelling some of the mystery of the story. Yet Christmas is made familiar all over again by showing it to be a family story. Christmas, as it appears in the New Testament, is the story of a father, a mother, and a child -- their relationships, their interactions, their principles, their individual lives, and their common life. To see the life of this "earthly trinity" is to gaze into heaven.

Drinking with St. Nick - Michael Foley


Michael Foley, author of Drinking with the Saints, presents cocktail recipes and wine, beer, and cider recommendations that will keep hearths warm and parties joyful throughout the holidays. With stories about the history of St. Nicholas and other saints, as well as an advent calendar leading up to Christmas, this gift book is a must for anyone who starts stringing lights and playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. Let the Christmas games begin!

Teeny-Tiny Nativity


Bring back the magic of the holiday season with this beautifully-illustrated wooden nativity set.

In a unique package that transforms into a mini stable, this collectible kit includes an adorable wooden nativity set along with an illustrated mini book The Story of Christmas. The perfect stocking stuffer, Teeny-Tiny Nativity reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.

(Not technically a book, but this would make a great gift for Christmas or St. Nicholas’ Day!)

  • Writer's pictureSisters of St. Francis

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

In March, the world collapsed. Countries shut down. It seemed like the end was upon us. Here at the convent we kept up our regular schedule and moved through our days with relatively little disruption. Praying the liturgy of the hours as the coronavirus pandemic reached the Kansas City area filled me with strange feelings. I felt awe at the majesty of a God that could still call forth my praise in the middle of terror and anxiety. I felt confusion and fear and calm and joy and it was just really weird. I was initially very nervous – I had been out and about before the lockdown came, and what if I was infected and didn’t know it? I was not afraid of being sick. I am still young and dumb enough to believe in my own invincibility. I would be fine. But my sisters might not be. They are not young or dumb or invincible. This virus targets the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions. My community could be described as elderly with pre-existing health conditions. I'm not brave enough to face my sisters experiencing the kind of suffering that can come from a bout with COVID-19. I’m not ready for anyone to die. But as waves of anxiety would hit, a line from a psalm would drift through my head. “But our God is in the Heavens/ He does whatever he wills.” Inevitably, I would think, this is what we’re here for… not to feel anxious and vulnerable, but to pray.

As everyone decided on showing an abundance of caution, every spring retreat after mid-March was cancelled. Our main external apostolate (the retreat center) was stripped away, but the core of our life began to shine through. I kept thinking, this is what we’re here for, as I went to chapel to pray and took care of basic responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. Though I continued in my school work (I’ve been enduring online education for nearly three years – my heart goes out to every student who had their educational routine so abruptly changed for the worse) other things, like vocations events and meetings and my work in the book store vanished. Each morning I rise and join my sisters for Morning Prayer. I spend an hour afterwards praying in our adoration chapel. I cook meals a couple of times a week, do dishes every day, and pitch in on various chores and projects. At some point each day we have Mass. I gather with my sisters after supper for Evening Prayer. I pray the rosary each day. These things have always been present, but suddenly I can see clearly that they are the only things that actually matter in my schedule.

In many ways, this period of pandemic has been an enormous opportunity; it is the time for us to become saints. I say this even as I recognize that I haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity. But seriously, when else have we been forced back to the core of our lives? Suddenly our first role, for some of us the only role left, is our vocation. It is not so important if we are employed in a particular kind of work. We are experiencing similar things across occupational lines. But what has begun to matter a great deal is whether we are religious sisters or wives and mothers or husbands and fathers or single persons. Suddenly the most important thing for us to do is just to be what we are. Taking care of our families now ranks ahead of attending that work meeting on zoom. Praying with our religious community now ranks ahead of preparing the retreat center for guests that are not coming. Like I said before, I think I’ve wasted the opportunity so far. I haven’t leaned into prayer like I could have. I haven’t treated my core responsibilities as opportunities to serve God and my sisters. I have whined and complained and failed to trust God. But just seeing that this time is a time for returning to the core of my identity has been a tremendous gift.

Sr. Colette

  • Writer's pictureSisters of St. Francis

We were waiting on the website for the shrine of the Holy Infant in Mississippi to get the novena posted, but they haven't done so (as of 4/13/20). So, here are the novena prayers! If you begin today, you will complete the novena on April 21 - the feast of the Holy Infant of Good Health.

Novena to the Holy Infant of Good Health

Say the Prayer for the day:

The First Day:

Oh, Divine Child Jesus of Good Health, through the infinite love with which You became man in the virginal womb of Mary, all for our health and eternal happiness, I ask You for the salvation of my soul by Your grace, and for the favor I am asking in this novena, always resigned with whatever Your Will may be. Amen

The Second Day:

Oh, Jesus, most beautiful Child, Who was born of Your Immaculate Mother as the sun is born at dawn, and Who, with immense love suffered for our redemption, the poverty of the manger and inclemency of the weather, melt the coldness of my heart with the fire of Your Love and grant me (Petition) if it may be Your Will. Amen.

The Third Day:

Oh Child Jesus, Sun of True Justice, Who with Your rays enlighten the souls and minds of mankind: You, Who love the simple souls, the little souls, give me the grace of simplicity and humility that You like so much, and grant me the favor that I ask. Amen.

The Fourth Day:

Oh, Child Jesus, Only Treasure of Heaven and Earth, attracting all souls with the irresistible power of Your incomparable humility, teach me to despise the passing riches of this world, and all that stand in the way of finding You, and let me be like the three kings who came to the manger from faraway lands to adore You. Grant me, my Jesus, the grace that I ask. Amen.

The Fifth Day:

Oh, Child of Good Health, my Jesus, Who shortly after Your birth had to suffer persecution and exile, show me with Your grace the virtues I need to endure the persecutions of this life. I deserve punishment for all my sins. You Innocent and Blessed Child, Who had to go to Egypt in the arms of Your worried Mother and Your foster father, St. Joseph, to escape the cruel Herod, grant that I may always flee from the infernal spirits that want to ruin my soul, so that I may be worthy of the favor that I tearfully ask before Your Blessed Image. Amen.

The Sixth Day:

Child Jesus, my Love, only in Your do I find the consolation I need in the trials that besiege me. By the sorrow that Your Most Holy Mother suffered in the prophecy of Holy Simeon, I beg You to pour on my sorrowful spirit the sweetness of Your Divine consolation. My heart grows weak under the weight of the sorrows that afflict my soul. One glance from Your Divine Eyes will heal my sufferings. Look at me. Child Jesus, and grant me the help I ask and conform me to Your will. Amen.

The Seventh Day:

Child Jesus, dear Treasure of my soul, in the Three days that You were away from Your Holy Parents, they were filled with anguish because You were lost, even when it was not their fault. Oh, Rich Treasure of Heaven, let me be diligent in always keeping close to You, avoiding all sin, which is the only cause for my losing You. Knowing the sorrow that brings me before Your Image, Oh Child of Good Health, grant me the grace that I ask, if it is best for the salvation of my soul. Amen.

The Eighth Day:

Oh, Incarnate Wisdom, Child of Good Health, Who astonished the doctors of the law with Your wise discourse, speak to me, Oh Lord, in the words of eternal life that I may be free of the ignorance that causes the ruin of the soul. Give me the willing obedience that I need to be Your disciple, together with the grace I ask. Amen.

The Ninth Day:

Child Jesus, Model of Humility and Obedience, after caring for the work of Your Holy Father, You returned with Mary and Joseph to the humble home in Nazareth, and You were subject to them as the most obedient son. Oh Child Jesus, awaken in the children of our time, Your sublime childhood virtues, and grant that the parents of this age may not neglect the careful education of their children according to the rules of our Catholic Faith, and grant me the grace that I ask. Amen.

Then offer your petition to the Holy Infant.

Then pray:

Jesus, Compassionate and Merciful Child, hear my prayers and remedy my affliction!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Sweetest Hope of those who suffer, I place my sorrows before Your Sacred Heart!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Secure Refuge of the needy, at Your Divine Feet I shed the tears of my afflicted heart!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Universal Consoler, Who in Your untiring mercy welcome all of us sinners who have recourse to You, have mercy and hear me!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Health of our souls, Divine Healer, do not despise my supplications, but grant me the graces that I implore!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Then, this Act of Contrition:

Oh, Sweetest Child Jesus, Who through Your miraculous image desire to inculcate devotion in our souls to Your Sacred Childhood, I kneel before You, repentant of my sins; I am profoundly sorry for having offended You. I do not want to sin again, and since You were born in a desolate manger for my love, please be born by Your grace in my soul. Give me sincere contrition for my sins, so that I may receive absolution for them in the tribunal of penance, through Your infinite mercy. Divine Child Jesus, make me worthy, by a sincere confession, of the graces that I implore at Your feet, and above all that I may gain eternal salvation. Amen.

Then, this Prayer (Every Day of the Novena):

Divine Child, loving Little Shepherd, Who came from heaven looking for Your dear sheep, not caring how arduous and tiring the work of saving souls would be, and giving Your last drop of blood to accomplish the task of our redemption, open the ears of my soul, that I may respond to Your Grace, and that I may listen to Your loving inspirations. I promise to surrender to Your call, and to avoid all things that may endanger my salvation, being certain that I was not merely created for the pleasures of this life. My destiny is most noble, for You have created me for greater happiness, And to think that so often I have looked for the passing riches of this life! By Your infinite mercy, forgive my stubborn resistance to Your call, my persistence in sin, and my despicable weakness in not persevering in the resolutions that I so often promised and did not carry out. Help me, Lord Jesus, not to sadden Your Divine Heart again. I promise to amend my life and to seek the intercession of the ever-Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whom You gave us for Our Mother on the cross. Amen.

Then, the Daily Prayer to Our Blessed Mother:

Immaculate Mother of the Child Jesus, Sweetest Virgin Mary, Our Mother, deign to present our supplications to your Divine Son. We, who are sinners, do not deserve to be heard. But you, who are the Refuge of Sinners and Mother of Mercy, have never sent away those who seek your maternal protection; and always full of tenderness and clemency you comfort the afflicted. You are the Universal Mediatrix of all graces. Your prayers to the Divine Child are always heard because in you there was never a stain of sin. Take pit on us who are sinners, and for the love which you bear the Divine Child, obtain from His Divine Heart the graces that we need. Mother of God, pray for us, poor exiled children; look down on us with your eyes of mercy, and keep us very close to your Immaculate Heart. Amen.

Conclude with the Hail Holy Queen each day.

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