• Sisters of St. Francis

Updated: Jun 12

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

  • Sisters 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.

  • Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Connie Boulch

Peace be with you!

These days of isolation and quarantine give us the opportunity to focus our lives more intensely on the high holy days of our Christian life. These days leading up to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus are filled with a tension that we have not experienced before.

Some are living in fear for their families and even their own lives. As Christians we must unite our anxiety and uncertainty about the future with that of Jesus, with His Apostles, with all His followers and even His Mother. All that they had placed their hopes in seemed to be disappearing before their eyes. It was a very stress-filled time. Their lives were turned upside down and they were going to have to change. Nothing would be the same without Jesus.

The followers of Jesus were right. Nothing would be the same without Jesus and for us it is the same. Nothing is the same without Jesus. There will be no parish Mass, no big family gatherings, no Easter egg hunts or civic events. So, we turn these days to Jesus Himself to set things right, to bring life into proper perspective and to bring peace to our troubled minds and hearts.

At Christmas we hear that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. The Angels sang, “Peace on earth to men of good will.” Jesus said, “I bring a ‘Peace’ the world cannot give.” Now is the time for that ‘Peace’ to become a reality. As Christians we know that death is not the end. It was not for Jesus and it will not be for us. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter and we will rise also with Him on the last day. He promised. Do you believe it? If you do you will find that ‘Peace’ He spoke of.

He offers us this rose which symbolizes His Passion, His Death and His undying Love for us. He has taken our burdens and our fears to transform them into new life. Watch for the “Son rise” on Easter. Life is not the same for...

He is risen! He is truly risen!

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