Newsletter Nº 94 - CHRISTMAS 2013

“...and you must name Him JESUS”

(Lk 1: 32)

Our Christmas Novena of Holy Masses and fervent prayers for all of our Friends of Fatima will be offered in loving gratitude from December 16 - 24th. This is our gift for you who so faithfully support us in the Lord’s work in this little part of His vineyard. May God reward you each and all from the

infinite Treasury of His Heart! 

May the gift of Christ’s peace fill your heart at Christmas
and abide with you each day of the New Year - 2014!

Year of Faith Brings Hope for the Future


“I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ! I have come in his name, to feed the flame 

of fraternal love that burns in every heart;
and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!”

With these words Pope Francis greeted the government officials and others who met him upon his arrival in Rio de Janeiro last July for World Youth
 Day. Right away he left no doubt as to his mission among them and the millions of youth who traveled there from around the world. At the close of this Year of Faith - a call to all the Baptized to grow in faith in Jesus Christ - reflecting on the words of the Holy Father we can ask ourselves: “Do I really believe that Jesus Christ is my most precious Treasure?” and “Do I share this Treasure freely with all whom I meet along my life’s journey?”

 

The answer to these questions is important since every baptized person is “a ‘Christopher’, namely a Christbearer, as the Church Fathers used to say. Whoever has encoun tered Christ, like the Samaritan woman  at the well, cannot keep this experience to himself but feels the need to share it and lead others to Jesus. We all need to ask ourselves if those who encounter us perceive the warmth of faith in our lives, if they see in our faces the joy of having encountered Christ!”

How do we come to know Christ, to encounter Him personally? Pope Francis tells us there are three ways: “Know Jesus with the mind - the study of the Catechism; know Jesus with the heart kneeling in prayer, in dialogue with Him. And there is a third way: it is by following Him. Go with Him, walk with Him…One cannot know Jesus without getting oneself involved with Him,
without betting your life [on] Him. When so many people pose this question: ‘But, who is He?’, The Word of God responds,
‘You want to know who He is?’ Read what the Church tells you about Him, talk to Him in prayer and walk the street with Him. Thus, will you know who this man is.’

 This is the way! Everyone must make his choice.

To know Christ is to know Him Who is Love

We conclude this article with words from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in a homily several years ago:
“The New Testament presents Christ as the missionary of the Father… the Church’s missionbexists only as a prolongation of Christ’s mission: “As the Father has sent me, even so I
send you” (Jn 20:21). The evangelist stresses… that the passing on of this commission takes place in the Holy Spirit: “he breathed on them and said to them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn 20:22). Christ’s mission is accomplished in love. He has kindled in the world the fire of God’s love (cf. Lk 12:49). It is Love that gives life and so the Church has been sent forth to  pread Christ’s Love throughout the world, so that individuals and peoples “may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).

On this mission we are “aided with the company, ever close at hand, full of understanding and tenderness, of Mary Most Holy. May she show us the blessed fruit of her womb and teach us to respond as she did in the mystery of the annunciation and incarnation. She teaches us to go out of ourselves on a journey of sacrifice, love, and service, as she did in the visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, so that as pilgrims on the road, we may sing the wonders  that God has done in us as he promised.” (Homily, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, 12 May 2007, Aparecida, Brazil)




 

As this special Year of Faith closes we glance back over some the extraordinary moments of grace that the Church has experienced. It was Pope Benedict XVI who opened this Year on October 

11, 2012 marking the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vatican Council II. Four months later on 11 February, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Holy
Father announced that he would resign his papacy to spend is remaining years in prayer or the Church. In this way,the Pope affirmed in a most profound way the need for prayer in and for the Church. On March 13th Pope Francis was elected making this the Year of two living Popes. On March 19, feast of St. Joseph, he celebrated his inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s. One month later on April 13th it was announced by the Patriarch of Lisbon that the Holy Father had requested that his Pontificate be consecrated to Our
Lady of Fatima. His request was fulfilled by the entire Portuguese episcopate present in Fatima on May13th (see page 4). Six months later on October 13th, Pope Francis received in Rome the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima brought from the
Chapel of Apparitions to be venerated during two days of prayer and vigil to mark the special Marian days of the Year of Faith. On that occasion the Holy Father offered a prayer of entrustment of the world to Our Lady of Fatima (see page 5). On this same day
numerous dioceses, parishes , schools we reconsecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We were especially happy to learn that the Dominican Province of Ireland had gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock to consecrate themselves and the work of their p r e a c h i n g t o t h e Immaculate Heart of Mary.
During this year news also came from around  the world of the many   Acts of Consecration of nations and peoples to the Immaculate Heart of Mary made  by various Bishops. To name a few: 
Syria (26 May), Philippines (8 June); Lebanon and the Middle East (26 June) and Ireland (15 August). This was indeed very good news in this Year of Faith!





 

May 13th, Fatima

Most Holy Virgin, We, the Bishops of Portugal and this multitude of pilgrims, are at Your feet in this Cova da Iria, on this 96th anniversary of Your first apparition to the Little Shepherds, in order to fulfill the desire of Pope Francis, clearly expressed, to consecrate to You, Virgin of Fatima, his Ministry of Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor. Thus, we
consecrate to You, Our Lady, You Who are the Mother of the Church, the Ministry of the new Pope; please fill his heart with the tenderness of God, which like no one else You Yourself experienced, so that he may embrace all men and women of our time with the love of Your Son Jesus Christ. Today’s mankind needs to feel loved by God and by the Church. Only feeling loved she will overcome the temptation of violence, of materialism, f forgetting God, of losing the direction towards a new world, where love will reign. Please grant Pope Francis the gift of discernment in  order to be able  to identify the ways to renew the Church; give him courage to follow, without hesitation, the
ways suggested by the Holy Spirit; support him during the difficult hours of suffering; help him overcome, in charity, the trials he’ll encounter while renewing the Church. Please always be at his side, whispering to his ear those words well known to You: “I am the Handmaid of the Lord; be it done onto Me according to Thy Word!”

The ways of renewing the Church lead us to the rediscovery of the timeliness of the Message You left with the Little Shepherds: the demand that we convertto God, Who has been so much offended, because we have forgotten Him. Conversion is always a return to the Love of God. God forgives because He loves us. That is why His love is called mercy. The Church, protected by Your maternal solicitude and guided by this Pastor,ought to stand up evermore as a place of conversion and pardon, because in her the truth is always expressed in charity. You have pointed out prayer as the decisive way towards conversion. Please teach the Church, of which You area member and the model, to be, more and more, a people praying in union with the Holy Father - the first of this people to pray and also in union with the former.

Pope, His Holiness Benedict XVI, who chose the way of silent prayer, challenging the Church to embrace the
ways of prayer.

In Your Message to the Little Shepherds here at Cova da Iria, You highlighted the Ministry of the Pope, the “Bishop dressed in white”. Three of the last Popes came as pilgrims to Your Shrine. Only You, Our Lady, in Your maternal love for the entire Church, can put into the heart of Pope Francis the desire to come to this Shrine as a pilgrim. This is not something one can ask for other reasons; only the silent complicity between You and him will make him feel attracted to this pilgrimage, being certain that he will be in the company of millions of believers willing to hear once again Your Message.



Here, on this Altar of the world, he will be able to bless all mankind and make today’s world feel that God loves all the men and women of our time, that the Church also loves them and that You, Mother of the Redeemer, lead them with tenderness through the ways of Salvation.  

JOSÉ, Cardinal-Patriarch President of the Bishops Conference of Portugal 

October 13th,

Rome Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima, with renewed gratitude for your motherly presence we join in the voice of all generations that call you blessed. We celebrate in you the great

 works of God, who never tires of lowering himself in mercy over humanity, afflicted by evil and wounded by sin, to heal and to save it. Accept with the benevolence of a Mother this act of entrustment that we make in faith today, before this your image, beloved to us. We are certain that each one of us is precious in your eyes and that nothing in our hearts has
 estranged you. May we allow your sweet gaze to reach us and the perpetual warmth of your smile. Guard our life with your embrace: bless and strengthen every desire for good; give
new life and nourishment to faith; sustain and enlighten hope; awaken and animate charity; guide us all on the path to holiness.
Teach us your own special love for the little and the poor, for the excluded and the suffering, for sinners and the wounded of heart: gather all people under your protection and give us all to your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus. Amen.

 

The greatest need in the world todayis prayer, true and courageous prayer! Yet some may ask: Is it not more important to have work? To have bread to feed my family? To have peace? Indeed these are essential and greatly needed but God  is the giver of every good thing and Provider of all our needs and since peace and well-being are all gifts of God we must begin with prayer. This is the true order of things. “And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Therefore, I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat nor about your body, what you shall wear…Instead, seek first his Kingdom and all  hese things shall be yours as well.’” (Lk 12:22,31)

In Gethsemane Jesus said to His closest friends: “Stay awake and pray that you may not be put to the test.” (Mk 14.38). St. Paul urges us to “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess 5:17). The Angel of Fatima said to the children: “Pray with me…” “Pray, pray very much!” (Spring Autumn 1916). Our Lady of Fatima repeated insistently: “I want you to continue to pray the Rosary everyday…pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners for many souls go to hell because there are none to pray and make sacrifices for them.” (May - October 1917) Bl. Francisco knew the grace of prayer: “I am going to pray the Hail Mary so Jacinta won’t be afraid!”

Fatima is a call to Faith and to Prayer, which is the expression of faith. Just as communism was beginning to force its God-less ideology on the peoples of eastern Europe, on the western most shore an Angel came followed by Our Lady to call us to believe and to pray. The very first prayer the Angel taught the little children was “My God I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You; I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You”. This Act of Faith, Hope, Love, Adoration and pardon perfectly refuted the ideology of atheistic materialism. That ideology aimed to create godless societies where the citizens would be devoid of faith, of hope and ultimately of love for God andone another.  

We need prayer because as the Catechism states: “Prayer restores man to God’s likeness and enables him to share in the power of God’s love that saves the multitude.” (CCC 2572) Bl. Pope John Paul II expressed it thus: “Through prayer God reveals Himself above all as Mercy that is, love that goes out to those who are suffering, love that sustains, uplifts and invites us to trust. The victory of good in this world is united organically with this truth. A person who prays professes such a truth and in a certain sense makes God, Who is merciful love present in the world.” (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 26)


Prayer and faith are frequent themes in the preaching of Holy Father Francis. “The faith we have is miniscule, (like the mustard seed) but it is strong! With this power to testify to Jesus Christ, to be Christians with our life, with our witness! And whence do we draw this strength? We draw it from God in prayer. Prayer is the breath of faith: in a relationship of trust, in a relationship of love, dialogue cannot be left out, and prayer is the dialogue of the soul with God... In our daily journey, especially in difficulties in the fight against the evil inside and outside us, the Lord is on our side, we fight with Him by our side, and our weapon is prayer, which makes us aware of His presence, His mercy, and also His help…it is a daily battle, but God is our ally, faith in Him is our strength, and prayer is the expression of this faith….When we  pray courageously, the Lord not only gives us grace; he gives us His very self in the grace, because the Lord never gives or sends a grace by post:  e brings it, He is grace!”

This experience of grace was vividly described by Sr. Lucia in her Memoirs of  Fatima. At the first apparition, Our Lady asked the little children if they were willing to accept all the sufferings that God would send them for the conversion of sinners and they replied “Yes, we will”. Our Lady said: “Then, you will have much to suffer but the grace of God will be your comfort.” As She pronounced these last words “the grace of God..." Our Lady opened her 

hands for the first time communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the inmost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who is that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of  mirrors.” In prayer God, Who is that light…Who is Grace penetrates our hearts and makes us see! “Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or of  the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture,it is the heart that rays. If our  heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain. ..the heart is our hidden center, the place ‘to which I withdraw’…” (CCC 2562) Jesus said: “when you pray, go  into your room and pray to the Father in secret, (Mt 6:6) heart to heart…It is one thing to pray, and another thing to say prayers.…In His reply to Martha (Lk 10:42) Jesus is saying: The first task in life is this: prayer. But not the praying of words, like a parrot, but the prayer of the heart, gazing on the Lord, hearing the Lord, asking the Lord. We know that prayer works miracles… This is what praying is: opening the door to the Lord so that He can do something.”We need Prayer… the breath of Faith!

 

On August 22nd our Community celebrated with joy the Golden Jubilee of entrance of our dear Sr. Angela Marie. Sister’s beloved family and friends came from near and far to unite with
us in prayer and thanksgiving for the blessings of these years. Our Dominican Fathers and Sisters joined us also. Fr. John Harris, OP from Dublin was the main celebrant for the Jubilee Mass. One of Sister’s favorite Gospel verses forms the title for this article in which she shares her thoughts on this marvelous occasion. Any Jubilee is a wonderful achievement. What is behind those years? For me, I will try and gather the many strands that brought me to this joyful occasion.

It is an event one could never imagine or think about! When you enterthe Monastery at a young age and see Sisters who are Golden Jubilarians you think they are ancient! Icons ompleted! 

Living near the Dominican Church   n Dominick St (Dublin), I came to know and love Our Lady of Fatima. As a young child I used to attend the Fatima devotions every Saturday night, It was a heavenly joy for me! Since I can ever remember I wanted to be a Nun! The desire was always there! My First Holy Communion day lives on with me in a special way,
that memorable day when I first received Jesus. Perhaps that was my first step towards Convent life! The Sisters kneeling on each side of St Joseph’s Convent Chapel made a asting impression on my young heart. The desire to know everything about God and try to love Him was always with me, as I knelt before Our Lady of Fatima in Dominick Street Church.

I came to Fatima in May 1963 and entered our Monastery on May 13th. I came with the wonderful “intention” to convert the whole world for God! I didn’t know much or look at myself first to be converted! One was so full of desires for the salvation of souls and the Message of Fatima. I loved everything I saw and each new day was a wonder for me! I loved the Sisters and our whole way of life. The daily life and the joy  of the Sisters helped me and I have wonderful memories of those years. The photo we inserted here is not by chance: the two Sisters with me on my  Jubilee day, Sr. M. Diane was my Novice Mistress and Sr. M. Dominic  was our Cook when I entered. Sr. Dominic left me her legacy when she went to France in 1966. I was assigned to serve in the kitchen where I continued to work until recently. After these many years the Lord has now called me to serve as Prioress of our Community.

Living in Fatima one ponders much on the Message of the Angel to the three children. This for me is a wondrous awareness of God´s love and trust in us. The Angel asked them to console our God who is so much offended. The same with Our Lady’s Message, it is one of pleading for poor suffering humanity, praying the Rosary and making sacrifices for poor sinners. This is what our holy Father St. Dominic did for poor sinners. I gather the strands ofmy whole life here in the joy of being  consecrated to God in the cloister, in the heart of the Church singing the praises of God in the Liturgy of the Hours in Choir everyday. I realize it is not what we do but the intention we have in our hearts that matters.
Yes indeed, a Jubilee is a great celebration. Most importantly it is a time to thank God aloud for the wonders, the beauty, the whole meaning of my Dominican  Monastic life here in Fatima, for my family friends and benefactors who have been always so good to me down the years. May God bless them all! 50 years may sound like a long time, and yet I awake to each new day with great joy to be able to sing and praise the Lord, and live the wonders of my faith, in prayer, study and work.



Sr. Mary Martin of the Blessed Sacrament, OP
1926 - 2013


On 29th October at 10:30 pm our dear Sr. Mary Martin entered eternal life. Sister had lived the last year and a half in a nursing home nearby our monastery. It was a purifying experience, one she accepted with patience and tranquility sustained by the gift of God’s grace day by day. Sister was blessed to retain her complete awareness until her death.

Sr. M. Martin was born in London where she grew up in a Christian home with her parents. After working forsome years in a hospital pathology laboratory she met a group of Christian missionaries and felt called to join them in their mission in Nigeria. There, after a few years she happened one day to pass by a Church where there was a sign outside welcoming all to enter. It was a Dominican mission church. She stopped her little car and went inside. This was her first step towards entering the Catholic Church.

Sister remained in Nigeria with her “beloved Nigerian people” for 13 years when she experienced the call to a deeper prayer life and began searching for a monastery. In November 1983 Sister arrived here and began yet a new phase of life - a new way of serving the Lord. After many years, when our monastery in Prouilhe (France) was requesting Sisters to volunteer in order to renew its Community life Sister accepted the challenge.

She stayed three years in France and returned to Fatima. In her final years she truly completed the total self offering she had made on the day of her Profession of Vows. Her spirit of gratitude for everything and continual prayer and concern for the welfare of the Community were evident to all in her final months and days. Sister had served in several areas in the Monastery but is mostly remembered for her years as faithful organist and her continuing interest in study.

Requiescat in pace.
Please remember the precious soul
of our Sister in prayerand
be assured that she
will help you too.
 

Our New Novice

On May 8, feast of Mary Mediatrix of all Graces and patronal feast of the Order of Preachers, our dear postulant Marzena received the habit of St. Dominic. Her new name suits her well - Sister Maria John Paul of Divine Mercy. Sister is a native of Opole (Poland) and began to discern her vocation while in Rome for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, 2011. We are so grateful to God  and Our Lady for sending Sr. Maria John Paul to our Community and we pray that others will respond to the special call to come and be His Praise of Glory!

Our Lady of the Rosary and holy Father
St. Dominic intercede for vocations to the
Order of Preachers!

 
 Last April during Easter week,the international Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa in defense of life was brought to Fatima. This large Icon was carried in pilgrimage “From Ocean to Ocean” beginning in Vladivostok, Russia near the Pacific Ocean and concluded in Portugal on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. This pilgrimage “from east to west in defense of life”was inspired by the appeal of Bl Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae when he wrote: “…a  great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world.” (EV No. 100)

We were especially pleased to welcome Our Lady’s Icon into our public chapel on April 4 where it remained overnight. Many came to honour their Mother and to pray. On April 7, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Icon was placed in the Capelinha - the Little Chapel of Apparitions.

 

As we continue to prepare for the first centenary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima (1917-2017) and  for the 8th Centenary of the founding of the Dominican Order of Preachers (1216-2016) our Monastery is also  looking forward to celebrating the 60th anniversary of its Foundation on June 16, 2014. It was on that very warm day that the ‘missionaries of the Ave’ began  heir Dominican monastic life here in the Serra d’aire or hill country of Fatima.






In a very special way we wish to askSt. Joseph to accompany us and guide us in prayer as we grow closer to these great moments  f thanksgiving. At the same time we wish to send our profound gratitude to the heart of the Guardian of the Redeemer and most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary for all the assistance - spiritual  and material - he has obtained for our Community, friends and benefactors over these many years.

In the Gospels, St. Joseph is the silent one, the contemplative carpenter who teaches us the “obedience of faith”. His faith and confidence in God ere unshakable. He was entirely consecrated to the mission entrusted to him by God. St. Joseph lived only for God, Whom he served in Jesus and Mary.

In our Community we “go to St. Joseph” daily in prayer for the needs of our faithful benefactors. We honour him with prayerful visits to his shrine in the garden. We pray to him with confidence to protect and assist the whole Church in all her needs. He always responds to those who call upon

him for help. 

Thank you St. Joseph!


 


 


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